« PreviousContinue »
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
i-thwart) Tbwart as a noun adjective is not frequent in our language, it is however to be found in Promos and Casandra, 1578, “ Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care." The quarto.reads, a thourt disveturd torment, which I apprehend to be disfeatur'd. HENDERSON.
2-disnatur'd l Disnatur'd is wanting natural affection. So, Daniel in Hymen's Triumph, 1623 :
“ I am not so disnatured a man.” Steevens. 3 cadent tears -) i. e. Falling tears. Dr. Warburton would read candent. STEEVENS.
Dr. Warburton proposes to read candent; and 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 fevere 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 alone does not mark the same continuation of misery. The fame thought occurs in Troilus and Cresda, A& V. sc. in.
“ Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
“ Their eyes o'er-galled with recourse of tears," hould prevent his going to the field. Monck Mason. 4 Turn all her motber's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt ;) “ Her mother's pains" here sige nifies, 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. Benefits mean good offices ; her kind and beneficent attention to the education of her offspring, &c. Mr. Roderick has, in my opinion, explained both thele words wrong. He is equally mistaken in supposing that the sex of this child is ascertained by the word ber; which clearly relates, not to Goneril's issue, but to herself. " Her mother's pains” means the pains she takes as a mother. Malone,
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes
Lear. What, fifty of my followers, at a clap! Within a fortnight!
Alb. What's the matter, fir ?
Lear. I'll tell thee;-Life and death! I am asham'd That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus :
[To Goneril. 5 That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs
6 The untented woundings of a father's curse
s I will transcribe this paffage 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 worse blasts and fogs upon the untender woundings of a father's curse, perufe every sense about the old fond eyes, beweep this cause again, &c.
Johnson. 6 The untented woundings -] Untented wounds, means wounds in their worst itate, 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. One of the quartos reads, untender. STEEVENS. that you lose.] The quartos read-that you make.
Steevens, 8 Let it be fo, &c.] The reading is here gleaned up, part from the first, and part from the second edition. JOHNSON. Let it be fo is omitted in the quartos.
STEEVENS. .. VOL. IX.
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable;
(Exeunt Lear, Kent, and attendants. Gon. Do you mark that, my lord ?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you, --
Gon. Pray you, content. - What, Oswald, ho! You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master. .
[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
[Exit. * ? Gon. This man hath had good counfel:-A
hundred knighis! 'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep ' At point, a hundred knights. Yes, that on every
Alb. Well, you may fear too far,
Gon. Safer than trust too far:
. Gon] All from this asterisk to the next, is omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS.
At point, ] I believe, means completely armed, and conses guentiy ready at appoinment or command on the Nightest notice.
If the sustain him and his hundred knights,
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse ; Inform her full of my particular fear; And thereto add such reasons of your own, As may compact it more.
Get you gone; And haften your return. No, no, my lord,
[Exit Steward. This milky gentleness, and course of yours, Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon, You are much + more at talk for want of wisdom, Than prais'd for harmful mildness.
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot
* How now, Oswald?] The quartos read what Oswald, ho!
Ofw. Here, Madam.
-compact it more. -] Unite one circumstance with another, so as to make consistent account. Johnson.
more at talk—] It is a common phrase now with parents and governeffes. I'll take you to talk, i.e. I will reprehend and correct you. To be at tas, therefore, is to be liable to reprebension and correction. JOHNSON.
Both the quartos instead of at task-read, alapt. A late editor of King Lear, says, that the first quarto reads attask'd; but unless there be a third quarto which I have never seen or heard of, his affertion is erroneous. Steevens.
The word task is frequently used by Shakspeare, and indeed by other writers of his time in the sense of tax. Goneril means to say, that he was more taxed for want of wisdom, than praised for mildness. So, in The Island Princess :
“ You are too saucy, too impudent,
s Striving to better, oft we mar what's well,
s Ċ E N E V.
A court-yard before the duke of Albany's palace.
Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.
Lear. Go you before to Glofter with these letters: acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter: If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be 6 there before you.
Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, 'till I have delivered your letter.
(Exit. Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, wer't not in danger of kibes?
Lear. Ay, boy.
Tool. Then, I pr’ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go nip shod.
Lear. Ha, ha, ha!
Fool. Shalt see, thy ? other daughter will use thee kindly: for though she's as like this as a crab is like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
Lear. Why what can'ít thou tell, boy ?
s Striving to better, ofi we mar what's well.] So, in our author's 103d Sonnet:
"°Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,
- there before you.] He seems to intend to go to his daughter, but it appears afterwards that he is going to the house of Gloiter. JOHNSON.
?hy other daugbter will use thee kindly :) The Fool uses the word kindly here in two senses; it means affectionately, and like the rest of her kind. Monck Mason.