Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

The Epistle Dedicatory.
office to the dead, to procure his Orphanes, Gura-
dians; without ambition either of self-profit, or fame:
only to keep the memory of so worthy a Friend and
Fellow alive, as was our Shakespeare, by humble
offer of his Playes, to your most Noble Patronage.
Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come
near your L.L. but with a kind of religious address;
it hath been the height of our care, who are the Pre-
senters, to make the Present worthy of your H.H.
by the Perfection. But, there we must also crave our
abilities to be considered, my Lords. We cannot goe
beyond our own powers. Countrey hands reach forth
Milk, Cream, Fruits, or what they have: and many
Nations (we have heard) that had not Gummes and
Incense, obtained their requests with a leavened
Cake; It was no fault to approach their gods, by
what means they could: And the most, theugh mean-
est of things, are made precious, when they are dedica-
ted to Temples. In that name therefore, we most hum-
bly consecrate to your H.H. these remains of your
servant Shakespeare; that what delight is in them,
may be ever your L.L. the reputation his, and the
faults ours, if any be committed by a pair so care{f}ul to
shew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead,
as is
Your Lordships most bounden
John Heminge,
Henry Condell.