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Enter Steward. How now? Where's the king?
Stew. My lord of Gloster hath convey'd him hence: Some five or six and thirty of his nights, Hot questrists after him, met him at gate; Who, with some other of the lord's dependants, Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast To have well-armed friends. Corn.
Get horses for
mistress. Gon. Farewel, sweet lord, and sister.
[Excunt Gon. and EDM. Corn. Edmund, farewel.-Go, seek the traitor Gloster, Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us:
[Exeunt other Servants. Though well we may not pass upon his life Without the form of justice; yet our power Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men May blame, but not control. Who's there? The traitor?
Re-enter Servants, with GLOSTER. Reg. Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.
and intelligent betwixt us,] So, in a former scene :
- spies and speculations • Intelligent of our state.” Steevens. Thus the folio. The quartos read--swift and intelligence betwixt us: the poet might have written---swift in intelligence Malone.
my lord of Gloster. ] Meaning Edmund, newly invested with his father's titles. The Steward, speaking immediately after, mentions the old earl by the same title. Johnson.
9 Hot questrists afier him.] A questrist is one who goes in search or quest of another. Mr Pope and Sir T. Hanmer read-questers.
Steedens. 1 Though well we may not pass upon his life
- yet our power Shall do a cour esy to our wrath,] To do a courtesy is to gratify, to comply with. To pass, is to pass a judicial sentence. Johnson.
I believe, “ do a courtesy to our wraih,"simply means—bend to our wrath, as a courtesy is made by bending the body.
The original of the expression, to pass on any one, may be traced from Magna Charta: “ nec super eum ibimus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum.”
It is common to most of our early writers. So, in Acolastus, a comedy. 1540: "I do not nowe consider the mischievous pageants he hath played; I do not now passe upon them
Again, in If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1012: “ A jury of brokers, impaneld, and deeply sworn to passe on all villains in hell." Steedens.
Corn. Bind fast his corky arms.?
[Servants bind him. Reg.
Hard, hard :-O filthy traitor! Glo. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.3 Corn. To this chair bind him :-Villain, thou shalt find
[REG. plucks his Beard. Glo. By the kind gods,4 'tis most ignobly done To pluck me by the beard.
Reg. So white, and such a traitor!
Naughty lady, These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin, Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host; With robbers' hands, my hospitable favours6
corky arms.] Dry, withered, husky arms. Johnson. As Shakspeare appears from other passages of this play to have had in his eye Bishop Harsenet's Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, &c. 1603, 4:0. it is probable, that this very expressive, but peculiar epithet, corky, was suggested to him by a passage in that very curious pamphlet: “ It would pose all the cunning exorcists, that are this day to be found, to teach an old corkie woman to writhe, tum. ble. curvet, and fetch her morice gamboles, as Martha Bressier (one of the possessed mentioned in the pamphlet) did.” Percy. I am none.] Thus the folio. The quartos read-I am true.
Malone. 4 By the kind gods,] We are not to understand by this the gods in general, who are beneficent and kind to men; but that particular species of them called by the ancients dii hospitales, kind gods. So, Plautus, in Pænulo:
“ Deum hospitalem ac tesseram mecum fero.” Warburton. Shakspeare hardly received any assistance from mythology to furnish out a proper oath for Gloster. People always invoke their deities as they would have them show themselves at particular times in their favour; and he accordingly calls those kind gols whoin he would wish to find so on this occasion. He does so yer a second time in this scene. Our own liturgy will sufficiently evince the tru:h of my supposition Steevens. Cordelia also uses the same invocation in the 4th Act:
“ O, you kind gods,
“ Cure this great breach in his abused nature !" M. Mason. 5 Will quicken, ] i. e. quicken into life. M. Mason.
my hospitable favours – ] Favours means the same as features, i. e. the different parts of which a face is composed. So, in Drayton's epistle from Matilda to King John:
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Corn. Come, sir, what letters had you late from France? Reg. Be simple-answer'd,7 for we know the truth.
