Imatges de pÓgina
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a figure I am better than thou art now: I am a fool, thou art nothing.-Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face [to GoN.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.—

That's a sheal'd peascod."

[Pointing to LEAr.

Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue

Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth

In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir,

I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it ont
By your allowance;" which if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep;
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

Fool. For you trow, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it had its head bit off by its young.

So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.*
Lear. Are you our daughter?

Gon. Come, sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.

That's a sheal'd peascod.] i. e. Now a mere husk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, but all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone: he has nothing to give.-JOHNSON.

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put it on-]i. e. Promote, push forward.
allowance ;]i. e. Approbation.

were left darkling] Shakspeare's fools are certainly copied from the life. The originals whom he copied were no doubt men of quick parts; lively and sarcastick. Though they were licensed to say any thing, it was still necessary to prevent giving offence, that every thing they said should have a playful air: we may suppose therefore that they had a custom of taking off the edge of too sharp a speech by covering it hastily with the end of an old song, or any glib nonsense that came into the mind. I know no other way of accounting for the incoherent words with which Shakspeare often finishes this fool's speeches.-Sir JOSHUA REYNOLDS.

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?-Whoop, Jug! I love thee."

Lear. Does any here know me?-Why this is not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied. Sleeping or waking?-Ha! sure 'tis not so. -Who is it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow?2 I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters."

Fool. Which they will make an obedient father."
Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?

Gon. Come, sir;

This admiration is much o'the favour

Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:

As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires ;
Men so disorder'd, so debauch'd, and bold,
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern, or a brothel,

Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: Be then desir'd

By her, that else will take the thing she begs,

A little to disquantity your train;

And the remainder, that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.

- Whoop Jug! I love thee.] This, as I am informed, is a quotation from the burthen of an old song.-STEEVENS.

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Lear's shadow?] In the folio these words are given to the fool: perhaps correctly.

for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, &c.] i. e. If I judge by the marks (i. e. ensigns) of sovereignty, which my daughters now enjoy, and which they derived from me; by my knowledge, and by my reason, I should be induced to think I had daughters, yet that must be a false persuasion; it cannot be."-M. MASON.

Which they will make an obedient father.] Which, is on this occasion used with two deviations from present language. It is referred, contrary to the rules of grammarians, to the pronoun I, and is employed, according to a mode now obsolete, for whom the accusative case of who.-STEEVENS.

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- o'the favour—] i. e. Of the complexion.

still depend,] i. e. Continue in service,—WARBURTON.

Lear.

Darkness and devils!

Saddle my horses; call my train together.-
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.

Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble Make servants of their betters.

Enter ALBANY.

Lear. Woe, that too late repents,-O, sir, are you

come?

Is it your will? [to ALB.] Speak, sir.—Prepare my
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,

More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster !*

Alb.

Pray, sir, be patient.

Lear. Detested kite! thou liest: [to GONERIL.]

My train are men of choice and rarest parts,

That all particulars of duty know:

And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name.-O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!

horses.

Which, like an engine,' wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!

Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in, [Striking his head.
And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people.

Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant

Of what hath mov'd you.

Lear. It may be so, my lord,-Hear, nature, hear;

Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if
Thou didst intend to make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!

Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogates body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,

e Than the sea-monster!] Mr. Upton observes, that the sea-monster is the hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandys, in his Travels, says, "That he killeth his sire, and ravisheth his own dam."STEEVENS.

an engine,]-here means the rack.

derogate-] i. e. Degraded, blasted.

Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,i
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child!-Away, away!

[Exit.

Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this? Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope

That dotage gives it.

Re-enter LEAR.

Lear. What, fifty of my followers, at a clap! Within a fortnight?

Alb.

.

What's the matter, sir?

[thee!

Lear. I'll tell thee;-Life and death! I am asham'd That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus: [TO GONERIL. That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon The untented woundings of a father's curse Pierce every sense about thee!-Old fond eyes, Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out; And cast you, with the waters that you lose, To temper clay.-Ha! is it come to this? Let it be so :-Yet have I left a daughter, Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable; When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails She'll flay thy wolfish visage. Thou shalt find, That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think I have cast off for ever; thou shalt, I warrant thee. [Exeunt LEAR, KENT, and Attendants.

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Gon. Do you mark that, my lord?

cadent tears-] i. e. Falling tears.

her mother's pains and benefits,] i. e. Her maternal cares and good offices. -MALONE.

kuntented-] i. e. Unappeased: not put into a way of cure, as a wound is when a surgeon has put a tent into it. A tent is a roll of lint employed in examining or purifying a deep wound.-NARES' Glossary.

Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,

To the great love I bear you,

Gon. Pray you, content.-What, Oswald, ho! You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.

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A fox, when one has caught her,

And such a daughter,

Should sure to the slaughter,

If my cap would buy a halter;

So the fool follows after.

[Exit.

Gon. This man hath had good counsel :-A hundred

knights!

'Tis politick, and safe to let him keep

At point,' a hundred knights. Yes, that on every dream,
Each buz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,

He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy.-Oswald, I say!-
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.

Gon.
Safer than trust too far.m
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart:
What he hath utter'd, I have writ my sister;

If she sustain him and his hundred knights,

When I have show'd the unfitness.- How now, Oswald?

Enter Steward.

What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

Stew. Ay, madam.

Gon. Take you some company, and away
Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own,
As may compact it more." Get you gone;

to horse':

1 At point,] Completely armed, and consequently ready at appointment or command on the slightest notice.-STEEVENS.

trust too far.] So all the old copies: Steevens omits too far, for the sake of the metre.

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compact it more.] Unite one circumstance with another, so as to make a consistent account.-JOHNSON.

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