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Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.1
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.-Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honorable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better. Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again. The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within.
Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUNd. Lear. Mean time we shall express our darker 2 pose. Give me the map there.-Know that we have divided In three our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent3 To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we, Unburdened, crawl toward death.-Our son of Corn
wall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
1 Proper is comely, handsome.
2 i. e. more secret.-The sense is, "We have already made known our desire of parting the kingdom. We will now discover the reasons by which we shall regulate the partition."
3 i. e. our determined resolution. The quartos read "first intent.” 4 The quartos read confirming.
We have this hour a constant will1 to publish
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most?
Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. [Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, With shadowy forests and with champains riched,* With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
1 A firm, determined will. The lines from while we to prevented now are omitted in the quartos.
2 The two lines in a parenthesis are omitted in the quartos.
3"Beyond all assignable quantity. I love you beyond limits, and cannot say it is so much; for how much soever I should name, it would yet be more."
4 i. e. enriched. So Drant in his translation of Horace's Epistles, 1567:
"To ritch his country, let his words lyke flowing water fall."
5 That is, "estimate me at her value; my love has at least equal claim to your favor. Only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself
I find, she names my very deed of love;
In your dear highness' love.
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside. And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever, Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom; No less in space, validity,' and pleasure, Than that conferred on Goneril.-Now, our joy, Although the last, not least; to whose young love The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy, Strive to be interessed: 3 what can you say, to draw A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak. Cor. Nothing, my lord. Lear. Nothing?
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing; speak again. Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty
Lear. How, how, Cordelia? mend your speech a little, Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me; I
an enemy to all other joys which the most precious aggregation of sense can bestow." Square is here used for the whole complement, as circle is now sometimes used.
1 Validity is several times used to signify worth, value, by Shakspeare. It does not, however, appear to have been peculiar to him in this sense.
2 The folio reads conferred; the quartos, confirmed. So in a former passage we have in the quartos confirming for conferring. The word confirm might be used in this connection in a legal sense, as it is in instruments of conveyance.
3 To interest and to interesse are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but two distinct words, though of the same import. We have interessed in Ben Jonson's Sejanus. Drayton also uses the word in the Preface to his Polyolbion.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Ay, good my lord.
Lear. Let it be so,-thy truth then be thy dower; For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operations of the orbs,
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Hold thee, from this, forever. The barbarous Scythian,
Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
1 His children.
By you to be sustained, shall our abode
Revenue, execution of the rest,3
Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm,
[Giving the crown. Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honored as my king,
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart; be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man?
Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor's
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment,
Lear. Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.
Out of my sight!
1 Thus the quarto; folio, "we shall retain."
2 "All the titles belonging to a king."
3 By "the execution of the rest," all the other functions of the kingly office are probably meant.
4 The folio reads, "reserve thy state;" and has falls instead of "stoops to folly."
5 This is, perhaps, a word of the Poet's own; meaning the same as reverberates.
6 The expression to wage against is used in a letter from Guil. Webbe to Robt. Wilmot, prefixed to Tancred and Gismund, 1592:-" You shall not be able to wage against me in the charges growing upon this action.'