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OR, “THE GOLDEN AGE” OF MERRY ENGLAND.
His life was gentle, and the elements
LEA AND BLANCHARD,
SUCCESSORS TO CAREY AND CO.
It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
Not harsh and crabbed as dull fools believe,
Now must I make such amends to the courteous reader for keeping him away so long from the chiefest person in this my story as may hold him in good humour until he cometh to the end of the narration, for doubtless some may think Master Shakspeare hath not been well used of me, inasmuch as so much less hath lately been said of him than of others, but it be beyond all manner of contradiction that aught of great goodness should be used sparingly, else shall it be straight lessened in value. Things that lack rareness be seldom esteemed by any man; and Master Shakspeare being possessed of excellence of so rare a sort, methinks my thrusting him into these pages less oft than those of less note shall make him all the more liked of such who know how to prize such extreme worthiness. Albeit, though of