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Instantly know; and of that letter too:-
Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool.
[Storm still. Lcar.
Let me alone, Kent. Good my lord, enter here. Lear.
Wilt break my heart ?9 Kent. I'd rather break mine own: Good my lord, enter. Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious
9 Wilt break my heart?] I believe that Lear does not address this question to Kent, but to his own bosom. Perhaps, therefore, we should point the passage thas:
Wilt break, my heart? The tenderness of Kent indeed induces him to reply, as to an interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity. Steevens.
raging sea, ] Such is the reading of that which appears to be the elder of the two quartos. The other, with the folio, reads, roaring sea. Steevens.
In such a night To shut me out ! - Pour on; I will endure:] Omitted in the quar: tos. Steevens.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Good my lord, enter here.
ty. Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
[Fool goes in. Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, Your loop’d and window'd raggedness, defend you
3 Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,] Old copies:
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave you all, Steevens. I have already observed that the words, father, brother, rather, and many of a similar sound, were sometimes used by Shakspeare as monosyllables. The editor of the folio, supposing the metre to be defective, omitted the word you, which is found in the quartos. Malone.
That our author's versification, to modern ears, (I mean to such as have been tuned by the melody of an exact writer like Mr. Pope) may occasionally appear overloaded with syllables, I cannot deny; but when I am told that he used the words---father, brother, and rather, as monosyllables, I must withhold my assent in the most decided manner. Steevens.
4 In, boy; go first, &c.] These two lines were added in the author's revision, and are only in the folio. They are very judiciously intended to represent that humility, or tenderness, or neglect of forms, which affliction forces on the mind. Johnson.
loop'd and window'd raggedness,] So, in The Amorous War, 1648:
spare me a doublet which “ Hath linings in ’t, and no glass windows." This allusion is as old as the time of Plautus, in one of whose plays it is found. Again, in the comedy already quoted :
this jerkin • Is wholly made of doors.” Steevens. Loop'd is full of small apertures, such as were made in ancient case tles, for firing ordnance, or spying the enemy. These were wider without than within, and were called loops or loop-holes: which Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders by the word fenestella. Malone.
Loops, as Mr. Henley observes, particularly in castles and towers, were often designed “ for the admission of light where windows
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Poor Tom! [The Fool runs out from the Hovel.
Kent. Give me thy hand. - Who's there?
Tom. Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i’ the.
straw? Come forth.
Enter EDGAR, disguised as a Madman. Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me!
would have been incommodious.” Shakspeare, he adds, “ in Othello, and other places, has alluded to them.”
To discharge ordnance, however, from loop-holes, according to Mr. Malone's supposition, was, I believe, never attempted, because al. inost impossible; although such outlets were sufficiently adapted to the use of arrows. Many also of these loops, still existing, were contrived before fire-arms had been introduced. Steevens.
Mr. Warton, in his excellent edition of Milton's Juvenile Poems, (p. 511) quotes the foregoing line as explanatory of a passage in that poet's verses In Quintum Novembris:
“ Tarda fenestratis figens vestigia calceis.
“ Tetra vagabatur solus per lustra ferarum," But, from the succeeding, in Buchanan's Franciscanus et Fratres, these shoes or buskins with windows on them appear to have conposed a part of the habit of the Franciscan order :
"Atque fenestratum soleas captare cothurnum.” The Parish Clerk, in Chaucer, (Canterbury Tales, v. 3318, edit. 1775,) has “ Poulis windows corven on his shoos.” H. White.
Take physick, pomp;
And show the heavens more just.] A kindred thought occurs in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:
“ O let those cities that of plenty's cup
“ The misery of Tharsus may be theirs." Malone. 7 Fathom &c.] This speech of Edgar is omitted in the quartos: He gives the sign used by those who are sounding the depth at sea.
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters ?9
Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame,? through ford'and whirlpool, over bog and quamire; that Swamp hath laid knives under his pillow,2 and halters in his pew;
8 Humph! go to thy cold bed, &c.] So, in the introduction to The Taming of the Shrew, Sly says, "go to thy cold bed and warm thee.” A ridicule, I suppose, on some passage in a play as absurd as The Spanish Tragedy. Steevens.
This line is a sneer on the following one spoken by Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy, Act II:
“What ou cries pluck me from my naked hed.” Willey. Humph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee ] Thus the quartos. The editor of the folio, 1623, I suppose, thinking the passage nonsense, omitted the word cold. This is not the only instance of unwarrantable alterations made even in that valuable copy. That the quartos are right, appears from the Induction to The Taming of the Suret, where the same words occur. See Vol. VI, p. 13, n. 6 Malone.
9 Hirst thou given all to thy two daughters?] Thus the quartos. Tbe folio reads, Divist thou give all to thy daughters.? Steevens.
led through fire and through flame. ) Alluding to the ignis fatuus, supposed to be lights kindled by mischievous beings to lead travellers into destruction. Johnson.
laid knives under his pillow,] He recounts the temptations by which he was prompted to suicide ; the opportunities of destroying himself, which often occurred to him in his melancholy moods.
Fohnson. Shakspeare found this charge against the fiend, with many others of the same nature, in Harsenet's Declaration, and has used the very words of it. The book was printed in 1603. See Dr. Warburton's note, Act IV, sc.i.
Infernal spirits are always represented as urging the wretched to self-destruction. So, in Dr. Faustus, 1604:
“ Swords, poisons, halters, and envenom'd steel,
" Are laid before me to dispatch myself.” Steevens. The passage in Harsenet's book which Shakspeare had in view, is this:
“ This Examt. further sayth, that one Alexander, an apothecarie, having brought with him from London to Denham on a time a new halter, and two blades of knives, did leaye the same upon the gallerie floore, in her maisters house. A great search was made in the house to know how the said halter and knife-blades came thither,--till Ma. Mainy in his next fit said, it was reported *hat the devil layd them in the gallerie, that some of those that were possessed, might either hang themselves with the halter, or kill themselves with the blades."
set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor :- Bless thy five wits !3 Tom's a cold.-0, do de, do de, do de.-Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes : There could I have him nowand there, and there, and there again, and there.
[Storm continues. Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this
Could'st thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
Lear. Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters!
The kind of temptation which the fiend is described as holding out to the unfortunate, might also have been suggested by the story of Cordila, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1575, where DESPAIRE visits her in prison, and shows her various instruments by which she may rid herself of life:
“ And there withall she spred her garments lap assyde,
Malone. Bless thy five wits.'] So the five senses were called by our old writers Thus in the very ancient interlude of The Five Elements, one of the characters is Sensual Appetite, who with great simplicity thus ini roduces himself to the audience :
“ I am callyd sensual apetyte,
“ I comforte the wytty's five ;
" To all creaturs alyve.”
Steevens. Shakspeare, however, in his 141st Sonnet, seems to have considered the five wits, as distinct from the senses :
“ But my five wits nor my five senses can
taking !] To take is to blast, or strike with malignant inAuence. So, p. 225:
Strike her young bones,