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Which are to France the spies and speculations1
Intelligent of our state;2 what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings 3 of the dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings;4 —
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet5
In some of our best ports, and are at point6
To show their open banner. — Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report T
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.8
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.
Gentleman. I wijl talk farther with you.9
For confirmation that I am much more
1. Speculations, for speculators, formerly signifying, watcliers, observers.
m 2. Intelligent, seeking intelligence; state may mean condition, or kingdom.
3. Snuffs, petty dissentions; packings, plots, intrigues.
That is, — Are spies and watchers upon us, in the pay of France, and are seeking intelligence of all that passes in this kingdom; of what has been observed of petty quarrels and intrigues between the dukes, and also of the harsh conduct of both of them towards the kind old king.
4. Furnishings, samples: referring to snuffs and packings.
5. i. e. have secretly gained a fooling.
6. At point, armed and ready. Compare note 1, page 27.
7. i. e. if you make a true report.
8. To plain, to lament, to wail. Obsolete. But perhaps to plain is here used for to complain.
9. J will talk further with you, expresses as much as I will think about it, but without promising to do what is requested of him. ,
10. i. e. than my outside promises, than my outward appearance leads yon to imagine.
11. Contained in the parse which he had just given.
Gent. Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?
Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet; That, when we have found the king, in which your pain That way, I 'll this,1 he that first lights on him, Holloa the other. [Exeunt severally.
Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes spout,2
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing.^ fires,
Vaunt-couriers 4 to oak-cleaving thunder-bolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens5 spill at once,
That make ingrateful man !6 r~ ' Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water1 in a dry house is 'better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, I and ask thy daughter's blessing: here 's a night pities nei\jther wise men norjfools.
Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters: "I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription:8 then, let fall
1. i. e. in seeking whom, you shall use your endeavours in that direction, I'll go this way.
2. Cataracts here means, waterfalls from the clouds. Hurricane- is properly the same as hurricane, a storm of wind, but is here used for waterspout: In "Troilus and Cressida" we find the passage, — "Not the dreadful spout which shipmeu do the hurricano call."
3. i. e. doing execution with the rapidity of thought: meaning the lightning.
4. Vaunt-couriers for avant-couriers.
5. Germen, a sprouting seed. A Latin word not now in use in English, but from which we have germ.
6. The metaphor in this passage supposes the world to be pregnant; the word rotundity referring not only to the shape of the world, but implying also the roundness of pregnancy. — We should now jay ungrateful, but ingratitude.
7. Court holy-water is a proverbial expression for fair words.
8. Subscription, obedience, submission. Compare note 9, page 11
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
Fool. He that has a house to put 's head in has a "good headpiece.2
The cod-piece3 that will house,
Before the head has any,
What he his heart should make, Shall of a corn cry woe, And turn his sleep to wake5 — for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths6 in a glass.
Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.
Kent. Who 's there?
Fool. Marry, here 's grace,1 and a cod-piece; that 's a wise man, and a fool.
Kent. Alas, Sir! are you here? things that love night, Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies Gallow8 the very wanderers of the dark,
1. That will join, for joining, in that you join.
2. Headpiece, helmet, and also, understanding.
3. Codpiece, a small bag anciently an appendage to men's breeches. This word is here used in antithesis to head-piece.
4. i. e. many beggars marry without having a house to put their heads in. The meaning of these four lines is, — The head takes precedence of less noble parts of the body; if this natural order of things is reversed, the whole body will come to ruin and beggary.
5. That is, — If a man degrades, what should be his heart to be his toe, the consequence will be that he will be the more sensitive to the corn growing on his heart, than if it were only on his toe, and it will deprive him of sleep.
6. To make mouths, to make grimaces.
7. Marry, a petty oath, corrupted from by the Virgin Mary. — Here's grace, for here is his grace, the usual title of kings.
8. To gallow, to scare, to frighten. A provincial expression.
And make them1 keep their caves. Since I was man,
Lear. Let.the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother2.o'er our heads,
Kent. Alack, bare-headed!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Lear. My wits begin to turn. —
Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
1. No human being can bear such affliction and such terror.
2. Pother, tumult.
3. Perjur'd, for perjurer, perjured man; simular, for simulator, counterfeit.
4. i. e. shake to pieces with trembling.
5. Convenient seeming, decorous appearance.
6. Continent, that which contains.
7. To cry grace is to beg for pardon and forgiveness.
8. But now, just now, a short time ago.
9. The word follow is of very various application: here it means companion, comrade; it also signifies an equal, one of the same kind; it may be used familiarly, expressive of fondness, esteem, or of contempt; a member of a college or society is called a fellow; it is also much used compounded with other words, as schoolfellow, bed-fellow^ fellow-student, fellow-creature, &c.
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
Fool. He that has a little tiny wit, — [Sings.
Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan. — I 'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter; When brewers mar their malt with water; When nobles are their tailors' tutors;2 No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors:3 When every case in law is right; No squire in debt, nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues, Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;4 When usurers tell their gold i' the field; And bawds and whores do churches build; Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion: Then comes the time, who lives to see 't, That going shall be us'd with feet.5 This prophecy Merlin6 shall make; for I live before his time.
A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND.
Gloster. Alack, alack! Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing. When I desired their leave that I might pity
1. Must make content fit with his fortunes, i. e. If a mau has but a small portion of good sense, he will endeavour to be contented, whatever his fortunes may be.
2. Tutor is perhaps used here in the sense of guardian; not only the education and morals of the ward, or pupil, being under', the care of the guardian, but also the property: the inference is plain.
3. To burn, besides its common mean
ing , signifies to be inflamed with lustful desires. When no heretics are burned (or, burn) but become suitors to modest maidens.
4. When thieves do not frequent | crowds.
5. i. e. when we shall be used to walk upon feet.
6. Merlin was a British writer of the fifteenth century, to whom extravagant prophecies are ascribed.