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Enter Gonerill and Edmund.
our mild hupand) It must be remembered that Albany, the husband of Gonerill, disliked, in the end of the firit act, the scheme of oppression and ingratitude. Johnson.
Our wishes, on
way, May prove effects. I believe the mcaning of the passage to be this: “ What we wih, before our march is at an “ end, may be brought to happen," i. e. the murder or difpatch of her husband. On the way, however, may be equivalent to the exprellion we now use, viz. By the zeay, or By the by, i. e. en passant. STEEVENS. • Vol. IX.
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
(Giving a favour.
Edm. Yours in the ranks of death.
Gon. My most dear Glo'ster! [Exit Edmund
Stew. Madam, here comes my lord.
Alb. Oh Gonerill!
3 Decline your head. This kiss, if it durft speak,
Iould firetch thy spirits up into the air. ] She bids him decline his head, that the might give him a kiss (the steward being present) and that it might appear only to him as a whisper.
STEEVENS. + My fool ufurps my body.) The quarto reads,
My foot usurps my head. Steevens. s I have been worth the whistle.) This expression is a reproach to Albany for having neglected her; though you disregard me thus, I have been worth the whistle, I have found one that thinks me worth calling. JOHNSON.
This expression is a proverbial one. Heywood in one of his dialogues, consisting entirely of proverbs, says, “li is a poor dog that is not worth the whistling."
STEEVERS. I fear your difpofition :] These and the speech ensuing are in the edition of 1608, and are but necessary to explain the reasons of the deteftation which Albany here expresses to his wife.
Pope. 7 Cannot be border'd certain -] Certain, for within the bounds that nature prescribes. WARBURTON.
s She that herself will Niver, and disbranch,
S. She that herself will SHIVER, and disbranch,] Thus all the editions, but the old quarto, that reads SLIVER, which is right. Shiver means to shake or Ay a-pieces into splinters. As he says afterwards,
Thou’d'At fiver'd like an egg.
Nips of yew Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse. WARBURTON. 9 From her material sap, Thus the old quarto; but material fap is a phrase that I do not understand. The mothertree is the true technical term; and considering our author has said but just before, That nature, which contemns its origin, there is little room to question but he wrote,
From her maternal sap. THEOBALD. From her material fap, -] Thus all the editions till Mr. Theobald's, who alters material to maternal; and for these wise reasons : Material fap (says he) I own is a phrase that I do not understand. The mother-tree is the true technical term, and confidering our author had said just before, That nature, which contemns its origin, there is no room to question but he wrote, From her maternal fap. And to prove that we may say maternal fap, he gives many authorities from the classics, and says he could produce more, where words equivalent to maternal stock are used; which is quite another thing, as we hhall now see. In making his emendation, the editor did not consider the difference between material fap and material body, or trunk or stock: the latter expression being indeed not so well; material being a properer epithet for body. But the first is right; and we should say, material fap; not maternal. For material fap fignifies, that whereby a branch is nourished, and increases in bulk by fresh accession of matter. On which account material is elegant. Indeed sap, when applied to the whole tree, might be called maternal, but could not be so when applied to a branch only. For though fap might, in some sense, be said to be maternal to the tree, yet it is the tree that is maternal to the branch, and not the jap: but here the epithet is applied to the branch. From all this we conclude, that the old reading is the true. But what if, after all, material was used by the writers of these times in the very senfe of maternal ? It would seem so by the title of an old English translation of Froissart's Chronicle, which suns in these words, Syr John Froilart's Chronicle, translated eut of Frenche into our MATERIAL English Tongue by John Bouchier, printed 1525. WARBURTON.
* And come to deadly use.
Gon. No more; the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile: Filths favour but themselves. What have you done? Tygers, not daughters, what have you perform’d? A father, and a gracious aged man, Whose reverence the head-lugg'd bear would lick, Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded. Could my good brother suffer you to do it? 2 A man, a prince by him so benefited ? If that the heavens do not their visible spirits Send quickly down to tame the vile offences, Humanity must perforce prey on itself, 3 Like monsters of the deep.]
I suppose no reader doubts but the word Mould be maternal. Dr. Warburton has taken great pains without much success, and indeed without much exactness of attention, to prove that material has a more proper sense than maternal, and yet seemed glad at lait to infer from an apparent error of another press that material and maternal meant the same. JOHNSON.
And come to deadly use.] Alluding to the use that witches and inchanters are said to make of wither'd branches in their charms. A fine insinuation in the speaker, that she was ready for the most unnatural mischief, and a preparative of the poet to her plotting with the baftard against her husband's life. WARB.
2 À man, a prince by him to benefited?] After this line I suspect a line or two to be wanting, which upbraids her for her filter's cruelty to Glo'ster. And my reason is, that in her anfwer we find these words,
Fools do these villains pity, who are punish'd
Ere they have done their mischiefwhich evidently allude to Glo'ster's case. Now I cannot conceive that she would here apologize for what was not objected to her. But I suppose the players thought the speech too long; which has occafioned throughout, and more particularly in this play, the retrenchment of numerous lines and speeches ; many of which have been restored by the care and discernment of Mr. Pope. WARBURTON.
Here is a pompous note to support a conje&ture apparently erroneous, and confuted by the next scene, in which the account is given for the first time to Albany of Glo'ster's suffer. ings. JOHASON.
Like monsiers of the deep.) Fishes are the only animals that are known to prey upon their own species. JOHNSON.
Gon. Milk-liver'd man !
Alb. See thyself, devil !
Gon. O vain fool !
Proper deformity-] i. e. Diabolic qualities appear not so horrid in the devil to whom they belong, as in woman who unnaturally assumes them. WARBURTON.
$ Thou changed, and self-cover'd thing, -] Of these lines there is but one copy, and the editors are forced upon conjecture. They have published this line thus ;
Thou chang’d, and self-converted thing; but I cannot but think that by self-cover'd the author meant, thou that hast disguised natu by wickedness; thou that haft hid the woman under the fiend. JOHNSON.