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Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life? afoot: Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpters
To this detested groom. [Looking on the Steward.


your choice, sir. Lear. I pr’ythee, daughter, do not make me mad; I will not trouble thee, my child; farewel : 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 flesh, Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil, A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,3

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out the word war after it, and yet signifies to make war, as before in

My life I never held but as a pawn

" To wage against thine enemies." The words-necessity's sharp pinch! appear to be the reflection of Lear on the wretched sort of existence he had described in the preceding lines.

base life – ] i. e. In a servile state. Johnson.

and sumpter --] Sumpter is a horse that carries necessaries on a journey, though sometimes used for the case to carry them in.

--See Beaumont and Fletcher's Noble Gentleman, Seward's edit. Vol. VIII, note 35; and Cupid's Revenge:

I'll have a horse to leap thee, “ And thy base issue shall carry sumpters." Again, in Webster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623 :

“ His is indeed a guarded sumpter-cloth,

Only for the remove o'the court." Steevens. 9 But yet thou art my flesh, &c.] So, in King Henry VI, Part I:

“ God knows, thou art a collop of my flesh.Steevens.

thou art a boil, &c.] The word in the old copies is written byle, and all the modern editors have too strictly followed them. The mistake arose from the word boil being often pronounced as if written bile. In the folio, we find in Coriolanus the same false spelling as here:

Byles (boils] and plagues " Plaster you o'er!" Malone. 2. A plague-sore,] So, in Thomas Lupton's Fourth Booke of Notable Thinges, bl. I. 4to : “ If you wyll knowe whether one shall escape or not, that is infected with the plague, (having the plague-sore) gave the partie, &c. And also anoint the plague-sure" &c. The plague-sure, we may suppose, was the decisive mark of infection, Steevens. VOL. XIV.



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.

Not altogether so, 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 she knows what she does.

Is this well spoken now?
Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many? sith 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 might not you, my lord, receive attendance From those that she calls servants, or from mine? Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chanc'd to slack

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

Lear. I gave you all

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. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-faa

vour'd, When others are more wicked;4 not being the worst,

3 - embossed carbuncle,] Embossed is swelling, protuberant.

Fohnson. So, in Timon of Athens:

“Whom once a day with his embossed froth
“ The turbulent surge shall cover.” Steevens:

Stands in some rank of praise :--I 'll go with thee;

[To Gon.
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.

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?

What need one?
Lear. O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous :
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's: 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 !5
You see me here, you gods, a 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; touch me with noble anger!
0, let not women's weapons, water drops,


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 :-
Į have full cause of weeping; but this heart

4 Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,

When others are more wicked;] This passage, I think, should be pointed thus :

Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,
When others are more wicked; not being the worst

Stands in some rank of praise.-
That is, to be not the worst deserves some praise. Tyrwhitt.

- patience, patience I need!] I believe the word patience was repeated inadvertently by the compositor. Malone. The compositor has repeated the wrong word: Read:

You heavens, give me that patience that I need.
Or, still better, perhaps :

You heavens, give me patience !--that I need. Ritson.
- poor old man,] The quarto has, poor old fellow. Johnson.

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Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,?
Or ere I'll weep:-0, fool, I shall go mad!

[Exeunt LEAR, GLO. KENT, and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm.

[Storm heard at a Distance. Reg.

This house Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd. Gon.

'Tis his own blame; he hath put Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.

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

So am I purpos’d.
Where is my lord of Gloster?

Re-enter GLOSTER.
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth:-he is return'd.
Glo. The king is in high rage.

Whither is he going? Glo. He calls to horse ;9 but will I know not whither. Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself. Gun. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds,
Do sorely ruflie;' for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.

O, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries, that they themselves procure,
Must be their schoolmasters: Shut up your doors;
lle is attended with a desperate train;


into a hundred thousand flaws,] A flaw signifying a crack or other similar imperfection, our author, with his accustomed li. cense, uses the word here for a small broken particle. So again, in the fifth Act:

But his flaw'd heart
“ Burst smilingly.” Malone.

- he hath put

Himself from rest,] The personal pronoun was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. He hath was formerly contracted thus ; H'ath; and hence perhaps the mistake. Malone. 9 Corn. Whither is he going ?

Glo. He calls to horse ;] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens. 1 Do sorely ruffle ;] Thus the folio. The quartos read-Do sorely russel, i.e. rustle. Steevens.

Ruffle is certainly the true reading. A ruffler, in our author's time, was a noisy, boisterous, swaggerer. Malone.

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. [Exeunt.


A Heath.

A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning.

Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting. Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather? Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly. Kent. I know you; Where's the king?

Gent. Contending with the fretful element:3 Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main, That things might change, or cease: tears his white

hair ; 5



incense him to, ] To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate. Malone.

- the fretful element:] i.e. the air. Thus the quartos; for which the editor of the folio substituted elements. Malone.

4 Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,] The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent. So, in Bacon's War with Spain: “ In 1589, we turned challengers, and invaded the main of Spain.”

This interpretation sets the two objects of Lear's desire in proper opposition to each other. He wishes for the destruction of the world, either by the winds blowing the land into the waters, or raising the waters so as to overwhelm the land. So, Lucretius, III, 854 :

terra mari miscebitur. et mare cælo." See also the Æneid I, 133, and XII, 204. Steevens. So, in Troilus and Cressida :

The bounded waters
• Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores

“ And make a sop of all this solid globe.The main is again used for the land, in Hamlet :

“ Goes it against the main of Poland, sir?” Malone.

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


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