Page images

Persuade me rather to be Nave, 4 and fumpter,
To this detested groom.

[Looking on the Steward. Gon. At your choice, Sir.

Lear. I pr’ythee, daughter, do not make me mad;
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell :
We'll no more meet, no more see one another :
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or, rather, a disease that's in my hesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a bile,
A plague-fore, an 5 embofled carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee :
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it :
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure,
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan;
I, and my hundred knights.

Reg. Not altogether fo, Sir;
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome: give ear, Sir, to my sister ;
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to think you old, and so
But the knows what the does.

Lear. Is this well spoken?

Reg. I dare avouch it, Sir. What, fifty followers ?
Is it not well?

What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many? fith that both charge and danger
Speak ’gainst so great a number? How, in one house
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity ? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

Gon. Why night not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?


- and fumpter,] Sumpter is a horse that carries necessaries on a journey, though sometimes used for the case to carry them in.-Vide Two Noble Gentlemen, note 35. and Cupid's Revenge,

I'll have a horse to leap thee,
“ And thy base issue shall carry sumpters.”. Steev.

embosed carbuncle] Embofjed is swelling, protus berant. JOHNSON.



Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chanc'd

to flack you,
We could controul them. If you'll come to me,
(For now I spy a danger) I intreat you
To bring but five-and-twenty; to no more
Will I give place or notice.

Lear. I gave you all-
Reg. And in good time you gave it.

Lear. -Made you my guardians, my depositaries ;
But kept a reservation to be follow'd
With such a number: what must I come to you
With five-and-twenty ? Regan? said you so?

Reg. And speak it again, my lord, no more with me. Lear. 6 Those wicked creatures yet do look well

favour'd: When others are more wicked, not being worst, Stands in some rank of praise.—I'll go with thee;

[To Gonerill Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty ; And thou art twice her love.

Gon. Hear me, my lord ;
What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?

Reg. What need one ?

Lear. O, reason not the need : our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing fuperfluous.

Those WICKED creatures yet do look well-favour'd:

When others are more wicKED,-) Dr. Warburton would exchange the repeated epithet wicked into wrinkled in both places. The commentator's only objection to the lines as they now stand, is the discrepancy of the metaphor, the want of opposition between wicked and well-favourid. But he might have remembered what he says in his own preface concerning mixed modes. Shakespeare, whose mind was more intent upon notions than words, had in his thoughts the pulchritude of virtue, and the deformity of wickedness; and though he had mentioned wickedness, made the correlative answer to deformity.



Bb 4

Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beasts'. Thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But for true need,
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a 7 poor old man,
As full of grief as age : wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; 8 touch me with noble anger

O, let not womens' weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall — I will do such things,
What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think, I'll weep:
No, I'll not weep. I have full cause of weeping:
But this heart shall break into a thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep.-0 fool, I shall go mad!

(Exeunt Lear, Gloʻster, Kent, and Foo!. Corn, Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm.

(Storm and tempejt.

[ocr errors]

- poor old man,] The quarto has, poor old fellow. Johns.

touch me with noble anger !) It would puzzle one at first to find the sense, the drift, and the coherence of this petition. For if the gods sent this evil for his punishment, how could he expect that they should defeat their own design, and aslift him to revenge his injuries ? The solution is, that Shakespeare here makes his speaker allude to what the ancient poets tell us of the misfortunes of particular families : namely, that when the anger of the gods, for an act of impiety, was raised against an offending house, their method of punishment was, first to inflame the breasts of the children to unnatural acts against their parents; and then, of the parents against their children, in order to destroy one another; and that both these outrages were the instigation of the gods. To consider Lear as alluding to this divinity, makes his prayer exceeding pertinent and fine, WARBURTON.


Reg. This house is little; the old man and his people Cannot be well bestow'd.

Gon. 'Tis his own blame hath put himself from rest, And must needs taste his folly.

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly; But not one follower.

Gon. So am I purpos’d.Where is my lord of Glo'ster ?

Enter Gloster. Corn. Follow'd the old man forth.-He is return'd. Glo. The king is in high rage. Corn. Whither is he going? Glo. He calls to horse, but will I know not

whither. Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself. Gon. My lord, intreat him by no means to stay. Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak

winds 9 Do sorely ruffle, for many miles about There's scarce a bush.

Reg. O, Sir, to wilful men, The injuries that they themselves procure Must be their school-masters. Shut up your doors; He is attended with a desperate train ; And what they may incense him to, being apt To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear. Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild

night. My Regan counsels well : come out o' the storm.


. Do forely rufle,-) Thus the folio. The quartos read, Do sosely rudel, i, e. rufle. STEEVENŞ.



A Heath. A storm is beard, with thunder and lightning. Enter

Kent and a Gentleman, meeting.



HAT's here, beside foul weather ?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most

Kent. I know you: where's the king ?

Gent. Contending with the fretful elements : Bids the wind blow the earth into the fea; Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main, That things might change, or cease: ' tears his white

hair, Which the impetuous blafts with eyeless rage Catch in their fury, and make nothing of: Strives in his little world of man to outscorn The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain. 2 This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch, The lion and the belly-pinched wolf Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs, And bids what will take all.

Kent. But who is with him ?


tears his white hair,] The fix following verses were omitted in all the late editions: I have replaced them from the first, for they are certainly Shakespeare's. Pope.

The first folio ends the speech at change, or cease, and begins again with Kent's question, But who is with him? The whole Speech is forcible, but too long for the occasion, and properly retrenched. JOHNSON.

2 This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,] Cubdrawn has been explained to fignify drawn by nature to its young ; whereas it means, whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. For no animals leave their dens by night but for prey. So that the meaning is, “ that even hunger, and the support of its

young, would not force the bear to leave his den in such a " night.” WARBURTON,


« PreviousContinue »