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ILLUSTRATIVE COMMENTS.

ACT I.

(1) SCENE I.

feiture of twenty shillings or one month's imprisonment. - Haply, when I shall wed,

In the same act it was provided, that all the Statutes That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry recited in it should continue in force only until the end of Half my love with him, half my care, and duty.]

the Parliament next ensuing, which met October 24th, It is not improbable that Cordelia's allusion to her future 1597, and was dissolved February 9th, in the following husband was derived from a story similar to that of Lear,

year, when they were presumed to have expired. So late, which Camden relates of Ina, King of the West Saxons :

however, as 1655, Izaak Walton, in the second edition of “Ina, King of West Saxons, had three daughters, of whom

s“ Complete Angler,” refers to "those very few that upon a time he demanded whether they did love him, and

are left, that make conscience of the laws of the nation, so would do during their lives, above all others; the two

and of keeping days of abstinence." elder sware deepely they would ; the yongest, but the wisest, told her father flatly, without flattery, That albeit

(3) SCENE IV.- If I had a monopoly out, they would she did love, honour, and reverence him, and so would whilst sbee lived, as much as nature and daughterlie dutie

have part on't.] In the sixteenth and seventeenth cen

turies there were three kinds of privileges issued by at the uttermost could expect, yet she did think that one

the king to individuals, which, from their gross abuse, day it would come to passe that she should affect another more fervently, meaning her husband, when she were

were felt to be among the most intolerable of popular

grievances :-Pre-Emption or Purveyance, Monopolies, and married;' who being made one flesh with her, as God by commandement had told, and nature had taught her, she

Patents. The first was the royal right of buying provisions was to cleave fast to, forsaking father and mother, kiffe

and other articles for the king's household, first, and in

preference to all other customers, and even against the and kinne.” Or he may have remembered the reply of Cordila, in the “ Mirror for Magistrates," 1587 :

will of the vendors. This was an ancient prerogative,

regulated by Magna Charta, and was not finally abrogated * But not content with this, hee asked mee likewise

until the restoration of Charles II. A Monopoly was a If I did not him love and honour well.

privilege “ for the sole buying, selling, making, working, No cause (quoth I) there is I should your grace despise : or using of any thing; by which other persons are reFor nature so doth binde and duty mee compell,

strained of any freedom or liberty that they had before, To love you, as I ought my father, well,

or hindered in their lawful trade." These Monopolies had Yet shortely I may chaunce, if Fortune will, To finde in heart to beare another more good will."

been carried to an outrageous extent in the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Queen Elizabeth ; and the

evil was not much abated at the period when this tragedy (2) SCENE IV. And to eat no fish.) “In Queen Eliza

was written; nor was it effectually remedied until the beth's time the Papists were esteemed, and with good

passing of the statute of the twenty-first of James, 1623. reason, enemies to the government. Hence the proverbial

Warburton supposes that the Fool's remark conveys a phrase of, He's an honest man, and eats no fish; to signify

satire on the corruption of the courtiers of the time, who he's a friend to the government and a Protestant. The

were sharers with the patentee, on the strength of having eating fish, on a religious account, being then esteemed

procured his grant from the sovereign; and other comsuch a badge of popery, that when it was enjoined for a

mentators would read, instead of “ a monopoly out," season by act of parliament, for the encouragement of

" -- a monopoly on't.But the real meaning appears to the fish towns, it was thought necessary to declare the

be, that “lords and great men," "and ladies too,” were all reason; hence it was called Cecil's fast." —WARBURTON.

