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crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard.2-Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace ;-this piece of toasted cheese will do't.-There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant. -Bring up the brown bills.3-0, well flown, bird-i'the clcut,t i’ the clout: hewgh-Give the word.5
prest," ready. It is written prest in several places in King Henry Vilth's Book of household expences still preserved in the Exchequer. This may serve also to explain the following passage in Act V, sc. ji: “ And turn our im prest lances in our eyes;” and to correct Mr. Whalley's note in Hizinlet, Act I, sc. i: “Why such impress of shipwrights?” Douce.
1 That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper :] Mr. Pope, in his last edition, reads cow.keeper. It it certain we must read crowkeeper. In several counties, to this day, they call a stuffed figure, representing a man, and arined with a bow and arrow, set up to fright the crows from the fruit and corn, a crow-keeper, as well as a scare.
Theobald. This crow-keeper was so common in the author's time, that it is one of the few peculiarities, mentioned by Orteliųs, in his account of our island. Johnson. So, in the 48th Idea of Drayton:
« Or if thou 'lt not thy archery forbear, 6. To some base rustick do thyself prefer;
“ And when corn 's sown, or grown into the ear,
“ Practise thy quiver and turn crow-keeper." Mr. Tollet informs that Markham, in his Farewell to Husban. dry, says, that such servants are called field-keepers, or crow-keepers.
Steevens. So, in Bonduca, by Fletcher:
Can these fight? They look
“Like men of clouts, set to keep crows from orchards." See also Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Sc. iv. Malone. The following curious passage in Latimer's Fruitful Sermons, 1584, fol. 69, will show how indispensable was practice to enable an archer to handle his bow skilfully: “ In my time (says the good bishop) my poor father was diligent to teach me to shoote, as to learne me any other thing, and so I thinke other men did their children. He taught me how to draw, howe to lay my body in my bow, and not to drawe with strength of arines as other nations doe, but with strength of the bodye. I had my bowes bought me according to my age and strength: as I encreased in so my bowes were made bigger and bigger: for men shall neuer shoote well, except they be brought up in it." H White.
draw me a clothier's yard.] Perhaps the poet had in his mind a stanza of the old ballad of Chevy-Chace :
6 An arrow of a cloth-yard long,
• Up to the head drew he,” &c. Steevens.
Edg. Sweet marjoram.
Lear. Ha! Goneril!-- with a white beard !--They flatter'd me like a dog;7 and told me, I had white hairs in my beard, ere the black ones were there. To say ay, and no, to every thing I said!-Ay and no too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I found them, there I smelt them out. Go to, they are not men o'their words: they told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie; I am not agueproof.
the brown bills.] A bill was a kind of battle-axe, affixed to a long staff: Steevens.
4 0, quell florin, bird !-i’ the clout, &c.] Lear is here raving of archery, and shooting at buts, as is plain by the words i' the clout, that is, the white mark they set up and aiin at: hence the phrase, to hit. the white. Warburton.
So, in The Two Maids of Moreclacke, 1609: “Change your mark, shoot at a white; come stick me in the clout, sir." Again, in Tamburlaine, &c. 1590:
“ For kings are clouts that every man shoots at.” Again, in Hors to choose a good Wife from a bad one, 1602:
who could miss the clout, • Having such steady aim ?? Mr. Heath thinks there can be no impropriety in calling an arrow a bird, from the swiftness of its flight, especially when immediately preceded by the words we!l.fiown: but it appears that well flown bird, was the falconer’s espression when the hawk was successful in her flight; and is so lised in A Woman killed with Kindness. Steevens.
The quartos read-0, well flown bird in the dyre, hugh, give the word. Malone.
Give the word.] Lear supposes himself in a garrison, and before he leis Edgar pass, requires the walch-word. Johnson.
6 Hil! Goneril! —with a v.hite beari!'] So reads the folio, proper. ly; the quarto, whom the latter editors have followed, has, Ha! Goneril, ha! Regan! they flattered me, &c. which is not so forcible.
Fohnson. 7 They flatter'd me like a dog ;] They played the spaniel to me.
Fohnson. - and told me, I had white hairs in my beard, ere the black ones were there.] They told me that I had the wisdom of age, before I had at:a.ned to manhood. Malone.
9 When the rain came to wet me &c.] This seems to be an allusion to King Canu'e's behaviour when his courtiers flattered him as lord of the sea.
