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borrowed, was not published till that year. It must have been produced before the Christmas of 1606; for, in the entry of Lear on the Stationers' Register, on the 26th of November, 1607, it is expressly recorded to have been played, during the preceding Christmas, before his majesty at Whitehall. Malone places the date of the composition in 1605; Dr.
Drake in 1604.
* Of this noble tragedy, one of the first productions of the noblest of poets, it is scarcely possible to express our admiration in adequate terms Whether considered as an effort of art, or as a picture of the passions, it is entitled to the highest praise. The two portions of which the fable consists, involving the fate of Lear and his daughters, and of Gloster and his sons, influence each other in so many points, and are blended with such consummate skill, that whilst the imagination is delighted by diversity of circumstances, the judgment is equally gratified in viewing their mutual coöperation towards the final result; the coalescence being so intimate, as not only to preserve the necessary unity of action, but to constitute one of the greatest beauties of the piece.
6 Such, indeed, is the interest excited by the structure and concatenation of the story, that the attention is not once suffered to flag. By a rapid succession of incidents, by sudden and overwhelming vicissitudes, by the most awful instances of misery and destitution, by the boldest contrariety of characters, are curiosity and anxiety kept progressively increasing, and with an impetus so strong as nearly to absorb every faculty of the mind and every feeling of the heart.
66 Victims of frailty, of calamity, or of vice, in an age remote and barbarous, the actors in this drama are brought forward with a strength of coloring, which, had the scene been placed in a more civilized era, might have been justly deemed too dark and ferocious, but is not discordant with the earliest heathen age of Britain. The effect of this style of characterization is felt, occasionally, throughout the entire play; but it is particularly visible in the delineation of the vicious personages of the drama; the parts of Goneril, Regan, Edmund, and Cornwall, being loaded not only with ingratitude of the deepest dye, but with cruelty of the most savage and diabolical nature: they are the criminals, in fact, of an age where vice may be supposed to reign with lawless and gigantic power, and in which the extrusion of Gloster's eyes might be such an event as
not unfrequently occurred. Had this mode of casting his characters in the extreme, been applied to the remainder of the dramatis person@, we should have lost some of the finest lessons of humanity and wisdom that ever issued from the pen of an uninspired writer; but, with the exception of a few coarsenesses, which remind us of the barbarous period to which the story is referred, and of a few incidents rather revolting to credibility, but which could not be detached from the original narrative, the virtuous agents of the play exhibit the manners and the feelings of civilization, and are of that mixed fabric which can alone display a just portraiture of the nature and composition of our species.
“ The characters of Cordelia and Edgar, it is true, approach nearly to perfection; but the filial virtues of the former are combined with such exquisite tenderness of heart, and those of the latter, with such bitter humiliation and suffering, that grief, indignation, and pity, are instantly excited. Very striking representations are also given of the rough fidelity of Kent, and of the hasty credulity of Gloster; but it is in delineating the passions, feelings, and afflictions of Lear, that our Poet has wrought up a picture of human misery which has never been surpassed, and which agitates the soul with the most overpowering emotions of sympathy and compassion.
66 The conduct of the unhappy monarch having been founded merely on the impulses of sensibility, and not on any fixed principle or rule of action, no sooner has he discovered the baseness of those on whom he had relied, and the fatal mistake into which he had been hurried by the delusions of inordinate fondness and extravagant expectation, than he feels himself bereft of all consolation and resource. Those to whom he had given all, for whom he had stripped himself of dignity and power, and on whom he had centred every hope of comfort and repose in his old age, his inhuman daughters, having not only treated him with utter coldness and contempt, but sought to deprive him of all the respectability, and even of the very means of existence, what, in a mind so constituted as Lear's, the sport of intense and ill-regulated feeling, and tortured by the reflection of having deserted the only child who loved him, what but madness could be expected as the result? It was, in fact, the necessary consequence of the reciprocal action of complicated distress and morbid sensibility; and, in describing the approach of this dreadful infliction, in
tracing its progress, its height, and subsidence, our Poet has displayed
An anonymous writer, who has instituted a comparison between the
In the same work from whence this is extracted, will be found an article, entitled “ Theatralia,” attributed to the pen of Mr. Charles Lamb, in which are the following striking animadversions on the liberty taken in changing the catastrophe of this tragedy in representation: The Lear of Shakspeare cannot be acted. The contemptible machinery with which they mimic the storm he goes out in, is not more inadequate to represent the horrors of the real elements, than any actor can be to represent Lear. The greatness of Lear is not in corporal dimension, but in intellectual: the explosions of his passions are terrible as a volcano ; they are storms turning up, and disclosing to the bottom, that rich sea, his
mind, with all its vast riches: it is his mind which is laid bare. This
abuses of mankind. What have looks or tones to do with that sublime
identification of his age with that of the heavens themselves, when, in his
Knights attending on the King, Officers, Messengers,
Soldiers, and Attendants.
هجده جامعه جمعهن لمه :: تسه: مخه ۹۰: فهمهمه هنرهمن ماه ۹۶:دماء الهالمرهدانگو:امن مع تفاهمنامه و استعانته مخه ده. ملحنا نتغانمينه د سندره له ناله ۱۰۰۰ تمت مشاهده شد. نه ساده محمد دانه، نه مست ممننمننتملنامه ها دوخت متتنمضان من عادة مدهامتنعدمة