« PreviousContinue »
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my 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 honorable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.—The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within.
Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, 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?
purpose. Give me the map there.—Know that we have divided In three our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent 3 To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we, Unburdened, crawl toward death.-Our son of Corn
wall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
1 Proper is comely, handsome.
2 i. e. more secret.—The sense is, “ We have already made known our desire of parting the kingdom. We will now discover the reasons by which we shall regulate the partition.”
3 i. e. our determined resolution. The quartos read “ first intent." 4 The quartos read confirming.
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Sir, I Do love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare ; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor ; As much as child e'er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable ; Beyond all manner of so much I love you.3 Cor. What shall Cordelia do ? Love, and be silent.
[ Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, With shadowy forests and with champains riched, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.—What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall ? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
1 A firm, determined will. The lines from while we to prevented now are omitted in the quartos.
2. The two lines in a parenthesis are omitted in the quartos.
3 « Beyond all assignable quantity, I love you beyond limits, and cannot say it is so much; for how much soever I should name, it would yet be more."
4 i. e. enriched. So Drant in his translation of Horace's Epistles, 1567:
“ To ritch his country, let his words lyke flowing water fall.” 5 That is, “estimate me at her value; my love has at least equal claim to your favor. Only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself an enemy to all other joys which the most precious aggregation of sense can bestow." Square is here used for the whole complement, as circle is now sometimes used.
I find, she names my very deed of love;
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Cor. Nothing, my lord.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
mouth. I love
I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more, nor less. Lear. How, how, Cordelia ? mend your speech a
Good my lord,
1 Validity is several times used to signify worth, value, by Shakspeare. It does not, however, appear to have been peculiar to him in this sense.
2 The folio reads conferred ; the quartos, confirmed. So in a former passage we have in the quartos confirming for conferring. The word confirm might be used in this connection in a legal sense, as it is in instruments of conveyance.
3 To interest and to interesse are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but two distinct words, though of the same import. We have interessed in Ben Jonson's Sejanus. Drayton also uses the word in the Preface to his Polyolbion.
and most honor you.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart ?
Ay, good my lord.
Lear. Let it be so,—thy truth then be thy dower;
Good my liege,
, and Albany, With my two daughters' dowers digest this third ; Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. . I do invest you jointly with my power, Preëminence, and all the large effects That troop with majesty.-Ourself, by monthly course, With reservation of a hundred knights,
I His children.
By you to be sustained, shall our abode
Revenue, execution of the rest,
, This coronet part between you. [Giving the crown. Kent.
Royal Lear, Whom I have ever honored as my king, Loved as my father, as my master followed, As my great patron thought on in my prayers,Lear. The bow is bent and drawn; make from the
shaft. Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart; be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old
man? Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor's
bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom ; * And, in thy best consideration, check This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound Reverbs 5 no hollowness. Lear.
Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive. Lear.
Out of my sight!
1 Thus the quarto; folio, “ we shall retain.” 2 « All the titles belonging to a king.”. 3 By “the execution of the rest,” all the other functions of the kingly office are probably meant.
4 The folio reads, “reserve thy state ;” and has falls instead of “stoops to folly."
5 This is, perhaps, a word of the Poet's own; meaning the same as reverberates.
6 The expression to wage against is used in a letter from Guil. Webbe to Robt. Wilmot, prefixed to Tancred and Gismund, 1592:-" You shall not be able to wage against me in the charges growing upon this action."