Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

To the great variety of Readers
FRom the most able, to him that can but
spell. There you are number'd, We
had rather you were weigh'd. Espe
cially, when the fate of all Books de-
pends upon your capacities: and not of your
heads alone, but of your Purses. VVell, it is
now publick, and you will stand for your privi-
ledges, we know: to read, and censure. Doe so,
but buy it first; that doth best commend a Book,
the Stationer sayes. Then, how odde soever your
brains be, or your wisdomes, make your silience
the same, and spare not. Iudge your six-penny
worth, your shillings worth, your five shillings
worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just
rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, Buy,
Censure will not drive a Trade, nor make the
Jack goe. And though you be a Magistrate of
Wit, and sit on the Stage at Black-Fryers, or
the Cock-pit, to arraign Playes daily, know, these
Playes have had their trial already, and stood out
all Appeals; and do now come forth quitted ra-
ther by a Decree of Court, then any purchas'd
Letters of Commendation.
It had been a thing, we confesse, worthy to
have been wished, that the Author himself had
liv'd to have set forth, and overseen his own
Writings; But since it hath been ordain'd other-