Page images
PDF

Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd”! No, no, no life: Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all 2 O, thou wilt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never!— Pray you, undo this button”: Thank you, sir.— Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there !— [He dies. Edg. He faints!—My lord, my lord, Kent. Break, heart; I pr’ythee, break! Edg. Look up, my lord. Kent. Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him, That would upon the rack of this tough world Stretch him out longer. Edg. O, he is gone, indeed. Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long: He but usurp'd his life. Alb. Bear them from hence.—Our present business Is general woe. Friends of my soul, you twain [To Kent and Edgar. Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain. Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go; My master calls, and I must not say, no. Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey; Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most; we, that are young, Shall never see so much, nor live so long. [Ereunt, with a dead march.

[merged small][ocr errors]

CURiosi TY in neither—J Curiosity, for eraetest scrutiny. The sense of the whole sentence is, The qualities and properties of the several divisions are so weighed and balanced against one another, that the eractest scrutiny could not determine in preferring one share to the other. W A R BU it. TO N. * What shall Cordelia do?] In the folio, What shall Cordelia speak? * Which the most precious square of sense possesses;] By the square of sense, we are, here, to understand the four nobler senses, viz. the sight, hearing, taste, and smell. For a young lady could not, with decency, insinuate that she knew of any pleasures which the fifth afforded. This is imagined and expressed with great propriety and delicacy. But the Oxford editor,

for square, reads spirit. W A R B U RTON. This is acute; but perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. JQH NSON.

* Hold thee, from this, i. e. from this time. STE e v ENSA

* Reverbs—) This I presume to be a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates. STE. E. W. E.N. S. * The true blank of thine eye.] The blank is the white or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. See

better, says Kent, and keep me always in your view. Jo HNSON.

seeming substance,) Seeming is beautiful, of good external appearance. 8 infirmities she owes, Owes, for, is possessed of. 9 entire point.] Entire, for right, true. WAR BU RTON, Rather, single, unmixed with other considerations. JOHNSON. Dr. Johnson is right. The meaning of the passage is, that his love wants something to mark its sincerity: “Who seeks for aught in love but love alone " STE EVENS. * Thou losest here, a better where to find.] Here and where have the power of nouns. Thou losest this residence to find a better residence in another place. JOHNSON, 11 well are worth the want that you have wanted.] This is a very obscure expression, and must be pieced out with an implied sense to be understood. This I take to be the poet's meaning, stript of the jingle which makes it dark: “You well deserve to meet with that want of love from your husband, which you have professed to want for our father.” T II EOBAL.D.

[ocr errors]

And well are worth the want that you have wanted.] This nonsense must be corrected thus, And well are worth the want that you have vaunted. i. e. that disherison, which you so much glory in, you deserve. WAR Bu RTON. I think the common reading very suitable to the manner of our author, and well enough explained by Theobald. J O HNSON. The meaning may be this: You are well worthy to deserve the want (i. e. poverty) which, in my opinion, you have wanted (i.e. solicited or desired to have) from our father. The difficulty is only in the ambiguity of the words want and wanted, which are used in the different senses of egere and carere. Both the quartos read, And well are worth the worth that you have wanted. STEEW E N S. 12 hit together:J Let us agree. * The curiosity of nations—J Mr. Pope reads nicety, but our author's word was, courtesy. In our laws some lands are held by the courtesy of Englund. THEob. Curiosity, in the time of Shakspeare, was a word that signified an over-nice scrupulousness in manners, dress, &c. In this sense it is used in Timon. “When thou wast (says Apemantus) in thy gilt and thy perfume, they mock'd thee for too much curiosity.” Curiosity is the old reading, which Mr. Theobald changed into courtesy, though the word occurs a second time in this act, and is used by Beaumont and Fletcher in the same sense. STEEVENS.

*—exhibition!] Is allowance. —all this done Upon the gad!] So the old copies: the later editions read,

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, as cattle run madding when they are stung by the gad-fly. JOHNSON. :

* This is the excellent foppery of the world / &c.] In Shakspeare's best plays, besides the vices that arise from the subject, there is generally some peculiar prevailing folly, principally ridiculed, that runs through the whole piece. Thus, in The Tempest, the lying disposition of travellers, and, in As you like it, the fantastic humour of courtiers, is exposed and satirized with infinite pleasantry. In like manner, in this play of Lear, the dotages of judicial astrology are severely ridiculed. I fancy, was the date of its first performance well considered, it would be found that something or other happened at that time which gave a more than ordinary run to this deceit, as these words seem to intimate; I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses. However this be, an impious cheat, which had so little foundation in nature or reason, so detestable an original, and such fatal consequences on the manners of the people, who were at that time strangely besotted with it, certainly deserved the severest lash

« PreviousContinue »