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What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:
A Hall in the same.
Enter Kent, disguised.
Horns within. Enter Lear, Knights, and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready, [Exit an attendant.] How now, who art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What would'st thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.d
Lear. Who art thou ?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou?
my speech diffuse,] i.e. Disorder and so disguise my speech.-STEEVENS.
and to eat no fish.] In Queen Elizabeth's time the Papists were esteemed enemies to the government. Hence the proverbial phrase of, He's an honest man, and eats no fish; to signify he's a friend to the government and a Protestant.-WARBURTON.
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly; that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing ; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing : I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.Dinner, ho, dinner!—Where's my knave? my fool ? Go you, and call my fool hither :
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
[Erit. Lear. What says the fellow there ? Call the clotpoll back.- Where's my fool, ho?-I think the world's asleep. -How now? where's that mongrel ?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call’d him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertained with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha ! say'st thou so?
taken: for my duty cannot be silent, when I think
your highness is wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't.-But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.-Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.
Re-enter Steward. 0, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, sir?
Stew. My lady's father.
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me. Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his Heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so.
[Pushes the Steward out, Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.
[Giving Kent Money.
[Giving Kent his Cap. jealous curiosity,] i.e. I believe, punctilious jealousy.-STEEVENS. -pretence] In Shakspeare generally signifies design.-STEEVENS. bandy looks with me, j A metaphor from Tennis.-ŠTEEVENS.
Lear. How now, pretty knave? how dost thou?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favour; Nay,an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will ; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How, now, nuncle ? 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters !
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living,' I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine ; beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah ; the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel ; he must be whipp'd out, when Lady, the brach," may stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Have more than thou showest,
catch cold shortly :) i. e. Be turned out of doors, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather.-FARMEN.
my corcomb.-) i.e. His cap. Minsbeu, in his Dictionary, 1627, says, “Natural ideots and fools, have, and still do accustom themselves to weare in their cappes cockes feathers, or a hat with a neck and heade of a cocke on the top, and a bill thereon.”-STEEVENS.
* - nuncle?) A familiar contraction of mine uncle. The customary appellation of the licensed fool to his superiors was uncle or nuncle.—Nares. 1- living,] i. e. Estate, or property.—MALONE.
- brach,) i.e. A lurcher, a beagle, or any fine-nosed hound. A female was usually meant.-NARES.
Lend less than thou owest,] That is, do not lend all that thou hast. To owe, in old English, is to possess.—Jounson.
-trowest,] i.e. Believest.
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score. Lear. This is nothing, fool.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pr’ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool.
[To Kent Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool ?
Lear. No, lad ; teach me.
To give away thy land,
Or do thou for him stand:
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't:' and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching—Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't:) A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time; and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who comm
nmonly went shares with the patentee: these monopolies extended to the least as to the greatest concerns. In the books of the Stationers' Company, is the following entry: “John Charlewoode, Oct. 1587 : lycensed unto him by the whole consent of the assistants, the onlye ymprynting of all manner of billes for plaiers.” Again, Nov. 6. 1615; "The liberty of printing all billes for fencing was granted to Mr. Purfoot.”—WARBURTON and STEEVENS.