so determinately bent on playing the fool, that, although The Act to which Warburton refers was a Statute passed

the jester might have a monopoly for folly out, -that is, in the fifth year of Elizabeth, 1562, Cap. v. “ touching

in force, and extant,--yet they would insist upon particiPolitick Constitutions for the Maintenance of the Navy,"

pating in the exercise of his privilege. Sect. xiv.-xxiii. The fifteenth section of this Act provides, that any person eating flesh on the usual fish-days, "shall forfeit Three Pound for every time he or they (4) SCENE IV.-How now, daughter! what makes that shall offend; or else suffer three months close imprison | frontlet on ?] The frontlet was literally, as Malone explains ment without bail or mainprise." It is probable that the it, a forehead-cloth, formerly worn by ladies at night to greatest objection to the Act was the order in Sect. render that part of the countenance free from wrinkles. xiv. :-"That from the Feast of St. Michael the Arch The very remarkable effect of this band, in the contracangel, in the Year of our Lord God 1564, every Wednesday tion of the brows, may be observed in some of the monuin every week throughout the whole year, which heretofore mental effigies of the fourteenth century, and especially hath not by the laws or customs of this realm been used and in those small figures usually called “Weepers," which observed as a Fish-day-shall be hereafter observed and are found standing in tabernacles, on the sides of the rich kept, as the Saturdays in every week be or ought to be. The altar-tombs of the same period. Lear, however, may be penal part of this statute was mitigated in 1593, the supposed to speak metaphorically and to refer only to thirty-firth of Elizabeth, cap. vii. sect. xxii., to a for- | Goneril's cloudy looks.

ACT II.

(1) SOENE II.-I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.) | to say, no shirt: A face staring like a Sarasin, his hayre So far as there can be any identification of a modern place long and filthily knotted, for he keepes no Barber: a good with an ancient name in old romances, Camelot must be Filch (or Staffe) of growne Ash, or else Hazell, in his Famble regarded as that mound which Selden has described in his (in his Hand) and sometimes a sharpe sticke, on which notes on Drayton's “ Polyolbion” :-"By South Cadbury hee hangeth Ruffe-pecke (Bacon). These, walking up and is that Camelot; a hill of a mile compass at the top; four downe the countrey, are more terrible to women and trenches encircling it; and betwixt every of them an children, then the name of Raw-head and Bloudy-bones, earthen wall: the contents of it within, about twenty Robin Good-fellow or any other Hobgobling. Crackers, acres ; full of ruins and reliques of old buildings.-Antique tyed to a Dogges tayle, make not the poore Curre runne report makes this one of Arthur's places of the Round faster, then these Abram Ninnies doe the silly Villagers Table, as the muse here sings :

of the Country, so that when they come to any doore • Like Camelot what place was ever yet renown'd,

å begging, nothing is denved the Where, as at Caerlion oft, he kept the Table Round ?'"

Their Markes. Some of these Abrams have the letters

E and R upon their armes, some have Crosses, and some Capell has been censured for “a mistaken theory that

other. marke, all of them carrying a blew colour ; some Camelot is a name for Winchester, one of the places where wear an iron ring, &c, which markes are printed upon their Arthur held his Round Table ; " and that in which the flesh, by tying their arme hard with two strings three or Table itself was supposed to be preserved. The History foure inches asunder, and then with a sharpe Awle prickof King Arthur was, however, so long in the completion, ing or raizing the skinne, to such a figure or print as they that, while in one chapter (xxvi.) Camelot is located best fancy, they rub that place with burnt paper * * * in the West of England (Somersetshire); in another (xliv.) and Gunpowder, which being hard rubd in, and suffered it is stated that Sir “Balins sword was put in marble to dry, stickes in the flesh a long time after: when these ston, standing upright, as great as a milstone; and the markes faile, they renew them at pleasure. If you exstone hoved alwayes above the water, and did many amine how these letters or figures are printed upon their yeares: and so, by adventure, it swam down the stream armes, they will tell you it is the Marke of Bedlam,* but to the citie of Camelot; that is, in English, Winchester.the truth is, they are made as I have reported. At a still later period, when Caxton finished the printing "And to color their villanie the better, every one of of the “Mort d Arthur," in 1485, he says of the hero: these Abrams hath a severall gesture in playing his part: "He is more spoken of beyond the sea; more books be some make an horrid noyse, hollowly sounding : some made of his noble acts than there be in England : as well whoope, some hollow, some shew onely a kind of wilde in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Greekish, as in French. distracted ugly looke, uttering a simple kinde of Mawn. And yet of record remain, in witness of him in Wales, in ding, with these addition of words (Well and Wisely). the town of Camelot, the great stones, and marvellous works Some daunce, (but keepe no measure) others leape up and of iron lying under the ground, and royal vaults, which downe, and fetch gambals; all their actions shew them to divers now living hath seen." Warburton imagines that be as drunke as Beggers : for not to belye them, what are Kent intended an allusion to some proverbial saying in they but drunken Beggers ? All that they begge being the romances of Arthur ; but this is hardly required for

