Page images
PDF
EPUB

Lear The bow is bent and drawn, make from

the shaft. Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old

man? Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, When power to flattery bows? To plainness ho

nour's bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom; And, in thy best consideration, check This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound Reverbs no hollowness.. Lear.

Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies ; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive. Lear.

Out of my sight! Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye.'

Lear. Now, by Apollo,
Kent.

Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
Lear.

O, vassal! miscreant!

[Laying his Hand on his Sword. Alb. Corn. Dear sir, forbear.

Kent. Do;
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift;

* Reverbs-] This is, perhaps, a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates.

9 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.

Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee, thou dost evil.
Lear.

Hear me, recreant!
On thine allegiance hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
(Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd

pride, To come betwixt our sentence and our power; (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,) Our potency made good, take thy reward. Five days we do allot thee, for provision To shield thee from diseases of the world, And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following, Thy banislı'd trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death : Away! by Jupiter, This shall not be revok'd. Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt

appear, Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,

[To CORDELIA. That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said ! And your large speeches may your deeds approve,

[To REGAN and GONERIL. That good effects may spring from words of love. Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu; He'll shape his old course in a country new.

[Exit.

Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,)

Our potency made good,] i. e. They to whom I have yielded my power and authority, yield ng me the ability to dispense it in this instance, take thy reward.

- By Jupiter, 7 Shakspeare makes his Lear too much a mythologist : he had Hecate and Apollo before JOHNSON.

s He'll shape his old course_1 He wiil follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the same principles.

20ST

Re-enter Gloster ; with France, BURGUNDY, and

Attendants.

GUNDS

Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Lear. My lord of Burgundy, . We first address towards you, who with this king Hath rivall’d for our daughter; What, in the least, Will you require in present dower with her, Or cease your quest of love? Bur.

Most royal majesty, I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less. Lear.

Right noble Burgundy, When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; But now her price is fall’n: Sir, there she stands; If aught within that little, seeming substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd, And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, She's there, and she is yours. Bur.

I know no answer. Lear. Sir, Will you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our

oath, Take her, or leave her? Bur.

Pardon me, royal sir; Election makes not up on such conditions.?

- quest of love!] Quest of love is amorous expedition. The term originated from Romance. A quest was the expedition in which a knight was engaged.

seeming -] is beautiful, or rather specious. 6- owes,] i. e. is possessed of.

? Election makes not up on such conditions.] Election comes not to a decision; in the same sense as when we say, “I have made up my mind on that subject.”

Lear. Then leave her, sir ; for, by the power

that made me, I tell you all her wealth.–For you, great king,

[T. 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. France.

This is most strange! That she, that 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:8 which to believe of her, Must be a faith, that reason without miracle . Could never plant in me. Cor.

. 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.

8 or your fore-vouch'd affection

Fall into taint:) Either her offence must be monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such offence, the affection which you always professed to have for her must be tainted and decayed, and is now without reason alienated from her.

If for I want, &c.] If this be my offence, that I want the glib and oily art, &c.

Lear.

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 is not love,
When it is mingled with respects,' that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.
Bur.

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

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. Cor.

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, be

ing 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! 'tis 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.

1 with respects,] i. e. with cautious and prudential considerations.

2- from the entire point.] Single, unmixed with other considerations.

« PreviousContinue »