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I tell you all her wealth.–For you, great king, [TO FRANCE.
I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way,
Than on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.

This is most strange,
That she, who even but now was your best * object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall into taint; which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should never plant in me.

I yet beseech your majesty,-
If for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well & intend,
I 'll do't before I speak,—that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour ;
But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.

Better thou
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.

FRANCE. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature,
Which often leaves the history unspoke,
That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love's not love,
When it is mingled with respects, that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

(*) First folio omits, best.

(+) First folio, The best, the. (1) First folio, wilt.

First folio, King. It is no dicious blot, murder, or foulness,-) Mr. Collier's annotator changes this to,

"— no vicious blot, nor other foulness," which is certainly a very plausible substitution. b When it is mingled

with respects,-) The folio reads,–

“ When it is mingled with regards," &c. By “respects" is meant considerations, scruples, &c.



LEAR. Nothing: I have sworn ; I am firm.
BUR. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.

Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune * are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

FRANCE. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor,
Most choice, forsaken ; 'and most lov'd, despis’d !
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon,
Be it lawful 'I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods ! 't is strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle

to inflam'd respect.-
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind,
Thou losest here, a better-whereb to find.

LEAR. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine ; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again :-therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benison.-
Come, noble Burgundy.

GLOUCESTER, and Attendants.
FRANCE. Bid farewell to your sisters.
COR. The jewels of our father,

with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And, like a sister, am most loth to call
Your faults as they are nam’d. Usef well our father :
To your professed bosoms I commit him:
But yet, alas ! stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties. $

Let your study
Be to content your lord: who hath receiv'd

you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted.


(*) First folio, respect and Fortuner.

(+) First folio, Love.

(1) First folio, dutie. - though unkind,-) Unkind here signifies unnatural, unless France is intended to mean, " though unkinn'd;" 1. e. though forsaken by your kindred.

• A better-where to find. In note (), p. 163, Vol. I. otherwhere is explained other place; but where in these compounds had perhaps a significance now lost." See the old ballad, “I HAVE HOUSE AND LAND IN KENT."

“ Wherefore cease off, make no delay,

And if you'll love me, love me now,
Or else ich zeek some oderwhere

For I cannot come every day to woo." • The jewels-) Rowe and Capell read, perhaps rightly, “ Ye jewels.” Mr. Collier's annotator, too, proposes the same alteration.

Cor. Time shall unfold what plighted a cunning hides ;
Who cover* faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper !

Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think our father will hence to-night.

REG. That's most certain, and with you ; next month with us.

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not f been little: he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears +00 grossly,

REG. 'Ť is the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age,s not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

REG. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.

Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together: if our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

REG. We shall further think of it.
Gox. We must do something, and i' the heat.


SCENE II.-A Hall in the Earl of Gloucester's Castle.

Enter EDMUND, with a letter.
EDM. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plagueb of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard ? wherefore base ?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us

Old text, covers.

(+) First folio, at last with shame. First folio omits, not. 0) First folio, from his age to receive.

(ID) First folio, sit. - what plighted cunning hides ;] Plighted, or, as the quartos give it, pleated cunning, means involved, complicated cunning.

- plague of custom,-). Plague may here possibly signify place, or boundary, from plaga; but it is a very suspicious word.

To deprive me,-) To deprive, in Shakespeare's day, was sometimes synonymous to disinherit, as Steevens has shown, and also to-take away, as in “Hamlet,” Act I. Sc. 4,

"And there assume some other horrible form,

Which might deprive your sovoreignty of reason," &c.

With base ? with baseness? bastardy? base, base ?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep 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
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Enter GLOUCESTER. Glo. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted ! And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd* his power! Confin’d to exhibition !b All this done Upon the gad!C–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 see: 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; and for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o'er-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.

GLO. Let's see, let's see.

EDM. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay

tasted of my virtue. GLO. [Reads.] 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 idle and fondle bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but


(*) First folio, Prescrib'd. * Shall top the legitimate.] In the old editions we find tooth' and toʻth'. The present reading was first promulgated in Edwards” “Canons of Criticism,” having been communicated to the author of that pungent satire by Capell. (See “Notes and various Readings to Shakespeare," by the latter, I. 146.)

Exhibition !] That is, allowance. The word, in this sense, is still employed in our universities.

c Upon the gad !-) Perhaps means, upon the spur or point ; at the instant.

d An essay or taste of my virtue.) Essay was commonly used in old language for assay, as taste not unfrequently was for test. See note (*), p. 434, Vol. IV.

• An idle and fond bondage-] That is, a vain and foolish bondage.


as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR. Hum-Conspiracy !-Sleep till I waked him,-you 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 you? who brought it?

EDM. It was not brought me, my lord, -there's the cunning of it; J 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 heretofore † sounded you in this business?

EDM. Never, my lord: but I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as 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

I . suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall § 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 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, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom. I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.

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: though the wisdom of Nature can reason it thus and thus, yet Nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools,

First folio, Has.

(+) First folio, before. First folio, declined.

(3) First folio, shold. • Edy, Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him !-Heaven and earth!] These lines are only found in the quarto copies.

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