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forces indicated a far greater chance of success. queen takes the first opportunity to elude the The fatal battle of Actium follows. Antony vigilance of Octavius Cæsar (who had taken sends Euphronius to the conqueror, Octavius, and confined her); and, having decked herand reqnires either to remain in Egypt, or to self in her most splendid garments, applies live a private man in Athens. Both these re- two asps, furnished by a slave, to her breast, quests are refused, but Cleopatra's desires are and dies. Octavius enters soon after, laments promised to be fulfilled, on condition of her her end, and commands her to be buried with either driving Antony out of Egypt, or taking Mark Antony. his life. On hearing this, Antony, frantic with rage, challenges the conqueror to single com

MORAL bat: but, this being treated with contempt,

In the fate of the Triumvirs, Antony and he determines once more upon meeting Octa- Lepidus (the first of whom is justly punished vins both by sen and land. He is by land vic- for his pertidy to his two wives, Fulvia and torious, and drives the forces of Octavius to Octavia), we are warned against the danger of their tents : but by sea he is again defeated, sharing divided power, when no legal limit being betrayed by the Egyptian queen. He can be opposed to the ambition of a compeer, then vents his unavailing fury upon the per- as was the case with Octavius. In the death fidy of Cleopatra; but she, in hopes of awak- of Cleopatra, we cannot but remember the ening his pity, sends word that she is dead. words of Solomon, " The lips of a strange Jlis love again returns, and, impelled by his woman drop as an honey - comb, and her increasing woes, he falls upon his own sword, mouth is smoother than oil; but her end is and, finally, dies in Cleopatra's arms. The bitter as wormwood, her feet go down to death."

Cymbeline. * This play (says Dr. Johnson) has many just yielded to his arts. On Iachimo's producing sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some the bracelet, his last gift to Imogen, Postpleasing scenes; but they are obtained at the humus believes in her perfidy, and is incited, expense of much incongruity. To remark the by that conviction, to write to his former folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conservant, Pisanio, who had remained in Britain duct, the confusion of the names and manners to attend Imogen, to entice her to Milford of different times, and the impossibility of the Haven, under an idea of meeting himself, ani events in any system of life, were to waste there to murder her. Pisanio presents the criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon message of her husband to Imogen, and she faults too evident for detection and too gross unsuspiciously hastens to meet him. Having for aggravation." Malone imagined Cymbe arrived at a lonely spot, Pisanio communicates line was written A.D. 1605.

the command of Posthumus, which, convinced

of her innocence, he refuses to obey, though THE PLOT.

urged by herself. Hisanio persuades her, in The scene opens in Britain, with a narrative the disgnise of male apparel, to proceed to of Leonatus Posthumus, and the publicity of Milford laven, join the suit of Lucius the his secret marriage with Imogen, the king's ambassador, and depart for Rome. Pisanio only daughter by a former queen. Cymbeline returns to the court, where Imogen having banishes him, and contines the princess in the been missed, Cloten threatens his life unless palace, under the care of the queen, who pre- be discovers his mistress's retreat, which he tends to he her friend, and whose son, Cloten, pretends to do, showing him the feigned letter by a former husband, is destined for her hus- in which Posthumus proposes to meet Imogen. hand. Posthumus sails for Rome, where he Having disguised himself in a suit of Posttakes up his abode with Philario, an old friend humus's clothes, furnished him by Pisanio, he of his father's. He here meets with an Italian sets off in pursuit of Imogen, determined to named Iachimo, who, hearing Posthumus ex- satiate his revenge with the murder of his tol the constancy and beauty of Imogen, rival, and the sacrifice of Imogen to his paswagers ten thousand ducats against the ring sion. Imogen, meanwhile, misses her way, given to Posthumus, on his departure, by faints with hunger, and seeks food and repose Imogen, that he would prevail over her in a cave where Belarius (a lord whom Cymchastity. Iachimo arrives in Britain, and beline had banished twenty years before, for aided by a letter from Posthumus, is admitted being supposed confederate with the Romans, to the presence of Imogen. He is chagrined and who, to avenge himself, stole the two into find all his fattery and persuasion un- fant sons of Cymbeline, Guitarius and Arviavailing: she disdainfully repels his advances, ragus) resided under the assumed name of and he then has recourse to artifice. He tells Morgan, with the young princes (who believe her, that he has a trunk containing valuables, themselves his sons), as Polydore and Cadwal: purchased as a present to his emperor, in they, returning from hunting, discover Imogen, which Posthumus has a share, and finally whom they kindly entertain. Cloten, entering prevails with her to admit the deposit of it in the same forest in pursuit of her, is met by her bed-chamber, for its safe custody during Guiderius, whom he provokes with insulting the night. In this he conceals himself, and at words to slay him. The headless trunk of midnight, whilst Imogen sleeps, he issues Cloten is laid by the body of Imogen, whom forth, takes the bracelet giveu by her husband they suppose dead, but is, in reality, sleeping from her arm, and notes down such particulars from the effect of a drug she has taken. She as might induce Posthumus to believe she had a wakes, and, seeing the dead body, which she


