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Yet have I ventur'd to come to seek you out, And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher:What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer; Go into the house. Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned
Theban : What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin. Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.
Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord, His wits begin to unsettle 30. Glo.
Canst thou blame him? His daughters seek his death :-Ah, that good
Kent! He said it would be thus:--Poor banish'd man!Thou say’st, the king grows mad; I'll tell thee,
friend, I am almost mad myself; I had a son, Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life, But lately, very late; I lov'd him, friend, No father his son dearer: true to tell thee,
30 Lord Orford has the following remark in the postscript to his Mysterious Mother, which deserves a place here :- When Belvidera talks of lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of Amber, she is not mad, but light-headed. When madness bas taken possession of a person, such character ceases to be fit for the stage, or at least should appear there but for a short time; it being the business of the theatre to exhibit passions, not distempers. The finest picture ever drawn of a head discomposed by misfortune is that of King Lear. His thoughts dwell on the ingratitude of his daughters, and every sentence that falls from his wildness excites reflection and pity. Had frenzy entirely seized him, our compassion would abate; we should conclude that he no longer felt unhappiness. Sbakspeare wrote as a philosopher, Otway as a poet.'
The grief hath craz’d my wits. What a night's this !
O, cry you mercy,
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
Lear. Come, let's in all.
This way, my lord.
No words, no words:
31 Capel observes that Child Rowland means the Knight Or. lando. He would read come, with the quartos absolutely (Orlando being come to the durk tower); and supposes a line to be lost • which spoke of some giant, the inhabitant of that tower, and the smeller-out of Child Rowland, who comes to encounter him.' He proposes to fill up the passage thus :
· Child Rowland to the dark tower come,
His word was still,' &c. Part of this is to be found in the second part of Jack and the Giants, which, if not as old as the time of Shakspeare, may have been compiled from something that was so: they are uttered by a giant:
• Fee, faw, fum,
SCENE V. A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND. Corn. I will have my revenge, ere I depart this
house. Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit?, set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that this treason were not, or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the duchess.
Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
Corn. True, or false, it hath made thee earl of' Gloster. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
Edm. [Aside.] If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff his suspicion more fully.--I will persevere in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and
blood. Corn. I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love.
i Cornwall seems to mean the merit of Edmund; which, being noticed by Gloster, provoked or instigated Edgar to seek his father's death.
A Chamber in a Farm-House, adjoining the Castle. Enter GLOSTER, LEAR, KENT, Fool, and
EDGAR. Glo. Here is better than the open air ; take it thankfully: I will piece out the comfort with what addition I can: I will not be long from you.
Kent. All the power of his wits has given way to his impatience:The gods reward your kindness!
[Erit GLOSTER. Edg. Frateretto 1 calls me; and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. 'Pr’ythee, nuncle, tell me, whether a madman be a gentleman, or a yeoman?
Lear. A king, a king !
Fool. No; he's a yeoman, that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a mad yeoman, that sees his son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits Come hissing in upon
See the quotation from Harsenet, in note 23 on the preceding scene. Rabelais says that Nero was a fiddler in hell, and Trajan an angler. The history of Garagantua had appeared in English before 1575, being mentioned in Laneham's Letter from Killingworth, printed in that year.
Perhaps he is here addressing the FoolFools were anciently termed innocents. So in All's Well that Ends Well, Activ. Sc. 3:— The sheriff's fool—a dumb innocent, that could not say him nay?
3 The old copies have hizzing, which Malone changed to whizzing. One of the quartos spells the word hiszing, which indicates that the reading of the present text is right.
4 This and the next thirteen speeohes are only in the quartos.
Fool. He's mad, that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's heels", a boy's love, or a whore's oath. Lear. It shall be done, I will arraign them
straight: Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer 6:
[T. EDGAR. Thou, sapient sir, sit here. [To the Fool]—Now,
you she foxes !Edg. Look, where he stands and glares ! Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam??
Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me:-
And she must not speak
5 The old copies read, ' a horse's health ;' but heels was certainly meant. * Trust not a horse's heels, nor a dog's tooth, is a proverb in Ray's Collection; which may be traced at least as far back as the time of our Edward II. · Et ideo Babio in comædiis insinuat dicens ;-In fide, dente, pede, mulieris, equi canis est fraus.—Hoc sic vulgariter est dici :
• 'Till horsis fote thou never traist,
Forduni Scotichronicon, l. xiv. c. 32. The proverb in the text is probably from the Italian,
6 Justicer, from Justiciarius, was the old term, as we learn from Lambard's Eirenarcha :-' And of this it commeth that M. Fitzherbert (in his Treatise of the Justices of Peace), calleth them justicers (contractly for justiciars), and not justices, as we commonly and not altogether improperly doe name them.'
? When Edgar says, “ Look, where he stands and glares !' he seems to be speaking in the character of a madman, who thinks he sees the fiend. Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?' is a question addressed to some visionary spectator, and may mean no more than · Do you want eyes when you should use them most? that you cannot see this spectre.'
8 A bourn is a brook or rivulet. See vol. vii. p. 375. At the beginning of A Very Mery and Pythie Comedie, called The Longer Thou Livest The More Fool Thou Art, &c. blk let, no date :- Entretb Moros, counterfaiting a vain gesture and fool