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Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.5
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.-Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better. Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again :-The king is coming. [Trumpets sound within. Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Glos
Glo. I shall, my liege.
[Exeunt GLO. and EDм.
or portion. "I would unwillingly part with the greatest moiety of my own means and fortunes." History of Women, 1624. See Vol. VIII, p. 258, n. 1.
5 being so proper.] i. e. handsome. See Vol. IV, p. 322, n. 1. Malone.
6 — some year elder than this,] Some year, is an expression used when we speak indefinitely. Steevens.
I do not agree with Mr. Steevens that some year is an expression used when we speak indefinitely. I believe it means about a year; and accordingly Edmund says, in the 154th page
"For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker purpose.?
To shake all cares and business from our age;1
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
-express our darker purpose.] Darker, for more secret; not for indirect, oblique. Warburton.
This word may admit a further explication. We shall express our darker purpose: that is, we have already made known in some measure our desire of parting the kingdom; we will now discover what has not been told before, the reasons by which we shall regulate the partition. This interpretation will justify or palliate the exordial dialogue. Johnson.
Give me the map there.] So the folio. The quartos, leaving the verse defective, read-The map there. Steevens.
and 'tis our fast intent-] Fast is the reading of the first folio, and, I think, the true reading. Johnson.
Our fast intent is our determined resolution. The quartos haveour first intent. Malone.
-from our age;] The quartos read-of our state. Steevens. 2 Conferring them on younger strengths,] is the reading of the folio; the quartos read, Confirming them on younger years. Steevens. while we &c.] From while we, down to prevented now, is omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
constant will ] Seems a confirmation of fast intent.
Constant is firm, determined. Constant will is the certa voluntas of Virgil. The same epithet is used with the same meaning in The Merchant of Venice:
else nothing in the world
"Could turn so much the constitution
"Of any constant man.” Steevens.
5 Since now &c.] These two lines are omitted in the quartos.
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most?
Where merit doth most challenge it. Goneril,
Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life," with grace, health, beauty, honour:
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Cor. What shall Cordelia do ?
Love, and be silent.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
• Where merit doth most challenge it.] The folio reads:
Where nature doth with merit challenge:
i. e. where the claim of merit is superadded to that of nature; or where a superior degree of natural filial affection is joined to the claim of other merits. Steevens.
7 Gon. Sir, I
Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
No less than life,] So, in Holinshed: ". he first asked Gonorilla the eldest, how well she loved him; who calling hir gods to re cord, protested that she loved him more than her own life, which by right and reason should be most deere unto hir. With which answer the father being well pleased, turned to the second, and demanded of hir how well she loved him; who answered (confirming hir saieings with great othes,) that she loved him more than toong could expresse, and farre above all other creatures of the world.
"Then called he his youngest daughter Cordeilla before him, and asked hir, what account she made of him; unto whom she made this answer as followeth: Knowing the great love and fatherlie zeale that you have alwaies born towards me. (for the which I maie not answere you otherwise than I thinke and as my conscience leadeth me) I protest unto you that I have loved you ever, and will continuallie (while I live) love you as my natural father. And if you would more understand of the love I bear you, ascertain your selfe, that so much as you have, so much you are worth, and so much I love you, and no more." Malone.
8 Beyond all manner of so much ] Beyond all assignable quantity. I love you beyond limits, and cannot say it is so much, for how much soever I should name, it would be yet more. Johnson. Thus Rowe, in his Fair Penitent, sc. i:
I can only
"Swear you reign here, but never tell how much." Steevens. do?] So the quarto; the folio has speak. Johnson.
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
Reg. I am made3 of that self metal as my sister,
Only she comes too short,-that I profess5
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;o
and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous rivers --] These words are omitted in the quartos. To rich is an obsolete verb. Steevens.
Rich'd is used for enriched, as 'tice for entice, 'bate for abate, strain for constrain, &c. M. Mason.
Speak.] Thus the quartos. This word is not in the folio.
3 I am made &c.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads, Sir, I am made of the self-same metal that my sister is. Steevens.
4 And prize me at her worth. &c.] I believe this passage should rather be pointed thus:
And prize me at her worth, in my true heart
I find, she names &c.
That is, And so may you prize me at her worth, as in my true heart I find, that she names, &c. Tyrwhitt.
I believe we should read:
And prize you at her worth.
That is, set the same high value upon you that she does.
Prize me at her worth, perhaps means, I think myself as worthy of your favour as she is. Henley.
5 Only she comes too short, that I profess &c.] That seems to stand without relation, but is referred to find, the first conjunction being inaccurately suppressed. I find that she names my deed, I find that I profess, &c. Johnson.
The true meaning is this:"My sister has equally expressed my sentiments, only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself an enemy to all joys but you.”—That I profess, means, in that I profess. M. Mason.
In that, i. e. inasmuch as, I profess myself, &c. The quartos read:
Thus the folio.
"Only she came short, that I profess," &c. Which the most precious square of sense possesses;] Perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. Johnson.
So, in a Parænesis to the Prince, by Lord Sterline, 1604: "The square of reason, and the mind's clear eye.”
And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy,1
Golding, in his version of the 6th Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translates
66- quotiesque rogabat
"As cft as he demanded out of square."
i. e. what was unreasonable. Steevens.
I believe that Shakspeare uses square for the full complement of all the senses. Edwards.
7 More richer than my tongue.] The quartos thus: the folio-more ponderous. Steevens.
We should read-their tongue, meaning her sisters.
I think the present reading right. Johnson.
No less in space, validity,] Validity, for worth, value; not for integrity, or good title. Warburton.
So, in The Devil's Charter, 1607: "The countenance of your friend is of less value than his councel, yet both of very small validity." Steevens.
confirm'd] The folio reads, conferr'd. Why was not this reading adhered to? It is equally good sense and better English. We confer on a person, but we confirm to him.
Now, our joy, &c.] Here the true reading is picked out of
two copies. Butter's quarto reads:
66 Now our joy,
"Although our last, and least; to whose young love
"Strive to be int'ress'd. What can you say." &c. Johnson.
2 Although the last, not least; &c.] So, in the old anonymous play, King Leir speaking to Mumford?
"to thee last of all;
"Not greeted last, 'cause thy desert was small." Steevens.
Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, written before 1593:
"The third and last, not least, in our account." Malone.