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Gon. Hear me, my Lord;
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
Reg. What needs one?
Thou art a lady;
Lear. O, reafon not the need; our basest beggars Are in the pooreft thing fuperfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's life is cheap as beafts'. If only to go warm were gorgeous, Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, Which fcarcely keeps thee warm. But for true need! You heav'ns, give me that patience which I need! You fee me here, you Gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both! If it be you, that ftir thefe daughters' hearts Against their father, fool me not fo much To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger; O let not women's weapons, water-drops, Stain my man's cheeks. No, you unnat❜ral hags, I will have fuch revenges on you both, That all the world fhall-I will do fuch things, What they are, yet I know not; but they fhall be The terrors of the earth. You think, I'll weep;
The quarto has, poor, old fellow.
7 -touch me with noble anger.] It would puzzle one at firit to find the fenfe, the drift, and the coherence of this petition. For if the Gods feat this evil for his punishment, how could he expect that they should defeat their own defign, and affift him to revenge his injuries? The folution is, that Shakespeare here makes his speaker allude to what the ancient poets tell us of the misfortunes of particular families Namely, that when the
anger of the Gods, for an act of impiety, was raised against an offending houfe, their method of punishment was, first to inflame the breafts of the children to unnatural acts against their Parents; and then, of the parents against their children, in order to deftroy one another: and that both thefe outrages were the inftigation of the Gods. To confider Lear as alluding to this divinity, makes his prayer exceeding pertinent and fine. WARBURTON.
No, I'll not weep. I have full caufe of weeping.
[Exeunt Lear, Glo'fter, Kent, and Fool.
Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a ftorm. [Storm and tempeft. Reg. This houfe is little, the old man and his people Cannot be well beftow'd.
Gon. 'Tis his own blame hath put himself from rest, And must needs tafte his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly; But not one follower.
Gon. So I am purpos'd.
Where is my Lord of Glo'fter?
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth. He is return'd. Glo. The King is in high rage, and will I know not whither.
Corn. 'Tis beft to give him way, he leads himfelf. Gon. My Lord, intreat him by no means to stay. Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the high
Do forely ruffle, for many miles about
Reg. O Sir, to wilful men,
The injuries, that they themselves procure,
Corn. Shut up your doors, my Lord, 'tis a wild night.
My Regan counfels well. Come out o'th' ftorm. [Exeunt.
Aftorm is heard, with thunder and lightning. Enter
HO's there, befides foul weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you. Where's the King?
That things might change, or ceafe, tears his white
8 -tears his white hair;] The fix following verfes were omitted in all the late Editions: I have replaced them from the firft, for they are certainly ShakeSpear's. POPE. The firft folio ends the fpeech at change, or ceafe, and begins again with Kent's queftion, but who is with him? The whole fpeech is forcible, but too long for the occafion, and properly retrenched.
Which the impetuous blafts with eyeless rage
9 This night wherein the Cubdrawn bear would couch.] Cubdrawn has been explained to fignify drawn by nature to its young whereas it means, whofe dugs are drawn dry by its young. For no animals leave their dens by night but for prey. So that the meaning is, "that even hunger, and "the fupport of its young, "would not force the bear to leave his den in fuch a night." WARBURTON. Gent.
Gent. None but the Fool, who labours to out-jeft His heart-ftruck injuries.
Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare, upon the warrant of my note,
be left out in all the later editions, I cannot tell they depend upon each other, and very much contribute to clear that incident. POPE. from France there comes a power
Into this SCATTER'D kingdom;' who already,
Wije in our negligence, have fri
In Jome of our beft ports-] Scatter'd kingdom, if it have any fenfe, gives us the idea of a king dom fallen into an anarchy: But that was not the cafe. It fubmitted quietly to the government of Lear's two fons-in-law. It was divided, indeed, by this means, and fo hurt, and weaken'd. And this was what ShakeSpear meant to fay, who, without doubt, wrote,
--SCATHED kingdom, i. e. hurt, wounded, impaired,
Into this fcatter'd kingdom; who already,
And fo he frequently ufes feath for hurt or damage. Again, what a strange phrafe is, having fea in a port, to fignify a fleet's lying at anchor? which is all it can fignify. And what is ftranger till, a jecret fea, that is, lying incognito, like the army at Knight's-bridge in the Rehearsal. Without doubt the poet wrote,
-kave fecret SEIZE In fome of our best portsi. e. they are fecretly fecure of fome of the best ports, by having a party in the garrifon ready to fecond any attempt of their friends, &c. The exactnefs of the expreffion is remarkable; he fays, fecret feize in fome, not of Jome. For the firft implies a confpiracy ready to feize a place on warning, the other, a place already feized. WARBURTON.
The true fate of this fpeech cannot from all thefe notes be discovered. As it now ftands it is collected from two editions: the lines which I have diftinguished by Italicks are found in the folio, not in the quarto; the following lines inclofed in crotchets are in the quarto, not in the folio. So that if the fpeech be read with omiffions of the lia licks, it will stand according to the first edition; and if the Italicks are read, and the lines that follow them emitted, it will then ftand according to the fecond. The fpeech is now tedious, be
cause it is formed by a coalition of both. The fecond edition is generally beft, and was probably nearest to Shakespeare's laft copy, but in this paffage the first is preferable; for in the folio, the meffenger is fent, he knows not why, he knows not whither. I fuppofe Shakibeare thought his plot opened rather too early, and made the alteration to veil the event from the audience;. but trusting too much to himself, and full of a fingle purpose, he did not accommodate his new lines to the rest of the fcene.
The learned critick's emendations are now to be examined. Scattered he has changed to feathed; for fcattered, he fays, gives the idea of an anarchy, which was not the cafe. It may be replied that jcarbed gives the idea of ruin, wafte, and defolation, which war not the cafe. It is unworthy a lover of truth, in queftions of great or little moment, to aggravate or extenuate for mere convenience, or for va nity yet lefs than convenience. Scattered naturally means divided, unfettled, difunited.
Next is offered with great pomp a change of fea to feize; but in the first edition the word is fee, for hire, in the sense of hav ing any one infe, that is, at devotion for money. Fee is in the fecond quarto changed to fee, from which one made fea and another feize. Some