mistakes for that of Posthumus from the dress, pays the tribute demanded, and gives peace she falls into violent grief, is discovered by and tranquillity to his subjects. Lucius, the Roman general, and becomes his page. Posthumus arrives in Britain with the

MORAL. Roman army, ted on by Lucius to war upon the Shakspeare has in this play strongly deBritons for the king's refusing to pay tribute picted the frailties of our nature, and the to Cesar. A battle ensues and Cymbeline is effect of vicious passions on the human mind. on the point of being taken, when he is rescued In the fate of the queen, we behold the worst by Belarius and the young princes, aided by of perfidy justly sacrificed by the arts she had, Posthumus; the Romans are routed, and Lucius with nnnatural ambition, prepared for others; with others made prisoners. The subdued and in reviewing her death and that of Cloten, Lucius, with Imogen as his page, Iachimo, and we may easily call to mind the words of Scrip Posthumus (who was sent to prison and about ture, "Revenge is mine, saith the Lord, and I to be executed on confessing himself a Roman) will repay it." We must blame the villany of are summoned before Cymbeline — Belarius Iachimo, but we can scarcely pity the sufferings relates the death of Cloten, discovers himself of Posthumus, arising, as they did, from his and the real birth of the young princes--the foolish contract with the former; yet all must death of the queen is announced, with her ac- admire the constancy of Imogen. And we knowledgment of her guilt-Cymbeline for- may learn something from the too easy cregives Belarius and embraces his sons, pardons dulity of Cymbeline, to whom we must give Imogen and Posthumus (who thought each credit for his generosity at the close. other dead), releases the Roman prisoners and

Titus Audronirus. " ALL the editors and critics," says Dr. John-| rable to any audience; yet we are told by Jonson," agree with Theobald in supposing this son, that they were not only borne, but praised. play spurious. I see no reason in differing That Shakspeare wrote any part, though The from them; for the colour of the style is bald declares it incontestable, I see no reason for wholly different from that of the other plays, believing. The testimony by which it is asand there is an attempt at regular versifica-cribed to Shakspeare is by no means equal to tion, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, the argument against its authenticity, arising but seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the from the total difference of conduct, language. spectacles, and the general massacre, which and sentiments, by which it stands apart from are exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tole- all the rest."

Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

" There is, I believe," says Malone,“ no play princes to Antioch, the king, to prevent her of our author's-perhaps I might say in the marriage, made a law, that whoever sought English language--so incorrect as this. The her for his wife, and could not resolve a riddle most corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas, that he proposed, should lose his life. Many compared with Pericles, is purity itself. The had thus forfeited their existence, when Perimetre is seldom attended to; verse is fre- cles, Prince of Tyre, became a suitor; but quently printed as prose; and the grossest er- having given some intimation that he had disrors abound in almost every page. I mention covered the riddle, and thereby the abomithese circumstances only as an apology to the nable lust of Antiochus, he is obliged to fly to reader for having taken somewhat more licence his own country, to avoid the danger of the with this drama than would have been justi- king. From thence he hastens to Tharsus, fiable, if the copies of it now extant had been leaving the care of his state in the hands of less disfigured by the negligence and ignorance a trusty minister, Helicanns. Cleon, King of of the printer or transcriber. The numerous Tharsus, kindly receives him ; but word being corruptions that are found in the original edi. sent by Helicanus, that Antiochus was in tion in 1609, which have been carefully pre- search of him, and that he was not safe in served and augmented in all subsequent im- Tharsus, Pericles sajls from thence-is shippressions, probably arose from its having been wrecked-his men and ships lost; and he himfrequently exhibited on the stage. In the four self is cast npon the shore of a territory ruled quarto editions it is called the much-admired by Simonides, called Pentapolis. There he play of PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE; and it is gains the victory in a tournament given on mentioned by many ancient writers as a very account of the birth-day of the king's daughter, popular performance."

