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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 465

Kent is not answering Lear, nor is he speaking of himself. He is speaking of Lear. The best interpretation is probably that of Malone, according to which Kent means, 'We see the man most hated by Fortune, whoever may be the man she has loved best'; and perhaps it is supported by the variation of the text in the Qq., though their texts are so bad in this scene that their support is worth little. But it occurs to me as possible that the meaning is rather: 'Did Fortune ever show the extremes both of her love and of her hatred to any other man as she has shown them to this man?'

8. The last lines.

   Alb.  Bear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe. [To Kent and Edgar] Friends of my soul, you twain
Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.
   Kent.  I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls me, I must not say no.
   Alb.  The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

So the Globe. The stage-direction (right, of course) is Johnson's. The last four lines are given by the Ff. to Edgar, by the Qq. to Albany. The Qq. read 'have borne most.'

     To whom ought the last four lines to be given, and what do they mean? It is proper that the principal person should speak last, and this is in favour of Albany. But in this scene at any rate the Ff., which give the speech to Edgar, have the better text (though Ff. 2, 3, 4, make Kent die after his two lines!); Kent has answered Albany, but Edgar has not; and the lines seem to be rather more appropriate to Edgar. For the 'gentle reproof' of Kent's despondency (if this phrase of Halliwell's is right) is like Edgar; and, although we have no reason to suppose that Albany was not young, there is nothing to prove his youth.

     As to the meaning of the last two lines (a poor conclusion to such a play) I should suppose that 'the oldest' is not Lear, but 'the oldest of us,' viz., Kent, the one survivor of the old generation: and this is the more probable if there is a reference to him in the preceding lines. The last words seem to mean, 'We that are young shall never see so much and yet live so long': i.e. if we suffer so much, we shall not bear it as

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