Page images

With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous riversi and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.2

Reg. I am made3 of that self metal as my sister,
And prize met at her worth. In my true heart
I find, she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short,—that I profess5
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses ;8


my true heart

and with champains rich'd, With p'enteous rivers -- ] These words are omitted in the quartos. To rich is an obsolete verb. Steevens.

Rich'd is used for enriched, as 'tice for entice, 'bate for abate, strain for constrain, &c. M. Masun. Speuk.] Thus the quartos. This word is not in the folio.

Malone. 3 I am male &c.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads, Sir, I am made of the self-same metal that ту

sister is.

Steevens 4 And prize me at her worth. &c.] I believe this passage should rather be pointed thus:

Anil prize me at her worth, in my true heart

I find, she names &c.
That is, And so may you prize me at her worth, as
I find, that she names, &c. Tyrwhitt.
I believe we should read :

Anil prize you at her worth.
That is, set the same high value upon you that she does.

M. Mason. Prize me at her worth, perhaps means, I think myself as worthy of your favour as she is. Henley.

5 Only she comes too short,—that I profess &c.] That seems to stand without relation, but is referred to finul, the first conjunction being inaccura:ely suppressed. I find that she names my deed, I find that I profess, &c. Yohnson.

The true meaning is this:-"My sister has equally expressed my sentiments, only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself an enemy to all joys but you.”—That I profess, means, in that I profess. M. Mason.

In that, i. e. inasmuch as, I profess myself, &c. Thus the folio. The quartos read:

Only she came short, that I profess," &c. Malone. 6 Which the most precious square of sense possesses ;] Perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. Johnson. So, in a Parenesis to the Prince, by Lord Sterline, 1604: " The square of reason, and the mind's clear eye."

And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.

Then poor Cordelia ! [Aside.
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.

Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom ;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Than that confirm'd' on Goneril.-Now, our joy,4
Although the last, not least ;2 to whose young love


- Ex justo

Golding, in his version of the 6th Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translates

quotiesque rogabat 6. As oft as he demanded out of square." i. e. what was unreasonable. Steevens.

I believe that Shakspeare uses square for the full complement of all the senses. Edwards.

* More richer than my tongue.] The quartos thus: the folio-more ponderous. Steevens.

We should read-their tongue, meaning her sisters. Warburton. I think the present reading right. Fohnson.

: No less in space, validity,] Validity, for worth, value ; not for integrity, or good title. Warburton.

So, in The Devil's Charter, 1607: “ The countenance of your friend is of less value than his councel, yet both of very small validity.Steevens.

confirm’d-] The folio reads, conferrd. Steevens. Why was not this reading adhered to ? It is equally good sense and Detter English. We confer on a person, but we confirm to him.

M. Mason. Now, our joy, &c.] Here the true reading is picked out of two copies. Butter's quarto reads:

But now our joy,
" Although the last, not least in our dear love,

" What can you say to win a third,” &c. The folio:

Now our joy,
Although our last, and least; to whose young love
“ The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,

6. Strive to be int’ress'd. What can you say.” &c. Johnson. 2 Although the last, not least ; &c.] So, in the old anonymous play, King Leir speaking to Mumford:

to thee last of all; “ Not greeted last, 'cause thy desert was small.” Steeverts. Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, written before 1593:

“ The third and last, not least, in our account.” Malone,

The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,
Strive to be interess’d ;3 what can you say, to drawe
A third more opulent than your sisters ? Speak.

Cor. Nothing, my lord.
Lear. Nothing?
Cor. Nothing."
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again.

Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth : I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more, nor less.

Lear. How, how, Cordelia ?6 mend your speech a little, Lest it may mar your

fortunes. Cor.

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you,

and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say,
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care, and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry


iny sisters, To love my father all.?

Lear. But goes this with thy heart ?8

love yoll,



3 Strive to be interessd ;] To interest and to interesse, are not, per. haps, different spellings of the same verb, but are two distinct words though of the same import; the one being derived from the Latin, the other from the French interesser. Steevens. to draw -] The quarto reads—what can you say, to win.

Steevens. 3 Lear. Nothing? Cor. Nothing.] These two speeches are wanting in the quartos.

Steevens. 6 How, how, Cordeliu ?] Thus the folio. The quartos read-Go to,

Steevens. ? 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 ave no doubt Shakspeare wrote, this kind of inversion occurring often in his plays, and in the contemporary writers. So, in King 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, Cor.

Ay, good my lord. Lear. So young, and so untender ?9 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,” for ever. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation3 messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd, As thou my sometime daughter. Kent.

Good my liege, Lear. Peace, Kent ! Come not between the dragon and his wrath : I lov’d her most,4 and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.--Hence, and avoid my sight!

[To CORDELIA 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 unkin:12" Muone. 1 The mysteries of Hecate, ] The quartos have mistress, the filiomiseries. The emendation was made by the editor of the second fulio, who likewise suistituted 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 lov'd her most,] So, in Holinshed: “- - which daughters he grearly loved, but especially Cordeilla, the youngest, farre above the two elder."

Malone. 5 [To Cordelia.] As Mr. Heath supposes, 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
Her father's heart from her!-Call France;-Who stirs?
Call Burgundy.--Cornwall, and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third :
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retaino
The name, and all the additions to a king;?

The sway,

Revenue, execution of the rest,8
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part between you. [Giving the Crown.

Royal Lear
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers,

Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart : be Kent unmannerly
When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old man?
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,



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. Folio: 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 called 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. tions have silently departed, for the sake of better numbers, with a


« PreviousContinue »