Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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,
    325 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;
    330Or 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?
    335 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.
    340My 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,
    345 And we have wits to read, and praise to give.