The chapter titled the “Reading of Bookes” in Francis Meres'S 1598 Palladis Tamia offers two competing prescriptions for the allocation of readerly attention. The first suggests that too-close reading spoils some books: “As the s[c]ent of spices and flowers is more acceptable somewhat off then close to the nose: so there are some things that please, if they be lightly passed over; which being exactly looked into do loose their grace” (266v). The second reverses that logic by way of a fresh analogy: “Those things that live long, doe not soon spring up: so that worke which thou wouldst have alwaies to be read, ought to be throughly laboured in, and seriouslie scanned” (267r). On the face of it, Meres's book—a six-hundred-and-sixty-five-page-long compendium of moral and practical precepts, each cast in the repetitive syntax of the similitude—is evidently the first sort of text. At once dizzingly various and mind-numbingly repetitive, Palladis Tamia is a book to “be lightly passed over”—“scanned” in the modern, not the sixteenth-century, sense of the word. That is certainly the case today, when Palladis Tamia is known primarily for a single chapter, “A Comparative Discourse of Our English Poets, with the Greeke, Latine, and Italiane Poets,” Meres's pioneering survey of English Renaissance writing, and above all for a handful of sentences in that chapter, which offer a rare glimpse into the early career of William Shakespeare. “As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras: so the sweete wittie soule of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honytongued Shakespeare,” Meres declares. “As Epius Stolo said, that the Muses would speake with Plautus tongue, if they would speak Latin: so I say that the Muses would speak with Shakespeares fine filed phrase, if they would speake English” (281v, 282r).