Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

And constant blew, rich purple, guiltless white,
The lowly Russet, and the Scarlet bright;
Branch't and embroydered like the painted Spring
Each leafe match'd with a Flower, and each string
Of golden wire, each line of silk; there run
Italian works whose thred the Sisters spun;
And there did sing, or seem to sing, the choice
Birds of a foreign note and various voice.
Here hangs a mossy Rock; there playes a faire
But chiding Fountain purled: Not the aire,
Nor Clouds, nor Thunder, but were living drawn
Not out of common Tiffany or Lawn.
But fine materials, which the Muses know
And onely know the countries where they grow.
Now when they could no longer him enjoy
In mortal garments pent; Death may destroy
They say his body, but his Verse shall live
And more then Nature takes, our hands shall give.
In a lesse Volume, but more strongly bound
Shakespeare shall breathe and speak, with Laurel
Which never fades. Fed with Ambrosian meat
In a well-lined vesture rich and neat
So with this Robe they cloathe him, bid him wear
For time shall never stain, nor envy tear it.

The friendly admirer of his

J. M. S.