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The British Camp near Dover. Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, EDMUND ;
LEAR and CORDELIA, as Prisoners ; Officers, Soldiers, &c.
Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard;
We are not the first,
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let 's away to prison :
The same sentiment occurs in Hamlet, scene the last: “— if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.” Steevens.
7 And that's true too.] Omitted in the quarto. Steevens.
8 to censure them.] i. e. to pass sentence or judgment on them. So, in Othello:
• To you, lord governor,
Remains the censure of this hellish villain.” Steeqens. 9 Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.] i. e. the worst that fortune can inflict. Malone. 1 And take upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies:] As if we were angels commissioned to survey and report the lives of men, and were consequently endow. ed with the power of prying into the original motives of action and the mysteries of conduct. Folinson.
paces and sects - ] Packs is used for combinations or collections, as is a pack of cards. For sects, I think sets might be more cominodiously read. So we say, affairs are now managed by a new set. Sects, however, may well stand. Johnson.
That ebb and flow by the moon.
Take them away.
3 Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense.] The thought is extremely noble, and expressed in a sublime of imagery that Seneca fell short of on the like occasion. “Ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus: ecce par deo dignum, vir fortis cum maJâ fortuna compositus." Warburton.
Have I caught thee?] Have I caught my heavenly jewel, is a line of one of Sir Philip Sidney's songs, which Shakspeare has put into Falstaff's mouth in The Merry Wives of Windsor. . Malone
See Vol. III, p. 94, n. 3. Steevens.
$ And fire us hence, like foxes.] I have been informed that it is usual to smoke foxes out of their holes. So, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, B. XXVII, stan. 17 :
“ Ev'n as a foxe whom smoke and fire doth fright,
“ Into the tarrier's mouth, and there he dieth." Again, Every Man out of his Humour :
my walk and all, “ You smoke me from, as if I were a fox.” The same allusion occurs in our author's 44th Sonnet:
“ Till my bad angel fire my good one out." Steevens. So, in Marlowe's King Edward 11, 1598:
“ Advance your standard, Edward, in the field,
“ And march to fire them from their starting holes.” Mr. Upton, however, is of opinion that “the allusion is to the scriptural account of Sampson's tying foxes, two and two together by the tail, and fastening a fire-brand to the cord ; then letting them loose among the standing corn of the Philistines." Fudges xv, 4.
The words-shall bring a brand from heaven, seem to favour Mr. Upton's conjecture. If it be right, the construction must be, they shall bring a brand from heaven, and, like foxes, fire us hence: referring foxes, not to Lear and Cordelia, but to those who should separate them. Malone.
The brands employed by Sampson were not brought from heaven. I therefore prefer the common and more obvious explanation of the passage before us.
Stecvens. 6 The goujeers shall devour them,] The goujeres, i. e. Morbus Gallicus. Gouge, Fr. signifies one of the common women attending a camp; and as that disease was first dispersed over Europe by the
Ere they shall make us weep: we 'll see them starve first Come.
[Ereunt LEAR and Cor. guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain; hark. Take thou this note ;8 [Giving a Paper.] go, follow them
to prison :
French army, and the women who followed it, the first name it ob. tained among us was the gougeries, i. e. the disease of the gouges.
Hanmer. The resolute John Florio has sadly mistaken these goujeers. He writes “ With a good yeare to thee!” and gives it in Italian, “ Il mal anno che dio ti dia." Farmer.
Golding, in his version of the 3d book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, has fallen into the same error, or rather, the same mis-spelling.-Jono is the speaker:
“ Perfeci quid enim toties per jurgia ? dixit.” which is thus anglicized, p. 35: “And what a good yeare have I wonne by scolding erst? she
sed.” Steevens. The old copies have good yeares, the common corruption in Shakspeare's time of the other word. Sir T. Hanmer made the correction.
Malone. - flesh and fall,] Flesh and skin. Johnson. -flesh and fell,] So Skelton's works, p. 257 :
“ Neither flesh nor fell." Chaucer uses
fell and bones for skin and bones :
Troilus and Cresseide. Grey. & Take thou this note ;] This was a warrant, signed by the Bastard and Goneril, for the execution of Lear and Cordelia. In a subsequent scene Edmund says
Thy great employment Will not bear question ;] By great employment was meant the commission given him for the murder; and this the Bastard tells us afterwards, was signed by Goneril and himself. Which was susicient to make this captain unaccountable for the execution. Warburton.
Or thrive by other means. off
I'll do 't, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast done. Mark,-I say, instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.
Off: I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I will do it.
[Exit Off. Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers,
and Attendants. Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain, And fortune led you well: You have the captives Who were the opposites of this day's strife: We do require them of you ;so to use them, As we shall and their merits and our safety May equally determine. Edm.
Sir, I thought it fit To send the old and miserable king To some retention, and appointed guard ;3 Whose age has charms in it, whose title more, To pluck the common bosom on his side, And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes Which do command them. With him I sent the queen; My reason all the same; and they are ready To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
The important business which is now entrusted to your manage. ment, does not admit of debate; you must instantly resolve to do it, or not. Question, here, as in many other places, signifies discourse, conversation. Malone. So, in The Merchant of Venice :
“ You may as well use question with the wolf.” Steevens. i I cannot draw &c.] These two lines I have restored from the old quarto. Steevens. 2 We do require them of you ;] So the folio. The quartos read:
• We do require then of you so to use them.” Malone.
- and appointed guard;] These words are omitted in the quarta of which the first signature is B, and in the folio. Malone.
4 And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes -] i.e. Turn the launce. men whom we have hired by giving them press-money (See p. 303, n. 9,) against us. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, sc. vii:
people “ Ingrossid by swift impress." Impress, however, in this place, may possibly have its common significationSteevens.
Where you shall hold your session. [At this time,
Sir, by your patience,
That's as we list to grace him.
Not so hot:
In my rights,
Gon. That were the most, if he should husband you.
[At this time, &c.] This passage, well worthy of restoration, is omitted in the folio. Johnson.
6 Requires a fitter place.) i.e. The determination of the question what shall be done with Cordelia and her father, should be reserved for greater privacy. Steevens. 7 Bore the commission of —] Commission, for authority.
Warburton. 8 The which immediacy -] Immediacy is supremacy in opposition to subordination, which has quiddam medium between itself and power.
Johnson. Immediacy here implies proximity without intervention; in rank, or such a plenary delegation of authority, as to constitute the person on whom it is conferred, another SELF: alter et idem. Henley.
Immediacy is, I think, close and immediate connexion with me, and direct authority from me, without, to use Dr. Johnson's words, quiddam medium. So, in Hamlet :
let the world take note, “ You are the most immediate to our throne.” Malone. • In his own grace -] Grace here means accomplishments, or ho. nours. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“With all good grace 10 grace a gentleman." Steevens.
in your advancement.] So the quartos. Folio-your addition. Malone.
? Gon. That were the most, if he should husband you.] If he were