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Our potency made good,1 take thy reward.
1 (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear)
Our potency made good,] As thou hast come with unreasonable pride between the sentence which I had passed, and the power by which I shall execute it, take thy reward in another sentence which shall make good, shall establish, shall maintain, thapower.
Mr. Davies thinks, that our potency made good, relates only to our place. Which our nature cannot bear, nor our place, without departure from the potency of that place. This is easy and clear.-Lear, who is characterized as hot, heady, and violent, is, with very just observation of life, made to entangle himself with vows, upon any sudden provocation to vow revenge, and then to plead the obligation of a vow in defence of implacability. Johnson
In my opinion, made, the reading of all the editions, but one of the quartos, (which reads make good) is right. Lear had just delegated his power to Albany and Cornwall, contenting himself with only the name and all the additions of a king. He could therefore have no power to inflict on Kent the punishment which he thought he deserved. Our potency made good seems to me only this: They to quhom I have yieldeil my power and authority, yieluing me the ability to dispense it in this instance, take thy reward. Steevens.
The meaning, I think, is,-As a proof that I am not a mere threatner, that I have power as well as will to punish, take the due reward of thy demerits; hear thy sentence. The words our potency made good are in the absolute case. In Othello we have again nearly the same language:
My spirit and my place have in them power
- To make this bitter to thee." Malone. 2 To shield thee from diseases of the world;] Thus the quartos. The folio has disusiers. The alteration, I believe, was made by the editor, in consequence of his not knowing the meaning of the origi. nal word. Diseases in old language, meant the slighter inconvenien. cies, troubles, or distresses of the world. So, in King Henry VI, P. I, Vol. X, p. 55, n. 2:
And in that ease I 'll tell thee my disease.”
“ Fie, fie, that for my private businesse
" To the whole house.” The provision that Kent could make in five days, might in some measure guard him against the diseases of the world, but could not shield him from its disasters. Malone.
Which word be retained is, in my opinion, quite immaterial. Such recollection as an interval of five days will afford to a considerare person, may surely enable him in some degree to provide against the disasters, (i. e. the calaınities) of the world. Stectens.
Upon our kingdom: if, on the"tenth' day following, seventh
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
[T. REG. and Gon.
[Exit. Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and
Lear. My lord of Burgundy,
Most royal majesty,
By Jupiter,] Shakspeare makes his Lear too much a my. thologist: he had Hecate and Apollo before. Johnson.
4 Freedom lives hence,] So the folio: the quartos concur in reading-Friendship lives hence. Steevens.
- dear shelter --) The quartos read---protection. Steevens. 6 That justly think?st, and hast most rightly said!] Thus the folio. The quartos read :
“ That rightly thinks, and hast most justly said. Malone. 7 He'll shape his old course – ] He will follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the same principles. Johnson.
quest of love?] Quest of love is amorous expedition. The
Right noble Burgundy,
I know no answer.
with those infirmities she owes, 2
Pardon me, royal sir; Election makes not up on such conditions.3
we did hold her so ;] Weesteemed her worthy of that dowry, which, as you say, we promised to give her. Malone.
- seeming - ) is beautiful. Fohnson. Seeming rather means specious. So, in The Merry Wives of Wind
“ — pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress Page." Again, in Measure for Measure :
hence shall we see, “ If power change purpose, what our seemers be.” Steevens.
- owes,] i. e. is possessed of. So, in A Midsummer Nighľs Dream:
“ All the power this charm doth owe.” Steevens. 3 Election makes not up on such conditions.) To make up signifies to complete, to conclude; as, they made up the bargain; but in this sense it has, I think, always the subject noun after it. To make up, in familiar language, is neutrally, to come forward, to make advances which, I think, is meant here. Johnson. I should read the line thus:
Election makes not, upon such conditions. M. Mason. Election makes not up, I conceive, means, Election comes not to a decision; in the same sense as when we say, “ I have made up my mind on that subject.” In Cymbeline this phrase is used, as here, for finished, completed:
Being scarce made up, “ I mean, to man,”-&c. Again, in Timon of Athens :
remain assur'd, “ That he's a made up villain.” In all these places the allusion is to a piece of work completed by a tradesman.
The passages just cited show that the text is right, and that our poet did not write, as some have proposed to read :
Election makes not, upon such conditions. Malone.
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made
me, I tell you all her wealth.--For you, great king,
[To FRANCE I would not from your love make such a stray, To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you To avert your liking a more worthier way, Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd Almost to acknowledge hers. France.
This is most strange! That she, that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence Must be of such unnatural degree, That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection Fall into taint:6 which to believe of her,
4 Most best, most dearest ;] Thus the quartos. The folios read~ The best, the dearest
Steevens. We have just had more worthier, and in a preceding passage more richer. The same phraseology is found often in these plays and in the contemporary writings. Malone.
such unnatural degree, That monsters it,] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in Coriolanus:
" But with such words that are but rooted in
“ Your tongue.” Again, ibidem:
No, not with such friends, - That thought them sure of you.” Three of the modern editors, however, in the passage before us, have substituted ds for That. Malone.
That monsters it,] This uncommon verb occurs again in Coriolanus, Act II, sc. ii :
“ To hear my nothings monster'd.” Steevens.
or your fore-vouch'd affection
or your fore-vouch'd affection Fail'n into taint: This line has no clear or strong sense, nor is this reading authorised by any copy, though it has crept into all the late editions. The early quarto reads:
or you, for vouch'd affections,
Fall'n into taint: The folio:
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
I yet beseech your majesty, (If for I want that glib and oily art,
or your fore-vouch'd affection Fall into taint. Taint is used for corruption and for disgrace. If therefore we take the oldest reading it may be reformed thus:
sure her offence
That monsters it; or you for vouch'd affection
Fall into taint. Her offence must be prodigious, or you must fall into reproach for having vouched affection which you did not feel. If the reading of the folio be preferred, we may, with a very slight change, produce the
- sure her offence
l'alls into taint. That is, falls into reproach or censure. But there is another possible sense. Or signifies before, and or ever is before ever; the meaning in the folio may therefore be, Sure her crime must be monstrous, before your affection can be affected with hatred. Let the reader determine.As läm not much a friend to conjectural emendation, I should prefer the latter sense, which requires no change of reading. Fohnson.
The meaning of the passage as I have printed it (fali'n into taint] is, I think, Either her oitencc must be monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such offence, the affection which you always pro. fessed to have for her must be tuintet and decayed, a.d is now without reason alienated from her.
I once thought the reading of the quartos right--or you, for vouch'd affections, &c. i. e. on account of the extravagant professions made by her sisters: but I did not recollect that France had not heard these. However, Shakspeare might himself have forgot this circumistance. The plural affections favours this interpretation.
The interpretation already given, appears to me to be supported by our author's words in another place:
“ When love begins to sicken and decay,” &c. Malone. The present reading which is that of the folio, is right; and the sense will be clear, without even the slight amendment proposed by Johnson, to every reader who shall consider the word must, as referring to fall as well as to be. Her offence must be monstrous, or the former affection which you professed for her, must fall into taint; that is, become the subject of reproach. M. Mason.
Taint is a term belonging to falconry. So, in The Booke of Haukyng, &c. bl. I. no date : “ A taint is a thing that goeth overthwart the fethers, &c. like as it were eaten with wormes.'
Steevens. 7 If for I want &c.) If this be my offence, that I want the glib
and oily art,