either Loure or Bouse (money or drinke). the explanation of the text. In Chapter xlix. of Arthur's Their Mawnd or Begging. The first beginnes; Good History, the Quest of the White Hart is undertaken by Urship, Maister, or good Urships Rulers of this place, three knights, at the wedding-feast of the king with the bestow your reward on a poore man that hath lyen in princess Guenever, which was held at Camelot. This arl Bedlam without Biskopsgate three yeeres, four moneths and venture was encountered by Sir Gawayne, Sir Tor, ard nine dayes ; And bestow one piece of your small silver King Pellinore; and, whenever they had overcome the towards his fees, which he is indebted there, the summe of knights whom they engaged, the vanquished combatants three poundes, thirteene shillings, seaven pence, halfpenny, were always sent "unto King Arthur, and yielded them (or to such effect) and hath not wherewith to pay the same, unto his grace."

but by the good help of Urshipfull and well disposed

people, and God to reward them for it. (2) SCENE III.-Bedlam beggars.] The Bedlam beggars

"The second beginnes : Now Dame, well and wisely proper, were such lunatics as had really been confined in

what will you give poore Tom now? one pound of you. Bethlem Hospital, but, owing to the want of funds to

sheepes feathers to make poore Tom a blanket: or one support them there longer, or from their being partially

cutting of your Sow side, no bigger than my arme, or one restored to their senses, were dismissed into the world,

piece of your Salt meate to make poore Tom a sharing with a licence to beg. The sympathy excited by these

home: or one crosse of your small silver towards the unfortunates, occasioned many sturdy vagabonds to coun

buying a paire of Shooes, (well and wisely :) Ah, God terfeit and exaggerate their dress and peculiarities. Of

blesse my good Dame, (well and wisely) give poore Tom these soi-disant madmen, who were distinguished among

an old sheete to keepe him from the cold, or an old dublet, the vast community of rascaldom as Abraham-Men,

or Jerkin of my Maisters, God save his life. Decker gives an a'imated description in his “O per se 0,"

“Then will he daunce and sing, or use some other An1612, and “The Bell-man of London," 1608:“The Abram Cove is a fustie stror.g Roague, who

ticke and ridiculous gesture, shutting up his counterfeite walketh with a Slade about his Quarrons, (a sheete about

Puppet-play with this Epilogue or Conclusion, Good Dame his body,) Trining, (hanging) to his hammes, bandeliere

give poore Tom one cup of the best drinke, (well and

wisely) God save the King and his Counsell, and th wise, for all the world as Cutpurses and Theeves weare

Governour of this place," &c.--"O per se 0,"1612. their sheetes to the Gallowes, in which their Truls are to

In his “Bell-man of London," he says of an Abrahambury them : oftentimes (because hee scornes to follow any

Man: --- he sweares he hath been in Bedlam, and will fashions of Hose) he goes without breeches, a cut Jerkin with hanging sleeves (in imitation of our Gallants) but no

* The real Tom O' BEDLAMS, Aubrey tells us, when they were Sattin or Chamblet elbowes, for both his legges and armes

licentiated to go a begging, had on their left arm an armilla, an are baro, having no Commission to cover his body, that is iron ring for the arm, about four inches long.

