« PreviousContinue »
Lear. Say? How is that?
Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least
Lear. My curses on her!
Reg. O Sir, you are old;
Lear. Ask her forgiveness ?
Dear make any alteration. -Scant may mean to adapt, to fit, to proportion; which sense seems still to be retained in the mechanical term fcantling. JOHNSON.
'Do you but mark bow this becomes the house?] This phrase to me is unintelligible, and seems to say nothing to the purpose: neither can it mean, how this becomes the order of families. Lear would certainly intend to reply, how does aking my daughter's forgiveness agree with common fashion, the eltablished rule and custom of nature? No doubt, but the poet wrote, becomes the use. And that Shakespeare employs use in this signification, is too obvious to want a proof. THEOBALD.
Do you but mark how this becomes the house?] Mr. Theobald says, “ This phrase seems to say little to the purpose;" and therefore alters it to becomes the use, which signifies less. The Oxford Editor makes him ftill more familiar-becometh us. All this chopping and changing proceeds from an utter ignorance of a great, a noble, and a moit expressive phrase, - becomes the boule ;-—which fignifies the orders of families, duties of relation. WARBURTON.
With this most exprelive phrase I believe no reader is satisfied.
Ask her forgiveness?
Dear daughter, I confefs, &c.
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old,
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg, [Kneeling. That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.
Reg. Good Sir, no more. These are unfightly tricks: Return you to my fifter.
Lear. Never, Regan:
Corn. Fie, Sir, fie !
Reg. O the blest gods ! So will you wish on me, 5 when the rash mood is on.
Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse;
Dr.Warburton's explanation may be supported by the following passage in Milton on Divorce, book ii. ch. 12.
" How hurtful, how deitructive it is to the house, the church, and. commonwealth!” TOLLET.
Age is unnecesjury:-) i. e. Old age has few wants. JOHNS. 3 Look'd black upon me ;-— -] To look black, may easily be explained to look cloudly or gloomy. See Milton:
“ So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
" Grew darker at their frown." JOHNSON So Holinshed, vol. iii. p. 1157; -— " The bishops thereat “ repined, and looked black.” TOLLET. * To fall
, and blaft her pride !) Thus the quarto : the folio reads not so well, to fall and blister. I think there is still a fault, which may be easily mended by changing a letter:
Infect her beauty,
- when the rash mood is on.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads only, when the rash mood- perhaps leaving the fentence purposely unfinished. STEEVENS.
Thy 6 tender-hefted nature shall not give
Reg. Good Sir, to the purpose. [Trumpets within.
Corn. What trumpet's that?
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
Corn. What means your grace?
hope Thou didit not know on't. Who comes here? O
heavens, . —- tender-hefted-] This word, though its general meaning be plain, I do not critically understand. JOHNSON.
Thy tender-hefted nature-] Hefted seems to mean the same as beaved. Tender-hefted, i. e. whose bosom is heaved by tender passions. The formation of such a participle, I believe, cannot be grammatically accounted for. Shakespeare uses hefts for beavings in Tbe Winter's Tale, act ii. Both the quartos how, ever read, “ tender-hefted nature;" which may mean a nature which is governed by gentle passions. Hef is an old word fignia fying command. Hefted is the reading of the folio. Strevens.
to fcant my fizes,] To contract my allowances or proportions fettled. JOHNSON,
A fizer is one of the lowest ranks of Audents at Cambridge, qand lives on a stated allowance. STEVENS.
B b 2
) Enter Gonerill.ir . If you' do love old men, if your fweet Tway Allow obedience, if yourselves are old, Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!
Art not alham'd to look upon this beard? (To Gon. O, Regan, will you take her by the hand ? Gon. Why not by the hand, Sir? How have !
offended? All's not offence & that indiscretion finds," And dotage terms fo. • Lear. Ö, fides, you are too tough! Will you yet hold? How came my man i'the stocks?
Corn. I set him there, Sir: but his own disorders. Deierv'd 9 much less advancement.
Lear. You ! did you? Reg. ' I pray you, father, being weak, seem fo. If, till the expiration of your month,
You ? If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow słedience, if yourselves are old,] Mr. Upton has proved by irresistible authority, that to allow fignifies not only to permit, but to approve, and has detervedly replaced the old reading, which Dr. Warburton had changed into ballow obedierce, not recollecting the scripture exprellion, The Lord AlLOWEth the righteous, Pfalm xi. ver. 6. Dr. Warburton might have found the emendation which he proposed, in 'Tate's alteration of King Lear, which was first published in 1687. STEEV.
that indiscretion finds,] Finds is here used in the same fense as when a jury is said to find a bill, to which it is an allusion. Our author again uses the same word in the same sense in Hamlet, act v. sc. 1.
“ Why 'tis found so.” EDWARDS. To find is little more than to think. The French use their word irouver 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 here for conspicuousness of punishment; as we now say, a man is advanced to the pillory. We should read,
but his own diforders Deserv'd much more advancement. JOHNSON. - Cornwall seems to mean, that his own disorders liad intitled him even a poft of less honour than the stocks. STEEVENS: ' I pray you, father, being weak, SEEM fo.] This is a very
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss’d?
being weak, deem'ı so. i. e. believe that my husband tells you true, that Kent's disorders deserved a more ignominious punishment. WARBURTON.
The meaning is, since you are weak, be content to think yourself weak. No change is needed. JOHNSON. 2 No, rather I abjure all roofs, and chuje
To wage against the enmity o' the air ;
Necesity's sharp 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 second 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 “ fyntax or grammatical coherence, unless we suppose ( necessity's
jharp pinch) to be the accusative to ( wage.)" But this is supposing the verb wage, to want an accusative, which it does not. To
wage, or wager against any one, was a common expression ; and, being a species of acting (namely, acting in opposition) was as proper as to fay, att againf any one. So, to wage against the enmity o' the air, was to strive or fight against it. Necessity's Marp pinch, therefore, is not the accusative to wage, but declarative of the condition of him who is a comrade of ihe wolf and owl; in which the verb (is) is understood. The consequence of all this is, that it was the last editors, and and not the first, who transposed the lines from the order the poet gave them : for the Oxford Editor follows Mr. Theobald.
WARBURTON, 3 - baje life-] i.e. In a servile state. JOHNSON.
B b 3