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To die before you please!
Well pray you, father.
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows
Hearty thanks :
Stew. A proclaim'd prize! Most happy! That eyeless head of thine
was first fram'd flesh To raise my fortunes.--Thou old unhappy trai
tor, Briefly thyself remember? :—The sword is out That must destroy thee.
S-made TAME BY fortune's blows.] So, in Much Ado About Nothing :
“ Taming my wild heart to thy gentle hand." The quartos read :
made lame by fortune’s blows.” Steevens. I believe the original is here, as in many other places, the true reading. So, in our poet's 37th Sonnet : “ So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spight—"
Malone. 6 Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,] i. e. Sorrows past and present.
Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco. I doubt whether feeling is not used, with our poet's usual licence, for felt. Sorrows known, not by relation, but by experience.
MALONE. 7 Briefly thyself remember:] i. e. Quickly recollect the past offences of thy life, and recommend thyself to heaven.
WARBURTON. So Othello says to Desdemona :
“ If you bethink yourself of any crime,
Now let thy friendly hand Put strength enough to it. [EDGAR opposes. Stew.
Wherefore, bold peasant, Dar’st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence; Lest that the infection of his fortune take Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
Ed. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.
Stew. Let go, slave, or thou diest.
Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait®, and let poor volk pass. And ch’ud ha' been zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' been zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out, che vor’ye", or ise try whether your costard or my bat * be the harder : Ch’ill be plain with you.
* So quarto B; quartos A and C, battero ; first folio, ballow.
go your gait,] Gang your gait is a common expression in the North. In the last rebellion, when the Scotch soldiers had finished their exercise, instead of our term of dismission, their phrase was,
gang your gaits.” Steevens. 9 che vor'ye,] I warn you. Edgar counterfeits the western dialect. Johnson.
When our ancient writers have occasion to introduce a rustick, they commonly allot him this Somersetshire dialect. Mercury, in the second book of Ovid's Metamorphosis, assumes the appearance of a clown, and our translator Golding has made him speak with the provinciality of Shakspeare's Edgar. STEEVENS.
your coSTARD - ) Costard, i. e. head. So, in King Richard III. : “ Take him over the costard with the hilt of thy sword.” STEEVENS.
my BAT-] i. e. club. So, in Spenser :
- a handsome bat he held,
“ On which he leaned, as one far in eld.” Again, in Mucedorus, 1598 :
“ With this my bat I will beat out thy brains.” Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599 :
· let every thing be ready, “ And each of you a good bat on his neck.” Steevens. Rather, in this place, a staff. In Sussex a walking-stick is
Stew. Out, dunghill !
Edg. Ch’ill pick your teeth, zir: Come; no matter vor your foins".
[They fight; and EDGAR knocks him down. Stew. Slave, thou hast slain me:-Villain, take
my purse ;
What, is he dead ?
called a bat. Bats and clubs are distinguished in Coriolanus, Act I. Sc. I. : “ Where go you with bats and clubs.”
Holt White. 3 - no matter vor your foins,] To foin, is to make what we call a thrust in fencing. Shakspeare often uses the word.
Steevens. 4 To Edmund earl of Gloster ;] Mr. Smith has endeavoured, without any success, to prove, in a long note, that we ought to read-letter both here and below, because the Steward had only one letter in his pocket, namely, that written by Goneril. But there is no need of change, for letters formerly was used like epistolæ in Latin, when one only was intended. So, in Act I. Sc. V. Lear says to Kent, Go, you, before to Gloster, with these letters ;” and Kent replies, “I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.” Again, in Act IV. Sc. V. the Steward says to Regan, “ I must needs after him, madam, with my letters,” meaning only Goneril's letter, which Edgar presently reads. Such, as I observed on that passage, is the reading of the original quarto copies, which in the folio is changed to letter. Whether the Steward had also a letter from Regan, it is not here necessary to inquire. The words which he uses do not, for the reason I have assigned, necessarily imply two letters; and as Edgar finds no letter from Regan, we may infer that when she said to the 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.
Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.Let's see his pockets : these letters, that he speaks
of, May be my friends.-He's dead; I am only sorry He had no other death's-man 5. Let us see: Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not: To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts; Their
papers, is more lawful 6. [Reads.] Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him off : 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 prisoner, 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 ?
s He had no other DEATH'S-MAN.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
" For who so base would such an office have
“ As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave.” Malone. 6 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.
- affectionate SERVANT,] After servant, one of the quartos [quarto A and C,] has this strange continuation : and for you her owne for venter, Gonerill." STEEVENS.
In this place I have followed quarto B. The others read“ 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, Gonerill."
O undistinguish'd space of woman's will?!
[Erit Edgar, dragging out the Body. Glo. The king is mad: How stiff is my vile
sense, That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling' Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract: So should my thoughts be sever'd’ from my griefs ; And woes, by wrong imaginations, lose The knowledge of themselves.
7 O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!] Thus the folio. The quartos read-of woman's wit! The meaning (says Dr. Warburton in Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition,) is, “ The variations in a woman's will are so sudden, and their liking and loathing follow so quick upon each other, that there is no distinguishable space between them.” Malone.
I believe the plain meaning is—"0 undistinguishing licentiousness of a woman's inclinations !" STEEVENS.
This is a very good meaning, I admit: but how can it be deduced from the words in the text, unless space can be considered as synonymous with licentiousness. Malone.
8 Thee I'll RAKE up, the post UNSANCTIFIED, &c.]. Ill cover thee. In Staffordshire, to rake the fire, is to cover it with fuel for the night. JOHNSON.
The epithet, unsanctified, refers to his want of burial in consecrated ground. Steevens.
9 — the death-practis'd duke :] The duke of Albany, whose death is machinated by practice or treason.
Johnson. 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.
- sever'd-] The quartos read fenced. STEEVENS.