Puslapio vaizdai

of the reader, and will show that the delicacy of his taste, and soundness of his judgment, were almost as remarkable as the richness of his fancy. That he could present the world with such a copy of Lear, having before him such a paltry original, is the strongest evidence of his possessing the poet's frenzy-rolling eye, as well as his imagination to body forth things unsubstantial, and his pen to give them shape.

The extract is part of a scene in a drama intitled “ The History of King Leir and his Three Daughters.”

Cordella. Ah, good old father, tell to me thy griefe,
Ile sorrow with thee, if not adde reliefe.

Leir. Ah, good young daughter, I may call thee so;
For thou art like a daughter I did owe.

Cor. Do you not owe her still? what is she dead?

Leir. No, God forbid: but all my interest's gone,
By showing my selfe too much unnatural:
So have I lost the title of a father,
And may be call'd a stranger to her rather.

Cor. Your title's good still: for 'tis alwayes knowne,
A man may do as him list with his owne.
But bave you but one daughter then in all?

LEIR. Yes, I have more by two, then would I had.

Cor. O, say not so, but rather see the end;
They that are bad may have the grace to mend:
But how have they offended you so much?

Leir. If from the first I should relate the cause,
Twould make a heart of adamant to weepe;
And thou, poore soule, kind-hearted as thou art,
Dost weepe already, ere I do begin.

Cor. For God's love tell it; and when you have done,
Ile tell the reason why I weepe so soone,

LEIR. Then know this first, I am a Brittaine borne,
And bad three daughters by one loving wife;
And though I say it, of beauty they were sped;
Especially the youngest of the three,
For her perfections hardly macht could be:
On these I doted with a jelous love,
And thought to try which of them lov'd me best,
By asking them, which would do most for me!
The first and second Aattred me with words,
And vow'd they lov'd me better than their lives:
The youngest said, she lov'd me as a child
Might do: her answere I esteem'd most vild,
And presently in an outragious mood,

I turned her from me to go sinke or swim:
And all I had, even to the very clothes,
I gave in dowry with the other two:
And she that best deserv'd the greatest share,
I gave her nothing but disgrace and care.
Now mark the sequel: when I had done thus,
I sojournd in my eldest daughter's house,
Where for a time I was intreated well,
And liv'd in state sufficing my content;
But every day her kindnesse did grow cold,
Which I with patience put up well ynough,
And seemed not to see the things I saw:
But at the last she grew so far incenst
With moody fury, and with causlesse hate,
That in most vild and contumelious termes,
She bade me pack, and harbour somewhere else.
Then was I faine for refuge to repaire
Unto my other daughter for reliefe;
Who gave me pleasing and most courteous words;
But in her actions showed her selfe so sore,
As never any daughter did before.
She prayed me in a morning out betime,
To go to a thicket two miles from the court,
Pointing that there she would come talke with me:
There she had set a shag haird murdring wretch,
To massacre my honest friend and me.
Then judge your selfe, although my tale be briefe,
If ever man had greater cause of griefe.

King. Nor never like impiety was done,
Since the creation of the world begun.

LEIR. And now I am constraind to sceke reliefe
Of her to whom I have bin so unkind;
Whose censure, if it do award me death,
I must confesse she payes me but my due;
But if she show a loving daughters part,
It comes of God and her, not my desert.

Cor. No doubt she will, I dare be sworne she will.
Leir. How know you that, not knowing what she is?

Cor. Myselfe a father have a great way hence,
Usde me as ill as ever you did her;
Yet, that his reverend age I once might see,
Ide creepe along to meet him on my knee.

Leir. O, no mens children are unkind but mine.

Cor. Condemne not all, because of others crime; But looke, deare fathery looke, behold and see Thy loving daughter speaketh unto thee. [She kneels.


LEIR. O, stand thou ny, it is my part to kneele,
And aske forgivenesse for my former faults. [He kneels:

Cor. O, if you wish I should injoy my breath,
Deare father rise, or I receive my death.

