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More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween a-leep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate : fine word, legitimate.
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
7 Shall be the legitimate. I grow ; I prosper :-
8 Now, gods, stand up for baltards !

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Vanini, the Italian atheist, in his trac De admirandis Natura, &c. printed at Paris, 1616, the very year our poet died. " utinam exira legitimum & connubialem thorum effem procreatus ! " Ita enim progenitores mei in venerem incaluiffent ardentiùs, “ ac cumulatim affatimque generosa femina contuliffent, è

quibus ego forma blanditiam et elegantiam, robuftus corporis vires, mentemque innubilem conjequulus fuissem. At quia con“ jugatorum sum foboles, his orbatus sum bonis.” Had the book been published but ten or twenty years sooner, who would not have believed that Shakespeare alluded to this passage? But the divinity of his genius foretold, as it were, what such an atheist as Vanini would say, when he wrote upon such a subject. WARBURTON.

i Shall be the legitimate. -) Here the Oxford Editor would show us that he is as good at coining phrases as his author, and so alters the text thus,

Shall toe th' legitimate. i. e. says he, siand on even ground with him, as he would do with his author. WARBURTON.

Hanmer's emendation will appear very plausible to him that fall consult the original reading. Butter's quarto reads,

Edmund the base Shall tooth' legitimate. The folio,

Edmund the base

Shall to th' legitimate. Hanmer, therefore, could hardly be charged with coining a word, though his explanation may be doubted. To toe him, is perhaps to kick him out, a phrase yet in vulgar use; or, to toe, may be literally to supplant. The word be has no authority.

JOHNSON. Mr. Edwards would read, -Shall top the legitimate. Steev.

Now, gods, stand up for baftards ?] For what reason? He does not tell us, but the poet alludes to the debaucheries of the Pagan gods, who made heroes of all their bastards. WARB.

TO

8

To him enter Gloster. Glo. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler

parted! And the king gone to-night! 'subscrib'd his power! Confin'd to 2 exhibition ! 3 All this done Upon the gad !-Edmund! how now? what news? Edm. So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter? Edm. I know no news, my lord. Glo. What paper were you reading ? Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! What needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's fee: come. If it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Edm. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er read; for so much as I have perus’d, I find it not fit for your over-looking.

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain, or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

1

fubfcrib'd his power!] Subscrib'd, for transferred, alienated. WARBURTON.

To subscribe, is, to transfer by figning or fubfcribing a writing of testimony. We now use the term, He subscribed forty pounds to the new building. JOHNson.

-exhibition !-) Is allowance. The term is yet used in the universities. JOHNSON.

all this done Upon the gad! -] So the old copies : the later editions read,

2

3

All is gone

Upon the gad! which, besides that it is unauthorized, is less proper. To do upon the gad, is, to act by the sudden stimulation of caprice, 25 cattle run madding when they are ftung by the gad fly.

JOHNSON.

Glo.

Glo. Let's see, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay, or 4 taste of my virtue.

Glo. reads.] 5 This policy, and reverence of age makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an 6 idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; which fways, not as it hath power, lut as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half bis revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-Hum-Conspiracy !-sleep, till I wake himyou should enjoy half his revenue.

My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this ? a heart and brain to breed it in ? - When came this to

Who brought it? Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of my

closet. Glo. You know the character to be your brother's ?

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Hath he never before founded you in this business?

Edm. Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that, fons at perfect age, and

you?

taste of my virtue.) Though taste may fand in this place, yet I believe we Mould read, olay or test of my virtue : they are both metallurgical terms, and properly joined. So in Hamlet,

Bring me to the test. Johnson. 5 This policy and reverence of ages---] Age is the reading of both the copies of authority. Butter's quarto has, this policy of ages; the folio, this policy and reverence of age. JOHNSON, idle and fond] Weak and foolish. JOHNSON.

fathers

fathers declining, the father should be as a ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter!

-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah, seek him ; I'll apprehend him :-abominable villain! where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other 7 pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you so ?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without

any

further delay than this very evening. Glo. He cannot be such a monster. Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him-Heaven and earth! Edmund, feek him out; 8 wind me into him, I pray you. Frame the business after your own wisdom: 9 I would unítate myself to be in a due resolution.

Edm.

7

pretence

8

-] Pretence is design, purpose. So afterwards in this play,

Pretence and purpose of unkindness. JOHNSON.

wind me into him, -] I once thought it should be read, you into him; but, perhaps, it is a familiar phrase, like do me this. JOHNSON.

2 I would unfate myself to be in a due resolution.] i. e. I will throw afide all consideration of my relation to him, that I may act as justice requires. WARBURTON.

Such

Edm. I will seek him, Sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: tho' ? the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourg'd by the sequent effects. Love cools; friendship falls off; brothers divide. In cities, mutinies ; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father : the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time. Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous diforders follow us disquietly to our graves ! Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully :-and the noble and true-hearted Kent banish'd! his offence, honesty !-Strange! strange!

[Exit.

Such is this learned man's explanation. I take the meaning to be rather this, Do you frame the bufiness, who can act with less emotion ; I would unftate myself ; it would in me be a departure from the paternal character, to be in a due resolution, to be settled and composed on such an occasion. The words would and should are in old language often confounded. Johns. The same word occurs in Antony and Cleopatra,

Yes, like enough, high-battled Cæsar will

Unfiate bis happiness, and be stag'd to fhew
Against a sworder.”

STEEVENS.
convey the bufiness—) Convey, for introduce: but
convey is a fine word, as alluding to the practice of clandeftine
conveying goods, so as not to be found upon the felon. War).

To convey is rather to carry through than to introduce; in this place it is to manage artfully : we lay of a juggler, that he has a clean conveyance. Johnson. the wisdom of nature

-] That is, though natural philosophy can give account of cclipses, yet we feel their consequences. JOHNSON.

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2

Edm.

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