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Come hither, herald, —- Let the trumpet sound,
Herald reads. If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army', will maintain upon EDMUND, supposed earl of GLOSTER, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet : He is bold in his defence. · EDM. Sound ?.
si Trumpet. HER. Again.
T2 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[Trumpet answers within. Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a Trumpet..
ALB. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
What are you?
Know, my name is lost;
STEEVENS. within the lists of the army,] The quartos read “ within the host of the army- ." STEEVENS.
2 Edm. Sound.] Omitted in the folio. MALONE.
3 Ask him his purposes, why he appears, &c.] This is according to the ceremonials of the trial by combat in cases criminal. “The appellant and his procurator first come to the gate .... The constable and marshall demand by voice of herald, what he is and why he comes so arrayed.” Selden's Duello. BLAKEWAY, 4 Yet am I noble, &c.] One of the quartos [quarto A,] reads :
" yet are I mou’t,
“ Where is the adversarie I come to cope withal ?” “ _are I mou't," is, I suppose, [as Mr. Jennens has remarked,] a corruption of-'ere I move it.' Steevens.
Which is that adversary ? Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of
Draw thy sword ;
Quarto B also reads—“ Where is the adversary,” &c. omitting the words—" Yet am I noble,” which are only found in the folio. The word withal is wanting in that copy. Malone.
5- here is mine, &c.] Here I draw my sword. Behold, it is the privilege or right of my profession to draw it against a traitor. I protest therefore, &c.
It is not the charge itself (as Dr. Warburton has erroneously stated,) but the right of bringing the charge and maintaining it with his sword, which Edgar calls the privilege of his profession.
MALONE. 6 Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession :] The charge he is going to bring against the Bastard, he calls the privilege, &c. To understand which phraseology, we must consider that the old rights of knighthood are here alluded to; whose oath and profession required him to discover all treasons, and whose privilege it was to have his challenge accepted, or otherwise to have his charge taken pro confesso. For if one who was no knight accused another who was, that other was under no obligation to accept the challenge. On this account it was necessary, as Edgar came disguised, to tell the Bastard he was a knight. WARBURTON.
The privilege of this oath means the privilege gained by taking the oath administered in the regular initiation of a knight professed. Johnson. The quartos read—“il is the privilege of my tongue.”
STEEVENS. The folio reads:
“ Behold, it is my privilege,
“ My oath and my profession.” Malone. 7 Maugre -) i. e, notwithstanding. So, in Twelfth Night:
“ I love thee so, that maugre all thy pride -." Steevens,
And, i descent and traitor. Say "spirits, are b
Thy valour, and thy heart,-thou art a traitor : False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father ; Conspirant 'gainst’ this high illustrious prince; And, from the extremest upward of thy head, To the descent and dust beneath thy feets, A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No, This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak, Thou liest. : EDM. In wisdom, I should ask thy name '; But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike, And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding
* First folio. And since thy tongue (some say) of breeding breathes.
9 CONSPIRANT 'gainst - ] The quartos read:
“ Conspicuate 'gainst - STEEVENS. 8 — BENEATH thy feet,] So the quartos. Folio : " below thy foot.” MALONE.
9 In wisdom, I should ask thy name ;] Because, if his adversary was not of equal rank, Edmund might have declined the combat. Hence the herald proclaimed—“ If any man of quality, or degree,” &c. So Goneril afterwards says –
“ By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
“ An unknown opposite.” Malone. * And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes,] 'Say, for essay, some show or probability. Pope. Say is sample, a taste. So, in Sidney:
“ So good a say invites the eye
“ A little downward to espy —.” Again, in the Preface to Maurice Kyffin's translation of the Andria of Terence, 1588: “ Some other like places I could recite, but these shall suffice for a say.” Again, in Revenge for Honour, by Chapman :
" But pray do not
“ Take the first say of her yourselves .” Again, in The Unnatural Combat, by Massinger :
" or to take
“ A say of venison, or stale fowl —," Again, in Holinshed, p. 847 : “He (C. Wolsey) made dukes and erles to serve him of wine, with a say taken," &c. To take the assaie was the technical term. STEEVENS.
What safe and nicely I might well delay ?
[Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls. Alb. O save him, save him! Gon.
This is mere practice, Gloster*: By the law of arms", thou wast not bound to an
swer 6 An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd, But cozen'd and beguild.
* Quartos, right. 2 What safe and nicely, &c.] The phraseology is here very licentious. I suppose the meaning is, “That delay which by the law of knighthood I might make, I scorn to make. Nicely is punctiliously ; if I stood on minute forms. This line is not in the quartos; and furnishes one more proof of what readers are so slow to admit, that a whole line is sometimes omitted at the press. The subsequent line without this is nonsense. See vol. ix. p. 7. MALONE.
3 Where they shall rest for ever.] To that place, where they shall rest for ever; i. e. thy heart. Malone. * Alb. O save him, save him!
Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster :) Thus all the copies ; but I have ventured to place the two hemistichs to Goneril. . 'Tis absurd that Albany, who knew Edmund's treasons, and his own wife's passion for him, should be solicitous to have his life saved.
THEOBALD. Albany desires that Edmund's life might be spared at present, only to obtain his confession, and to convict him openly by his own letter. Johnson.
The words-Hold, sir, in Albany's next speech, show that the old copies are right. Malone. 5 By the law of Arms,] So the quartos. Folio-of war.
MALONE. 6 — thou wast not bound to answer -] One of the quartos [quarto B] reads
“ - thou art not bound to offer." &c. Steevens. All the quartos read “thou art not." Boswell.
Shut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it :-Hold, sir: Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil : No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.
[Gives the Letter to EDMUND. Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not
thine: Who shall arraign me fort ? ALB.
Most monstrous ? ! Know'st thou this paper ? Gon.
Ask me not what I know.
[Exit GONERIL. ALB. Go after her : she's desperate; govern her.
[To an Officer, who goes out. EDM. What you have charg'd me with, that have
Let's exchange charity S.
9 Most monstrous !] So quartos A and C, and the folio. The other quarto reads-“ Monster, know'st thou this paper ? " The folio-" Most monstrous, O know'st,” &c. Malone.
“ Knowest thou these letters ?" says Leir to Ragan, in the old anonymous play, when he shows her both her own and her sister's letters, which were written to procure his death. Upon which she snatches the letters and tears them. STEEVENS.
8 Let's exchange charity.] Our author, by negligence, gives his Heathens the sentiments and practices of Christianity. In Hamlet there is the same solemn act of final reconciliation, but with exact propriety, for the personages are Christians : .. “ Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet,” &c.