« PreviousContinue »
Gon. No more; the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile; Filths savor but themselves. What have you done? Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed P A father, and a gracious aged man, Whose reverence the head-lugged bear would lick," Most barbarous, most degenerate have you madded Could my good brother suffer you to do it! A man, a prince, by him so benefited f If that the Heavens do not their visible spirits Send quickly down to tame these vile offences, *Twill come, Humanity must perforce prey on itself, Like monsters of the deep.
Gon. Milk-livered man
Alb. See thyself, devil!
Gon. O vain fool!
Alb. Thou changed and self-covered “thing, for shame, Be-monster not thy feature.” Were it my fitness
1 This line is not in the folio.
2 The rest of this speech is also omitted in the folio.
3 “ Gomeril means to say that none but fools would be excited to commiserate those who are prevented from executing their malicious designs, and punished for their evil intention.” Malone doubts whether Goneril alludes to her father; but surely there cannot be a doubt that she does, and to the pity for his sufferings expressed by Albany, whom she means indirectly to call a fool for expressing it.
4 The meaning appears to be, “thou that hast hid the woman under the fiend; thou that hast disguised nature, by wickedness.”
5 It has been already observed that feature was often used for form or
person in general.
To let these hands obey my blood,'
Enter a Messenger.
Alb. What news P
Mess. O my good lord, the duke of Cornwall’s dead; Slain by his servant, going to put out The other eye of Gloster.
Alb. Gloster’s eyes P
Mess. A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse, Opposed against the act, bending his sword To his great master; who, thereat enraged, Flew on him, and amongst them felled him dead; But not without that harmful stroke, which since Hath plucked him after.
Alb. This shows you are above, You justicers, that these our mether crimes So speedily can venge —But, O poor Glosters Lost he his other eye
Mess. Both, both, my lord.— This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer; 'Tis from your sister.
Gon. [Aside.] One way I like this well; * But being widow, and my Gloster with her, May all the building in my fancy pluck Upon my hateful life. Another way, The news is not so tart.—I’ll read and answer. [Evit. Alb. Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
Mess. Come with my lady hither.
Alb. He is not here.
Mess. No, my good lord; I met him back again.
* My blood is my passion, my inclination.
2 Goneril's plan was to poison her sister, to marry Edmund, to murder Albany, and to get possession of the whole kingdom. As the death of Cornwall facilitated the last part of her scheme, she was pleased at it; but disliked it, as it put it in the power of her sister to marry Edmund
Alb. Knows he the wickedness P Mess. Ay, my good lord ; 'twas he informed against him ; *
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment Might have the freer course.
Alb. Gloster, I live To thank thee for the love thou show’dst the king, And to revenge thine eyes.—Come hither, friend; Tell me what more thou knowest. [Eveunt.
SCENE III. The French Camp near Dover.
Enter KENT and a Gentleman.
Kent. Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back, know you the reason f Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, Which since his coming forth is thought of ; which Imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger, That his personal return was most required, And necessary. Kent. Who hath he left behind him general f Gent. The mareschal of France, monsieur le Fer. Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief? Gent. Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence; And now and then an ample tear trilled down Her delicate cheek. It seemed, she was a queen Over her passion; who, most rebel-like, Sought to be king o'er her. Kent. O, then it moved 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
1 This scene is left out in the folio copy.
Were like a better way.' Those happy smiles,”
Rent. Made she no verbal question ?”
Gent. 'Faith, once, or twice, she heaved the name
Pantingly forth, as if it pressed her heart;
Kent. It is the stars,
Kent. Was this before the king returned P
Gent. No ; since.
Kent. Well, sir; the poor, distressed Lear is i' the
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
1 Both the quartos read, “Were like a better way.” Steevens reads, upon the suggestion of Theobald, “a better day.” Warburton reads, “a wetter May.” Malone adopts a part of his emendation, and reads, “a better May.” Mr. Boaden proposes to read,
% her smiles and tears Were like ;-a better way.” 2 The quartos read smilets, which may be a diminutive of the Poet's coining. 3 Steevens would read dropping ; but as must be understood to signify as if.
4 i. e. discourse, conversation.
WOL. VII, 13
Gent. - Why, good sir? Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him; his own unkindness, That stripped her from his benediction, turned 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 P 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 ; When I am known aright, you shall not grieve Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go Along with me. [Ea.eunt.
SCENE IV. The same. A Tent.
Enter CoRDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers.
Cor. Alack, 'tis he why, he was met even now As mad as the vexed sea; singing aloud; Crowned with rank fumiter,” and furrow weeds, With harlocks,” hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, Darnel," and all the idle weeds that grow In our sustaining corn.—A century send forth; Search every acre in the high-grown field, And bring him to our eye. [Evit an Officer.]—What
can man’s wisdom do,”
1 Important business. * i.e. fumitory, written by the old herbalists fumittery. * The quartos read hardocks, the folio hardokes. Drayton mentions harlocks in one of his Eclogues. Perhaps the charlock (sinapis arvensis), or wild-mustard, may be meant. * Darnel, according to Gerard, is the most hurtful of weeds among corn. * Steevens says that do should be omitted as needless and injurious to the metre. Do is found in none of the old copies but quarto B.