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Lear. How !
No, my lord. Fool. Ha, ha; look! he wears cruel garters ! Horses are tied by the heads; dogs, and bears, by the neck; monkies by the loins, and men by the legs : when a man is over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden netherstocks.
Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistook To set thee here? Kent.
It is both he and she.
Lear. They durst not do't;
My lord, when at their home,
cruel garters !] Probably a quibble was here intended. Crewel signifies worsted, of which stockings, garters, night-caps, &c. are made.-STEEVENS.
2- nether-stocks.] The old word for stockings.—STEEVENS.
a To do upon respect such violent outrage:) i. e. To violate the venerable character of a messenger from the king.-Johnson.
b— spite of intermission,] i. e. Without pause, wthout suffering time to interrene. -STEEVENS.
They summon'd up their meiny,' straight took horse;
Do make their children blind;
Shall see their children kind.
Ne'er turns the key to the poor.But, for all this, thou shalt have as many doloursd for thy daughters, as thou can'st tell in a year.
Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart !
Kent. With the earl, sir, here within.
Follow me not; Stay here.
[Exit. Gent. Made you no more offence than what you
speak of? Kent. None. How chance the king comes with so small a train ?
Fool. An thou hadst been set i'the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it.
Kent. Why, fool?
- meiny,] i. e. Family. Mesnie, Fr.
dolours ] Quibble between dolours and dollars.—Hanmer. € 0, how this mother, &c.] Lear here affects to pass off the swelling of his heart ready to burst with grief and indignation, for the disease called the Mother, or Hysterica passio, which, in our author's time, was not thought pecu. liar to women only.-Percy.
Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring in the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes, but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again; I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That, sir, which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
And leave thee in the storm.
And let the wise man fly:
The fool no knave, perdy.'
Re-enter LEAR, with Gloster.
My dear lord,
Lear. Vengeance! plague ! death! confusion !
The fool no knave, perdy.] I think the passage is erroneous, though both the copies concur. The sense will be mended if we read:
The fool turns knave, that runs away;
The knave no fool, perdy. That I stay with the king is a proof that I am a fool; the wise men are deserting him. There is knavery in this desertion, but there is no follyJohnson. Perdy is a corruption of par dieu.
-Death on my
Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform’d them so.
-My breath and blood!
[Looking on Kent. Should he sit here? This act persuades me, That this remotions of the duke and her Is practice only. Give me my servant forth: Go, tell the duke and his wife, I'd speak with them, Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me, Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum, Till it cry-Sleep to death. Glo. I'd have all well betwixt you.
[Exit. Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart !-but, down.
Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels, when she put them i'the paste alive; she rapp'd 'em o'the coxcombs with a stick, and cry'd, Down, wantons, down: 'Twas her brother, that, in pure kindness to his horse, butter'd his hay.
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants.
Hail to your grace!
[Kent is set at liberty. this remotion—] From their own house to that of the earl of Gloster.-MALONE.
practice- ) i. e, Deceit. This word is commonly used in an ill sense by the writers of Shakspeare's time.
Sleep to death.j i. e. I'll beat the drum till it cries out-Let them awake no more; let their present sleep be their last.-STEEVENS.
Reg. I am glad to see your highness.
Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what reason I have to think so: if thou should’st not be glad, I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, Sepulch'ring an adultress.-0, are you free?
[Το ΚΕΝΤ. Some other time for that.-Beloved Regan, Thy sister's naught: 0 Regan, she hath tied Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here,
[Points to his Heart. I can scarce speak to thee: thou'lt not believe, Of how deprav'd a quality-0 Regan!
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope,
Say, how is that?
Lear. My curses on her!
O, sir, you are old;
Ask her forgiveness ?
I have hope,
Than she to scant her duty.) The sense is, “ I have hope that you are more ignorant of her merits, than she is ignorant of any inclination to neglect her duty.” The sense is most inaccurately expressed, to scant is to be deficient in.
i-the house ?] i. e. The order of families, duties of relation.--WARBURTON. - Age is unnecessary:) i. e. Old people are useless. VOL. VIII.