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Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires; '
same reason be omitted. To make an inn of a private house, by taking unwarrantable liberties in it, is still a common phrase.
STEEVENS. Enough has been said already in answer to Mr. Steevens's antipathy to an Alexandrine; but, in this instance he might have avoided it, by adopting the text of the first folio:
" As you are old and reverend, should be wise :" That is, as you are old and reverend, [and] should be wise, I do beseech you to understand my purposes aright. BoswELL.
2- a grac'd palace.] A palace graced by the presence of a sovereign. WARBURTON.
3 A LITTLE to disquantity your train ;] A little is the common reading; but it appears, from what Lear says in the next scene, that this number fifty was required to be cut off, which (as the editions stood) is no where specified by Goneril. Pope.
Mr. Pope for A little, substituted Of fifty.
If Mr. Pope had examined the old copies as accurately as he pretended to have done, he would have found, in the first folio, that Lear had an exit marked for him after these words—[p. 69.]
“To have a thankless child.-Away, away!”. and goes out, while Albany and Goneril have a short conference of two speeches; and then returns in a still greater passion, having been informed (as it should seem) of the express number without :
“What? fifty of my followers at a clap!” This renders all change needless; and away, away, being restored, prevents the repetition of go, go, my people ; which, as the text stood before this regulation, concluded both that and the foregoing speech. Goneril, with great art, is made to avoid mentioning the limited number ; and leaves her father to be informed of it by accident, which she knew would be the case as soon as he left her presence. STEEVENS. 4— still depend,] Depend, for continue in service.
WARBURTON. VOL. X.
To be such men as may besort your age,
Darkness and devils !
you come 6 ? Is it your will ? [To Alb.] Speak, sir.—Prepare my
horses. Ingratitude ? thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child, Than the sea-monster?! ALB.
Pray, sir, be patient 8.
So, in Measure for Measure :
“ Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
“ So stinkingly depending :” Steevens. 3 Woe, that too late repents,] This is the reading of the olio. All the three quartos, for Woe, have We; and quartos A and C read-We that too late repent's—; i. e. repent us : which I suspect is the true reading. Shakspeare might have had The Mirrour for Magistrates in his thoughts:
“ They call'd him doting foole, all his requests debarrd,
“ 'Gainst me-,” Story of Queen Cordila. MALONE. My copy of the quarto, of which the first signature is A, [quarto Bij reads -We that too late repent's us. STEEVENS.
6-0, sir, are you come ?] These words are not in the folio. MALONE.
7 Than the sea-monster!] Mr. Upton observes, that the seamonster is the Hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandys, in his Travels, says " that he killeth his sire, and ravisheth his own dam.” STEEVENS. 8 Pray, sir, be patient.] The quartos omit this speech.
LEAR, Detested kite! thou liest : [To GONERIL. My train are men of choice and rarest parts, That all particulars of duty know; And in the most exact regard support The worships of their name.-0 most small fault, How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show! Which, like an engine”, wrench'd my frame of na
ture From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love, And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
[Striking his head. And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people',
9 — like an engine,) Mr. Edwards conjectures that by an engine is meant the rack. He is right. To engine is, in Chaucer, to strain upon the rack ; and in the following passage from The Three Lords of London, 1590, engine seems to be used for the same instrument of torture :
“ From Spain they come with engine and intent
“ To slay, subdue, to triumph, and torment." Again, in The Night-Walker, by Beaumont and Fletcher : “Their souls shot through with adders, torn on engines."
Steevens. " Go, go, my people.] Perhaps these words ought to be regulated differently:
“ Go, go :-my people !”. · By Albany's answer it should seem that he had endeavoured to appease Lear's anger ; and perhaps it was intended hy the author that he should here be put back by the king with these words, " Go, go;” and that Lear should then turn hastily from his son-in-law, and call his train : “ My people ! ” Mes Gens, Fr. So, in a former part of this scene : . “You strike my people ; and your disorder'd rabble
“ Make servants of their betters." Again, in Othello, Act I. Sc. I. :
“ Call up my people.” However the passage be understood, these latter words must bear this sense. The meaning of the whole, indeed, may be only—“ Away, away, my followers !” Malone. With Mr. Malone's last explanation I am perfectly satisfied.
STEEVENS. The quartos put a mark of interrogation after people. Boswell. ·
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant Of what hath mov'd you?. LEAR. It may be so, my lord.-Hear, nature,
hear; Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if Thou didst intend to make this creature fruitful ! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up in her the organs of increase; And from her derogate body never spring A babe to honour her! If she must teem, Create her child of spleen ; that it may live, And be a thwart 4 disnatur'd' torment to her! Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth; With cadent tears *6 fret channels in her cheeks;
* Quartos, accent tears.
2 Of what hath mov'd you.] Omitted in the quartos.
STEEVENS. 3 — from her DEROGATE body - ] Derogate, for unnatural.
WARBURTON. Rather, I think, degraded, blasted. Johnson.
Her shrunk and wasted body. See Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616 : “ Derogate. To impaire, diminish, or take away.”
MALONE.. Degraded (Dr. Johnson's first explanation) is surely the true one. So, in Cymbeline : “ Is there no derogation in't ? - You cannot derogate, my lord,” i. e. degrade yourself. Steevens.
4 thwart - Thwart, as a noun adjective, is not frequent in our language. It is, however, to be found in Promos and Cassandra, 1578: “ Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care.” HENDERSON.
s-disnatur'd -] Disnatur’d is wanting natural affection. So Daniel, in Hymen's Triumph, 1623 :
“ I am not so disnatured a man.” STEEVENS. 6 — CADENT tears 7 i. e. Falling tears. Dr. Warburton would read candent. STEEVENS.
The words—“these hot tears,” in Lear's next speech, may seem to authorize the amendment; but the present reading is right. It is a more severe imprecation to wish, that tears by constant flowing may fret channels in the cheeks, which implies a long life of wretchedness, than to wish that those channels should be
Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,
What's the matter, sir ? LEAR. I'll tell thee ;-Life and death! I am
Leuk asham'd ver to shake my
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus :
made by scalding tears, which does not mark the same continuation of misery. The same thought occurs in Troilus and Cressida :
“Not Priamus and Hecuba on knees,
“ Their eyes o'er-galled with recourse of tears," should prevent his going to the field. M. Mason. 7 Turn all her mother's PaiNS, AND BENEFITS, .
To laughter and contempt ;7 “Her mother's pains " here signifies, not bodily sufferings, or the throes of child-birth, (with which this “ disnatured babe" being unacquainted, it could not deride or despise them,) but maternal cares; the solicitude of a mother for the welfare of her child. So, in King Richard III. :
“ 'Tis time to speak ; my pains are quite forgot.” Benefits mean good offices : her kind and beneficent attention to the education of her offspring, &c. Mr. Roderick has, in my opinion, explained both these words wrong. He is equally mistaken in supposing that the sex of this child is ascertained by the word her; which clearly relates, not to Goneril's issue, but to herself. “ Her mother's pains ” means—the pains which she (Goneril) takes as a mother. MalONE.
8 How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is.] So, in Psalm cxl. 3. : “ They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adder's poison is under their lips.” The viper was the emblem of ingratitude.