talk frantickely of purpose : you see pinnes stuck in Flemings had a proverb, "As unfortunate as Turlupin sundry places of his naked flesh, especially of his armes, and his children.' "- DOUCE. which paine he gladly puts himselfe to, only to make you believe he is out of his wits. He calls himselfe by the (4) SCENE IV.-Hysterica passo.] The disease, called name of poore Tom, and comming neere any body cries the Mother or Hysterica Passio, was not thought peculiar out Pooré Tom is a-cold. Of these Abraham-Men some be to females only in Shakespeare's time, and Percy thinks exceeding merry, and doe nothing but sing songs fashioned it probable that the poet was led to make the poor king out of their own braines ; * some will dance, others will pass off the indignant swelling of his heart for this comdoe nothing but laugh or weepe; others are dogged and so plaint, from a passage in Harsnet's “Declaration of Popish sullen both in looke and speech, that, spying but a small Impostures,” which he might have met with when companie in a house, they boldly and bluntly enter," &c. selecting other particulars to furnish his character of Tom

of Bedlam. The passage referred to occurs at p. 263, in (3) SCENE III.- Poor Turlygood!] "Warburton would

the deposition of Richard Mainy:-"The disease I spake read Turlupin, and Hanmer Turluru ; but there is a

of was a spice of the Mother, wherewith I had beene better reason for rejecting both these terms than for pre

troubled before my going into Fraunce." In an early part ferring either; viz, that Turlygood is the corrupted word

of the pamphlet, p. 25, it is said, “Ma. : Maynie had in our language. The Turlupins were a fanatical sect that

a spice of the Hysterica passio, as seems from his youth, overran France, Italy, and Germany, in the thirteenth

hee himselfe termes it the Moother, and saith that hee and fourteenth centuries. They were at first known by

was much troubled with it in Fraunce, and that it was one the name of Beghards. or Beghins, and brethren and / of the causes that mooved him to leave his holy order sisters of the free spirit. Their manners and appearance

whereinto he was initiated, and to returne into England." exhibited the strongest indications of lunacy and distraction. The common people alone called them Turlu pins : (5) SCENE IV.-Do you but mark how this becomes the & name which, though it has excited much doubt and house.) Warburton explains “the house" to mean the controversy, seems obviously to be connected with the order of families and duties of relationship; other comwolvish howlings, which these people in all probability mentators regard it as signifying a household establishwould make when influenced by their religious ravings. ment; and Capell conceives the phrase to imply fathers, Their subsequent appellation of the fraternity of poor men, emphatically the house," and not the heads merely of might have been the cause why the wandering rogues, a family, but the especial representatives. Shakespeare, called Bedlam beggars, and one of whom Edgar personates, however, more than once, employs the word "house" in assumed or obtained the title of Turlupins or Turlygoods, a genealogical sense, for the paternal line, or first house, especially if their mode of asking alms was accompanied in contradistinction to the persons descended from it, and

the gesticulations of madmen. Turlupino and Turluru that may possibly be its import in this insta are old Italian terms for a fool or madman; and the (6), p. 216, Vol. I.

ACT III.

(1) SCENE IV.-Hath laid knives under his pillow, and kalters in his peu.] In the temptations to suicide by which Edgar pretends to have been beset by the “foul fiend," Shakespeare seems to have had in view the following passage in Harsnet's “Declaration," + &c. :

This examinant further saith, that one Alexander an apothecarie, baving brought with him from London to Denham on a time a new halter, and two blades of knives, did leave the same upon the gallerie floare in her Maisters house. The next morning he tooke occasion to goe with this examinant into the said gallerie, where she espying the said halter and blades, asked Ma: Alexander what they did there : Hee making the matter strange, aunswered, that he saw them not, though hee looked fully upon them : she her selfe pointing to them with her finger, where they lay within a yard of them, where they stoode both together. Now (quoth this examinant) doe you not see them and so taking them up, said, looke you heere : Ah (quoth hee) now I see them indeed, but before I could not see them: And therefore saith he, I

perceave that the devil hath layd them heere, to worke some mischiefe upon you, that are possessed.