Thaisa, whom he marries : here letters are THE PLOT.

brought to him, which narrate the death of

Antiochus and his daughter by lightning, The scene opens in Antioch: Gower (as and that the men of Tyre, impatient of the Chorus) enters, and narrates how King Antio- absence of Pericles, wish to crown Helicanus ; chus, his wife being dead, committed incest but he refuses, and appeases them by promising with his daughter, whose beauty alluring many that, if Pericles did not return in twelve

months, he would accept the crown. Pericles sus to claim his danghter, sees her monument immediately sails for Tyre; but a storm raised by the queen; thinking her dead, he arising, his queen, after bringing forth a departs, overwhelmed with grief, and is borne daughter, is supposed dead, and cast into the by a tempest to Mitylene. There he is sea by the sailors, after Pericles had made awakened from his sorrow by his daughter, known in writing her rank and name. Her who has escaped unblemished from her miserbody is cast upon the shore at Ephesus, where, able confinement; and, to add to his unexafter having been restored to life by the King pected joy, Diana appears in a vision to him, Cerimon, she, in despair of ever beholding her and commands him to offer sacrifices to her at husband again, becomes votaress to Diana. Ephesus. Pericles obeys; and here Thaisa, Meanwhile, Pericles, after having landed at who was high priestess, again embraces her Tharsus, where he leaves his infant daughter lost husband. Marina is wedded to Lysimato the care of the king and queen, proceeds to chus, governor of Mitylene, to whom Pericles Tyre. Marina (the daughter of Pericles) is resigns Tyre, on learning the death of Simobrought up with the greatest attention by nides; and the treacherous Cleon and his Cleon, insomuch that, by her accomplishments queen are burned in their palace by the citiand beauty, she incurs the jealousy of the zens of Tharsus, on learning their base conQueen, Dionyza, for attracting the notice of all duct. to herself, so that her own daughter is quite

MORAL neglected. Dionyza, in consequence, having In this play the victory is judiciously given first got rid of the nurse, Lychorida, hires a to the virtuous, and every reader must rejoice murderer to kill Marina : this man takes her at the escape of Marina; and the end of Anticto the sea-shore, in order to execute his pur-chus and his daughter by lightning is very propose; but she is taken from him by pirates, perly selected by the author, which reminds who hurry her to Mitylene, where she is sold us of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah into a brothel. Pericles, on arriving at Thar-lhy fire, for similar offences,

King Lrar.

