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ALB. O! it is he?.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which very manners urges.

I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night;
Is he not here?

Great thing of us forgot !-
Speak, Edmund, where's the king ? and where's

Cordelia ?-
See'st thou this object, Kent ?

[The Bodies of GONERIL and Regan are

brought in. KENT. Alack, why thus ? Edm.

Yet Edmund was belov'd 8: The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.

ALB. Even so.-Cover their faces.

Edm. I pant for life :Some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send, -
Be brief in it,-to the castle ; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia :-
Nay, send in time.

Run, run, 0, run-
EDG. To who, my lord ?-Who has the office ?


Thy token of reprieve. mentions Kent, seems to require the lines which are inserted from the first edition in the foregoing scene.

JOHNSON. 70! it is he.] Thus the quartos. Folio, 0, is this he?"

Malone. 8 Yet Edmund was belov'd :] Rowe's Dying Rake suggests to himself a similar consolation, arising from the remembrance of successful gallantry:

* Yet, let not this advantage swell thy pride;

“ I conquer'd in my turn, in love I triumph'd.Dryden's Don Sebastian felicitates himself on the same circumstance. Thus also in The Double Marriage by Fletcher :

this happiness yet stays with me: “You have been mine." STEEVENS.

Edm. Well thought on; take my sword, Give it the captain'.

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life'. [Exit EDGAR.

Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and To lay the blame upon her own despair, That she fordid herself * 2. ALB. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

[Edmund is borne off. Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his Arms;

EDGAR, Officer, and Others. LEAR. Howl, howl, howl, howl !—0, you are

men of stones;

* Quarto A omits this line. 9 Give it the captain.] The quartos read :

Take my sword, the captain,
“Give it the captain" Steevens.

. Alb. Haste thee, for thy life.] Thus the quartos. In the folio this speech is improperly assigned to Edgar, who had the moment before received the token of reprieve, which Edmund enjoined him to give the officer, in whose custody Lear was.

Malone. 2 That she fordid herself.] To fordo, signifies to destroy. It is used again in Hamlet, Act V.:

did, with desperate hand, • Fordo its own life

STEEVENS. Cordelia dead in his arms ;] This princess, according to the old historians, retired with victory from the battle which she conducted in her father's cause, and thereby replaced him on the throne : but in a subsequent one fought against her (after the death of the old king) by the sons of Goneril and Regan, she was taken, and died miserably in prison. The poet found this in history, and was therefore willing to precipitate her death, which he knew had happened but a few years after. The dramatick writers of this age suffered as small a number of their heroes and heroines to escape as possible; nor could the filial piety of this lady, any more than the innocence of Ophelia, prevail on Shakspeare to extend her life beyond her misfortunes.

STEEVENS. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the original relater of this story, says, that Cordelia was thrown by her nephews into prison, “where, for grief at the loss of her kingdom, she killed herself."



Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is gone

for ever!-
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

Is this the promis'd end ?
Edg. Or image of that horror* ?

4 Kent. Is this the promis'd end ?

Edg. Or image of that horror ?] It appears to me that by the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world. In St. Mark's Gospel, when Christ foretels to his disciples the end of the world, and is describing to them the signs that were to precede, and mark the approach of, our final dissolution, he says, “ For in those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created, unto this time, neither shalĩ be :” and afterwards he says, “ Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” "Kent in contemplating the unexampled scene of exquisite affliction which was then before him, and the unnatural attempt of Goneril and Regan against their father's life, recollects these passages, and asks, whether that was the end of the world that had been foretold to us. To which Edgar adds, or only a representation or resemblance of that horror ?

So Macbeth, when he calls upon Banquo, Malcolm, &c. to view Duncan murdered, says

up, up, and see

The great doom's image! There is evidently an allusion to the same passages in Scripture, in a speech of Gloster's, which he makes in the second scene of the first Act :

“ These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us ;-love cools; friendship falls off ; brothers divide ; in cities, mutinies ; in countries, discord ; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction ; there's son against father ; the king falls from the bias of nature; there's father against child : We have seen the best of our time.”.

If any criticks should urge it as an objection to this explanation, that the persons of the drama are pagans, and of consequence unALB.

Fall, and cease ! LEAR. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,

acquainted with the Scriptures, they give Shakspeare credit for more accuracy than I fear he possessed. M. Mason.

This note deserves the highest praise, and is inserted in the present work with the utmost degree of gratitude to its author.

STEEVENS. I entirely agree with Mr. Mason in his happy explanation of this

passage. In a speech which our poet has put into the mouth of young Clifford in The Second Part of King Henry VI. a similar imagery is found. On seeing the dead body of his father, who was slain in battle by the Duke of York, he exclaims

-0, let the vile world end,
And the premised flames of the last day
“ Knit earth and heaven together!
“ Now let the general trumpet blow his blast,
“ Particularities and petty sounds

" To cease!” There is no trace of these lines in the old play on which The Second Part of King Henry VI. was formed.

Image is again used for delineation or representation, in King Henry IV. Part I.: “No counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed.”

Again, in Hamlet : “ The play is the image of a murder done in Vienna.”

Mr. M. Mason has not done justice to his ingenious explanation of these words, by not quoting the whole of the passage

in Macbeth:

- up, up, and see
The great doom's image! Malcolm ! Banquo !
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprights,

" To countenance this horror." Here we find disjecti membra poetæ ; the second and fourth line, taken together, furnishing us with the very expression of the text.

MALONE. s Fall, and cease!] Albany is looking with attention on the pains employed by Lear to recover his child, and knows to what miseries he must survive, when he finds them to be ineffectual. Having these images present to his eyes and imagination, he cries out, “Rather fall, and cease to be, at once, than continue in existence only to be wretched.” So, in All's Well, &c. to cease is used for to die : and in Hamlet, the death of majesty is called “ the cease of majesty.”

Again, in All's Well That Ends Well :

It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

O my good master! [Kneeling.
LEAR. Pr'ythee, away.

"Tis noble Kent, your friend. LEAR. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors


“ Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease !
“ Both suffer under this complaint you bring,

And both shall cease, without your remedy." STEEVENS. The word is used nearly in the same sense in a former scene in this play:

Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, “ Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,

“ That things might change or cease.I doubt, however, whether Albany's speech is addressed to Lear. MalONE.

To whom then is it addressed ? STEEVENS. There is a passage in The Double Marriage of Fletcher, which supports Steevens's conjecture : Juliana says to Virolet

“Be what you please, this happiness yet stays with me,
“ You have been mine :-oh my unhappy fortune !

Nay, break, and die.
Jul. It cannot yet; I must live
“ Till I see this man blest in his new love,

“ And then." M. Mason. 6 This FEATHER stirs ;) So, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612: “Fetch a looking-glass, see if his breath will not stain it ; or pull some feathers from my pillow, and lay them to his lips.” Steevens.

A common experiment of applying a light feather to the lips of a person supposed to be dead, to see whether he breathes. There is the same thought in K. Henry IV. Part II. Act IV. Sc. IV.:

By his gates of breath “ There lies a downy feather, which stirs not." And to express a total stillness in the air, in Donne's poem, called The Calm, there is the like sentiment ; which Jonson, in his conversation with Drummond of Hawthornden, highly commended :

in one place lay Feathers and dust, to-day and yesterday." WHALLEY.

MURDERERS, traitors all!] Thus the folio. The quartos read~"murderous traitors all.” MALONE.

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