Puslapio vaizdai

And with presented nakedness out-face

The winds, and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes and mills,
Sometime with lunatick bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygood! poor Tom!®
That's something yet; - Edgar I nothing am.

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Before Gloster's Castle.

Enter LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman.

Lear. 'Tis strange, that they should so depart from


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4 Of Bedlam beggars,] These were a species of beggars, such as had been in Bedlam, and when partly recovered and allowed to go out, were licensed to beg. Edgar borrows his dress from them, and the phrases of Poor Tom, Poor Tom is a-cold.


wooden pricks,] i. e, skewers.

6 Poor pelting villages,] beggarly or petty.


lunatick bans,] To ban, is to curse.

8 -poor Turlygood! poor Tom!] For Turlupin. In the fourteenth century there was a new species of gipsies, called Turlupins, a fraternity of naked beggars, which ran up and down Europe.

Fool. Ha, ha; look! he wears cruel garters"! Horses are tied by the heads; dogs, and bears, by the neck; monkies by the loins, and men by the legs: when a man is over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden netherstocks.1

Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistook To set thee here?

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Kent. I say, yea.

Lear. No, no; they would not.

Kent. Yes, they have.

Lear. By Jupiter, I swear, no.
Kent. By Juno, I swear, ay.

Lear. They durst not do't;

They could not, would not do't; 'tis worse than murder, To do upon respect such violent outrage:


Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way

Thou might'st deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.

My lord, when at their home,
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress, salutations ;
Deliver❜d letters, spite of intermission, 3

he wears cruel garters!] Probably a quibble was here intended. Crewel signifies worsted, of which stockings, garters, nightcaps, &c. are made.

wooden nether-stocks.] Nether-stocks is the old word for stockings. Breeches were at that time called " men's overstockes." To do upon respect such violent outrage:] To be so grossly deficient in respect.

spite of intermission,] i. e. without pause, without suffering time to intervene.

Which presently they read: on whose contents,

They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse;
Commanded me to follow, and attend

The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,

Whose welcome, I perceiv'd, had poison'd mine,
(Being the very fellow that of late

Display'd so saucily against your highness,)
Having more man than wit about me, drew;
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries:
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

Fool. Winter's not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that


Fathers, that wear rags,

Do make their children blind;

But fathers, that bear bags,

Shall see their children kind.

Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to the poor.

But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for

thy daughters, as thou can'st tell in a year.

Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my


Hysterica passio! down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy elements below! - Where is this daughter?
Kent. With the earl, sir, here within.


Stay here.

Follow me not;


Gent. Made you no more offence than what you

speak of?

They summon'd up their meiny,] Meiny, i. e. people; from mesne, a house. Mesnie, a family, Fr.


dolours-] Quibble between dolours and dollars.

6 O, how this mother, &c.] Lear here affects to pass off the swelling of his heart ready to burst with grief and indignation, for the disease called the Mother, or Hysterica passio, which, in our author's time, was not thought peculiar to women only.

Kent. None.

How chance the king comes with so small a train?

Fool. An thou hadst been set i'the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it.

Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring in the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes, but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again; I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.

That, sir, which serves and seeks for gain,

And follows but for form,

Will pack, when it begins to rain,

And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,

And let the wise man fly:

The knave turns fool, that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.

Kent. Where learn'd you this, fool?

Fool. Not i'the stocks, fool.

Re-enter LEAR, with GLOSTER.

Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?

They have travell'd hard to-night? Mere fetches;

The images of revolt and flying off!

Fetch me a better answer.


My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke;

How unremoveable and fix'd he is
In his own course.

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion! -
Fiery? what quality? why, Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife.

Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so. Lear. Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?

Glo. Ay, my good lord.

Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father

Would with his daughter speak, commands her service: Are they inform'd of this? — My breath and

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Fiery? the fiery duke?- Tell the hot duke, that—
No, but not yet:—may be, he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office,

Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves,
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;

And am fallen out with my more headier will,

To take the indispos'd and sickly fit

For the sound man.

Death on my state! wherefore

[Looking on Kent.

Should he sit here? This act persuades me,
That this remotion" of the duke and her


Is practice only. Give me my servant forth:

Go, tell the duke and his wife, I'd speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum,

Till it cry-Sleep to death.

Glo. I'd have all well betwixt you.


Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart! — but,


Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the

7 this remotion] From their own house to that of the earl of Gloster.

8 Is practice only.] Practice is, in Shakspeare, and other old writers, used commonly in an ill sense for unlawful artifice.

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