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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,

I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way,
Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.

This is most strange!
That she, that even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest,4 should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it,5 or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall into taint :8 which to believe of her,


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
Fall into taint:) The common books read:

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
Could never plant in me.

I yet beseech your majesty, (If for I want? that glib and oily art,

same sense:

or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall into taint.
Taint is used for corruption and for disgrace. If therefore we take
the oldest reading it may be reformed thus:

sure her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That inonsters it; or you for vouch'd affection

Fall into taint.
Her offence must be prodigious, or you must fall into reproach for
having vouched affection which you did not feel. If the reading of the
folio be preferred, we may, with a very slight change, produce the

sure her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,'
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection

Falls into taint.
Tnat is, falls into reproach or censure. But there is another possible
sensc. Or signifies before, and or ever is before ever; the meaning in
the folio may therefore be, Sure her crime must be monstrous, before
F'our affection can be affected with hatred. Let the reader determine.--
As I ain not much a friend to conjectural emendation, I should pre-
fer the latter sense, which requires no change of reading. Johnson,

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,
I'll do 't before I speak,) that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour:
But even for want of that, for which I am richer;
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it,
Hath lost me in your liking.

Better thou
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.

France. Is it but this?8 a tardiness in nature,
Which often leaves the history unspoke,
That it intends to do?--My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love is not love,
When it is mingled with respects, that stand
Aloof from the entire point.? Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.2

Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.

Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a father,
That you must lose a husband.

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


of ours,

I shall not be his wife.

France. Fairest Cordelia, that art mcst rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most lov’d, despis'd!
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:
Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.-
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,


and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.-
Bid them farewel, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here,4 a better where to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France : let her be thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again :-

-Therefore be gone, Without our grace, our love, our benizon.Come, noble Burgundy. [Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, Bur. CORN. ALB:

Glo. and Attendants.
France. Bid farewel to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And, like a sister, am most loth to call
Your faults, as they are nam’d. Use well our father :6
To your professed bosoms? I commit him:
But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,.

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.
So farewel to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.

Let your study
Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.!

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.

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