“ Tue tragedy of King Lear (says Dr.Johnson), opportunity he gives the poet of combining is deservedly celebrated among the dramas of perfidy with perfidy. I am not able (he conShakspeare. There is perhaps no play which tinues) to apologise with equal plausibility keeps the attention so strongly fixed; which for the extrusion of Gloster's eyes, which seems so much agitates our passions, and interests an act too horrid to be endured in dramatic our curiosity. The artful involutions of distinct exhibition, and such as must always compel interests, the striking oppositions of contrary the mind to relieve its distresses by incredulity: characters, the sudden changes of fortune, and Yet, let it be remembered, our author well the quick succession of events, fill the mind knew what would please the audience for which with a perpetual tumult of indignation, pity, he wrote." Shakspeare has also been blamed and hope. There is no scene which does not for suffering Cordelia to perish in a just cause; contribute to the aggravation of the distress or but he is justified by the Spectator, who blames conduct of the action, and scarce a line which Tate for giving her success and happiness, and does not conduce to the progress of the scene. declares that "in his opinion the tragedy has So owerful is the current of the poet's imagi- lost half its beauty." But it would be difficult nation, that the mind which once ventures to prove the fact. “The original (says Steewithin it, is hurried irresistibly along. On the vens) was supported by Addison :" yet Dr. seeming improbability of Lear's conduct, it Johnson says, “I waz many years ago so may be observed, that he is represented accord- shocked by Cordelia's death that I know not ing to histories at that time vulgarly received whether I should ever have endured to read as true. And, perhaps, if we turn our thoughts again the last scenes of the play till I underupon the barbarity and ignorance of the age to took to revise them as an editor." The critics which this story is referred, it will appear not have doubted whether the prominent image so unlikely as while we estimate Lear's man- in Lear's disordered mind be the loss of his ners by our own. Such preference of oue kingdom or the cruelty of his daughters. daughter to another, or resignation of dominion Murphy has judiciously observed, that the on such conditions, would yet be credible, if latter " is the primary source of his distress, told of a petty prince of Guinea or Madagascar. and the loss of royalty affects him only as a Shakspeare indeed, by the mention of his earls secondary and subordinate evil. That Lear and dukes, has given us the idea of times more would move our compassion but little, did we civilized, and of life regulated by softer man- not rather consider the injured father than the ners; and the truth is, that though he so nicely degraded king." In speaking of the Third Scene, discriminates, and so minutely describes, the Act V., Tyrwhitt says, "If Shakspeare had character of men, he commonly neglects and studied Aristotle all his life, he would not perconfounds the characters of ages, by mingling haps have been able to mark with more precustoms ancient and modern, English and cision the distinct operations of terror and pity." foreign." Dr. Warton thought, that the inter- "The story of this tragedy (says Steevens) had vention of Edmund destroyed the simplicity of found its way into many ballads and other the story, but this "is abundantly recompensed metrical pieces; yet Shakspeare seems to have (Dr. Johnson observes) by the addition of been more indebted to The True Chronicle His. variety, by the art with which he is made tory of king Lear and his Three Daughters, to co-operate with the chief design, and the Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella, 1605, than to all other performances together.” The story is ence he has held with Cordelia, by which they also found in Spenser's Fairy Queen, book ii. learn, that Cordelia has secretly landed with canto 10; in Warner's Albion's England, book iii. forces at Dover, to chastise their cruelty to cap. 15, 1602; and (according to Percy) Camden, Lear. Goneril and the bastard depart for the in his Remains, (p. 306, ed. 1674.) tells a similar purpose of rousing the Duke of St. Albans to story of this Leir or Lear, of Ina, king of the aid in repelling the threatening danger. In West Saxons ; "which, if the thing ever hap- the interim, Gloster, learning the treacherous pened, probably was the real origin of the intentions of his cruel daughters, contrives the fable." Dr. Johnson and Malone both look to means of escape for King Lear and his attendGeoffry of Monmonth, whom Holiushed gene- ants to Dover; which being discovered, and rally copied, as the fountain of the story; but Gloster apprehended, the Duke of Comwall the first thonght Shakspeare to have been tears out one of his eyes; and, having killed a assisted by Sydney, and the latter by Spenser; servant, who wounds the Duke of Cornwall in and Steerens holds the Mirrour of the Vagis protecting Gloster, the cruel Regan plucks ont trates, 1587. “It appears (says Steevens) from the other; in which pitiable state he is thrust the books of the Stationers' Hall, that some from his own doors. Glosteris led forth by one play on this subject was entered by Edward of his old tenants, and meeting with Edgar, White, May 14. 1594." "A book entituled, who is nicknamed Mad Dog, he requests that The most famous Chronicle Hystorie of King Leire, this guide will give Edgar apparel, that he of England, and his three. Daughters.". A piece may become his conductor to Dover. They with the same title is entered again, May 8 arrive at their destination, where they meet 1605; and again in Nov. 26, 1607. Malone King Lear, whois mad, and does not know them, believed it was written A.D. 1605.

