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Lear, King of Britain.

King of France.

Duke of Burgundy.

Duke of Cornwall.

Duke of Albany.
Earl of Kent.

Earl of Gloster.

Edgar, Son to Gloster.

Edmund, Bastard Son to Gloster.
Curan, a Courtier.

Old Man, Tenant to Gloster.


Oswald, Steward to Goneril.

An Officer, employed by Edmund.
Gentleman, attendant on Cordelia.
A Herald.

Servants to Cornwall.

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Knights attending on the King, Officers, Messengers,

Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE, Britain.



A Room of State in King Lear's Palace.

Enter KENT, GLOSTER, and Edmund.

KENT. I thought, the king had more affected the duke of Albany, than Cornwall.

GLO. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom,' it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities' are so weighed, that curiosity in neither3 can make choice of either's moiety.*

- in the division of the kingdom,] There is something of obscurity or inaccuracy in this preparatory scene. The king has already divided his kingdom, and yet when he enters he examines his daughters, to discover in what proportions he should divide it. Perhaps Kent and Gloster only were privy to his design, which he still kept in his own hands, to be changed or performed as subsequent reasons should determine him. JOHNSON. equalities-] So, the first quartos; the folio reads

qualities. JOHNSON.

Either may serve; but of the former I find an instance in the Flower of Friendship, 1568: " After this match made, and equalities considered," &c. STEEVENS.

'that curiosity in neither-] Curiosity, for exactest scrutiny. The sense of the whole sentence is, The qualities and properties of the several divisions are so weighed and balanced against one another, that the exactest scrutiny could not determine in preferring one share to the other. WARBURTON.

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KENT. Is not this your son, my lord?

GLO. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.

KENT. I cannot conceive you.

GLO. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?

KENT. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.5

GLO. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this," who yet is no dearer in my

Curiosity is scrupulousness, or captiousness. So, in The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV. sc. iv:

"For curious I cannot be with you." STEEVENS. See Timon of Athens, Act IV. sc. iii; and the present tra gedy, p. 333, n. 1. MALONE.

of either's moiety.] The strict sense of the word moiety is half, one of two equal parts; but Shakspeare commonly uses it for any part or division:

Methinks my moiety north from Burton here,

"In quantity equals not one of yours:"

and here the division was into three parts. STEEVENS.

Heywood likewise uses the word moiety as synonymous to any part or portion. "I would unwillingly part with the greatest moiety of my own means and fortunes." History of Women, 1624. See Vol. XI. p. 322, n. 1. MALONE.

5-being so proper.] i. e. handsome. See Vol. VII. p. 248, n. 1. MALOne.


some year elder than this,] Some year, is an expression used when we speak indefinitely. STEEVENS.

I do not agree with Mr. Steevens that some year is an expression used when we speak indefinitely. I believe it means about a year; and accordingly Edmund says, in the 333d page"For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines


Lag of a brother." M. MASON.

account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund? EDM. No, my lord.

GLO. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.

EDM. My services to your lordship.

KENT. I must love you, and sue to know you better.

EDM. Sir, I shall study deserving.

GLO. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again:-The king is coming.

[Trumpets sound within,

REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants.

LEAR. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.


GLO. I shall, my liege.

[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. LEAR. Mean-time we shall express our darker


-express our darker purpose.] Darker, for more secret; not for indirect, oblique. WARburton.

This word may admit a further explication. We shall express our darker purpose: that is, we have already made known in some measure our desire of parting the kingdom; we will now discover what has not been told before, the reasons by which we shall regulate the partition. This interpretation will justify or palliate the exordial dialogue. JOHNSON.

Give me the map there.-Know, that we have di



In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent'
To shake all cares and business from our age;'
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we3
Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of

And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now. The princes, France and

Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer'd.-Tell me, my daugh-


• Give me the map there.] So the folio. The quartos, leaving the verse defective, read-The there. STEEVENS.


and 'tis our fast intent-] Fast is the reading of the first folio, and, I think, the true reading. JOHNSON.

Our fast intent is our determined resolution. The quartos have our first intent. MALOne.


-from our age;] The quartos read—of our state.

STEEVENS. Conferring them on younger strengths,] is the reading of the folio; the quartos read, Confirming them on younger years.



while we &c.] From while we, down to prevented now,

is omitted in the quartos. STEEvens.


constant will-] Seems a confirmation of fast intent. JOHNSON.

Constant is firm, determined. Constant will is the certa voluntas of Virgil. The same epithet is used with the same meaning in The Merchant of Venice:

else nothing in the world

"Could turn so much the constitution
"Of any constant man." STEEVENS.

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