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But who is with him ? Gent. None but the fool; who labours to out
jest His heart-struck injuries. KENT.
Sir, I do know you; And dare, upon the warrant of my art 6, Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall ; Who have (as who have not”, that their great stars Thron'd and set high ?) servants, who seem no less; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes;
6 - upon the warrant of my ART,] Thus the quartos. The folio “ my note."-" The warrant of '
my art" seems to meanon the strength of my skill in physiognomy. STEEVENS.
“- upon the warrant of my art.” On the strength of that art or skill, which teaches us “to find the mind's construction in the face.” The passage in Macbeth from which I have drawn this paraphrase, in which the word art is again employed in the same sense, confirms the reading of the quartos. The folio reads upon the warrant of my note : i. e. says Dr. Johnson, “my observation of your character.” MALONE.
9 Who have (as who have not,] The eight subsequent verses were degraded by Mr. Pope, as unintelligible, and to no purpose. For my párt, I see nothing in them but what is very easy to be understood; and the lines seem absolutely necessary to clear up the motives upon which France prepared his invasion : nor without them is the sense of the context complete. THEOBALD.
The quartos omit these lines. STEEVENS.
8 — what hath been seen,] What follows, are the circumstances in the state of the kingdom, of which he supposes the spies gave France the intelligence. STEEVENS.
9 Either in snuffs and PACKINGS —] Snuffs are dislikes, and packing's underhand contrivances.
So, in Henry IV. Part I. : “ Took it in snuff ;” and in King Edward III. 1599 :
“ This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it.” .' Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582: .
“ With two gods packing one woman silly to cozen.” We still talk of packing juries ; and Antony says of Cleopatra, that she had “pack'd cards with Cæsar.” Steevens. . ;
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne Against the old kind king; or something deeper, Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings?;
But, true it is?, from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,. ' Wise in our negligence, have secret feet In some of our best ports, and are at point
1-are but FURNISHINGS ;] Furnishings are what we now call colours, external pretences. Johnson.
A furnish anciently signified a sample. So, in the Preface to Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621 : “ To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own to pawn." STEEVENS.
2 But, true it is, &c.] In the old editions are the five following lines which I have inserted in the text, which seem necessary to the plot, as a preparatory to the arrival of the French army with Cordelia in Act IV. How both these, and a whole scene between Kent and this gentleman in the fourth Act, came to be left out in all the later editions, I cannot tell; they depend upon each other, and very much contribute to clear that incident. ..
РОРЕ. 3 -- from France there comes a power
Into this SCATTER'D kingdom ; who already,
In some of our best ports,] This speech, as it now stands, is collected from two editions :, the eight lines, degraded by Mr. Pope, are found in the folio, not in the quarto ; the following lines inclosed in crotchets are in the quarto, not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition ; and if the former are read, and the lines that follow them omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The speech is now tedious, because it is formed by a coalition of both. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy; but in this passage the first is preferable : for in the folio, the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither. I suppose Shakspeare thought his plot opened rather too early, and made the alteration to veil the event from the audience; but trusting too much to himself, and full of a single purpose, he did not accommodate his new lines to the rest of the scene. Scattered means divided, unsettled, disunited. Johnson.
“ have secret feet
“In some of our best ports." One of the quartos (for there are two that differ from each other, though printed in the same year, and for the same printer,) reads secret feet. Perhaps the author wrote secret foot, i. e. footing. So, in a following scene :
Tal and bemmaking jushall. find
To show their open banner.-Now to you :: :
GENT. I will talk further with you.
No, do not.
to say ? - Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all
yet ; '. ........
“ Late footed in the kingdom?" , A phrase, not unlike that in the text, occurs in Chapman's. version of the nineteenth book of Homer's Odyssey : , : “ what course for home would best prevail
..“ To come in pomp, or beare a secret sail” STEEVENS. '
These lines, as has been observed, are not in the folio. Quartos A and C read-secret feet; quarto B-secret fee. I have adopted the former reading, which I suppose was used in the sense of secret footing, and is strongly confirmed by a passage in this Act : “ These injuries the king now bears, will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed : we must incline to the king.” Again, in Coriolanus :
Why, thou Mars, I'll tell thee, - We have a power on foot." MALONE. 4 (As fear not but you shall,)] Thus quarto A, and the folio. Quarto B and quarto C, “As doubt not but you shall.” Malone.
That, when we have found the king, (in which
your pain That way; I'll this ;) he that first” lights on him, Holla the other.
. .[Exeunt severally.
SCENE II. Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool. LEAR. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks 6!
rage! blow! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the
cocks ! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
5 — the king, (in which your pain
That way; I'll this ;) he that first, &c.] Thus the folio. The late reading :
for which you take
“ That way, I this. :" was not genuine. The quartos read :
" That when we have found the king,
“ On him, hollow the other." STEEVENS. 6 Blow, WIND, and crack your cheeks !] Thus the quartos. The folio has—winds. The poet, as Mr. M. Mason has observed in a note on The Tempest, was here thinking of the common representation of the winds, which he might have found in many books of his own time. So again, as the same gentleman has observed, in Troilus and Cressida ::
“ Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek .
“ Outswell the cholick of puff'd Aquilon.” We find the same allusion in Kempe's Nine Daies Wonder, &c. quarto 1600 : “ he swells presently, like one of the four winds.” MALONE.
7 - thought-executing -] Doing execution with rapidity equal to thought. Johnson."
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunder-bolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thun
der, Strike flat o the thick rotundity o'the world! . Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once', That make ingrateful man!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water 2 in a dry house
8 Vaunt-couriers -] Avant couriers, Fr. This phrase is not unfamiliar to other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army. So, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 : “ -- as soon as the first vancurrer encountered him face to
face." Again, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:
“ Might to my death, but the vaunt-currier prove." Again, in Darius, 1603 :
" Th' avant-corours, that came for to examine.” STEEVENS. In The Tempest “ Jove's lightnings” are termed more familiarly
the precursors “ O'the dreadful thunder-claps—.” Malone. 9 STRIKE flat, &c.] The quarto reads,-Smite flat. STEEVENS.
* Crack nature's moulds, all GERMENS spill at once,] Crack nature's mould, and spill all the seeds of matter, that are hoarded within it. Our author not only uses the same thought again, but the word that ascertains my explication, in The Winter's Tale :
“Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together,
• And mar the seeds within." THEOBALD. So, again in Macbeth :
“ — and the sum
“ Of nature's germens tumble altogether.” STEEVENS. "spill at once.” To spill is to destroy. So, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, lib. iv. fol. 67 :
“ So as I shall myself spill." STEEVENS. 2 - court holy-water -] Ray, among his proverbial phrases, p. 184, mentions court holy-water to mean fair words. The French have the same phrase. Eaứ benite de cour; fair empty words.-Chambaud's Dictionary. The same phrase also occurs in Churchyard's Charitie, 1595:
“ The great good turnes in court that thousands felt,
“ Is turn'd to cleer faire holie water there,' &c. Steevens. Cotgrave in his Dict. 1611, defines Eau benite de cour, “court holie water ; compliments, faire words, flattering speeches,” &c.