“Hereuppon ** a great search was made in the house, to know how the said halter and knife blades came thether: but it could not in any wise be found out, as it was pretended, till Ma: Mainy in his next fit said, as it was reported, that the devil layd them in the Gallery, that some of those that were possessed, might either hang themselves with the halter, or kil themselves with the blades." -Examination of Friswood Williams, p. 219.

The object of the impostures which form the subject of Dr. Harsnet's exposition, Warburton describes as follows:

“While the Spaniards were preparing their armada against England, the jesuits were here busy at work to promote it, by making converts : one method they employed was to dispossess pretended demoniacks, by which artifice they made several hundred converts among the common people. The principal scene of this farce was laid in the family of one Mr. Edmund Peckham, a Romancatholick, where Marwood, & servant of Antony Babington's (who was afterwards executed for treason), Trayford, an attendant upon Mr. Peckham, and Sarah and Friswood Williams, and Anne Smith, three chambermaids in that family, came into the priests' hands for cure. But the discipline of the patients was so long and severe, and the priests so elate and careless with their success, that the plot was discovered on the confession of the parties con. cerued, and the contrivers of it deservedly punished."

• See note (1), p. 90.

As the poet was doubtless indebted to this curious work for the names of poor Torn's evil spirits, and it has now become rarissimus, we append the exact title of the book, from a copy in the library of the British Museum :

“A Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, to withdraw the harts of her Majesties Subjects from their allegeance, and from the truth of Christian Religion professed in England, under the pretence of casting out devils. Practised by Edmunds, alias Weston a Jesuit, and divers Romish priests his wicked associates. Whereunto are annexed the Copies of the Confessions, and Examinations of the parties themselves, which were pretended to be possessed, and dispossessed, taken upon oath before her Majesties Commissioners for causes Ecclesiasticall. At London Printed by James Roberts, dwelling in Barbican 1603."-4to.

(2) SCENE IV.- Wore gloves in my cap.] Steevens remarks, “It was anciently the custom to wear gloves in the hat on three distinct occasions, viz. as the favour of a mistress, the memorial of a friend, and as a mark to be challenged by an enemy. Prince Henry boasts that he will pluck a glove from the commonest creature, and fix it in

his helmet; and Tucca says to Sir Quintilian, in Decker's | rest, himselfe a Generall of a kind and curteous disposition : Satiromastix : '-- Thou shalt wear her glove in thy wor so saith Sara Williams, touching this devils acquaintance shipful hat, like to a leather brooch :' and Pandora, in with Mistres Plater, and her sister Fid. Lyly's 'Woman in the Moon,' 1597 :

“Sara Williams had in her at a bare word, all the devils " he that first presents me with his head,

in hell. The Exorcist askes Maho, Saras devil, what com• Shall wear my glove in favour for the deed.'

pany he had with him, and the devil makes no bones, but Portia, in her assumed character, asks Bassanio for his

tels him in flat termes, all the devils in hell. ..

“And if I misse not my markes, this Dictator Modu gloves, which she says she will wear for his sake: and King Henry V. gives the pretended glove of Alençon to

saith, hee had beene in Sara by the space of two yeeres, Fluellen, which afterwards occasions his quarrel with the

then so long hell was cleere, and had not a devill to cast at English soldier."

a mad dogge. And sooth I cannot much blame the devils There is an interesting illustration of this practice of

for staying so long abroade, they had taken up an Inne,

much sweeter then hell: and an hostesse that wanted gallantry in the life of George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, which has been commemorated in the fine por

neither wit, nor mirth, to give them kind welcome. trait of him in the Bodleian Picture Gallery. At an

