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And, in the end, meet the old course of death, Women will all turn monsters. I Serv. Let’s follow the old earl, and get the bedlam To lead him where he would ; his roguish madness Allows itself to any thing. 2 Serv. Go thou; I’ll fetch some flax, and whites of eggs, To apply to his bleeding face. Now, Heaven help him : [Exeunt severally.
Edg. Yet better thus, and know to be contemned, Than still contemned and flattered." To be worst, The lowest, and most dejected thing of fortune, Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear. The lamentable change is from the best; The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,” Thou unsubstantial air, that I embrace The wretch, that thou hast blown unto the worst, Owes nothing to thy blasts.-But who comes here 2–
Enter GLOSTER, led by an Old Man.
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
* “It is better to be thus openly contemned, than to be flattered and secretly despised.”
* The next two lines and a half are not in the quartos.
* We should never submit with resignation to death, the necessary consequence of old age.
WOL. VII, 12
Old Man. O my good lord, I have been your tenant, and your father’s tenant, these fourscore years. Glo. Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone. Thy comforts can do me no good at all; Thee they may hurt. Old Man. Alack, sir, you cannot see your way. Glo. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes; ! stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen, Our mean secures us,” and our mere defects Prove our commodities.—Ah, dear son Edgar, The food of thy abused father’s wrath ! Might I but live to see thee in my touch,” I’d say, I had eyes again Old Man. How now P Who’s there P Edg. [Aside..] O gods! who is't can say, I am at the worst 3 I am worse than e'er I was. Old Man. 'Tis poor mad Tom. Edg. [Aside.] And worse I may be yet. The Worst is not, So long as we can say, This is the worst.” Old Man. Fellow, where goest? Glo. - Is it a beggar man P Old Man. Madman and beggar too. Glo. He has some reason, else he could not beg. I” the last night’s storm I such a fellow saw ; Which made me think a man a worm. My son Came then into my mind; and yet my mind Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since ; As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport. Edg. How should this be P
Bad is the trade must play the fool to sorrow,
1 JMean is here put for our moderate or mean conditions. It was sometimes the practice of the Poet's age to use the plural, when the subject spoken of related to more persons than one. To avoid the equivoque, Pope changed the reading of the old copy to “our mean secures us.”
2 So in another scene, “I see it feelingly.”
3 i. e. while we live.
Angering itself and others. [Aside.]—Bless thee, master
Glo. Is that the naked fellow P
Old Man. Ay, my lord.
Glo. Then, 'pr’ythee, get thee gone. If, for my sake, Thou wilt o’ertake us, hence a mile or twain, I’the way to Dover, do it for ancient love; And bring some covering for this naked soul, Whom I’ll entreat to lead me.
Old Man. Alack, sir, he’s mad. Glo. 'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure. Above the rest, be gone. Old Man. I’ll bring him the best 'parel that I have, Come on’t what will. [Exit. Glo. Sirrah, naked fellow ! Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.—I cannot daubit further. [Aside. Glo. Come hither, fellow. Edg. [Aside.] And yet I must.—Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed. Glo. Know'st thou the way to Dover ? Edg. Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor Tom hath been scared out of his good wits. Bless the good man from the foul fiend! Five fiends' have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididance, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; and Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and mowing; who since possesses chambermaids and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master! Glo. Here, take this purse, thou whom the Heaven's plagues Have humbled to all strokes ; that I am wretched,
1 * The devil in Ma. Mainy confessed his name to be Modu, and that he had besides himself seven other spirits, and all of them captaines, and of great fame. Then Edmundes, (the exorcist,) began againe with great earnestness, and all the company cried out, &c. so as both that wicked prince Modu and his company might be cast out.”— Harsnet, p. 163. This passage will account for “five fiends having been in poor
Tom at once.”
Makes thee the happier.—Heavens, deal so still !
Edg, Ay, master.
Glo. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head Looks fearfully in * the confined deep. Bring me but to the very brim of it, . And I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear, With something rich about me. From that place I shall no leading need.
Edg. & Give me thy arm; Poor Tom shall lead thee. [Eveunt.
SCENE II. Before the Duke of Albany’s Palace.
Enter GoneRIL and EDMUND ; Steward meeting them.
Gon. Welcome, my lord; I marvel, our mild husband Not met us on the way.—Now, where’s your master f Stew. Madam, within ; but never man so changed. I told him of the army that was landed ; He smiled at it. I told him you were coming; His answer was, The worse : of Gloster’s treachery, And of the loyal service of his son, When I informed him, then he called me sot, And told me I had turned the wrong side out.— What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to him ; What like, offensive. Gon. - Then shall you go no further. [To EDMUND. It is the cowish terror of his spirit, That dares not undertake ; he’ll not feel wrongs, Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes, on the way, 1 To slave an ordinance is to treat it as a slave, to make it subject to us, instead of acting in obedience to it. The quartos read, “That stands your ordinance,” which may be right, says Malone, and means with
stands or abides. 2 In is here put for on, as in other places of these plays.
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Gon. I have been worth the whistle.”
Alb. O Goneril You are not worth the dust which the rude wind Blows in your face—I fear your disposition.” That nature, which contemns its origin, Cannot be bordered certain in itself; She that herself will sliver and disbranch From her material sap," perforce must wither, And come to deadly use.”
1 Quarto A. reads “my foot usurp my body; ” Quarto B., “my foot usurps my head; ” Quarto C., “a fool usurps my bed.” The folio reads, “my fool usurps my body.” 2. Goneril's meaning seems to be, “There was a time when you would have thought me worth the calling to you.” 3 These words, and the lines following, to monsters of the deep, are not in the folio. They are necessary to explain the reasons of the detestation which Albany here expresses to his wife. 4 “She who breaks the bonds of filial duty, and becomes wholly alienated from her father, must wither and perish, like a branch separated from that trunk or body which “supplied it with sap.” There is a peculiar propriety in the use of the word material; materia (Lat.) signifying the trunk or body of the tree. 5 Alluding to the use that witches and enchanters are said to make of withered branches in their charms. .