Puslapio vaizdai

I tell you all her wealth. For you, great king,


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.


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 taints: which to believe of her,

Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.


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.


Better thou

Had'st not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.

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.

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

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.2 Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.


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.


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, being 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. -
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here", a better where to find.

+"It is no more but this ?"


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with respects,] i. e. with cautious and prudential consi

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

3 Thou losest here,] Here and where have the power of nouns. Thou losest this residence to find a better residence in another place.

Lear. Thou hast her, France; let her be thine;

for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see

That face of her's again :- Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGundy, Corn-
WALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants.

France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call

Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father: To your professed bosoms I commit him:

But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,

I would prefer him to a better place.

So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties. Reg. Let your study Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted. Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides; Who covers faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper!


Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.

Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little: he always loved our sister most; and with what poor

4 · plaited cunning — ] i. e. complicated, involved cunning.

judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath evre but slenderly known himself.

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition3, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and cholerick years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.

Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together: If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.

Gon. We must do something, and i'the heat.7



A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's Castle.

Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.

Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess"; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I

Stand in the plague of custom 9; and permit


of long-engrafted condition,] i. e. of qualities of mind, con

firmed by long habit.




let us hit-] i. e. let us agree.

'the heat.] i. e. We must strike while the iron's hot.

Thou, nature, art my goddess ;] Edmund calls nature his goddess. for the same reason that we call a bastard a natural son; one, who according to the law of nature, is the child of his father, but according to those of civil society, is nullius filius.

9 Stand in the plague of custom ;] Wherefore should I acquiesce, submit tamely to the plagues and injustice of custom ?



The curiosity of nations' to deprive me,2

For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate: Fine word,—legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!


Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler


And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his power!3
Confin'd to exhibition!4 All this done

Upon the gad!"-Edmund! How now; what news!
Edm. So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the Letter.

1 The curiosity of nations — ] i. e. the idle, nice distinctions of the world.


to deprive me,] To deprive was, in our author's time, synonymous to disinherit.

3 subscrib'd his power!] To subscribe in Shakspeare, is to yield or surrender.

4 exhibition!] is allowance. The term is yet used in the universities.

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Upon the gad i. e. is done suddenly, or, as before, while the iron is hot. A gad is an iron bar.

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