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That these hot tears ®, which break from me per
force, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out;
[Exeunt LEAR, Kent, and Attendants.
8 That these hot tears, &c.] I will transcribe this passage from the first edition, that it may appear to those who are unacquainted with old books, what is the difficulty of revision, and what indulgence is due to those that endeavour to restore corrupted passages.“ That these hot tears, that breake from me perforce, should make the worst blasts and fogs upon the untender woundings of a father's curse, peruse every sense about the old fond eyes, beweep this cause again,” &c. Johnson.
9 The untenTED woundings -] Untented wounds, means wounds in their worst state, not having a tent in them to digest them; and may possibly signify here such as will not admit of having a tent put into them for that purpose. Our author quibbles on this practice in surgery, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ Patr. Who keeps the tent now?
“ Ther. The surgeon's box or the patient's wound." One of the quartos (Quarto B.] reads, unintender. Steevens. that you lose,] The quartos read-that
STEEVENS. 2 Let it be so, &c.] The reading is here gleaned up, part from the first, and part from the second edition. Johnson.
“Let it be so,” is omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
“ Ha! is it come to this?” is omitted in the folio. have left a daughter" is the reading of the quartos ; the folio has, “ I have another danghter.” MALONE.
3 - thou shalt, I warrant thee.] These words are omitted in the folio. MALONE.
“ Yet I
Gon. Do you mark that, my lord ?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you, —
Gon. Pray you, content.—What, Oswald, ho! You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
[Exit. Gon.4 [This man hath had good counsel :--A
hundred knights ! 'Tis politick, and safe, to let him keep At point', a hundred knights. Yes, that on every
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.
Safer than trust too far:
4 Gon.] All within brackets is omitted in the quartos,
Steevens. 5 At point,] I believe, means completely armed, and consequently ready at appointment or command on the slightest notice.
STEEVENS. 6 And hold our lives in mercy.] Thus the old copies. Mr, Pope, who could not endure that the language of Shakspeare's age should not correspond in every instance with that of modern times, reads-at mercy; and the subsequent editors have adopted his innovation. In mercy, in misericordia, is the legal phrase.
Malone, Safer than trust :] Here the old copies add-too far; as if the words were not implied in the answer of foneril. The redundancy of the metre authorizes the omission. Steevens.
What he hath utter'd, I have writ my sister ;
Stew. Ay, madam.
Get you gone ;
lord, This milky gentleness, and course of yours, Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon, You are much more attask'd' for want of wisdom, Than prais’d for harmful mildness.
8 How now, Oswald, &c.] The quartos read—what Oswald, ho!
“ Osw'Here, madam.
compact it more.] Unite one circumstance with another, so as to make a consistent account. Johnson.
More is here used as a dissyllable. Malone.
I must still withhold my assent from such new dissyllables. Some monosyllable has in this place been omitted. Perhaps the author wrote
“ Go, get you gone." STEEVENS. — more ATTASK'D- ] It is a common phrase now with parents and governesses : “ I'll take you to task,” i. e. “ I will reprehend and correct you.” To be at task, therefore, is to be liable to reprehension and correction. Johnson.
Both the quartos, instead of attask-read, alapt. A late editor of King Lear, [Mr. Jennens] says, that the first quarto readsattask'd ; but unless there be a third quarto, which I have never seen or heard of, his assertion is erroneous. STEEVENS.
The quarto printed by N. Butter, 1608, of which the first signature is B, reads-attask'd for want of wisdom, &c. The other quarto, printed by the same printer in the same year, of which
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot tell ; Striving to better, oft we mar what's well".
Gos. Nay, then–
the first signature is A, reads—alapt for want of wisdom,” &c. Three copies of the quarto first described, (which concur in reading attask'd,) and one copy of the other quarto, are now before
The folio reads—at task. The quartos have praise instead of prais'd. Attask'd, I suppose, means, charged, censured. So, in King Henry IV.: “ How show'd his tasking? seem'd it in contempt ?
MALONE. Both the quartos described by Mr. Malone are at this instant before me, and they concur in reading--alapt. I have left my two copies of Butter's publication (which I had formerly the honour of lending to Mr. Malone) at the shop of Messieurs White, booksellers, in Fleet-street.
I have no doubt, however, but that Mr. Malone and myself are equally justifiable in our assertions, though they contradict each other; for it appears to me that some of the quartos (like the folio 1623) must have been partially corrected while at press. Consequently the copies first worked off, escaped without correction. Such is the case respecting two of the three quartos (for three there are) of King Henry IV. Part II. 1600. Steevens.
I have already stated in the Preliminary Remarks that there are three quartos. The quarto which I have distinguished by the letter A, reads alapt ; quarto, B and C, in Mr. Malone's collection, read attask'd. Boswell.
The word task is frequently used by Shakspeare, and indeed by other writers of his time, in the sense of tax. Goneril means to say, that he was more taxed for want of wisdom, than praised for mildness.
So, in The Island Princess, of Beaumont and Fletcher, Quisana says to Ruy Dias :
“ You are too saucy, too impudent,
“ To task me with those errors.” M. Mason. Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.] So, in our author's 103d Sonnet :
“ Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,
Court before the Same.
Enter LE4R, Kent, and Fuol. LEAR. Go you before to Gloster with these letters: acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter: If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you '.
Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.
[Erit. Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, were't not in danger of kibes ?
LEAR. Ay, boy.
Fool. Then, I pr’ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slip-shod.
LEAR. Ha, ha, ha!
Fool. Shalt see, thy other daughter will use thee kindly 4: for though she's as like this as a crab is like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
* Quartos, yet I con, what I can tell.
there before you.] He seems to intend to go to his daughter, but it appears afterwards that he is going to the house of Gloster. STEEVENS.
The word there in this speech shows, that when the king says, Go
you before to Gloster,” he means the town of Gloster, which, as Mr. Tyrwhitt_has observed, Shakspeare chose to make the residence of the Duke of Cornwall and Regan, in order to give a probability to their setting out late from thence, on a visit to the Earl of Gloster, whose castle our poet conceived to be in the neighbourhood of that city. Our old English earls usually resided in the counties from whence they took their titles. Lear, not finding his son-in-law and his wife at home, follows them to the Earl of Gloster's castle. See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, in Act II. Sc. IV. MALONE.
4 — thy other daughter will use thee KINDLY:] The Fool uses the word kindly here in two senses; it means affectionately, and like the rest of her kird. M. Mason.