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Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Corn
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn, And here are to be answer'd.-Tell me, my daugh
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,)
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most?
Where merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril,
GON. Sir, I do love you more than words can wield the matter;
* Quartos, The two great princes.
of the folio; the quartos read, Confirming them on younger
while we, &c.]
omitted in the quartos. constant will -]
Constant is firm, determined. Constant will is the certa voluntas of Virgil. The same epithet is used with the same meaning in The Merchant of Venice:
else nothing in the world
"Could turn so much the constitution
"Of any constant man." STEEVENS.
5 Since now, &c.] These two lines are omitted in the quartos.
"Where merit doth most challenge it.] The folio reads: "Where nature doth with merit challenge :
i. e. where the claim of merit is superadded to that of nature; or where a superior degree of natural filial affection is joined to the claim of other merits. STEEVENS.
Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty;
No less than life 7, with grace, health, beauty, ho
As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found * ;
COR. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be
[Aside. LEAR. Of all these bounds, even from this line
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
* Quartos, friend.
7 Gon. Sir, I do love you more than words can wield the mat
NO LESS THAN LIFE,] So, in Holinshed: - he first asked Gonorilla the eldest, how well she loved him; who calling hir gods to record, protested that she loved him more than her own life, which by right and reason should be most deere unto hir. With which answer the father being well pleased, turned to the second, and demanded of hir how well she loved him; who answered (confirming hir saieings with great othes,) that she loved him more than toong could expresse, and farre above all other creatures of the world.
"Then called he his youngest daughter Cordeilla before him, and asked hir, what account she made of him; unto whom she made this answer as followeth: Knowing the great love and fatherlie zeale that you have alwaies born towards me, (for the which I maie not answere you otherwise than I thinke and as my conscience leadeth me,) I protest unto you that I have loved you ever, and will continuallie (while I live) love you as my natural father. And if you would more understand of the love I bear you, ascertain yourself, that so much as you have, so much you are worth, and so much I love you, and no more.” MALONE.
8 Beyond all manner of so much-] Beyond all assignable quantity. I love you beyond limits, and cannot say it is so much, for how much soever I should name, it would be yet more.
Thus Rowe, in his Fair Penitent, Sc. I. :
"Swear you reign here, but never tell how much." STEEVENS. - do?] So the quarto; the folio has speak. JOHNSON.
We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.—What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak 2.
REG. I am made 3 of that self metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart I find, she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short,-that I profess 5 Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
and with champains RICH'D,
With plenteous rivers-] These words are omitted in the quartos. To rich is an obsolete verb. It is used by Thomas Drant, in his translation of Horace's Epistles, 1567:
"To ritch his country, let his words lyke flowing water fall."
STEEVENS. Rich'd is used for enriched, as 'tice for entice, 'bate for abate, 'strain for constrain, &c. M. MASON.
Speak.] Thus the quartos. This word is not in the folio.
3 I am made, &c.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads, Sir, I am made of the self-same metal that my sister is. STEEVENS. 4 And prize me at her worth, &c.] I believe this passage should rather be pointed thus:
"And prize me at her worth, in my true heart
"I find, she names," &c.
That is," And so may you prize me at her worth, as in my true heart I find, that she names," &c. TYRWHITT.
I believe we should read:
"And prize you at her worth."
That is, set the same high value upon you that she does,
Μ. ΜΑΟΝ. "Prize me at her worth," perhaps means, I think myself as worthy of your favour as she is.' HENLEY.
5 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.
The true meaning is this:-" My sister has equally expressed my sentiments, only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself an enemy to all joys but you."-That I profess, means, in that I profess. M. MASON.
In that, i. e. inasmuch as, I profess myself, &c. Thus the folio. The quartos read:
"Only she came short, that I profess," &c. MALONE.
And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
COR. Then poor Cordelia! [Aside. And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue'.
LEAR. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever, Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom; No less in space, validity, and pleasure, Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy',
6 Which the most precious SQUARE of sense possesses ;] Perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. JOHNSON. So, in a Parænesis to the Prince, by Lord Sterline, 1604: "The square of reason, and the mind's clear eye." Golding, in his version of the 6th book of Ovid's Metamorphosis, translates
"As oft as he demanded out of square."
i. e. what was unreasonable.
I believe that Shakspeare uses square for the full complement of all the senses. EDWARDS.
7 More RICHER than MY tongue.] The quartos thus: the folio-more ponderous. STEEVENS.
We should read-their tongue, meaning her sisters.
I think the present reading right. JOHNSON.
8 No less in space, validity.] Validity, for worth, value; not for integrity, or good title.
So, in The Devil's Charter, 1607: The countenance of your friend is of less value than his councel, yet both of very small validity." STEEVENS.
9 — confirm'd —] The folio reads, conferr'd. STEEVENS. Why was not this reading adhered to? It is equally good sense and better English. We confer on a person, but we confirm to him. M. MASON.
The same expression is found before, p.7, with the same variation. Either the folio or the quarto should have been adhered to in both places. To confirm on a person is certainly not English now; but it does not follow that such was the case in Shakspeare's time. The original meaning of the word to establish would easily bear such a construction. BOSWELL.
- Now, our joy, &c.] Here the true reading is picked out of two copies. Butter's quarto reads :
Although the last, not least 2; to whose young love
LEAR. Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.
COR. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more †, nor less.
* Quartos, How! nothing can come.
But now our joy,
† First folio, no more.
Although the last, not least in our dear love, "What can you say to win a third," &c.
Now our joy,
Although our last, and least; to whose young love "The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,
"Strive to be int'ress'd. What can you say," &c. JOHNSON. 2 Although the last, not least ; &c.] So, in the old anonymous play, King Leir speaking to Mumford:
to thee last of all;
"Not greeted last, 'cause thy desert was small." STEEVENS. Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, written before 1593 :
The third and last, not least, in our account.” MALONE.
3 Strive to be INTERESS'D;] So, in the Preface to Drayton's Polyolbion: " there is scarce any of the nobilitie, or gentry of this land, but he is some way or other by his blood interessed
Again, in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
"Our sacred laws and just authority
"Are interess'd therein."
To interest and to interesse, are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but are two distinct words, though of the same import; the one being derived from the Latin, the other from the French interesser. STEEVENS.
- to draw] The quarto reads-what can you say, to win. STEEVENS.
s Lear. Nothing?
Cor. Nothing.] These two speeches are wanting in the quartos. STEEVENS.