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  • Title: Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1663)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: Ben Jonson
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1663)

    TO THE MOST NOBLE
    AND
    INCOMPARABLE PAIRE
    OF BRETHREN.
    25
    WILLIAM
    Earle of Pembroke, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the
    Kings most Excellent Maiesty.
    AND
    PHILIP
    30
    Earle of Montgomery, &c. Gentleman of his Maiesties
    Bed-Chamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order
    of the Garter, and our singular good
    LORDS.
    Right Honourable,
    35WHilst we studie to be thankful in our particular, for
    the many fauors we haue receiued from your L.L
    we are falne vpon the ill fortune, to mingle
    two the most diuerse things that can bee, feare,
    and rashnesse; rashnesse in the enterprize, and
    40feare of the successe. For, when we valew the places your H.H.
    sustaine, we cannot but know their dignity greater, then to descend to
    the reading of these trifles: and, vvhile we name them trifles, we haue
    depriu'd our selues of the defence of our Dedication. But since your
    L.L. haue beene pleas'd to thinke these trifles some-thing, heereto-
    45fore ; and haue prosequuted both them, and their Authour liuing,
    vvith so much fauour: we hope, that (they out-liuing him, and he not
    hauing the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne wri-
    tings) you will vse the like indulgence toward them, you haue done
    vnto their parent. There is a great difference, vvhether any Booke
    50choose his Patrones, or finde them: This hath done both. For,
    so much were your L L. likings of the seuerall parts, vvhen
    they were acted, as before they vvere published, the Volume ask'd to
    be yours. We haue but collected them, and done an office to the
    dead, to procure his Orphanes, Guardians; vvithout ambition ei-
    55ther of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy
    a Friend, & Fellow aliue, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by hum-
    ble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as
    we haue iustly obserued, no man to come neere your L.L. but vvith
    a kind of religious addresse; it hath bin the height of our care, vvho
    60are the Presenters, to make the present worthy of your H.H. by the
    perfection. But, there we must also craue our abilities to be considerd,
    my Lords. We cannot go beyond our owne powers. Country hands
    reach foorth milke, creame, fruites, or what they haue : and many
    Nations (we haue heard) that had not gummes & incense, obtai-
    65ned their requests with a leauened Cake. It vvas no fault to approch
    their Gods, by what meanes they could: And the most, though
    meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated
    to Temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to
    your H.H. these remaines of your seruant Shakespeare; that
    70what delight is in them, may be euer your L.L. the reputation
    his, & the faults ours, if any be committed, by a payre so carefull to
    shew their gratitude both to the liuing, and the dead, as is
    Your Lordshippes most bounden,
    IOHN HEMINGE.
    75
    HENRY CONDELL.