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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    On worthy Mr. SHAKESPEARE,
    and his Poems.

    AMind reflecting ages past, whose clear
    And equal surface can make things appear
    Distant a Thousand years, and represent
    Them in their lively colours just extent.
    To out-run hasty Time, retrive the Fates,
    Rowle back the Heavens, blow ope the Iron Gates
    Of Death and Lethe, where (confused) lie
    Great heaps of ruinous Mortality.
    In that deep duskie dungeon of discern
    A Royal Ghost from Churles; By art to learn
    The Physiognomie of shades, and give
    Them suddain birth, wondring how oft they live.
    What story coldly tells, what Poets fain
    At second hand, and picture without brain
    Senselesse and soulelesse shows. To give a Stage
    (Ample and true with life) voice, action, age,
    As Plato's year, and new Scene of the world
    Them unto us, or us to them had hurl'd.
    To raise our ancient Soveraignes from their Herse
    Make Kings his Subjects, by exchanging verse
    Enlive their pale trunks, that the present age
    Joyes in their joy, and trembles at their rage:
    Yet so to temper passion, that our ears
    Take pleasure in their pain; And eyes in tears
    Both weep and smile, fearful at plots so sad,
    Then