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that the latter was first issued. It would seem that the folio of 1623 was composed from a copy, which had been much, and not very judiciously, abridged for the purposes of the theatre; and, although it contains some additions, not in any of the quartos, there are, perhaps, few quartos of any of Shakespeare's plays more valuable for the quantity of matter they contain, of which there is no trace in the folio.

We may decide with certainty that Shakespeare's "King Lear" was not written until after the appearance of Harsnet’s “Discovery of Popish Impostors" in 1603, because from it, as Steevens established, are taken the names of various fiends, &c. mentioned by Edgar.

As we find King Leir" entered on the Stationers' books in 1594, we can have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the old play, printed by Simon Stafford for John Wright, in 1605, when Shakespeare's “King Lear” was (as we have supposed) experiencing a run of popularity at the Globe, was considerably anterior in point of date. There is little doubt that Shakespeare was acquainted with it, and probably adopted from it, at least, that part of the conduct of his story which relates to the faithful Kent. There are other general, but few particular resemblances: for both the chief materials were evidently derived from Holinshed, but Shakespeare varied from all authorities in his catastrophe: he seems to have thought, that to abandon the course of the ordinary narrative would heighten and improve the effect of his drama, and give a novelty to its termination.

The story of Lear and his daughters is briefly told by Spenser in B. ii. c. 10, of his “ Fairie Queene,” and thence it has been thought that Shakespeare obtained the name of Cordelia, till then usually called Cordella. That portion of the plot which relates to the Earl of Gloster, he may have procured from Sir Philip Sidney's “Arcadia," first printed in 1590, 4to. B. ii. c. 10. A ballad on King Lear was also published (see Percy's Reliques, vol. ii. p. 249. Edit. 1812), but no copy with a date has come down to us.

The earliest notice we recollect of “ King Lear” (probably the older play from the spelling of the name) is in a book, printed by Boscard at St. Omer's in 1614, called “ The Life and Death of Edinund Gerringes,” where the writer is speaking of those who admire affected words, telling them

" If any such there be, post to King Leire :

He hath applause; seeke not contentment here." In the margin opposite the name are inserted the words “ A booke so called ;” and no doubt a play-book was intended.


LEAR, King of Britain.
King of France.
Duke of Burgundy.
Duke of Cornwall.
Duke of Albany.
Earl of Kent.
Earl of Gloster.
EDGAR, Son to Gloster.
EDMUND, Bastard Son to Gloster.
CURAN, a Courtier.
OSWALD, Steward to Goneril.
Old Man, Tenant to Gloster.
An Officer, employed by Edmund.
Gentleman, Attendant on Cordelia.
A Herald.
Servants to Cornwall.

Daughters to Lear.

Knights of Lear's train, Officers, Messengers, Soldiers,

and Attendants.

SCENE, Britain.

' A list of the characters in this tragedy was first inserted by Rowe.



A Room of State in King LEAR's Palace.


Kent. I thought, the king had more affected the duke of Albany, than Cornwall.

Glo. It did always seem so to us : but now, in the division of the kingdoms, it appears not which of the dukes he values most;

for equalities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety'. Kent. Is not this your son, my

lord ? Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.

Kent. I cannot conceive you.

Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do


smell a fault ? Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper

Glo. But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world, before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.—Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?



- can make choice of either's MOIETY.] “Moiety," here, as elsewhere, is not used by Shakespeare in its strict sense of half, but as a share : see Vol. iji. p. 372. The folio reads kingdom for “ kingdoms,” and qualities for “equalities ;' but our text is that of the 4tos.

- SO PROPER.] i. e. So handsome-such as it ought to be.


Edm. No, my lord.

Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.

Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.

Glo. Ile hath been out nine years, and away he shall again. -The king is coming.


CORDELIA, and Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege'. [Exeunt Gloster and EDMUND.

Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there.—Know, that we have divided,
In three, our kingdom; and ’tis our fast intent'
To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths', while we
Unburden'd crawl toward death.–Our son of Cornwall,
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now.
The two great princes, France and Burgundyo,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer'd. - Tell me, my daughters,
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state')
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend


3 I shall, my Liege.] “ Liege " in the 4tos; lord in the folio. “Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided,” is from the folio : the 4tos. read, “The map there : know we have divided.”

and 'tis our fast intent] The 4tos. bave "first intent;” and in the next line, “ of our state,for “from our age.”

$ CONFERRING them on younger STRENGTHS,] So the folio : the 4tos, “ Con. firming them on younger years." What follows these words, down to “May be prevented now,” is only in the folio.

6 The two great princes, France and Burgundy,] So the 4tos, and we prefer leaving “ May be prevented now" as a hemistich to running it all, as in the folio, 1623, into one inharmonious line of fourteen syllables.

cares of state] The two lines, forming this parenthesis, are wanting in the 4tos.



Where nature doth with merit challenge.-Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.
Gon. Sir, I love you more than words can wield the

Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour:
As much as child e'er lov’d, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable ;
Beyond all manner of so much I love

you. Cor. What shall Cordelia speak'? Love, and be silent.

Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich’d,
With plenteous rivers '° and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee larly: to thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual.- What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall? Speak'.

Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find, she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short, that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious sphere of sense possesses ?,



8 Sir, I love you more than words] In the corr. fo. 1632, “Sir" is struck out: it is injurious to the metre; but as it is found in all the 4tos. and folios we leave it. The 4tos. have “Sir, I do love you,” but do is not in the folios, where, however,

“words " is accidentally misprinted word. 9 What shall Cordelia SPEAK?] “What shall Cordelia do," in the 4tos.

and with champains rich'd, With plenteous rivers] These words are not in the 4tos, which, for “shadowy forests," read shady forests."

1 Speak.] This word, clearly necessary to the measure, probably dropped out in the folio at the end of the line. It is in all the 4tos.

2 Which the most precious SPHERE of sense POSSESSES,] In the folio, 1623, this line stands as follows :

" Which the most precious square of sense professes," and we are indebted for our text to the corr. fo. 1632, where perhaps "possesses was derived by the old annotator from one of the 4tos, or from correct recitation ; but “sphere” for square is in no previous copy. Mr. Singer tells us that he had corrected square to “sphere" before he heard of it in our Vol. of “ Notes and Emendations," and we, not dealing in literary discourtesy, entirely believe him. We only wonder that, when, as in this case, he finds his own conjecture authoritatively confirmed, he “professes” so little faith in the accuracy of other changes in our corr. fo. 1632. He also amends “precious" to spacious, for which he has no warrant, and he might have seen that the epithet “most pre


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