Glo. Kent banish'd thùs ! And France in choler parted !
And the king gone to-night! subscrib’d, his power! 9
Confin'd to exhibition ! 10 All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund! How now? what news ?
Edm. So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the letter.
Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let 's see: come; if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Edmi I beseech you, Sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o'er-looking. 12

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

Glo. Let 's see, let 's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue. 14

Glo. [Reads.] „This policy, and reverence 15 of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times; 16 keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny, 17. who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till

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9) So die Qs. to subscribe kommt auch sonst = unterwerfen, vor. Die Fol. hat prescrib'd

his power. 10) Lear ist auf ein bestimmtes ihm ausgesetztes Einkommen beschränkt. In diesem Sinne

kommt exhibition öfter vor. 11) upon the gad auf's Gerathewohl, unüberlegt. to gad bezeichnet als Verbum ein

vages, zweckloses Umherschweifen, und in ähnlichem Sinne wird das Wort hier sub

stantivisch gebraucht. 12) Die Qs. not fit for your liking. 13) in part geht darauf, dass er den Brief erst theilweise gelesen haben will. 14) Als eine Prüfung oder Erprobung meiner Tugend. essay ist eine ältere Form für

das jetzige assay, und taste ist, nach Staunton's Meinung, mit test identisch. 15) and reverence, das in den Os. fehlt, ist vielleicht erst später vom Dichter eingeschoben.

Gloster liest den Anfang des Briefes leise, worin sich der Schreiber über die Staatseinrichtung (policy) beklagt, welche aus Ehrfurcht vor dem Alter die Väter in

lebenslänglichem, ausschliesslichem Besitz ihres Vermögens sicher stellt. 16) Unsere beste Zeit, d. h. die Jugendzeit. 17) Der Druck, den die Tyrannei des Alters über die Jugend ausübt, erscheint ihm als

eine zwecklose und thörichte Knechtschaft für die letztere.

I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR.“ – Humph! – Conspiracy! – „Sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue.“ My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this ? a heart and brain to breed it in? When came this to you? Who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord; there's the cunning of it: I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your brother's ?

Edm. If the matter 18 were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.
Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Has he never before sounded you in this business?

Edm. Never, my lord: but I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declined, 19 the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain! His very opinion in the letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah, seek him; I 'll apprehend him. 20 Abominable villain ! Where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, 21 if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. 22 I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, 23 and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you so ?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.


18) Dem character, der Handschrift des Briefes, wird matter, der Inhalt desselben, gegen

übergestellt, wie gleich nachher der hand, im Sinne von character, das heart. 19) Die Qs. declining. Im Othello (A. 3, Sc. 3.) heisst es: I am declined into the vale of years.

In Glosters vorhergehender Rede haben die Qs. heretofore für before der Fol. 20) Die Qs. I, apprehend him. 21) where gebraucht Sh. oft im Sinne von whereas, wie umgekehrt whereas bei ihm für

where vorkommt. 22) Bei dem Ausbruch eines ungerechten Misstrauens gegen Edgar würde dessen kindlicher

Gehorsam in seinem innersten Kerne zertrümmert werden. 23) your honour ist hier nicht wie eben vorher your own honour zu verstehen, sondern

der Titel, mit dem Edmund hier, wie gleich nachher in if your honour judge it meet,

seinen Vater anredet. 21) pretence of danger gefährlicher Anschlag. Die Qs. lesen einfach dafür to no farther


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