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And living in queen Ragan's court,

The eldest of the twain,
She took from him his chiefest means,

And most of all his train.

For whereas twenty men were wont

To wait with bended knee: She gave allowance but to ten,

And after scarce to three.
Nay, one she thought too much for him :

So took she all away,
In hope that in her court, good king,

He would no longer stay.

Am I rewarded thus, quoth he,

In giving all I have
Unto my children, and to beg

For what I lately gave?
I'll go unto my Gonorell;

My second child, I know, Will be more kind and pitiful,

And will relieve my woe.

Full fast he hies then to her court;

Where when she hears his moan Return'd him answer, That she griev'd

That all his means were gone:
But no way could relieve his wants;

Yet if that he would stay
Within her kitchen, he should have

What scullions gave away.
When he had heard with bitter tears,

He made his answer then;
In what I did let me be made

Example to all men.
I will return again, quoth he,

Unto my Ragan's court;
She will not use me thus, I hope,

But in a kinder sort.

Where when he came, she gave command

To drive him thence away:
When he was well within her court,

(She said) he would not stay. Then back again to Gonorell

The woeful king did hie,
That in her kitchen he might have
What scullion boys set by.

But there of that he was deny'd,

Which she had promis'd late:
For once refusing, he should not

Come after to her gate.
Thus 'twixt his daughters, for relief

He wander'd up and down;
Being glad to feed on beggar's food,

That lately wore a crown.

And calling to remembrance then

His youngest daughter's words, That said, the duty of a child

Was all that love affords:
But doubting to repair to her,

Whom he had banish'd so,
Grew frantick mad; for in his mind

He bore the wounds of woe:

Which made him rend his milk-white locks,

And tresses from his head,
And all with blood bestain his cheeks,

With age and honour spread:
To hills and woods, and watry founts,

He made his hourly moan,
Till hills and woods, and senseless things,

Did seem to sigh and groan.

Even thus possest with discontents,

He passed o'er to France,
In hopes from fair Cordelia there

To find some gentler chance :
Most virtuous dame! which when she heard

Of this her father's grief,
As duty bound, she quickly sent

Him comfort and relief:

And by a train of noble peers,

In brave and gallant sort,
She gave in charge he should be brought

To Aganis pus' court;
Whose royal king, with noble mind,

So freely gave consent,
To muster up his knights at arms,

To fame and courage bent.

And so to England came with speed,

To repossess king Leir, And drive his daughters from their thrones

By his Cordelia dear:

Where she, true-hearted noble queen,

Was in the battle slain :
Yet he good king, in his old days,

Possest his crown again.
But when he heard Cordelia's death,

Who died indeed for love
Of her dear father, in whose cause

She did this battle move ;
He swooning fell upon her breast,

From whence he never parted ::
But on her bosom left his life,

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 bave 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.

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