A GENTLEMAN'S CHOICES
We make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
( Lafeu, in All's Well Tbat Ends Well)
Why, thou owest God a death.
( Prince Hal to Falstaff)
We cannot but know [your] dignity greater, than 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 Lordships have beene pleas'd to thinke these trifles some-thing . . . we hope, that (they out-living [MR. Shakespeare], and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them.
( John Heminges and Henry Condell, in their dedication of MR. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies ( 1623) to the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery)
He had the good Fortune to gather an Estate equal to his Occasion', wrote Nicholas Rowe in 1709 about Shakespeare, 'and is said to have spent some Years before his Death at his native Stratford'.1 Rowe, one feels, is right in believing that the poet's estate was ample, but the notion of retiring from all useful work was generally speaking