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I will say nothing 1
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece; that 's'a wise man, and a fool.2
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here ?3 things that love night,
Let the great gods,
1 No, I will be the pattern of all patience,
I will say nothing.) So Perillus, in the old anonymous play, speaking of Leir: “But he, the myrrour of mild patience,
up all wrongs, and never gives reply.” Steevens.
grace, and a cod-piece ; that 's a wise man, and a fool.] In Shakspeare's time," the king's grace” was the usual expression. In the latter phrase, the speaker perhaps alludes to an old notion concerning fools. Malone.
Alluding perhaps to the saying of a'contemporary wit; that there is no discretion below the girdle. Steevens.
are you here?] The quartos read-sit you here? Steevens. 4 Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,] So, in Venus and Adonis:
'stonish'd as night-wanderers are.” Malone. Gallow, a west-country word, signifies to scare or frighten,
Warburton. So, the Somersetshire proverb: “ The dunder do gally the beans." Beans are vulgarly supposed to shoot up faster after thunder-storm.
Steevens. - fear.) So the folio: the latter editions read, with the quarto, force for fear, less elegantly. Johnson.
keep this dreadful pother -- ) Thus one of the quartos and the folio. The other quarto reads thund'ring.
The reading of the text, however, is an expression common to others. So, in The Scornful Lady of Beaumont and Fletcher:
faln out with their meat, and kept a pudder.” Steevens.
That under covert and convenient seeming?
Alack, bare-headed!2 Gracious
my lord, hard by here is a hovel; Some friendship will it lend you ’gainst the tempest;
7 That under covert and convenient seeming - ] Convenient needs not be understood in any other than its usual and proper sense; accommodate to the present purpose; suitable to a design. Convenient seeming is appearance such as may promote his purpose to destroy.
Fohnson. - concealing continents,] Continent stands for that which contains or incloses. Fohnson. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Heart, once be stronger than thy continent.!” Again, in Chapman's translation of the twelfth Book of Homer's Odyssey
“ I told our pilot that past other men
“ The continent that all our spirits convey'd,” &c. The quartos read, concealed centers. Steevens.
These dreadful summoners grace.] Summoners are here the offi'cers that summon offenders before a proper tribunal. See Chaucer's Sompnour's Tale, v.625-670. Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. Vol. I. Steevens.
I find the same expression in a treatise published long before this play was written: “ – they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow for the most part after blazing starres, as if they were the summoners of God to call princes to the seat of judgment." De. fensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, 1581. Malone.
1 I am a man,] Oedipus, in Sophocles, represents himself in the same light. Oedip. Colon. v. 258 :
ταγ’ εργα με « Πεπονθοτ' εςι μαλλον η δεόρακοτα.” Tyrwhitt. * Alack, bare-headed!] Kent's faithful attendance on the old king, as well as that of Perillus, in the old play which preceded Shakspeare's, is founded on an historical fact. Lear, says Geoffrey of Monmouth, when he betook himself to his youngest daughter in Gaul, waited before the city where she resided, while he sent a messenger to inform her of the misery he was fallen into, and to desire her relief to a father that suffered both hunger and nakedness. Cor. deilla was startled at the news, and wept bitterly, and with tears ask. ed him, how many men her father had with him. The messenger answered he had none but one man, who had been his armour-bearer, and was staying with him without the town." Malone. VOL. XIV.
Repose you there: while I to this hard house,
My wits begin to turn.
With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,-
For the rain it raineth every day. Lear. True, my good boy:--Come, bring us to this hovel.
[Exeunt LEAR and KENT. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.5-I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
thing in my heart from which Hanmer, and Dr. Warburton after him, have made string, very unnecessarily; but the copies have part. Johnson. 4 That's sorry yet &c.] The old quartos read:
That sorrows yet for thee. Steevens. 5 This a brave night &c.] This speech is not in the quartos.
Steevens. 6 When nobles are their tailors' tutors;] i. e. invent fashions for them. Warburton.
7 No hereticks burrd, but wenches' suitors : ] The disease to which wenches' suitors are particularly exposed, was called, in Shakspeare's time, the brenning or burning. Johnson.
So, in Isaiah, iii, 24: " --and burning instead of beauty.” Steevens.
Then shall the realm of Albion
That going shall be us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.
[Exit. SCENE III.
A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND. Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing: When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual displeasure, nei. ther to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!
Glo. Go to; say you nothing: There is division between the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this night;~'tis dangerous to be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him: go you, and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived: If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If Í die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.
[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
8 Then comes the time, &c.] This couplet Dr. Warburton transposed, and placed after the fourth line of this prophecy. The four lines, “ When priests,” &c. according to his notion, are “a satirical description of the present manners, as future;" and the six lines from “When every case-to churches build;" “ a satirical description of fu. ture manners, which the corruption of the present would prevent from ever happening." His conception of the first four lines is, I . think, just; but, instead of his far-fetched conceit relative to the other six lines, I should rather call them an ironical, as the preceding are a satirical, description of the time in which our poet lived. The transposition recommended by this critick, and adopted in the late editions, is, in my opinion, as unnecessary as it is unwarrantable.
Instantly know; and of that letter too :--
Enter LEAR, Kent, and Fool. Kent. Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter: The tyranny of the open night's too rough For nature to endure.
[Storm still. Lcar.
Let me alone. Kent. Good my lord, enter here. Lear.
Wilt break my heart 9 Kent. I'd rather break mine own: Good my lord, enter. Lear. Thou think’st 'tis much, that this contentious
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
9 Wilt break my heart.?] I believe that Lear does not address this question to Kent, but to his own bosom. Perhaps, therefore, we should point the passage thus:
Wilt break, my heart? The tenderness of Kent indeed induces him reply, as to an interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity. Steevens.
raging sea,] Such is the reading of that which appears to be the elder of the two quartos. The other, with the folio, reads, roaring sea. Steevens.
In such a night To shut me out.! - Pour on; I will endure : ] Omitted in the quar: tos. Stecvens,