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When every case in law is right;
That going shall be us’d with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.
which wenches' suitors are particularly exposed, was called, in Shakspeare's time, the brenning or burning. Johnson. So, in Isaiah, iji. 24 : “ — and burning instead of beauty."
STEEVENS. 6 Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.] These lines are taken from Chaucer. Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589, quotes them as follows :
" When faith fails in priestes saws, ; .
“ Be brought to great confusion." STEEVENS. 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 “Whenevery case"-to“churches build,”“asatirical description of future 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. MALONE.
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, neither 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 I 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.
[Erit. EDM. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke Instantly know; and of that letter too :This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me That which my father loses; no less than all; The younger rises, when the old doth fall. [Exit.
* Quartos, landed.
A Part of the Heath, with a Hovel.
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. LEAR.
Let me alone. Kent. Good my lord, enter here. LEAR.
Wilt break my heart 8 ? Kent. I'd rather break mine own: Good my
lord, enter. LEAR. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this con
tentious * storm Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee; But where the greater malady is fix'd, The lesser is scarce felt 9. Thou'dst shun a bear : But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea',
* Quartos, crulentious,
8 Wilt break my heart ?7 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 to reply, as to an interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity.
STEEVENS. 9 But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt.] That of two concomitant pains, the greater obscures or relieves the less, is an aphorism of Hippocrates. See Disquisitions, Metaphysical and Literary, by F. Sayers, M. D. 1793, p. 68. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. i. c. vi. : . “He lesser pangs can bear who hath endur'd the chief.” .
Steevens. 1RAGING sea,] Such is the reading of that which appears Thou'dst meet the bear if the mouth. When the
Good my lord, enter here.
ease ; This tempest will not give me leave to ponder On things would hurt me more.-But I'll go in :
to be the elder of the two quartos. The other, with the folio, reads,-roaring sea. Steevens. : Quartos A and B réad raging ; quarto C; roring. Boswell. 2 - In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure:] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
3 Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave you all,]' I have already observed that the words, father, brother, rather, and many of a similar sound, were sometimes used by Shakspeare as monosyllables. The editor of the folio, supposing the metre to be defective, omitted the word you, which is found in the quartos.
MALONE. That our author's versification, to modern ears, (I mean to such as have been tuned by the melody of an exact writer like Mr. Pupe) may occasionally appear overloaded with syllables, I cannot deny; but when I am told that he used the words-father, brother, and rather, as monosyllables, I must withhold my assent in the most decided manner. STEEVENS.
See the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification for a full answer to Mr. Steevens's objections to Mr. Malone's notion on this subject.
In, boy; go first *.--[To the Fool:] You houseless
poverty, Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
[Fool goes in. Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm *, How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness”, defend you
* Quartos, night.
- In, boy; go first, &c.] These two lines were added in the author's revision, and are only in the folio. They are very judiciously intended to represent that humility, or tenderness, or neglect of forms, which afiiction forces on the mind. Johnson.
5 - loop'd and WINDOW'p raggedness,] So, in The Amorous War, 1648:
“ spare me a doublet which
“ Hath linings in't, and no glass windows.” This allusion is as old as the time of Plautus, in one of whose plays it is found. : Again, in the comedy already quoted :
“Is wholly made of doors.” Steevens. Loop'd is full of small apertures, such as were made in ancient castles, for firing ordnance, or spying the enemy. These were wider without than within, and were called loops or loop-holes : which Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders by the word fencstella. Malone.
Loops, as Mr. Henley observes, particularly in castles and towers, were often designed “ for the admission of light, where windows would have been incommodious.” Shakspeare, he adds, “ in Othello, and other places, has alluded to them."
'To discharge ordnance, however, from loop-holes, according to Mr. Malone's supposition, was, I believe, never attempted, because almost impossible; although such outlets were sufficiently adapted to the use of arrows. Many also of these loops, still existing, were contrived before fire arms had been introduced. STEEVENS.
Mr. Warton, in his excellent edition of Milton's Juvenile Poems, (p. 511,) quotes the foregoing line as explanatory of a passage in that poet's verses In Quintum Novembris :
Tarda fenestratis figens vestigia calceis.
Tetra vagabatur solus per lustra ferarum ."