In the meanwhile, the British and French

prepare for battle; the former cominanded by THE PLOT.

the Duke of Albany, who has a hatred for the The scene opens in the palace of King Lear, cruelty of Goneril and Regan, and whose life is with a dialogue between the earls of Kent and threatened by his duchess, who is in love with Gloster, and Edmund the bastard, son of the the bastard, with whom also, the Duke of latter; which is followed by the entrance of Cornwall being dead of his wound, Rezan is King Lear and his daughters, Goneril, Regan, enamoured; all which is discovered by Edgar, and Cordelia, amongst whom he is about to who slays the steward of Goneril (who is aldivide his kingdom. King Lear, after ques- | tempting to kill his father), by a letter found tioning the love of each, deceived by their pre- upon him, directed to the bastard. Edgar tended extreme affection, unjustly gives his having provided safety for his father, enters dominions between Goneril and Regan, wives the British camp, and delivers a letter to the of the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall, imagining Duke of Albany. Soon after, the battle being that Cordelia does not regard him with affection; fonght, Edgar again seeks his father, tells him and he banishes the Earl of Kent for pleading that Lear has lost the day, and, with his in her behali. The King of France and the daughter Cordelia, is taken prisoner, and leads Duke of Burgundy, having long sought to win him off: soon after which, the Earl expires, Cordelia, they are sent for by Lear, and in- The Duke of Albany demands the royal priformed, that her only dowry is his curse. The soners of the bastard, Edmund, who has sent Duke declines & portionless duchess, but the them to the castle in the custody of an officer, king confirms his love, by nobly choosing his creature. A dispute follows between the Cordelia as his queen, for her virtue's sake. two sisters, Goneril and Regan, for the posses. They depart for France; and Generil and

sion of the person of the bastard, which is Regan, with the dukes, their husbands, for ended by the Duke arresting Edmund as a their palaces; the first taking King Lear and traitor, which a berald proclaims, according to his train of a hundred attendants with her, to Edgar's instructions to the Duke who appears abide a month. She, however, having so con- armed, preceded by a trumpeter, and answers eerted it with Regani, drives Lear, by unkind the herald, by offering to prove the truth of treatment, from her palace; and the King the accusation upon Edmund's body. They dispatches Kent (who has in disguise become fight, and Edmund is slain. Edgar recounts his old master's servant) to announce his coming his own, his father's, and Kent's woes; which to Regan and the Duke of Cornwall; who, in are scarcely ended, when an otficer enters with conseqnence of aquarrel with Goneril's steward, a bloody knife, with which Goneril bas de set Kent in the stocks. Jear arrives at the stroyed herself, confessing with her last breath Earl of Gloster's castle, liberates Kent, and that she had poisoned her sister Regan. Their being refused a shelter by his daughter Regan bodies are brought in, when the bastard confor any but himself, in which Goneril agrees, fesses (who is afterwards carried out, and dies) who has followed him), he is driven forth to the that he had sent an order to the castle for the mercy of the elements, in a stormy night, the execution of Lear and Cordelia, which Edgar Duke of Cornwall and his daughters refusing hastens to prevent; but returns with King Gloster the privilege of sheltering his houseless Lear bearing the dead body of Cordelia in his sovereign in his own castle, King Lear, wan- arms, having killed the slave who strangled dering in the storm, meets Edgar, son of his daughter; and after lamenting her, he Gloster, who has been belied and betrayed by expires with grief. his bastard brother, Edmund, and outlawed hy his father, who is persuaded by Edmund, that

MORAL. be attempted his, the Earl's life. Gloster finds

In this tragedy, Shakspeare no doubt in. Lear and Kent, &c., and relieves him; during tended particularly to mark the afflicting which time, Edmund betrays his father's confid- of children's ingratitude to their parents; and ence to the Duke of Cornwall, in a correspond- / in the conduct of Goneril and Regan to each

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other, especially in the the former's poisoning | being, fed them, nurtured them to man's estate) the latter, and saying violent hands on herself, will not scruple to commit more barbarous we are taught, that those who want gratitude crimes, and easily to forget that by destroying towards their parents (who gave them their | their body, they destroy their soul also.

Komro and Juliet.

