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REG. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
Now, sweet lord, You know the goodness I intend upon you: Tell me, but truly, but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister?
[REG. But have you
In honour'd love. never' found my brother's
To the forefended place?2
EDM. That thought abuses you.3 REG. I am doubtful that you have been conjunct And bosom❜d with her, as far as we call hers.
1 But have you never, &c.] The first and last of these speeches, printed within crotchets, are inserted in Sir Thomas Hanmer's, Mr. Theobald's, and Dr. Warburton's editions; the two intermediate ones, which were omitted in all others, I have restored from the old quartos, 1608. Whether they were left out through negligence, or because the imagery contained in them might be thought too luxuriant, I cannot determine; but sure a material injury is done to the character of the Bastard by the omission; for he is made to deny that flatly at first, which the poet only meant to make him evade, or return slight answers to, till he is urged so far as to be obliged to shelter himself under an immediate falsehood. Query, however, whether Shakspeare meant us to believe that Edmund had actually found his way to the forefended place? STEEVENS.
forefended place?] Forefended means prohibited, forbidden. So, in King Henry VI. P. I:
"Now, heaven forefend! the holy maid with child?" STEEVENS.
That thought abuses you.] That thought imposes on you: you are deceived. This speech and the next are found in both the quartos, but omitted in the folio. MALOne.
bosom'd with her,] Bosom'd is used in this sense by Heywood, in The Fair Maid of the West, 1631:
"We'll crown our hopes and wishes with more pomp
EDM. No, by mine honour, madam.] REG. I never shall endure her: Dear Be not familiar with her.
Fear me not :
Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers.
GON. I had rather lose the battle, than that sister Should loosen him and me. [Aside.
Again, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:
ALB. Our very loving sister, well be met.Sir, this I hear,―The king is come to his daughter, With others, whom the rigour of our state Forc'd to cry out. [Where I could not be honest, I never yet was valiant: for this business, It toucheth us as France invades our land, Not bolds the king; with others, whom, I fear,
"With fair Alcmena, she that never bosom'd
[Where I could not-] What is within the crotchets is omitted in the folio. STEEVENS.
Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant:] This sentiment has already appeared in Cymbeline:
"That worke is never undertooke with corage,
"Thou may'st be valiant in a better cause,
Again, in an ancient MS. play, entituled, The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
7 Not bolds the king;] The quartos read bolds, and this may be the true reading. This business (says Albany) touches us as France invades our land, not as it bolds the king, &c. i. e. emboldens him to assert his former title. Thus in the ancient interlude of Hycke Scorner:
"Alas, that I had not one to bold me!"
Most just and heavy causes make oppose."
Why is this reason'd?
GON. Combine together 'gainst the enemy: For these domestick and particular broils'
Again, in Arthur Hall's translation of the 4th Iliad, 4to. 1581:
"And Pallas bolds the Greeks, and blames whom scar doth there dismay." STEEVENS.
Sir, this I hear,-[as far as to]-make oppose.] The meaning is, the king and others whom we have opposed are come to Cordelia. I could never be valiant but in a just quarrel. We must distinguish; it is just in one sense and unjust in another. As France invades our land I am concerned to repel him; but as he holds, entertains, and supports the king, and others whom I fear many just and heavy causes make, or compel, as it were, to oppose us, I esteem it unjust to engage against them. This speech, thus interpreted according to the common reading, is likewise very necessary: for otherwise Albany, who is characterised as a man of honour and observer of justice, gives no reason for going to war with those, whom he owns had been much injured under the countenance of his power. WARBURTON.
The quartos read-For this I hear, &c. Perhaps Shakspeare wrote-Fore this, I hear, the king, &c. Sir is the reading of the folio. Dr. Warburton has explained this passage, as if the copies read-Not holds the king, i. e. not as he holds the king; but both the quartos, in which alone the latter part of this speech is found, read-bolds. However, Dr. Warburton's interpretation is preserved, as bolds may certainly have been a misprint for holds, in copies in which we find mov'd, for noble, (Act V. sc. iii.) O father, for O fault, (ibid.) the mistress of Hecate, for the mysteries of Hecate, (Act I. sc. i.) blossoms for bosoms, Act V. sc. iii. a mistresses coward, for a mistresses command, Act IV. sc. ii. &c. &c. MALONE.
This reply must be understood
For these domestick and particular broils-] This is the reading of the folio. The quartos have it—
For these domestick doore particulars. STEEVENS.
9 Sir, you speak nobly.] ironically. MALONE.
Are not to question here."
ALB. Let us then determine With the ancient of war on our proceedings. EDM.3 I shall attend you presently at your tent. REG. Sister, you'll go with us?
REG. 'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with
GON. O, ho, I know the riddle: [Aside.] I will go.
As they are going out, enter EDGAR, disguised.
EDG. If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor, Hear me one word.
I'll overtake you.-Speak. [Exeunt EDMUND, REGAN, GONERIL, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.
EDG. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter. If you have victory, let the trumpet sound For him that brought it: wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion, that will prove What is avouched there: If you miscarry, Your business of the world hath so an end,
Doore, or dore, as quarto B has it, was probably a misprint for dear; i. e. important. MALOne.
Door particulars, signify, I believe, particulars at our very doors, close to us, and consequently fitter to be settled at home. STEEVENS. Thus the quartos. The folio
* Are not to question here.] reads
Are not the question here. STEEvens.
Edm.] This speech is wanting in the folio. STEEVENS.
And machination ceases. Fortune love you!
I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again.
[Exit. ALB. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy paper.
EDM. The enemy's in view, draw up your powers. Here is the guess5 of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery;-but your haste Is now urg'd on you.
ALB. We will greet the time." [Exit. EDM. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; Each jealous of the other, as the stung
• And machination ceases.] i. e. All designs against your life will have an end. STEEVENS.
These words are not in the quartos. In the latter part of this line, for love, the reading of the original copies, the folio has loves. MALONE.
Here is the guess &c.] The modern editors read, Hard is the guess. So the quartos. But had the discovery been diligent, the guess could not have proved so difficult. I have given the true reading from the folio. STEEVENS.
The original reading is, I think, sufficiently clear. The most diligent inquiry does not enable me to form a conjecture concerning the true strength of the enemy. Whether we read hard or here, the adversative particle but in the subsequent line seems employed with propriety. According to the present reading, it may mean, but you are now so pressed in point of time, that you have little leisure for such speculations. The quartos read— their great strength. MALONE.
We will greet the time.] We will be ready to meet the occasion. JOHNSON.