Imagens das páginas

And, on the sixth *, to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following,
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death: Away! By Jupiter*,
This shall not be revok'd.

KENT. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,

Freedom lives hence ", and banishment is here.— The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,


[To CORDELIA. That justly think'st, and hast more rightly said '!—

* Quartos, fifth.

Which word be retained is, in my opinion, quite immaterial. Such recollection as an interval of five days will afford to a considerate person, may surely enable him in some degree to provide against the disasters, (i. e. the calamities,) of the world.


This is a note written, like many others, merely for the sake of adding somewhat, without any meaning or pretence of meaning. The disasters or calamities of the world are, in the common acceptation, loss of health or substance, or children or friends.-No provision of five days could guard against these. But an enraged king banishing a subject knew, or Shakspeare acting for him, knew, that the person so banished, if ordered instantly to quit the kingdom, might be subject to great inconveniences, merely from want of time to settle his affairs, and to make provision for his exiled state, and therefore, however provoked, thinks himself bound to allow him five days to make such provision. This surely is perfectly natural: and many settlements might be made in that period, for the convenience both of the banished man and his family : to suppose that in five days, provision could be made against such calamities as I have mentioned, is so wild an hypothesis that to attempt to refute it would be an idle waste of time. MALONE.

-By Jupiter,] Shakspeare makes his Lear too much a mythologist: he had Hecate and Apollo before. JOHNSON. 5 FREEDOM lives hence,] So the folio: the quartos concur in reading-Friendship lives hence. STEEVENS.


dear shelter-] The quartos read-protection.


7 That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!] Thus the folio. The quartos read:

"That rightly thinks, and hast most justly said. MALONE

And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
That good effects may spring from words of love.-
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
He'll shape his old course in a country new. [Exit.


Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.

GLO. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord 9.

LEAR. My lord of Burgundy,

We first address towards you, who with this king Hath rivall'd for our daughter; What, in the least, Will you require in present dower with her,

Or cease your quest of love1?


Most royal majesty, I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less.

LEAR. Right noble Burgundy, When she was dear to us, we did hold her so2; But now her price is fall'n: Sir, there she stands ;

He'll shape his old course-] He will follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the same principles. JOHNSON.



He'll shape his old course in a country new." There is an odd coincidence between this passage, and another in The Battell of Alcazar, &c. 1594:


[blocks in formation]

"For here Tom Stukley shapes his course anue."


noble lord.] Thus the quartos. The folios, as Mr. Jennens has observed, gave by mistake this speech to Cordelia, and were followed by Rowe and Pope. Theobald first discovered the error. BOSWELL.

[ocr errors]

- QUEST of love?] Quest of love is amorous expedition. The term originated from Romance. A quest was the expedition in which a knight was engaged This phrase is often to be met with in The Faëry Queen. STEEVENS.


we did hold her so ;] We esteemed her worthy of that dowry, which, as you say, we promised to give her. MALONE.

If aught within that little, seeming2 substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.


LEAR. Sir,

I know no answer.


Will you, with those infirmities she owes "
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our

[blocks in formation]

2- seeming-] Is beautiful. JOHNSON.

Sceming rather means specious. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: 66 ― pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress Page."

Again, in Measure for Measure:

[blocks in formation]


hence shall we see,

"If power change purpose, what our seemers be."


owes,] i. e. is possessed of. So, in A Midsummer-Night's


"All the power this charm doth owe." STEEVens.

4 Election makes NOT UP on such conditions.] To make up signifies to complete, to conclude; as, they made up the bargain; but in this sense it has, I think, always the subject noun after it. To make up, in familiar language, is neutrally, to come forward, to make advances, which, I think, is meant here. JOHNSON. I should read the line thus:

"Election makes not, upon such conditions." M. MASON. Election makes not up, I conceive, means, Election comes not to a decision; in the same sense as when we say, "I have made up my mind on that subject."

In Cymbeline this phrase is used, as here, for finished, completed:


Being scarce made up,

"I mean, to man," &c.

Again, in Timon of Athens :


remain assur'd,

[blocks in formation]

LEAR. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,

I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,

[TO FRANCE. 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 asham'd Almost to acknowledge hers.


This is most strange!

That she, thát 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 favour! Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,

That monsters it 6, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall 'n into taint: which to believe of her,

The passages just cited show that the text is right, and that our poet did not write, as some have proposed to read:

"Election makes not, upon such conditions." MALONE. 5 MOST best, MOST dearest;] Thus the quartos. The folios read

"The best, the dearest;" STEEVENS.

We have just had more worthier, and in a preceding passage more richer. The same phraseology is found often in these plays and in the contemporary writings. MALONE.


SUCH unnatural degree,

THAT monsters it,] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in Coriolanus :

"But with such words that are but rooted in
"Your tongue."

Again, ibidem:


No, not with such friends,

"That thought them sure of you."

Three of the modern editors, however, in the passage before us, have substituted as for that.


"That monsters it." This uncommon verb occurs again in Coriolanus, Act II. Sc. II. :

"To hear my nothings monster'd." STEEVENS.

7 --or your fore-VOUCH'D AFFECTION

Fall INTO TAINT:] The common books read:

Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.

[blocks in formation]

This line has no clear or strong sense, nor is this reading authorized by any copy, though it has crept into all the late editions. The early quarto reads:



The folio:

or you, for vouch'd affections

Fall'n into taint."

"or your fore-vouch'd affection
"Fall into taint."

Taint is used for corruption and for disgrace. If therefore we take the oldest reading it may be reformed thus:

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Must be of such unnatural degree,

"That monsters it, or you for vouch'd affection
"Fall into taint."

Her offence must be prodigious, or you must fall into reproach for having vouched affection which you did not feel. If the reading of the folio be preferred, we may, with a very slight change, produce the same sense :


sure her offence

"Must be of such unnatural degree,

"That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection

"Falls into taint."

That is, falls into reproach or censure.


But there is another

possible sense. Or signifies before, and or ever is before ever; the meaning in the folio may therefore be, Sure her crime must be monstrous before your affection can be affected with hatred.' Let the reader determine.-As I am not much a friend to conjectural emendation, I should prefer the latter sense, which requires no change of reading. JOHNSON.

The meaning of the passage as I have printed it [fall'n into taint] is, I think, Either her offence must be monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such offence, the affection which you always professed to have for her must be tainted and decayed, and is now without reason alienated from her.

I once thought the reading of the quartos right-or you, for vouch'd affections, &c. i. e. on account of the extravagant professions made by her sisters: but I did not recollect that France had not heard these. However, Shakspeare might himself have forgot this circumstance. The plural affections favours this interpretation.

The interpretation already given, appears to me to be supported by our author's words in another place:

« AnteriorContinuar »