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Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster : A herald, ho, a herald! By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,|| An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd, All levied in my name, have in my name But cozen'd and beguil❜d. Took their discharge.


Alb. A herald, ho!

This sickness grows upon me.
Enter a Herald.

Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
[Exit Regan, led.
Come hither, herald,-Let the trumpet sound,-
And read out this.
Offi. Sound, trumpet.
[A trumpet sounds.
Herald reads.

If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet: He is bold in his defence.

Edm. Sound.

Her. Again.
Her. Again.

[1 Trumpet. [2 Trumpet. [3 Trumpet. [Trumpet answers within.

Enter Edgar, armed, preceded by a trumpet.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears Upon this call o'the trumpet.


Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us :
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;
The wheel is come full circle; I am here.
Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness :--I must embrace thee;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!

Worthy prince,

Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.-List a brief


Edm. Himself;-What say'st thou to him?
Draw thy sword;
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,—
Maugre2 thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart,-Thou art a traitor:
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are Never (O fault!) reveal'd myself_unto him,

And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!—
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness:
That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from despair;

Until some half-hour past, when I was arm'd,
Not sure. though hoping, of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage: But his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

What are you?
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?
Know, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble, as the adversary

I come to cope withal.

Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl
of Gloster?


To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,

Thou liest.

Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name ;3
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some 'say4 of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which (for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise,)
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever-Trumpets, speak.
[Alarums. They fight. Edmund falls.
Alb. O`save him, save him!

Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it:-Hold, sir :-
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil :-
No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.
[Gives the letter to Edmund.
Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not
Who shall arraign me for't?
Know'st thou this paper?

(1) i e. Valour. (2) Notwithstanding. (3) Because if his adversary was not of equal rank, Edmund might have declined the combat.


Most monstrous !

Ask me not what I know, [Exit Goneril. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her. [To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;

And more, much more: the time will bring it out;
'Tis past, and so am I : But what art thou,
That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble,
I do forgive thee.


I know it well.

Edm. This speech of yours bath mov'd me,
And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you on;
You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.


This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.

(4) Sample.

(6) Hear,

(5) Stratagem.
3 Q

Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shuan'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv'd: which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis-


Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife.
Gent. Help! help! O help!

Edg. What means that bloody knife?
'Tis hot, it smokes ;

It came even from the heart of


What kind of help?
Speak, man.

Who, man? speak. Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she confesses it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead! This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,

Touches us not with pity. [Exit Gentleman.

Enter Kent.

Alb. O! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which very manners urges.

I am come
To bid my king and master ayel good night;
Is he not here?


Lear. Pr'ythee, away.
"Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors
I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever!—
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha!
What is't thou say'st?-Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman :-
I kill'd the slave that was a hanging thee.
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.

Did I not, fellow ?
have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
Here comes Kent, sir. And these same crosses spoil me.-Who are you?
Mine eyes are none o'the best:--I'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.

Lear. This is a dull sight: Are you not Kent?
The same;
Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you
He'll strike, and quickly too :-He's dead and


Great thing of us forgot!Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's


See'st thou this object, Kent?

[The bodies of Goneril and Regan are
brought in.

Kent. Alack, why thus?
Yet Edmund was belov'd:
The one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew herself.


Run, run, O, run

Edg. To who, my lord?-Who has the office?


Thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Well thought on; take my sword, Give it the captain.

To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid2 herself.


Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;-
Lear. I'll see that straight.

Kent. That, from your first of difference and
Have follow'd your sad steps.

You are welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark,
and deadly.-

Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.

Edm. I pant for life :-Some good I mean to do, Your eldest daughters have fore-doom'd themselves, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,Be brief in it,-to the castle; for my writ

And desperately are dead.

Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia :
Nay, send in time.

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit Edgar
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and


To hang Cordelia in the prison, and

(1) For ever.

(2) Destroyed herself. (3) The end of the world, or the horrible circumstances preceding it.

Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence
a while.
[Edmund is borne off.

Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms; Edgar, Officer, and others.

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!-0, you are men of stones;

Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack :-O, she is gone
for ever!-

I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth:-Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
Is this the promis'd end?3
Edg. Or image of that horror?
Fall, and cease !4
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

O my good master!


Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is
That we present us to him.


Very bootless.5
Enter an Officer.

Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
That's but a trifle here.---
You lords, and noble friends, know our intent.

What comfort to this great decay may come,
Shall be applied: For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,

To him our absolute power :-You, to your rights,
[To Edgar and Kent.

(4) i. e. Die; Albany speaks to Lear.
(5) Useless.
(6) i. e. Lear.

With boot, and such addition2 as your honours
Have more than merited.--All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings.-O, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool3 is hang'd! No, no, no

nicely discriminates, and so minutely describes the characters of men, he commonly neglects and confounds the characters of ages, by mingling customs. ancient and modern, English and foreign.

My learned friend Mr. Warton,5 who has in The Adventurer very minutely criticised this play, remarks, that the instances of cruelty are too savage


Never, never, never, never, never!

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come no and shocking, and that the intervention of Edmund
destroys the simplicity of the story. These objec-
tions may, I think, be answered by repeating, that
the cruelty of the daughters is an historical fact, to
which the poet has added little, having only drawn
it into a series by dialogue and action. But 1 am
not able to apologize with equal plausibility for the
extrusion of Gloster's eyes, which seems an act too
horrid to be endured in dramatic exhibition, and
such as must always compel the mind to relieve its
distress by incredulity. Yet let it be remembered
that our author well knew what would please the
audience for which he wrote.

