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When it is mingled with respects that stand
Lear. Nothing. I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father,
Peace be with Burgundy!
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.
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
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited ? cunning hides; Who cover faults,4 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 T'ime.
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 together. 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.
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 4 of custom; and permit The curiosity 5 of nations to deprive 6 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,
\ 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, •
[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so carnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, 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.
f it into youd to hide seed spectacime.
1 To subscribe is to yield, to surrender. 2 Erhibition is an allowance, a stipend.
3 i. e. in haste, equivalent to upon the spur. Agad 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.
Edm. 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 an idle and fond 2 bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue forever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar !-Humph-Conspiracy! --Sleep till I waked him—you should enjoy half his revenue,-my son Edgar!-Had he a hand to write this ? a heart and brain to breed it in ?-When came this to you? Who brought it?
Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.
Glo. You know the character to be your brother's ?
Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.
Glo. It is his.
Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord; but I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter !—Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish !-Go, sirrah, seek him;
1 “ As an essay,” &c. means as a trial or taste of my virtue. “To assay, or rather essay, of the French word essayer," says Baret.
2 i. e. weak and foolish.