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Both ? one? or neither ? Neither can be enjoy'd,
7 - carry out my side,] Bring my purpose to a successful issue, to completion. Side seems here to have the sense of the French word partie, in prendre partie, to take his resolution.
JOHNSON So, in The Honest Man's Fortune, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
“_ and carry out
“ A world of evils with thy title.” Again, in one of the Paston Letters, vol. iv. p. 155: “Heydon's son hath borne out the side stoutly here,” &c. STEEVENS.
The Bastard means, “ I shall scarcely be able to make out my game." The allusion is to a party at cards, and he is afraid that he shall not be able to make his side successful. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Centaure says of Epicene
“She and Mavis will set up a side.” That is, will be partners. And in Massinger's Unnatural Combat, Belgard says:
" — And if now
“ I'll not pull down the side.'
“ Dula. I'll hold your cards against any two I know.
“ Dula. I will refuse it ; “ She will pluck down a side, she does not use it." But the phrase is still more clearly explained in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence, where Cozimo says to Petronella, who had challenged him to drink a second bowl of wine:
“ Pray you, pause a little ;
“ I am not good at the game.” M. Mason. The same phrase has forced its way into Chapman's version of the fifth Iliad:
thy body's powers are poor, “ And therefore are thy troops so weak : the soldier evermore “ Follows the temper of his chief; and thou pull'st down a side.”
STEVENS. Edmund, I think, means, hardly shall I be able to make my side, i. e. my party good; to maintain my cause. We should now say~" to bear out,” which Coles, in his Dictionary, 1679, interprets, “ to make good, to save harmless." Malone.
His countenance for the battle ; which being done,
A Field between the two Camps.
Alarum within. Enter, with Drum and Colours, LEAR, CORDELIA, and their Forces; and ereunt.
Enter EDGAR and GLOSTER'. Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this
tree * For your good host; pray that the right may thrive: If ever I return to you again, I'll bring you comfort. Glo.
Grace go with you, sir !
TÈxit EDGAR. * Quartos, bush.
8 FOR my state
Stands on me, &c.] I do not think that for stands, in this place, as a word of inference or causality. The meaning is, rather—“ Such is my determination concerning Lear; as for my state it requires now, not deliberation, but defence and support."
JOHNSON. 9 Enter Edgar, &c.] Those who are curious to know how far Shakspeare was here indebted to the Arcadia, will find a chapter from it entitled, -" The pitifull State and Storie of the Paphlagonian unkinde King, and his kinde Sonne ; first related by the Sonne, then by the blind Father." P. 141, edit. 1590, quarto, annexed to the conclusion of this play. STEEVENS.
Alarums ; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter EDGAR.
EDG. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away; King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en : Give me thy hand, come on.
Glo. No further, sir ; a man may rot even here Edg. What, in ill thoughts again ? Men must
endure Their going hence, even as their coming hither : Ripeness is all: Come on. Glo.
And that's true too?.
The British Camp near Dover.
Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, Ed.
MUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, as Prisoners ; Offi-
We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst *. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down ; Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.
1 Ripeness is all :] i. e. To be ready, prepared, is all.
The same sentiment occurs in Hamlet, scene the last : “ — if it be not now, yet it will come : the readiness is all.” Steevens.
2 And that's true too.] Omitted in the quarto. STEEVENS.
3 — to CENSURE them.] i. e. to pass sentence or judgment on them. So, in Othello :
“ To you, lord governor,
“ Remains the censure of this hellish villain." STEEVENS. 4 Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd THE WORST.] i. e. the worst that fortune can indict. MALONE.
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters ? LEAR. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to pri
son: We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage : When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out; And take upon us the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies 5 : And we'll wear out, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon. EDM.
Take them away. LEAR. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense?. Have I caught
thee 8 ? He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence, like foxes'. Wipe thine eyes;
s And take upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies :] As if we were angels commissioned to survey and report the lives of men, and were consequently endowed with the power of prying into the original motives of action and the mysteries of conduct. Johnson.
6 - packs and sects -] Packs is used for combinations or collections, as is a pack of cards. For sects, I think sets might be more commodiously read. So we say, “affairs are now managed by a new set.” Sects, however, may well stand. JOHNSON. 7 Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense.] The thought is extremely noble, and expressed in a sublime of imagery that Seneca fell short of on the like occasion. “Ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus : ecce par deo dignum, vir fortis cum malâ fortuna compositus." WARBURTON.
8 - Have I caught thee?7 “ Have I caught my heavenly jewel,” is a line of one of Sir Philip Sidney's songs, which Shakspeare has put into Falstaff's mouth in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Malone.
See vol. viii. p. 119, n. 3. STEEVENS.
The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell?, Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve
first. Come. (Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded.
9 And fire us hence, like foxes.] I have been informed that it is usual to smoke foxes out of their holes. So, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, b. xxvii. stan. 17:
“Ev'n as a foxe whom smoke and fire doth fright,
“ Into the tarrier's mouth, and there he dieth.” Again, Every Man out of his Humour :
“ — my walk and all,
“ You smoke me from, as if I were a fox.” The same allusion occurs in our author's 44th Sonnet:
“ Till my bad angel fire my good one out." STEEVENS. So, in Marlowe's King Edward II. 1598:
• Advance your standard, Edward, in the field,
“And march to fire them from their starting holes." Mr. Upton, however, is of opinion that “ the allusion is to the scriptural account of Samson's tying foxes, two and two together by the tail, and fastening a fire-brand to the cord; then letting them loose among the standing corn of the Philistines.” Judges XV. 4.
The words—" shall bring a brand from heaven," seem to favour Mr. Upton's conjecture. If it be right, the construction must be “ they shall bring a brand from heaven, and, like foxes, fire us hence :" referring fores, not to Lear and Cordelia, but to those who should separate them. MALONE.
The brands employed by Samson were not brought from hea. ven. I therefore prefer the common and more obvious explanation of the passage before us. Steevens.
1 The GOUJEERS shall devour them,] The goujeres, i. e. Morbus Gallicus. Gouge, Fr. signifies one of the common women attending a camp; and as that disease was first dispersed over Europe by the French army, and the women who followed it, the first name it obtained among us was the gougeries; i. e. the disease of the gouges. HanMER.
The resolute John Florio has sadly mistaken these goujeers. He writes “ With a good yeare to thee !” and gives it in Italian, « Il mal' anno che dio ti dia.” FARMER.
Golding, in his version of the third book of Ovid's Metamorphosis, has fallen into the same error, or rather, the same mis-spelling.-Juno is the speaker :