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Corn. Let us withdraw ; 'twill be a storm.
Reg. This house
Gon. 'Tis his own blame hath put Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I’ll receive him gladly, But not one follower.
Gon. So am I purposed. Where is my lord of Gloster P
Corn. Followed the old man forth ;--he is returned. Glo. The king is in high rage. Corn. Whither is he going? Glo. He calls to horse ; but will I know not whither. Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself. Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds Do sorely ruffle ; for many miles about There’s scarce a bush. Reg. O sir, to wilful men, The injuries that they themselves procure, Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors; He is attended with a desperate train ; And what they may incense * him to, being apt To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear. Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord ; 'tis a wild night. My Regan counsels well; come out o’ the storm. [Eveunt.
1 Thus the folio. The quartos read, “Do Sorely russel,” i.e. rustle. But ruffle is most probably the true reading. 2 To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate.
SCENE I. A Heath. A storm is heard, with thunder and lightning.
Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, meeting.
Kent. Who’s here, beside foul weather P
Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you ; where's the king f
Gent. Contending with the fretful element; Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main," That things might change, or cease;” tears his white
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Kent. But who is with him P
Gent. None but the fool; who labors to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.
Kent. Sir, I do know you ;
1 The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent. 2 The first folio ends this speech at “change or cease,” and begins again at Kent's speech, “But who is with him 3’ 3 Steevens thinks that we should read “out-storm.” 4 That is, a bear whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. 5 So in Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus says:— “I’ll strike, and cry, Take all.”
6 i.e. on the strength of that art or skill which teaches us “to find the mind's construction in the face.” The folio reads:–
upon the warrant of my note; ” which Dr. Johnson explains, “my observation of your character.” vol. VII. 9
Although as yet the face of it be covered With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall; Who have (as who have not, that their great stars' Throned and set high P) servants, who seem no less; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state ; what hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings” of the dukes; Or the hard rein which both of them have borne Against the old kind king ; or something deeper, Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings:—o [But, true it is, from France there comes a power Into this scattered kingdom; who already Wise in our negligence, have secret feet In some of our best ports, and are at point To show their open banner.—Now to you. If on my credit you dare build so far To make your speed to Dover, you shall find Some that will thank you, making just report Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow The king hath cause to plain. I am a gentleman of blood and breeding; And from some knowledge and assurance, offer This office to you.]
Gent. I will talk further with you.
Kent. No, do not. For confirmation that I am much more Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia, (As fear not but you shall,) show her this ring, And she will tell you who your fellow * is,
1 This and the seven following lines are not in the quartos. The lines in crotchets lower down, from “But, true it is,” &c. to the end of the speech, are not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition ; and if the former lines are read, and the latter omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy; but in this speech the first is preferable; for in the folio the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither. 2 Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances. 3. A furnish anciently signified a sample. “To lend the world a furmish of wit, she lays her own out to pawn.”—Green's Groatsworth of Wit. 4 Companion.
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm.
SCENE II. Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool.
Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage blow !
You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water" in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, im, and ask thy daughter's blessing ! Here’s a night pities neither wise men nor fools.
Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit fire spout rain Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters. I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
1 The quartos read:
“That when we have found the King,
* Thought-executing, “doing execution with celerity equal to thought.”
3 Avant-couriers (Fr.). The phrase occurs in other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army.
4 Court holy-water is fair words and flattering speeches. The French have their Eaw benite de la cour in the same sense.
I never gave you kingdom, called you children;
Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house,
—for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.
Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing.
Kent. Who’s there P
Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece; * that’s a wise man, and a fool.
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love
Love not such nights as these ; the wrathful skies
l i. e. submission, obedience.
2 Meaning the king and himself. The king's grace was the usual expression in Shakspeare's time. .
3 To gallow is to frighten, to scare.