Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolo
Against my coming in : thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude ;
Thy half o'the kingdom thou hast not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.

Reg. Good sir, to the purpose. [Trumpets wilhin.
Lear. Who put my man i' the stocks ?
Corn. What trumpet's that?

[ocr errors]

Enter Steward.

Reg. I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.- Is your lady come?

Lear. This is a Nave, whose easy-borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows:
Out, varlet, from my sight!

Corn. What means your grace?
Lear. Who stock'd my servant ? Regan, I have

good hope
Thou did it not know on't.-Who comes here? O

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

> If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make

" You are one of the devil's fellow-commoners ; one that fizeth the devil's butteries.”

• Fidlers, set it on my head; I use to size my music, or go on the score for it.” Return from Parnassus.

Size sometimes means company. So, in Cinthia's Revenge, 1613:

“ He now attended with a barbal fize

" Of sober statesmen, &c.
I suppose a barbal size is a bearded company. STREVENS.
See a fize in Minshew's Diktionary. TOLLET.
. If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,]

Mr,

Make it your cause ; send down, and take my part!-
Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?- [To Gon.
O, Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand ?
Gon. Why not by the hand, fir? How have I

offended?
All's not offence, 8 that indiscretion finds,
And dotage terms fo.

Lear. O, fides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold ? How came my man i' the

stocks?
Corn. I set him there, fir: but his own disorders
Desery'd much less adyancement.

Mr. Upton has proved by irresistible authority, that to allora signifies not only to permit, but to approve, and has defervedly replaced the old reading, which Dr. Warburton had changed into hallow obedience, not recollecting the scripture expression, The Lord alloweth the righteous, Psalm xi. ver. 6. So, in Greene's Never 100 Late, 1616: * -- he allows of thee for love, not for lat.” Again, in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617: I allow those pleasing poems of Guazzo, which begin, &c.” Again, Sir Tho. North’s translation of Plutarch, concerning the reception with which the death of Cæfar met: “ they neither greatly reproved, nor allowed the fact.” Dr. Warburton might have found the emendation which he proposed, in Tate's alteration of King Lear, which was first published in 1687. Steevens.

that indiscretion finds,] Finds is here used in the same sense as when a jury is said to find a bill, to which it is an allufion. Our author again uses the same word in the fame sense in Hamlet, Act V. sc. i:

Why 'tis found so.” EDWARDS. To find is little more than to think. The French use their word trouver in the same sense ; and we still say I find time tedious, or I find company troublesome, without thinking on a jury.

STEEVENS. much less advancement] The word advancement is ironically used for conspicuousness of punishment; as we now say, a man is advanced to the pillory. We should read :

-but his own disorders Deserv'd much more advancement. JOHNSON. By less advancement is meant, a ftill worse or more disgraceful situation ; a situation not so reputable. PERCY.

Cornwall certainly means, that Kent's disorders had entitled him even a poft of less honour than the stocks. STEEVENS.

Lear.

[ocr errors]

1

Lear. You! did you?

Reg. 'I pray you, father, being weak, seem fo. If, till the expiration of your month, You will return and sojourn with my fifter, Dismissing half your train, come then to me; I am now from home, and out of that provision Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd ? * No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose

Το

I pray you, father, being weak, feem fo.] This is a very odd requeft. She surely asked fomething more reasonable.' We fhould read,

-being weak, deem't fo. i.e. believe that my husband tells you true, that Kent's disor. ders deserved a more ignominious punishment. WARBURTON.

The meaning is, since you are weak, be content to think yousfelf weak. No change is needed. Johnson. 2 No, rather I abjure all roofs, and chase

To wage againit the enmity o the air :
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,

Necellity's pharp pinch. -] Thus should these lines (in the order they were read, in all the editions till Mr. Theobald's) be pointed : the want of which pointing contributed, perhaps, to mislead him in transposing the fecond and third lines; on which imaginary regulation he thus descants. “The breach of the sense here is a manifest proof that these lines were transposed by the first editors. Neither can there be any syntax or grammatical coherence, unless we suppose (neceffity's parp pinch) to be the accusative to (wage).” But this is fuppofing the verb wage, to want an accusative, which it does not. To wage, or wager against one, was a common expression ; and, being a species of acting (namely, acting in opposition) was as proper as to say, alt against any one.

So, to wage

nft the enmity o' the air, was to drive or fight against it. Necefíry's sharp pinch, therefore, is not the accusative to wage, but declarative of the condition of him who is a comrade of the wolf and owl; in which the verb (is) is understood. The consequence of all this is, that it was the last editors, and not the frft, who tranfposed the lines from the order the poet gave them: for the Oxford edi. for follows Mr. Theobald. WARBURTON.

To wage is often used absolutely without the word war after it, and yet fignifies to make was, as before in this play:

My

[ocr errors]

To wage against the enmity o' the air ;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,
Necessity's sharp pinch !--Return with her ?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep ' base life afoot;Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave + and sumpter
To this detested groom.

[Looking on the Steward.
Gon. At your choice, fir.
Lear. Now I pr’ythee, daughter, do not make me

mad;
I will not trouble thee, my child ; farewel :
We'll no more meet, no more see one another:-
But yet thou art my fesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: 5 thou art a boil,

A
My life I never held but as a pawn

To wage against thine enemies.
The spirit of the following paffage seems to be loft in the hands
of both the commentators. It should perhaps be pointed thus:

To be a comrade of the wolf and owl,

Necesity's sharp pinch! These last words appear to be the reflection of Lear on the wretched sort of existence he had described in the preceding lines. STEEVENS. 3-base life-) i. e. In a servile state. JOHNSON.

—and sumpter] Sumpter is a horse that carries necessaries on a journey, though sometimes used for the case to carry them in.-Vide Beaumont and Fletcher's Noble Gentleman, Seward's edit. vol. viii. note 35; and Cupid's Revenge.

-I'll have a horse to leap thee,

“ And thy base issue shall carry sumpters." Again, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623 :

“ He is indeed a guarded sumpter-cloth
Only for the remove o' the court.” Steevens.

- hou art a bile,
A plague-fore, an embed carbuncle,

In my corrupted blood.] The context clearly nows that we ought to read boil. So, in Coriolanus :

-boils and plagues
“ Plaister you
o'er!"

The

[ocr errors]

A plague-fore, an emboffed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it :
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove :
Mend, when thou canst; be better, at thy leisure :
1 can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
1, and my hundred knights.

Reg. Not altogether to, fir;
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome : Give ear, fir, to my lifter
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to think you old, and so
Bur The knows what she does.

Lear. Is this well spoken now?

Reg. I dare avouch'it, sir: What, fifty followers Is it not well? What should you need of more? Yea; or so many ? fith that both charge and danger Speak ’gainst so great a number? How, in one house; Should many people, under two commands; Hold amity ? 'Tis hard ; almost impossible. Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive at

tendance From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chanc'd to
We could controul them: If you will come to me,
(For now I spy a danger) I intreat you
To bring but five and twenty; to no more
Will I give place, or notice.

Lear. I gave you all —
Reg. And in good time you gave its

nack you,

The word boil, being pronounced as if written bile, occafioned the mistake. In the folio, both here and in Coriolanus, it is spela in the same manner-byle. MALONE. -embosed carbuncle,] Embossed is swelling, protuberanti

JOHNSO. Vol. ix,

Lear.

« PreviousContinue »