Ever wonder how Shakespeare’s words looked in the First Folio? Try our First Folio sampler and see how some very familiar lines appeared in 1623. From the witches of Macbeth to Twelfth Night‘s lovesick duke, they’re amazing glimpses of words that live on today.

Quick reading tips

In 1623, the letters U and V were used according to different rules or interchanged—so love is often written as loue. The letters I and J were essentially the same; King John is King Iohn. A lower-case s may look like an f (a “long s”), too.

For example, see Twelfth Night (image 4) above:

“If music be the food of love, play on / Give me excess of it…”
appears as
“If Muficke be the food of Loue, play on / Giue me exceffe of it…”

Want to see more?

Did you have another page—or play—in mind? View the entire First Folio. Fair warning, though: this version is best viewed on a full-size screen. The First Folio wasn’t typeset for smartphone screens, which didn’t exist yet.

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