Page images

To temper clay.-Ha! is it come to this?
Let it be fo:-Yet I have left a daughter,
Who, I am fure, is kind and comfortable;
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolfish vifage. Thou shalt find,
That I'll refume the shape which thou doft think
I have caft off for ever; thou fhalt, I warrant thee.
[Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants.

Gon. Do you mark that my lord?

Alb. I cannot be fo partial, Goneril,

To the great love I bear you.

Gon. Pray you, content.-What, Ofwald, ho!

You, fir, more knave than fool, after your mafter.

[To the Fool

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Lear. Ha, ha, ha!

Fool. Shalt fee, thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though fhe's as like this as a crab is

Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take 15 like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

the fool with thee.

A fox when one has caught her,
And fuch a daughter,

[blocks in formation]

Lear. Why, what canft thou tell, boy?

Fool. She will tafte as like this, as a crab does to

a crab. Thou canst tell why one's nofe ftand's i' the middle of one's face?

Lear. No.

[blocks in formation]

Gon. Take you fome company, and away to horfe: 40 fool.
Inform her full of my particular fear:
And thereto add fuch reafons of your own,
As may compact it more 2. Get you gone;
And haften your return. No, no, my lord,

Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

[Exit Steward. 45 Lear. How's that?

This milky gentleness, and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more at task 3 for want of wisdom,
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.

Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot tell;
Striving to better, oft' we mar what's well.

Gon. Nay, then

Alb. Well, well; the event.



Fool. Thou fhould'st not have been old before thou hadst been wife.

Lear. O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be 5c mad!

A Court-yard before the Duke of Albany's Palace. 55
Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

Lear. Go you before to Glofter with these let

Enter a Gentleman.
How now? are the horfes ready?

Gent. Ready, my lord.

Lear. Come, boy.


Fool. She that's a maid now, and laughs at my Shall not be a maid long unless things be cut



• At point, probably means completely armed, and confequently ready at appointment or command on the flighteft notice. 2 That is, Unite one circumstance with another, fo as to make a confiftent account. 3 To be at task, is to be liable to reprebenfion and correction. 4 He is mufing on Cordelia. 5 He is meditating on his daughter's having in fo violent a manner deprived him of those privileges which before she had agreed to grant him.



[blocks in formation]


Glo. But where is he?

Edm. Look, fir, I bleed.

Gloft. Where is the villain, Edmund ?

he could

Edm. Fled this way, fir. When by no means
[means, what?
Glo. Purfue him, ho-Go after. By no
Edm. Perfuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainft parricides did all their thunders bend;
ro Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father;-Sir, in fine,
Seeing how lothly opposite I stood

To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
15 My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm :
But when he faw my beft alarum'd fpirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encounter,
Or whether-gafted 3 by the noise I made,
Full fuddenly he fled.

Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better! 20

This weaves itself perforce into my business!
My father hath fet guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queazy 2 question,
Which I must act :-Briefnefs, and fortune,work!--25
Brother, a word;-defcend :-Brother, I fay;
Enter Edgar.

My father watches :-O, fir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither, now, i' the night, i' the hafte,
And Regan with him; Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

Edg. I am fure on't, not a word.

Glo. Let him fly far:

[blocks in formation]

That he, which finds him, fhall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.

Edm. When I diffuaded him from his intent, And found him pight 5 to do it, with curft fpeech 3c I threaten'd to discover him: He replied,


Edm. I hear my father coming,-Pardon me :-
In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you :-
Draw: Seem to defend yourfelf: Now quit you
Yield: Come before my father;-Light, ho,
Fly, brother;-Torches ! torches !-So, farewel.-
[Exit Edgar.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
[Wounds bis arm. 45
Of my more fierce endeavour: I have feen drunkards
Do more than this in fport.-Father! father!
Stop, ftop! No help?

