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Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man, To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordide herself.
(Edmund is borne off. tie fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms; Ed. Toid the inost piteous tale of Lear and him,
gar, Otficer, and others. That ever ear receiv'd: which in recounting Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!-0, you are Ilis grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
men of stones; Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded, Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so And there I left him tranc'd.
That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is gone Alb. But who was this?
for ever! Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis- | I know when one is dead, and when one lives; guise
She's dead as earth :--Lend me a looking-glass; Follow'd his enemy king, and did bir service If that her breath will mist or stain the stone, Improper for a slave.
Why, then she lives.
Is this the promis'd end?3 Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife. Edg. Or image of that horror?
Fall, and cease! Gent. Help! help! O help!
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so, Edg.
What kind of help? | It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows Alb.
Speak, man. That ever I have felt. Edg. What means that bloody knife?
O my good master! Gent. 'Tis hot, it smokes ;
(Kneeling. It came even from the heart of
Lear. Pr'ythee, away.
"Dis noble Kent, your friend. Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors By her is poison'd; she confesses it.
all! Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever! Now marry in an instant.
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha! Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead ! || What is't thou say’st ?-Her voice was ever soft, This judgment of the heavens, that makes us Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman :tremble,
I kill'd the slave that was a bangiug thee.
Off 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip : I am old now, Edg.
Here comes Kent, sir. And these same crosses spoil me.-Who are you? Alb. O! it is he.
Mine eyes are none o'the best:--I'll tell you straight. The time will not allow the compliment,
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated, Which very manners urges.
One of them we behold. Kent.
I am come
Lear. This is a dull sight: Are you not Kent? To bid my king and master ayel good night;
The same; Is he not here?
Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius ? Alb. Great thing of us forgot Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's || He'll strike, and quickly too :-He's dead and
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that; Cordelia?
rotten. See'st thou this object, Kent?
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;(The bodies of Goneril and Regan are
Lear. I'll see that straight. brought in.
Kent. That, from your first of difference and Kent. Alack, why thus ? Edm.
decay, Yet Edmund was belov’d: | Have follow'd your sad steps. The one the other poison'd for my sake,
You are welcome hither. And after slew herself.
Kent. Nor no man else ; all's cheerless, dark, Alb. Even so.--Cover their faces.
And desperately are dead.
Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is
That we present us to him.
Enter an Officer.
Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
That's but a trifle here. Give it the captain.
You lords, and noble friends, know our intent. Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. (Exit Edgar|| What comfort to this great decay may come, Edm. He hath cominission from thy. wife and Shall be applied : For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty, To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To him our absolute power :--You, to your rights ;
(To Edgar and Kent. (1) For ever. (2) Destroyed herself.
13) The end of the world, or the horrible cir- (4) i. e. Die; Albany speaks to Lear. cumstances preceding it.
(6) i. e. Lear.
With boot, and such addition2 as your honours nicely discriminates, and so minutely describes the Have more than merited. --All friends shall taste characters of men, he commonly neglects and conThe wages of their virtue, and all foes
founds the characters of ages, by mingling customs. The cup of their deservings.-0, see, see! ancient and modern, English and foreign. Lear. And my poor fool3 is hang'd! No, no, no My learned friend Mr. Warton,5 who has in The
Adventurer very minutely criticised this play, reWhy should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, marks, that the instances of cruelty are too savage And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come no and shocking, and that the intervention of Edmund more,
destroys the simplicity of the story. These objecNever, never, never, never, never !
tions may, I think, be answered by repeating, that Pray you, undo this button: Thank you, sir.- the cruelty of the daughters is an historical fact, to Do you see this? Look on her,-look, —her lips, which the poet has added little, having only drawn Look there, look there ! (He dies. it into a series by dialogue and action.
But I am Edg: He faints !-My lord, my lord, not able to apologize with equal plausibility for the Kent. Break, heart; I pr’ythee, break! extrusion of Gloster's eyes, which seems an act too Edg
Look up, my lord. horrid to be endured in dramatic exhibition, and Kent. Vex not his ghost :-0, let himn pass !4 he such as must always compel the mind to relieve its hates him,
distress by. incredulity. Yet let it be remembered That would upon the rack of this tough world that our author well knew what would please the Stretch him out longer.
audience for which he wrote. Edg
O, he is
indeed. The injury done by Edmund to the simplicity of Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long : the action is abundantly recompensed by the addi. He but usurp'd his life.
tion of variety, by the art with which he is made to Alb. Bear them from hence.-Our present busi-|| co-operate with the chief design, and the opportu
nity which he gives the poet of combining perfidy Is general wo. Friends of my soul, you twain with perfidy, and connecting the wicked son with
[To Kent and Edgar. the wicked daughters, to impress this important Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain. moral, that villany is never at a stop, that crimes
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go; lead to crimes, and at last terminate in ruin. My master calls, and I must not say, no.