" This play," says Dr. Johnson,“is one of the tague and Capulet, the heads of which are at most pleasing of our author's performances. variance with each other. Romeo, son to MonThe scenes are busy and various, the incidents tague, is deeply in love with a maider, named numerous and important, the catastrophe irre- Rosaline. By the advice, however, of his friend sistibly affecting, and the process of the action Benvolio, he attends, unmasked, an entertaincarried on with such probability, at least with ment given by Capulet, where he becomes such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy enamoured of Juliet, his daughter. Incited by requires. Here is one of the few attempts of love, he climbs, at night, the garden wall, and Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gen- hears Juliet complaining at her window, that he tlemen, to represent the airy sprightliness of who had gained her affection was named Romeo, juvenile elegance. Dryden mentions a tradi. the son of her father's enemy. In the conversation, which might easily reach his time, oftion which follows, Juliet promises Romeo to a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he send the Nurse on the morrow, to learn of was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third act, lest he him what plan can be adopted to fulfil the obshould have been killed by him. Yet he thinks ject of their mutual wish. By Romeo's perhim no such formidable person, but that he might suasion, Lawrence, a Franciscan Friar, marrie; have lived through the play, without danger to them, unknown to their friends. Scarcely is the poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in their union completed, when Romeo, with his quest of truth, in a pointed sentence, that more friends Mercutio and Benvolio, meeting Tybalt, regard is commonly had to the words than the nephew to Capulet, with others of his party, a thought, and that is very seldom to be rigo- scuffle ensues, in which Mercutio is killed by rously understood."

Tybalt, and Tybalt, in his turn, by Romeo, “The original relater (observes Malone) of who, in consequence, is banished. Paris, kinsthe story on which this play is formed, was man to the Prince of Verona, is the husband Luigi da Porto, a gentleman of Verona. "His chosen for Juliet by her parents : but on bearnovel was first printed at Venice, under the title ing this, she goes to the Friar, and, by his adof La Giulietta, in the year 1535. Agair, 1539, vice, takes a potion, which causes a death-like and 1553." In 1554 Bandello published, at sleep; so that, on the day appointed for her Lucca, a novel on the same subject; shortly marriage with Paris, she being thought dead, afterwards Boisteau exhibited one in French, I is buried in the tomb of the Capulets; whilst founded on the Italian narratives, but varying the Friar, according to his promise, sends to from them. In 1562 the same story was formed Romeo (who had retired to Mantua) in order into an English Poem, &c. by Arthur Brooke; that he might come to Verona, and, when printed by Richard Tottle, with the following Juliet awoke, carry her with him to Mantua; title: The Tragical Ilystory of Romeus and Juliet, but the messenger from the Friar is, by some containing a rare Example of true Constancie; accident, detained ; and the servant of Romeo with the subtill Counsels and Practices of an old flies and tells his lord of the reported death of Fryer, and their ill event. Though Shakspeare Juliet. Romeo, having purchased some poison, had read Painter's Novel, his play was undoubt- comes to Verona, and is directed by his seredly formed on the Puem of Arthur Brooke. vant to the toinb in which Juliet is laid, which Malone says, “In 1570 was entered on the he enters alone; but being disturbed by Paris, Stationers' books, by Henry Bynneman, The who had come to bewail her, he is provoked to Ritifull Hystory of ij loving Italians, which I fight him, and Paris is killed. Romeo then suspect was a prose narrative of the story on takes the poison, and dies. Soon after, the which our author's play is constructed," Stre- Friar comes, and sees Juliet revived, but vens says, " We are not yet at the end of our Romeo dead. He, on being alarmed by some discoveries relative to the originals of our au- ! watchmen, flies, and leaves Juliet, who, in the thor's dramatic pieces.” According to whoin, moment of her agony, stabs herself, and falls the first prologue to this play was published in beside her ill-fated husband. The two hostile 1697.

families, with the Prince, on report of this, THE PLOT.

assemble around the spot, and, seeing the un

happy effects of their animosities, are by the The scene opens in Verona, with a quarrel Prince persuaded to join their hands in mutual between the partisans of the houses of Mon- reconciliation.

Damirt, Priure of Drumark.

"If the dramas of Shakspeare,” says Dr. John- | the rest, we must allow to the tragedy of Ilanson,“ were to be characterized, each by the par- let the praise of variety. The incidents are ticular excellence which distinguish's it from so numerous, that the argument of the play

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