Enter Glofter, and Servants with torches.
Glo. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
Edm. Here ftood he in the dark, his fharp fword

Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To ftand his aufpicious mistress :-

[ocr errors]

"Thou unpoffeffing bastard! doft thou think,
"If I would ftand against thee, would the repofal
"Of any truft, virtue, or worth, in thee
"Make thy words faith'd? No: what I fhould deny,
"(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
"My very character) I'd turn it all

"To thy fuggeftion, plot, and damned practice:
"And thou must make a dullard of the world,
"If they not thought the profits of my death
"Were very pregnant and potential spurs
"To make thee feek it." [Trumpets within.
Glo. O ftrange, faften'd villain!

Would he deny his letter, faid he?--I never got him.
Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he


All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not scape;
The duke muit grant me that: befides, his picture
I will fend far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him: and of my land,
50 Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable 7.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.
Corn. How now, my noble friend? fince I
came hither,

Ear-kiffing arguments means, that they are yet in reality only whisper'd ones. delicate; what requires to be handled nicely.

only in compofition, as arcb-angel, arch-duke. fevere, harsh, vehemently angry.

legal bar of thy illegitimacy,

[blocks in formation]

3 i. e. frighted. 4 i. e. chief; a word now used 5 Pight is pitch'd, fixed, fettled.

7 i. c. capable of fucceeding to my land, notwithstanding the

(Which I can call but now) I have heard strange


Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too fhort,| Which can pursue the offender. How does my lord? Glo. O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, is 5 crack'd! [life?

Reg. What, did my father's godfon feek your
He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?

Glo. O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous 10
That tend upon my father?

Glo. I know not, madam:

It is too bad, too bad.


Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that confort.

[blocks in formation]

Kent. Fellow, I know thee.

Stew. What doft thou know me for?

Reg. No marvel then, though he were ill affected; 15 thee not.
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the expence and waste of his revenues.
I have this prefent evening from my fifter
Been well inform'd of them; and with fuch cautions,
That, if they come to fojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.

Corn. Nor I, affure thee, Regan.

Edmund, I hear that you have shewn your father
A child-like office.

Edm. 'Twas my duty, fir.

Glo. He did bewray his practice; and receiv'd This hurt you fee, striving to apprehend him.

Corn. Is he purfu'd?

Glo. Ay, my good lord.

Corn. If he be taken, he fhall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,|
How in my ftrength you please.-For you, Edmund,
Whofe virtue and obedience doth this inftant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours;
Natures of fuch deep truft we shall much need;
You we first seize on.

Edm. I fhall ferve you, fir,

Truly, however elfe.

Glo. For him I thank your grace.

Kent. A knave, a rafcal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, fhallow, beggarly, three20 fuited 5, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking 7 knave; a lily-liver'd3, action-taking knave; a whorefon, glass-gazing, super-serviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting flave; one that would't be a bawd, in way of good service, and 25 art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the fon and heir of a mungrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamourous whining, if thou deny'st the least syllable of thy addition.


Stew. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail en one, that is neither known of thee, or knows thee?

Kent. What a brazen-fac'd varlet art thou, to deny thou know'ft me? Is it two days ago, fince 35 tript up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king? Draw, you rogue: for though it be night, yet the moon fhines; I'll make a fop o' the moonthine of you 10: Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger 1, draw. [Drawing bis fword. Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee. Kent. Draw, you rafcal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father: Draw, you rogue, or I'll fo carbonado your thanks :-draw, 45 you rafcal; come your ways.

Corn. You know not why we came to vifit you, 40
Reg. Thus out of season; threading dark-ey'd

Occafions, noble Glofter, of fome prize 2,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:-
Our father he hath writ, fo hath our fifter,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home 3; the feveral meffengers
From hence attend difpatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our bufineffes,
Which crave the instant use.

Glo. I ferve you, madam:

Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you flave; ftand, rogue, ftand; you neat flave 12, ftrike. [Beating bi

Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder! 50 Enter Edmund, Cornwall, Regan, Glofter, and


Edm. How now? What's the matter? Part.

