Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for two white herrings. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee.

Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz’d: Will

you lie down and rest upon the cushions ? Lear. I'll see their trial first :- Bring in the evi

denceThou robed man of justice, take thy place;

[T. EDGAR. And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, [To the Fool. Bench by his side:-You are of the commission, Sit you too.

[To KENT.
Edy. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest, or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?

Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin 10 mouth,

Thy sheep shall take no harm. Pur! the cat is gray. ish countenance, synging the foote of many songs, as fooles were wont;' and among them is this passage :

• Com over the boorne Bessé,
My litle pretie Bessé,

Come over the boorne, Bessé to me.' The old copies read, 'o'er the broome ;' and Johnson suggested, as there was no connexion between a boat and a broom, that it

Steevens made the correction, and adduced this illustration. There is peculiar propriety in this address: Bessy and poor Tom usually travelled together, as appears by a passage cited from Dick Whipper's Sessions, 1607, by Malone. Mad women, who travel about the country, are called in Shropshire Cousin Betties, and elsewhere Mad Bessies.

9 Much of this may have been suggested by Harsenet's book. Sarah Williams deposeth, “That if at any time she did belch, as often times she did by reason that shee was troubled with a wind in her stomacke, the priests would say at such times, that then

was an error.

10 Minikin was anciently a term of endearment. Baret, in his Alvearie, interprets feat by “proper, well fashioned, minikin, bandsome.'

Lear. Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor king her father.

Fool. Come hither, mistress; Is your name Goneril?

Lear. She cannot deny it.

Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a jointstool11. Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks

proclaim What store her heart is made of.–Stop her there ! Arms, arms, sword, fire!-Corruption in the place! False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?

Edg. Bless thy five wits !

Kent. O pity -Sir, where is the patience now, That you so oft have boasted to retain?

Edg. My tears begin to take his part so much, They'll mar my counterfeiting.

[Aside. Lear. The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.

Edg. Tom will throw his head at them: -Avaunt,

you curs !

Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,

Hound, or spaniel, brach, or lym 12 ; the spirit began to rise in her...and that the wind was the devil.' • And (as she saith), if they heard any croaking in her belly.... then they would make a wonderful matter of that.'- Hoberdidance is mentioned in a former note. « One time shee remembereth that, shee having the said croaking in her belly, they said it was the devil that was about the bed, that spake with the voice of a toad,' p. 194, 195, &c.

11 This proverbial expression occurs likewise in Lyly's Mo ther Bombie, 1594.

12 I suspect that brach signifies a greyhound. See vol. iii. p. 342, note 8. A lym or lyme was a blood-hound (see Minsheu's Dict. in voce); sometimes also called a limmer or leamer; from

[ocr errors]

Or bobtail tike 13, or trundle-tail;
Tom will make them weep and wail :
For, with throwing thus my head,

Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de de. Sessa 14. Come, march to wakes
and fairs, and market towns:—Poor Tom, thy horn
is dry 15.

Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her heart: Is there any cause in nature, that makes these hard hearts? - You, sir, I entertain

you
for one of

my hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your garments: you will say, they are Persian attire ! but let them be changed.

[To EDGAR. Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here, and rest awhile 16.

the leam or leash, in which he was held till he was let slip. In the book of Ancient Tenures, by T. B. 1679, the words 'canes domini regis lesos,' are translated leash hounds, such as draw after hurt deer in a leash or lyan. So Drayton, in The Muses Elysium :

“My doghook at my belt, to which my lyam's ty’d.' 13 Tijk is the Runick word for a little worthless dog. Trindletails are mentioned in The Booke of Hantyng, &c. blk let. no date; and in the old comedy of A Woman kill'd with Kindness.

14 Sessa; this word occurs before in the fourth Scene of this Act, p. 468. It is spelled Sessey in both places in the old copy. The same word occurs in the Induction to The Taming of the Shrew, where it is spelled sessa : it appears to have been a corruption of cessez, stop or hold, be quiet, have done.

15 A horn was usually carried about by every Tom of Bedlam, to receive such drink as the charitable might afford him, with whatever scraps of food they might give him. When, therefore, Edgar says his horn is dry, or empty, he merely means, in the language of the character he assumes, to supplicate that it may be filled with drink. See A Pleasant Dispute between a Coach and a Sedan, 4to. 1636 :— I have observed when a coach is appendant but two or three hundred pounds a yeere, marke it, the dogges are as leane as rakes; you may tell all their ribbes lying be the fire; and Tom a Bedlam may sooner eate his horne than get it filled with small drinke, and for his old almes of bacon there is no hope in the world.'

16 i.e. on the cushions to which he points.

$

Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains : So, so, so: We'll go to supper i' the morning : So, so, so. Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.

Re-enter GLOSTER. Glo. Come hither, friend: Where is the king my

master? Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits

are gone. Glo. Good friend, I pr’ythee take him in thy arms; I have o’erheard a plot of death upon

him: There is a litter ready; lay him in't, And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt

meet Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master: If thou should'st dally half an hour, his life, With thine, and all that offer to defend him, Stand in assured loss : Take up, take up 17; And follow me, that will to some provision Give thee quick conduct. [Kent.

Oppress'd nature sleeps 18:This rest might yet have balm’d thy broken senses, Which, if convenience will not allow, Stand in hard cure.—Come, help to bear thy master; Thou must not stay behind. [To the Fool. Glo.

Come, come, away. [Exeunt KENT, GLOSTER, and the Fool,

bearing off the King. 17 One of the quartos reads, " Take up the king ;' the other, • Take up to keep,' &c.

18 • These two concluding speeches, by Kent and Edgar, are restored from the quarto. The soliloquy of Edgar is extremely fine; and the sentiments of it are drawn equally from nature and the subject. Besides, with regard to the stage, it is absolutely necessary: for as Edgar is not designed, in the constitution of the play, to attend the king to Dover, how absurd would it look for a character of his importance to quit the scene without one word said, or the least intimation what we are to expect from him.'-Theobald.

Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers, suffers most i' the mind; Leaving free things, and happy shows, behind: But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip, When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship. How light and portable my pain seems now, When that, which makes me bend, makes the king

bow; He childed, as I father'd!—Tom, away: Mark the high noises 19 and thyself bewray 20, When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles

thee, In thy just proof, repeals, and reconciles thee. What will hap more to-night, safe scape the king! Lurk, lurk.]

[Exit.

SCENE VII. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, EDMUND,

and Servants. Corn. Post speedily to my lord your husband;

; show him this letter;—the army of France is landed:-Seek out the villain Gloster.

[Exeunt some of the Servants. Reg. Hang him instantly. Gon. Pluck out his

eyes. Corn. Leave him to my displeasure.—Edmund, keep you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father, are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate preparation; we are bound to the like. Our post shall be swift,

19 The great events that are approaching, the loud tumult of approaching war.

20 Betray, discover.

[blocks in formation]
« ElőzőTovább »