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feel my affection to your Honour, and to no other pretence of danger. Gl. Think you fo?
Edm. If your Honour judge it meet, I will place you where you fhall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular affurance have your fatisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very evening. Glo. He cannot be fuch a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, fure.
Glo. To his Father, that fo tenderly and entirely loves him--Heav'n and Earth! Edmund, feek him out; wind me into him, I pray you. Frame the bufinefs after your own wifdom; I would unftate my
felf, to be in a due refolution.
Edm. I will feek him, Sir, prefently, 'convey the business as I fhall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipfes in the fun and moon portend no good to us; tho' the wisdom of nature can reafon it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself fcourg'd
7 Pretence is defign. purpofe. So afterwards in this play, Pretence and purpose of unkind
8 wind me into him.] I once thought it should be read, you into him; but, perhaps, it is a familiar phrafe like, d, me this.
9 lawould unfate mflf, to be in a due r folution] i. e. I will throw afide all confideration of my relation to him, that I may act as justice requires.
be in a due refolution, to be fettled and composed on fuch an occafion.
The words would and should are in old language often confounded.
convey the bufinefs] Convey, for introduce: but convey is a fine word, as alluding to the practice of clandeftine conveying goods fo as not to be found upon the felon. WARBURTON. To convey is rather to carry through than to introduce; in this place it is to manage artfully; we fay of a juggler, that he has a clean conveyance.
2 the wifdem of nature] That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipfes, yet we feel their confequences.
Such is this learned man's explanation. I take the meaning to be rather this, Do you frame the bufin, who can act with lefs emotion; I would un late myself; it would in me be a departure from the paternal character, to
by the sequent effects. Love cools, frie fhip falls off, brothers divide. In cities, mutinies; in countries, difcord; in palaces, treafon; and the bond crack'd 'twixt fon and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction, there's fon agaiaft father; the King falls from biais of nature, there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time. Machinations, hollownefs, treachery, and all ruinous diforders follow us difquietly to our graves!--Find out this villan, Edmund; it fhall loofe thee nothing, do it carefully. and the noble and true-hearted Kent banifh'd! his offence, Honesty. 'Tis ftrange. [Exit.
Edm. 3 This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are fick in fortune, (often the furfeits of
3 This is the excellent foppery of the world, &c.] In ShakeSpear's best plays, befides the vices that arife from the fubject, there is generally fome peculiar prevailing folly, principally ridiculed, that runs thro' the whole piece Thus, in the Tempest, the lying difpofition of travellers, and in A you like it, the fantastick humour of courtiers, is expofed and fari fed with infinite pleafantry. In like manner, in his play of Lear, the dotages of ju dicial aftrology are feverely ridiculed. If ny, was the date of its first performance well confidered, it would be found that fomething or other happened at that time which gave a more than ordinary run to this deceit, as theie words feem to intimate, I am thinking, brother, of a predic
tion I read this other day, what fhould follow thefe ec.itjes. However this be, an impious cheat, which had fo little foundation in nature or reafon, fo deteftable an original, and fuch fatal confequences on the manners of the people, who were at that time itrangely befotted with it, certainly deferved the fever.it lafh of fatire. It was a fundamental in this noble icence, that whatever feeds of good difpofitions the infant unborn might be endowed with, either from nature, or traductively from its parents, yet if, at the time of its birth, the delivery was by any cafualty fo accelerated or retaided, as to fall in with the predominancy of a malignant conftellation, that momentary influence would entirely change its nature, and
of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our difafters, the fun, the moon
and ftars; as if we were
bias it to all the contrary ill qualines. So wretched and monftrous an opinion did it fet out with. But the Italians, to whom we owe this, as well as moft other unnatural crimes and follies of thefe latter ages, fomented its original impicty to the moft detestable height of extravagance. Perus done ifs, an Itauan phyfician of the XIIth century, affures us that thofe prayers which are made to God when the moon is in conjunction with Jupiter in the Dragon's tail, are infallibly head. The great Milton with a juft indigi aton of this impi-y, hath, in his Parade Re aine, atirized it in a very beautiful manner, by putting hete reveries into the mouth of the Devil. Nor could the licentious Rabelais him elf for bear to ridicule this impious dotage, which he does with exquifite addrefs and humour, where, in the fable which he fo agreeably teils from jp, of the man who applied to Jupier for the lofs of his hatchet, he makes thofe, who, on the poor man's good fuccefs, had projected to trick Jupiter by the fame petition, a kind of aftrologick atheists, who afcribed this good fortune, that they imagined they were now all going to partake of, to the influence of fome rare conjunction and configuration of the ilars. Hen, bèn, d fent ils—Et doncques, telle eft au temps prifont la revolution des Cieulx, la conftellation des Aftres, affect des Planetes, que
quiconque Coignée perdra, foubdan deviendra ai fi ricle?Nou. Prol. du IV. Livre.
but to return to Shak Spear. So blafphemous a delufion, therefore, it became the honey of our poet to expofe. But it was a tender point, and required managing. For this impious juggle had in his time a kind of religious reverence paid to it. It was therefore to be done obliquely; and the circumflances of the fcene furnished him with as good an opportunity as he could with. The perfons in the drama are all fo that as, pagans, in compliance to cuítom, his good characters were not to speak ill of judicial Aftrology, they could on account of their religion give no reputation to it. But in order to expofe it the more, he, with great judgment, makes these pagans Fatalifts; as appears by these words of Lear, By all the sperations of the orbs, From whom we do exift and ceafe to be.
