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I will say nothing 1

Kent. Who's there?

Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece; that 's'a wise man, and a fool.2

Kent. Alas, sir, are you here ?3 things that love night,
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, 4
And make them keep their caves : Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
The affliction, nor the fear.5

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pothero o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp'd of justice: Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur’d, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: Caitiff, to pieces shake,

“ Puts



1 No, I will be the pattern of all patience,

I will say nothing.) So Perillus, in the old anonymous play, speaking of Leir: “But he, the myrrour of mild patience,

up all wrongs, and never gives reply.” Steevens.

grace, and a cod-piece ; that 's a wise man, and a fool.] In Shakspeare's time," the king's grace” was the usual expression. In the latter phrase, the speaker perhaps alludes to an old notion concerning fools. Malone.

Alluding perhaps to the saying of a'contemporary wit; that there is no discretion below the girdle. Steevens.

are you here?] The quartos read-sit you here? Steevens. 4 Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,] So, in Venus and Adonis:

'stonish'd as night-wanderers are.” Malone. Gallow, a west-country word, signifies to scare or frighten,

Warburton. So, the Somersetshire proverb: “ The dunder do gally the beans." Beans are vulgarly supposed to shoot up faster after thunder-storm.

Steevens. - fear.) So the folio: the latter editions read, with the quarto, force for fear, less elegantly. Johnson.

keep this dreadful pother -- ) Thus one of the quartos and the folio. The other quarto reads thund'ring.

The reading of the text, however, is an expression common to others. So, in The Scornful Lady of Beaumont and Fletcher:

faln out with their meat, and kept a pudder.Steevens.



That under covert and convenient seeming?
Hast practis'd on man's life! -Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man',
More sinn'd against, than sinning.

Alack, bare-headed!2 Gracious

my lord, hard by here is a hovel; Some friendship will it lend you ’gainst the tempest;


7 That under covert and convenient seeming - ] Convenient needs not be understood in any other than its usual and proper sense; accommodate to the present purpose; suitable to a design. Convenient seeming is appearance such as may promote his purpose to destroy.

Fohnson. - concealing continents,] Continent stands for that which contains or incloses. Fohnson. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra:

“ Heart, once be stronger than thy continent.!Again, in Chapman's translation of the twelfth Book of Homer's Odyssey

“ I told our pilot that past other men
“ He most must bear firm spirits, since he sway'd

“ The continent that all our spirits convey'd,” &c. The quartos read, concealed centers. Steevens.


and cry

These dreadful summoners grace.] Summoners are here the offi'cers that summon offenders before a proper tribunal. See Chaucer's Sompnour's Tale, v.625-670. Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. Vol. I. Steevens.

I find the same expression in a treatise published long before this play was written: “ – they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow for the most part after blazing starres, as if they were the summoners of God to call princes to the seat of judgment." De. fensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, 1581. Malone.

1 I am a man,] Oedipus, in Sophocles, represents himself in the same light. Oedip. Colon. v. 258 :

ταγεργα με « Πεπονθοτ' εςι μαλλον η δεόρακοτα.Tyrwhitt. * Alack, bare-headed!] Kent's faithful attendance on the old king, as well as that of Perillus, in the old play which preceded Shakspeare's, is founded on an historical fact. Lear, says Geoffrey of Monmouth, when he betook himself to his youngest daughter in Gaul, waited before the city where she resided, while he sent a messenger to inform her of the misery he was fallen into, and to desire her relief to a father that suffered both hunger and nakedness. Cor. deilla was startled at the news, and wept bitterly, and with tears ask. ed him, how many men her father had with him. The messenger answered he had none but one man, who had been his armour-bearer, and was staying with him without the town." Malone. VOL. XIV.


my heart3

Repose you there: while I to this hard house,
(More hard than is the stone whereof ’tis rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in,) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.

My wits begin to turn.
Come on, my boy: How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel,
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in
That 's sorry yet for thee.4
Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,

With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,-
Must make content with his fortunes fit;

For the rain it raineth every day. Lear. True, my good boy:--Come, bring us to this hovel.

[Exeunt LEAR and KENT. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.5-I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:

When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors ;6
No hereticks burn'd, but wenches' suitors:7
When every case in law is right;
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues;
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i'the field;
And bawds and whores do churches build ;-
one part in my heart --] Some editions read:

thing in my heart from which Hanmer, and Dr. Warburton after him, have made string, very unnecessarily; but the copies have part. Johnson. 4 That's sorry yet &c.] The old quartos read:

That sorrows yet for thee. Steevens. 5 This a brave night &c.] This speech is not in the quartos.

Steevens. 6 When nobles are their tailors' tutors;] i. e. invent fashions for them. Warburton.

7 No hereticks burrd, but wenches' suitors : ] The disease to which wenches' suitors are particularly exposed, was called, in Shakspeare's time, the brenning or burning. Johnson.

So, in Isaiah, iii, 24: " --and burning instead of beauty.Steevens.


Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see it,

That going shall be us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.


A Room in Gloster's Castle.

Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND. Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing: When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual displeasure, nei. ther to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!

Glo. Go to; say you nothing: There is division between the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this night;~'tis dangerous to be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him: go you, and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived: If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If Í die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.

[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke

8 Then comes the time, &c.] This couplet Dr. Warburton transposed, and placed after the fourth line of this prophecy. The four lines, “ When priests,” &c. according to his notion, are “a satirical description of the present manners, as future;" and the six lines from When every case-to churches build;" a satirical description of fu. ture manners, which the corruption of the present would prevent from ever happening." His conception of the first four lines is, I . think, just; but, instead of his far-fetched conceit relative to the other six lines, I should rather call them an ironical, as the preceding are a satirical, description of the time in which our poet lived. The transposition recommended by this critick, and adopted in the late editions, is, in my opinion, as unnecessary as it is unwarrantable.


Instantly know; and of that letter too :--
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses; no less than all :
The younger rises, when the old doth fall.

A Part of the Heath, with a Hovel.

Enter LEAR, Kent, and Fool. Kent. Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter: The tyranny of the open night's too rough For nature to endure.

[Storm still. Lcar.

Let me alone. Kent. Good my lord, enter here. Lear.

Wilt break my heart 9 Kent. I'd rather break mine own: Good my lord, enter. Lear. Thou think’st 'tis much, that this contentious


Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou 'dst shun a bear :
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou 'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's

The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.--Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to 't?“But I will punish home:--
No, I will weep no more.-In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure:-

9 Wilt break my heart.?] I believe that Lear does not address this question to Kent, but to his own bosom. Perhaps, therefore, we should point the passage thus:

Wilt break, my heart? The tenderness of Kent indeed induces him reply, as to an interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity. Steevens.

raging sea,] Such is the reading of that which appears to be the elder of the two quartos. The other, with the folio, reads, roaring sea. Steevens.

In such a night To shut me out.! - Pour on; I will endure : ] Omitted in the quar: tos. Stecvens,


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