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The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,
Cor. Nothing, my lord.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
Lear. How, how, Cordelia ?ô mend your speech a little,
my lord, You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I Return those duties back as are right fit, Obey you, love you, and most lionour you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say, They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, That iord, whose hard must take my plight, shall carry Half my love with him, half my care, and duty: Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all.?
Lear. But goes this with thy heart ?
3 Strive to be interess'd ;] To interest and to interesse, are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but are two distinct words thought of the same import; the one being derived from the Latin, the other from the French interesser. Steeveris. to draw -] The quarto reads-what can you say, to win.
Steevens. 5 Lear. Nothing? Cor. Nothing.] These two speeches are wanting in the quartos.
Steevens. 6 How, how, Cordelia ?] Thus the folio. The quartos read-Go to,
Stoevens. ? To love my father all.] These words are restored from the first edition, without which the sense was not complete. Pope.
8 But goes this with thy heart?] Thus the quartos, and thus I have no doubt Shakspeare wrote, this kind of inversion occurring often in his plays, and in the contemporary wriiers. So, in Xing Henry VIII:
and make your house our Tower." Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
That many may be meant " By the fool multitude.” See Vol. IV, p. 358, n. 7. The editor of the folio, not understanding this kind of phraseology,
Ay, good may loral. Lear. So young, and so untender 29 Cor. So young, my lord, and true.
Lear. Let it be so,—Thy truth then be thy dower: For, by the sacred radiance of the sun ; The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operations of the orbs, From whom we do exist, and cease to be; Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee, from this,2 for ever. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation3 messes To gorge his appetite, shall to
Good my liege, -
substituted the more common form-But goes thy heart with this? as in the next line he reads, Ay, my good lord, instead of-Ay, good my lord, the reading of the quartos, and the constant language of Shakspeare. Malone. 9 So young, and so untender?] So, in Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis.
“ Ah me, quoth Venus, young, and so unkind.?" Malone. i The mysteries of Hecate,] The quartos have mistress, the folio miseries. The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio, who likewise substituted operations in the next line for operation, the reading of the original copies. Malone. 2 Hold thee, from this,] i. e. from this time. Steevens.
generation -] i. e. his children. Malone. 4 I lood her most,] So, in Holinshed: “. - which daughters he greatly loved, but especially Cordeilla, the youngest, farre above the two elder." Malone.
5 [To Gordelia.] As Mr. Heath su poses, to Kent. For in the next words Lear sends for France and Burgundy to offer Cordelia without a dowry. Steevens.
Mr. M. Mason observes, that Kent did not yet deserve such treatment from the King, as the only words he had uttered were “Good my liege.” Reed.
Surely such quick transitions or inconsistencies, which ever they are called, are perfectly suited to Lear's character. I have no doubt that
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Revenue, execution of the rest,
father, as my master follow'd,
Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
the direction now given is right. Kent has hitherto said nothing that could extort even from the choleric king so harsh a sentence, having only interposed in the mildest manner. Afterwards indeed when he remonstrates with more freedom, and calls Lear a madman, the king exclaims--" Out of my sight!” Malone.
Only we still retain —] Thus the quarto. Fclio: we shall retain. Malone.
all the additions to a king ;] All the titles belonging to a king. See Vol. XII, p. 85. n. 5. Malone.
execution of the rest,] The execution of the rest is, I suppose, all the other business. Johnson.
9 As my great patron thought on in my prayers,] An allusion to the custom of clergymen praying for their patrons, in what is commonly Galled the bidding prayer. Henley.
See also note to the epilogue to King Henry IV, Part II, Vol. IX, p. 193, n. 1. Reed.
1 Thinks't thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, &c.] I have given this passage according to the old folio, from which the modern edi. rions have silently departed, for the sake of better numbers, with a
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's
Kent, on thy life, no more.
degree of insincerity, which, if not sometimes detected and censured, must impair the credit of ancient books. One of the editors, and per. haps only one, knew how much mischief may be done by such clan. destine alterations. The quarto agrees with the folio, except that for reserve thy state, it gives, rever se thy doom, and has stoops, instead of falls to folly. The meaning of answer my life my judgment, is, Let my life be answerable for my judgment, or, I will stake my life on my opinion. The reading which, without any right, has possessed all the modern copies, is this:
- to plainness honour
Thy youngest daughter, &c. I am inclined to think that reverse thy doom was Shakspeare's first reading, as more apposite to the present occasion, and that he changed it afterwards to reserve thy state, which conduces more to the progress of the action. Fohnson.
I have followed the quartos. Reserve was formerly used for preserve. So, in our poet's 52d Sonnet:
“ Reserve them for my love, not for their rhymes.” 2 Reverbs – ] This is, perhaps, a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates. Steevens.
- a pawn
To wage against thine enemies;] i.e. I never regarded my life, as my own, but merely as a thing of which I had the possession, not the property ;
and which was entrusted to me as a pawn or pledge, to be employed in waging war against your enemies.
To wage against is an expression used in a Letter from Guil. Webbe to Robt. Wilmot, prefixed to Tancred and Gismund, 1592:
you shall not be able to wage against me in the charges growing upon this action.” Steevens.
My life &c.] That is, I never considered my life as of more value than that of the commonest of your subjects. A pawn in chess, is a common man, in contradistinction to the knight; and Shakspeare has several allusions to this game, particularly in King John:
Thy safety being the motive.
Out of my sight!
Lear. Now, by Apollo, -
Now, by Apollo, king,
0, vassal! miscreant!
[Laying his Hand on his Sword. Alb. Corn. Dear sir, forbear.6
Hear me, recreant ! On thine allegiance hear me!Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet) and, with strain’d pride, To come betwixt our sentence and our power;9 (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear)
“ Who painfully with much expedient march,
“ Have brought a counter-check before your gates." Again, in King Henry V:
Therefore take heed how you impawn our person.” Heniey. * The true blank of thine eye.] The blank is the white or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. See better, says Kent, and keep me always in your view. Johnson. See Vol. VI, p. 150, n. 9. Malore.
by Apollo, -] Bladud. Lear's father, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, attempting to fly, fell on the temple of Apolio, and was killed. This circumstance our author must have noticed, both in Holinshed's Chronicle and The Mirrour for Magistrates. Malone.
Are we to understand from this circumstance, that the son swears by Apollo, because the father broke his neck on the temple of that deity? Steevens. 6 Dear sir, forbear.] This speech is omitted in the quartos.
Steevens. thy gift;] The quartos read-thy doom. Steevens.
strain'd pride,] The oldest copy reads-strayed pride ; that is, pride exorbitant; pride passing due bounds. Johnson.
9 To come betwixt our sentence and our power;] Power, for execa. tion of the sentence. Warburton.
Rather, as Mr. Edwards observes, our power to execute that sentence. Steedens.