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I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way,
Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.
France.

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

your majesty, (If for? 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 4 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. Lear.

Better thou
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleased me better.

France. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature,
Which often leaves the history unspoke,
That it intends to do ?-My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady ? Love is not love,

yet beseech

i In 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 j. e. “ if cause I want,” &c.
4 The quartos read, “ no unclean action.”
VOL. VII.

3

When it is mingled with respects that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.
Bur.

Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father,
That

you must lose a husband. 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 !
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon ;
Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect,
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.-
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is

queen of us, of ours, and our fair France ;
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Shall buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind;
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine; for

We

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again.—Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.-
Come, noble Burgundy.
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL,

ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants.
France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with washed eyes Cordelia leaves you ; I know you what you are ;

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 namned. Use well our father ;
To your professed i bosoms I commit him.
But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Reg.

Let your study Be, to content your lord; who hath received

you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted.?

Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides ; Who cover faults,' at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper ! 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.

I 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.

1

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 further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. 'Pray you, let us hit togeth

If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We must do something, and i'the heat.

[Exeunt.

er.

2

SCENE II. A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's Castle.

Enter EDMUND, with a letter. Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess ;3 to thy law My services are bound. Wherefore should I Stand in the plague* of custom; and permit The curiosity 5 of nations to deprive o me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard ? wherefore base ? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us With base ? with baseness? bastardy? base, base ? Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality, Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,

1 i. e. temper ; qualities of mind confirmed by long habit. 2 We must strike while the iron's hot.

3 Edmund calls nature his goddess, for the same reason as we call a bastard a natural son.

4 “ Wherefore should I submit tamely to the plague (i. e. the evil) or injustice of custom?"

5 The nicety of civil institutions, their strictness and scrupulosity, 6 To deprive is equivalent to disinherit. Holinshed speaks of the line of Henry before deprived.

Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land,
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate ; fine word,-legitimate !
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I

prosper.
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

grow; I

Enter GLOSTER.

3

Glo. Kent banished thus! and France in choler

parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!
Confined to exhibition ! 2 All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund! how now? what

news?
Edm. So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading ?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

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’erread; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your overlooking

Glo. Give me the letter, sir.

1 To subscribe is to yield, to surrender. 2 Exhibition is an allowance, a stipend. 3 . e. in haste, equivalent to upon the spur. A gad was a sharp-pointed piece of steel, used as a spur to urge cattle forward; whence goaded forward. Mr. Nares suggests, that to gad and gadding, originate from being on the spur to go about.

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