For the doctrine of fate is the true foundation of judicial Aftrology. Having thus difcredited it by the very commendations given to it, he was in no danger of having his direct fatire against it miftaken, by its being put (as he was obliged, both in paying regard to custom, and in following nature) into the mouth of the villain and atheilt, especially when he has added fuch force of reafon to his ridicule, in the words referred to in the beginning of the note. WARB. villains
villains on neceffity; fools, by heavenly compulfion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical predominice; drunkards, lyars, and adulterers, by an inforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. + An admirable evafion of whore mafter Man, to lay his goatih difpofition on the charge of a ftar! my father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Urfa major; fo that it follows, I am rough and lecherous. I thould have been what I am, had the maidenlicft ftar in the firmament twinkled on my baftardizing.
To him, Enter Edgar.
he comes, like the Cataftrophe of the old comedy; my cue is villainous Melancholy, with a
4 An a'm'rab'e evafon-to lay kis-dip frion on the CHARGE of a far! We should real, CHANGE of a far! which both the fenk and grammar require. It was the opinion of Atrologers, (fee what is faid juft at ove) that the momentary influence did all; and we do not fay, I ay a thing on the care, but to the charge. Beides, chage anfv.ring to eyin jalove, gives additional elegance to the exprefion. WARBURTON.
5 He core, like the Catuliro phe of the old comedy;] This we are to understand, as a compliment, intended by the Au thor, on the raturd winding up of the plot in the Comedy of the ancients; which as it was owing to the artful and yet natural in
troduction of the perfons of the Drama into the icene, jutt in the nick of time, or fat, as our aut or fays, makes the fimilitu ie very proper. This, without doubt, is the fupreme beauty of Coinedy, conficered as an action. And as it depends folely on a ftrict obfervance of the Un tie, it the S that the fe Urties ale in nature, and in the abon of things, and not in a meer arbitrary invention of the Greeks, as fuine of pur own count y critics, of a low mechanic genius, have, by their works, perfuaded our its to believe. For common fonfe requring that the tuby & of ene comery fhould be one allin, zond that that action fhould be contained nearly within the period of time which the reprefentation
figh like Tom o' Bedlam-O, thefe eclipfes portend thefe divifions! fa, fol, la, me
Edg. How now, brother Edmund, what ferious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what fhould follow thefe eclipfes. Edg. Do you bufy yourfelf with that?
Eam. I promile you, the effects, he writes of, fucceed unhappily. When faw you my father last?
of it takes up; hence we have the unities of Time and Ation; and, from thefe, unavoidably arifes the third, which is that of Place. For when the whole of one adion is included within a proportionable fall face of time, there is no room to change the fene, but all must be done upon one pot of ground. Now from this laft unity (the neceflary ifue of the two other, which de rive immediately from nature) proceeds all that beauty of the cataprophe, or the winding up the plot in the ancient comedy. For all the perfons of the Drama being to appear and act on one limited fpot, and being by their feveral interefts to embarras, and at length to conduct the action to its deftin'd period, there is need of confummate kill to bring then on, and take them off, naturally and necar ly: for the grace of action requires the one, and the perfection of it the other. Which conduct of the action, muit needs produce a beauty that will give a judicious mind the highest leafure. On the other hand, when a comic writer has a whole country to range in, nothing is eafier than to find the
perfons of the Drama juft where he would have them; and this requiring no art, the beauty we fpeak of is not to be found. Confequently a violation of the unities deprives the Drama of one of its greatest beauties; which proves what I afferted, that the three unities are no arbitrary mechanic invention, but founded in reafon and the nature of things. The Tempest of Shakefear fufficiently proves him to be well acquainted with these unities; and the paflage in quef tion fhews him to have been ftruck with the beauty that results from them. WARBURTON, 61promife you,] The folio edition commonly differs from the first quarto, by augmentations or intertions, but in this place it varies by omiffion, and by the omiffion of fomething which naturally introduces the following dialogue. The quarto has the paffage thus:
I promife you, the effects, he writes of, fuccced unhappily, as of unnaturalnefs between the child and parent, death, dearth, difjolutions of ancient amities, divifons in ftate, m.nces and maledictions against kng and nobles,