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Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive: To take the widow,
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,7


carry out my side,] Bring my purpose to a successful issue, to completion. Side seems here to have the sense of the French word partie, in prendre partie, to take his resolution.

JOHNSON. So, in The Honest Man's Fortune, by Beaumont and Fletcher:


and carry out

"A world of evils with thy title."

Again, in one of the Paston Letters, Vol. IV. p. 155: "Heydon's son hath borne out the side stoutly here" &c. STEEVENS.

The Bastard means, "I shall scarcely be able to make out my game." The allusion is to a party at cards, and he is afraid that he shall not be able to make his side successful.

So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Centaure says of Epicene"She and Mavis will set up a side."

That is, will be partners. And in Massinger's Unnatural Combat, Belgard says:

And if now


"At this downright game, I may but hold
"I'll not pull down the side."

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your cards,

In The Maid's Tragedy, the same expression occurs: "Dula. I'll hold your cards against any two I know. "Evad. Aspasia take her part.

"Dula. I will refuse it;

"She will pluck down a side, she does not use it." But the phrase is still more clearly explained in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence, where Cozimo says to Petronella, who had challenged him to drink a second bowl of wine:

"Pray you, pause a little;

"If I hold your cards, I shall pull down the side;
"I am not good at the game." M. MASON.

The same phrase has forced its way into Chapman's version of the fifth Iliad:


thy body's powers are poor,

"And therefore are thy troops so weak: the soldier


"Follows the temper of his chief; and thou pull'st down a side." STEEVENS.

Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use
His countenance for the battle; which being done,
Let her, who would be rid of him, devise
His speedy taking off. As for the
Which he intends to Lear, and to Cordelia,-
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon: for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate. [Exit.


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A Field between the two Camps.

Alarum within. Enter, with Drum and Colours, LEAR, CORDELIA, and their Forces; and exeunt.


EDG. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree

Edmund, I think, means, hardly shall I be able to make my party good; to maintain my cause. We should now say-to bear out, which Coles, in his Dictionary, 1679, interprets, to make good, to save harmless.

Side, for party, was the common language of the time. So, in a Letter from William Earl of Pembroke to Robert Earl of Leicester, Michaelmas Day, 1625-Sydney Papers, Vol. II. p. 361: "The queenes side, and so herself, labour much to ly at Salisbury." MALONE.

for my state

Stands on me &c.] I do not think that for stands, in this place, as a word of inference or causality. The meaning is, rather-Such is my determination concerning Lear; as for my state it requires now, not deliberation, but defence and support.


• Enter Edgar &c.] Those who are curious to know how far Shakspeare was here indebted to the Arcadia, will find a chapter from it entitled," The pitifull State and Storie of the

For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.


Grace go with you, sir!
[Exit EDGAR.

Alarums; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter EDGAR.

EDG. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away; King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en: Give me thy hand, come on.

GLO. No further, sir; a man may rot even here. EDG. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure

Their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all:1 Come on.


And that's true too.

Paphlagonian unkinde King, and his kinde Sonne; first related by the Sonne, then by the blind Father." P. 141, edit. 1590, quarto, annexed to the conclusion of this play. STEEVENS. Ripeness is all:] i. e. To be ready, prepared, is all.

The same sentiment occurs in Hamlet, scene the last: "-if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.”

STEEVENS. ⚫ And that's true too.] Omitted in the quarto. STEEVENS.


The British Camp near Dover.

Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, EDMUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, as Prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, &c.

EDM. Some officers take them away: good guard;

Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.3

COR. We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters? LEAR. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to pri


We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,-
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out ;-


to censure them.] i. e. to pass sentence or judgment on them. So, in Othello:


To you, lord governor,

"Remains the censure of this hellish villain.”



Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.] i. e. the worst that fortune can inflict.



2 P

And take upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies:5 And we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.


Take them away. LEAR. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense." Have I caught thee?s

He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;

And take upon us the mystery of things,

As if we were God's spies:] As if we were angels commissioned to survey and report the lives of men, and were consequently endowed with the power of prying into the original motives of action and the mysteries of conduct. JOHNSON.

-packs and sects—] Packs is used for combinations or collections, as is a pack of cards. For sects, I think sets might be more commodiously read. So we say, affairs are now managed by a new set. Sects, however, may well stand. JOHNSON.

Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,

The gods themselves throw incense.] The thought is extremely noble, and expressed in a sublime of imagery that Seneca fell short of on the like occasion. "Ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus: ecce par deo dignum, vir fortis cum malâ fortunâ compositus." WArburton.


Have I caught thee?] Have I caught my heavenly jewel, is a line of one of Sir Philip Sidney's songs, which Shakspeare has put into Falstaff's mouth in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Malone.

See Vol. V. p. 127, n. 3. STEEvens.

And fire us hence, like foxes.] I have been informed that it is usual to smoke foxes out of their holes.

So, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, B. XXVII. stan. 17: "Ev'n as a foxe whom smoke and fire doth fright, "So as he dare not in the ground remaine,

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"Bolts out, and through the smoke and fire he flieth "Into the tarrier's mouth, and there he dieth." Again, Every Man out of his Humour:


my walk and all,

"You smoke me from, as if I were a fox."

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