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From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
[The Fool runs out from the Hovel. Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help me!
Kent. Give me thy hand.-Who's there?
i' the straw ? Come forth.
Enter Edgar, disguised as a Madman. EDG. Away! the foul fiend follows me!Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold
* First folio, blow the winds.
Fratres, these shoes or buskins with windows on them appear to have composed a part of the habit of the Franciscan order :
Atque fenestratum soleas captare cothurnum. The Parish Clerk, in Chaucer, (Canterbury Tales, v. 3318, edit. 1775,) has “ Poulis windows corven on his shoos.”
Holt WHITE. 16- Take physick, pomp ;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel ;
And show the heavens more just.] A kindred thought occurs in Pericles, Prince of Tyre :
“ O let those cities that of plenty's cup
“ The misery of Tharsus may be theirs." Malone. 7 Fathom, &c.] This speech of Edgar is omitted in the quartos. He gives the sign used by those who are sounding the depth at sea.
Humph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
LEAR. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters ? And art thou come to this ?
Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame *', through ford and whirlpool, over bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow?,
* Quarto omits through flame.
8 Humph! go to thy cold bed, &c.] So, in the introduction to The Taning of the Shrew, Sly says, “ go to thy cold bed and warm thee.” A ridicule, I suppose, on some passage in a play as absurd as The Spanish Tragedy. STEEVENS.
This line is a sneer on the following one spoken by Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy, Act II. :
“ What outcries pluck me from my naked bed.” WHALLEY. “ Hamph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.” Thus the quartos. The editor of the folio 1623, I suppose, thinking the passage nonsense, omitted the word cold. This is not the only instance of unwarrantable alterations made even in that valuable copy. That the quartos are right, appears from the Induction to The Taming of the Shrew, where the same words occur. See vol. v. p. 359. Malone.
9 Hast thou given all to thy two daughters ?] Thus the quartos. The folio reads, “ Didst thou give all to thy two daughters?” Steevens.
1- led through fire and through Aame,] Alluding to the ignis fatuus, supposed to be lights kindled by mischievous beings to lead travellers into destruction. Johnson.
2 — laid knives under his pillow,] He recounts the temptations by which he was prompted to suicide ; the opportunities of destroying himself, which often occurred to him in his melancholy moods. Johnson.
Shakspeare found this charge against the fiend, with many others of the same nature, in Harsnet's Declaration, and has used the very words of it. The book was printed in 1603. See Dr. Warburton's note, Act IV. Sc. I.
Infernal spirits are always represented as urging the wretched to self-destruction. So, in Dr. Faustus, 1604:
“Swords, poisons, halters, and envenom’d steel,
“ Are laid before me to dispatch myself.” Steevens. The passage in Harsenet's book which Shakspeare had in view, is this :
“ This Exam'. further sayth, that one Alexander, an apothe
and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge ; made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor :-Bless thy five wits'!
carie, having brought with him from London to Denham on a time a new halter, and two blades of Icnives, did leave the same upon the gallerie floore, in her maisters house. A great search was made in the house to know how the said halter and knifeblades came thither,—till Ma. Mainy in his next fit said, it was reported that the devil layd them in the gallerie, that some of those that were possessed, might either hang themselves with the haller, or kill themselves with the blades."
The kind of temptation which the fiend is described as holding out to the unfortunate, might also have been suggested by the story of Cordila, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1575, where Despaire visits her in prison, and shows her various instruments by which she may rid herself of life:
“ And there withall she spred her garments lap assyde,
vise." Malone. 3 — Bless thy five wits !] So the five senses were called by our old writers. Thus in the very ancient interlude of The Five Elements, one of the characters is Sensual Appetite, who with great simplicity thus introduces himself to the audience :
“ I am callyd sensual apetyte,
“ I comforte the wyttys five;
“ To all creaturs alyve.”
“Every man, thou art made, thou hast thy wyttes five." Again, in Hycke Scorner :
“ I have spent amys my v'wittes." Again, in The Interlude of the Four Elements, by John Rastell, 1519:
“ Brute bestis have memory and their wyttes five." Again, in the first book of Gower, De Confessione Amantis ;
“ As touchende of my wittes five." STEEVENS. Shakspeare, however, in his 141st Sonnet, seems to have considered the five wits, as distinct from the senses :
Tom's a-cold.-0, do de, do de, do de.-Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking 4! Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes : There could I have him now,—and there,--and there,—and there again, and there.
[Storm continues. - LEAR. What, have his daughters brought him to
this pass ? Could'st thou save nothing ? Did'st thou give them
all ? Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed. LEAR. Now, all the plagues that in the pendu
lous air Hang fated o'er men's faults", light on thy daugh
. du'd nature
“But my five wits, nor my five senses can
“ Dissuade one foolish heart írom serving thee." Malone. See Much Ado About Nothing, vol. vii. p. 11, n. 6. Boswell.
4 - taking ?] To take is to blast, or strike with inalignant influence :
“- strike her young bones,
“Ye taking airs, with lameness !” Johnson.
“ Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
“ In the sick air.” Boswell. 6 - pelican daughters.] The young pelican is fabled to suck the mother's blood. Johnson.
So, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1630, second part:
Eng. Pillicock sat on pillicock’s-hill ; Halloo, halloo, loo, loo !
Foor. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o’the foul fiend: Obey thy parents ; keep thy word justly ’; swear not; commit not 8 with man's sworn spouse ; set not thy sweet heart on proud array: Tom's a-cold.
LEAR. What hast thou been ?
Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair'; wore gloves in my cap', served
“ Shall a silly bird pick her own breast to nourish her young ones ? the pelican does it, and shall not I?” Again, in Love in a Maze, 1632:
“ The pelican loves not her young so well
Steevens. 6 PiLLICOCK sat, &c.] I once thought this a word of Shakspeare's formation ; but the reader may find it explained in Minsheu's Dict. p. 365, Article 3299-2.- Killico is one of the devils mentioned in Harsenet's Declaration. The folio reads---Pillicockhill. I have followed the quartos. Malone.
The inquisitive reader may also find an explanation of this word in a note annexed to Sir Thomas Urquart's translation of Rabelais, vol. i. b. i. ch. ii. p. 184, edit. 1750. Steevens.
7 - keep thy WORD justly ;] Both the quartos, and the folio, have words. The correction was made in the second folio.
MALONE. 8 - COMMit not, &c.] The word commit is used in this sense by Middleton, in Women beware Women : “ His weight is deadly who commits with strumpets.”
STEEVENS. 9 — PROUD in heart and mind ; that CURLED MY HAIR, &c.] “ Then Ma. Mainy, by the instigation of the first of the seaven [spirits), began to set his hands unto his side, curled his hair, and used such gestures, as Ma. Edmunds [the exorcist] presently affirmed that that spirit was Pride. Herewith he began to curse and banne, saying, What a poxe do I here? I will stay no longer among a company of rascal priests, but go to the court, and brave it amongst my fellows, the noblemen there assembled.” Harsnet's Declaration, &c. 1603.
“- shortly after they (the seven spirits] were all cast forth,