Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

To the Memory of the deceased Authour

SHakespeare, at length thy pious Fellows give
The World thy Works: thy Works, by which, out-live
Thy Tomb, thy Name must: when that
stone is rent
And Time dissolves thy Stratford Monument,
Here we alive shall view thee still. This Book,
When Brass and Marble fade, shall make thee look
Fresh to all Ages: when Posteritie
Shall loathe what's new; think all is prodigie
That is not Shakespear's; ev'ry Line, each Verse
Here shall revive, redeem thee from thy Herse.
Nor Fire, nor cankring Age, as Naso said,
Of his, thy wit-fraught Book shall once invade.
Nor shall I e're believe, or think thee dead
(Though mist) until our bankrout Stage be sped
(Impossible) with some new strain t' out-do
Passions of Juliet, and her Romeo;
Or till I hear a Scene more nobly take,
Than when thy halfe-sword parlying Yeomans spake
Till these, till any of thy Volumes rest
Shall with more fire, more feeling be exprest,
Be sure, our Shakespeare, thou canst never die,
But crown'd with Lawrell, live eternally.
L. Digges.