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Where she, true-hearted noble queen,
Was in the battle slain :
Possest his crown again.
But when he heard Cordelia's death,
Who died indeed for love
She did this battle move ;
From whence he never parted ::
That was so truely hearted.
The lords and nobles when they saw
The end of these events, The other sisters Unto death
They doomed by consents; And being dead, their crowns they left
Unto the next of kin: Thus have you seen the fall of pride,
And disobedient sin. Johnson.*
* This ballad, which by no means deserves a place in any edition of Shakspeare, is evidently a most servile pursuit --not, indeed, of our author's play, which the writer does not appear to have read, but-of Holinshed's Chronicle, where, as in Geoffrey of Monmouth, the King of France is called Aganippus. I suppose, however, that the performance and celebrity of the play might have set the balladmaker at work, and furnished him with the circumstance of Lear's madness, of which there is no hint either in the historian or the old play. The omission of any other striking incident may be fairly imputed to his want of either genius or information. All he had to do was to spin out a sort of narrative in a sort of verse, to be sung about the streets, and make advantage of the publick curiosity. I much doubt whether any common ballad can be produced anterior to a play upon the same subject, unless in the case of some very recent event. Ritson.