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KENT.

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions ;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her

since ?
Gent. No.
Kent. Was this before the king return'd ?
Gent.

No, since.
KENT. Well, sir; The poor distress'd Lear is

i' the town:
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.
GENT.

Why, good sir ?
KENT. A sovereign shame so elbows him : his

own unkindness, "That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights To his dog-hearted daughters,—these things sting His mind so venomously, that burning shame? Detains him from Cordelia. GENT.

Alack, poor gentleman !
KENT. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you

heard not ?
GENT. 'Tis so; they are afoot 8.

fectly intelligible; but “clamour moisten'd her," is certainly nonsense. MALONE.

5govern our conditions ;] i. e. regulate our dispositions. See vol. ix. p. 312, and p. 424. Malone.

6 — one self mate and mate -] The same husband and the same wife: Johnson

Self is used here, as in many other places in these plays, for self-same. MALONE. 7 - these things sting

His mind so venomously, that burning shame -] The metaphor is here preserved with great knowledge of nature. The venom of poisonous animals being a high caustick salt, that has all the effect of fire upon the part. WARBURTON.

8 'Tis so; they are afoot.] Dr. Warburton thinks it necessary

KENT. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear, And leave you to attend him: some dear cause 9 Will in concealment wrap me up awhile; When I am known aright, you shall not grieve Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go Along with me.]

(Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

The Same. A Tent.

Enter CORDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers. Cor. Alack, 'tis he ; why, he was met even now As mad as the vex'd sea : singing aloud ; Crown'd with rank fumiter, and furrow weeds, With harlocks, hemlock’, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,

to read, 'tis said ; but the sense is plain, 'So it is that they are on foot.' Johnson.

'Tis so, means, I think, I have heard of them; they do not exist in report only; they are actually on foot.' Malone.

9 — some dear cause -] Some important business. See Timon of Athens, Act V. Sc. II. MALONE. So, in Romeo and Juliet :

“— a ring, that I must use

“ In dear employment.” STEEVENS. 1 - FUMITER, and FURROW weeds,] i. e. fumitory: by the old herbalists written fumittery. HARRIS.

Mr. Boucher suggests that furrow should be farrow, Fær, empty. BLAKEWAY.

2 With HARLOCKS, hemlock, &c.] The quartos read-With hordocks; the folio-With hardokes. Malone.

I do not remember any such plant as a hardock, but one of the most common weeds is a burdock, which I believe should be read here ; and so Hanmer reads. Johnson.

Hardocks should be harlocks. Thus Drayton, in one of his Eclogues :

“ The honey-suckle, the harlocke,

“ The lilly, and the lady-smocke,” &c. Farmer. One of the readings offered by the quartos (though misspelt)

Darnel”, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.-A century send forth ;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer. 1

What can man's wisdom do 3,
In the restoring his bereaved sense ?
He, that helps him, take all my outward worth.

Phy. There is means, madam:
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.
Cor.

All bless'd secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant, and remediate,
In the good man's distress !-Seek, seek for him ;
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve, the life
That wants the means to lead it 4.

Enter a Messenger. Mess.

Madam, news ; The British powers are marching hitherward.

is perhaps the true one. The hoar-dock, is the dock with whitish woolly leaves. Steevens.

Harlocks, must be a typographical error for charlock, the common name of sinapis arvensis, wild mustard. HARRIS.

· Darnel,] According to Gerard, is the most hurtful of weeds among corn. It is mentioned in The Witches of Lancashire, 1634 :

“ That cockle, darnel, poppy wild,

“ May choak his grain," &c. STEEVENS. 3. - What can man's wisdom do] Do should be omitted, as needless to the sense of the passage, and injurious to its metre, Thus, in Hamlet :

“ Try what repentance can : What can it not ?" Do, in either place, is understood, though suppressed. STEEVENS.

Do is found in none of the old copies except quarto B. Perhaps we should place a comma after wisdom. “ Do, what man's wisdom can.” Boswell. 4 -- the means to lead it.] The reason which should guide it.

JOHNSON.

CoR. 'Tis known before ; our preparation stands In expectation of them.--O dear father, It is thy business that I go about; Therefore great France My mourning, and important: tears, hath pitied. No blown ambition doth our arms incite, But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right: Soon may I hear, and see him !

TEreunt.

SCENE V.

A Room in GLOSTER's Castle.

Enter Regan and Steward. . Reg. But are my brother's powers set forth ? STEW.

Ay, madam. Reg.

Himself In person there? Stew.

Madam, with much ado : Your sister is the better soldier. Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord ' at

home ?

5 - important --] In other places of this author, for importunate. Johnson.

See Comedy of Errors, Act V. Sc. I. The folio reads, importuned. STEEVENS.

6 No blown ambition -] No inflated, no swelling pride. Beza on the Spanish Armada:

Quam bene te ambitio mersit vanissima, ventus,

Et tumidos tumidæ vos superastis aquæ. Johnson. In the Mad Lover of Beaumont and Fletcher, the same epithet is given to ambition. Again, in The Little French Lawyer :

“I come with no blown spirit to abuse you.” Steevens. 7 — your LORD -] The folio reads, your lord ; and rightly. Goneril not only converses with Lord Edmund, in the Steward's presence, but prevents him from speaking to, or even seeing her husband. Ritson.

The quartos read -- with your lady. In the manuscripts from

Stew. No, madam.
Reg. What might import my sister's letter to

him ? Stew. I know not, lady. Reg. 'Faith, he is posted hence on serious mat

ter.

It was great ignorance, Gloster's eyes being out,
To let him live; where he arrives, he moves
All hearts against us : Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to despatch
His nighted life ' ; moreover, to descry
The strength o'the enemy.
Stew. I must needs after him, madam, with my

letter REG. Our troops set forth to-morrow; stay with

us ; The ways are dangerous. Stew.

I may not, madam; My lady charg'd my duty in this business. Reg. Why should she write to Edmund ? Might

not you Transport her purposes by word ? Belike, Something-I know not what:— I'll love thee

much, Let me unseal the letter'.

which they were printed an L only was probably set down, according to the mode of that time. It could be of no consequence to Regan, whether Edmund spoke with Goneril at home, as they had travelled together from the Earl of Gloster's castle to the Duke of Albany's palace, and had on the road sufficient opportunities for laying those plans of which Regan was apprehensive. On the other hand, Edmund's abrupt departure without even speaking to the Duke, to whom he was sent on a commission, could not but appear mysterious, and excite her jealousy.

Malone. 8 His Nighted life ;] i. e. His life made dark as night, by the extinction of his eyes. STEEVENS.

9 — with my LETTER.] So the folio. The quartos read letters. The meaning is the same. MALONE.

· Let me unseal, &c.] I know not well why Shakspeare gives

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