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Kent. See better, Lear, and let me still remain
The true blank1 of thine eye.
Now, by Apollo, king,
O vassal! miscreant! [Laying his hand on his sword.
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
Alb. Corn. Dear sir, forbear.
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Lear. Hear me, recreant ! On thine allegiance, hear me !— Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strained pride, To come betwixt our sentence and our power, (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear ;) Our potency made good, take thy reward. Five days we do allot thee, for provision To shield thee from diseases 3 of the world ; And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back Upon our kingdom. If, on the tenth day following, Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revoked.
Kent. Fare thee well, king; since thus thou wilt
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, [TO CORDELIA. That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!— And your large speeches may your deeds approve, [To REGAN and GONERIL.
1 The blank is the mark at which men shoot.
2 "They to whom I have surrendered my authority, yielding me the ability to dispense it in this instance." Quarto B. reads "make good."
3 Thus the quartos. The folio reads "disasters." By diseases are meant uneasinesses, inconveniences.
4 The quartos read "Friendship;" and in the next line, instead of “dear shelter,” “protection.”
That good effects may spring from words of love.-
Re-enter GLOSTER, with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
We first address towards you, who with this king
I know no answer.
Will you, with those infirmities she owes,3
Dowered with our curse, and strangered with our oath,
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,
1 A quest is a seeking or pursuit: the expedition in which a knight was engaged is often so named in the Faerie Queen.
Seeming here means specious.
3 i. e. owns.
4 That is, I cannot decide to take her upon such terms; or, such conditions leave me no choice.
I would not from your love make such a stray,
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, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle So many folds of favor! Sure, her offence Must be of such unnatural degree, That monsters it,' or your fore-vouched affection Fall into taint; which to believe of her, Must be a faith, that reason without miracle Could never plant in me.
Cor. I yet beseech (If for 3 I want that glib and oily art, 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 dishonored step, That hath deprived me of your grace and favor; 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.
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleased me better.
1 In the phraseology of Shakspeare's age, that and as were convertible words. The uncommon verb to monster occurs again in Coriolanus.
2 The former affection which you professed for her must become the subject of reproach. Taint is here an abbreviation of attaint.
3 i. e." if cause I want," &c.
4 The quartos read, "no unclean action."
When it is mingled with respects,' that stand
Lear. Nothing. I have sworn; I am firm.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!
Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect,
Lear. Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine; for
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL,
1 i. e. with cautious and prudential considerations.-The folio has regards.
2 Here and where have the power of nouns.
And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults, as they are named. Use well our father;
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
France. Come, my fair Cordelia.
[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELia. Gon. Sister, it is not a 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.
1 We have here professed for professing. It has been elsewhere observed that Shakspeare often uses one participle for another.
2 Thus the folio. The quartos read::
"And well are worth the worth that you have wanted."
The meaning of the passage, as it now stands in the text, is, "You well deserve to want that dower, which you have lost by having failed in your obedience.
3 That is, complicated, intricate, involved, cunning. 4 The quartos read:
"Who covers faults, at last shame them derides." The folio has:
"Who covers faults, at last with shame derides." Mason proposed to read :—
"Who covert faults, at last with shame derides." The word who referring to Time.