Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

Then laughing at our fear; abus'd and glad
To be abus'd, affected with that truth
VVhich we perceive is false; pleas'd in that ruth
At which we start; and by elaborate play
Tortur'd and tickled; by a crab-like way
Time past made pastime, and in ugly sort
Disgorging up his ravaine for our sport------
-----VVhile the Plebeian Imp from lofty throne,
Creates and rules a world, and works upon
Mankind by secret engines; Now to move
A chilling pity, then a rigorous love:
To strike up and stroak down, both joy and ire;
To steer th' affections; and by heavenly fire
Mould us anew. Stoln from our selves------
This and much more which cannot be exprest,
But by himself, his tongue and his own brest, [brain
Was Shakespeares freehold, which his cunning
Improv'd by favour of the nine-fold train.
The Buskin'd Muse, the Comick Queen, the grand
And lowder tone of Clio; nimble hand,
And nimbler foot of the melodious pair,
The Silver voiced Lady; the most fair
Calliope, whose speaking silence daunts.
And she whose praise the heavenly body chaunts.
These jointly woo'd him, envying one another
(Obey'd by all as Spouse, but lov'd as brother)
And wrought a curious robe of sable grave,
Fresh green, and pleasant yellow, red most brave,