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Must be of such unnatural degree,
I yet beseech your majesty,
France. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature,
1 - since what I well intend,] So the 4tos. The folio, erroneously, “will intend." In the next line it is probably right in changing may know of the 4tos. to "make known."
? It is no vicious blot, NOR OTHER foulness,) Here Mr. Singer has, apparently, been guilty of one of those unfair adoptions of the amended text of the corr. fo. 1632, which we have before too often had reason to mention : the alteration, which is an important one, viz. “nor other" for murther, must surely have crept into his edition entirely without his knowledge, and therefore entirely without his acknowledgment. The reading of this line in every old copy has hitherto been,
" It is no vicious blot, murther or foulness.” As we said in our Vol. of “ Notes and Emendations," p. 451, Cordelia could never have contemplated that murder would be laid to her charge as the ground of Lear's displeasure, yet in all impressions of this tragedy, from the 4to, 1608, to our own day, the language of Shakespeare has been thus grossly misrepresented. Our text (and Mr. Singer's, who has appropriated the emendation of the corr. fo. 1632 without one syllable of remark) must inevitably in future be that of every reprint of " King Lear;" and it only supposes that the old compositor misread “nor other" murther or. In the next line step, of the 4tos. and folios, on the same authority, is converted into “stoop," the identical misprint having been before made and corrected in “ IIamlet," A. iii. sc. 4, this Vol. p. 556.
: No UNCHASTE action,] The 4tos, “ unclean action," and two lines lower rich for "richer."
4 Better thou] Before these words the 4tos. insert the expressions of impatience, “Go to, go to." They were, probably, the actor's progeny. VOL. v.
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her ?
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father,
Peace be with Burgundy:
France. Fairest Cordelia, that are most rich, being poor,
Lear. Thou hast her, France : let her be thine, for we
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL,
ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cor. Ye jewels of our father', with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call
5 — respects of fortune) i.e. Considerations of fortune, using “respects" in the same sense as a few lines earlier : the folio has "respect and fortunes,” but it is made “respects of fortune" in the corr. fo. 1632.
6 – a better whlre to find.] i.e. A better place : "where " is used substantively, as in any where, every where, &c.
7 Ye jewels of our father,] Cordelia here addresses her sisters; but as in other places (see “ Coriolanus,” A. i. sc. 6, Vol. iv. p. 620) “ Ye” was misprinted The, in consequence of the mistake of the contraction. We owe " Ye" to the corr. fo. 1632.
Your faults as they are nam'd. Love well our fathers:
Gon. Prescribe not us our duty.
Let your study
Cor. Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides ;
Come, my fair Cordelia.
[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little: he always loved our sister most, and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash ; then, must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.
Gon. There is farther compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together? : if our
$ Love well our father :) The 4tos, “ Use well our father."
9 And well are worth the want] The folio rightly reads "want” for the careless repetition of worth in the 4tos.
1- at last SHAME THEM derides.] So the 4tos, (excepting that “cover," by a very common error, is misprinted covers,) correctly; and the folio, corruptly, “ at last with shame derides.” The text is altered to that of the 4tos. in the corr. fo. 1632; and it is idle to attempt, with M. Mason, to amend what, in truth, needs no emendation. 2 – let us uit together :] A very intelligible expression for “ Let us agree toge
father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
Reg. We shall farther think of it.
A Hall in the Earl of GLOSTER's Castle.
Enter EDMUND, with a letter.
ther:" i.e. strike at the same time. The folio misprints "hit" sit. Goneril afterwards follows up the figure, “ let us hit together," by adding “and i' the heat,"--while the iron is hot.
3 Thou, nature, art my goddess ;] This speech in the folio is printed as verse, and in the 4tos. as prose : such is the case with many others in the course of the drama, but we have not always specified them.
4 The curiosity of nations] i.e. The scrupulousness of nations. In the second speech of this play "curiosity" has been used much in the same sense.
3 – with baseness? bastardy? base, base ?] The 4tos. only have * base bastardy?" for these words of the folio.
6 Fine word,- legitimate!) This exclamation is only in the folio.
Shall top the legitimate?. I grow; I prosper :-
Edm. So please your lordship, none. [Putting up the letter.
Glo. No! What needed, then, that terrible despatch of it into your pocket ? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: come; if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o’er-read; and for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o’erlooking'. Glo. Give me the letter, sir.
Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay, or taste of my virtue?.
Glo. [Reads.] “This policy and reverence of age makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find
i Shall top the legitimate.] The 4tos, have, “Shall tooth' legitimate," and the folio, “Shall to' th' legitimate." “Shall top the legitimate" is the ingenious emendation of Edwards, which in fact only substitutes the letter p for o, as the text stands in the 4tos.
8 — SUBSCRIB'd his power!] i. e. Surrendered his power : the folio alone has prescrib'd. “Exhibition " in the next line is maintenance, and it is still used in that sense at our Universities : we have it also in “ Othello," A. i. sc. 3.
9 Upon the GAD!] i.e. Upon the spur, upon the sudden, in haste. We need not, as usual with commentators, travel beyond Shakespeare, when he fully illustrates himself : in “ Titus Andronicus,” A. iv. sc. 1, this Vol. p. 56, he represents the hero as wishing to engrave on brass with “a gad of steel," i. e. a point of steel.
1- not fit for your O'ERLOOKING.) So the folio, though the reading of the 4tos. might be justified, “ not fit for your liking."
? - but as an ESSAY, or TASTE of my virtue ] As a trial or assay; and perhaps for “ taste" we might with some propriety read test.
3 This policy and reverence] The 4tos. omit “ and reverence."