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utmost of my sufferings; but such as love cruelty are always for adding much to more, till they reach the extremity of misery.
97 Is this the promis'd end? &c.] These two exclamations are given to Edgar and Albany in the folio, to animate the dialogue, and employ all the persons on the stage; but they are very obscure.
Or image of that horror?] In the first folio this short speech of Edgar (which seems to be only an addition to the preceding one of Kent) has a full stop at the end. Is this conclusion, says Kent, such as the present turn of affairs seemed to promise ? Or is it only, replies Edgar, a representation of that horror which we suppose to be real ? A similar expression occurs at the beginning of the play.- I have told you what I have seen and heard but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it.
STEEVENS. It appears to me that by the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world. In St. Mark's Gospel, when Christ foretels to his disciples the end of the world, and is describing to them the signs that were to precede, and mark the approach of, our final dissolution, he says, “ For in those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created, unto this time, neither shall be:” and afterwards he says, “ Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their VOL. XIII.
parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Kent in contemplating the unexampled scene of exquisite affliction which was then before him, and the unnatural attempt of Goneril and Regan against their father's life, recollects these passages, and asks, whether that was the end of the world that had been foretold to us. To which Edgar adds, or only a representation or resemblance of that horror?
So Macbeth, when he calls upon Banquo, Malcolm, &c. to view Duncan murdered, says,
-up, up, and see “ The great doom's image." There is evidently an allusion to the same passages in scripture, in a speech of Gloster's, which he makes in the second scene of the first act:
“ These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us ;-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 the bias of nature; there's father against child: We have seen the best of our time.” If any criticks should
it as an objection to this explanation, that the persons of the drama are pagans, and of consequence unacquainted with the scriptures, they give Shakspeare credit for more accuracy than I fear he possessed.
M. MASON. 98 And my poor fool is hang'd!] This is an expression
of tenderness for his dead Cordelia (not his fool, as some have thought) on whose lips he is still intent, and dies away while he is searching for life there.
STEEVENS. Pray you, undo this button:] Dr. Warton judiciously observes, that the swelling and heaving of the heart is described by this most expressive circumstance.