“Heere, if you please, you may take a survay of the audience with Elizabeth on the return of the earl from one

whole regiment of hell: at least the chiefe Leaders, and of his voyages, she dropped her glove, which he took up

officers, as we finde them enrolled by theyr names. First and presented to her on his knee. The queen then desired

Killico, Hob, and a third anonymos, are booked doune for him to keep it for her sake; and he adorned it richly with

three graund Commaunders, every one having under him

300 attendants. diamonds, and wore it ever after in the front of his hat at

"Frateretto, Fliberdigibbet, Hoberdidance, Tocobatto were public ceremonies,

foure devils of the round, or Morrice, whom Sara in her

fits, tuned together, in measure and sweet cadence. And (3) SCENE IV.

least you should conceive, that the devils had no musicke The prince of darkness is a gentleman ;

in hell, especially that they would go a maying without Modo he's calld, and Mahu.]

their musicke, the Fidler comes in with his Taber and If the subjoined extracts from Harsnet's “Declaration" Pipe, and a whole Morice after him, with motly visards do not prove indisputably that Shakespeare was indebted

for theyr better grace. These foure had forty assistants to that popular book for the titles of Tom o' Bedlam's in

under them, as themselves doe confesse. * * fernal spirits, we may infer that these fantastic names were

Maho was generall Dictator of hell; and yet for good quite familiar to an auditory of his time.

manners sake, hue was contented of his good nature to "Now that I have acquainted you with the names of

make shew, that himselfe was under the check of Modu, the Maister, and his twelve disciples, the names of the

the graund devil in Master Maynie. These were all in places wherein, and the names of the persons upon whom

poore Sara at a chop, with these the poor soule travailed these wonders were shewed: it seemes not incongruent

up and doune full two yeeres together; so as during these that I relate unto you the names of the devils whom in

two yeeres, it had beene all one to say, one is gone to hell, this glorious pageant they did dispossesse. * *

or hee is gone to Sara Williams : for shee poore wench “First then, to marshall them in as good order, as such

had all hell in her belly."-Chap. X. pp. 45–50. disorderly cattell will be brought into, you are toʻunderstand, that there were in our possessed 5 Captaines, or Com

(4) SCENE IV.maunders above the rest : Captaine Pippin, Marwoods

Fie, foh, and fum, devil, Captaine Philpot, Trayfords devil, Captaine Maho,

I smell the blood of a British man.] Saras devil, Captaine Modu, Maynies devill, and Captainé

A quotation, as Mr. Jameson has shown, in his “ Illustra. Soforce, Anne Smiths devil. These were not all of equall

tions of Northern Antiquities," p. 397, from an old roauthoritie, and place, but some had more, some fewer

mance, familiarly known in Shakespeare's day in this under theyr commaund. * *

country, and still partly preserved in Scotland. The The names of the punie spirits cast out of Trayford

words are those uttered by Rosman, king of Elfland, were these, Hilco, Smolkin, Hillio, Hiaclito, and Lustie

when Child Rowland, in search of his sister, “ Burd huffe-cap: this last seemes some swaggering punie devill,

Ellen," had penetrated to the tower in which she was dropt out of a Tinkers budget. * *

confined by the fairy emissaries of the Elfland monarch.« Modo, Master Maynies devill, was a graund Com

, fo, and fum / maunder, Muster-maister over the Captaines of the soaven

I smell the blood of a Christian man

Be he dead, be he living, wi' my brand deadly sinnes : Cliton, Bernon, Hilo, Motubizanto, and the

I'll dash his harns (brains) frae his harn-pan."

ACT IV.

