Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

To the Memory of my beloved the Authour
And what he hath left us.

TO draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy Name,
Am I thus ample to thy Book, and Fame:
While I confesse thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all mens suffrage. But these wayes
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise:
For seeliest Ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but ecchoes right;
Or blind Affection, which doth ne're advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice, might pretend this praise,
And think to ruine, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous Baud, or Whore, [more?
Should praise a Matron. What could hurt her
But thou art proofe against them, and indeed
Above th'ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the Age!
The applause! delight! the wonder of our Stage.
My Shakespeare rise; I will not lodgee the by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room:
Thou art a Monument without a Tomb,
And art alive still, while thy Book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.