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‘Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
150 Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed and food.'
Reg. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks.
155 Look'd black upon me; strook me with her tongue, Most serpent-like, upon the very heart. All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
150. [The King kneeling. Han. 156. strook] Cap. Knt, Sch. Atrooke Kneeling. Johns., after line 151.
Q,Ff. stroke Qz. struck Rowe et cet. 154. [Rising. Coll. (MS).
158–160. All...lameness.] Two lines, Never] No Qq.
the first ending top ! Qq. 156. black] backe Qz. blank Theob. takes it in a more restricted sense : "fathers are not the heads only of a house or a family, but it's representatives; they are the house, what affects them affects the rest of it's body; Regan, therefore, is call'd upon to observe an action in which she is concern'd, and then say her opinion of it; and she does accordingly shew herself hurt by it, and declares it “unsightly," unbecoming her and her father, i. e, the house.' Whereupon DYCE (Gloss.) remarks: I suspect that Lear is now thinking much more of himself as head of the house than of Regan as a member of it, and that, though she chides him for such“ unsightly tricks,' she is not of a nature to be "hurt' by them. COLLIER: The (MS) tells us to read mouth, i.e. the mouth of Lear. We feel reluctant to adopt the emendation, inasmuch as, according to Warburton, the sense is pretty clear; but still it is extremely probable that the copyist, or the compositor, misheard the word, and that Lear intends to call attention to the manner in which such terms of abject submission to a child misbeseem a father's mouth. Schmidt: Compare Coriolanus's horror when his mother kneels to him, V, iii, 56.
150. Knight doubts the propriety of the stage-direction which is usually inserted here. • Lear is not addressing these words to Regan, but is repeating what he would say to Goneril if he should ask her forgiveness. COLLIER: Both · Kneeling' here and • Rising' below are inserted in the (MS), so that there can be no dispute as to what was the practice of the ancient stage in this respect. These are what Regan means by 'unsightly tricks.' DAVIES (Dram. Misc. ii, 190): Garrick threw him. self on both knees, with his hands clasped, and in a supplicating tone repeated this touching, though ironical, petition.
151. unnecessary] JOHNSON: Old age has few wants. STEEVENS : It seems unnecessary to children that the lives of their parents should be prolonged. The phrase may mean, old people are useless. So in Massinger's Old Law [II, i]: • Your laws extend not to desert But to unnecessary years.' TYRWHITT: In want of necessaries, unable to procure them. WRIGHT: Lear is merely apologizing ironically for his useless existence. [For the scansion of this line, see WALKER (Vers. 275) and ABBOTT, $ 458, where it is held that the last two syllables of this word are extra syllables, and that the line has but five accents.]
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
Fie, sir, fie!
159. top] head Pope, Han.
Fie, sir, fie] Fie, fie fir Qz. Fie fie fir Qz. Fye, fye, fye Steev. '93, Bos.
161. Lear.] Om Q,.
164. To fall] Do, fall Johns. conj. O, fall Cap.
and blast her pride.] Qq. and blister. Ff, Rowe, Knt. and blast her. Walker.
159. young bones] JOURDAIN (Trans. Philological Soc. 1860-1, p. 141): That is, infants just born, which fairies then had power over, but not afterwards. By young bones' the following quotations will, I think, prove the meaning: '-poore soule, she breeds yong bones, And that is it makes her so tutchy sure. Gon. What, breeds young bones already!' - Hist. of King Leir (See Appendix, p. 397]. These dead men's bones lie heere of purpose to Inuite vs to supply the number of The liuing. Come; we'l get young bones.'— The Atheist's Tragedy, Act IV, by Cyril Tourneur, 1612. For “you taking airs' read you taking fair'es,' that is, fairies. I am not sure whether the elision would be the two letters ie; if only i the omission is simply the f. JOHN Addis, jun. (N. & Qu. 1867, 3d Ser. vol. xi, 251) suggests, what is undoubtedly correct, that young bones' means, not •infants just born,' but infants • unborn,' and cites Ford's Broken Heart, II, i : . What think you, If your fresh lady breed young bones, my lord? Would not a chopping boy do you good at heart ?' [The phrase also occurs with the same meaning in Brome's Jovial Crew, III, i, vol. x, p. 326, Dodsley's Old Plays, 1826.-ED.]
