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  • Title: Prefatory Materials (Folio 1, 1664)

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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, 1664)


    To the Memory of the deceased Authour
    Mr. VVILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

    SHakespeare, at length thy pious Fellows give
    275The 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
    280Fresh 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,
    285Of 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;
    290Or 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,
    295But crown'd with Lawrell, live eternally.
    L. Digges.