Internet Shakespeare Editions

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  • Title: King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)
  • Author: Nahum Tate
  • Editor: Lynne Bradley

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    Author: Nahum Tate
    Editor: Lynne Bradley
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)

    Inconstancy, the reigning sin of the age,
    Will scarce endure true lovers on the stage.
    You hardly even in plays with such dispense,
    And poets kill them in their own defense.
    2530Yet one bold proof I was resolved to give,
    That I could three hours' constancy outlive.
    You fear, perhaps, whilst on the stage we are made
    Such saints, we shall indeed take up the trade.
    Sometimes we threaten -- but our virtue may
    2535For truth I fear with your pit-valor weigh.
    For (not to flatter either) I much doubt
    When we are off the stage, and you are out,
    We are not quite so coy, nor you so stout.
    We talk of nunneries -- but to be sincere,
    2540Whoever lives to see us cloistered there,
    May hope to meet our critics at Tangier.
    For shame, give over this inglorious trade
    Of worrying poets, and go maul the Alcade.
    Well -- since you are all for blustering in the pit,
    2545This play's reviver humbly does admit
    Your absolute power to damn his part of it.
    But still so many master-touches shine
    Of that vast hand that first laid this design,
    That in great Shakespeare's right, he's bold to say
    2550If you like nothing you have seen today
    The play your judgment damns, not you the play.