Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Nahum Tate
Editor: Lynne Bradley
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)

Since by mistakes your best delights are made,
5(For ev'n your wives can please in masquerade)
'Twere worth our while t'have drawn you in this day
By a new name to our old honest play.
But he that did this evening's treat prepare
Bluntly resolved before-hand to declare
10Your entertainment should be most old fare.
Yet hopes, since in rich Shakespeare's soil it grew,
'Twill relish yet with those whose tastes are true,
And his ambition is to please a few.
If then this heap of flowers shall chance to wear
15Fresh beauty in the order they now bear,
Ev'n this Shakespeare's praise. Each rustic knows
'Mongst plenteous flowers a garland to compose,
Which strung by his course hand may fairer show,
But 'twas a power divine first made 'em grow.
20Why should these scenes lie hid, in which we find
What may at once divert and teach the mind?
Morals were always proper for the stage,
But are even necessary in this age.
Poets must take the churches teaching trade,
25Since priests their province of intrigue invade.
But we the worst in this exchange have got,
In vain our poets preach, whilst church-men plot.