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A Court within the Castle of the Earl of Gloster.

Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting.

Edm. Save thee, Curan.


Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father; given him notice, that the duke of Cornwall, and Regan his duchess, will be here with him to-night.

Edm. How comes that?

Cur. Nay, I know not: You have heard of the news abroad; I mean, the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?

Edm. Not I; 'Pray you, what are they?

Cur.5 Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Edm. Not a word.

Cur. You may then, in time. Fare you well, sir. [Exit.
Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better! Best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business!
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queazy question,
Which I must act :-Briefness, and fortune, work!---
Brother, a word;-descend:-Brother, I say;
Enter EDGAR.

My father watches:-O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;

You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the duke of Cornwall?

4 ear-kissing arguments?] Ear-kissing arguments means thatthey are yet in reality only whisper'd ones. Steevens.

5 Cur.] This, and the following speech, are omitted in one of the quartos. Steevens.

6 queazy question,] Something of a suspicious, questionable, and uncertain nature. This is, I think, the meaning. Johnson.

Queazy, I believe, rather means delicate, unsettled, what requires to be handled nicely. So, Ben Jonson, in Sejanus :

"Those times are somewhat queazy to be touch'd.

"Have you not seen or read part of his book?"

Again, in Much Ado about Nothing:

"Despight of his quick wit, and queazy stomach." Steevens. Queazy is still used in Devonshire, to express that sickishness of stomach which the slightest disgust is apt to provoke. Henley.

He's coming hither; now i' the night, i' the haste,7
And Regan with him; Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany ?8
Advise yourself.?


I am sure on 't, not a word. Edm. I hear my father coming-Pardon me:In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you:Draw Seem to defend yourself: Now quit you well. Yield: :-come before my father;-Light, ho, here!— Fly, brother;-Torches! torches !-So, farewel.—

[Exit EDG.

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion

[Wounds his Arm. Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards Do more than this in sport.1-Father! father! Stop, stop! No help?

Enter GLOSTER, and Servants with Torches. Glo. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out, Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon?


the haste,] I should have supposed we ought to read only -in haste, had I not met with our author's present phrase in XII merry Fests of the Wyddow Edyth, 1573


"To London they tooke in all the haste

"They wolde not once tarry to breake their faste." Steevens. Have you nothing said

Upon his party gainst the duke of Albany 2] The meaning is, have you said nothing upon the party formed by him against the duke of Albany?


I cannot but think the line corrupted, and would read:
Against his party, for the duke of Albany? Johnson.
Upon his party-] i. e. on his behalf. Henley.

9 Advise yourself.] i. e. consider, recollect yourself. So, in Twelfth Night: "Advise you what you say." Steevens.

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Do more than this in sport.] So, in a passage already quoted in a note on The Winter's Tale, Act II, sc. ii. "Have I not been drunk for your health, eat glasses, drunk urine, stabbed arms, and done all offices of protested gallantry for your sake?”—Marston's Dutch Cour



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2 Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon -] This was a proper circumstance to urge to Gloster; who appears, by what passed between him and his bastard son in a foregoing scene, to be very superstitious with regard to this matter. Warburton.

The quartos read, warbling instead of mumbling. Steevens..

To stand his auspicious mistress :3


Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.


But where is he?

Where is the villain, Edmund? Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could — Glo. Pursue him, ho!-Go after.- [Exit Serv.] By no means,-what?

Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lordship; But that I told him, the revenging gods

'Gainst parricides did all their thunders4 bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father;-Sir, in fine,
Seeing how lothly opposite I stood

To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm :

But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,

Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,

Full suddenly he fled.


Let him fly far:

Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;

And found-Despatch.-The noble duke my master, My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:

By his authority I will proclaim it,

That he, which finds him, shall deserve our thanks,


conjuring the moon

To stand his auspicious mistress :] So, in All's Well that Ends



"And fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
"As thy auspicious mistress.' Malone.

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their thunders-] First quarto; the rest have it the thunder.

gasted-] Frighted. Johnson.


So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit at several Weapons: "—either the sight of the lady has gasted him, or else he 's drunk." Steevens. 6 Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;

And found-Despatch.-The noble duke &c.] The sense is interrupted. He shall be caught-and found, he shall be punish'd. Despatch. Johnson.


arch-]i. e. Chief; a word now used only in composition, as arch-angel, arch-duke.

So, in Heywood's If you know not me, you know Nobody, 1613: "Poole, that arch for truth and honesty." Steevens.

Bringing the murderous cowards to the stake;
He, that conceals him, death.

Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech9
I threaten'd to discover him: He replied,
Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee

Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,2) I'd turn it all

To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice :
And thou must make a dullard of the world,3
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spursa
To make thee seek it.

Strong and fasten'd villain !5
Would he deny his letter?-I never got him.6

[Trumpets within. Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes:

murderous coward -] The first edition reads caitiff.

Johnson. And found him pight to do it, with curst speech-] Pight is pitched, fixed, settled. Curst is severe, harsh, vehemently angry. Johnson. So, in the old morality of Lusty Juventus, 1561:

"Therefore my heart is surely pyght

"Of her alone to have a sight."

Thus, in Troilus and Cressida :

66 tents

"Thus proudly pight upon our Phrygian plains." Steevens. would the reposal -] i. e. Would any opinion that men have reposed in thy trust, virtue, &c. Warburton.


The old quarto reads, could the reposure. Steevens.

2 though thou didst produce

My very character, - i. e. my very handwriting. Malone.
make a dullard of the world,] So, in Cymbeline:
"What, maks't thou me a dullard in this act?"




pregnant and potential spurs —] Thus the quartos. Folio: potential spirits. Malone.

5 Strong and fasten'd villain!] Thus the quartos. The folio reads -O strange and fasten'd villain. Malone.

6 Would he deny his letter?—I never got him.] Thus the quartos. The folio omits the words-I never got him; and, instead of them, substitutes said he? Malone.

All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.7

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.

Corn. How now, my noble friend? since I came hither, (Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news. Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short, Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord? Glo. O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, is crack'd! Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life? He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?

Glo. O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid! Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights That tend upon my father?


It is too bad, too bad.


I know not, madam:

Yes, madam, he was.9

Reg. No marvel then, though he were ill affected; 'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,

To have the waste and spoil of his revenues.1


of my land,

To make thee capable.] i. e. capable of succeeding to my land, notwithstanding the legal bar of thy illegitimacy.

So, in The Life and Death of Will Summers, &c." The king next demanded of him (he being a fool) whether he were capable to inherit any land," &c. Steevens.


strange news.] Thus the quartos. Instead of these words the folio has strangeness. Malone.

9 Yes, madam, he was.] Thus the quartos. The folio deranges the metre by adding

of that consort. Steevens.

1 To have the waste and spoil of his revenues.] Thus quarto B. The other quarto reads

To have these-and waste of this his revenues. The folio:

To have the expense and waste of his revenues. These in quarto A was, I suppose, a misprint for-the use. Malone. The remark made in p. 186, n. 5, is confirmed by the present circumstance; for both my quartos read with Mr. Malone's quarto A: To have these-and waste of this his revenues.

It is certain therefore that there is a third quarto which I have never seen. Steevens.

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