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REFERENCES DESCRIPTIVE OF THE

PLATES.

KING LEAR.

The date assumed for the occurrences which form the plot of this celebrated tragedy is after the Romans had been in Britain, but before the arrival of the Saxons. The costume entails some disadvantages from want of variety and, in many instances, want of elegance; but it has been deemed right to complete these illustrations upon the principle laid down of strict antiquarian accuracy; and it is hoped that character will amply atone for casual inelegancies, and the want of variety in the individual instance be compensated by the much greater variety obtained in the whole work, in consequence of adhering to the truth, instead of reducing all costumes to one standard.

The first scene has been condensed. LEAR divides his kingdom between Goneril and Regan, and

4

curses CORDELIA; Kent intercedes, and France claims his bride, at one moment, though in the play these events follow one another. This licence has been taken in some other plates, as in No. 3., where LEAR strikes the steward, Goneril is supposed to see it, though in the text she does not enter for some time afterwards; and EDGAR, after Edmund has fallen, is made to discover himself immediately. These trifling adaptations are absolutely necessary to convey the spirit of the scene, when translating from poetry to painting.

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LEAR divides his kingdom between GONERIL and

REGAN, fancying that CORDELIA had fallen short of her sisters in her love for him.-KENT in vain interposes.

66 LEAR. Peace, Kent !
Come not between the dragon and his wrath :
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery.—Hence, and avoid my sight!

(T. CORDELIA.)
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her !--Call France ;—Who stirs ?
Call Burgundy.—Cornwall, and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third :
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.

.

FRANCE. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being

poor; Most choice, forsaken ; and most loved, despised ! Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon.

Is queen

Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,

of us,

of
ours,

and our fair France :
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Shall buy this unprized precious maid of me.”

Act I. S. 1.

II.

EDMUND persuading GLOSTER that EDGAR in

tended to murder him.

“Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue. Glos. (reads).

If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.—Humph !Conspiracy !-Sleep till I waked him,-you should enjoy half his revenue.—My son Edgar ! had he a hand to write this ? a heart and brain to breed it in ?-_When came this to you? who brought it?

EDM. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.”

Act I. S. 2.

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