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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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,