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Thus flattering speeches won renown
By these two sisters here:
The third had causeless banishment,
Yet was her love more dear:
For poor Cordelia patiently
Went wand'ring up and down,
Unhelp'd, unpity'd, gentle maid,
Through many an English town:
Until at last in famous France
She gentler fortunes found;
Though poor and bare, yet she was deem'd
The fairest on the ground:
Where when the king her virtues heard,
And this fair lady seen,
With full consent of all his court
He made his wife and queen.
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
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 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,