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which the writer does not appear to have 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 ballad-maker 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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