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Come hither, herald --Let the trumpet sound,
[.A Trumpet sounds.
Herald reads. If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army,6 will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet: He is bold in his defence. Edm. Sound.?
si Trumpet. Her. Again.
2 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[Trumpet answers within.
What are you?
Know, my name is lost;
Which is that adversary?
Draw thy sword;
5 Sound, trumpet.] I have added this from the quartos. Steevens.
within the lists of the army,] The quartos read:-within the host of the army,
Steevens. 7 Edm. Sound.] Omitted in the folio. Malone." 8 Yet am I noble, &c.] One of the quartos reads:
- yet are I mou't,
Where is the adversarie I come to cope withal? -are I mou’t, is, I suppose, a corruption of--ere I move it. Steevens.
The other quarto also reads—Where is the adversary, &c. omitting the words-Vet am I noble, which are only found in the folio. The word withal is wanting in that copy. Malone.
here is mine. &c.] Here I draw my sword. Behold, it is the privilege or right of my profession to draw it against a traitor. I protest therefore, &c.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name ;5
It is not the charge itself (as Dr. Warburton haserroneously stated) but the right of bringing the charge and maintaining it with his sword, which Edgar calls the privilege of his profession. Malone. 1 Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession:] The charge he is going to bring against the Bastard, he calls the privilege, &c. To understand which phraseology, we must consider that the old rights of knighthood are here alluded to; whose oath and profession required him to discover all treasons, and whose privilege it was to have his challenge accepted, or otherwise to have his charge taken pro confesso. For if one who was no knight accused another who was, that other was under no obligation to accept the challenge. On this account it was neces. sary, as Edgar came disguised, to tell the Bastard he was a knight.
Warburton. The privilege of this oath means the privilege gained by taking the oath administered in the regular initiation of a knight professed.
Behold, it is my privilege,
My oath and my profession. Malone.
Steevens 3 Conspirant 'gainst -] The quartos read :
Malone. 5 In wislomn, I should ask thy name;] Because, if his adversary was not of equal rank, Edmund might have declined the combai. Hence the herald proclaimed~" If any man of quality or degree," &c. So Goneril afterwards says
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
[.Alarums. They fight. Edm. falls.
This is mere practice, Gloster:9
“ By the law of arms, thou wasț not bound to answer
“ An unknown opposite.” Malone. 6 And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes, ] 'Say, for essay some show or probability. Pope. Say is sample, a taste. So, in Sidney:
“ So good a say invites the eye
“ A little downward to espy Again, in the Preface to Maurice Kyffin's translation of the Andria of Terence, 1588: “ Some other like places I could recite, but these shall suffice for a say." Again, in Revenge for Honour, by Chapman:
But pray do not “ Take the first say of her yourselves —.” Again, in The Unnatural Combat, by Massinger:
or to take “ A say of venison, or stale fowl.”. Again, in Holinshed, p. 847: “He (C. Wolsey) made dukes and erles to serve him of wine, with a say taken,” &c. To take the assaie was the technical term. Steevens.
7 What safe and nicely &c.] The phraseology is here very licentious. I suppose the meaning is, That delay which by the law of knighthood I might make, I scorn to make. Nicely is, punctiliously; if I stood on minute forms. This line is not in the quartos; and furnishes one more proof of what readers are so slow to admit, that a whole line is sometimes omitted at the press. The subsequent line without this is nonsense. See Vol. XI, p. 67, n. 5. Malone.
8 Where they shall rest for ever.] To that place, where they shall rest for ever; i. e. thy heart. Malone. 9 Alb. O save him, save him!
Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster :] Thus all the copies; but I have ventured to place the two hemistichs to Goneril. "Tis absurd that Albany, who knew Edmund's treasons, and his own wife's passion for him, should be solicitous to have his life saved. Theobald.
Albany desires that Edmund's life might be spared at present,
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer?
Shut your mouth, dame,
[Gives the Letter to EDM.
Most monstrous !3
Ask me not what I know. [Exit Gon. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her.
[To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I
Let's exchange charity.
only to obtain his confession, and to convict him openly by his own letter. Fohnson.
The words-Hold, sir, in Albany's next speech, show that the old copies are right. Malone.. 1 By the law of arms,] So the quartos. Folio-of war. Malone. -thou wast not bound to answer -] One of the quartos reads
thou art not bound to offer jc. Steevens. 3 Most monstrous'] So the quarto, of which the first signature is B, and the folio. The other quarto reads-Monster, know'st thou this paper? The folio--Most monstrous, O know'st, &c. Malone.
“ Knowest thou these letters ?" says Leir to Ragan, in the old anonymous play, when he shows her both her own and her sister's let. ters, which were written to procure his death. Upon which she snatches the letters and tears them. Steevens.
4 Let 's exchange charity.] Our author, by negligence, gives his Heathens the sentiments and practices of Christianity. In Hamlet there is the same solemn act of final reconciliation, but with exact propriety, for the personages are Christians : Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet," &c.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true; The wheel is come full circle ;6 I am here.
Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
Where have you hid yourself?
father? Edg. By nursing them, my lord.-List a brief tale ;And, when ’tis told, O, that my heart would burst:The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness! That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,8 Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift9 Into a mad-man's rags; to assume a semblance That very dogs disdain’d: and in this habit Met I my father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost;' became his guide,
to-scourge us:] Thus the quartos. The folio reads:
to plague us. Steevens.
- full circle:] Quarto, full-circled. Johnson. 7 I know it well.] The adverb-well, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer for the sake of metre. Steevens.
8 That with the pain of death &c.] Thus both the quartos. The folio reads unintelligibiy, That we the pain, &c. The original copies have would; but this was, I apprehend, a misprint in those copies for would, i. e. we would, or, as we should now write, we'd. In The Tempest we have sh’ould for she would. See Vol. II, p. 52, n. 1.
Malonę. 9 The bloody proclamation to escape,
taught me to shift – ] A wish to escape the bloody proclamation, taught me, &c. "Malone.
his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost;] So, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609 :
“ Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels