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Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made
me, I tell you all her wealth.–For you, great king,
This is most strange!
4 Most best, most dearest;] Thus the quartos. The folios read The best, the dearest
Steevens. We have just had more worthier, and in a preceding passage more richer. The same phraseology is found often in these plays and in the contemporary writings. Malone.
such unnatural degree, Thai monsters it,] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in Coriolanus:
" But with such words that are but rooted in
“ Your tongue.” Again, ibidem:
No, not with such friends, " That thought them sure of you.” Three of the modern editors, however, in the passage
before us, have substituted ds for That. Malone.
That monsters it,] This uncommon verb occurs again in CoriolaNUE, Act II, sc. ii:
“ To hear my nothings monster'd.” Steevens.
or your fore-vouch'd affection
or your fore-vouch'd affection Fail'n into taint: This line has no clear or strong sense, nor is this reading authorised by any copy, though it has crept into all the late editions. The early quarto reads:
or you, for vouch'd affections, Fall'n into tainti The folio:
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
I yet beseech your majesty, (If for I want? that glib and oily art,
or your fore-vouch'd affection
sure her offence
Fall into taint.
sure her offence
Falls into taint.
The meaning of the passage as I have printed it (fall’n into taint] is, I think, Either her ollence must be monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such ofience, the affection which you always pro. fessed to have for her must be tainted and decayed, and is now without reason alienated from her.
I once thought the reading of the quartos right-or you, for vouch'd affections, &c. i. e. on account of the extravagant professions made by her sisters: but I did not recollect that France had not heard these. However, Shakspeare might himself have forgot this circum. tance. The plural affections favours this interpretation.
The interpretation already given, appears to me to be supported by our author's words in anviher place:
“ When love begins to sicken and decay,” &c. Malone. The present reading which is that of the folio, is right; and the sense will be clear, without even the slight amendment proposed by Johnson, to every reader who shall consider the word must, as referring to fall as well as to be. Her offence must be monstrous, or the foriner affection which you professed for her, must fall into taint; ihat is, become the subject of reproach. M. Mason.
T'aint is a term belonging to falconry. So, in The Booke of Haukyng, &c. bl. 1. no date: “ A taint is a thing that goeth overthwart the fethers, &c. like as it were eaten with wormes." Steevens.
? If for I want &c.] If this be my offence, that I want the glid and oily art, &c. Malone.
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
France. Is it but this?8 a tardiness in nature,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a father,
Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love,
For has the power of because. Thus, in p. 154:
“ For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
“ Lag of a brother.” Steevens. 8 Is it but this? &c.] Thus the folio. The quartos, disregarding metre
Is it no more but this? &c. Steevens.
with respects,] i. e. with cautious and prudential considera:. tions. See Vol. XII, p. 66, n. 3. Thus the quartos. The folio has--regards. Malone.
- from the entire point.] Single, unmixed with other considerations. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is right. The meaning of the passage is, that his love wants something to mark its sincerity:
" Who seeks for aught in love but love alone.” Steevens. 2 She is herself a dowry:] The quartos read:
She is herself and dower. Steevens. 3 Royal Lear,] So the quarto ; the folio has-Royal king. Steerens
I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art mcst rich, being poor;
and our fair France:
Lear. Thou hast her, France : let her be thine; for we
-Therefore be gone, Without our grace, our love, our benizon.Come, noble Burgundy. [Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, Bur. CORN. ALB:
Glo. and Attendants.
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
4 Thou losest here,] Here and where have the power of nours: Thou losest this residence to find a better residence in another place.
Fohnson So, in Churchyard's Farewel to the World, 1592:
“ That growes not here, takes roote in other where." See Vol. VI, p. 341, n. 9. Steevens.
5 The jewels -- ] As this reading affords sense, though an aukward one, it may stand: and yet Ye instead of The, a change adopted by former editors, may be justified; it being frequently impossible, in ancient MSS. to distinguish the one word from the customary abbreviation of the other. Steevens.
Use well our father:] So the quartos. The folio readsLove well. Malone.
professed bosoms - ] All the ancient editions read-pro fessed. Mr. Pope-professing ; but, perhaps, unnecessarily, as Shak. speare of:en uses one participle for the other ;-longing for longed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and all obeying for all-obeyed in Antoniy and Cleopatra. Suecens.
I would prefer him to a better place.
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning2 hides ; Who cover faults,3 at last shame them derides.
8 Prescribe not us our duties. J Prescribe was used formerly without to subjoined. So, in Massinger's Picture:
Shall I prescribe you, “ Or blame your fondness.” Malone. • At fortune's alms.] The same expression occurs again in Othello.
“ And shoot myself up in some other course,
“ To fortune's alms." Steevens. 1 And well are worth the want that you have wanted. } You are well deserving of the want of dower that you are without. So, in The
Third Part of King Henry VI, Act. IV, sc.i: “ Though I want a kingdom,” i.e. though I am without a kingdom. Again, in Stowe's Chronicle, p. 137: “ Anselm was expelled the realm, and wanted the whole profits of his bishoprick," i. e. he did not receive the profits, &c. Tollet.
Thus the folio. In the quartos the transcriber or compositor inadyertently repeated the word worth. They read:
“ And well are worth the worth that you have wanted.” This, however, may be explained by understanding the second worth in the sense of wealth. Malone. plaited cunning – ]i. e. complicated, involved cunning:
Johnson. I once thought that the author wrote plated :-cunning superinduced, thinly spread over. So, in this play:
Plate sin with gold, “ And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks." But the word unfold, and the following lines in our author's Rape of Lucrece, show, that plaited, or (as the quartos have it) pleated, is the true reading :
For that he colour'd with his high estate,
“ Hiding base sin in pleats of majesty.” Malone. 3 Who cover faults, &c.] The quartos read:
Who covers faults, at last shame them derides. The former editors read with the folio:
Who covers faults at last with shaine derides. Steevens. Mr. M. Mason believes the folio, with the alteration of a letter, to be the right reading :
Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides,
Who covert faults at last with shame derides. The word who referring to time.