But though this moral be incidentally enforced, Alb. The weight of this sad time we must Shakspeare has suffered the virtue of Cordelia to obey ;
perish in a just cause, contrary to the natural ideas Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. of justice, to the hope of the reader, and what is The oldest haih borne most: we, that are young, || yet more strange, to the faith of chronicles. Yet Shall never see so much, nor live so long. this conduct is justified by The Spectator, who (Exeunt, with a dead march. blames Tate for giving Cordelia success and happi
ness in his alteration, and declares, that in his opinion, the tragedy has lost half its beauty. Den. nis has remarked, whether justly or not, that, to
secure the favourable reception of Cato, the town The tragedy of Lear is deservedly celebrated || criticism, and that endeavours had been used to
was poisoned with much false and abominable among the drainas of Shakspeare. There is perhaps || discredit and decry poetical justice. A play in no play which keeps the attention so strongly fixed : | which the wicked prosper, and the virtuous miswhich so much agitates our passions, and interests our curiosity. The artful
involutions of distinct in- carry, may doubtless be good, because it is a just terests, the striking oppositions of contrary charac-| but since all reasonable beings naturally love jus.
representation of the common events of human life: ters, the sudden changes of fortune, and the quick || tice, I cannot easily be persuaded, that the obserguccession of events, fill the mind with a perpetualvation of justice makes a play worse; or that, if tumult of indignation, pity, and hope. There is no other excellencies are equal, the audience will not scene which does not contribute to the aggravation always rise better pleased from the final triumph of the distress or conduct to the action, and scarce of persecuted virtue. a line which does not conduce to the progress of the So powerful is the current of the poet's || delia, from the time of Tate, has always retired
• In the present case the public has decided. Cor. imagination, that the mind, which once ventures with victory and felicity. And, if my sensations within it, is hurried irresistibly along. On the seeming improbability of Lear's conduct, relate, I was many years ago so shocked by Cor
could add any thing to the general suffrage, I might it may be observed, that he is represented accord-delia's death, that I know not whether I ever ening to histories at that time vulgarly received as dured to read again the last scenes of the play, till true. And, perhaps, if we turn our thoughts upon I undertook to revise them as an editor. the barbarity and ignorance of the age to which
There is another controversy among the critics this story is referred, it will appear not so unlikely concerning this play. It is disputed whether the as while we estimate Lear's manners by our own. predominant image in Lear's disordered mind be the Such preference of one daughter to another, or re-l 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 idealty of his daughters is the primary source of his disof times more civilized, and of life regulated by tress, and that the loss of royalty affects him only
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 con(1) Benefit. (2) Titles.
sider the injured father than the degraded king. (3) Poor fool in the time of Shakspeare, was an expression of endearment.
(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
Page to Paris.
Peter. An Officer.
Lady Capulet, wife to Capulet.
Nurse to Juliet.
Citizens of Verona ; several Men and Women, Friar John, of the same order.
relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Balthazar, servant to Romeo.
Watchmen, and Attendants.
Scene, during the greater part of the play, in Ve Abram, servant to Montague.
rona: once, in the fifth act, at Mantua.
stand : I will take the wall of any man or maid of
Montague's. Two households, both alike in dignity,
Gre. That shows thee a weak slave; for the In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, weakest goes to the wall. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Sam. True; and therefore women, being the
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall :From forth the fatal loins of these two foes therefore I will push Montague's men from the
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; wall, and thrust his maids to the wall. Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and us Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife.
their men. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant :
And the continuance of their parents' rage, when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel Which, but their children's end, nought could re- with the maids ; I will cut off their heads. move,
Gre. The heads of the maids ? Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maid. The which if you with patient ears attend, enbeads; take it in what sense thou wilt. What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. Gre. They must take it in sense, that feel it.
Sam. Me they shall feel, while I am able to stand : and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of flesh.
