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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 had'st little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.
Fools had ne'er less grace in a year;9 [Singing
For wise men are grown foppish;
Their manners are so apish.
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother: for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing
And I for sorrow sung,
And go the fools among. Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie; I would fain learn to lie.
Lear. If you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipp’d.
Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipp'd for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes I'm whipp'd for bolding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o’both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one o'the parings.
Enter GONERIL. Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet" on? Methinks, you are too much of late i’ the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou had'st no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now: I am a fool, thou art nothing.–Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face (to Gon.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
1- Fools had ne'er less grace in a year:) There never was a time when fools were less in favour ; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place. Such I think is the meaning, -JOHNSON.
i that frontlet--] A frontlet was a forehead-cloth, used formerly by ladies at night to render that part smooth. Lear, I suppose, means to say, that Goneril's brow was as completely covered by a frown, as it would be by a frontlet.-MALONE.
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.That's a sheal'd peascod.
[Pointing to LEAR. Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarrel ; breaking forth In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir, I had thought, by making this well known unto you, To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful, By what yourself too late have spoke and done, That you protect this course, and put it on By your allowance ;" which if you should, the fault Would not ’scape censure, nor the redresses sleep ; Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal, Might in their working do you that offence, Which else were shame, that then necessity Will call discreet proceeding. Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it had its head bit off by its young.
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.
* That's a sheald peascod.] i.e. Now a mere husk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, but all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone : he has nothing to give.-Johnson. t p ut it on—] i, e. Promote, push forward.
u — allowancr ;] i. e. Approbation.
I were left darkling) Shakspeare's fools are certainly copied from the life. The originals whom he copied were no doubt men of quick parts; lively and sarcastick. Though they were licensed to say any thing, it was still necessary to prevent giving offence, that every thing they said should have a playful air: we may suppose therefore that they had a custom of taking off the edge of too sharp a speech by covering it hastily with the end of an old song, or any glib nonsense that came into the mind. I know no other way of accounting for the incoherent words with which Shakspeare often finishes this fool's speeches.—Sir Joshua REYNOLDS.
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse ?—Whoop, Jug! I love thee.'
Lear. Does any here know me ?—Why this is not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes ? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied.—Sleeping or waking ?-Ha! sure 'tis not so. -Who is it that can tell me who I am ?-Lear's shadow ?? I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.b
Gon. Come, sir;
3- Whoop Jug! I love thee.] This, as I am informed, is a quotation from the burthen of an old song.–STEEVENS.
2- Lear's shadow ?} In the folio these words are given to the fool: perhaps correctly.
ir for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, &c.] i.e. If I judge by the marks (i. e. ensigns) of sovereignty, which my daughters now enjoy, and which they derived from me; by my knowledge, and by my reason, I should be induced to think I had daughters, yet that must be a false persuasion; it cannot be.”—M. Mason.
b Which they will make an obedient father.] Which, is on this occasion used with two deviations from present language. It is referred, contrary to the rules of grammarians, to the pronoun 1, and is employed, according to a mode dow obsolete, for whom the accusative case of who.-STEEVENS. c o 'the favour-] i.e. Of the complexion.
still depend,] i.e. Continue in service.--WARBURTON.
Darkness and devils! Saddle my horses; call my train together.Degenerate bastard ! I'll not trouble thee; Yet have I left a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble Make servants of their betters.
Enter ALBANY. Lear. Woe, that too late repents,—0, sir, are you
come? Is it your will? [to Alb.) Speak, sir.- Prepare my horses. Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child, Than the sea-monster ! Alb.
Pray, sir, be patient. Lear. Detested kite! thou liest: [to GONERIL.] My train are men of choice and rarest parts, That all particulars of duty know: And in the most exact regard support The worships of their name.-0 most small fault, How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show! Which, like an engine,' wrench'd my frame of nature From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love, And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in, [Striking his head. And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Lear. It may be so, my lord,—Hear, nature, hear;
e Than the sea-monster !) Mr. Upton observes, that the sea-monster is the hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandys, in bis Travels, says, “ That he killeth bis sire, and ravisheth his own dam." Steevens.
1- an engine,]—here means the rack. & — derogate--] i.e. Degraded, blasted.
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this?
What's the matter, sir?
[Exeunt LEAR, Kent, and Attendants. Gon. Do you mark that, my lord ? b-- cadent tears—J i.e. Falling tears.
i- her mother's pains and benefits,] i.e. Her maternal cares and good offices. -MALONE. k u ntented-) i.e. Unappeased : not put into a way of cure, as a wound is when a surgeon has put a tent into it. A tent is a roll of lint employed in examining or purifying a deep wound.--Nares' Glossary.