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Upon the British party :- 0, untimely death! [Dies.
Edg. I know thee well: A serviceable villain ;
What, is he dead?
[Reads] Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him of: if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror : Then am I the pri. soner, and his bed my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour.
Your wife, (so I would say,) and your affectionate servant,2
Goneril. O undistinguish'd space of woman's will !3--
Steward, in a former scene, take thou this, she gave him a ring or some other token of regard for Edmund, and not a letter. Malone. 1 To know our enemies minds, we'd rip their hearts ;
Their papers, is more lawful.] This is darkly expressed: the meaning is, Our enemies are put upon the rack, and torn in pieces to extort confession of their secrets ; to tear open their letters is more lawful. Warburton.
we'd rip --] Thus the quartos. The folio reads-we rip. The editor of the second folio, imagining that papers was the nominative case, for is substituted are: Their papers are more lawful. But the construction is,--to rip their papers, is more lawful. His alteration, however, has been adopted by the modern editors.
Malone. 2 affectionate servant,] After servant, one of the quartos has this strange continuation: “L and for you her owne for venter, Gonerill.” Steevens,
In this place I have followed the quarto of which the first signature is A. The other reads-"Your (wife, so I would say) your affectionate servant;" and adds the words mentioned by Mr. Steevens. The folio reads - Your (wife so I would say) affectionate servant, Goneril.” Malone.
3 O undistinguish'd space of woman's will! 7 Thus the folio. The quartos read-of woman's wit! The meaning (says Dr. Warburton
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
[Exit Edg. dragging out the Body.
Re-enter EDGAR. Edy.
Give me your hand': Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum. Come, father, I 'll bestow you with a friend. [Exeunt.
in Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition) is, “ The variations in a woman's will are so sudden, and their liking and lothing follow so quick upon each other, that there is no distinguishable space between them.”
Malone. I believe the plain meaning is–O undistinguishing licentiousness of a. woman's inclinations ! Steevens.
4 Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified &C.] I'll cover thee. In Staffordshire, to rake the fire, is to cover it with fuel for the night.
Fohnson. * The learned doctor has fallen into an error.-Torake the fire, is not to cover it with fuel, for the night, but to rake ashes over the embers to preserve kindling, as it is termed, for the morning's fire. Rake up the fire, is still understood to mean-cover over the fire with ashes.
- Am. Ed. The epithet unsanctified, refers to his want of burial in consecrated ground. Steevens.
5 the death-practis'd duke:7 The duke of Albany, whose death is machinated by practice or treason. Johnson.
6— and have ingenious feeling -] Ingenious feeling signifies a feeling from an understanding not disturbed or disordered, but which, representing things as they are, makes the sense of pain the more exquisite. Warburton. 7 s ever'd-] The quartos read fenced. Steerens,
SCENE VII. A Tent in the French Camp. LEAR on a Bed, asleep; Phy
sician, Gentleman,' and Others, attending : Enter CORDELIA and KENT.
Cor. ( thou good Kent, how shall I live, and work, To match thy goodness? My life will be too short, And every measure fail me.9
Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'er-paid. i
Be better suited:1
Pardon me, dear madam;
8 Physician, Gentleman, &c.] In the quartos the direction is, “ Enter CORDELIA, Kent, and Doctor,” omitting by negligence the Gentleman, who yet in those copies is a speaker in the course of the scene, and remains with KENT, when the rest go out. In the folio, the direction is, “Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Gentleman;" to the latter of whom all the speeches are given, which in the original copies are divided between the physician and the gentleman. I suppose, from a penury of actors, it was found convenient to unite the two characters, which, we see, were originally distinct. Cordelia's words, however, might have taught the editor of the folio to have given the gentleman whom he retained the appellation of Doctor :
“ Be govern’d by your knowledge, and proceed
“ I'the sway of your own will." Malone. 9- every measure fail me.] All good which I shall allot thee, or measure out to thee, will be scanty. Johnson.
1 Be better suited:] i. e. Be better dressed, put on a better suit of clothes. Steevens.
2 These weeds are memories of those worser hours;] Memories, i. e. Memorials, remembrances. Shakspeare uses the word in the same sense, As you Like it, Act II, sc. iji:
« O, my sweet master! O you memory
- Of old Sir Rowland !" Steevens. So, in Stowe's Survey of London, 1618:-"A printed memorie hanging up in a table at the entrance into the church-door.” Malone.
3 - my made intent:] There is a dissonancy of terms in made intent; one implying the idea of a thing done, the other, undone. I suppose Shakspeare wrote--laid intent, i. e. projected. Warburton.
An intent made, is an intent formed. So we say in common language, to make a design, and to make a resolution. Johnson.
Till time and I think meet.
[To the Phys. Phys. Madam, sleeps still.
Cor. O you kind gods,
So please your majesty,
Cor. Be govern’d by your knowledge, and proceed
Gent. Ay, madam ;5 in the heaviness of his sleep,
Phys. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;
Steeveus. Lear is become insane, and this is the change referred to. Insanity is not the property of second childhood, but dotage. Consonant to this explanation is what Cordelia almost immediately adds:
"O my dear father! restoration hang
~ Have in thy reverence made !" Henley.
5 Ay, madam ; &c.] The folio gives these four lines to a Gentleman. One of the quartos (they were both printed in the same year, and for the same printer) gives the two first to the Doctor, and the two next to Kent. The other quarto appropriates the two first to the Doctor, and the two following ones to a Gentleman. I have given the two first, which best belong to an attendant, to the Gentleman in "waiting, and the other two to the Physician, on account of the can. tion contained in them, which is more suitable to his profession.
Steevens. In the folio the Gentleman and (as he is here called) the Physician, is one and the same person. Ritson.
6 Very well.] This and the following line I have restored from the quartos. Steeveris.
Cor. O my dear father! Restoration, hang
Kind and dear princess!
7 Louder the musick there. I have already observed, in a note en The Second Part of King Henry IV, Vol. IX, p. 143, n. 4, that Shakspeare considered soft musick as favourable to sleep. Lear, we may suppose, had been thus composed to rest; and now the Physician desires louder musick to be played, for the purpose of waking him. So again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609, Cerimon, to recover Thaisa, who had been thrown into the sea, says
“ The rough and woeful musick that we have,
“ Cause it to sound, 'beseech you.” Again, in The Winter's Tale:
“ Musick, awake her; strike!" Malone. 8- Restoration, hany
Thy medicine on iny lips ;] This is fine. She invokes the goddess of health, Hygeria, under the name of Restoration, to make her the minister of her rites, in this holy office of recovering her father's lost senses. Warburton.
Restoration is no more than recovery personified. Steevens. 9 [To stand &c.] The lines within crotchets are omitted in the folio.
Fohnson. 1- to watch (poor perdu!)
With this thin helm?] Thé allusion is to the forlorn-hope in an army, which are put upon desperate adventures, and called in French enfans perdus. These enfans perdus being always slightly and badly armed, is the reason that she adds, With this thin helm? i.e. bareheaded. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton's explanation of the word perdu is just, though the latter part of his assertion has not the least foundation. Paulus Jo. vius, speaking of the body of men who were ancienly sent on this desperate adventure, says: “ Hos ab immoderatâ fortitudine perditos vocant, et in summo honore atque admiratione habent." It is not likely that those who deserved so well of their country for exposing themselves to certain danger, should be sent out summâ admiratione, and yet slightly and badly armed.
The saine allusion occurs in Sir W.D'Avenant's Love and Honour,