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Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
He'll shape his old course in a country new.
Enter Glo'ster, with France and Burgundy, and attendants.
1 Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
We first addrefs tow'rd you, who with m this king
Bur. Moft royal majesty,
I crave no more than what your highness offer'd,
Lear. Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us, P we held her fo;
But now her price is fall'n. Sir, there she stands,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and fhe is yours.
Bur. I know no answer.
So the qu's; the fo's, R. and P. give this fpeech to Cordelia; and T. firft difcovers this error.
m The qu's read a for this.
n P. alters this to at leaft; followed by all but J.
• The qu's omit meft.
The qu's and 1ft f. read we did hold, &c.
• P. reads pierc'd.
The qu's read elfe for more.
Lear. Will you with those infirmities the owes, Unfriended, new adopted to our hate,
* Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath, Take her, or leave her?
Bur. Pardon me, royal fir;
Election makes not up on fuch conditions.
Lear. Then leave her, fir; for by the pow'r that made me,
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 befeech you,
T'avert your liking a more worthier way
Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd
France. This is most strange!
That she, who even but now was your y best object,
• Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
• Before will the qu's infert fir.
The qu's read cover'd for dower'd.
P. and all after, omit me.
w So read all the editions before P. who alters it to worthy, followed by thofe after him. But the double comparative is very common in Shakespear; and was, no doubt, the language of that age. It is not the part of an editor to modernife his author.
* The qu's read that for who; the 1st f. whom.
The ift f. omits best.
* P. alters this, Your praife's argument, &c. this is modernising again, for the fake of meafure: followed by all but J.
So the qu's; the fo's, R. and J. the best, the deareft. P. first, and then all the reft, dearest and best.
b Best (quoth 7.) is added from the first copy. Why, Dr. J. there is no copy without it.
So many folds of favour! fure, her offence
Must be of fuch unnatural degree
That monsters it; (e or you for vouch'd affections
Fall'n into taint:) which to believe of her
Must be a faith that reafon without miracle
Cor. I yet befeech your majefty
If for I want that glib and oily art,
c P. and H. read fure th' offence, &c.
d R. and P. read as monftrous is.
So the qu's; the fo's read Or your fore-voucht affection fall into taint, &c. R. P. and H. read Or your forc-voucht affection could not fall into taint, &c. T. and W. Or your fore-vouch'd affection fall'n into taint, &e. J. reads as the fo's, but interprets or before, because or ever fignifies before ever; but does he remember where or had at any time this fignification unless joined with ever? R. feems to make the best sense of all these readings, but then he is obliged to interpolate. But let us now try the old reading; and to make sense of it, the best way perhaps will be to consider what was the real caufe of the estrangement of Lear's love from Cordelia; it was the vouch'd affections of his three daughters: the two eldest vouch'd fuch affection to him as was beyond all nature and poffibility to a father; but Cordelia vouched only fuch an affection as was natural and reasonable for a daughter to feel for her father. Now Lear was fallen into taint, i. e. his judgment was corrupted, in preferring the extravagant and lying protestations of his eldest daughters, to the fincere and just ones of his youngest. And if we ruminate a little, this is the only fecond reafon for Lear's rejecting Cordelia that can with any probability be supposed to be guefied at by France: for it would be rude in France to charge Lear with vouching the dearest affections to one he did not really love; and it is abfurd to suppose that so great a love should change to hate, without she had committed fome very great crime, and which France could not be brought to believe; therefore this fecond guess becomes the only one, and the true one, viz. that Regan and Gonerill had, by their fuperior art in coaxing, won all Lear's love from Cordelia.
f The 2d q. reads plaint; so Steevens, and gives no other reading.
H. alters for to fo, to make grammar of the paffage; but perhaps Shakespear defigned this as an interruption. See p. 17, note i.
To speak and purpose not, fince what I well intend,
No k unchaste action, or dishonour'd step
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour. [To Lear.
But ev'n for want of that, for which I'm m richer,
A ftill foliciting eye, and fuch a tongue,
"As I am glad I have not; though, not to have it,
Lear. Go to, go to! better thou hadst not been born
France. Is it no more but this? a tardiness in nature,
That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,
The fo's and R. read will for well.
I The fo's (followed by all the reft) read that you make known, to make it grammar with I yet beseech your majefty: but I am apt to think Shakespear intended this as a broken fpeech, which should exprefs the modeft fear and bashfa! diffidence of Cordelia, heightened by her concern under her prefent pitiable circumftances. She begins speaking to the king in a broken interrupted manner; then to France, that you may know, &c. then, without making a period, to the king again.
*The qu's read unclean for unchafte.
I H. reads the for for.
The qu's read rich.
So the qu's; all the reft read that for as.
• P. alters I have not to I've not; followed by the rest.
So the qu's; all the reft omit go to, go to!
The fo's and R. read t'have; but P. and all after, intirely omit to.
So the qu's; all the reft omit no more.
So the qu's; all the reft read which for that.
So the qu's, fo's, and R. where ftands refers to love; Love is not love,
when, &c. love is not love, that ftands, &c. all the reft read stand.
Aloof from the " entire point. Say, will you have her
w She is, herself, and dower.
Bur. [To Lear.] * Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
Dutchefs of Burgundy.
Lear. Nothing :-I have fworn y.
Bur. I am forry then you have fo loft a father, [To Cor. That you must lofe a husband.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy,
Since that refpects of fortune are his love,
I fhall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art moft rich, being poor,
Be it lawful, I take up what's caft away.
Gods! Gods! 'tis ftrange, that from their cold'ft neglect
So the qu's; all the reft read th' intire.
W. explains intire, right, true; J. fingle, unmixed with other confiderations. But
w She is, herfelf, and dower (which is the reading of the qu's) explains the meaning of intire, whole. "That is not love which is mingled with "regards; that cannot be love that stands aloof from the whole point (the "perfon and the dower) for in Cordelia you have both herself and her " dower." Shakespear, I suppose, means, that the super-plus of perfections and good qualities fhe poffeffed above the generality of her fex, were to her in lieu of a dower. The reft read she is herself a dowry.
So the qu's; all the rest read royal king, i. e. kingly king. Is it not strange that none of the editors should confult the qu's in this place? for if they had, they would certainly have restored the old reading.
Y After worn, the fo's and R. read I am firm.
2 The fo's, R. and P. read respect and fortunes.
a The ft q. reads ceaze for seize.
The 1ft q, reads couldft.