Corn. And what confederacy have you with the traitors Late footed in the kingdom ?
Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatick king? Speak.
Glo. I have a letter guessingly set down,
Wherefore To Dover? Wast thou not charg’d at thy perils —
Corn. Wherefore to Dover ? Let him first answer that. Glo. I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the
Glo. Because I would not see thy cruel nails
“ Within the compass of man's face we see,
“ How many sorts of several favours be: Again, in Davil and Bethsabe, 1599:
“ To daunt the favours of his lovely face.” Steevens. 7 Be simple answer'd,] The old quarto reads, Be simple answerer. -Either is good sense. simple means plain. Steevens.
thy peril – ] I have inserted the pronoun--thy, for the sake of metre.
Steevens. - the course.] The running of the dogs upon me. Johnson.
stick boarish fungs.] The quartos read-rash boarish fangs. This verb occurs in Spenser's Fairy Queen B. IV, c. ii : “ And shields did share, and males did rash, and helmes did
hew.” Again, B. V,c ini :
Rashing off helmes, and ryving plates asunder.” To rash is ihe old hunting ierm for the stroke made by a wild boar with his fangs. So, in Chapman's version of the eleventh Iliad:
As when two chased boars “ 'Turn head gainst kennels of buid hounds, and race way
through their gores.” Steeveris.
In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up,
[Glo.is held down in his Chair, while CORN.plucks
out one of his Eyes, and sets his Foot on it.
Reg. One side will mock another; the other too.
lord : I have serv'd you ever since I was a child ;
to rain.] Thus the folio. The quartos read--to rage.
Steevens, that stern time,] Thus the folio. Both the quartos readthat dearn time. Dearn is a north-country word, signifying lonely, so• litary, secret, obscure, melancholy, uncomfortable, far from neighbours. So, in The Valiant Scot:
“Of all thy joys the dearne and dismal end." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II, c. i:
- They heard a rueful voice that dearnly cride." Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. 1609:
“ By many a dearne and painful pearch." The reading in the text, however, is countenanced by the following passage in Chapman's version of the 24th Iliad:
in this so sterne a time
subscribd:] Yielded, submitted to the necessity of the occasion. Fohnson.
5 Upon these eyes &c.] In Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, one of the sons of Bajazet pulls out the eyes of an Aga on the stage, and says
“ Yes, thou shalt live, but never see that day,
[“ Pulls out his eyes." Immediately after, his hands are cut off. I have introduced this passage to show that Shakspeare's drama was not more sanguinary than that of his contemporaries. Steevens.
In Marston's Antonio's Revenge, 1602, Piero's tongue is torn out on the stage. Malone.
But better service have I never done you,
How now, you dog?
[Draws and runs at him. Serv. Nay, then come on, and take the chance of anger.
[Draws. They fight. Cory. is wounded. Reg. Give me thy sword.--[To another Serv.] A pea
sant stand up thus!
[Snatches a Sword, comes behind, and stabs him. Serv. 0, I am slain ! - My lord, you have one cye left To see some mischief on him:
[ Dies. Corn. Lest it see more, prevent it :-Out, vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now? [Tears out Gloster's other Eye, and throws it on
the Ground. Glo. All dark and comfortless.- Where's my son Ed
Out, treacherous villain !
O my follies!
Reg. Go, thrust him out at gates, and let him smell His way to Dover.—How is ’t, my lord? How look you ?
Corn. I have receiv'd a hurt:-- Follow me, lady.Turn out that eyeless villain ;-throw this slave Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace: Untimely comes this hurt: Give me your arm. [Exit Corn. led by Reg.;-Servants unbind Glo.
and lead him out. | Serv. I'll never care what wickedness I do,
0 My villain?] Villain is here perhaps used in its original sense of one in servitude. Steevens.
the overture of thy treasons — ] Overture is here used for an opening or discovery. It was he who first laid thy treasons open to us. Coles in his Dict. 1679, renders Overture by apertior apertura. Au overt act of treason, is the technical phrase. Malone.