Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses;
I mean with great, but disproportion'd Muses:
For if I thought my judgement were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy Peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lily out-shine,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty Line.
And though thou hadst small Latine & less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy Buskin tread,
And shake a Stage: Or, when thy Socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses, still were in their prime,
When like Apollo he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature her self was proud of his designes,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his Lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouch safe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;