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SCENE I. 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 neither can make choice of either's moiety: 3
Kent. Is not this your son, my
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 ?
son, my lord ?
1 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.
Curiosity is scrupulous exactness. 3 Moiety is used by Shakspeare for part or portion.
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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 sair; 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 5 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."
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We have this hour a constant will? to publish
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister,
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 6 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:
66 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
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I find, she names my very deed of love;
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Cor. Nothing, my lord.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
Good my lord,
; I Return those duties back as are right fit,
an enemy to all other joys which the most precious aggregation of sense
1 Validity is several times used to signify worth, value, by Shakspeare.
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.
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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 ; For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operations of the orbs, From whom we do exist, and cease to be ; Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee, from this, forever. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved, As thou my sometime daughter. Kent.
Good my liege, Lear. Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I loved her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.--Hence, and avoid my sight !
[To CORDELIA. So be my grave my peace, as here I give Her father's heart from her !--Call France ;--who stirs ? Call Burgundy.--Cornwall
, 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, Preeminence, and all the large effects That troop with majesty.--Ourself, by monthly course, With reservation of a hundred knights,
1 His children.
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