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“Why the king of France,” &c. I must repeat, it is impossible that Shakspeare, writing in verse, would ever have thrust into the context such awkward prose as this scene begins with. We might read :
But wherefore, pr’ythee, is the king of France “So suddenly gone back? Know you the rea
521. “That his personal return was most rem
quired, and necessary." “ Personal” should be omitted.
“ Did your letters,” &ç. Again is Kent condemned to halt in prose : "But tell me, did your letters pierce the queen “To any demonstration of grief?”. " You have seen “Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and
tears "Were like a better day.”
This passage has not been satisfactorily explained ; it is probably corrupt: the quarto reads * better way." Dr.' Warburton's emendation appears the most plausible, "a wetter May." I wish there were any authority for “ an April day,” which would be exactly congruous, and is a simile so applied by Otway: " Beauteous Belvidera“ Came weeping forth,
Tou if it even
o Shining thro' tears like April suns in showers, " That labour to o'ercome the cloud that loads
them.” 524.“ As pearls from diamonds droppid-In
brief, sorrow.” It should, undoubtedly, as Mr. Steevens has suggested, be “ dropping.” 526. Gent. “ No." Kent.“ Was’t before the king res
“ A sovereign shame so elbows him.” I am persuaded that “ elbows” was never the poets word: if it even possessed a better sense than can here be annexed to it; its not conforming to the metre is an evidence of its corruption. I suppose the word was “awes :" “ A sovereign shame so awes him, hřs own un
kindness.” “ 'Tis so; they are afoot.” What has “'tis so” to do with Kent's question? Some words are wanting :
“ 'Tis so delivered me; they are a-foot.” 527. “ Along with me."
This hemistic could easily be removed : " Lending me this acquaintance : pray go with
to it; its norruption.
528. “ In our sustaining corn.- century ends
. forth.” “Sustaining,” here, perhaps, is enduring, subject to assault or injury, as in the Tempest: “ On their sustaining garments, not a blemish, " But fresher than before.” : A slight transposition is necessary to the measure: " In our sustaining corn.-Send forth a century.”
“Our sustaining corn,” &c. “ Our sustaining corn” is the corn which sustains us; the corn which (according to the vulgar expression) is the staff of life.
LORD CHEDWORTH. “ And bring him to our eye.
- IVhat can man's wisdom do ?” More corruption and disorder: “And bring him to us.- What can wisdom do?" “ There is a means, madam, that we will try.” "
All bless'd secrets, “ All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
“ Spring with my tears !" i. e. Spring up in consequence of my tears.
“ Therefore great France.” Further deficiency: "To heal thy bleeding wrongs; therefore, great
529. “ And our ag'd father's right.”
[Ereunt. “Soon may I hear and see him”. Is a weak and silly addition of the player's.
SCENE V. « Himself." The metre has fallen into disorderI would regulate it thus : Reg. “ Himself in person there?” Stezo. " With much ado :
" Your sister, madam, is the better soldier." Reg. " Lord Edmund spake not with your lord
at home ?" Stew. “ No, madam."
“What, I marvel, might import."
“ My sister's letter to him ?” Stew. “
I know not, lady.” Reg. “ The strength and order of the enemy." 531. “To noble Edmund; come, I know that
you " Are of her bosom.” Stew." Madam! I!” Reg. “I speak “ In understanding; and you are-I know
it.” 532. “So, fare you well.” This fragment should be dismissed.
SCENE VI. 533. “ Hark! do you hear the sea roar?” Glo. "
Truly, no." - How fearful The And dizzy ’tis, to cast one's eyes so low,”' &c.
Most readers, I believe, will concur with Addison in the general encomium he has pronounced on this speech, and the “ poverty of that writer's wit,” in the instance quoted by Dr. Johnson, would be almost overlooked, if it had not instigated the learned and acute editor to a false and disingenuous remark-had the Doctor (to use his own words on another occasion been in quest of truth, he would plainly have perceived the difference between a real object of terror, and a fictitious one. The objection, perhaps, might stand if we could suppose the speaker really impressed with the terrors of the precipice which he is only artfully describing; but, as Edgar has made a plausible representation to deceive his father, the Doctor seems disposed to play a similar trick on his confiding readers. 535. " The deficient sight
“ Topple down headlong." This is hardly a warrantable expression : “ the deficient sight,” for “the person defective of sight.” 536. " Fairies, and gods,
" Prosper it with thee !" Fairies are sometimes invoked as auspicious, and sometimes deprecated as malignant.-In Cymbeline, Imogen prays thus:
- Gods, “ From fairies and the tempters of the night, “Guard me, beseech you.”
“Why I do trifle thus with his despair,
“ Is done to cure it." This would be very unskilful writing: the sense and spirit of the drama requires what one