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Alb. Fall, and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs ; she lives ! if it be so,
[Kneeling Lear. Proythee, away. Edg. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all !
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear. Did I not, fellow ?
-Who are you
? Mine eyes are none o’the best :--I'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
Lear. This is a dull sight : Are you not Kent ?
servant Caius? Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that ; He'll strike, and quickly too :-He's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord ; I am the very man ;
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your sad steps.
Lear. You are welcome hither.
Lear. Ay, so I think.
Edg. Very bootless.
against father; the king falls from the bias of nature; there's father against
If any criticks should urge it as an objection to this explanation, that the persons of the drama are pagans, and of consequence unacquainted with the scriptures, they give Shakspeare credit for more accuracy than I fear he possessed.
M. MASON. This note deserves the highest praise, and is inserted in the present work with the utmost degree of gratitude to its author,
Enter an Officer.
Alb. That's but a trifle here.
[To EDGAR and KENT.
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd !4 No, no, no life :
Kent, Vex not his ghost: 0, let him pass! He hates him,
Edg. O, he is gone, indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long : He but usurp'd his life.
Alb. Bear them from hence. Our present business Is general woe. Friends of my soul, you twain
[To 'KENT and EDGAR: Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go ;
Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey ;
[Exeunt, with a dead march.
 This is an expression of tenderness for his dead Cordelia, (not his fool, as some have thought)on whose lips he is still intent, and dies away, while he is searching therefor indications of life. STEEVENS.
(5) The Rev. J. Warton judiciously observes, that the swelling and heaving of the heart is described by this inost expressive circumstance. STEEV.
THIS play is one of the most pleasing of our author's performances. The scenes are busy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the process of the action carried on with such probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires.
Here is one of the few attempts of Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to represent the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third act, lest he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no such formidable person, but that he might have lived through the play, and died in his bed, without danger to the poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, in a pointed sentence, that more regard is commonly had to the words than the thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. Mercutio's wit, gaiety, and courage, will always procure hima friends that wish him a longer life ; but his death is not precipitated, he has lived out the time allotted him in the construction of the play & nor do I doubt the ability of Shakspeare to have continued his existence, though some of his sallies are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden ; whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, comprebensive, and sublime.
The Nurse is one of the characters in which the author delighted; he has, with great subtilty of distinction, drawn her at once loquacious and secret, obsequious and insolent, trusty and dishonest.
His comic scenes are happily wrought, but his pathetic strains are always polluted with some unexpected depravation. His persons, however distressed, have a conceit left them.in their misery, a miserable conceit.
TWO households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life ; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage ;
The story on which this play is founded, is related as a true one in Giro. lamo de la Corte's History of Verona. It was originally published by an anonymous Italian novelist in 1549 at Venice; and again in 1553, at the same place. The first edition of Bandello's work appeared a year later than the last of these already mentioned. Pierre Boisteau copied it with alterations and additions. Belleforest adopted it in the first volume of his collection 1596 : but very probably some edition of it yet more ancient had found its way abroad; as, in this improved state it was translated into En glish, by Arthur Brooke, and published in an octavo volume, 1562, but with. out a name. On this occasion it appears in the form of a poem entitled, The tragicall Historie of Romeus and Juliet : It was republished in 1587, uh der the same title: " Contayning in it a rare Example of true Constancie: with the subtill Counsels and Practises of an old Fryer, and their Event." Captain Breval in his Travels tells as, that he saw at Verona the tomb of these unbappy lovers. STEEVENS.