[He riseth.
LEIR. Then I will rise, to satisfy your mind,
But kneele againe, till pardon be resigned.

[He kneels.
Cor. I pardon you! the word beseemes not me.
But do I say so, for to ease your knee;
You gave me life, you were the cause that I
Am what I am, who else bad never bin.

Leir. But you gave life to me and to my friend,
Whose dayes had else had an untimely end.

Cor. You brought me up, when as I was but young, And far unable for to helpe myselfe.

Lerr. I cast thee forth, when as thou wast but young, And far unable for to helpe thyselfe.

Cor. God, world, and nature, say I do you wrong,
That can indure to see you kneele so long.

KING. Let me break off this loving controversy,
Which doth rejoice my very soule to see.
Good father, rise; she is your loving daughter,

[He riseth. And honours you with as respective duty, As if you were the monarch of the world.

Cor. But I will never rise from off my knee, [She kneels.
Until I have your blessing, and your pardon
Of all my faults committed any way,
From my first birth unto this present day.

Leir. The blessing, which the God of Abraham gave
Unto the tribe of Juda, light on thee,
And multiply thy dayes, that thou mayst see
Thy childrens children prosper after thee.
Thy faults, which are just none that I do know,
God pardon on high, and I forgive below. [She riseth.

Cor. Now is my heart at quiet, and doth leape
Within my breast, for joy of this good hap:
And now, deare father, welcome to our court,
And welcome, kind Perillus, unto me,
Mirtour of vertue and true honesty.

LEIR. O, he hath bin the kindest friend to me,
That ever man had in adversity.

Perillus. My toung doth faile, to say what heart doth think; I am so ravisht with exceeding joy.

KING. All you have spoke: now let'me speak my mind, And in few words much matter here conclude: He kneele. If ere my heart do harbour any joy, Or true content repose within my breast,

Till I have rooted out this viperous sect,
And repossest my father of his crowne,
Let me be counted for the perjurdst man,
That ever spake word since the world began. [Rises.
MUMFORD. Let me pray too, that never pray'd before;

[.Mumford kneels.
If ere I resalute the British earth,
(As, ere 't be long, I do presume I shall)
And do returne from thence without my wench,
Let me be ****** for my recompence. [Rises.

King. Come, let's to armes for to redresse this wrong:
Till I am there, me thinks the time seemes long. [Exeunt.

Such were the sparks, such the fuel, that served to light up and feed the genius of Shakspeare; and if his originality is questionable on that ground, let every other poet content himself with the name of imitator!




In the Mirror for last February we delivered our sentiments on novels and novel-reading. The depraved taste and corrupt habits of the times, render this subject much more important than is generally imagined; and we then entered upon it with the most serious conviction that the erudition of every country ought to step in to correct the abuse into which this department of literature has been carried by its numerous needy retainers and unqualified pretenders. We touched at that time but superficially upon the subject, intending to resume it in due time; and, indeed, we made a promise to that effect: but though we have neither abandoned that purpose, nor lost sight of our promise, a variety of circumstances, arising chiefly from a low state of health, have delayed the execution of it, as well as of other designs, which we cannot help flattering ourselves will yet be found to combine utility with amusement: for we hope, at no great distance of time, to redeem our pledge.

In the essay alluded to, we asserted that “ nineteen in twenty of " the books called Novels, are positively mischievous; and that it ist might be very much doubted whether any of them were positive“ ly salutary, except under certain restrictions." By salutary we meant having a positive tendency to improve the morals or the understanding. A proposition so broad, however, admits of qualification, and ought to be explained.

That books of sacred authority, and lessons of the most imperative nature, inforced too by the most awful examples, constantly fail of correcting the morals, amending the heart, or regulating the conduct, every one of common sense must know; since each passing week's experience proves that the denunciations of religion, and the exhortations of our pastors, inforced by all the


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