160. taking) Malignant, bewitching. See III, iv, 58, and Ham. I, i, 163.
164. To fall] MALONE says that this verb is here used actively, meaning to humble or pull down. Infect her beauty so as to fall and blast (i.e. humble and destroy) her pride.' Mason, on the other hand, thinks that it is intransitive; •You fen. sucked fogs, drawn up by the sun in order to fall down again and blast her pride.' [The majority of editors incline to Malone's view that it is here transitive (Dyce enumerates fourteen instances in Sh. of the use of fall' as a transitive verb; this, however, is not among them), but one of the latest and best, Wright, says that, although in either case it would yield a good sense to this passage, yet it seems preferable, on the whole, to regard it as intransitive, “as more in keeping with "drawn," which precedes, and “blast," which follows.' Schmidt suggests that pride' has accidentally been omitted at the end of the line in the Ff, and that the true reading is 'To fall and blister pride.' •To fall' would be intransitive, and pride' used as frequently in Sh. in the sense of braggart beauty.' Compare . a southwest blow on ye And blister ye all o'er.' Temp. I, ii, 324; Takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there. Ham. III, iv, 42.]
164. and blast her] NICHOLS (Notes, &c., No. 2, p. 1) upholds the Ff, because 165
Reg. O the blest gods ! so will you wish on me,
Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse ;
165, 166. O...on] As in Qq, Del. Dyce, Sing. ii, Glo, t. The first line ends Gods ! Ff et cet.
166. mood is on) mood — Qq. mood's on. Steev. '93, Knt. 168. Thy] The Qq.
tender-hefted] teder hefted Qr:
tender hefted Qz. tender-hearted Rowe ii, Pope, Coll. (MS), Sing. Ktly.
168-171. Thy.....train,) Three lines, the first two ending ore...burn. Qq. 169. Thee) the Qy:
harshness] rashness Johns.
the foggy state of the atmosphere in England is extremely productive of erysipelas, which attacks the face, ““ infecting its beauty,” and covering it over with extensive vesications or “ blisters." ;
168. tender-hefted] STEEVENS: Hefted seems to mean the same as heaved. • Tender-hefted,' i.e. whose bosom is agitated by tender passions. Sh. uses · hefts' for heavings in Wint. Tale, II, i, 45. The Qq, however, read, “tender-hested nature,' which may mean a nature which is governed by gentle dispositions. · Hest' is an old word, signifying command. DAVIES : I suppose the expression was in. tended to signify smooth, or soft-handled, consequently put here for gentleness of disa position. KNIGHT: We doubt Steevens's explanation. Heft,--haft,—is that which is haved, -held; and thus, thy tender-hefted nature' may be thy nature which may be held by tenderness. White: Although I fail to see the appropriateness of any sense that may be extracted from either text of the Ff or Qq, I shrink from adopting the very specious reading of the earlier editors : tender-hearted. EDINBURGH REVIEW (July, 1869, p. 106): · Hest' is a well-known older English word for handle, that which holds or contains, and “tender-hefted' is simply delicately housed, daintily-bodied, finely-sheathed. “Hest’ was in this way applied proverbially to the body, and Howel has a phrase quoted by Halliwell: loose in the heft, to designate an ill habit of body, a person of dissipated ways. Schmidt (Lex.) quotes this extract, and adds: But is haft or heft, i. e. handle, indeed that which holds or contains, or not rather that by which a thing is held ? Loose in the handle, applied to a person, could not possibly mean any thing else than what loose in the heft is said to have designated. Perhaps 'tender-hefted,' i. e. tender-handled, is equivalent to tender, gentle, to touch or to appronch; of an easy and winning address, affable. WRIGHT: A heft or haft is a handle, and a nature tender-hested is one which is set in a tender handle or delicate bodily frame. Regan was less masculine than Goneril. Cotgrave has, • Emmanché: m. ée: f. Helued; set into a haft, or handle. Lasche emmanché. Lazie, idle, slothfull, weake, feeble, loose ioynted, faint-hearted.' Prompt. Parv. • Heftyde, manubriatus.'
