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Against my fire ; And wast thou fain, poor father,
How fares your
Sir, do you know me?
O, look upon me, sir,
“ All cruels else subscribed.” BoswELL.
“Ne spared they to strip her naked all.” Again, in Timon :
“ And dispossess her all." STEEVENS. 8 I am mightily abus'd.] I am strangely imposed on by appearances; I am in a strange mist of uncertainty. Johnson.
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me :-
Pray, do not mock me':
9 No, sir, you must not kneel.] This circumstance I find in the old play on the same subject, apparently written by another hand, and published before any edition of Shakspeare's tragedy had made its appearance. As it is always difficult to say whether such accidental resemblances proceed from imitation, or a similarity of thinking on the same occasion, I can only point out this to the reader, to whose determination I leave the question.
STEEVENS. The words, No, sir, are not in the folio. Malone. Pray, do not MOCK ME:] So, in The Winter's Tale, Act V.:
Let no man mock me, “ For I will kiss her."
STEEVENS. ? Fourscore and upward ;] Thus the quartos. The folio absurdly adds “Not an hour more or less,” i.e. not an hour more or less than an indeterminate number, for such is fourscore and up
Fourscore seems to have been used proverbially for old age. See vol. viii. p. 106. Malone.
The authenticity of this passage Sir Joshua Reynolds justly suspects. It was probably the interpolation of some player, and is better omitted, both in regard to sense and versification.
Steevens. The words not an hour more or less, are judiciously reprobated by Mr. Steevens as the interpolation of some foolish player. We should therefore read [as Mr. Heath proposed] : “ Fourscore, and upward ; and, to deal plainly with you."
Ritson. 3 I fear, I am not in my perfect mind.] The quarto reads : I fear, I am not perfect in my
mind.” Johnson. So one of the quartos, [quarto B.) The other, [quartos A and C,] reads according to the present text.
And so I am, I am.
No cause, no cause.
In your own kingdom, sir. LEAR. Do not abuse me. Phys. Be comforted, good madam: the great
rage, You see, is cur'd ^ in him: [and yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost®.] Desire him to go in; trouble him no more, Till further settling.
CoR. Will’t please your highness walk ?
- is CUR'D -] Th the quartos. The folio reads :
is kill'd." STEEVENS. [and yet &c.] This is not in the folio. Johnson. And in the quartos, this speech, and the remainder of the scene, excepting the last two lines, are printed as prose. Boswell.
6 To make him even o'er the time he has lost.] i. e. To reconcile it to his apprehension. WARBURTON.
The uncommon verb-to even, occurs again in Cymbeline, Act III. Sc. IV.:
“ There's more to be consider'd ; but we'll even
“ All that good time will give us.” The meaning there seems to be, we will fully employ all the time we have. So here the Physician says, that it is dangerous to draw from Lear a full relation of all that he felt or suffered while his reason was disturbed; to make him employ as much time in the recital of what has befallen him as passed during his state of insanity. Malone.
I believe, Dr. Warburton's explanation is just. The poor old king had nothing to tell, though he had much to hear. The speaker's meaning therefore I conceive to be-it is dangerous to render all that passed during the interval of his insanity, even (i. e. plain or level,) to his understanding, while it continues in its present state of uncertainty. STEEVENS.
You must bear with me: Pray now forget and forgive: I am old, and foolish.
[Exeunt LEAR, CORDELIA, Physician, and
Most certain, sir.
As 'tis said,
They say, Edgar,
KENT. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers o' the king
dom Approach apace.
Gent. The arbitrement is like to be a bloody. Fare you well, sir.
[Exit. Kent. My point and period will be throughly
wrought, Or well, or ill, as this day's battle's fought.] [Erit.
7 Holds it true, sir,] What is printed in crotchets is not in the folio. It is at least proper, if not necessary; and was omitted by the author, I suppose, for no other reason than to shorten the representation. JOHNSON.
It is much more probable, that it was omitted by the players, after the author's departure from the stage, without consulting him. His plays have been long exhibited with similar omissions, which render them often perfectly unintelligible. MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE I.
The Camp of the British Forces, near Dover.
Enter, with Drums and Colours, EDMUND, REGAN,
Officers, Soldiers, and Others. Edm. Know of the duke, if his last purpose hold; Or, whether since he is advis'd by aught To change the course : He's full of alterations, And self-reproving :-bring his constant pleasure'.
[To an Officer, who goes out. Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried. EDM. 'Tis to be doubted, madam. REG.
Now, sweet lord, You know the goodness I intend upon you: Tell me,-but truly,—but then speak the truth, Do you not love my sister ? Edm.
In honour'd love. [Reg. But have you never found my brother's
way To the forefended place ? ?
of ALTERATION,] One of the quartos reads
of abdication." Steevens. his constant pleasure.] His settled resolution. Johnson. So, before :
“ We have this hour a constant will,” &c. See p. 8, n. 4. Steevens.
' But have you never, &c.] The first and last of these speeches, printed within crotchets, are inserted in Sir Thomas Hanmer's, Mr. Theobald's, and Dr. Warburton's editions; the two intermediate ones, which were omitted in all others, I have restored from the old quartos, 1608. Whether they were left out through negligence, or because the imagery contained in them might be thought too luxuriant, I cannot determine ; but sure a material injury is done to the character of the Bastard by the omission ; for he is made to deny that fatly at first, which the poet only meant to make him evade, or return slight answers to, till he is urged so far as to be obliged to shelter himself under an immediate falsehood. Query, however, whether Shakspeare