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Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
[Exeunt LEAR, GLO. KENT, and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm.
[Storm heard at a Distance. Reg.
This house Is little ; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd. Gon.
'Tis his own blame; he hath put Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I 'll receive him gladly,
So am I purpos’d.
Whither is he going?
Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds,
O, sir, to wilful men,
into a hundred thousand flaws,] A flaw signifying a crack or other similar imperfection, our author, with his accustomed li. cense, uses the word here for a small broken particle. Soagain, in the fifth Act:
But his flaw'd heart
he hath put Himself from rest,] The personal pronoun was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. He hath was formerly contracted thus; H'ath; and hence perhaps the mistake. Malone. 9 Corn. Whither is he going?
Glo. He calls to horse ;] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens. 1 Do sorely rufle ;] Thus the folio. The quartos read-Do sorely russel, i.e. rustle. Steevens,
Ruffie is certainly the true reading. A ruffler, in our author's time, was a noisy, boisterous, swaggerer. Malone,
And what they may incense him to,2 being apt
Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night; My Regan counsels well : come out o’the storm. [Exeunt.
ACT III.....SCENE I.
A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, meeting. Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather? Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly. Kent. I know you; Where's the king? Gent. Contending with the fretful element:3 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
incense him to, ] To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate. Malone.
the fretful element:] i.e. the air. Thus the quartos; for which the editor of the folio substituted elements. Malone.
4 Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,] The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent. So, in Bacon's War with Spain: “ In 1589, we turned challengers, and invaded the main of Spain."
This interpretation sets the two objects of Lear's desire in proper opposition to each other. He wishes for the destruction of the world, either by the winds blowing the land into the waters, or raising the waters so as to overwhelm the land. So, Lucretius, III, 854:
"terra mari miscebitur. et mare coelo." See also the Æneid I, 133, and XII, 204. Steevens. So, in Troilus and Cressida :
The bounded waters
“ And make a sop of all this solid globe.” The main is again used for the land, in Hamlet:
" Goes it against the main of Poland, sir?" Malone.
- tears his white hair ;] The six following verses were omitted in all the late editions; I have replaced them from the first, for they are certainly Shakspeare's. Pope.
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
But who is with him?
Sir, I do know you;
The first folio ends the speech at change or cease, and begins again at Kent's question, But who is with him? The whole speech is forci. ble, but too long for the occasion, and properly retrenched. Johnson. 6 Sirives in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro-conficting wind and rain.] Thus the old copies. But I suspect we should read-out-storm: i.e. as Nestor expresses it in Troilus and Cressida:
with an accent tun'd in self-same key, “ Returns to chiding fortune:” i.e. makes a return to it, gives it as good as it brings, confronts it with self-comparisons. Again, in King Lear, Act V: Myself
could else out-frown false fortune's frown.” Again, in King John:
“Threaten the threatner, and out-face the brow,
“ Of bragging horror." Again, (and more decisively) in The Lover's Complaint, attributed to our author:
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.” Steevens. 7 This night wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,] Cub-drawn has been explained to signify drawn by nature to its young; whereas it means, whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. For no animals leave their dens by night but for prey. So that the meaning is, “ that even hunger, and the support of its young, would not force the bear to leave his den in such a niglit.” Warburton. Shakspeare has the same image in As you Like it :
"A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
- Lay couching .” Again, ibiciem :
“ Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness.” Steevens. 8 And bids what will take all.] So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Ene
“I'll strike, and cry, Take all.” Steevens.
upon the warrant of my art,] Thus the quartos. The folia
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
- The warrant of my art" seems to mean-on the strength of my skill in physiognomy. Steevens.
• upon the warrant of my art,] On the strength of that art or skill, which teaches ils “ to find the mind's construction in the face.” The passage in Macbeth from which I have drawn this paraphrase, in which the word art is again employed in the same sense, confirms the reading of the quartos. The folio reads--upon the warrant of my note: i.e. says Dr. Johnson, “my observation of your character.”
Malone. 1 Who have (as who have not,] The eight subsequent verses were degraded by Mr. Pope, as unintelligible, and to no purpose. For my part, I see nothing in them but what is very easy to be nnderstood ; and the lines seem absolutely necessary to clear up the motives upon which France prepared his invasion : nor without them is the sense of the context complete. Theobald. The quartos omit these lines. Steevens.
- what hath been seen,] What follows, are the circumstances in the state of the kingdom, of which he supposes the spies gave France the intelligence. Steevens.
3 Either in snuffs and packings --) Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances.
So, in Henry IV, P. I: “Took it in snuff;" and in King Edward III, 1599 :
“ This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it." Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582:
“With two gods packing one woman silly to cozen.” We still talk of packing juries, and Antony says of Cleopatra, that she has “pack'd cards with Cæsar.” Steevens.
4 are but furnishings;] Furnishings are what we now call colours, external pretences. Fohnson.
A furnish anciently signified a sample. So, in the Preface to Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621: “ To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own to pawn.” Steevens.
5 But, true it is, &c.] In the old editions are the five following lines which I have inserted in the text, which seem necessary to the plot,
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
dare build so far To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
If on my
as a preparatory to the arrival of the French army with Cordelia in Act IV. How both these, and a whole scene between Kent and this gentleman in the fourth Act, came to be left out in all the later edi. tions, I cannot tell; they depend upon each other, and very much contribute to clear that incident. Pope.
- from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom ; who already, Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports,] This speech, as it now stands, is col. lected from two editions: the eight lines degraded by Mr. Pope, are found in the folio, not in the quarto; the following lines inclosed in crotchets are in the quarto, 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 are read, and the lines that follow them omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The speech is now tedious, because it is formed by a coalition of both. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy; but in this passage the first is preferable: for in the folio, the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither. suppose Shakspeare thought his plot opened rather too early, and made the alteration to veil the event from the audience; but trusting too much to himself, and full of a single purpose, he did not accommodate his new lines to the rest of the scene. Scattered means divided, unsettled, disunited. Fohnson.
have secret feet In some of our best ports,] One of the quartos (for there are two that differ from each other, though printed in the same year, and for the same printer,) reads secret feet. Perhaps the author wrote secret foot, i. e. footing. So, in a following scene:
what confederacy have you with the traitors “ Late footed in the kingdom?" A phrase, not unlike that in the text, occurs in Chapman's version of the nineteenth Book of Homer's Odyssey:
what course for home would best prevail “ To come in pomp, or beare a secret sail.” Steevens. These lines, as has been observed are not in the folio. Quarto A reads-secret fee; quarto B--secret feet. I have adopted the latter reading, which I suppose was used in the sense of secret footing, and is strongly confirmed by a passage in this Act: “ These injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king.” Again, in Goriolanus :
Why, thou Mars, I 'll tell thee,