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I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your Lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burthen : only if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised,

and vow to take advantage of all idle hours till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after ear* so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable

survey,

and

your honourt to your heart's content; which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world's hopeful expectation.

Your Honour's in all duty,

William SHAKESPEARE.

Erexa

* Ear-plough.
+ Honour. As a duke is now styled “ your grace," 80“

your honour" was formerly the usual mode of address to noblemen in general.

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