Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 my beloved the Authour
    Mr. VVILLIAM SHAKESPEARE;
    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.
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