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Ay, and for laying autumn's dust.6
Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then there's life in it. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.
[Erit, running; Attendants follow
Edg. Hail, gentle sir.
Sir, speed you: What's your will? Edg. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?
Gent. Most sure, and vulgar: every one hears that, Which can distinguish sound. Edg.
But, by your favour,
Gent. Near, and on speedy foot; the main descry
I thank you, sir: that 's all.
sir. [Exit Gent. Glo. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me; Lct not my worser spiriti tempt me again
Ay, and for laying autumn's dust.] These words are not in the folio. Malone.
For the sake of metre, I have here repeated the preposition-for, which appears to have been accidentally omitted in the old copies.
Steevens. 7 Gent. Good sir,] These words I have restored from one of the quartos. In the other, they are omitted. The folio reads:
a smug bridegroom Steevens. & Then there's life in it.] The case is not yet desperate. Joknsona So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ There's sap in 't yet.” Steedene.
- the main descry Stands on the hourly thought.] The main body is expected to be descry'd every hour. The expression is harsh. Johnson.
my worser spirit -] By this expression may be meant-rip evil gerir:e.. Steevens.
To die before you please!
Well pray you, father.
Edg. A most poor man, made tame by fortune's blows;2
Hearty thanks :
A proclaim'd prize! Most happy! That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh To raise my fortunes.- Thou old unhappy traitor, Briefly thyself remember:4—The sword is out That must destroy thee. Glo.
Now let thy friendly hand Put strength enough to it.
[EDG. opposes. Stew.
Wherefore, bold peasant, Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence; Lest that the infection of his fortune take Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
Edg. Ch’ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion. Stew. Let go, slave, or thou diest.
made tame by fortunes blowus.] So, in' Much Ado about Nothing:
“ Taming my wild heart to thy gentle hand.” The quartos read:
made lame by fortune's blows.” Steevens. The folio has-made tame to fortune's blows. I believe the original is here, as in many other places, the true reading. So, in our poet's 37th Sonnet:
“ So 1, made lame by fortune's dearest spight, -." Malone. 3 Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,] i. e. Sorrows past and present. Warburton.
“ Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco." I doubt whether feeling is not used, with our poet's usual licence, for felt. Sorrows known, not by relation, but by experience. Malone. 4 Briefly thyself remember:] i.e. Quickly recollect the
offences of thy life, and recommend thyself to heaven. Warburton. So Othello says to Desdemona:
“ If you bethink yourself of any crime,
“ Solicit for it straight.” Malone.
Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk pass. And ch’ud ha' been zwagger'd out of my life, Stwould not ha' been zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out, che vor' ye, or ise try whether your costard or my bat? be the harder: Ch'ill be plain with you.
Stew. Out, dunghill!
Edg. Ch’ill pick your teeth, zir: Come; no matter vor your foins.8 [They fight; and Edc. knocks him down. Stew. Slave, thou hast slain me:-Villain, take my
go your gait,] Gang your gait, is a common expression in the North. In the last rebellion, when the Scotch soldiers had finished their exercise, instead of our term of dismission, their phrase was, gang your gaits.
che vor' ye,] I warn you. Edgar counterfeits the western dialect. Johnson.
When our ancient writers have occasion to introduce a rustick, they commonly allot him this Somersetshire dialect. Mercury, in the second Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, assumes the appearance of a clown, and our translator Golding has made him speak with the provinciality of Shakspeare's Edgar. Steevens.
my bat-] A staff. In Sussex a walking-stick is called a bat. Bats and clubs are distinguished in Coriolanus, Act I, sc. i: “ Where go you with bats and clubs. H. White.
no matter vor your foins.) To foin, is to make what we call a thrust in fencing. Shakspeare often uses the word. Steevens.
9 To Edmund earl of Gloster;] Mr. Smith has endeavoured, without any success, to prove, in a long note, that we ought to read letter both here and below, because the Steward had only one letter in his pocket, namely, that written by Goneril. But there is no need of change, for letters formerly. was used like epistolæ in Latin, when one only was intended. So, in Act I, sc. v, Lear says to Kent, “Go, you, before to Gloster, with these letters ;" and Kent replies, “ I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.” Again, in Act IV, sc. v, the Steward says to Regan, “ I must needs after him, madam, with my letters," meaning only Goneril's letter which Ed. gar presently reads. Such, as I observed on that passage, is the reading of the original quarto copies, which in the folio is changed to letter. Whether the Steward had also a letter from Regan, it is not here necessary to inquire. The words which he uses do not, for the reason I have assigned, necessarily imply two letters; and as Edgar finds no letter from Regan, we may infer that when she said to the
Upon the British party :-0, untimely death! [Dies.
Edg. I know thee well: A serviceable villain ;
What, is he dead?
down, father; rest you. Let's see his pockets; these letters that he speaks of, May be my friends.-He's dead; I am only sorry He had no other death's-man.-Let us see: Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not: To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts; Their papers, is more lawful.1
[Reads] Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him off*: if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror : Then am I the pri, soner, and his bed my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour.
Your wife, (80 I would say,) and your affectionate servant,
Goneril. O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!
Steward, in a former scene, take thou this, she gave him a ring or some other token of regard for Edmund, and not a letter. Malone. 1 To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts ;
Their papers, is more lawful.] This is darkly expressed: the meaning is, Our enemies are put upon the rack, and torn in pieces to extort confession of their secrets; to tear open their letters is more lawful. Warburton.
we'd rip-] Thus the quartos. The folio reads—we rip. The editor of the second folio, imagining that papers was the nomi. native case, for is substituted are: Their papers are more lawful. But the construction is,-to rip their papers, is more lawful. His alteration, however, has been adopted by the modern editors.
Malone. affectionate servant,] After servant, one of the quartos has this strange continuation: - and for you her owne for venter, Gonerill." Steevens.
In this place I have followed the quarto of which the first signature is A. The other reads "Your (wife, so I would say) your affectionate servant;" and adds the words mentioned by Mr. Steevens. The folio reads "Your (wife so I would say) affectionate servant, Goneril." Malone.
3 O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!] Thus the folio. The quartos read-of woman's wit! The meaning (says Dr. Warburton
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
[Exit Edg. dragging out the Body. Glo. The king is mad: How stiff is my
vile sense, That I stand up, and have ingenious feelings Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract: So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs; And woes, by wrong imaginations, lose The knowledge of themselves.
Re-enter EDGAR. Edy.
Give me your
hand: Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum. Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend. [Exeunt.
in Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition) is, “ The variations in a woman's will are so sudden, and their liking and lothing follow so quick upon each other, that there is no distinguishable space between them."
Malone. I believe the plain meaning is–O undistinguishing licentiousness of a. woman's inclinations! Steevens.
4 Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified &c.] I'll cover thee. In Staffordshire, to rake the fire, is to cover it with fuel for the night.
Fohnson, The learned doctor has fallen into an error.-Torake the fire, is not to cover it with fuel, for the night, but to rake ashes over the embers to preserve kindling, as it is termed, for the morning's fire. Rake up the fire, is still understood to mean--cover over the fire with ashes.
Am. Ed. The epithet unsanctified, refers to his want of burial in consecrated ground. Steevens.
the death-practis'd duke:} The duke of Albany, whose death is machinated by practice or treason. Johnson.
6 — and have ingenious feeling – ] Ingenious feeling signifies a feeling from an understanding not disturbed or disordered, but which, representing things as they are, makes the sense of pain the more exquisite. Warburton.
sever'd-] The quartos read fenced. Steerens,