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To the Reader


This Figure, that thou here seest put,

It was for gentle Shakespeare cut:

Wherein the Graver had a strife

with Nature, to out-do the life:

O, could he but have drawne his wit

As well in brasse, as he hath hit

His face; the Print would then surpasse

All, that was ever writ in brasse.

But, since he cannot, Reader, looke

Not on his picture, but his Booke.



Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Picture 10012433, engraving by Martin Droeshout in Shakespeare First Folio, 1623, image copyright Mary Evans