2 Prize, of

i. e. difcover, betray. Practice is always used by Shakspeare for infiduous mischief. price, for value. 3 i.e. not at home, but at fome other place. + Lipfbury pinfold may be a cant expreffion importing the fame as Lob's Pound. 5 Three-fuited knave might mean, in an age of oftentatious finery like that of Shakspeare, one who had no greater change of raiment than three fuits would furnish him with. 6 A bundred pound gentleman is a term of reproach. 7 A worsted stocking know is another term of reproach. The ftockings in England, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, were remarkably expensive, and scarce any other kind than filk were worn, even by those who had not above forty fhillings a year wages. Lily-liver'd is cowardly; white-blooded and white-liver'd are ftill in vulgar 9 i. e. titles. 10 This is equivalent to our modern phrase of making the fun shine through any one. 11 Barber-monger may mean dealer in the lower tradefmen: a flur upon the steward, as taking fees for a recommendation to the bufinefs of the family. 12 You neat flave, means no more than you



finical rafcal, you who are an affemblage of foppery and poverty.


[blocks in formation]

Kent. His countenance likes 7 me not. [or hers.
Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, or his,
Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain;

I have feen better faces in my time

Than stand on any shoulder that I fee

Before me at this inftant.

Corn. This is fome fellow,

Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affe&
A faucy roughness; and constrains the garb,

Kent. No marvel, you have fo beftirr'd your 10 Quite from his nature: He cannot flatter, he! You cowardly rafcal, nature difclaims in thee;

A tailor made thee.

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow :

A tailor make a man?

Kent. Ay, a tailor, fir: a stone-cutter, or a painter 15 could not have made him fo ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel? Stew. This ancient ruffian, fir, whofe life have spar'd

At fuit of his grey beard,

[ocr errors]

An honeft mind and plain,—he must speak truth:
An they will take it, fo; if not, he's plain. [nefs
Thefe kind of knaves I know, which in this plain-
Harbour more craft, and more corrupter ends,
Than twenty filly 9 ducking obfervants,
That ftretch their duties nicely "0.

Kent. Sir, in good footh, or in fincere verity,
Under the allowance of your grand aspect,
Whofe influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
|20|On flickering Phoebus' front,-

Kent. Thou whorefon zed1! thou unneceffary letter! My lord, if you will give me leave, 1| will tread this unbolted2 villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him.-Spare my 25 grey beard, you wagtail?

[blocks in formation]

Who wears no honefty. Such fmiling rogues as
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords 3 in twain
Too intrinficate t' unloofe: footh ev'ry paffion
That in the nature of their lords rebels;
Bring oil to fire, fnow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon 4 beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters;
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.-
A plague upon your epileptic 5 visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goofe, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'd drive you cackling home to Camelot 6.
Corn. What art thou mad, old fellow?
Glo. How fell you out? fay that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and fuch a knave.

Corn. Why deft thou call him knave? What's
his offence?

Corn. What mean'ft thou by this?

Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you difcommend so much. I know, fir, I am no flatterer: he that beguil'd you, in a plain accent, was a plain knave; which, for my part, I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to it.

Corn. What was the offence you gave him?
Stew. I never gave him any :

30 It pleas'd the king his master, very late,
To ftrike at me, upon his mifconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure,
Tript me behind; being down, infulted, rail'd,
And put upon him fuch a deal of man, that
35 That worthy'd him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdu'd;
And, in the fieshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.

Kent. None of thefe rogues, and cowards,

40 But Ajax is their fool 12.

Corn. Fetch forth the ftocks, ho!


You ftubborn ancient knave, you reverend brag-
We'll teach you---

Kent. Sir, I am too old to learn:

45 Call not your ftocks for me: I ferve the king;
On whofe employment I was fent to you:
You fhall do fmall refpect, fhew too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

[ocr errors]

Corn. Fetch forth the stocks :

'Mr. Steevens obferves, that Zed is here probably used as a term of contempt, because it is the laft letter in the English alphabet, and as its place may be fupplied by S. and the Roman alphabet has it not, neither is it read in any word originally Teutonic. 2 Unbolted mortar, according to

