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· With checks as flatteries,—when they are seen abus'd,” s” meaning as well as.'



SCENE 4.-C. p. 375. Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse,&c. “ So all the old editions : to diffuse' meant, in the time of Shakespeare, to disorder or confuse : 'diffus'd attire' is an expression in ‘Henry V. (Vol. v. p. 556) for disordered dress. A diffus'd song'in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,' A. iv. sc. 4, is an irregular song. Tollet quoted the following apposite passage from Stow's Chronicle, 'I doubt not but thy speech shall be more diffuse to him, than his French shall be to thee.'' COLLIER.

him” means,

The full passage in Stow (which is borrowed from Cavendish's Life of Wolsey) stands thus: “and (Wolsey] speaking merilie to one of the gentlemen there, being a Welshman, said, Rice (quoth he), speake you Welsh to them: I doubt not but that thy speech shall bee more diffuse to him, than his French shall be to thee." Annales, p. 533, ed. 1615. When this passage was cited by Tollet in a note on The Merry Wives of Windsor, act iv. sc. 4, he was not aware that “ diffuse to

• difficult for him to understand.' Dyffuse harde to be vnderstande, diffuse." Palsgrave's Lesclar, de la Lang. Fr. 1530, fol. lxxxvi. (Table of Adiect.).

“ But oft yet by it [logick] a thing playne, bright and pure, Is made diffuse, vnknowen, harde and obscure."

Barclay's Ship of Fooles, fol. 53, ed. 1570. These poetes of auncyente, They ar to diffuse for me.”

Skelton's Phyllyp Sparowe,-Works, i. 74, ed. Dyce. The quotation from Stow (or rather Cavendish) is, therefore, hardly to the purpose. Kent does not wish to render his speech difficult to be understood, but merely to disorder it, to disguise it, as he had disguised his person.

Tollet is not the only one of Shakespeare's commentators who shews extreme ignorance of the language of an earlier period. On the passage of Hamlet, act iv. sc. 7,

· And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,

That hurts by easing," Johnson having remarked,

“ It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers ;"

Steevens added;

“So, in the Governall of Helthe, &c. printed by Wynkyn de Worde : ‘And for why whan a man casteth out that noble humour too moche, he is hugely dyscolored, and his body moche febled, more then he lete four sythes, soo moche blode oute of his body?”!!

- where “four sythes soo moche blode" really means four times so much blood.'


SCENE 1.-C. p. 395.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you.

Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night.
Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poize,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.”
The proper punctuation is ;

Corn. You know not why we came to visit you,-
Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night :
Occasions, noble Gloster,” &c.

SCENE 2.-C. p. 397 ; K. p. 58. you come with letters against the king, and take Vanity, the puppet's, part, against the royalty of her father."

The allusion is evidently to the character of Vanity, in some of the early Moralities or Moral-plays. She had also probably been represented in a puppet-show, and hence Kent calls her · Vanity, the puppet.'” COLLIER.

In supposing that Kent alludes to a puppet-show, Mr. Collier is certainly mistaken. Here, as in many other passages of early writers, “puppetis nothing more than a term of contempt for a female. So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Little French Lawyer;

“For he that makes a goddess of a puppet,
Merits no other recompense."

Act i. sc. 1.
"a lady-traitor!
Perish by a proud puppet !"

Act iii. sc. 5. and in Drayton's Elegie vpon the death of the Lady Penelope


“ A thousand silken Puppets should haue died,

And in their fulsome coffins putrified,
Ere in my lines you of their names should heare,
To tell the world that such there euer were,” &c.
Elegies, p. 199,-appended to The Battaile of

Ayincourt, &c. ed. 1627.

" Kent. Strike, you slave : stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike.

[Beating him. Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder ! Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloster, EDMUND, and Servants. Edm. How now! What's the matter? Part.

Kent. With you, goodman boy, if you please : come, I'll flesh you; come on, young master.”

"Part' is wanting in the quartos.” Collier.

Though adopted from the folio by the other modern editors, “Part” is undoubtedly a stage-direction. This is clear from its interfering with the dialogue: Edmund asks " What's the matter ?” and Kent immediately replies, " With you [i. e. “the matter is with you, I will deal with you'], goodman boy,&c.

That such a stage-direction is common in old plays, hardly perhaps requires to be shewn: one instance, however, may be given ; " Rich. Art thou content to breath ? [Fight & part once or twise.A Pleasant Commodie, called Looke about you,

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SCENE 2.-C. p. 398.
Reg. The mess

essengers from our sister and the king.” • All the old copies have ‘messengers,' but Oswald is the only one upon the stage.” COLLIER.

What could Mr. Collier be thinking of? Oswald is the messenger" from our sister," Kent the messenger" from the king."

SCENE 2.-C. p. 399.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!

Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool ?"
Here neither Mr. Collier nor Mr. Knight has any note,-
nor perhaps is one necessary. But I may just remark that the
explanation of “ epileptic visage," cited from Johnson in the
Variorum Shakespeare (and the only one there), is altogether
wrong, “the frighted countenance of a man ready to fall in
a fit."

The context shews that it means 'visage distorted by grinning.'

Why has Mr. Collier no note on “turn their halcyon beaks,” which occurs a few lines earlier ? Not one reader out of two hundred will be able to discover the allusion.

SCENE 2.-C. p. 402; K. p. 62. “ Come, my lord, away.

[Exeunt Regan and CORNWALL." So too the other modern editors : but what becomes of Edmund, Oswald, and the Servants? The proper stage-direction here is ;

[Exeunt all except Gloster and Kent.

Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold

This shameful lodging. Fortune, good night;

Smile once more; turn thy wheel !”
Arrange, with Mr. Knight and the other modern editors;
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night; smile once more; turn thy wheel !”

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“ In all the old copies it is printed Turlygod, but • Turlygood' is perhaps a corruption of Thoroughlygood.” COLLIER.

As the correct orthography of the name is very doubtful, Mr. Collier would have done better if he had retained (with Mr. Knight) the spelling of the old eds., and forborne to offer a conjecture which no body will approve.

SCENE 4.-C. p. 410; K. p. 69.
« Lear.

Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house :
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old ;
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg, [Kneeling.

That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'”
Mr. Knight remarks;

“ In the modern editions we have here the stage-direction kneel. ing. We doubt the propriety of this. Lear is not addressing these words to Regan, but is repeating what he would say to Goneril if he should ask her forgiveness."

If this speech were not sufficient (and I think it is) to shew that Lear does more than “repeat what he would say to Goneril,” — that, wishing to impress Regan with the full absurdity of his asking forgiveness of her sister, he drops upon his knees, — the immediately-following speech of Regan would be decisive on the point;

“Good sir, no more : these are unsightly tricks.

“ Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blast her pride.

O the blest gods !
So will


wish on me, when the rash mood is on." This arrangement (adopted also by the other modern editors) is wretched. Regan's speech ought to stand thus ;

Reg. O the blest gods ! so will you wish on me,
When the rash mood is on."
The passages in Shakespeare and our other old dramatists,

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