« AnteriorContinuar »
This shameful lodging.
Enter EDGAR. Eds. I heard myself proclaim’d; And, by the happy hollow of a tree, Escap'd the hunt. No port is free; no place, That guard, and inost unusual vigilance, Does not attend my taking. While I may scape, I will preserve myself: and am bethought To take the basest and most poorest shape, That ever penury, in contempt of man, Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with filth; Blanket my loins; elf all my hair in knots ;3 And with presented nakedness out-face The winds, and persecutions of the sky. The country gives me proof and precedent Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
elf all my hair in knots ;] Hair thus knotted, was vulgarly supposed to be the work of elves and fairies in the night. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
plats the manes of horses in the night, “ And bakes the elf locks in foul sluttish hairs,
“ Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes." Steeueris, 4 Of Bedlam beggars,] Randle Holme, in his Academy of Arms and Blazon, B. Ill, c. 3, has the following passage descriptive of this class of vagabonds: “ The Bedlam is in the same garb, with a long staff, and a cow or ox-horn by his side ; but his cloathing is more fantastick and ridiculous; for, being a madman, he is madly decked and dressed all over with rubins, feathers, cuttings of cloth, and what not? to make him seem a mad-man, or one distracted, when he is no other than a dissembling knave.”
In The Bell-man of London, by Decker, 5th edit. 1640, is another account of one of these characters, under the title of an AbrahamMan: "
he sweares he hath been in Bedlam, and will talke frantickely of purpose: you see pinnes stuck in sundry places of his naked flesh, especially in his armes, which paine he gladly puts him. selfe to, only to make you believe he is out of his wits. He calls him. selfe by the name of Poore Tom, and comining near any body cries out, Poor Tom is a-cold. Of these ibraham-men, some be exceeding merry, and doe nothing but sing songs fashioned out of their own braines: some will dance, others will doe nothing but either laugh or
Strike in their numb’d and mortified bare arms
weepe: others are dogged, and so sullen both in loke and speech, that spying but a small company in a house, they boldly and bluntly enter, compelling the servants through feare to give them what they demand."
Again, in o per se O, &c. Being an Addition &c. to the Bell-man's Second Night-walke &c. 1612: “ Crackers tyed to a dogges tayle make not the poore curre runne faster, than these Abram ninnies doe the silly villagers of the country, so that when they come to any doore a begging, nothing is denied them.”
To sham Abraham, a cant term, still in use among sailors and the vulgar, may have this origin. Steevens.
wooden pricks,] i.e. skewers. So, in The Wyll of the Deuill, bl. 1. no date: “ I give to the butchers, &c. pricks inough to set up their thin meate, that it may appeare thicke and well fedde.” Steevens.
Steevens is right: the euonymous, of which the best skewers are made, is called prick-wood. M. Mason.
low farms,] The quartos read, low service. Steevens. 7 Poor pelting villages,] Pelting is used by Shakspeare in the sense of beggarly: I suppose from pelt a skin. The poor being generally clothed in leather. "Warburton.
Pelting is, I believe, only an accidental depravation of petty. Shak, speare uses it in A Midsummer Night's Dream, of small brooks.
Johnson. Beaumont and Fletcher often use the word in the same sense as Shakspeare. So, in King and no King, Act IV:
“ This pelting, prating peace is good for nothing." Spanish Curate, Act II, sc. ult. To learn the pelting law.” Shakspeare's Midsummer Night's Dream,~" every pelting river." Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. vii:
" And every pelting perty officer.” Again, in Troilus and Cressida, Hector says to Achilles : “ We have had pelting wars since you
refus'd “ The Grecian cause." From the first of the two last instances it appears not to be a cor. ruption of petty, which is used the next word to it, but seems to be the same as paltry: and if it comes from pelt a skin, as Dr. Warburton says, the poets have furnished villages, peace, law, rivers, officers of justice, and wars, all out of one wardrobe. Steevens.
lunatick bans,] To bun, is to curse. So, in Mother Bombie, 1594, a comedy by Lyly:
“ Well, be as be may, is no banning." Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
“ Nay, if those ban, let me breathe curses forth.” Steevens.
Enforce their charity.- Poor Turlygood! poor Tom ! That 's something yet;-Edgar I nothing am.1 [Exit.
Enter LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman.
home, And not send back my messenger. Gent.
As I learn'd, The night before there was no purpose in them
poor Turlygood! poor Tom'] We should read Turlupin. In the fourteenth century there was a new species of gipsies, called Turlupins, a fraternity of naked beggars, which ran up and down Europe. However, the church of Rome hath dignified them with the name of hereticks, and actually burned some of them at Paris. But what sort of religionists they were, appears from Genebrard's account of them. Turlupin Cynicorum sectam suscitantes, de nuditate pudendorum, & publico coitu.” Plainly, nothing but a band of Tom-o'-Bedlams. Warburton.
