« ElőzőTovább »
Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state,
Kent. Who hath he left behind him general ?
Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any
0, then it mov'd her. Gent. Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove Who should express her goodliest. You have seen Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears Were like;-a better way. Those happy smiles", it was fit that some pretext for getting rid of him should be formed before the play was too near advanced towards a conclusion. Decency required that a monarch should not be silently shuffled into the pack of insignificant characters; and therefore his dismission (which could be effected only by a sudden recall to his own dominions) was to be accounted for before the audi
For this purpose, among others, the present scene was introduced. It is difficult to say what use could have been made of the king, had he appeared at the head of his own armament, and survived the murder of bis queen. His conjugal concern on the occasion might have weakened the effect of Lear's paternal sorrow; and being an object of respect as well as pity, he would naturally have divided the spectator's attention, and thereby diminished the consequence of Albany, Edgar, and Kent, whose exemplary virtues deserved to be ultimately placed in the most conspicuous point of view.—Steevens.
4 Both the quartos read, 'were like a better way. Steevens
5 The quartos read smilets, which may be a diminutive of the poet's coining.
That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
You have seen
Were like ; a better way.” • That is, Cordelia's smiles and tears were like the conjunction of sunshine and rain, in a better way or manner. Now in what did this better way consist? Why simply in the smiles seeming unconscious of the tears; whereas the sunshine has a watery look through the falling drops of rain
Those happy smiles,
What guests were in her eyes.” * That the point of comparison was neither a “better day,” nor
“ wetter May,” is proved by the following passages, cited by Steevens and Malone:
::-"Her tears came dropping down like rain in sanshine."-Sidney's Arcadia, p. 244. Again, p. 163, edit. 1593:-“ And with that she prettily smiled, which mingled with her tears, one could not tell whether it were a mourning pleasure, or a delightful sorrow; but like when a few April drops are scattered by a gentle zephyrus among fine-coloured flowers.” Again, in A Courtlie Controversie of Cupid's Cautels, &c. translated from the French by H, W.[Henry Wotton], 1578, p. 289 :—“ Who hath viewed in the spring time raine and sunneshine in one moment, might beholde the troubled countenance of the gentlewoman-with an eye now smyling, then bathed in
"I may just observe, as perhaps an illustration, that the better way of CHARITY is that the right hand should not know what the left hand giveth.'
6 Steevens would read dropping, but as must be understood to signify as if. I do not think that jeweled pendants were in the
Made she no verbal question ? ?
It is the stars,
Why, good sir? poet's mind. A similar beautiful thought in Middleton's Game of Chess has caught the eye
Upon the bashful rose.'
i. e. let not pity be supposed to exist. It is not impossible but Shakspeare might have formed this fine picture of Cordelia's agony from holy writ, in the conduct of Joseph, who, being no longer able to restrain the vehemence of his affection, commanded all his retinue from his presence; and then wept aloud, and discovered himself to his brethren.—Theobald.
9 That is, ' her outcries were accompanied with tears.
Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own
unkindness, That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights To his dog-hearted daughters,-these things sting His mind so venomously, that burning shame Detains him from Cordelia. Gent.
Alack, poor gentleman! Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you
heard not! Gent. 'Tis so, they are afoot.
Kent. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear, And leave you to attend him: some dear cause Will in concealment
wrap me up awhile;
SCENE IV. The same.
Enter CORDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers.
Cor. Alack, 'tis he; why, he was met even now As mad as the vex'd sea: singing aloud; Crown'd with rank fumiter ?, and furrow weeds, With harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, Darnel?, and all the idle weeds that
12 Important business.
1 i. e. fumitory, written by the old herbalists fumittery. Mr. Boucher suggests that furrow should be furrow, fær, empty.
2 The quartos read hardocks, the folio hardokes. Drayton mentions harlocks in one of his Eclogues :
• The honey-suckle, the harlocke,
The lily, and the lady-smocke,' &c. Perhaps the charlock, sinapis arvensis, or wild mustard, may be meant.
3 Darnel, according to Gerard, is the most hurtful of weeds among corn.
In our sustaining corn. -A century send forth ;
What can man's wisdom do 4,
Phy. There is means, madam :
All bless'd secrets,
Enter a Messenger.
Cor. 'Tis known before; our preparation stands
4 Steevens says that do should be omitted as needless to the sense of the passage, and injurious to the metre. Thus in Hamlet:
* Try what repentance can ; What can it not.' Do, in either place, is understood, though suppressed." Do is found in none of the old copies but quarto B.
5 i. e. the reason which should guide it.
6 Important for importunate, as in other places of these plays. See Comedy of Errors, Act v. Sc. 1. The folio reads importuned.