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Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pr’ythee, tell him, so n. 'ich the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool. [Te Kent.
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool?
Lear. - No, lad, teach me,
Fool. That lord, that counsel'd thee
To give away thy land,
Or do thou for him fland :
Will presently appear ;
The other found out there,
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; } if I had a monopoly out, they would have
? No, lad-] This dialogue, from No, lad, teach me, down to Give me an egg, was restored from the first edition by Mr. Theobald. It is omitted in the folio, perhaps for political reafons, as it seemed to censure monopolies. JOHNSON.
-if I had a monopoly out, they would have a part on't:) A fatire on the grofs abuses of monopolies at that time, and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee. WARBURTON. The modern editors, without authority, read
a monopoly on't,Monopolies were in Shakspeare's time the common objects of fatire. So, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631 :
“Give him a court loaf, stop his mouth with a monopoly." Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:
“ A knight
part on't: and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself: they'll be snatching.--Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i’the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Thou had'ít little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If 1 speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it fo.
+ Fools ne'er bad less grace in a year; [Singing.
For wise men are grown foppish;
Their manners are so apijh.
Fool. I have used it nuncle, ever since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mothers : for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
“ A knight and never heard of smock-fees ! I would I had a monopoly of them, so there was no impoit set on them.” Again, in the Birth of Merlin, 1662 :
-So foul a monster would be a fair monopoly worth the begging."
In the books of the Stationers' Company, I meet with the following entry. “ John Charlewoode, Ox. 1587: lycensed unto him by the whole consent of the afliitants, the onlye ymprynting of all manner of billes for plaiers.” Again, Nov. 6, 1615, The liberty of printing all billes for fencing was granted to Mr. Purfoot. STEEVENS.
* Fools ne'er had lefs grace in a year,] There never was a time when fools were less in favour; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place. Such I think is the meaning. Both the quartos read wit for grace. JOHNSON.
Then they for sudden joy did weep', [Singing,
And I for forrow sung,
And go the fools among. Pr’ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach thy fool to lie ; I would fain learn to lie.
Lear, If you lie, firrah, we'll have you whipt.
Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are : they'll have me whipt for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipt for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipt for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one o'the parings.
Enter Goneril. Lecr. How now, daughter ? what makes that
frontlet on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.
s Then they for sudden joy did weep, &c.] So, in the Rape of Lucrece, by Heywood, 1630 :
" When Tarquin first in court began,
? And was approved' king,
“ But I for forrow fing." I cannot ascertain in what year T. Heywood first published this play, as the copy in 1630, which I have used, was the fourtb impresion. Steevens.
-tbat frontlet ] Lear alludes to the frontlet, which was anciently part of a woman's dress. So, in the play called the Foure P's, 1569:
• Forsooth women have many lets,
" And then their bonets and their pionets.” Again, in Lylly's Midas, 1592:
Hoods, frontlets, wires, cauls, curling-irons, perriwigs, bodkins, fillets, hair-laces, ribbons, roles, knotitrings, glasses,&c.”
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou had'It no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O ? without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.-Yes, forfooth, I will hold my tongue ; [To Goneril] so your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some. $ That's a sheal'd peascod. [Poiņting to Lear.
Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir, I had thought, by making this well known unto you, To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful, By what yourself too late have spoke and done, That you protect this course, and put it on ' By your allowance; which if you should, the fault Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses neep; Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal, Might in their working do you that offence,
-now thou art an O without a figure :] The fool means to say, that Lear, “ having pared his wit on both sides, and left nothing in the middle,” is become a mere cypher; which has no arithmetical value, unless preceeded or followed by some figure. MALONE.
8 That's a shealid peafcod.) i, e. Now a mere hulk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, but all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone : he has nothing to give.
JOHNSON. That's a feald peafcod.] The robing of Richard Ild's effigy in Weitminster-abbey is wrought with peafcods open, and the peas qut; perhaps in allusion to his being once in full posseffion of sovereignty, but soon reduced to an empty title. See Camden's Remains, 1674, p. 453, edit. 1657, p. 340. Tollet. e-put it on] i. e. promote, puth it forward. So, in Macbeth:
-the pow'rs “ Put on their instruments.". Steevens. ! By your allowance ;] By your approbation. MALONE.
Which else were same, that then neceflity
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
That it had its head bit off by its young. .
Gon. Come, fii,
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws
Lear 5 :
were left darkling.] This word is used by Milton, Paradise Loft, book i:
as the wakeful bird “ Sings darkling.". Dr. Farmer concurs with me in supposing, that the words So cut went the candle, &c. are a fragment of some old song.
STEEVENS. -transform you.] Thus the quartos. The folio reads transport you. STEVENS.
Whcop, Jug, &c.] There are in the fool's speeches several passages which seem to be proverbial allusions, perhaps not now to be understood. JOHNSON
-Whoop, Iug, I love thee.] This, as I am informed, is a quotation from the burthen of an old song. Stevens. Whoop, Jug, I'll do thee no harm, occurs in The Winter's Tale.
MALONE. this is not Lear: ] This paffage appears to have been imitated by Ben Jonson in his Sad Shepherd :
this is not Marian !