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Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
Baft. This speech of yours hath mov’d me,
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in,
Edg. This would have seem'da Period, (61)
(61) Edg. This would have seem'd a Period, &c.] This fine and necessary Description I have thought fit to restore from the Old 4to ; aş it artfully opens to Albany the Concealment of Kent at home, during his Banifhment; and gives a beautiful Picture of the Emotions that good Old Man felt for the Death of his Friend Glofter, and the Piety of Edgar towards his diftreft Father. Edmund had taken Notice, that Edgar seem'd to have something more to say; but Albany was already so touch'd with Compassion, that he was for hearing of no more Sorrow. From the different Behaviour of these two different Characters, with how exquisite a Reflection, drawn from the very Fountain of Nature, has our Poet furnish'd his Introduction to Edgar's second Narrative ! As the Passage first was left out by the Players, in their Edition ; we are not to doubt, but it was one of their judicious Retrenchments. However that be, fome Readers, I am perswaded, will owe me their Thanks for retrieving it to the Author.
Alb. But who was this?
Edg. Kent, Sir ; the banish'd Kent, who in disguise
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. 'Tis hot, it smoaks ; it came even from the heart Of -O! she's dead.
Alb. Who's dead ? speak, man.
Gent. Your lady, Sir, your lady; and her sister
Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three
[Gonerill and Regan's Bodies brought out.
Kent. I am come
Alb. Great thing of us forgot !
Kent. Alack, why thus ?
Edm. Yer Edmund was belov’d:
Alb. Even so; cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life ; fome Good I mean to do, Despight of mine own nature. Quickly send, (Be brief) into the Castle ; for my Writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia ;
Alb. Run, run, O run
Edg. To whom, my lord ? who has the office ? Send thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on, take my sword, Give it the Captain
Edg. Haste thee for thy life. [Exit M llenger.
Edm. He hath Commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and To lay the blame upon her own despair. Alb. The Gods defend her! bear him hence a while.
[Edmund is born off. Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms. Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl, O
you are men of stone, Had I your tongues
eyes, I'd use them fo, That heaven's vault should crack: she's gone for ever! I know, when one is dead, and when one lives ; She's dead as earth ! lend me a looking-gla, If that her Breath will mist or stain the stone, Why then she lives.
Kent. Is this the promis’d End?
Lear. This feather stirs, she lives ; if it be so,
[Kneeling. Lear. Pr'ythee, awayEdg. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murth'rous traitors all!
Gent. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear. Did I not, fellow?
Who are you
And these same crosses spoil me.
? Mine eyes are none o'th' best. I'll tell you strait.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated, One of them we behold.
Lear. Are you not Kent ?
Kent. The fame ; your servant Kent ; Where is your servant Caius ?
Lear. 'Twas a good fellow, I can tell you that, (62) He'd strike, and quickly too :-he's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord, I am the very man,Lear. I'll see that strait. Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your fad stepsLear. You're welcome hither.
[dead: · Kent. Nor no man elfe ; all's cheerless, dark, and Your eldest daughters have fore-done themselves, And desp’rately are dead.
Lear. Ay, so I think,
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain is it,
Enter a Messenger.
. Edmund is dead, my lord.
of their deservings : O fee, see
(62) He's a good Fellozu, I can tell you that,
He'll strike and quickly too : he's dead and rotten.) We have seen Lear mad; but, never, a fark Fool till this Moment ; to tell us, that a dead and rotten Man will strike quickly. But it was a Stupidity of the Editors, and not chargeable on the Poet.
Lear. And my poor Fool is hang'd: no, no, no life. Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life, And thou no breath at all? thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, neverPray you, undo this button. Thank you, Sir ; Do you see this ? look on her, look on her lips, (63) Look there, look there
(63) Do you see this ? Look on her, look on her Lips ;
Look there, look there. - ] Our Poet has taken the Liberty in the Catastrophe of this Play to depart from the Chronicles ; in which Lear is said to be reinstated in his Throne by Cordelia, and to have reign d upwards of two Years after his Restoration. He might have done This for two Reasons. Either, to heighten the Compassion towards the poor old King : or to vary from another, but most execrable, Dramatic Performance upon this Story : which I certainly believe to have preceded our Author's Piece, and which none of our Stage-Historians appear to have had any Knowledge of. The Edition, which I have of it, bears this Title. The true Chronicle History of King LEIR,' and his three Daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella. As it hath bene divers and fundry times lately aĉted. London ; Printed by Simon Stafford for John Wright, and are to be sold at his Shop at Christes Church dore next Newgate Market. 1605. That Shakespeare, however, may stand acquitted from the least Suspicion of Plagiarism, in the Opinion of his Readers, I'll subjoin a small Taste of this other anonymous Author's Abilities both in Conduct and Diction. Leir, with one Perillus his Friend, embarks for France to try what Reception he should find from his Daughter Cordella. When they come ashore, neither of them has a Rag of Money : and they are forc'd to give their Cloaks to the Mariners to pay for their Passage. This, no doubt, our Playwright intended for a Mastery in Distress: as he must think it a notable Fetch of Invention to bring the King and Queen of France disguis'd like Rusticks, travelling a long way on Foot into the Woods, with a Basket of Provisions, only that they may have the casual Opportunity of relieving Leir and Perillus from being starv'd. Now for a little Specimen of Style, and Dignity of Thinking. Cordella, now Queen of France, and in her own Palace, comes in and makes this pathe tick Soliloquy.
I have been over negligent to day