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so much, for how much soever I should name, it would be yet JOHNSON.


Line 84. Only she comes too short,-that I profess &c.] That seems to stand without relation, but is referred to find, the first conjunction being inaccurately suppressed. I find that she names my deed, I find that I'profess, &c. JOHNSON.

Line 86. Which the most precious square of sense possesses;] Perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. JOHNSON.

Line 94. No less in space, validity,] Validity, for worth, calue; not for integrity, or good title. WARBURTON. Line 98. Strive to be interess'd;] interess'd, from the French interesser.

Line 135. Hold thee, from this,] i. e. from this time. STEEVENS. -generation-] i. e. his children. MALONE. -execution of the rest,] The execution of the rest JOHNSON. Line 184. Reverbs-] This is, perhaps, a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates. STEEVENS. Line 186. a pawn

is, I suppose, all the other business.

Towage against thine enemies;] i. e. I never regarded my life, as my own, but merely as a thing of which I had the possession, not the property; and which was entrusted to me as a pawn or pledge, to be employed in waging war against your enemies. STEEVENS.



Line 191. The true blank of thine eye.] or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. and keep me always in your view.

The blank is the white
See better, says Kent,


Line 208. (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,) Our potency made good,] Lear, who is characterised as hot, heady, and violent, is, with very just observation of life, made to entangle himself with vows, upon any sudden provocation to vow revenge, and then to plead the obligation of a vow in defence of implacability. JOHNSON.

Line 215. By Jupiter,] Shakspeare makes his Lear too much a mythologist: he had Hecate and Apollo before.

Line 239. seeming-] is beautiful.


Seeming rather means specious.


Line 245.owes,] i. e. is possessed of.


251. Election makes not up on such conditions.] To make up signifies to complete, to conclude; as they made up the bargain; but in this sense, it has, I think, always the subject noun after it. To make up, in familiar language, is neutrally, to come forward, to make advances, which, I think, is meant here. JOHNSON. Line 272. If for I want &c.] If this be my offence, that I want the glib and oily art, &c. MALONE. with respects,] i. e. with cautious and prudenMALONE. Line 290. from the entire point.] Single, unmixed with other considerations. JOHNSON.

Line 289. tial considerations.

Line 315. Thou losest here,] Here and where have the power of nouns. Thou losest this residence to find a better residence in another place. JOHNSON. Line 336. plaited cunning-] i. e. complicated, involved cunning. JOHNSON.


Line 355. of long-engrafted condition,] i. e. of qualities of mind, confirmed by long habit. So, in Othello: -a woman of so gentle a condition!” MALONE.

Line 367. hot.

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


Line 371. -to deprive me,] To deprive was, in our author's time, synonymous to disinherit. STEEVENS.

Line 392. -subscrib'd his power !] To subscribe in Shakspeare is to yield, or surrender. So, afterwards: "You owe me no subscription." MALONE.

Line 393. exhibition!] is allowance. The term is yet used in the universities. JOHNSON.

Line 393.

All this done

Upon the gad!] To do upon the gad, is, to act by the sudden stimulation of caprice, as cattle run madding when they are stung by the gad fly. JOHNSON.

Line 420. idle and fond-] Weak and foolish. JOHNS.

· Line 457. -where, if you-] Where was formerly often

"used in the sense of whereas.

MALONE. 'Line 474. —I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.] i. e. I will throw aside all consideration of my relation to him, that I may act as justice requires. WARBURTON. Line 476. convey the business-] To convey is to carry through; in this place it is to manage artfully: we say of a juggler, that he has a clean conveyance. JOHNSON. Line 480. -the wisdom of nature-] That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipses, yet we feel their consequences. JOHNSON.

Line 512. he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy:] I think this passage was intended to ridicule the very aukward conclusions of our old comedies, where the persons of the scene make their entry inartificially, and just when the poet wants them on the stage. WARNER.

Line 522. I promise you,] It is easy to remark, that in this speech, which ought, I think, to be inserted as it now is in the text, Edmund, with the common craft of fortune-tellers, mingles the past and future, and tells of the future only what he already foreknows by confederacy, or can attain by probable conjecture. JOHNSON.


Old fools are babes again; and must be us’d With checks, as flatteries,-when they are seen abus'd.] The sense seems to be this: Old men must be treated with checks, when as they are seen to be deceived with flatteries: or, when they are weak enough to be seen abused by flatteries, they are then weak enough to be used with checks. There is a play of the words used and abused. To abuse is, in our author, very frequently the same as to deceive. This construction is harsh and ungrammatical; Shakspeare perhaps thought it vicious, and chose to throw away the lines rather than correct them, nor would now thank the officiousness of his editors, WHO RESTORE WHAT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND. JOHNSON.

Line 588.


Line 617. -to converse with him that is wise, and says little;] To converse signifies immediately and properly to keep company, not to discourse or talk. His meaning is, that he chooses for his companions men of reserve and caution; men who are not tatlers nor tale-bearers. JOHNSON.

We still say in the same sense-he had criminal conversation with her-meaning commerce. MALONE.

Line 709. take my coxcomb:] Meaning his cap, called so, because, on the top of the fool or jester's cap was sewed a piece of red cloth, resembling the comb of a cock. The word, afterwards, was used to denote a vain, conceited, meddling fellow. WARBURTON.

Line 714. two coxcombs,] Two fools caps, intended, as it seems, to mark double folly in the man that gives all to his daughters. JOHNSON. Line 721. Lady, the brach,] Brach is a bitch of the hunting kind. STEEVENS.

Line 729. Lend less than thou owest,] That is, do not lend all that thou hast. To owe, in old English, is to possess. JOHNSON. Line 731. Learn more than thou trowest,] To trow, is an old word which signifies to believe. The precept is admirable. WARBURTON.

Line 762. if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't:] A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time; and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee. WARBURTON.

Line 776. Fools had ne'er less grace in a year ;] There never was a time when fools were less in favour; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place. Such I think is the meaning. JOHNSON.

Line 802. -that frontlet-] A frontlet was a foreheadcloth, used formerly by ladies at night to render that part smooth. Lear, I suppose, means to say, that Goneril's brow was as completely covered by a frown, as it would be by a frontlet. MAL.

Line 812. That's a shealed peascod.] i. e. Now a mere husk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, but

all the intrinsick parts of royalty are gone: he has nothing to give. JOHNSON.

Line 837. Whoop, Jug! I love thee.] This, as I am informed, is a quotation from the burthen of an old song.

STEEVENS. Line 863. still depend,] Depend, for continue in service. WARBURTON.

879. Than the sea-monster !] Mr. Upton observes, that the sea-monster is the Hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandys, in his Travels, says-" that he killeth his sire, and ravisheth his own dam." STEEVENS. Line 887. like an engine,] Mr. Edwards conjectures that by an engine is meant the rack. He is right. STEEVENS. from her derogate body-] Derogate for unnaWARBURTON. JOHNSON.

Line 899.


Rather, I think, degraded, blasted.

Line 920. 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.

Line 949. At point,] I believe, means completely armed, and consequently ready at appointment or command on the slightest notice. STEEVENS.

Line 967.

compact it more.] Unite one circumstance with another, so as to make a consistent account.



Line 982. 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


Line 1002. I did her wrong:] He is musing on Cordelia. JOHNSON. 1019. To take it again perforce !] He is meditating on the resumption of his royalty. JOHNSON.

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