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As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable:
Beyond all manner of so much I love you11.

Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be


[Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to


With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd 1o,
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 13. In my true heart
I find, she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short,—that I profess
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.


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,

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11 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 yet be more.' Thus Rowe, in his Fair Penitent, Sc. 1:

I can only

Swear you reign here, but never tell how much,'

12 i. e. enriched. So Drant in his translation of Horace's Epistles, 1567:

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To ritch his country, let his words lyke flowing

water fall.'

13 That is, estimate me at her value, my love has at least equal claim to your favour. Only she comes short of me in this, that I profess myself an enemy to all other joys which the most precious aggregation of sense can bestow.' Square is here used for the whole complement, as circle is now sometimes used.

Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity 14, and pleasure,
Than that conferr'd 15 on Goneril.-Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,
Strive to be interess'd 16: 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.

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,

14 Validity is several times used to signify worth, value, by Shakspeare. See vol. i. p. 298; vol. iii. p. 330. It does not, however, appear to have been peculiar to him in this sense. 'The countenance of your friend is of less value than his council, yet both of very small validity.'-The Devil's Charter, 1607.

15 The folio reads, conferr'd; the quartos, confirm'd. So in a former passage we have in the quartos confirming for conferring. See note 8, p. 381. 'To confirm on a person is certainly not English now (says Mr. Boswell); 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.'

16 To interest and to interesse are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but two distinct words, though of the same import; the one being derived from the Latin, the other from the French interesser. We have interess'd in Ben Jonson's Sejanus:

Our sacred laws and just authority

Are interess'd therein.'

Drayton also uses the word in the Preface to his Polyolbion.

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 17: Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,

To love my father all.

Ay, good my lord.

Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Lear. So young, and so untender?

Cor. So young, my lord, and true.

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,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this 18,


18 for ever.

The barbarous

Or he that makes his generation 19 messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev’d,
As thou my sometime daughter.


Lear. Peace, Kent!

Good my liege,

Come not between the dragon and his wrath :

17 So in The Mirror for Magistrates, 1587, Cordelia says:Nature so doth bind me, and compel

To love you as I ought, my father, well;

Yet shortly may I chance, if fortune will,

To find in heart to bear another more good will:
Thus much I said of nuptial loves that meant.'

18 i. e. from this time.

19 His children.

I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.-Hence, and avoid my sight![TO CORDELIA.

So be my grave my peace, as here I give Her father's heart from her!-Call France;-Who stirs?

Call Burgundy.-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


With reservation of a 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 20 to a king;

The sway,

Revenue, execution of the rest 21,

Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part between you. [Giving the Crown.

Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers 22,
Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the

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

20 All the titles belonging to a king.' See vol. vii. p. 324; note 5; p. 375, note 32.

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21 By the execution of the rest,' all the other functions of the kingly office are probably meant.

22 The allusion is probably to the custom of clergymen praying for their patrons in what is called the bidding prayer.



When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's


When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom 23; And, in thy best consideration, check

This hideous rashness: answer my life my judg


Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound Reverbs 24 no hollowness.


Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies 25, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.


Out of my sight!

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

The true blank 26 of thine eye.

Lear. Now, by Apollo,


Now, by Apollo, king, Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

23 The folio reads, 'reserve thy state;' and has stoops instead of 'falls to folly.' The meaning of answer my life my judgment is, Let my life be answerable for my judgment, or I will stake my life on my opinion.

24 This is perhaps a word of the poet's own, meaning the same as reverberates.

25 That is, I never regarded my life as my own, but merely as a thing of which I had the possession, not the property; and which was entrusted to me as a pawn or pledge, to be employed in waging war against your enemies. To wage,' says Bullokar, 'to undertake, or give security for performance of any thing.'

The expression to wage against is used in a Letter from Guil. Webbe to Robt. Wilmot, prefixed to Tancred and Gismund, 1592: You shall not be able to wage against me in the charges growing upon this action. Geo. Wither, in his verses before the Polyolbion, says:→

'Good speed befall thee who hath wag'd a task

That better censures and rewards doth ask.'

26 The blank is the mark at which men shoot. 'See better,' says Kent, and let me be the mark to direct your sight, that you err not.'

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