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Kent. What art thou, that doft grumble there i' th” Straw? come forth.
Enter Edgar, disguis'd like a Madman. Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me. Through the fharp hawthorn blows the cold wind. Humph, go to thy bed and warm thee.
Lear. Didit thou give all to thy daughters ?? and art thou come to this ? (29)
Edge (29) DidA tbou give all to thy daugbrers ? and art thou come to tbis ?] Here Lear's madness first begins to break out. His mind, long beate ing on his afflictions, had laid a preparation for his frenzy: and noe thing was wanting but such an object as Edgar, to set it on work, as it were by sympathy. In this our author has shewn an exquisite knowledge of nature; as he has, with no less propriety, diftinguish'd: the King's real, from the other's affum'd passion.. What Lear says,, for the most part, springs either from the source and fountain of his disorder ; the injuries done him by his daughters; or his desire of being reveng’d on them.. What Edgar fays, scems a fantastick wild. Ress, only extorted to disguise sense, and to blunt the fufpicion of his concealment. This makes it, that we are always most strongly af.. fected with the King's madness, as we know it to be a real distress.. But tho' what Edgar fays, seems extravagance of thought, and the coinage of the poet's brain only, to the end, already mention’d ; yet: I'll veniure to assure my readers, his whole frenzy is satire leveli'd att. a modern fact, which made no little noise at that period of time : and consequently, must have been a rapturous.entertainment to the: Spectators, when it was first presented. The secret is this : While the Spaniards were preparing their armado against England, the Jesuits: were here busily at work to promote the success by making converts.. One method they used, to do this, was to dispossess pretended demo.. niacks of their own church: by which artifice, they made several. hundred converts among the common people, and grew fo elate upon. their success, as to publish an account of their exploits in this wonderful talent of exorcising: A main scene of their business, in this seeming-holy discipline, lay in the family of one Mr. Edmund Pecko. bam; where Marwood a servant of Antony Babington's, (who was af.. terwards executed for treason) Trayford an attendant upon Mr. Peck. ham, and Sarab and Friswood Williams and Anne Smith (three cham«. bermaids in that family) were supposed to be pofsefs’d by devils, and came under the hands of the priefts for their cure. The parties either so little lik'd the discipline, or the jesuits behav'd with such ill ad-. dress, that the consequence was, the imposture was discover'd : the demoniacks were examin'd; and their confeffions taken upon oath : before the privy council. The whole matter being blown up, the
Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom 2 whom the foul tiend hath led through fire and through fiame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er boy and quagmire ; that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters in his pew; fet ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse, over four inch'd bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor, bless thy five wits ; Tom's a-cold. O do, de, do, de, do, de ;- bless thee from whirl-winds, star-blafting, and taking; do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him now, and there, and here again, and there.
[Storm fill. Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this
pafs? Could'it thou save nothing? did'At thou give 'em all ?
Fool. Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, elle we had been all ashamed.
Lear. Now all the plagues, that in the pendulous air Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters !
Kent. He hath no daughters, Sir.
Lear. Death ! traitor, nothing could have subdu'd nature criminals brought to the stake, and the trick of devil-bunting brought into ridicule; Dr. Harsenet (who was chaplain to archbithop Bancrofts and himself afterwards archbishop of York) wrote a sinart narrative of this whole priceeding under the following title : “ A deciaration of “ egregious popith impoitures, to withdraw the hearts of her majes: « ?y's futjects from their allegiance, Cc. under the pretence of caft“ ing out devils, practis’d by Edmunds, alias TVeston, a jesuit; and ." divers Romijh priests, his wicked affociates. Whereunto are an
6 nex'd the copies of the confessions and examinations of the parties ." themselves, which were pretended to be possess'd' and dispoflefa'd, «. c. Printed by James Roberts, in 1603."---This transaction was so rife in every body's mouth, upon the acceflion of King James. the ist to the crown ;, that our poet. thought proper to make his court, by helping forward the ridicule of it. I need only observe now, that Edgar thro' all his frenzy supposes himself possess’d by fiends, and that the greatest part of his disembled lunăcy, the names of his devils, and the descriptive circumstances he allades to in his own cafe, are all drawn from this pamphlet, and the confessions of the poor deluded wretches. The address of our author in this popular * piece of fatire, and that excentrick madness he has built upon it, made me imagine, the stating a fact, fo little known, might apologize for the length of this note on the occasion,
To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.
Edg. Pillicock fat on pillicock-hill, alow, alow, loo, loo !
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools, and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o' th' foul fiend ; obey thy parents ; keep thy word juftly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse ; set not thy sweet heart on proud array.
Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that (30) curld my hair, wore gloves in my cap, serv'd the luft of my mistress's heart, and did the act of darkness with her : swore as many oaths as I spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heav'n. One that slept
(30) that curld my bair, wore gloves in my cap;] A learned gentleman, whom I have no privilege to name, intimated to me, that Shakespeare's reading must have been wore cloves in my cap-alluding to the prevailing mode, in those days, among the spruce gallants, of quilting spices and other perfumes within the linings of their hats. I thought it but justice to mention a hint fo ferviceably de. fign'd; tho', with deference, I must be oblig’d to dissent in opinion, and think that the text calls for no alteration. It was a frequent cura tom to wear gloves in the hat, upon three different motives; either as the favour of a mistress ; in honour of some other respected friend; or as a mark to be challeng'd by an adversary where a duel was depending. And to this custom in all these three cases, has our author at different times alluded. King Richard II.
His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And wear it as a favour,
Here, uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns,
And wear it for an honour in thy cap.
K. Henry. Give me any gage of thine, and I will wear it in my bonnet ; then if ever thou durft acknowledge it, I will make it my quarrel. Will. Here's my gloves
in the contriving luft, and awak'd to do it. Wine lov'd I deeply; dice dearly; and in woman, out-paramour'd the Turk. False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in floth, fox in ftealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let not the creaking of shoes, nor the ruftling of filks, betray thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from len:der's books, and defy the foul fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind : fays fuum, mun, nonny, dolphin, my boy, boy, Seley : let him trot by, Storm till.
Lear. Thou were better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than this ? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the worm no filk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated. Thou art the thing itself ; modated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings : come, une button here.
[Tearing off his clotbes. Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field, were like an old letcher's heart, a small spark, and all the rest on’s body cold; look, here comes a walking fire.
Edg. This is the foul Flibbertigibbet ; he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the hair-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature. of the earth.
St. Withold footed thrice the Wold; (31)
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold, (31) Swithold footed tbrice the old,] What idea the editors had, or whether any, of footing the old, I cannot pretend to determine. My ingenious friend Mr. Bishop faw it must be Wold, which fignifies a down, or champion ground, hilly and void of wood. And as to St. Wirbold, we find him again mention'd in our author's troublefam reign of King Jobn, in two parts:
Sweet St. Withold, of thy lenity,
Bid her alight, and her troth plight,
And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee.
Enter Glo'fter, with a torch.
seek? Glo. What are you there? your names ?
Edg. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tod-pole ; the wall-newt, and the water-newt; that in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for fallets; swallows the old rat, and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool; who is whipt from tything to tything, and stockpunilh'd, and imprisoned: who hath had three suits to his back, fix shirts to his body;
Horse to ride, and weapon to wear ;
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Glo. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman, Mode be's call'd, and Mahu.
Glo. Our desh and blood, my Lord, is grown so vile, That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot fuffer
Lear. First, let me talk with this Philosopher ;
Kent. My good Lord, take his offer,
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban':