Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

To the Reader.
This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
Wherein the Graver had a strife
With Nature, to out-doe the Life:
O, could he but have drawn his Wit
As well in Brasse, as he has hit
His Face; the Print would then surpass
All, that was ever writ in Brasse.
But since he cannot, Reader, look
Not on his Picture, but his Book.
Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.
Published according to the true Original Copies.
The third Impression.
And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never
before Printed in Folio.
Pericles Prince of Tyre.
The London Prodigall.
The History of Thomas Ld. Cromwell.
Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham.
The Puritan Widow.
A York-shire Tragedy.
The Tragedy of Locrine.
LONDON, Printed for P.C. 1664.
To the most Noble and Incomparable pair of Brethren,
WILLIAM Earl of Pembroke, &c. Lord Chamberlain to the
Kings most Excellent Majestie;
And PHILIP Earl of Montgomery, &c. Gentleman to His Ma-
jesties Bed-Chamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order of
the Garter, and our singular good LORDS.
Right Honourable,
WHilst we study to be thankful in our particu-
lar, for the many favours we have received
from your LL, we are faln upon the ill for-
tune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can
be, fear, and rashnesse in the enterprise, and fear of
the successe. For, when we value the places your H.H.
sustain, we cannot but know their dignity greater,
than to descend to the reading of these trifles: and,
while we name them trifles, we have depriv'd our
selves of the defence of our Dedication. But since your
L.L. have been pleas'd to think these trifles something
heretofore, and have prosecuted both them, and their
Authour living, with so much favour: we hope, (that
they out-living him, and he not having the fate, com-
mon with some, to be Executor to his own writings)
you will use the same indulgence toward them, you
have done unto their parent. There is a great diffe-
rence, whether any Book choose his Patrones, or find
them: This hath done both. For, so much were your
L.L. likings of the several parts, when they were
acted, as before they were published, the Volume ask'd
to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an
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.
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-
wise, and he by death departed from that right,
we pray you do not envy his Friends, the office
of their care, and pain, to have collected and
publish'd them; & so to have publish'd them, as
where (before) you were abus'd with divers
stoln, and surreptitious Copies, maimed and de-
formed by the frauds & stealths of injurious Im-
postors, that expos'd them: even those, are now
offer'd to your view cured, and perfect of their
limbs; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers
as he conceived them. Who, as he was a happy
imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser
of it. His mind and hand went together: And
what he thought, he uttered with that easiness,
that we have scarce received from him a blot in
his Papers. But it is not our Province, who only
gather his Works, and give them you to praise
him. It is yours that read him. And there we
hope, to your divers capacities, you will find e-
nough, both to draw, and hold you: for his wit
can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Read
him, therefore; and again, & again: And if then
you do not like him, surely you are in some ma-
nifest danger, not to understand him. And so we
leave you to other of his Friends, who, if you
need, can be your guides: if you need them not,
you can lead yourselves, and others. And such
Readers we wish him.
J. Heminge. H. Condell.
On the admirable Dramatick Poet,
WHat need my Shakespeare for his honour'd
The labour of an Age, in piled stones,
Or that his hallow'd Reliques should be hid
Under a Starre-y pointing Pyramid?
Dear Son of Memory, great Heir of Fame,
VVhat need'st thou such dull witnesse of thy
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a lasting Monument.
For whil'st to th' shame of slow-endeavouring
Thy easie numbers flow, and that each part,
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued Book,
Those Delphick Lines with deep Impression
Then thou our fancy of her self bereaving,
Dost make us Marble with too much con-
And so Sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie,
That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die
Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenick
Poet Mr. VV. Shakespeare.
THose hands, which you so clapt, goe now
and wring
You Britaines brave; for done are Shake-
speares dayes:
His dayes are done, that made the dainty Playes,
VVhich made the Globe of Heav'n and Earth
to ring.
Dry'd is that Vein, dry'd is the Thespian Spring,
Turn'd all to tears, and Phœbus Clouds his
That Corps, that Coffin now bestick those Bays,
VVhich crown'd him Poet first, then Poets King.
If Tragedies might any Prologue have,
All those he made, would scarce make one to
VVhere Fame, now that he gone is to the Grave,
(Deaths publick Tyring-house) the Nuncius is.
For though his Line of Life went soon about,
The Life yet of his Lines shall never out.
Hugh Holland.
The VVorks of William Shakespeare, containing
all his Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies:
Truely set forth according to their
first Original.
The names of the principal Actors in all
these Playes.
WIll. Shakespeare.
Rich. Burbage.
John Hemmings.
Augustine Phillips.
William Kempt.
Thomas Poope.
George Bryan.
Henry Condell.
William Slye.
Richard Cowly.
Iohn Lowine.
Samuel Crosse.
Alexander Cook.
Samuel Gilburne.
Robert Armin.
William Ostler.
Nathan Field.
Iohn Underwood.
Nicholas Tooley.
William Ecclestone.
Ioseph Taylor.
Robert Benfield.
Robert Gouge.
Richard Robinson.
Iohn Shanke.
Iohn Rice.
A Catalogue of all the Comedies, Histories, and
Tragedies contained in this Book.
THe Tempest.
The two Gentlemen of
The Merry Wives of
Measure for Measure.
The Comedy of Errors.
Much a do about Nothing
Loves Labour's lost.
Midsummer nights Dream
The Merchant of Venice.
As you like it.
The taming of a Shrew.
All's well that ends well.
Twelfe night, or what you
The VVinters Tale. [will.
The life & death of K. Joh.
The life and death of King
Richard the 2.
The life and death of King
Henry the 4.
The second part of King
Henry the 4.
The life of King Henry 5.
The first part of King
Henry the 6.
The second part of King
Henry the 6.
The third part of King
Henry the 6.
The Tragedy of Richard
the 3.
The famous History of
Henry the 8.
Troylus and Cressida.
The Tragedy of Coriola-
Titus Andronicus.
Romeo and Juliet.
Timon of Athens.
The Tragedy of Jul. Cæs.
The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Tragedy of Hamlet.
The Tragedy of K. Lear.
The Moor of Venice.
Anthony and Cleopatra.
The Tragedy of Cymbe-
To the Memory of the deceased Authour
SHakespeare, at length thy pious Fellows give
The World thy Works: thy Works, by which, out-live
Thy Tomb, thy Name must: when that
stone is rent
And Time dissolves thy Stratford Monument,
Here we alive shall view thee still. This Book,
When Brass and Marble fade, shall make thee look
Fresh to all Ages: when Posteritie
Shall loathe what's new; think all is prodigie
That is not Shakespear's; ev'ry Line, each Verse
Here shall revive, redeem thee from thy Herse.
Nor Fire, nor cankring Age, as Naso said,
Of his, thy wit-fraught Book shall once invade.
Nor shall I e're believe, or think thee dead
(Though mist) until our bankrout Stage be sped
(Impossible) with some new strain t' out-do
Passions of Juliet, and her Romeo;
Or till I hear a Scene more nobly take,
Than when thy halfe-sword parlying Yeomans spake
Till these, till any of thy Volumes rest
Shall with more fire, more feeling be exprest,
Be sure, our Shakespeare, thou canst never die,
But crown'd with Lawrell, live eternally.
L. Digges.
Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Au-
thour Mr. W. Shakespeare, and his Works.
SPectator, this Lifes Shadow is; to see
The truer Image and a livelier he
Turn Reader. But, observe his Comick vain,
Laugh, and proceed next to a Tragick strain,
Then weep; So when thou find'st two contraries,
Two different passions from thy rapt soul rise,
Say, (who alone effect such wonders could)
Rare Shakespeare to the life thou dost behold.
To the Memory of Mr. W. Shakespeare.
WE wonder (Shakespeare) that thou went'st so
From the VVorlds-Stage, to the Graves-Tyring-
We thought thee dead, but this thy Printed worth,
Tells thy Spectators, that thou went'st but forth
To enter with applause. An Actors Art,
Can dye, and live, to act a second Part.
That's but an Exit of Mortality;
This, a Re-entrance to a Plaudite.
J. M.
To the Memory of my beloved the Authour
And what he hath left us.
TO draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy Name,
Am I thus ample to thy Book, and Fame:
While I confesse thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all mens suffrage. But these wayes
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise:
For seeliest Ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but ecchoes right;
Or blind Affection, which doth ne're advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice, might pretend this praise,
And think to ruine, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous Baud, or Whore, [more?
Should praise a Matron. What could hurt her
But thou art proofe against them, and indeed
Above th'ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the Age!
The applause! delight! the wonder of our Stage.
My Shakespeare rise; I will not lodgee the by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room:
Thou art a Monument without a Tomb,
And art alive still, while thy Book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses;
I mean with great, but disproportion'd Muses:
For if I thought my judgement were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy Peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lily out-shine,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty Line.
And though thou hadst small Latine & less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy Buskin tread,
And shake a Stage: Or, when thy Socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses, still were in their prime,
When like Apollo he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature her self was proud of his designes,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his Lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouch safe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
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,
On worthy Mr. SHAKESPEARE,
and his Poems.
AMind reflecting ages past, whose clear
And equal surface can make things appear
Distant a Thousand years, and represent
Them in their lively colours just extent.
To out-run hasty Time, retrive the Fates,
Rowle back the Heavens, blow ope the Iron Gates
Of Death and Lethe, where (confused) lie
Great heaps of ruinous Mortality.
In that deep duskie dungeon of discern
A Royal Ghost from Churles; By art to learn
The Physiognomie of shades, and give
Them suddain birth, wondring how oft they live.
What story coldly tells, what Poets fain
At second hand, and picture without brain
Senselesse and soulelesse shows. To give a Stage
(Ample and true with life) voice, action, age,
As Plato's year, and new Scene of the world
Them unto us, or us to them had hurl'd.
To raise our ancient Soveraignes from their Herse
Make Kings his Subjects, by exchanging verse
Enlive their pale trunks, that the present age
Joyes in their joy, and trembles at their rage:
Yet so to temper passion, that our ears
Take pleasure in their pain; And eyes in tears
Both weep and smile, fearful at plots so sad,
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,
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.