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Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait,5 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.

Stew. Out, dunghill!

Edg. Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: Come; no matter vor your foins.8 [They fight; and EDG. knocks him down. Stew. Slave, thou hast slain me:- -Villain, take my


If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;

And give the letters, which thou find'st about me,
To Edmund earl of Gloster ;9 seek him out


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.

6 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 Metamorphoses, assumes the appearance of a clown, and our translator Golding has made him speak with the provinciality of Shakspeare's Edgar. Steevens.


my bat -] A staff. In Sussex a walking-stick is called a bat. Bats and clubs are distinguished in Coriolanus, Act I, sc. i: "Where go you with bats and clubs. H. White.

8 no matter vor your foins.] To foin, is to make what we call a thrust in fencing. Shakspeare often uses the word. Steevens.

9 To Edmund earl of Gloster;] Mr. Smith has endeavoured, with out any success, to prove, in a long note, that we ought to readletter 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

Upon the British party :

O, untimely death! [Dies.

Edg. I know thee well: A serviceable villain; As duteous to the vices of thy mistress,

As badness would desire.


What, is he dead?

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.-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.1

[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,2

O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!3


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. 1 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 has this strange continuation: " and for you her owne for venter, Gonerill." Steevens.

In this place I have followed the quarto of which the first signature is A. The other reads-" 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, Goneril." Malone.

3 O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!] Thus the folio. The quartos read-of woman's wit! The meaning (says Dr. Warburton

A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;

And the exchange, my brother!-Here, in the sands,
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified4*

Of murderous lechers: and, in the mature time,
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd duke :5 For him 'tis well,
That of thy death and business I can tell.

[Exit EDG. 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.


Re-enter EDGAR.

Give me your hand:


Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.

in Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition) is, "The variations in a woman's will are so sudden, and their liking and lothing follow so quick upon each other, that there is no distinguishable space between them."


I believe the plain meaning is—O undistinguishing licentiousness of a woman's inclinations! Steevens.

4 Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified &c.] I'll cover thee. In Staffordshire, to rake the fire, is to cover it with fuel for the night. Johnson.

The learned doctor has fallen into an error.-Torake the fire, is not to cover it with fuel, for the night, but to rake ashes over the embers to preserve kindling, as it is termed, for the morning's fire. Rake up the fire, is still understood to mean-cover over the fire with ashes. Am. Ed.

The epithet unsanctified, refers to his want of burial in consecrated ground. Steevens.


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.


A Tent in the French Camp. LEAR on a Bed, asleep; Physician, Gentleman, and Others, attending: Enter CORDELIA and KENT.

Cor. O thou good Kent, how shall I live, and work, To match thy goodness? My life will be too short, And every measure fail me.9

Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'er-paid.. All my reports go with the modest truth;

Nor more, nor clipp'd, but so.


Be better suited:1

These weeds are memories of those worser hours;2

I pr'ythee, put them off.

Pardon me, dear madam;
Yet to be known, shortens my made intent:3
My boon I make it, that you know me not,


Physician, Gentleman, &c.] In the quartos the direction is, "Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Doctor," omitting by negligence the Gentleman, who yet in those copies is a speaker in the course of the scene, and remains with KENT, when the rest go out. In the folio, the direction is, "Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Gentleman," to the latter of whom all the speeches are given, which in the original copies are divided between the physician and the gentleman. I suppose, from a penury of actors, it was found convenient to unite the two characters, which, we see, were originally distinct. Cordelia's words, however, might have taught the editor of the folio to have given the gentleman whom he retained the appellation of Doctor:


"Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed

"I' the sway of your own will." Malone.

every measure fail me.] All good which I shall allot thee, or measure out to thee, will be scanty. Johnson.

1 Be better suited:] i. e. Be better dressed, put on a better suit of clothes. Steevens.

2 These weeds are memories of those worser hours;] Memories, i. e. Memorials, remembrances. Shakspeare uses the word in the same sense, As you Like it, Act II, sc. iii:

"O, my sweet master! O you memory

"Of old Sir Rowland!".

So, in Stowe's Survey of London, 1618:-" A printed memorie hanging up in a table at the entrance into the church-door." Malone. my made intent:] There is a dissonancy of terms in made intent; one implying the idea of a thing done, the other, undone. I suppose Shakspeare wrote-laid intent, i. e. projected. Warburton.


An intent made, is an intent formed. So we say in common language, to make a design, and to make a resolution. Johnson.

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Till time and I think meet.

Cor. Then be it so, my good lord.-How does the


Phys. Madam, sleeps still.

Cor. O you kind gods,

[To the Phys.

Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up

Of this child-changed father!4

Phys. So please your majesty, That we may wake the king? he hath slept long. Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed

I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Gent. Ay, madam ;5 in the heaviness of his sleep, We put fresh garments on him.

Phys. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him; I doubt ot of his temperance.


Very well,

Phys. Please you, draw near.-Louder the musick


▲ Of this child-changed father !] i.e. Changed to a child by his years and wrongs; or perhaps, reduced to this condition by his children.


Lear is become insane, and this is the change referred to. Insanity is not the property of second childhood, but dotage. Consonant to this explanation is what Cordelia almost immediately adds:

"O my dear father! restoration hang

"Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss

66 Repair those violent harms, that my two sisters
"Have in thy reverence made!" Henley.

Of this child-changed father!] That is, changed by his children; a father, whose jarring senses have been untuned by the monstrous ingratitude of his daughters. So, care-craz'd, crazed by care; waye. worn, worn by the waves; woe-wearied, harassed by woe; &c.


5 Ay, madam; &c.] The folio gives these four lines to a Gentleman. One of the quartos (they were both printed in the same year, and for the same printer) gives the two first to the Doctor, and the two next to Kent. The other quarto appropriates the two first to the Doctor, and the two following ones to a Gentleman. I have given the two first, which best belong to an attendant, to the Gentleman in waiting, and the other two to the Physician, on account of the cau tion contained in them, which is more suitable to his profession.


In the folio the Gentleman and (as he is here called) the Physician, is one and the same person. Ritson.

6 Very well.] This and the following line I have restored from the quartos. Steevens.

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