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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 great variety of Readers
    FRom the most able, to him that can but
    spell. There you are number'd, We
    had rather you were weigh'd. Espe
    cially, when the fate of all Books de-
    pends upon your capacities: and not of your
    heads alone, but of your Purses. VVell, it is
    now publick, and you will stand for your privi-
    ledges, we know: to read, and censure. Doe so,
    but buy it first; that doth best commend a Book,
    the Stationer sayes. Then, how odde soever your
    brains be, or your wisdomes, make your silience
    the same, and spare not. Iudge your six-penny
    worth, your shillings worth, your five shillings
    worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just
    rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, Buy,
    Censure will not drive a Trade, nor make the
    Jack goe. And though you be a Magistrate of
    Wit, and sit on the Stage at Black-Fryers, or
    the Cock-pit, to arraign Playes daily, know, these
    Playes have had their trial already, and stood out
    all Appeals; and do now come forth quitted ra-
    ther by a Decree of Court, then any purchas'd
    Letters of Commendation.
    It had been a thing, we confesse, worthy to
    have been wished, that the Author himself had
    liv'd to have set forth, and overseen his own
    Writings; But since it hath been ordain'd other-
    wise