Mr. Tollett, is mortar made of unfifted lime, and therefore to break the lumps it is neceffary to tread it by men in wooden fhoes. This unbolted villain is, therefore, this coarse rascal. 3 By thefe boly cords the poet means the natural union between parents and children. The metaphor is taken from the cords of the fanctuary; and the fomenters of family differences are compared to these facrilegious rats. The balcyon is the bird otherwife called the king-fiber. The vulgar opinion was, that this bird, if hung up, would vary with the wind, and by that means fhew from what point it blew. 5 The frighted countenance of a man ready to fall in a fit. 6 Camelot was the place where the romances fay king Arthur kept his court in the Weft; fo this alludes to fome proverbial speech in those romances. In Somersetshire, adds Hanmer, near Camelot, are many large moors, where are bred great quantities of geefe, so that many other places are from hence supplied with quills and feathers. 7 i. e. pleases

me not. fition.

8 i. e. forces his outfide or his appearance to something totally different from his natural difpo. Silly here means only fimple, or ruftic. o i. e. foolishly. 11 Dr. Johnson in his Dictionary fays, this word means to flutter. 12 Their fool means here, their batt, their laughing-fuck

As I have life and honour, there fhall he fit 'till


Regan. 'Till noon! 'till night, my lord; and all

night too.

Kent. Why, madam, if I were your father's dog, 5 You should not use me fo.

Regan. Sir, being his knave I will.

[Stocks brought out.

Corn. This is a fellow of the felf-fame colour
Our fifter fpeaks of :-Come, bring away the ro


Glo. Let me beseech your grace not to do fo :
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for't: your purpos'd low cor-

Is fuch, as bafeft and the meaneft wretches,
For pilferings and most common trespasses,
Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill,
That he, so slightly valu'd in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.

Corn. I'll answer that.

Reg. My fifter may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abus'd, affaulted,
For following her affairs.-Put in his legs.-

Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This fhameful lodging.

Fortune, good night; smile once more; turn thy
[He fleeps.


A Part of the Heath.
Enter Edgar.

Edg. I heard myself proclaim'd ;

And, by the happy hollow of a tree,
Efcap'd the hunt. No port is free; no place,
That guard, and most unusual vigilance,
Does not attend my taking. While I may 'scape,
15I will preferve myself: and am bethought
To take the bafest and most poorest shape,
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beaft: my face I'll grime with filth;
Blanket my loins; elf all my hair in knots 2;
20 And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds, and perfecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortify'd bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks 3, nails, sprigs of rosemary :
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting 4 villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans 5, fometime with

[Kent is put in the stocks. 25

Come, my good lord; away.

[Exeunt Regan, and Cornwall. Glo. I am forry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,

Whofe difpofition, all the world well knows, [thee, 30
Will not be rubb'd, nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for

Kent. Pray, do not, fir: I have watch'd, and
travell'd hard;

Some time I fhall fleep out, the reft I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels;
Give you good morrow!

Glo. The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill


Kent. Good king, that must approve the com

mon faw!

Thou out of heaven's benediction com'ft

To the warm fun!

Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Fool. Ha, ha; look! he wears cruel garters! Horfes are ty'd by the heads; dogs and bears by the neck; monkies by the loins, and men by the legs when a man is over-lufty at legs, then he 50 wears wooden nether-ftocks 8. [mistook Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place To fet thee here?

That art now to exemplify the common proverb, that cut of, &c. That changest better for worse. Hanmer obferves, that it is a proverbial faying, applied to thofe who are turned out of house and home to the open weather. It was perhaps first used of men dismissed from an hospital, or house of chanty, fuch as was erected formerly in many places for travellers. Thofe houses had names properly enough alluded to by beaven's benediction. The faw alluded to, is in Heywood's Dialogues on Proverbs, book ii. chap. 5.

"In your running from him to me, ye runne
"Out of God's bleffing into the warm funne.”

2 Hair knotted, was vulgarly supposed to be the work of elves and fairies in the night. 3 i. e. fkewers. 4 i. e. paltry. 5 To ban, is to curfe. 6 Mr. Steevens believes that a quibble was here intended. Crewel fignifies worsted, of which stockings, garters, night-caps, &c. are made. this place has a double fignification. Luftinefs anciently meant faucinefs. word for fuckings. Breeches were at that time called "men's over-flocks."

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »