These are a few of my favorite lines of Shakespearean poetry:
Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d,
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
What I don't understand, though, is the removal of the 'e' by Shakespeare, and other poets who do this, like Tennyson. I've always read diacritics are applied by some poets to change the pronunciation, so as to keep the meter, but how on Earth is inspired pronounced differently from inspir'd, or sceptered from scepter'd? Why are they doing this?