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look further into 't.-—But where 's my fool ? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away."
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.-Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither
Re-enter Steward. O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, sir? Stew. My lady's father. Lear. My lady's father! my
lord's knave :
you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord ;5 I beseech you, para
Lear. Do you bandy looksó with me, you rascal?
[Striking him. Stew. I 'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his Heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom?? so.
[Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.
[Giving KENT Money.
4 Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away. ] This is an endearing circumstance in the Fool s character, and creates such an interest in his favour, as his wit alone might have failed to procure for him. Steevens.-
5 I am none of this, my lord ; &c.] Thus the quartos. The folio reads-I am none of these, my lord ; I beseech your pardon. Malone.
bandy looks ---] A metaphor from Tennis:
Decker's Satiromastix, 1602: Again:
buckle with them hand to hand,
Wily Beguiled, 1606. Steevens. “ To bandy a ball,” Cole defines, clavu pilum torquere: “ to banuty at tennis,” reticulo pellere. Dict. 1679. Malone.
7 Have you wis:lom?] Thus the folio. The quarto reads—jou have wisdom. Malone. VOL. XIV.
Enter Fool. Fool. Let me hire him too ;-Here's my coxcomb.
[Giving KENT his Cap Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou? Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool ?8
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou 'lt catch cold shortly:9 There, take my coxcomb:1 Why, this fellow has banished two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle ?2 'Would I had two coxcombs,3 and two daughters !4
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living,5 I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.6
Lear. Take heed, sirrah ; the whip.
8 Why, fool?] The folio reads-why, my boy.? and gives this question to Lear. Steevens.
thou’lt catch cold shortly:] i. e. be turned out of doors, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather. Farmer.
take my coxcomb:] Meaning his cap, called so, because on the top of the fool or jester's cap was sewed a piece of red cloth, resembling the comb of a cock. The word, afterwards, was used to denote a vain, conceited, meddling fellow. Warburton.
How now, nuncle?] Aunt is a term of respect in France. So, in Lettres D Eliz. De Baviere Duchesse D'Orleans, Tom. II, p. 65. 66: “Cetoit par un espece de plaisanterie de badinage sans consequence, que la Dauphine appelloit Madame de Maintenon ma tante. Les filles d'honneur appelloient toujours leur gouvernante ma tante." And it is remarkable at this day that the lower people in Shropshire call the Judge of assize—“ my nuncle the Judge.” Vaillant.
two coxcombs,] Two fools caps, intended, as it seems, to mark double folly in the man that gives al: to his daughters. Johnson.
-and two daughters. ] Perhaps we should read-an'two daughters; i. e. if. Farmer.
·all my living,] Living in Shakspeare's time signified estate, or property. So, in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, by R. Greene, 1594:
“ In Laxfield here my land and living lies." Malone.
beg another of thy daughters.] The Fool means to say, that it is by begging only that the old bing can obtain any thing from his daughters: even a badge of folly in having reduced himself to such
Fool. Truth 's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipped out, when Lady, the brach, may stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Have more than thou showest,
Than two tens to a score.
Lady, the brach,] Brach is a bitch of the hunting kind. “ Nos quidem hodie brach dicimus de cane fæminea, quæ leporem ex odore persequitur. Spelm. Gloss. in voce Bracco.”
Dr. Letherland, on the margin of Dr. Warburton's edition, proposed lady's brach, i.e. favour'd animal. The third quarto has a much more unmannerly reading, which I would not wish to establish: but the other quarto editions concur in reading lady o' the brach. Lady is still a common name for a hound. So Hotspur:
“ I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.” Again, in Ben Jonson's Poein to a Friend, &c.:
“ Do all the tricks of a salt lady bitch.” In the old black letter Booke of Huntyng, &c. no date, the list of dogs concludes thus: “ - and small ladi popies that bere awai the feas and divers small fautes.” We might read when lady, the brach," &c. Steevens.
Both the quartos of 1608 read-when Lady oth’e brach. I have therefore printed-lady, the brach, grounding myself on the reading of those copies, and on the passage quoted by Mr. Steevens from King Henry IV, P. I. The folio and the late editions, read when the lady brach, &c. Malone.
8 Lend less than thou owest,] That is, do not lend all that thou hast. To owe, in old English, is to possess. If owe be taken for to be in debt, the more prudent precept would be :
Lend more than thou owest. Johnson. 9 Learn more than thou trowest,] To trow, is an old word which signifies to believe. The precept is admirable. Warburton. 1 This is nothing, fool.] The quartos give this speech to Lear.
Steevens. In the folio these words are given to Kent. Malone.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for 't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing
Fool. Prythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool. [TO KENT.
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool ?
Lear. No, lad ;2 teach me.
To give away thy land,
Or do thou3 for him stand:
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a nionopoly out, they would have part on 't:4 and
-2 No, lad;] This dialogue, from No, lad; teach me, down to Give ne an egg, was restored from the first edition by Mr. Theobald. It is omitted in the folio, perhaps for political reasons, as it seemed to censure the monopolies. Fohnson.
3 Or do thou – ] The word or, which is not in the quartos, wassupplied by Mr. Steevens. Malone.
if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on’t:] A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time; and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee. Warburton. The modern editors, without authority, read
a monopoly on’t, Monopolies were in Shakspeare's time the common objects of satire. So, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631: “- Give him a court loaf, stop his mouth with a monopoly."
Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611: “ A knight that never heard of Smock fees! I would I had a monopoly of them, so there was no impost set on them.”
Again, in The Birth of Merlin, 1662: “ So foul a monster would be a fair monopoly worth the begging."
ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself;
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i’ the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt : Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let
him be whipped that firsts find it so. quvlat mig
Fools had ne'er less grace in a year ;5 [Singing.
For wise men are grown forfish;
null movy Lear
'Then they for sudden joy did ween? [Singing
And I for sorrow sung,
And go the fools among.
In the books of the Stationers' Company, I meet with the follow-
5 Fools had ne'er less grace in a year;] There never was a time
since thou madest thy daughters thy mother:] i e. when you invested them with the au hority of a mother. Thus the quartos. The folio reads, with less propriety,—thy mothers. Malone.
7 Then they for sud.len joy did weep, &c.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece, by Heywood, 16307