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As it is now acted at the King's Theatres.'
Printed for J. BRINDLEY, C. Hitch, J. HODGES, C. CORBETT,
J. and T. KING, R, New, W. RELVE, and J. COOPER,
My Esteem'd FRIEND
THOMAS BOTELER, Elaz
OU have a natural Right to this Piece, fince by your Advice I attempted the Revival of it with Alterations. Nothing but the Power of your Persuasions, and my Zeal for all the Remains of Shakespear, cou'd have wroug?t.
me to f bold an Undertaking. I found that the New-modelling of this story wou'd force me sometimes on the difficult Task of making the chiefed Persons speak fomething like their Characters, on Matter whereof I had no Ground in my Author. Lear's real and Edgar's pretended Madness have jo much of extravagant Nature (1 know not how to exprefs ii) as could never have started, but from our Shaseípear's Creating Fancy. The Images and Languages are so ocd and furprising, and yet so agreeable and proper, that whilst we grant that none but Shakespear could bave form'd fuch Coxceptions ; - jet we are satisfied that they were the only Things in the World that ought to be paid on tbeje Occasions. I found the Whole to answer your Account of it, a Heap of Jervels unArung, and unpolish'd; yet so dazzling in their Disorder, thiet I foon perceiv'd i bad
feiz'd a Treasure. 'Twas my good Fartune to light on one Expedient to rectify what was wanting in the Regularity and Probability of the Tale, which was to run through the Whole, a Love betwixt Edgar and Coidelia ; that never chang'd Word with each other in ib: Orie ginal. This renders Cordelia's Indifference, and her father's Pilfton in the firА Scene, probable. It likewise gives Countenance to Edgar's Di/guile, making that a generous Design that was before a poor Shift 10 fave his Life. The Dijlres
of the Story is evidently beigbtened by it! and it particularly guve Occasion of a new Scene or Two, of inore Success (perbaps) thon Merit. This Method necesarily threw me on making the Tale conclude in a Success to the innocent diAtreft Persons : Oiherwise I must have incumbered the Stage with dead bodies, which Condut makes many Tragedies conclude with unjerfonable Jelts. Yet was I wrack'd with no small Fears for so bolid a Change, 'till I found it well re. ceiv'd by any Lilience; and if this will not satisfy the Reader, I cen produce - an Authority that questionless will.
Neither is it of fo Trivial an Undertaking, Mr. Dryd. to make a Tragedy end happily, for 'tis Pref. to the more difficult to save than 'tis to kill: the Spanih Friar. Dagger and the Cup of Poison are always
in Readiness ; but to bring the Action to the latt Extremity, and then by probable Means to recover All, wilt require the Art and Judgment of a Writer, and cost him many a Pang in the Performance.
I have one Thing more to apologize for, which is, that I bace u'd lefs Quaintnefs of Expresion even in tbe newest Barts of this Play. I confess, it was Defign in me, partly to comply with my Authar's Style, to make the Scenes of a Piece, and partly to give it fome Resemblance of the Time and Persons here represented. This, Sir, I submit wholly to you, who are both a Judge and Master of Style. Nature had exempted you before you went Abroad from the Morose. Saturnine Humour of our Country, and you brought Home the Refinedness of Travel without the Affectation. Many Faults. 'I fee in the following Pages, and question not but you will discover more ; yet I will presume fo far on your Friendship, as to make the Whole a Prejent to you, and subscribe myself,
INCE by Miftakes your best Delights are made,
Wives can please in Masquerade)
at once divert and teach the Mind;