Hanmer reads---poor Turluru. It is probable the word Turlygood was the common corrupt pronunciation. Johnson.
Edgar I nothing am.] As Edgar I am outlawed, dead in law ; I have no longer any political existence. Johnson.
The critick’s idea is both too complex and too puerile for one in Edgar's situation. He is pursued, it seems, and proclaimed ; i. e. a reward has been offered for taking or killing him. In assuming this character, says he, I may preserve myself; as Edgar I am inevitably gone
Ritson. Perhaps the meaning is, As poor Tom, I may exist; appearing as Edgar I am lost. Malone.
2 Before Gloster's Castle.] It is not very clearly discovered why Lear comes hither. In the foregoing part he sent a letter to Gloster ; but no hint is given of its contents. He seems to have gone to visit Gloster while Cornwall and Regan might prepare to entertain him.
Johnson. It is plain, I think, that Lear comes to the Earl of Gloster's in consequence of his having been at the Duke of Cornwall's, and having heard there, that his son and daughter were gone to the Earl of Glos. ter's. His first words show this: "'Tis strange that they (Cornwall and Regan) should so depart from home, and not send back my messenger (Kent).” It is clear also, from Kent's speech in this scene, that he went directly from Lear to the Duke of Cornwall’s, and delivered his letters, but, instead of being sent back with any answer, was ordered to follow the Duke and Duchess to the Earl of Gloster's. But what then is the meaning of Lear's order to Kent, in the pre
Of this remove.
Hail to thee, noble master!
No, my lord.3 Fool. Ha, ha; look! he wears cruel garters !4 Horses are tied by the heads; dogs, and bears, by the neck; monkies by the loins, and men by the legs: when a man is over-lustys at legs, then he wears wooden netherstocks.
ceding Act, scene v: Go you before to Gloster with these letters. The obvious meaning, and what will agree best with the course of the subsequent events, is, that the Duke of Cornwall and his wife were then residing at Gloster. Why Shakspeare should choose to suppose them at Gloster, rather than at any other city, is a different question. Perhaps he might think, that Gloster implied such a neighbourhood to the Earl of Gloster's castle, as his story required. Tyrwhitt.
See p. 186, n. 7. Malone.
Steevens. he wears cruel garters! ] I believe a quibble was here intended. Crewel signifies worsted, of which stockings, garters, nightcaps, &c. are made ; and it is used in that sense in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, Act II:
" For who that had but half his wits about him
" To such a crewel night.cap." So, again, in the comedy of The Two Angry Women of Abington, printed 1599:
I'll warrant you, he 'll have “ His cruell garters cross about the knee.” So, in The Bird in a Cage, 1633:
“ I speak the prologue to our silk and cruel
“ Gentlemen in the hangings.” Again, in Woman's a Weathercock, 1612:
Wearing of silk, why art thou still so cruel.” Steevens.
over-lusty ----] Over-lusty, in this place, has a double signification. Lustiness anciently meant sauciness. So, in Decker's If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612:
upon pain of being plagued for their lustyness.” Again, in Claudius Tiberius Nero, 1607 :
6- She 'll snarl and bite,
then he wears wooden nether-stocks.) Nether-stocks is the old word for stockings. Breeches were at that time called “men's overstockes," as I learn from Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580. It
appears from the following passage in the second part of Tlic
Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistook To set thee here? Kent.
It is both he and she,
Lear. They durst not do 't;
My lord, when at their home
Map of Mock Beggar Hall, &c. an ancient ballad, that the stockings were formerly sewed to the breeches:
s6 Their fathers went in homely frees,
“ And good plain broad-cloth breeches; “ Their stockings with the same agrees,
“ Sew'd on with good strong stitches." Stubbs, in his Anatomie of Abuses, has a whole chapter on The Di. versitie of Nether-Stockes worne in England, 1595. Heywood among his Epigrams, 1562, has the following:
“ Thy upper stocks, be they stuft with silke or flocks,
“ Never become thee like a nether paire of stocks." Steevens. 7 Lear.] This and the next speech are omitred in the folio.-I have left the rest as I found them, without any attempt at mi trical division ; being well convinced that, as they are collected from discordant copies, they were not all designed to be preserved, and therefore cannot, in our usual method, be arranged. Steevens.
8 By Juno, I swear, ay. ] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
9 To do upon respect such violent outrage:] To violate the publick and venerable character of a messenger from the king. Johnson,
To do an outrage upon respect, does not, I believe, primarily mean, to behave outrageously to persons of a respectable character, (though that in substance is the sense of the words) but rather to be grossly deficient in respect to those who are entitled to it, considering respect as personified. So before in this scene:
“ You shall do small respect, show too bold malice