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Edg. Arm'd, brother ? *
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go arm’d; I am no honeft man, if there be any good meaning towards you:
I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
Edm. I do serve you in this bufiness.- [Exit Edgar. A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy!--I see the business. -Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit: AH with me's meet, that I can fashion fit.
Enter GONERIL, and STEWARD. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool ?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night'! he wrongs me; every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other, That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it : His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle :-When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him ; say, I am fick :If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
By day and night! be wrongs me;] It has been suggested by Mr. Whalley that we ought to point differently:
By day and night, he wrongs me; not considering these words as an adjuration. But that an adjuration was intended, appears, I think, from a passage in King Henry VIII. The king, speaking of Buckingham, (A& I. sc. ii.) says,
- By day and nigbt “ He's traitor to the height." It cannot be supposed that Henry means to say that Buckingham is a traitor in the night as well as by day. MALONE.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.
That he hath given away!-Now, by my life,
Stew. Very well, madam.
Gön.And let his knights have colder looks among you; What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows fo: I would breed * from hence occasions, and I shall,
2 Not to be over-rul'd, &c.] This line, and the four following lines, arc omitted in the folio. MALONE. 3 Old foals are babes again; and must be us’d
Wib cbecks, as faiteriesou ben ebey are seen abur'l.] The sense seems to be this: old men must be treated wirb checks, when as ebey are seen to be deceived witb flasteries: or, wben ebey are weak enougb is be seen abused by fiatteries, they are then weak enough to be used will cbecks. There is a play of the words used and abused. To abuse is, in our authour, very frequently the same as to deceive. This construction is harsh and ungrammatical; Shakspeare perhaps thought it vicious, and chose to throw away the lines rather than correct them, nor would now thank the officiousness of his editors, who restore what they do not understand. JOHNSON.
The objection to Dr. Johnson's interpretation is, that he supplies the word witb or by, which are not found in the text: “ when as they are seen to be deceived wirb Aatteries," or, “ when they are weak enough to be seen abused by flatteries," &c. and in bis mode of construction the word witb preceding cbecks, cannot be understood before flatteries.
I think Mr. Tyrwhitt's interpretation the true one. MALONE.
The plain meaning, I believe, is old fools must be used with checks, as flatteries muft be check'd when they are made a bad use of.
TOLLET. I understand this patrage thus. Old fools---must be used with cbecks, as well as flatteries, wben tbey [i. e. fiatteries) are seen to be abused.
TYRWHITT. 4 I would breed, &c.] This line and the first four words of the next are found in the quartos, but omitted in the folie. MALONE.
That I may speak :- I'll write straight to my fifter,
A Hall in the same.
Enter Kent, disguised, Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse', my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue For which I raz'd my likeness.--Now, banish'd Kent, If thou can't serve where thou doft stand condemn’d, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'it, Shall find thee full of labours. Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready: (Exit an Attendant.] How now, what art thou?
Kent, A man, fir.
5 If but as well 1 ot ber accents borrow,
Ibat can my speecb diffuse,] We must suppose that Kent advances looking on his dilguise. This circumstance very naturally leads to his speech, which, otherwise, would have no very apparent introduction. If I can change my speecb as well as I have cbanged my dress. To diffuse speech, fignifies to disorder it, and fo to disguise it; as in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act IV, sc. viis
rush at once « With some diffused song."Again, in the Nice Valour, &c. by Beaumont and Fletcher, Cupid says to the Passionate Man, who appears disordered in his dress : “Go not so diffusedly.” Again, in our author's King Henry V : “ – swearing, and stern looks, diffus'd attire."
To diffufe speecb may, however, mean to speak broad, with a clownish accent. STEEVENS.
Diffused certainly meant, in our authour's time, wild, irregular, heterogeneous. So, in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617 :
“ I have seen an English gentleman so defused in his suits, his doublet being for the weare of Cartile, his hole for Venice, his hat for France, his cloak for Germany, that hee seemed no way to be an Englishman but by the face." "MALONE,
Lear. What doft thou profess? What would't thou with us!
Kent. I do profefs to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honeft; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose ; and to eat no fich'.
Lear, What art thou ?
Kent. A very honeft-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would't thou ?
Kent. No, fir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call matter.
Lear. What's that?
6-0 converse wirb bim tbat is wife, and says little;] To cerverse fignifies immediately and properly to keep company, not to discourse or Talk. His meaning is, that he chuses for his companions men of refcrve and caution ; men who are no tattlers nor tale-bearers. JOHNSON.
We ftill say in the same sense-he had criminal conversation with her, meaning commerce. So, in King Richard III:
“ His apparent open guilt omitted,
“ I mean his conversation with Shore's wife." MALONE. ? - and to eat no fish.] In queen Elizabeth's time the Papists were esteemed, and with good reason, enemies to the government. Hence the proverbial phrase of, He's an boneft man, and eats no fish; to fignify he's a friend to the government and a Proteftant. The eating fish, on a religious account, being then esteemed such a badge of popery, that when it was enjoin'd for a season by act of parliament, for the encouragement of ihe fish-towns, it was thought necessary to declare the reason; hence it was called Cecil's faft. To this disgraceful badge of popery Fletcher alludes in his Woman-bater, who makes the courtezan fay, when Lazarillo, in search of the umbrano's head, was seized at her house by the intelligencers for a traytor : “ Gentlemen, I am glad you have discovered him. He should not have eaten under my roof for twenty pounds. And sure I did not like him, when he called for fiso." And Marston's Dutch Courtezan : “ I trust I am aone of the wicked that cat fijn a fridays," WARBURTON.
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tále in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify’d'in; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou ?
Kent. Not so young, fir, to love a woman for singing ; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing : I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.Dinner, ho, dinner !-Where's my knave? my fool ? Go you, and call my fool hither :
[Exit. Lear. What says the fellow there ? Call the clotpole back.—Where's my fool, ho ?-I think the world's asleep.-How now where's that mungrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call'd him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not !
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is ; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertain’d with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness 8 appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so? Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken ; for my duty cannot be filent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
- of kindness - ] These words are not in the quartos, MALONE.