Pray you, undo this button: Thank you, sir.-
Do you see this? Look on her,-look,-her lips,-
Look there, look there!-
He dies
Edg. He faints! My lord, my lord,
Kent. Break, heart; I pr'ythee, break!
Look up, my lord.
Kent. Vex not his ghost:-O, let him pass 4 he
hates him,
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.


O, he is gone, indeed. Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long: He but usurp'd his life.

Alb. Bear them from hence.-Our present busi


Is general wo. Friends of my soul, you twain
[To Kent and Edgar.
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls, and I must not say, no.

Alb. The weight of this sad time we must

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we, that are young,
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
[Exeunt, with a dead march.

The injury done by Edmund to the simplicity of the action is abundantly recompensed by the addition of variety, by the art with which he is made to co-operate with the chief design, and the opportunity which he gives the poet of combining perfidy with perfidy, and connecting the wicked son with the wicked daughters, to impress this important moral, that villany is never at a stop, that crimes lead to crimes, and at last terminate in ruin.


But though this moral be incidentally enforced, Shakspeare has suffered the virtue of Cordelia to perish in a just cause, contrary to the natural ideas of justice, to the hope of the reader, and what is yet more strange, to the faith of chronicles. Yet this conduct is justified by The Spectator, who blames Tate for giving Cordelia success and happiness in his alteration, and declares, that in his opinion, the tragedy has lost half its beauty. Dennis has remarked, whether justly or not, that, to secure the favourable reception of Cato, the town criticism, and that endeavours had been used to was poisoned with much false and abominable discredit and decry poetical justice. A play in which the wicked prosper, and the virtuous misin-representation of the common events of human life: carry, may doubtless be good, because it is a just but since all reasonable beings naturally love justice, I cannot easily be persuaded, that the observation of justice makes a play worse; or that, if other excellencies are equal, the audience will not always rise better pleased from the final triumph of persecuted virtue.

(1) Benefit. (2) Titles. (3) Poor fool in the time of Shakspeare, was an expression of endearment.

The tragedy of Lear is deservedly celebrated among the dramas of Shakspeare. There is perhaps no play which keeps the attention so strongly fixed: which so much agitates our passions, and interests our curiosity. The artful involutions of distinct terests, the striking oppositions of contrary characters, the sudden changes of fortune, and the quick succession of events, fill the mind with a perpetual tumult of indignation, pity, and hope. There is no scene which does not contribute to the aggravation of the distress or conduct to the action, and scarce a line which does not conduce to the progress of the So powerful is the current of the poet's imagination, that the mind, which once ventures within it, is hurried irresistibly along.


delia, from the time of Tate, has always retired In the present case the public has decided. Corwith victory and felicity. And, if my sensations relate, I was many years ago so shocked by Corcould add any thing to the general suffrage, I might

On the seeming improbability of Lear's conduct,

it may be observed, that he is represented accord-delia's death, that I know not whether I ever endured to read again the last scenes of the play, till I undertook to revise them as an editor.

There is another controversy among the critics concerning this play. It is disputed whether the predominant image in Lear's disordered mind be the

ing to histories at that time vulgarly received as true. And, perhaps, if we turn our thoughts upon the barbarity and ignorance of the age to which this story is referred, it will appear not so unlikely as while we estimate Lear's manners by our own. Such preference of one daughter to another, or re-loss of his kingdom or the cruelty of his daughters. signation of dominion on such conditions, would Mr. Murphy, a very judicious critic, has evinced be yet credible, if told of a petty prince of Guinea by induction of particular passages, that the cruelor Madagascar. Shakspeare, indeed, by the mention of his earls and dukes, has given us the idea tress, and that the loss of royalty affects him only ty of his daughters is the primary source of his disof times more civilized, and of life regulated by as a secondary and subordinate evil. He obsofter manners; and the truth is, that though he so serves, with great justness, that Lear would move our compassion but little, did we not rather consider the injured father than the degraded king.

(4) Die.

(5) Dr. Joseph Warton.

The story of this play, except the episode of Ed-||that it follows the chronicle; it has the rudiments mund, which is derived, I think, from Sidney, is of the play, but none of its amplifications: it first taken originally from Geoffry of Monmouth, whom hinted Lear's madness, but did not array it in cirHolinshed generally copied; but perhaps immedi- cumstances. The writer of the ballad added ately from an old historical ballad. My reason for something to the history, which is a proof that he believing that the play was posterior to the ballad, would have added more, if more had occurred to rather than the ballad to the play, is, that the bal-his mind; and more must have occurred if he had lad has nothing of Shakspeare's nocturnal tempest, || seen Shakspeare. which is too striking to have been omitted, and


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TWO households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,

And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could


Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

Gre. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.

Sam. True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall:therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.

Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.

Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant : when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel re-with the maids; I will cut off their heads. Gre. The heads of the maids?


SCENE I-A public place. Enter Sampson and Gregory, armed with swords and bucklers.

An Apothecary.
Three Musicians.
Chorus. Boy.

Page to Paris.
Peter. An Officer.


GREGORY, o'my word, we'll not carry coals.1
Gre. No, for then we should be colliers.
Sam. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw.
Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of
the collar.

Citizens of Verona; several Men and Women, relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, Attendants.

(1) A phrase formerly in use to signify the bearang injuries.

Scene, during the greater part of the play, in Verona: once, in the fifth act, at Mantua.

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Sam. I strike quickly, being moved.

Gre. But thou art not quickly moved to strike. Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves me. Gre. To move, is-to stir; and to be valiant, is-bear it. to stand to it: therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn'st away.

Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to

Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sam. I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

(2) Poor John is hake, dried and salted.
(3) The disregard of concord is in character.

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