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Here comes Kent.
I am come
Great thing of us forgot ! -
delia ?Seest thou this object, Kent? [The Bodies of Goneril and Regan are
brought in. Kent. Alack! why thus? Edm.
Yet Edmund was belov'd: The one the other poison’d for my sake, And after slew herself.
Alb. Even so.—Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life :some good I mean to do,
Run, run! 0, run!
send Thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on : take my sword, Give it the captain
· Enter Kent.] In the folio the entrance of Kent is marked too early, and Edgar's speech,“ Here comes Kent,” is erroneously placed before “ Produce the bodies," &c. The folio also places the bringing out of the bodies of Goneril and Regan too early. The quartos are right in this respect.
30! it is he.] The folio “0! is this he ?"
“ Take my sword, the captain
Give it the captain." Only one quarto so reads : the others (without the publisher's address) have
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR.
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and To lay the blame upon her own despair, That she fordid herself. Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
[EDMUND is borne off.
Enter LEAR, with CordELIA dead in his Arms; EDGAR,
Officer, and Others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl 0! you are men of
stones; Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack. — She's gone for
Is this the promis'd endo?
Fall, and cease!
O, my good master! [Kneeling.
”Tis noble Kent, your friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
the same text as the folio. One quarto omits the words “ That she fordid herself” at the close of Edmund's next speech ; but all assign “Haste thee for thy life,” to Albany, and not to Edgar as in the folio : Edgar was the person dispatched, and the words are, therefore, addressed to him.
5 Is this the promis'd end?) i. e. “ the promis'd end” of the world, according to the interpretation of Monck Mason, in which Steevens and Malone concur. Consistently with this notion, Edgar returns “Or image of that horror ?" namely doomsday.
6 — murderers, traitors all !) So the folio : the quartos “murderous traitors all."
I might have sav'd her; now, she's gone for ever!
Off: Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not, fellow?
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated ®, One of them we behold.
Lear. This is a dull sight'.—Are you not Kent?
Kent. Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that; He'll strike, and quickly too.—He's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man-
Kent. That from your first of difference and decay,
You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else. All's cheerless, dark, and
deadly: Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves?,
? I would have made them skip :) This is the reading of the quartos : the folio has him for “them."
she lov'd and hated,] The quartos " she lov'd or hated.” The meaning of this passage, says Monck Mason, appears to me to be this : If Fortune, to display the plenitude of her power, should brag of two persons, one of whom she had highly elevated, and the other she had wofully depressed, we now behold the latter, • This is a dull sight.] Words found only in the folio.
your first of difference] The quartos, obviously corruptly, “ your life of difference."
have FORDONE themselves ;) This is probably the true reading, and from the folio. We have before been told in this scene that Goneril " fordid herself,” or destroyed herself. One of the quartos has“ fordoome themselves," the other quartos print it fordoom'd. Nevertheless, only Goneril had, in fact, “ fordone” herself.
And desperately are dead.
Ay, so I think.
Enter an Officer. Off. Edmund is dead, my lord. Alb.
That's but a trifle here. You lords, and noble friends, know our intent. What comfort to this great decay* may come, Shall be applied : for us, we will resign, During the life of this old majesty, To him our absolute power.—You, to your rights,
[To EDGAR and KENT. With boot, and such addition, as your honours Have more than merited. All friends shall taste The wages of their virtue, and all foes The cup of their deservings.-0! see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang’d"! No, no, no life: Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never !Pray you, undo this button : thank you, sir.Do you see this?
see this? Look on her,-look,-her lips,Look there, look there ! Edg.
He faints !—My lord, my lord ! 3 He knows not what he says ;] Thus the folio : the quartos sees. 4 4
to this GREAT decay] Meaning Lear. The quartos omit “great.” • And my poor fool is hang’d!] It has been disputed whether, in these words, Lear refers to Cordelia or to his fool, of whom, in the two last acts, we have heard nothing. Sir Joshua Reynolds was of opinion that Shakespeare thus meant to inform the audience of the fate of the Fool; but it may be urged that, as Cordelia had been hanged, the poet would probably have chosen some other death for the Fool, in order to render the matter quite clear, supposing Lear to have allowed his thoughts to wander from his daughter, lying dead before him. On the other hand, if Shakespeare did not mean to revert to the Fool, he has certainly omitted to account for a prominent and important character.
6 Do you see this ? &c.] This line and the following hemistich are not in the quartos. After “thank you, sir,” they have only the interjection (! five times repeated.
[He dies. Edg.
Kent. Break, heart; I pr’ythee, break?!
Look up, my lord. Kent. Vex not his ghost: 0 ! let him pass: he hates
He is gone, indeed.
Alb. Bear them from hence. Our present business Is general woe.—Friends of my soul, you twain
[To KENT and EDGAR. Rule in this realm®, and the gor'd state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go: My master calls me; I must not say, no'.
Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey; Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most: we, that are young, Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
[Exeunt, with a dead March.
? Break, heart ; &c.] This line is in the quartos erroneously given to Lear, whose death is not there marked in the stage directions.
8 Rule in this REALM] “Rule in this kingdom” in the quartos ; and for “ gor'd state” one of them (that without the address) has “good state."
9 My master calls me, I must not say, no :) So the folio : the quartos “My master calls, and I must not say no." The second folio here adds Dics, as a stage-direction in the margin, but there is nothing in the older editions to warrant its introduction.
10 The weight of this sad time-] In the folio this speech is mistakenly assigned to Edgar. All the quartos concur in giving it to Albany.