Gre. 'Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadst, ACT І.
thou hadst been poor John.? Draw thy tool ; here
comes two of the house of the Montagues.3 SCENE I.-A public place. Enter Sampson
Enter Abram and Balthazar. and Gregory, armed with swords and bucklers.
Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will
Gre. How? turn thy back, and run?
Gre. No, marry: I fear thee!
neck out of || begin. the collar
Gre. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them Sam. I strike quickly, being moved.
take it as they list. Gre. But thou art not quickly moved to strike. Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves me. | at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they
Gre. To move, is—to stir; and to be valiant, is-bear it.
Sam. I do bite my thumb, sir.
(1) A phrase formerly in use to signify the bear- (2) Poor John is hake, dried and salted. ing injuries.
(3) The disregard of concord is in character.
Sam. Is the law on our side, if I say-ay? For this time, all the rest depart away:
You, Capulet, shall go along with me; Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, And, Montague, come you this afternoon, sir ; but I bite my thumb, sir.
To know our further pleasure in this case, Gre. Do you quarrel, sir?
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Abr. Quarrel, sir ? no, sir.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Sam li you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as (Exe. Prince, and Attendants ; Capulet, Lady good a man as you.
Capulet, Tybalt, Citizens, and Servants. Abr. No better.
Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Sam. Well, sir.
Speak, nephew, were you by, when it began ?
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary, Enter Benvolio, at a distance.
And yours, close fighting ere I did approach: Gre. Say—better; here comes one of my mas- I drew to part them; in the instant came ter's kinsmen.
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd; Sam. Yes, better, sir.
Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, Abr. You lie.
He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Sam. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remem- | Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn: ber thy swashing blow.
[I'hey fight. While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know Came more and more, and fought on part and part, not what you do. [Beats down their swords. Till the prince came, who parted either part.
La. Mon. O, where is Romeo !--saw you him Enter Tybalt.
to-day? Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heart-Right glad I am, he was not at this fray: less hinds ?
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death. Peer'd3 forth the golden window of the east,
Ben. I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword,|| A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad Or manage it to part these men with me. Where,-underneath the grove of sycamore, Tyb. What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate That westward rooteth from the city's side, the word,
So early walking did I see your son: As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee : Towards him I made ; but he was 'ware of me, Have at thee, coward.
(They fight. And stole into the covert of the wood : Enter several Partizans of both houses, who join That most are busied when they are most alone,
I, measuring his affections by my own, the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs.
Pursu'd my humour, not pursuing his, 1 Cit. Clubs,! bills, and partizans ! strike! beat||And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me. them down!
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen, Down with the Capulets! down with the Monta- With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew, gues !
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs : Enter Capulet, in his gown; and Lady Capulet. Should in the furthest east begin to draw
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun Cap. What noise is this ?-Give me my long |The shady curtains from Aurora's bed, sword, ho!
Away from light steals home my heavy son, La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for And private in his chamber pens himself; a sword?
up his windows, locks fair day-light out, Cap. My sword, I say !-Old Montague is come,|| And makes himself an artificial night: And Hourishes his blade in spite of me.
Black and portentous must this humour prove, Enter Montague and Lady Montague.
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause? Mon. Thou villain Capulet,-Hold me not, let Mon. I neither know it, nor can learn of him. me go.
Ben. Have you impórtun'd him by any means ? La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek Mon. Both by myself, and many other friends :
But he, his own affections' counsellor,
Is to himself-I will not say, how true
But to himself so secret and so close,
As is the bud bit with an envious worm, Will they not hear?--what ho! you men, you beasts, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage Or dedicate his beauty to the sun. With purple fountains issuing from your veins, Could we but learn froin whence his sorrows grow, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands We would as willingly give cure, as know. Throw your mistemper'd2 weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
Enter Romeo, at a distance. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
Ben. See, where he comes : So please you, step By thee, old Capulet and Montague, Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets ; I'll know his grievance, or be much denied. And made Verona's ancient citizens
Mon. would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To hear true shrift.-Come, madam, let's away: To wield old partizans, in hands as old,
(Exeunt Montague and Lady. Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate: Ben. Good morrow, cousin. If ever you disturb our streets again,
Is the day so young? Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. Ben. But new struck nine.
Ab me! sad hours seem long. (1) Clubs! was the usual exclamation at an affray in the streets, as we now call Watch!
(2) Angry. (3) Appeared.