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Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms.
for ever! I know, when one is dead, and when one lives ;
Kent. Is this the promis'd end ?
Lear. This feather stirs, ine lives į if it be ro,
Lear. A plague upon you, murd'rous traitors all!
Gent. 'Tis true, my Lords, he did.
Lear. Did I not, fellow?
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov’d and hated,
Lear. Are you not Kent ?
Kent. The fame; your servant Kent;
Lear. 'Twas a good fellow, I can tell you that, (62)
(62) He's a good fellowu, I can tell you that,
He'll strike and quickly too: he's dead and rotten.) We have seen L'ar mad; but, never, a stark fool till this moment; to tell that a dead and rotten man will strike quickly. But it was a stupidity of the editors, and not chargeable
Kent. No, my good Lord, I am the very man,
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your fad steps
Lear. You're welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man elfe ;--all's cheerless, dark, and dead Your eldest daughters have fore-done themselves, And desp'rately are dead.
Lear. Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says ; and vain is it,
Enter a Mefenger.
Alb. That's but a trifle.
[To Edgar. With boot, and such addition 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 fee, see
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd: no, no, no life. Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life, And thou no breath at all? thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, neverPray you, undo this button. Thank
you see this ? look on her, look on her lips, (63) Look there, look there
Edg. (63) Do you see this? look on ber, look on ber lips; Look there, look there.-) Our poet has taken the liberty in the catastrophe of this play to depart from the Chronicles ; in which Lear is faid to be reinstated in his throne by Cordelia, and to have reign'd vpwards of two years after his restoration. He might have done this for two reasons. Either, to heighten the compaflion towards the poor old King: or to vary from another, but most execrable, dramatic:
Edg. He faints ; my Lord,
performance upon this story: which I certainly believe to have preceded our author's piece, and which none of our stage-historians appear to 'have had any knowledge of. The edition, which I have of it, bears this title. The true chronicle history of King LEIR, and bis tbree daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella. As it bath bene di
vers and surdry times lately acted. London ; printed by Simon Stafford
I have been over negligent to day
Edg. He is
Edg. Look up, my Lord.
Kent. Vex not his ghoit: 0, let him pass! he hates him, That would upon the rack of this rough world Stretch him out longer.
indeed. Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long : He but ufurpt his life.
Alb. Bear them from hence, our present business Is general woe : friends of my soul, you twain Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state fuftain.
Kent. I have a journey, Sir, shortly to go; · My master calls me; I must not say, no.
[Exeunt with a dead march.
[Exit. This is, surely; such poetry as 'one might hammer out, Stans pode in uno ; or, as our author says, “ it is the right butter-woman's rank « to market : and a man might versify you so eight years together, “ dinners, and suppers, and sleeping hours excepted.” -Again, Shakespeare was too well vers’d in Holing pead not to know, that King Lear reign’d above 800 years before the period of christianity. The gods his King talks of are Jupiter, Juno, Apollo; and not any deities more modern than his own time, Licentious as he was in anachro. nisms, he would have judg’d it an unpardonable absurdity to have made a Briton of Cordella's time talk of her Saviour. And his not being trapt into such ridiculous Nips of ignorance, seems a plain proof to me that he stole neither from his predeceffors, ror contemporaries of the English theatre, both which abounded in them.
(64) Alb. The weight of this sad time, &c.] This speech from the authority of the old 4to is rightly plaç'd to Allany : in the edition by the players it is given to Edgar, by whom, I doubt not, it was of custom spoken. And the case was this : He who play'd Edgar, being a more favourite actor, than he who personated Altany ; in spight of decorum, it was thought proper he should have the last word. I