Page images
PDF
EPUB

Repose you there: while I to this hard house,
(More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis rais'd ;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in,) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
Lear.

My wits begin to turn.-
Come on, my boy: How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself.-Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel,
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart3
That 's sorry yet for thee.4
Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,-

With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit;

For the rain it raineth every day. Lear. True, my good boy-Come, bring us to this hovel.

[Exeunt LEAR and KENT. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.5-I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:

When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors ;6
No hereticks burn’d, but wenches' suitors ::
When every case in law is right;
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues;
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i'the field;
And bawds and whores do churches build ;-
one part in my heart -] Some editions read:

thing in my heart from which Hanmer, and Dr. Warburton after him, have made string, very unnecessarily; but the copies have part. Johnson. 4 That's sorry yet &c.] The old quartos read:

That sorrows yet for thee. Steevens. 5 This is a brave night &c.] This speech is not in the quartos.

Steevena. 6 When nobles are their tailors' tutors;] i. e. invent fashions for them. Warburton.

7 No hereticks burn'd, but wenches' suitors : ] The disease to which wenches' suitors are particularly exposed, was called, in Shakspeare's time, the brenning or burning. Johnson.

So, in Isaiah, iii, 24: “ -and burning instead of beauty." Steevens.

3

Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see 't,

That going shall be us’d with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.

[Exit. SCENE III.

A Room in Gloster's Castle.

Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND. Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing: When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they look from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!

Glo. Go to; say you nothing: There is division between the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this night;-'tis dangerous to be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him: go you, and main. 4, tain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived: If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If i die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.

[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke

8 Then comes the time, &c.] This couplet Dr. Warburton transposed, and placed after the fourth line of this prophecy. The four lines, " When priests," &c. according to his notion, are “ a satirical description of the present manners, as future;" and the six lines from When every case-to churches build," " a satirical description of future manners, which the corruption of the present would prevent from ever happening.” His conception of the first four lines is, I think, just; but, instead of his far-fetched conceit relative to the other six lines, I should rather call them an ironical, as the preceding are a satirical, description of the time in which our poet lived. The transposition recommended by this critick, and adopted in the late editions, is, in my opinion, as annecessary as it is unwarrantable.

Malone.

Instantly know; and of that letter too:
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses; no less than all :
The younger rises, when the old doth fall.

[Exit.

SCENE IV.

A Part of the Heath, with a Hovei.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool. Kent. Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter: The tyranny of the open night's too rough For nature to endure.

[Storm still. Lear.

Let me alone.
Kent. Guod my lord, enter here.
Lear.

Wilt break my heart ?9
Kent. I'd rather break mine own: Good my lord, enter.
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious

storm Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee; But where the greater malady is fix'd, The lesser is scarce felt. Thou ’dst shun a bear : But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea, Thou 'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's

free,
* The body's delicate: the tempest in my

mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.-Filial ingratitude !
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to 't?--But I will punish home:
No, I will weep no more.--In such a night
To shut me out!Pour on; I will endure:2.

9 Wilt break my heart?] I believe that Lear does not address this question to Kent, but to his own bosom. Perhaps, therefore, we should point the passage thus:

Wilt break, my heart? The tenderness of Kent indeed induces him to reply, as to an interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity. Steevens.

raging sea,] Such is the reading of that which appears to be the elder of the two quartos. The other, with the folio, reads, – roaring sea. Steevens.

In such a night To shut me out! - Pour on; I will endure:] Omitted in the quartos. Stectens.

In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,3—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that,
Kent.

Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Pr’ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease;
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more.-But I'll go in:
In, boy; go first.4— [To the Fool.) You houseless pover-

ty – Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep..

[Fool goes in, Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you

3 Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,] Old copies:

Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave you all, - Steevens. I have already observed that the words, father, brother, rather, and many of a similar sound, were sometimes used by Shakspeare as monosyllables. The editor of the folio, supposing the metre to be defective, omitted the word you, which is found in the quartos. Malone.

That our author's versification, to modern ears, (I mean to such as have been tuned by the melody of an exact writer like Mr. Pope) may occasionally appear overloaded with syllables, I cannot deny: but when I am told that he used the words--father, brother, and rather, as monosyllables, I must withhold my assent in the most de. cided manner. Steevens.

4 In, boy; go first, &c ] These two lines were added in the author's revision, and are only in the folio. They are very judiciously intended to represent that humility, or tenderness, or neglect of forms, which affliction forces on the mind. Fohnson.

loop'd and window'd raggedness,] So, in The Amorous War, 1648:

spare me a doublet which “ Hath linings in ’t, and no glass windows." This allusion is as old as the time of Plautus, in one of whose plays it is found. Again, in the comedy already quoted :

this jerkin “ Is wholly made of doors.Steevens. Loop'd is full of small apertures, such as were made in ancient cas. tles, for firing ordnance, or spying the enemy. These were wider without than within, and were called loops or loop-holes : which Ciles, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders by the word fenestella. Malone,

Loops, as Mr. Henley observes, particularly in castles and towers, were often designed "for the admission of light where windows

5

[ocr errors]

From seasons such as these? 0, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physick, pomp
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou may'st shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
Edg. [within] Fathom? and half, fathom and half!

Poor Tom! [The Fool runs out from the Hovel.
Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit.
Help me, help me!

Kent. Give me thy hand.--Who's there?
Fool. A spirit, a spirit; he says his name's poor Tom.
Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i’ the

straw? Come forth.

Enter EDGAR, disguised as a Madman. Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me!

99

would have been incommodious.” Shakspeare, he adds, “ in Othello, and other places, has alluded to them."

To discharge ordnance, however, from loop-holes, according to Mr. Malone's supposition, was, I believe, never attempted, because alinost impossible; aithough such outlets were sufficiently adapted to the use of arrows. Many also of these loops, still existing, were con. trived before fire-arms had been introduced. Steevens.

Mr. Warton, in his excellent edition of Milton's Fuvenile Poems, (p. 511) quotes the foregoing line as explanatory of a passage in that poet's verses In Quintum Novembris:

Tarda fenestratis figens vestigia calceis.
Talis, uti fama est, vasta Franciscus eremo

“ Tetra vagahatur solus per lustra ferarum, But, from the succeeding, in Buchanan's Franciscanus et Fratres, these shoes or buskins with windows on them appear to have composed a part of the habit of the Franciscan order :

Atque fenestratum soleas captare cothurnum." The Parish Clerk, in Chaucer, (Canterbury Tales, v. 3318, edit. 1775,) has Poulis windows corven on his shoos." H. White.

Take physick, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou may'st shake the super flux to them,

And show the heavens more just.] A kindred thought occurs in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

« O let those cities that of plenty's cup
" And her prosperities so largely taste,
“ With their superfluous riots,-hear these tears ;

The misery of Tharsus may be theirs.” Malone. 7 Fathom &c.] This speech of Edgar is omitted in the quartos. He gives the sign used by those who are sounding the depth at sea.

Steevena.

6

« PreviousContinue »