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yssueing, and to the heires Males of the bodie of the saied first Sonne lawfully yssueinge; and for defalt of such issue, to the second Sonne of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, and to the heires males of the body of the said Second Sonne lawfully yssueing; and for defalt of such heires, to the third Sonne of the bodie of the saied Susanna Lawfullie yssueing, and to the heires males of the bodie of the said third sonne lawfullie yssueing ; And for defalt of such issue, the same soe to be and Remaine to the Fourth, Fyfth, sixte, and Seaventh sonnes of her body, lawfullie issueinge one after Another, and to the heires Males of the bodies of the said Fourth, fifth, Sixte, and Seaventh sonnes lawfullie yssueing, in such manner as yt is before Lymitted to be and Remaine to the first, second, and third Sonns of her bodie, and to their heires Males; And for defalt of such issue, the said premisses to be and Remaine to my sayed Neece Hall, and the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie yssueing ; And for defalt of such issue, to my Daughter Judith and the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, And for defalt of such issue, to the Right heires of me the saied William Shackspeare for ever. Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed, with the furniture. Item, I give and bequeath to my saied Daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goodes, Chattel, Leases, plate, Jewels, and houshold stuffe whatsoever, after my Dettes and Legacies paied, and my funerall expences discharged, I gyve, devise, and bequeath to my Sonne-in-Lawe, John Hall, gent. and my Daughter Susanna his wief, whom I ordaine and make executours of this my Last will and testament. And I doe intreat and Appoint the saied Thomas Russell, Esquier, and Frauncis Collins, gent. to be overseers hereof, And doe Revoke All former wills, and publishe this to be my last will and testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand,* the Daie and Yeare first above written.
Witnes to the publyshing hereof, Fra. Collyns, Julyus Shawe, John Robinson, Hamnet Sadler, Robert Whattcott.
By me William Shakspeare. Probatum coram Magistro Willielmo Byrde, Legum Doctore Comiss. fc. xxjj do die mensis Junii, Anno Domini 1616; juramento Johannis Hall, unius executorum fc. cui fc. de bene fc. jurat. reservat. potestate fc. Susanna Hall, alteri executorum fc. cum venerit petitur, (Invé. ex®.)
* Seale was originally written, probably in case he might not have been able to write.
(PREFIXED TO THE FIRST FOLIO.) To the Most Noble and Incomparable Paire of Brethren. William
Earle of Pembroke, &c., Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most excellent Majesty. And Philip Earle of Montgomery, &c., Gentleman of his Majesties Bed-chamber. Both Knights of the
most noble Order of the Garter, and our singular good Lords. Right HONOURABLE,
Whilst we studie to be thankful in our particular, for the many favors we have received from your LL., we are falne upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can bee, feare, and rashnesse ; rashnesse in the enterprize, and fear of the successe. For, when we valew the places your HH. sustaine, we cannot but know their dignity greater, then to descend to the reading of these trifles : and, while we name them trifles, we have depriv'd our selves of the defence of our Dedication. But since your LL. have beene pleas’d to thinke these trifles something, heeretofore ; and have prosequuted both them, and their Authour living, with so much favour : we hope, that (they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference whether any Booke choose his Patrones, or finde them : This hath done both. For, so much were your LL. likings of the severall parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the Volume ask'd to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his Orphanes, Guardians; without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, & Fellow aliyė, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come neere your LL. but with a kind of religious addresse ; it hath bin the height of our care, who are the Presenters, to make the present worthy of your HH. by the perfection. But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considerd, my Lords. We cannot go beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach foorth milke, creame, fruites, or what they have : and many Nations (we have heard) that had not gummes &
incense, obtained their requests with a leavened Cake. It was no fault to approach their Gods, by what meanes they could: And the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to Temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your HH. these remaines of your servant Shakespeare ; that what delight is in them, may be ever your LL., the reputation his, & the faults ours, if any be committed, by a payre so carefull to shew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is Your Lordshippes most bounden,
JOHN HEMINGE, HENRY CONDELL.
THE ADDRESS TO THE READER.
(OF THE FIRST FOLIO.)
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 weighd. Especially, when the fate of all Bookes depends upon your capacities : and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well! It is now publique, & you wil stand for your priviledges wee know : to read and censure. Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend a Booke, the Stationer saies. Then, how odde soever your braines be, or your wisedomes, make your licence the same, and spare not. Judge your sixepen’orth, 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, or make the Jacke go. And though you be a Magistrate of wit, and sit on the Stage at Black-Friers, or the Cock-pit to arraigne Playes dailie, know, these Playes have had their triall alreadie, and stood out all Appeales ; and do now come forth quitted rather by a Decree of Court, than any purchas'd Letters of commendation.
It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to have bene wished, that the Author himselfe had liv’d to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings; But since it bath bin ordain'd otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to have collected & pub. lish'd them ; and so to have publish'd them, as where (before) you were abus’d with diverse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, that expos’d them: even those, are now offer'd to your view cured, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceived thē. Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that wee have scarse received from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our province, who onelie gather his works, and give them you, to praise him. It is yours that reade him. And there we hope, to your divers capacities, you will finde enough, both to draw, and hold you : for his wit can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Reade him, therefore ; and againe, and againe: And if then you doe not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him. And so we leave you to other of his Friends, whom if you need, can bee your guides : if you neede them not, you can leade yourselves, and others. And such Readers we wish him.
To the Reader.*
Not on his Picture, but his Booke. B.J. * These lines, written by Ben Jonson, refer to, and are placed opposite, the engraved portrait of Shakespere in the first folio.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY BELOVED, THE AUTHOR,
MR. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US.
* Jonson here alludes to the following lines by W. Basse, which were for some time attributed to Donne, and printed among his poems:
“ Renowned Spenser, lie a thought more nigh
To learnèd Chaucer; and, rare Beaumont, lie