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That slaves your ordinance,' that will not see Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly'; So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough.-Dost thou know Dover?
EDG. Ay, master.
GLO. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep :2
timent, which indeed cannot be too strongly impressed, though may be too often repeated. JOHNSON.
Superfluous is here used for one living in abundance.
1 That slaves your ordinance, &c.] The language of Shakspeare is very licentious, and his words have often meanings remote from the proper and original use. To slave or beslave another is to treat him with terms of indignity: in a kindred sense, to slave the ordinance, may be, to slight or ridicule it.
JOHNSON. To slave an ordinance, is to treat it as a slave, to make it subject to us, instead of acting in obedience to it. So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613:
"Could slave him like the Lydian Omphale." Again, in A New Way to pay old Debts, by Massinger: -that slaves me to his will." STEEVENS.
Heywood, in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 1637, uses this verb in the same sense :
"What shall I do? my love I will not slave
"To an old king, though he love should crave.'
Again, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604:
"O powerful blood, how dost thou slave their soul !" That slaves your ordinance, is the reading of the folio. Both the quartos have-That stands your ordinance; perhaps for withstands. Stands, however, may be right :-that abides your ordinance. The poet might have intended to mark the criminality of the lust-dieted man only in the subsequent words, that will not see, because he doth not feel. MALONE.
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:] So the folio. The quartos read-Looks firmly. Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear,
With something rich about me: from that place
Give me thy arm;
Poor Tom shall lead thee.
Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.
Enter GONERIL and EDMUND; Steward meeting them.
GON. Welcome, my lord: I marvel, our mild husband 3
Not met us on the way :-Now, where's your mas-
STEW. Madam, within; but never man so chang'd:
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot;
editors for in read on. I see no need of change. Shakspeare considered the sea as a mirrour. To look in a glass, is yet our colloquial phraseology. MALONE.
In for into. We still say that a window looks into the garden or the stable-yard. STEEVENS.
-our mild husband-] It must be remembered that Albany, the husband of Goneril, disliked, in the end of the first Act, the scheme of oppression and ingratitude. JOHNSON.
What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to
What like, offensive.
Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
Our wishes, on the way,
May prove effects.] I believe the meaning of the passage to be this: "What we wish, before our march is at an end, may be brought to happen, i. e. the murder or despatch of her husband. On the way, however, may be equivalent to the expression we now use, viz. By the way, or By the by, i. e. en passant. STEEVENS.
The wishes we have formed and communicated to each other, on our journey, may be carried into effect. M. MASON.
She means, I think, The wishes, which we expressed to each other on our way hither, may be completed, and prove effectual to the destruction of my husband. On her entrance she said— 66 -I marvel our mild husband "Not met us on the way."
Again, more appositely, in King Richard III:
"Thou know'st our reasons, urg'd upon the way."
See also Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: " Umbella. A kind of round thing like a round skreene, that gentlemen use in Italie in time of summer,-to keep the sunne from them, when they are riding by the way." MALONE.
"I must change arms-]
Thus the quartos.
A mistresses command. Wear this; spare speech;
[Giving a Favour. Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak, Would stretch thy spirits up into the air;6Conceive, and fare thee well.
EDM. Yours in the ranks of death.
My most dear Gloster!
O, the difference of man, and man! To thee
Usurps my bed.8
Madam, here comes my lord.
GON. I have been worth the whistle."
• Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak, Would stretch thy spirits up into the air;] She bids him decline his head, that she might give him a kiss (the Steward being present) and that it might appear only to him as a whisper. STEEVENS.
70, the difference of man, and man!] Omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS.
Some epithet to difference was probably omitted in the folio. MALONE.
According to the present regulation of this passage, the measure is complete. STEEVENS.
Usurps my bed.] One of the quartos read:
My foot usurps my head; the other,
My foot usurps my body. STEEVENS.
The quarto of which the first signature is A, reads-My foot usurps my head. Some of the copies of quarto B, have-My foot usurps my body; others-A fool usurps my bed. The folio reads-My fool usurps my body. MALONE. 9 I have been worth the whistle.]
This expression is a re
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
She that herself will sliver and disbranch3
proach to Albany for having neglected her; though you disregard me thus, I have been worth the whistle, I have found one that thinks me worth calling. JOHNSON.
This expression is a proverbial one. Heywood in one of his dialogues, consisting entirely of proverbs, says:
"It is a poor dog that is not worth the whistling.'
Goneril's meaning seems to be-There was a time when you would have thought me worth the calling to you; reproaching him for not having summoned her to consult with on the present critical occasion. STEEVENS.
I think Mr. Steevens's interpretation the true one. Malone. 1--I fear your disposition:] These words, and the lines that follow to monsters of the deep, are found in the quartos, but are improperly omitted in the folio. They are necessary, as Mr. Pope has observed, " to explain the reasons of the detestation which Albany here expresses to his wife." MALONE.
2 That nature, which contemns its origin,
Cannot be border'd certain in itself;] The sense is, That nature which is arrived to such a pitch of unnatural degeneracy, as to contemn its origin, cannot from thenceforth be restrained within any certain bounds, but is prepared to break out into the most monstrous excesses every way, as occasion or temptation may offer. HEATH.
3 She that herself will sliver and disbranch-] To sliver signifies to tear off or disbranch. So, in Macbeth:
66 slips of yew
"Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse." WARBURTON.
* She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap,] She who breaks the bonds of filial duty, and becomes wholly alienated from her father, must wither and perish, like a branch separated from that sap which supplies it with nourishment, and gives life to the matter of which it is composed. So, in A Brief Chronycle concernynge