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Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Gon. Come, sir;
This admiration is much o' the favour4
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise :5
Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak
By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
4o the favour -] i. e. of the complexion. So, in Julius Cesar:
"In favour 's like the work we have in hand." Steevens. 5 As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:] The redundancy of this line convinces me of its interpolation. What will the reader lose by the omission of the words-you should? I would print:
As you are old and reverend, be wise:
In the fourth line from this, the epithet-riotous, might for the same reason be omitted. To make an inn of a private house, by taking unwarrantable liberties in it, is still a common phrase. Steevens.
6 a grac'd palace.] A palace graced by the presence of a sovereign. Warburton.
7 A little to disquantity your train;] A little is the common reading; but it appears, from what Lear says in the next scene, that this number fifty was required to be cut off, which (as the editions stood) is no where specified by Goneril. Pope.
Mr. Pope for-A little substituted-Of fifty.
To have a thankless child.-Away, away,
and goes out, while Albany and Goneril have a short conference of two speeches; and then returns in a still greater passion, having been informed (as it should seem) of the express number, without:
"What? fifty of my followers at a clap!"
This renders all change needless; and away, away, being restored, prevents the repetition of go, go, my people; which, as the text stood before this regulation, concluded both that and the foregoing speech. Goneril, with great art, is made to avoid mentioning the limited number; and leaves her father to be informed of it by accident, which she knew would be the case as soon as he left her presence.
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
-Darkness and devils!— Saddle my horses; call my train together.— Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee; Yet have I left a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble Make servants of their betters.
Lear. Woe, that too late repents,9-O, sir, are you
Is it your will? [to ALB.] Speak, sir.-Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Pray, sir, be patient.3
Lear. Detested kite! thou liest:
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know;
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.-O most small fault,
8 —— still depend,] Depend for continue in service.` Warburton. So, in Measure for Measure:
"Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
"So stinkingly depending?" Steevens.
9 Woe, that too late repents,] This is the reading of the folio. Both the quartos, for Woe, have We, and that of which the first signature is B, reads-We that too late repent's· -; i. e. repent us: which I suspect is the true reading. Shakspeare might have had The Mirror for Magistrates in his thoughts:
"They call'd him doting foole, all his requests debarr'd,
"'Gainst me," Story of Queen Cordila.
My copy of the quarto, of which the first signature is A, readsWe that too late repent's us. Steevens.
O, sir, are you come?] These words are not in the folio.
2 Than the sea-monster!] Mr. Upton observes, that the sea-monster is the Hippotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandy's, in his Travels, says-that he killeth his sire, and ravisheth his own dam." Steevens.
3 Pray, sir, be patient.] The quartos omit this speech. Steevens.
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
Which, like an engine,4 wrench'd my frame of nature From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love, And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in, [Striking his Head. And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people.5
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov'd you.
Lear. It may be so, my lord.-Hear, nature, hear;
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body? never spring
4 like an engine,] Mr. Edwards conjectures that by an engine is meant the rack. He is right. To engine is, in Chaucer, to strain upon the rack; and in the following passage from The Three Lords of London, 1590, engine seems to be used for the same instrument of
"From Spain they come with engine and intent
"To slay, subdue, to triumph, and torment." Again, in The Night-Walker, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
"Their souls shot through with adders, torn on engines."
5 Go, go, my people.] Perhaps these words ought to be regulated differently:
Go, go:-my people!
By Albany's answer it should seem that he had endeavoured to appease Lear's anger; and perhaps it was intended by the author that he should here be put back by the king with these words,-"Go, go;" and that Lear should then turn hastily from his son-in-law, and call his train: "My people!" Mes Gens, Fr. So, in a former part of
"You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
"Make servants of their betters."
Again, in Othello, Act I, sc. i:
Call up my people."
However the passage be understood, these latter words must bear this sense. The meaning of the whole, indeed, may be only-"Away, away, my followers!" Malone.
With Mr. Malone's last explanation I am perfectly satisfied.
6 of what hath moo'd you.] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens. 7 - from her derogate body -] Derogate for unnatural.
Rather, I think, degraded; blasted. Johnson.
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
[Exit. Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this?
Her shrunk and wasted body. See Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616: "Derogate. To impaire, diminish, or take away." Malone. Degraded (Dr. Johnson's first explanation) is surely the true one. So, in Cymbeline: "Is there no derogation in 't?—You cannot derogate, my lord," i. e. degrade yourself. Steevens.
8 thwart -] Thwart, as a noun adjective, is not frequent in our language. It is, however, to be found in Promos and Cassandra, 1578: "Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care.'
Henderson. 9 · disnatur'd —] Disnatur'd is wanting natural affection. So Daniel, in Hymen's Triumph, 1623:
"I am not so disnatured a man.' 19 Steevens.
cadent tears —] i. e. Falling tears. Dr. Warburton would read candent. Steevens.
The words-these hot tears, in Lear's next speech, may seem to authorize the amendment; but the present reading is right. It is a more severe imprecation to wish, that tears by constant flowing may fret channels in the cheeks, which implies a long life of wretchedness, than to wish that those channels should be made by scalding tears, which does not mark the same continuation of misery.
The same thought occurs in Troilus and Cressida, Act V, sc. iii: "Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
"Their eyes o'er-galled with recourse of tears,"
should prevent his going to the field. M. Mason.
2 Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,
To laughter and contempt;] "Her mother's pains" here signifies, not bodily sufferings, or the throes of child-birth, (with which this "disnatured babe" being unacquainted, it could not deride or despise them) but maternal cares; the solicitude of a mother for the welfare of her child. So, in King Richard III:
""Tis time to speak; my pains are quite forgot."
Benefits mean good offices; her kind and beneficent attention to the education of her offspring, &c. Mr. Roderick has, in my opinion, explained both these words wrong. He is equally mistaken in supposing that the sex of this child is ascertained by the word her; which clearly relates, not to Goneril's issue, but to herself. "Her mother's pains" means-the pains which she (Goneril) takes as a mother. Malone.
Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.
Lear. What, fifty of my followers, at a clap! Within a fortnight?
What's the matter, sir?
Lear. I'll tell thee;-Life and death! I am asham'd That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus:
[TO GON. That these hot tears,3 which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon
The untented woundings of a father's curse
3 That these hot tears, &c.] I will transcribe this passage from the first edition, that it may appear to those who are unacquainted with old books, what is the difficulty of revision, and what indulgence is due to those that endeavour to restore corrupted passages.-That these hot tears, that breake from me perforce, should make the worst blasts and fogs upon the untender woundings of a father's curse, peruse every sense about the old fond eyes, beweep this cause again, &c. Johnson.
4 The untented woundings —] Untented wounds, means wounds in their worst state, not having a tent in them to digest them; and may possibly signify here such as will not admit of having a tent put into them for that purpose. Our author quibbles on this practice in surgery, in Troilus and Cressida:
"Patr. Who keeps the tent now?
"Ther. The surgeon's box, or the patient's wound.”
One of the quartos reads, untender. Steevens.
that you lose,] The quartos read-that you make. Steevens. Let it be so: &c.] The reading is here gleaned up, part from the first, and part from the second edition. Johnson.
Let it be so, is omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
And is it come to this is omitted in the folio. Yet have I left a daughter is the reading of the quartos; the folio has, I have another daugh Malone.