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BRITISH THEATRE ;
A COLLECTION OF PLAYS,
WHICH ARE ACTED AT
THE THEATRES ROYAL,
DRURY LANE, COVENT GARDEN, AND HAYMARKET.
PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS
FROM THE PROMPT BOOKS.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL REMARKS,
BY MRS. INCHBALD.
IN TWENTY-FIVE VOLUMES.
RINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME,
EDINBURGH: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. The story of this Tragedy has been told in many an ancient ballad, and other ingenious works; but Mr Malone supposes, that Shakspeare is more indebted for his fable to “ The true Chronicle History of King Lear and his three Daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia,” than to any other production.
Camden, in bis Remains, gives the following account of an English King, which is also similar to the story of Leir, or Lear :
“ Ina, King of the West Saxons, had three daughters, of whom, upon a time, he demanded, whether they did love him, and so would do during their lives, above all others? The two elder sware deeply they would; the youngest, but the wisest, told her father flatly, that albeit she did love, honour, and reverence him, and so would whilst she lived, as much as nature and daughterly duty at the uttermost could expect; yet she did think that one day it would come to pass, that she should affect another more fervently, meaning her husband, when she were married.”
This relation, the commentator imagines, may probably have been applied to King Lear, who, Geoffrey of Monmouth says, “ Nobly governed his country for sixty years, and died about eight bundred years before the birth of Christ."
Notwithstanding the number of histories and books of fiction that have promulgated this piteous tale of a monarch and his children, it remains a doubt among