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Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er bog and quagmire; that hath laid--knives under his pillow, and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse, over four inch'd bridges, to course his own fhadow for a traitor,
bless thy five wits; Tom's a-cold. O do, de, do, de, do, de ;-bless thee from whirl-winds, star-blasting, and taking; do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes.
There could I have him now, and there, and here again, and there.
[Storm ftill. Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this
pass? Could'I thou save nothing? did'it thou give 'em all?
Fool. Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all famed.
Lear. Now all the plagues, that in the pendulous air Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters !
Kent. He hath no daughters, Sir.
criminals brought to the fake, and the trick of devil-hunting brought into ridicule; Dr. Harsenet (who was chaplain to archbishop Bancroft, and himself afterwards archbishop of York) wrote a smart narrative of this whole proceeding under the following title : “ A declaration of “ egregious popish impostures, to withdraw the hearts of her majer. " ty's subjects from their allegiance, &c. under the pretence of caft“ ing out devils, practis’d by Edmurds, alias Weston, a jefuit; and “ divers Romißh priests, his wicked associates. Whereunto are an" nex'd the copies of che confessions and examinations of the parties " themselves, which wire pretended to be possess’d and dispostess’d, " &c. Printed by James Roberts, in 1603."
- This transaction was so rise in every body's mouth, upon tbe accession of King James the ift to the crown; that our poet though: proper to make his court, by helping forward the ridicule of it. I need only observe now, that Edgar thrz'all his frenzy supposes himself possess’d by fiends; and that the greatest part of his dissembled lunacy, the names of his devils, and the descriptive circumstances he alludes to in his own case, are all drawn from this pamphlet, and the confeffions of the poor deluded wretches. The address of our author in this popular piece of satire, ani that excentrick madness he has built upon it, made me imagine, the stating a fact, so little known, might apołogize for the length of this note on the occasion,
To fuch a lowners, but his unkind daughters.
Edg. Pillicock fat on pillicock-hill, alow, alow, loo, loo!
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools, and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o'th' foul fiend; obey thy parents ; keep thy word juftly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spoufe ; fet not thy sweet-heart on proud array. Tom's a-cold.
Lear. What haft thou been?
Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that (30) curld my hair, wore gloves in my cap, serv'd the luft of my miftress's heart, and did the act of darkness with her: swore as many oaths as I spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heav'n. One that slept
(30) that curl'd my hair, wore gloves in my cap;] A learned gentleman, whom I have no privilege to name, intimated to me, that Sbakespeare's reading must have been-..-wore cloves in my cap,---alluding to the prevailing mode, in thofe days, among the spruce gallants, of quilting spices and other perfumes within the linings of their hats. I thought it but justice to mention a hint fo serviceably defign'd; tho', with deference, I must be oblig'd to diflent in opinion, and think that the text calls for no alteration. It was a frequet cuftom to wear gloves in the hat, upon three different motives; either as the favour of a mistress; in honour of some other respected friend; or as a mark to be challeng'd by an adversary where a duel was depending. And to this custom
in all these three cases, has our author at different times alluded. King Ricbard II.
His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And wear it as a favour.
Here, uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns,
And wear it for an bonour in thy cap.
K. Henry. Give me any gage of thine, and I will wear it in bonnet; then if ever thou durft acknowledge it, I will make it my quarrel.
Will. Here's my gloves
in the contriving luft, and awak'd to do it. Wine lov'd I deeply; dice dearly; and in woman, out-paramour'd the Turk. False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in Roth, fox in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let not the creaking of shoes, nor the rustling of filks, betray thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lender's books, and defy the foul fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: says fuum, mun, nonny, dolphin, my boy, boy, Selley: let him trot by. (Storm ftill.
Lear. Thou wert better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than this ? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the worm no filk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated. Thou art the thing itself; unaccom. modated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings: come, unbutton here.
(Tearing off his clothes. Fool. Prythee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field, were like an old letcher's heart, a small spark, and all the rest on's body cold; look, here comes a walking fire.
Edg. This is the foul Flibbertigibbet; he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the hair-lip; mil ews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of the earth.
St. Withold footed thrice the Wold; (31)
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold, (31) Swithold footed thrice tbe old,] What idea the editors had, or whether any, of footing the old, I cannot pretend to determine. My ingenious friend Mr. Bishop saw it must be Wold, which fignifies a down, or champion ground, hilly and void of wood. And as to St. Witbold, we find him again mention'd in our author's troublesom reign of King Jubn, in two parts:
Sweet St. Withold, of thy lenity,
Bid her alight, and her troth plight,
And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee. Kent. How fares
Edg. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tod-pole; the wall-newt, and the water. newt; that in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend
rages, eats cow-dung for fallets; swallows the old rat, and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool; who is wbipe from tything to tything, and ftock-punith’d, and imprison'd: who hath had three suits to his back, fix fhiris to his body;
Horse to ride, and weapon to wear ;
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Gle. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman, Modo he's called, and Mabu.
Gl. Our Aesh and blood, my Lord, is grown fo vile, That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
Lear. First, let me talk with this Philosopher ;
Kent. My good Lord, take his offer, Go into th' house.
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban; What is your study? Edg, How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.
Lear. Let us ask you one word in private.
Kent, Importune him once more to go, my Lord, His Wits begin t' unsettle. Glo. Can'it thou blame him ?
[Storm fill. His Daughters seek his death : ah, that good Kent ! He said, it would be thus ; poor banith'd man ! Thou say'st, the King grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend, I'm almost mad myself; I had a son, "Now out-law'd from my blood; he fought my life, But lately, very late ; I lov'd him, friend, No father his fon dearer: true to tell thee, The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this ? I do beseech
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
Lear. With him;
Kent. Good my Lord, footh him; let him take the fellow.
Glo. Take him you on.
Edg: Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
SCENE changes to Glo'fler's Castle,
Enter Cornwall, and Edmund.
Edm. How, my Lord, I may be cenfur'd, that