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That all the world shall-I will do such things,-
[Exeunt LEAR, GLOSTER, Kent, and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm.
[Storm heard at a distance. Reg.
This house Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd. Gon.
'Tis his own blame; hath put Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly, But not one follower. Gon.
So am I purpos'd. Where is
lord of Gloster?
Whither is he going?
Ovid. Met. lib. vi. haud quid sit scio,
Sed grande quiddam est.' Seneca Thyestes. Let such as are unwilling to allow that copiers of nature must occasionally use the same thoughts and expressions, remember that of both these authors there were early translations. Golding thus renders the passage from Ovid:
• The thing that I do purpose on is great, whate'er it is I know not what it may be yet.' 36 Flaws anciently signified fragments, as well as mere cracks. Among the Saxons it certainly had that meaning, as may be seen in Somner's Dict. Saxon, voce floh. The word, as Bailey observes, was ' especially applied to the breaking off shivers or thin pieces from precious stones.'
Glo. He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.
0, sir, to wilful men,
night; My Regan counsels well; come out o’the storm.
SCENE I. A Heath.
Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting.
37 Thus the folio. The quartos read, 'Do sorely russel,' i. e. rustle. But rufle is most probably the true reading. See the first note on Macbeth,
38 To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate.
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main?,
But who is with him?
1 The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent. The main is again used in this sense in Hamlet:
'Goes it against the main of Poland, sir? So in Bacon's Wars with Spain:- In 1589 we turned challengers, and invaded the main of Spain.' This interpretation sets the two objects of Lear's desire in proper opposition to each other. He wishes for the destruction of the world, either by the winds blowing the land into the water, or raising the waters so as to overwhelm the land :terra mari miscebitur, et mare coelo.'
Lucret. iii. 854. See also the Æneid i. 133; xii. 204. So in Troilus and Cressida :
The bounded waters
And make a sop of all this solid globe.' 2 The first folio ends this speech at change, or cease,' and begins again at Kent's speech, · But who is with him?'
3 Steevens thinks that we should read,'out-storm. The error of printing scorn for storm occurs in the old copies of Troilas and Cressida, and might easily happen from the similarity of the words in old MSS.
4 That is, a bear whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. Shakspeare has the same image in As You Like It:
• A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching Again ibidem :
• Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness.' 5 So in Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus says:-
• I'll strike, and cry, Take all.'
Gent. None but the fool; who labours to outjest His heart-struck injuries. Kent.
Sir, I do know you; And dare
the warrant of my arto, Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall; Who have (as who have not, that their great stars ? Thron’d and set high ?) servants, who seem no less; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings 8 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 9 :[But, true it is, from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already Wise in our negligence, have secret feet 10 In some of our best ports, and are at point To show their
banner.-Now to you: credit
dare build so far 6 i.e. on the strength of that art or skill which teaches us ' to find the mind's construction in the face. The folio reads :
upon the warrant of my note;' which Dr. Johnson explains, ‘my observation of your character.'
7 This and seven following lines are not in the quartos. The lines in crotchets lower down, from · Bat, true it is,' &c. to the end of the speech, are not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition; and if the former lines are read, and the latter omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy: but in this speech the first is preferable; for in the folio the messenger is sent, be knows not why, he knows not whither.
Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances. 9 A furnish anciently signified a sample. • To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own out to pawn.'—Green's Groatsworth of Wit.
10 i. e. secret footing.
If on my
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not.
fellow 11 is
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); he that first lights on him, Holla the other.
Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool. Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks?! rage!
blow! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout Till I you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the
cocks ! 11 Companion.
| The poet was here thinking of the common representation of the winds in many books of his time. We find the same allasion in Troilus and Cressida. See vol. vii. p. 418.