Page images

Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the cur-
tains: So, so, so: We'll go to supper i' the morning:
So, so, so.
Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.

Re-enter GLOSTER.
Glo. Come hither, friend: Where is the king my

master? Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits are gone.

Glo. Good friend, I pr’ythee take him in thy arms; I have o'er-heard a plot of death upon

him : There is a litter ready; lay him in ’t, And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master: If thou should'st dally half an hour, his life, With thine, and all that offer to defend him, Stand in assured loss : Take up, take up;? And follow me, that will to some provision Give thee quick conduct. Kent.

Oppress'd nature sleeps :This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,

5 lie here,] i. e. on the cushions to which he points. He had before said

“ Will you lie down, and rest upon the cushions ?" Malone. 6 And I'll go to bed at noon.] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens.

Take up, take up;] One of the quartos reads-Take up the king, &c. the other-Take up to keep, &c. Steevens.

8 Oppress’d nature sleeps : ] These two concluding speeches by Kent and Edgar, and which by no means ought to have been cut off, I have restored from the old quarto. The soliloquy of Edgar is extremely fine; and the sentiments of it are drawn equally from na. ture and the subject. Besides, with regard to the stage, it is absolutely necessary: for as Edgar is not designed, in the constitution of the play, to attend the king to Dover, how absurd would it look for a character of his importance to quit the scene without one word said, or the least intimation what we are to expect from him? Theobald.

The lines inserted from the quarto are in crotchets. The omission of them in the folio is certainly faulty: yet I believe the folio is printed from Shakspeare's last revision, carelessly and hastily performed, with more thought of shortening the scenes, than of continuing the action. Johnson.

thy broken senses,] The quarto, from whence this speech is taken, reads,-thy broken sinews. Senses is the conjectural emendation of Theobald. Steevens. A passage in Macbeth adds support to Theobald's emendation:

the innocent sleep,
56 Balm of hurt minds, a,"


Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure.—Come, help to bear thy master;
Thou must not stay behind.

[To the Fool. Glo.

Come, come, away. (Exeunt KENT, Glo. and the Fool, bearing

off the King Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers, suffers most i' the mind; Leaving free things, and happy shows, behind: But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip, When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship. How light and portable my pain seems now, When that, which makes me bend, makes the king bow; He childed, as I father'd! Tom, away: Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,


[The following is from Mr. Malone's Appendix. ]

I had great doubts concerning the propriety of admitting Theo. pald's emendation into the text, though it is extremely plausible, and was adopted by all the subsequent editors. The following passage in Twelfth Night sufficiently supports the reading of the old copy: “Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot." Malone.

I cannot reconcile myself to the old reading, as I do not under. stand how sinews if broken, could be balmed, in any obvious sense of that word. Broken (i. e. interrupted) senses, like broken slumbers, would admit of a soothing cure. Steevens.

-- free things,] States clear from distress. Johnson. 2 But then the mind much sufferance doth o’erskip,

When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:

“And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage.” Again, in Romeo and Juliet:

" Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship -”
“ Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris."-Incert. Auct.

Malone. 3 Mark the high noises;] Attend to the great events that are approaching, and make thyself known when that false opinion now prevailing against thee shall, in consequence of just proof of thy integrity, revoke its erroneous sentence, and recall thee to honour and reconciliation. Johnson.

By the high noises, I believe, are meant the loud tumults of the approaching war. Thus, Claudian, in his Epist. ad Serenam:

Præliaque altisoni referens Phlegræa mariti.” Steevens. The high noises are perhaps the calamities and quarrels of those in a higher station than Edgar, of which he has been just speaking.

When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof, repeals, and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe scape the king!
Lurk, lurk.]


A Room in Gloster's Castle.

and Servants. Corn. Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him this letter:--the army of France is landed :-Seek out the villain Gloster. [Exeunt some of the Servants.

Reg. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Pluck out his eyes.

Corn. Leave him to iny displeasure.-Edmund, keep you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father, are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate preparation ;6 we are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt us.? Farewel, dear sister;-farewel, my lord of Gloster.3

The words, however, may allude to the proclamation which had been made for bringing in Edgar:

“ I heard myself proclaim’d,
“ And by the happy hollow of a tree,

Escap'd the hunt." Maione.

and thyself bewray,] Bewray, which at present has only a dirty meaning, anciently signified to betray, to discover. In this sense it is used by Spenser; and in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:

" Well, to the king Andrugio now will hye,

Hap lyfe, hap death, his safetie to bewray." Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:

“ With ink bewray what blood began in me.” Again, in Lyly's Endymion, 1591 : - lest iny head break, and so I bewray my brains."

