Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 3, 1664)


To the Memory of my beloved the Authour
Mr. VVILLIAM SHAKESPEARE;
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.
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