Puslapio vaizdai

Fal'n into taint; which to believe of her,

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

Cer. I yet befeech your Majefty.

(If, for I want that glib and oily art,

To fpeak and purpofe not; fince what I well intend,
I'll do't before I fpeak,) that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchafte action, or difhonour'd step,

That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour:
But ev'n for want of that, for which I'm richer,
A ftill folliciting eye, and fuch a tongue,

That I am glad I've not; though, not to have it,
Hath loft me in your liking.

Lear. Better thou

Hadft not been born, than not have pleas'd me better.
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature,

Which often leaves the hiftory unspoke,
That it intends to do? my lord of Burgundy,
What fay you to the lady? love's not love,
When it is mingled with regards, that stand

Aloof from th' intire point. Say, will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

Bur. Royal King,

Give but that portion which your felf propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,

Dutchefs of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing:

I've fworn.

Bur. I'm forry then, you have so loft a father, That you muft lofe a husband.

Cor. Peace be with Burgundy,

That monsters it

i. e. that makes a monster, a prodigy, of it: And our pret ufes this verb elsewhere in fuch a fenfe. So Albany, afterwards in this play,, fays to Gonerill, his wife;

Thou chang d, and felf-converted thing! for fhame,
Be-msfer not thy features.

And fo, in Coriolanus ;

I'd rather have one fcratch my head i' th' Sun,
When the alarum were ftruck, than idly fit

To hear my nothings mcnfter'd.

Since that refpects of fortune are his love,

I fhall not be his wife.

France. Faireft Cordelia, that art moft rich, being poor, Moft choice, forfaken; and moft lov'd, defpis'd! Thee and thy virtues here I feize upon: Be't lawful, I take up what's caft away.

Gods, Gods! 'tis ftrange, that from their cold'ft neglect
My love should kindle to enflam'd respect.

Thy dow'rlefs daughter, King, thrown to my chance,
Is Queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the Dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Can buy this unpriz'd, precious, maid of me.
Bid them farewel, Cordelia, tho' unkind;
Thou lofeft here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou haft her, France; let her be thine, for we
Have no fuch daughter; nor fhall ever fee
That face of hers again; therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benizon:
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt Lear [and Burgundy.

France. Bid farewel to your fifters.

Cor. Ye jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know what you are,

And, like a fifter, am moft loth to call

Your faults, as they are nam'd. Love well our father:

To your profeffing bofoms I commit him;

But yet, alas! flood I within his grace,

I would prefer him to a better place.

So farewel to you both.

Reg. Prefcribe not us our duty.

Gon. 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. (4)

(4) And well are worth the Want that you have wanted.] This is a very obfcure expreffion, and must be pieced out with an implied fenfe, to be understood. This I take to be the poet's meaning, ftript of the jingle which makes it dark; "You well deferve to meet with that "Want of love from your husband, which you have profefs'd to want "for our father,"


Cor. Time fhall unfold what plaited cunning hides, Who covers faults, at laft with fhame derides.

Well may you profper!

France. Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt France and Cor. Gon. Sifter, it is not little I've to say,

Of what most nearly appertains to us both;
I think, our father will go hence to night.

Reg. That's certain, and with you; next month with us. Gon. You fee how full of changes his age is, the obfervation we have made of it hath not been little; he always lov'd our fifter moft, and with what poor judgment he hath now caft her off, appears too grossly. Reg. "Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but flenderly known himself.

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

Reg. Such unconftant 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 fuch difpofition as he bears, this laft furrender of his will but offend us. Reg. We fhall further think of it.

Gon. We must do something, and i' th' heat. [Exeunt.

SCENE changes to a Caftle belonging to the Earl of Glofter.


Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.

HOU, Nature, art my Goddefs; to thy law
My fervices are bound; wherefore should I


Stand in the plague of cuftom, and permit

The curtesy of nations to deprive me, (5)


(5) The nicety of nations.] This is Mr. Pope's reading, ex Cathedra; for it has the fanction of none of the copies, that I have met with.


For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why baftard? wherefore base?
When my dimenfions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my shape as true:
As honeft Madam's iffue? why brand they us
With bafe? with baseness? baftardy? bafe, base?
Who, in the lufty ftealth of nature, take (6)
More compofition and fierce quality;

Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed,
Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,

They all, indeed, give it us, by a foolish corruption,the Curiofity of nations; but I fome time ago prov'd, that our Author's word was, Curtely. So, again, in As You like it;

The curtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the firft born

And again, in Cymbeline, this word stands for Birth-right;

-aye hopeless

To have the curtefy your cradle promis'd.

Nor muft we forget that tenure in our laws, whereby fome lands are held by the Curtefy of England. And I ought to take notice, that I had the concurrence of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby, who hinted to me this very emendation, before he knew I made it.

(6) Who, in the lufty fiealth of nature,] These fine lines are a very fignal proof of our author's admirable art, in giving proper fentiments to his characters. And fuch a proof, as hath in it fomething very extraordinary. The Baftard's character is that of a confirm'd atheift; and the poet's making him ridicule judicia! Aftrology was defign'd as one inftance of that character: For that impious juggle had a religious reverence paid it at that time: and Shakespeare makes his beft characters in this very play, own and acknowledge the force of the ftars influence. The poet, in fhort, gives an atheistical turn to all his fentiments; and how much the lines, following this, are in this character, may be feen by that ftrange monftrous wish, which Vanini, the infamous Neapolitan atheist, made in his tract De Admirandis Naturæ ; printed at Paris in 1616, the very year that our author dy'd. "Utinam extra legitimum & connubialem thorum effem pro reatus! Ita "enim progenitores mei in venerem incaluiffent ardentiùs, ac cumula"tim affatimque generofa Semina contuliffent; e quibus ego formæ "blanditiam et elegantiam, robuftas corporis vires, mentemque innubilam "confequutus fuiffem. At quia Conjugatorum fum foboles, his orbatus "fum bonis.". Now had this book been publish'd ten years before, who would not have fworn that Shakespeare hinted at this paffage? But the divinity of his genius here, as it were, foretold what fuch an atheift, as Vanini was, would fay, when he wrote upon this fubject. Mr. Warburton.



Got 'tween a fleep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land;
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to th' legitimate; fine word-legitimate--
Well, my legitimate, if this letter fpeed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the bafe
Shall be th' legitimate.--I grow, I profper;
Now, Gods, ftand up for baftards!

To him, Enter Glo'ster.

Glo. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted! And the King gone to-night! fubfcrib'd his pow'r ! Confin'd to exhibition! all is gone

Upon the gad!

Edmund, how now? what news?

Edm. So pleafe your lordship, none."

[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why fo earneftly feek you to put up that letter? Edm. I know no news, my lord.

Glo. What paper were you reading?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! what needed then that terrible difpatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not fuch need to hide it felf. Let's fee; come, if it be nothing, I shall not need fpectacles.

Edm. I befeech you, Sir, pardon me, it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for fo much as I have perus'd, I find it not fit for your o'erlooking.

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edin. I fhall offend, either to detain, or give it; the contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame. Glo. Let's fee, let's fee.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's juftification, he wrote this but as an effay, or tafte of my virtue.

Glo. reads.] This policy and reverence of ages makes the world bitter to the beft of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, 'till our oldnefs cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppreffion of aged tyranny; which fways, not as it hath power, but as it is fuffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would


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