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GLO. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
EDM. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
GLO. O villain, villain !—His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable villain! Where is he?
EDM. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you3 violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
where, if you-] Where was formerly often used in the sense of whereas. See Vol. XIII. p. 302, n. 2. MALONE.
So, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Vol. XXI. Act I. sc. i:
to your honour,] It has been already observed that this was the usual mode of address to a Lord in Shakspeare's time. MALONE.
See Vol. XIV. p. 389, where the Pursuivant uses this address to Lord Hastings. STEEVENS.
pretence-] Pretence is design, purpose. So, afterwards in this play:
"Pretence and purpose of unkindness." JOHNSON.
EDM. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very even
So, in Macbeth:
GLO. He cannot be such a monster.
EDM. Nor is not, sure.
GLO. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him," I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
"Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight
But of this, numberless examples can be shown; and I can venture to assert, with some degree of confidence, that Shakspeare never uses the word pretence, or pretend, in any other sense. STEEVENS.
• Edm.] From Nor is, to heaven and earth! are words omitted in the folio. STEEVENS.
7 wind me into him,] I once thought it should be read, you into him; but, perhaps, it is a familiar phrase, like do me this. JOHNSON.
So, in Twelfth Night: "-challenge me the duke's youth to fight with him." Instances of this phraseology occur in The Merchant of Venice, King Henry IV. Part I. and in Othello.
I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.] i. e. I will throw aside all consideration of my relation to him, that I may act as justice requires. WARBURTON.
Such is this learned man's explanation. I take the meaning to be rather this, Do you frame the business, who can act with less emotion; I would unstate myself; it would in me be a departure from the paternal character, to be in a due resolution, to be settled and composed on such an occasion. The words would and should are in old language often confounded. JOHNSON.
EDM. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the
The same word occurs in Antony and Cleopatra:
To unstate, in both these instances, seems to have the same meaning. Edgar has been represented as wishing to possess his father's fortune, i. e. to unstate him; and therefore his father says he would unstate himself to be sufficiently resolved to punish him.
To enstate is to confer a fortune. So, in Measure for Measure: his possessions
"We do enstate and widow you withal." STEEvens.
It seems to me, that I would unstate myself, in this passage, means simply I would give my estate, (including rank as well as fortune.) TYRWHITT.
Both Warburton and Johnson have mistaken the sense of this passage, and their explanations are such as the words cannot possibly imply. Gloster cannot bring himself thoroughly to believe what Edmund told him of Edgar. He says, "Can he be such a monster?" He afterwards desires Edmund to sound his intentions, and then says, he would give all he possessed to be certain of the truth; for that is the meaning of the words to be in a due resolution.
Othello uses the word resolved in the same sense more than
66 to be once in doubt,
In both which places, to be resolved means, to be certain of the fact.
In Beaumont and Fletcher's Maid's Tragedy, Amintor says to Evadne:
"'Tis not his crown
"Shall buy me to thy bed, now I resolve
"He hath dishonour'd thee."
And afterwards, in the same play, the King says:
"Well I am resolv'd
"You lay not with her." M. MASON.
Though to resolve, in Shakspeare's time, certainly sometimes meant to satisfy, declare, or inform, I have never found the substantive resolution used in that sense; and even had the word ever borne that sense, the author could not have written-to be
business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
GLO. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, trea
in a due resolution, but must have written, "—to attain a due resolution." Who ever wished "to be in due information" on any point? MALONE.
Mr. Ritson's explanation of the word-resolution, concurs with that of Mr. M. Mason. STEEVENS.
Mr. Malone says, that he has never found the substantive resolution used in the sense which I have attributed to it in my explanation of this passage: but in the fifth scene of the third Act of Massinger's Picture, Sophia saysI have practis'd
"For my certain resolution, with these courtiers." And, in the last Act, she says to Baptistawhat should work on my lord
"To doubt my loyalty? Nay, more, to take
convey the business-] To convey is to carry through; in this place it is to manage artfully: we say of a juggler, that he has a clean conveyance. JOHNSON.
So, in Mother Bombie, by Lyly, 1599: "Two, they say, may keep counsel if one be away; but to convey knavery two are too few, and four are too many."
Again, in A mad World, my Masters, by Middleton, 1608: thus I've convey'd it;
"I'll counterfeit a fit of violent sickness." STEEVENS.
So, in Lord Sterline's Julius Cæsar, 1607:
"A circumstance, or an indifferent thing,
"Doth oft mar all, when not with care convey'd."
the wisdom of nature-]
That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipses, yet we feel their con sequences. JOHNSON.
son; and the bond cracked between son and father. *This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves!*-Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty !-Strange! strange! [Exit. EDM. This is the excellent foppery of the world!"
This villain-] All from asterisk to asterisk is omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS.
This is the excellent foppery of the world! &c.] In Shakspeare's best plays, besides the vices that arise from the subject, there is generally some peculiar prevailing folly, principally ridiculed, that runs through the whole piece. Thus, in The Tempest, the lying disposition of travellers, and, in As you like it, the fantastick humour of courtiers, is exposed and satirized with infinite pleasantry. In like manner, in this play of Lear, the dotages of judicial astrology are severely ridiculed. I fancy, was the date of its first performance well considered, it would be found that something or other happened at that time which gave a more than ordinary run to this deceit, as these words seem to intimate: I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses. However this be, an impious cheat, which had so little foundation in nature or reason, so detestable an original, and such fatal consequences on the manners of the people, who were at that time strangely besotted with it, certainly deserved the severest lash of satire. It was a fundamental in this noble science, that whatever seeds of good dispositions 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 casualty so accelerated or retarded, as to fall in with the predominancy of a malignant constellation, that momentary influence would entirely change its nature, and bias it to all the contrary ill qualities: so wretched and monstrous an opinion did it set out with. But the Italians, to whom we owe this, as well as most other