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LEAR. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse ? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light: Yet you see how this world goes. Glo. I see it feelingly.
LEAR. What, art mad ? A man may see how this world goes, with no eyes. Look with thine ears : see how yon' justice rails upon yon' simple thief. Hark, in thine ear : Change places; and, handy. dandys, which is the justice, which is the thief ?Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar ?
Glo. Ay, sir.
Tunc vacuos orbes crudum ac miserabile vitæ
Pulsat inane solum.
“ - they seemed almost, with staring on one another, to tear. the cases of their eyes." STEEVENS. In Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609, we have the same expression :
“ her eyes as jewel-like,
“ And cas’d as richly.” Again, ibidem :
“ Her eye-lids, cases to those heavenly jewels
“ Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.” This could not have been the author's word; for “this case of eyes” in the language of his time signified-this pair of eyes, a sense directly opposite to that intended to be conveyed. Malone.
8 Change places; and, HANDY-DANDY,] The words change. places, and, are not in the quartos. Handy-dandy is, I believe, a play among children, in which something is shaken between two hands, and then a guess is made in which hand it is retained. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: “ Bazzicchiare, To shake between two hands; to play handy-dandy.” Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders “to play handy-dandy,” by digitis micare ; and he is followed by Ainsworth; but they appear to have been mistaken; as iş. Dr. Johnson in his definition in his Dictionary, which seems to have been formed on the passage before us, misunderstood. He says, Handy-dandy is “ a play in which children change hands and places.” Malone.
There thou might'st behold the great image of
back; Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs
the cozener. Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide allo Plate sin?
with gold, And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks : Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it. None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em ? : Take that of me, my friend, who have the power To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes; And, like a scurvy politician, seem To see the things thou dost not.-Now, now, now,
now: Pull off my boots :-harder, harder ; so.
EDG. O, matter and impertinency mix'd ! Reason in madness!
9 Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide all.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece :
“ Hiding base sin in pleats of majesty.” Malone. From hide all to accuser's lips, the whole passage is wanting in the first edition, being added, I suppose, at his revisal.
JOHNSON. Plate sin —] The old copies read-Place sin. Mr. Pope made the correction. Malone. So, in King Richard II. :
“ Thus plated in habiliments of war.” Steevens. 2 — I'll able 'em :) An old phrase signifying to qualify, or uphold them. So Scogan, contemporary with Chaucer, says:
“ Set all my life after thyne ordinaunce,
“ And able me to mercie or thou deme.” WARBURTON. So Chapman, in his comedy of The Widow's Tears, 1612:
"Admitted ! ay, into her heart, and I'll able it.” Again, in his version of the 230 Iliad : ..
I'll able this
LEAR. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my
eyes. I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloster : Thou must be patient; we came crying hither.. Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, We wawl, and cry:- I will preach to thee; mark
me. Glo. Alack, alack the day! LEAR. When we are born, we cry, that we are
come To this great stage of fools ;- This a good
block 4 ?
3 Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, We wawl, and cry:
Vagituque locum lugubri complet, ut æquum est
Cui tantum in vitâ restat transire malorum. Lucretius. Thus also, in Sydney's Arcadia, lib. ii. :
• The childe feeles that, the man that feeling knowes,
STEEVENS. 4 – This a good block ?] Perhaps, we should read
"'Tis a good block.” Ritson. Upon the king's saying, I will preach to thee, the poet seems to have meant him to pull off his hat, and keep turning it and feeling it, in the attitude of one of the preachers of those times, (whom I have seen so represented in ancient prints,) till the idea of felt, which the good hat or block was made of, raises the stratagem in his brain of shoeing a troop of horse with a substance soft as that which he held and moulded between his hands. This makes him start from his preachment.-Block anciently signified the head part of the hat, or the thing on which a hat is formed, and sometimes the hat itself.--See Much Ado About Nothing : “He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it changes with the next block.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit at Several Weapons :
"I am so haunted with this broad-brim'd hat
“ Of the last progress block, with the young hatband.” Again, in The Two Merry Milkmaids, 1620: “ — my haberdasher has a new block, and will find me and all my generation in beavers,” &c.
Again, in Decker's Gul's Hornbook, 1603: “ — that cannot observe the time of his hatband, nor know what fashioned block
It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
is most kin to his head : for in my opinion, the braine that cannot chuse his felt well,” &c.
Again, in The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, by Decker, 1606 : “ — The blocke for his head alters faster than the feltmaker can fitte him."
Again, in Run and a Great Cast, an ancient collection of Epigrams, 4to. without date, Epigram 46. In Sextinum :
“ A pretty blocke Sextinus names his hat;
“ So much the fitter for his head by that.” STEEVENS. s It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
A troop of horse with felt :) i. e. with flocks kneaded to a mass, a practice I believe sometimes used in former ages, for it is mentioned in Ariosto:
fece nel cadar strepito quanto
Avesse avuto sotto i piedi il feltro. Johnson. Shakspeare however might have adopted the stratagem of shoeing a troop of horse with felt, from the following passage in Fenton's Tragicall Discourses, 4to. bl. 1. 1567: “- he attyreth himselfe for the purpose in a night-gowne girt to hym, with a paire of shoes of felte, leaste the noyse of his feete shoulde discover his goinge." . P. 58.
Again, in Hay any Worke for a Cooper, an ancient pamphlet, no date: “ Their adversaries are very eager : the saints in heaven have felt o' their tongues." STEVENS.
This “ delicate stratagem" had actually been put in practice about fifty years before Shakspeare was born, as we learn from Lord Herbert's Life of Henry the Eighth, p. 41. “And now,” says that historian,“ having feasted the ladies royally for divers dayes, he (Henry] departed from Tournay to Lisle, [Oct. 13, 1513,] whither he was invited by the Lady Margaret, who caused there a juste to be held in an extraordinary manner ; the place being a fore-room raised high from the ground by many steps, and paved with black square stones like marble; while the horses, to prevent sliding, were shod with felt or flocks (the Latin words are feltro sive tomento): after which the ladies danced all night.” MALONE.
Then, KILL, KILL, &c.] This was formerly the word given in the English army, when an onset was made on the enemy. So, in Venus and Adonis :
66 Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny,
Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants. Gent. O, here he is ; lay hand upon him.-Sir, Your most dear daughter-
LEAR. No rescue ? What, a prisoner ? I am even The natural fool of fortune ?:-Use me well; You shall have ransome. Let me have a surgeon, I am cut to the brains. GENT.
You shall have any thing: LEAR. No seconds ? All myself ? Why, this would make a man, a man of salto, To use his eyes for garden water-pots, Ay, and for laying autumn's dust. GENT.
Good sir", LEAR. I will die bravely, like a bridegroom :
Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Again, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1610, p.315:
“ For while the Frenchmen fresk assaulted still,
“Our Englishmen came boldły forth at night,
MALONE. 7 The natural fool of FORTUNE.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“O, I am fortune's fool!” STEEVENS. 8 – a man of SALT,] “A man of salt” is ' a man of tears. In All's Well that Ends Well, we meet with—“your salt tears' head ;” and in Troilus and Cressida, “ the salt of broken tears." Again, in Coriolanus :
“He has betray'd your business, and given up
“ For certain drops of sall, your city Rome.” MALONE. 9 Ay, and for laying autumn's dust.] These words are not in the folio. MALONE.
For the sake of metre, I have here repeated the prepositionfor, which appears to have been accidentally omitted in the old copies. STEEVENS.
i Gent. Good sir,] These words I have restored from one of the quartos. In the other, they are omitted. The folio reads :
“ - a smug bridegroom - ” STEEVENS.