Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 3, 1664)


But antiquated, and deserted lie
As they were not of Natures family.
Yet must I not give Nature all: Thy Art,
My gentle Shakespeare must enjoy a part.
For though the Poet's matter Nature be,
His Art doth give the Fashion. And, that he,
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses Anvile: turn the same,
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame;
Or for the Lawrel, he may gain a scorn,
For a good Poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou. Look how the Fathers face
Lives in his Issue, even so the race
Of Shakespear's mind, and manners brightly shines
In his well torned, and true filed lines:
In each of which, he seems to shake a Lance,
As brandish't at the eyes of Ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the Banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our Iames!
But stay, I see thee in the Hemisphere
Advanc'd, and made a Constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or chear the drooping Stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like
And despairs day, but for thy Volumes light. [night,
BEN. JOHNSON.
b3