" An archar off Northomberlonde

Say slean was the lord Persè,
He bar a bende-bow in his hande,
Was made off trusti tre :

(1) SOENE VI.--That fellow handles his bow like a crowkeeper.] The office of " crow-keeper" was to fright the crows from the corn and fruit; for this purpose a poor rustic, who, though armed with bow and arrows, was not supposed to have much skill in archery, was sometimes employed, and at others his place was supplied by a stuffed figure, resembling a man, and armed in the same way. Ascham, in his “Toxophilus," when speaking of a lubberly shooter, has a similar comparison to that in the text:" Another coureth downe and layeth out his but. tockes, as thoughe hee should shoote at crowes."

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(2) SCENE VI.-Draw me a clothier's yard.] That is, an arrow a clothier's yard in longth. The ancient “longbow" was about six feet in length, and the shaft over three. So, in the old ballad of “Chevy-Chaco :"

Again, in Drayton's “Polyolbion,” song xxvi. :-
“All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous strong 1

They not an arrow drew, but was a cloth-yard long."

CRITICAL OPINIONS ON KING LEAR.

Of all Shakspeare's plays, “Macbeth' is the most rapid, “Hamlet' the slowest in movement. 'Lear' combines length with rapidity, like the hurricane and the whirlpool, absorbing while it advances. It begins as a stormy day in summer, with brightness ; but that brightness is lurid, and anticipates the tempest.

" It was not without forethought, nor is it without its due significance, that the division of Lear's kingdom is, in the first six lines of the play, stated as a thing already determined in all its particulars, previously to the trial of professions, as the relative rewards of which the daughters were to be made to consider their several portions. The strange, yet by no means unnatural mixture of selfishness, sensibility, and habit of feeling, derived from and fostered by the particular rank and usages of the individual ;-the intense desire of being intensely beloved,-selfish, and yet characteristic of the selfishness of a loving and kindly nature alone ;-the self-supportless leaning for all pleasure on another's breast ;--the craving after sympathy with a prodigal disinterestedness, frustrated by its own ostentation, and the mode and nature of its claims ;—the anxiety, the distrust, the jealousy, which more or less accompany all selfish affections, and are amongst the surest contradistinctions of mere fondness from true love, and which originate Lear's eager wish to enjoy his daughters' violent professions, whilst the inveterate habits of sovereignty convert the wish into claim and positive right, and an incompliance with it into crime and treason ;—these facts, these passions, these moral verities, on which the whole tragedy is founded, are all prepared for, and will to the retrospect be found implied, in these first four or five lines of the play. They let us know that the trial is but a trick; and that the grossness of the old king's rage is in part the natural result of a silly trick, suddenly and most unexpectedly baffled and disappointed

“Having thus, in the fewest words, and in a natural reply to as natural a question, which yot answers the secondary purpose of attracting our attention to the difference or diversity between the characters of Cornwall and Albany, provided the premises and data, as it were, for our after-insight into the mind and mood of the person whose character, passions, and sufferings are the main subjectmatter of the play ;—from Lear, the persona patiens of his drama, Shakspeare passes without delay to the second in importance, the chief agent and prime mover, and introduces Edmund to our acquaintancs, preparing us with the same felicity of judgment, and in the same easy and natural way, for his character in the seemingly casual communication of its origin and occasion. From the first drawing up of the curtain Edmund has stood before us in the united strength and beauty of earliest manhood. Our eyes have been questioning him. Gifted as he is with high advantages of person, and further endowed by nature with a powerful intellect and a strong energetic will, even without any concurrence of circumstances and accident, pride will necessarily be the sin that most easily besets him. But Edmund is also the known and acknowledged son of the princely Gloster : he, therefore, has both the germ of pride, and the conditions best fitted to evolve and ripen it into a predominant feeling. Yet, hitherto, no reason appears why it should be other than the not unusual pride of person, talent, and birth,—a pride auxiliary, if not akin to many virtues, and the natural ally of honourable impulses. But, alas ! in his own presence his own father takes shame to himself for the frank avowal that he is his father ; he has blushed so often to acknowledge him, that he is now brazed to it.' Edmund hears the circumstances of his birth spoken of with a most degrading and licentious levity. * * * This, and the con

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