170. burn] MALONE: So in Timon, V, i, 134: “Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn!'
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
Good sir, to th' purpose.
What trumpet's that?
lady come? Lear. This is a slave whose easy-borrow'd pride Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
174. know'st] knowest Qq.
176. dues] and dues Rowe, Pope, Han.
177. hast thou] thou hast Rowe ii +, Jen. Ec.
178. endow'd ] indow'd Qz. endowed Qz.
to th'] too’th Q, to the Qz to' th' FFF
179. [Pucket within.] Coll. After line 178, Ff. Trumpets within. Rowe.
180. know't,-my] Dyce. know't my QqF,F7. Sta. know't; my Cam. Wr.
know't, my F,F, et cet.
180. letter] letters Qq.
181. [Enter Oswald.) Dyce. Enter Steward. (after that? line 179), Qq. (after stocks ? line 179), Ff. Enter Oswald. (after line 179), Coll.
182. easy-borrow'd] Cap. ease borrowed QqFf. easy-borrowed Theob. +, Sch.
183. fickle] fickly F,F, fickly F F Rowe.
her he] h.r, a Q,
172. sizes] JOHNSON : To contract my allowances. DELIUS: The same as exhibition,' I, ii, 25. Wright: The words .sizar' and sizing' are still well known in Cambridge; the former originally denoting a poor student, so called from the sizes' or allowances made to him by the college to which he belonged.
179. Tucket] See II, i, 78.
180. I know't] STEEVENS: Thus in Oth. II, i, 179: The Moor! I know his trumpet.' It should seem, from both these passages, and others that might be quoted, that the approach of great personages was announced by some distinguishing note or tune appropriately used by their own trumpeters.
Cornwall knows not the present sound; but to Regan, who had often heard her sister's trumpet, the first flourish of it was as familiar as was that of the Moor to the ears of Iago. DELIUS considers Steevens's supposition as unlikely, because it was through the letter that Regan knew of Goneril's approach. Delius evidently takes this' as the object of approves.'
182. easy-borrow'd] ECCLES: Pride that requires no cause of importance to produce it, derived from an insignificant source, depends upon uncertain favour. MOBERLY: Borrowed without the trouble of doing anything to justify it.
Out, varlet, from my sight!
What means your grace ?
Gon. Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended ?
O sides, you are too tough ;
Corn. I set him there, sir; but his own disorders
You! did you?
185. SCENE XI. Pope, Han. SCENE XII. Warb. Jen.
Lear.] Gon. Qq.
I have] I've Pope +.
on't] ant Q1. of't Mal. Steev. Bos.
Who] Lear. Who Qq.
Enter Goneril] Johns. After grace? (line 184) in QqFf.
187-189. If...part !] Three lines, the first two ending alow...cause, Qq.
187. your] you 29.
188. Allow] alow Qz. Hallow Warb. Theob. Han.
if] if you Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sing. Ktly, Sch.
190. [To Gon. Johns.
191. will you] Ff+, Sta. Sch. wilt thou Qq et cet.
193. finds] fines Warb. conj.
yet holil ?] hold yet? Cap. conj. 196. sir] Om. Q,
197. much less] no less Han, much more Johns, conj. 198. weak] 'wake Han. Jen.
seem so] deem't so Warb.
188. Allow] UPTON (Pref. ix): To be well pleased with, approve of. Com. pare Psalm xi, 6: The Lord alloweth the righteous. STEEVENS: Warburton might have found his emendation (see Textual Notes] in Tate's version.
197. less advancement] PERCY: A still worse, or more disgraceful, situation; a situation not so reputable. Schmidt: An undisguised sneer.