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Look'd blank upon me; ftruck me with her tongue, (19),
Corn. Fie, Sir! fie!
Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Reg. O the blest gods !
Lear. No, Regan, thoa fhalt never have my curse: Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give (20)
(19) Look'd black upon mo,] This is a phrase which I do not underAand, neither have I any where else met with it. But to look blank is a known expression, rignifying, either to give discouraging looks to another, or to stand dismay'd and disappointed one's-self. The poet, means here, that Regan gave him (old looks, as he before phrases it in this play. In Hamlet, he has chang’d the adjective into a verb;
Each opposite, that blanks the face of joy. Milton (a ftudious imitator not only of our poet's words, but phrases;) often uses blank in our author's sense here;
There without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence;
Masque at Ludlow-Caflle.
Par. loft. B. 9. And in another passage, with an equivalent expression;
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face. Ibid. B. 4. (20) Thy tender-hearted nature] This, as I presume, was Mr. Pope's sophistication; I have restored from the old copies, tender-befied; (which, I am satisfied, was the poet's word) i. e, whose burom is beav'd with tender passions. So in Winter's Tale.
But if one present
With violent beftso
'Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine
Reg. Good Sir, to th' purpose. [Trumpet witbia,
Enter Steward. Corn. What trumpet's that?
Reg. I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter, That she would soon be here.
Is your Lady come ? Lear. This is a flave, whose easy-borrowed pride Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows. Out, varlet, from my sight. Corn. What means your Grace?
Enter Gonerill. Lear, Who stockt my servant? Regan, I've good hope, Thou didft not know on't. - Who comes here? O Heav'ns, If you do love old men, if your sweet sway (21) Hallow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make And again afterwards in the same play;
-Tis such as you,
At each his needless heavings.
Once, or twice,
Litt up thy brow, renowned Salifoury;
And with a great heart beave a way this storm. (21)
--- if your sweet sway Allow clodience, ) Could any man in his fenses, and Lear has 'em yet, Ouake it a question whether heaven allow'd obedience? undoubtedly,
Make it your cause; send down and take my part.
Gon. Why not by th' hand, Sir? how have I offended?
Lear. O fides, you are too tough! Will you yet holdi-how came my man i' th' Stocks?
Corn. I set him there, Sir: but his own disorders Deserv'd much less advancement.
Lear. You? did you ?
Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, feem fo.
your train, come then to me; I'm now from home, and out of that provision Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
Lear. Return to her and fifty men dismiss’d?
Gon. At your choice, Sir.
the poet wrote---
---hallow obedience,..-.i. e. if by your ordinances you hold and pronounce it fanftified; and puniíh the violators of it as sacrilegious persons.
Mr. Warburton. (22) To
wage against the enmity o'ib' air, To be a comrade with the wolf and ovul, Neceffuy's fharp pircb.] The breach of the sense here is a manifer proof, that these lines were transpos’d by the first editors : Neither can there be any fyntax or grammatical coherence, unless we suppose Necesity's sharp pinch to be the accusative to wage. As I've plac'd the verses, the sense is fine and easy; and the sentence compleat and fipihd. C 2
Lear. I prythee, daughter, do not make me mad,
Reg. Not altogether so;
Lear. Is this well spoken:
Reg. I dare avouch'it, Sir; what, fifty followers? Is it not well? what should you need of more? Yea, or so many since both charge and danger Speak 'gainst so great a number : how in one house Should many people under two commands Hold amity? 'uis hard, almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you, my Lord, receive attendance From those that the calls feryants, or from mine?
Reg. Why not, my Lord ? if then they chanc'd to
Lear. I gave you all
Lear. Made you my Guardians, my depofitaries; But kept a reservation to be followid
With such a number; muft I come to you
Lear. Thosewicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,
Gon. Hear me, my lord ;
Reg. What needs one?
Lear. O, reason not the need: our baseft beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous ; Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's life is cheap as beakts. Thou art a Lady ; If only to go warm were gorgeous, Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'ft, Which scarcely keeps thee warm; but for true need, You heav'ns, give me that patience which I need ! You see me bere, you gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both! If it be you, that ftir these daughters hearts Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger; (23)
(23) touch me with noble anger. ] It would puzzle one at first, to find the sense, and drift, and coherence of this petition. For if the gods fent this afliction for his punishment, how could he expect thac they would defeat their own design, and aflit him to revenge his injuries by touching bim with noble anger? This question cannot wellbe answer'd, without going a little further than ordinary for the soJution. We may be affured then, that Shakespeare had here in his mind those opinions the ancient poets held of the misfortunes of particular families. They tell us, that when the anger of the gods (for any act of impiety) was rais'd against an offending family, that their method of punishment was this: first, they inflamed the breasts of the children to unnatural acts against their parents; and then, of theparents against their children; that they might destroy one another : and that both these outrages were the acts of the gods. To confider