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THE

HISTORY

OF

King LEAR,

A

TRAGEDY:

As it is now acted at the King's Theatres.

Revived, with Alterations, by N. TATE.

LONDON:

Printed for J. BRINDLEY, C. HITCH, J. HODGES, C. CORBETT2
J. and T. KING, R, NEW, W. REEVE, and J. COOPER,

3749.

TO

My Efteem'd FRIEND

THOMAS BOTELER, Efqy

OU have a natural Right to this Piece, fince by your Advice I attempted the Revival of it with Alterations. Nothing but the Power of your Perfuafions, and my Zeal for all the Remains of Shakespear, cou'd have wrought me to fo bold an Undertaking. I found that the New-modelling of this Story wou'd force me fometimes on the difficult Tafk of making the chiefest Perfons fpeak fomething like their Characters, on Matter whereof I had no Ground in my Author. Lear's real and Edgar's pretended Madness barve jo much of extravagant Nature (1 know not how to express it). as could never have started, but from our Shakespear's Creating Fancy. The Images and Languages are fo odd and furprising, and yet fo agreeable and proper, that whilst we grant that none but Shakespear could have form'd fuch Conceptions; yet we are fatisfied that they were the only Things în the World that ought to be faid on theje Occafions. I found the Whale to answer your Account of it, a Heap of Fervels unfrung, and unpolifh'd; yet so dazzling in their Disorder, that I foon perceiv'd I had feiz'd a Treafure. 'Twas my good Far tune to light on one Expedient to rectify what was wanting in the Regularity and Probability of the Tale, which was to run through the Whole, a Love betwixt Edgar and Co:delia; that never chang'd Word with each other in the Ori ginal. This renders Cordelia's Indifference, and her Father's Paffion in the firft Scene, probable. It likewife gives Countenance to Edgar's Difguile, making that a generous Defign that gas before a poor Shift to fave his Life. The Dijlrefs

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of the Story is evidently heightened by it! and it particularly gave Occafion of a new Scene or Two, of more Success (perbaps) than Merit. This Method neceffarily threw me on making the Tale conclude in a Success to the innocent diAreft Perfons: Otherwise I must have incumbered the Stage with dead Bodies, which Conduct makes many Tragedies conclude with unfeasonable Jefts. Yet was wrack'd with no fmall Fears for fo bold a Change, 'till I found it well reseiv'd by my Audience; and if this will not fatisfy the Reader, I can produce an Authority that questionless will. Neither is it of fo Trivial an Undertaking to make a Tragedy end happily, for 'tis more difficult to fave than 'tis to kill the Dagger and the Cup of Poifon are always in Readinefs; but to bring the Action to the laft Extremity, and then by probable Means to recover All, will require, the Art and Judgment of a Writer, and coft him many a Pang in the Performance.

Mr. Dryd. Pref. to the Spanish Friar.

I have one Thing more to apologize for, which is, that 1 base us'd less Quaintnefs of Expreffion even in the newest Parts of this Play. I confefs, it was Defign in me, partly to comply with my Author's Style, to make the Scenes of a Piece, and partly to give it fome Refemblance of the Time and Perfons here reprefented. This, Sir, I fubmit wholly to you, who are both a fudge and Mafter of Style. Nature had exempted you before you went Abroad from the Morofe Saturnine Humour of our Country, and you brought Home the Refinedness of Travel without the Affectation. Many Faults Ifee in the following Pages, and question not but you will difcover more; yet I will prefume fo far on your Friendship, as to make the Whole a Prefent to you, and fubfcribe myself,

Your obliged Friend

and humble Servant,

N. Tate.

PROLOGUE.

SINCE

INCE by Miftakes your beft Delights are made, (For e'en your Wives can please in Masquerade) 'Twere worth our while t'ave drawn you in this Day By a new Name to our old honeft Play;

But he that did this Evening's Treat prepare
Bluntly refolu'd before-hand to declare

Your Entertainment should be most old Fare..
Yet hopes, fince in rich Shakefpear's Soil it grew,
'Twill relish yet, with those whofe Tafles are true,
And his Ambition is to please a Few.

If then this Heap of Flow'rs fhall chance to wear.
Fresh Beauty in the Order they now bear,

Even this is Shakespear's Praise; each Ruftick knows
"Mongft plenteous Flow'rs a Garland to compofe,
Which trung by his coarfe Hand may fairer show,
But 'twas a Power Divine first made 'em grow,
Why shou'd thefe Scenes lie bid, in which we find
What may at once divert and teach the Mind;
Morals were always proper for the Stage,
But are ev'n neceffary in this Age;

Poets must take the Churches teaching Trade,
Since Priefts their Province of Intrigue invade;
But we the worst in this Exchange have got,
In vain our Poets preach, while Churchmen plots.

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