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worse than brutish!--Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable villain !—Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your imagination against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him. Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him,' I pray you; frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution."
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of nature" can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between son and
to your honour,] It has been already observed, that this was the usual mode of address to a lord in Shakspeare's time.-MALONE.
- pretence-] i. e. Design, purpose.
-wind me into him,] A familiar phrase, like " do me this."-JOHNSON. I would unstate myself to be in a due resolution.] i. e. He would give all he possessed to be certain of the truth; for that is the meaning of the words to be in a due resolution.-M. MASON.
convey-] i. e. Manage artfully. We say of a juggler that he has a clean conveyance.-JOHNSON.
the wisdom of nature-] That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipses, yet we feel their consequences.-JOHNSON.
father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father; the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves!Find out this villain, Edmund: it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty !-Strange! strange!
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail: and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar
and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy; My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
treachers,] i. e. Traitors. Hence the word treachery.-NARES.
O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.] The com. mentators, not being musicians, have regarded this passage perhaps as unintelligible nonsense, and therefore left it as they found it, without bestowing a single conjecture on its meaning and import. Shakspeare however shows by the context that he was well acquainted with the property of these syllables in solmization, which imply a series of sounds so unnatural, that ancient musicians prohibited their use. The monkish writers on musick say, mi contra fa est diabolus: the interval fa mi, including a tritonus, or sharp 4th, consisting of three tones, without the intervention of a semi-tone, expressed in the modern scale by the letters F G A B, would form a musical phrase extremely disagreeable to the ear. Edmund, speaking of eclipses as portents and prodigies, compares the dislocation of events, the times being out of joint, to the unnatural and offensive sounds, fa, sol, la, mi.—DR. BURNEY.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?
Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.
Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him, by word, or countenance?
Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure ; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
Edm. I do serve you in this business.- [Exit EDGAR. A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit.
A Room in the Duke of Albany's Palace.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night he wrongs me; every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other,
That set us all at odds: I'll not endure it :
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him. [Horns within.
You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question:
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
That still would manage those authorities,
With checks, as flatteries,-when they are seen abus’d.”
Very well, madam.
Gon. And let his knights have colder looks among you;
By day and night he wrongs me,] i. e. Always, every way.—STEEVENS. I have adopted the punctuation of Whalley; Malone reads, By day and night! considering the words as an adjuration.
Old fools are babes again; and must be us'd
With checks, as flatteries, when they are seen abus'd.] i. e. When old fools will not yield to the appliances of persuasion, harsh treatment must be em ployed to compel their submission. When flatteries are seen to be abus'd by them, checks must be used, as the only means left to subdue them.-HENLEY.
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:
A Hall in the same.
Enter KENT, disguised.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
For which I raz'd my likeness.-Now, banish'd Kent,
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?
Lear. Who would'st thou serve?
b my speech diffuse,] i. e. Disorder and so disguise my speech.-STEEVENS. to converse with,] i. e. To keep company with.-JOHNSON.
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.