Steevens. whose wrong thought defiles thee,] The quartos, where alone this speech is found, read—whose wrong thoughts defile thee. The rhyme shows that the correction, which was made by Mr. Theobald is right. Mulone.

a most festinate preparation ;) Here we have the same error in the first folio, which has happened in many other places; the u employed instead of an n. It reads-festiuate. The quartos festuant. See Timon of Athens, Act IV, sc. ; and Vol. III, p. 140, n. 5.



Enter Steward. How now? Where 's the king?

Stew. My lord of Gloster hath convey'd him hence: Some five or six and thirty of his nights, Hot questrists after him,o met him at gate; Who, with some other of the lord's dependants, Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast To have well-armed friends. Corn.

Get horses for


mistress. Gon. Farewel, sweet lord, and sister.

[Exeunt Gon. and Edm. Corn. Edmund, farewel.-Go, seek the traitor Gloster, Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us:

[Exeunt other Servants. Though well we may not pass upon his life Without the form of justice; yet our power Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men May blame, but not control. Who's there? The traitor?

Re-enter Servants, with GLOSTER. Reg. Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.



and intelligent betwixt us,] So, in a former scene :

spies and speculations Intelligent of our state.” Steevens. Thus the folio. The quartos read-swift and intelligence betwixt us: the poet might have written-swift in intelligence Malone.

- my lord of Gloster. ] Meaning Edmund, newly invested with his father's tities. The Steward, speaking immediately after, mentions the old earl by the same title. Fohnson.

9 Hot questrists after him.] A questrist is one who goes in search or quest of another. Mr Pope and Sir T. Hanmer read-questers.

Steevens. 1 Though well we may not pass upon his life

- yet our power Shall do a couriesy to our wrath,] To do a courtesy is to gratify, to comply with. To pass, is to pass a judicial sentence. Johnson.

I believe, “ do a courtesy to our wrath,” simply means—bend to our wrath, as a courtesy is made by bending the body.

The original of the expression, to pass on any one, may be traced from Magna Charta: nec super eum ibimus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum.”

It is common to most of our early writers. So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: “I do not nowe consider the mischievous pageants he hath played ; I do not now passe upon them." Again, in If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612: “ A jury of brokers, impaneld, and deeply sworn to passe on all villains in hell.” Steedens,

Corn. Bind fast his corky arms.
Glo. What mean your graces ?- -Good my friends,

You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.
Corn. Bind him, I say.

[Servants bind him. Reg.

Hard, hard :-O filthy traitor! Glo. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.3 Corn. To this chair bind him :-Villain, thou shalt find

[REG. plucks his Beard. Glo. By the kind gods,4 'tis most ignobly done To pluck me by the beard.

Reg. So white, and such a traitor!

Naughty lady,
These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
Will quicken,5 and accuse thee: I am your host;
With robbers' hands, my hospitable favoursó


corky arms.) Dry, withered, husky arms. Johnson. As Shakspeare appears from other passages of this play to have had in his eye Bishop Harsenet's Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, &c. 1603, 4:0. it is probable, that this very expressive, but peculiar epithet, corky, was suggested to him by a passage in that very curious pamphlet : “ It would pose all the cunning exorcists, that are this day to be found, to teach an old corkie woman to writhe, tumble, curvet, and fetch her morice gamboles, as Martha Bressier (one of the possessed mentioned in the pamphlet) did.” Percy. - I am none.) Thus the folio. The quartos read-1 am true.

Malone. 4 By the kind gods,] We are not to understand by this the gods in general, who are beneficent and kind to men ; but that particular species of them called by the ancients dii hospitales, kind gods. So, Plautus, in Pænulo:

Deum hospitalem ac tesseram mecum fero.” Warburton. Shakspeare hardly received any assistance from mythology to furnish out a proper oath for Gloster. People always invoke their deities as they would have them show themselves at particular times in their favour; and he accordingly calls those kind gols whom he would wish to find so on this occasion. He does so yet a second time in this scene. Our own liturgy will sufficiently evince the truth of my supposition Steevens Cordelia also uses the same invocation in the 4th Act:


kind gods, “Cure this great breach in his abused nature !” M. Mason. 5 Will quicken,] i. e. quicken into life. M. Mason.

my hospitable favours -] Favours means the same as features, i e. the different parts of which a face is composed. So, in Drayton's epistle from Matilda to King John:

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »