Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker purpose. 6

Give me the map there. - Know, that we have divided, In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent7

To shake all cares and business from

Our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we

Unburden'd crawl toward death. Our son of Corn

wall

And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish

Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife

May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,

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 daughters, (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?

That we our largest bounty may extend

[ocr errors]

Where merit doth most challenge it. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

Gon.

Sir, I

Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty;

Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;

No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour: As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found.

6

express our darker purpose.] That is, we have already made known in some measure our desire of parting the kingdom; we will now discover what has not been told before, the reasons by which we shall regulate the partition. This interpretation will justify or palliate the exordial dialogue. JOHNSON.

[ocr errors]

8

and 'tis our fast intent-] Our determined resolution. constant will-] Constant is firm, determined. Constant will is the certa voluntas of Virgil.

A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent.
[Aside.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
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.
Reg. I am made 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

[ocr errors]

Myself an enemy to all other joys,

Which the most precious square of sense possesses;'
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, validity3, and pleasure,
Than that confirm'd on Goneril. - Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,

9 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.

fess myself, &c.

that I profess, &c.] In that, i. e. inasmuch as, I pro

2 Which the most precious square of sense possesses;] Perhaps square means only compass, comprehension; or, the full complement of all

the senses.

3 No less in space, validity,] Validity, for worth, value; not for integrity, or good title.

Strive to be interess'd; what can you say, to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
Cor. Nothing, my lord.

Lear. Nothing?

Cor. Nothing.

Lear. Nothing can 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.

Lear. How, how, Cordelia? mend your speech a

little,

Lest it may mar your fortunes.

Cor.
Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you,
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say,
They love you, all? Haply, when I shall wed,

That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care, and duty:

Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,

To love my father all.

Lear. But goes this with thy heart?

Cor.

Lear. So young, and so untender?

Cor. So young, my lord, and true.

Ay, good my lord.

Lear. Let it be so,-Thy truth then be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun;
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operations of the orbs,

From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,

4 Strive to be interess'd;] 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.

[blocks in formation]

Propinquity and property of blood,

And as a stranger to my heart and me

Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scy

thian,

Or he that makes his generation 5 messes

To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my sometime daughter.

Kent.

Lear. Peace, Kent!

Good my liege,

Come not between the dragon and his wrath:
I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight! —

So be my grave my peace, as here I give

[To CORDELIA.

Her father's heart from her! - Call France; Who

stirs?

Call Burgundy.

[ocr errors]

Cornwall, and Albany,

With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects

That troop with majesty.— Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,

By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode

Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain

The name, and all the additions to a king;

The sway,

Revenue, execution of the rest, 7

Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,

This coronet part between you.

Kent.

6

[Giving the Crown.

Royal Lear,

Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,

5

6

7

generation] i. e. his children.

all the additions to a king;] All the titles belonging to a king. execution of the rest,] All the other business.

Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd,

As my great patron thought on in my prayers, -
Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the

shaft.

Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly,
When Lear is mad.
Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak,

What would'st thou do, old man?

When power to flattery bows?

bound,

When majesty stoops to folly.

To plainness honour's

Reverse thy doom;

And, in thy best consideration, check

This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
8

Lear.

Kent, on thy life, no more.

Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.

Lear.

Out of my sight!

Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain

The true blank of thine eye. 9

Lear. Now, by Apollo,

[blocks in formation]

8 Reverbs -] This is, perhaps, a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates.

9 The true blank of thine eye.] The blank is the white or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. See better, says Kent, and keep me always in your view.

« AnteriorContinua »