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no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O1 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,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum, Weary of all, shall want some. That's a shealed peascod.2
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
[Pointing to LEAR. Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool, But other of your insolent retinue
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.4
Gon. Come, sir," I would you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught ;
1 i. e. a cipher.
2 Now a mere husk that contains nothing.
3 Put it on, that is, promote it, push it forward. Allowance is approbation. 4 “Shakspeare's fools are certainly copied from the life. The originals whom he copied were no doubt men of quick parts; lively and sarcastic. 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 their mind. I know no other way of accounting for the incoherent words with which Shakspeare often finishes this fool's speeches."-Sir Joshua Reynolds.
5 The folio omits these words, and reads the rest of the speech, perhaps rightly, as verse.
and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.
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?1
Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.]
This admiration is much o'the favor 2
Fool. Lear's shadow,
Lear. [I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
By her that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that shall still depend,3
2 i. e. of the complexion.
3 i. e. continue in service.
1 This passage has been erroneously printed in all the late editions "Who is it can tell me who I am?" says Lear. In the folio, the reply, "Lear's shadow," is rightly given to the fool. It is remarkable that the continuation of Lear's speech, and the continuation of the fool's comment, is omitted in the folio copy.
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people; and your disordered
Make servants of their betters.
Lear. Woe, that too late repents,1-O sir, are you
Is it your will? [To ALB.] Speak, sir.-Prepare my
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
'Pray, sir, be patient. Lear. Detested kite! thou liest.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.-O most small fault,
[Striking his head.
Lear. It may be so, my lord.--Hear, nature, hear;
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
1 One of the quarto copies reads, "We that too late repents us." The others, "We that too late repents."
2 The sea-monster is the hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude.
3 By an engine the rack is here intended.
And from her derogate 1 body never spring
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this? Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.
Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a ciap! Within a fortnight?
What's the matter, sir?
Lear. I'll tell thee -Life and death! I am ashamed That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
[To GONERIL. That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father's curse
1 Derogate here means degenerate, degraded.
2 Thwart as a noun adjective is not frequent in our language. It is to be found, however, in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:
"Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care.” Disnatured is wanting natural affection.
3 "Pains and benefits," in this place, signify maternal cares and good offices.
4 The untented woundings are the rankling or never-healing wounds inflicted by a parental malediction. Tents are well-known dressings inserted into wounds as a preparative to healing them.
To temper clay.---Ha! is it come to this?
Gon. 'Pray you, content.-What, Oswald, ho!
[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
If my cap would buy a halter;
Gon. [This man hath had good counsel;-a hun-
'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep
At point, a hundred knights! Yes, that on every dream,
1 This speech is gleaned partly from the folios, and partly from the quartos. The omissions in the one and the other are not of sufficient importance to trouble the reader with a separate notice of each.
2 All within brackets is omitted in the quartos.
3 At point probably means completely armed.