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And dare, upon the warrant of? my note, * Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall ; * Who have (as who have not, that their great stars Throne and ser high?) servants, who seem no less ; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state ; what hath been seen",
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes ; Or the hard rein which both of them have borne Against the old kind king; or something deeper, Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings ;
my note, ) My observation of your character. Johnson. The quartos read:
-upon the warrant of my art : i. e. on the strength of my kill in phifiognomy. STEEVENS.
• Who have (as who have not, -] The eight subsequent verses were degraded by Mr. Pope, as unintelligible, and to no purpose. For my part, I see nothing in them but what is very easy to be understood; and the lines seem absolutely neceflary to clear up the motives upon which France prepared his invasion : nor without them is the sense of the context complete.
THEOBALD. The quartos omit these lines.
STEEVENS. -what hath been seen,] What follows, are the circumftances in the state of the kingdom, of which he supposes the spies gave France the intelligence. STEEVENS.
• Either in snuffs or packings_] Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances. So, in Henry IV. first part: " Took it in snufo;" and in King Edward III. 1599
" This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it.” Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582 :
“ With two gods packing one woman filly to cozen." We still talk of packing juries, and Antony says of Cleopatra, that she has “ pack'd cards with Cæsar.” STEEVENS.
are but furnishings.] Furnishings are what we now call colours, external pretentes. JOHNSON.
A furnish anciently fignified a sample. So, in the Preface to Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621 : “ To lend the world a furnish of wit, he lays her own to pawn,” Steevens.
But, true it is, * from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom į who already,
3 But, true it is, &c.) In the old editions are the five following lines which I have inserted in the text, which seem necessary to the plot, as a preparatory to the arrival of the French army with Cordelia in A&IV. How both these, and a whole scene between Kent and this gentleman in the fourth act, came to be left out in all the later editions, I cannot tell; they depend upon each
very. much contribute to clear that incident, Pope,
- from France there comes a power
best ports.) Scatter'd kingdom, if it have any senfe, gives us the idea of a kingdom fallen into an anarchy: but that was not the case. It submitted quietly to the
govern, ment of Lear's two sons-in-law. Įt was divided, indeed, by this means, and so hurt, and weaken'd. And this was what Shakfpeare meant to say, who, without doubt, wrote:
--scaibed kingdom ; i.e. hurt, wounded, impaired. And so he frequently uses frath for hurt or damage. Again, what a strange phrase is, having Jea in a port, to signify a fleet's lying at anchor ? which is all it can signify. And what is stranger still, a secret sea, that is, lying incognito, like the army at Knight's Bridge in Tbe Rehearsal, Without doubt the poet wrote:
-have fecret feize In some of our belt ports ; i. e. they are secretly secure of some of the best ports, by having a party in the garrison ready to second any attempt of their friends, &c. The exactness of the expreffion is remarkable; he Jays, secret seize in fome, not of fome. For the first implies a conSpiracy ready to seize a place on warning, the other, a place ale seady seized. WARBURTON.
The true state of this speech cannot from all these notes be discovered. As it now stands it is collected from two editions: the eight lines, degraded by Mr. Pope, are found in the folio, not in the quarto; the following lines inclosed in crotchets are in the quarto, not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition; and if the former are read, and the lines that follow them omitted, it will then fand according to the second. The speech is now tedious, because it is formed by a coalition of both. The second edition is generally beft, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy, but
in this passage the first is preferable; for in the folio, the messenger is fent, he knows not why,
Wise in our negligence, have secret fee
Gent, I will talk further with you,
he knows not whither. I suppose Shakspeare thought his plot opened rather too early, and made the alteration to veil the event from the audience; but trusting too much to himself, and full of a single purpose, he did not accommodate his new lines to the rest of the scene. The learned critic's emendations are now to be examined. Scattered he has changed to scathed; for Scattered, he says, gives the idea of an anarchy, which was not the case. It may be replied that scatbed gives the idea of ruin, waste, and desolation, which was not the case. It is unworthy a lover of truth, in questions of great or little moment, to exaggerate or extenuate for mere convenience, or for vanity yet less than convenience. Scattered naturally means divided, unsettled, disunited. Next is offered with great pomp a change of sea to seize; but in the first edition the word is fee, for hire, in the sense of having any one in fee, that is, at devotion for money. Fee is in the second quarto changed to fee, from which one made sea and another feize. JOHNSON.
One of the quartos (for there are two that differ from each other, though printed in the same year, and for the same printer) reads secret feet. Perhaps the author wrote secret foot, i. e. footing. So, in a following scene :
-what confederacy have you with the traitors Late footed in the kingdom? STEEVENS. That foot is the true reading is, I think, clearly ascertained, both by the passage quoted by Mr. Steevens, and another in the third act, which is still more apposite :<" these injuries the king now bears, will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed : we must incline to the king," Again, in Coriolanus :
-Why, thou Mars, I'll tell thee,
Kent. No, do not.
shall see Cordelia,
Gent. Give me your hand; Have you no more to
Ķent. Few words, bot, to effect, more than all yet; That, when we have found s the king, (in which
your pain That way; I'll this,) he that first lights on him, Holla the other,
Another part of the heath.
Enter Lear, and Fool.
blow! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout 'Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the
cocks ! You sulphurouş and thought-executing fires,
the king, in which your pain, That way, I'll this: be thai forft, &c.] Thus the folio, The late reading :
-for which you take
That when we have found the king,
bought-executing ] Doing execution with rapidity equal to thought. JOHNSON,
Vaunt-couriers ? to oak-cleaving thunder-bolts, Singe my white head! And thou all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world! ? Crack nature's moulds; all germens spill at once', That make ingrateful man!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing; here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools. Lear. Rumble thy belly full! Spit, fire! spout,
rain ! Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters :
? Vaunt-couriers.] Avant couriers, Fr. This phrase is not un. familiar to other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army. So, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 :
as soon as the first vancurrer encountered him face to face." Again, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:
Might to my death, but the vaunt-currier prove.” Again, in Darius, 1663 : " Th' avant-corours, that came for to examine."
STEEVENS. : Strike flat, &c.] The quarto reads,-Smite flat. Steevens.
9 Crack nature's moulds, all germains spill at once,] Thus, all the editions have given us this passage ; and Mr. Pope has explained germains to mean relations, or kindred elements. But the poet means here, “ Crack nature's mould, and spill all the feeds of matter, that are hoarded within it,” To retrieve which sense we must write germins from germen. Our author not only uses the same thought again, but the word that ascertains my expli, cation, in The Winter's Tale:
“ Let nature crush the sides o’the earth together,
“ And mar the feeds within." THEOBALD. Theobald is right. So, in Macbeth :
-and the fum “ Of nature's germins tumble altogether." STEEVENS. -spill at once.] To Spill is to destroy. So, in Gower De Confeffione Amantis, lib. iv. fol. 67:
So as ! Thall myself spill. 'STEEVENS.
-court holy-water) Ray, among his proverbial phrases, p. 184, mentions court holy-water to mean fair words. The French have the same phrase. Eaứ benite de cour ; fair empty words.-Chambaud's Dictionary. STEEVENS