Glo. The trick of that voicel I do well remember:
Ay, every inch a king:
Whose face between her forks4 presageth snow; mimics That'minces"virtue,5 and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name;
i The trick of that voice —] Trick (says Sir Thomas Hanmer) is a word frequently used for the air, or that peculiarity in a face, voice, or gesture, which distinguishes it froin others. We still say, . He has a trick of winking with his eyes, of speaking loud,” &c. Steevens. 2 Ay, every inch a king :
When I do stare, see, how the subject quakes.] So, in Venus and
“ Who, like a king perplexed in his throne,
“ Whereat each tributary subject quakes.” Malone.
4 Whose face between her forks - ] The construction is not "whose face between her forks,” &c. but “whose face presageth snow between fier forks." So, in Timon of Athens, Act IV, sc. iii:
" Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
" That lies on Dian's lap.” Edwards. To preserve the modesty of Mr. Edward's happy explanation, I can only hint a reference to the word fourcheure in Cotgrave's Dictionary. Steevens.
5 That minces virtue,] Whose virtue consists in appearance only; in an affected delicacy and prudery: who is as nice and squeamish in talking of virtue and of the frailer part of her sex, as a lady who walks mincingly along:
and turn two mincing steps
With a more riotous appetite.
Glo. (), Let me kiss that hand!
Glo. O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me ?3 No, do thy worst, blind Cupid; I'll not
6 The fitchew,] A polecat. Pope.
nor the soiled horse,] Soileil horse is a term used for a horse that has been fed with hay and corn in the stable during the winter, and is turned out in the spring to take the first flush of grass, or has it cut and carried in to him. This at once cleanses the animal, and fills him with blood. Steevens.
8 Down from the waist they are centaurs,] In The Malcontent, is a. thought as singular as this:
6. 'Tis now about the immodest waist of night.” Steevens. 9 But to the girdle &c.] To inherit in Shakspeare is, to possess. See Vol. II, p. 206, n. 7. But is here used for only. Maloi.e.
1 Beneath is all the fiends”;] According to Grecian superstition, every limb of us was consigned to the charge of some particular deity. Gower, De Confessione Amantis, enlarges much on it, and concludes by saying:
«s And Venus through the letcherie
“ To thilke ofice appertainant.'' Collins. In the old copies the preceding as well as the latter part of Lear's speech is printed as prose. I doubt much whether any part of it was intended for metre. Malone
- there is the sulphurous pit, &c.] Perhaps these lines should be regulated as follows:
There is the sulphurous pit, nch, burning, scalding,
An ounce of civet, &c. Steevens. 3 Dost thou squiny at me?] To squiny is to look asquint. The word is used by our poet's fellow.comedian, Robert Armin, in A Nest of Ninnies, &c. 4:0. 1609: “ The world--squinies at this, and looks as one scorning." Malone.
love-Read thou this challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glo. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.
Edg. I would not take this from report ;-it is,
Lar. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light: Yet you see how this
Glo. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes, with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yon' justice rails upon yon simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: Change places; and, handy-dandy,5 which is the justice, which is the thief ?--Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar?
Gio. Ay, sir.
4 What, zvith the case of eyes?] Mr. Rowe changed the into this, but without necessity. I have restored the old reading. The case of eyes is the socket of either eye. Shakspeare has the expression again in The Winter's Tale: - they seemed almost, with staring on one another, to tear the cases of their eyes.” Steevens. In Fericles, Prince of T're, 1609, we have the same expression :
her e es as jewel-like, - And cas’d as richly." Again, ibidem :
" Here;e-!il's, cases to those heavenly jewels
“Begin to part their fringes of bright gold." This could not have been the author's word; for (s this case of eyes” in the language of his time signified-this pair of ees, a sense directly opposite to that intended to be conveyed. Nalone.
5 Change places; and, handy.dandy,] The words change places, ant!, are not in the quartos. Handy.dandy is, I believe, a play among children, in which something is shaken between two hands, and then 2 guess is made in which hand it is retained. See Fiorio's Italian Dic. tionary, 1598: “Bazzicchiare. To shake between two hands; to play kandy-dandy.” Coles in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders " to play handy-dandy,” by digitis micare; and he is followed by Ainsworth; bai they appear to have been mistaken; as is Dr. Johnson in his de. finition in his Dictionary, which seems to have been formed on the passage before us, misunderstood. He says, Handy.dandy is “a play in which children change hands and places." Jalore.