« PreviousContinue »
SCENE IV. Before Gloster's Castle.
Enter LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman.
Lear. 'Tis strange, that they should so depart from home, And not send back my messenger. Gent. As I learned, The night before there was no purpose in them Of this remove. Kent. Hail to thee, noble master Lear. How ! Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime P Kent. No, my lord. Fool. Ha, has look! he wears cruel” garters Horses are tied by the head; dogs and bears by the neck; monkeys by the loins, and men by the legs; when a man is over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks.” Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistook, To set thee here 2
Kent. It is both he and she, Your son and daughter.
Lear. No, I say.
Åent. I say, yea.
Lear. No, no; they would not.
Kent. Yes, they have.
Lear. By Jupiter, I swear, no.
Kent. By Juno, I swear, ay.
Lear. They durst not do’t; They could not, would not do’t: 'tis worse than murder,
tions of lunacy and distraction; and their popular name, Turlupins, was probably derived from the wolfish howlings they made in their fits of religious raving. Cotgrave interprets “Mon Turelureau, My Pillicock, my pretty knave.”
! See note 2, Act i. Sc. 5, p. 39, ante.
* A quibble on crewel, i. e. worsted.
3 The old word for stockings.
To do, upon respect, such violent outrage."
1 “To do, upon respect, such violent outrage,” means “to do such violent outrage, deliberately, or upon consideration.” Respect is frequently used for consideration by Shakspeare. a 2 i. e. “spite of leaving me unanswered for a time.” 3 Meiny, signifying a family household, or retinue of servants, is from the French meinie, anciently written mesnie. 4 The personal pronoun, which is found in the preceding line, is understood before the word having, or before drew. The same license is taken by Shakspeare in other places. 5 “If this be their behavior, the king's troubles are not yet at an end.”
This speech is omitted in the quartos.
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolors' for
Lear. Follow me not :
Stay here. [Evit.
Gent. Made you no more offence than what you speak off
Kent. None. How chance the king comes with so small a train f Fool. An thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it. Åent. Why, fool P Fool. We’ll set thee to school to an ant,” to teach thee there’s no laboring in the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes, but blind men ; and there’s not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that’s stinking. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again; I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it. That, sir, which serves and seeks for gain, And follows but for form, Will pack, when it begins to rain, And leave thee in the storm. But I will tarry, the fool will stay, And let the wise man fly: The knave turns fool, that runs away; The fool no knave, perdy.
1 A quibble between dolors and dollars.
2 Lear affects to pass off the swelling of his heart, ready to burst with grief and indignation, for the disease called the mother, or hysterica passio, which, in the Poet's time, was not thought peculiar to women only.
3 If, says the fool, you had been schooled by the ant, you would have known that the king's train, like that sagacious insect, prefer the summer of prosperity to the colder season of adversity, from which no profit can be derived; and desert him who has been left “open and bare for every storm that blows.”
Kent. Where learned you this, fool?
Re-enter LEAR, with GLOSTER.
Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary P They have travelled hard to-night? Mere fetches: The images of revolt and flying off! Fetch me a better answer. Glo. My dear lord, You know the fiery quality of the duke; How unremovable and fixed he is In his own course. o Lear. Vengeance plague ! death ! confusion — Fiery P what quality P Why, Gloster, Gloster, I’d speak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife. Glo. Well, my good lord, I have informed them so. Lear. Informed them | Dost thou understand me, man f Glo. Ay, my good lord. Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father Would with his daughter speak, commands her service. Are they informed of this f My breath and blood!— Fiery the fiery duke 2–Tell the hot duke, that— No, but not yet;-may be, he is not well. Infirmity doth still neglect all office, Whereto our health is bound ; we are not ourselves, When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind To suffer with the body. I’ll forbear; And am fallen out with my more headier will, To take the indisposed and sickly fit For the sound man. Death on my state' wherefore - - [Looking on KENT. Should he sit here P This act persuades me, That this remotion of the duke and her Is practice only. Give me my servant forth. Go, tell the duke and his wife, I’d speak with them, Now, presently; bid them come forth and hear me, WOL. VII,
Or at their chamber door I’ll beat the drum, Till it cry—Sleep to death." Glo. I’d have all well betwixt you. [Evit. Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart!—but, down. Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney * did to the eels, when she put them i' the paste alive ; she rapped 'em o’ the coxcombs with a stick, and cried, Down, wantons, down. 'Twas her brother, that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.
Enter CoRNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants. 9 9 2
Lear. Good morrow to you both. Corn. Hail to your grace [KENT is set at liberty. Reg. I am glad to see your highness. Lear. Regan, I think you are ; I know what reason I have to think so. If thou shouldst not be glad, I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb, Sepulchring an adultress.-O, are you free ? [To KENT. Some other time for that.—Beloved Regan, Thy sister’s naught. O Regan, she hath tied Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.-[Points to his heart. I can scarce speak to thee; thou’lt not believe, Of how depraved a quality O Regan Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope, You less know how to value her desert, Than she to scant her duty.” Lear. Say, how is that? Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance, She have restrained the riots of your followers,
1 The meaning of this passage seems to be, “I’ll beat the drum till it cries out—Let them awake no more ; let their present sleep be their last.” Mason would read, “ death to sleep,” instead of “sleep to death.”
2 A cockney and a ninny-hammer, or simpleton, were convertible terms.
3 This is somewhat inaccurately expressed. Shakspeare having, as on some other occasions, perplexed himself by the word less.