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pole back.- Where's my fool, ho?- I think, the world's asleep. How now? Where's that mungrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the Nave back to me when I called him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is, but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! fay'st thou so?
Knight. I befcech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong’d.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of my own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as my own jealous curiosity than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't. But where's my fool? I have not seen him these two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, Sir, the fool hath much pin’d away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her. Go you, call hither my fool.
Re-enter Steward. O, you Sir, you Sir, come you hither : who am I,
Sir ? Stew. My lady's father. Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave! you whoreson dog, you save, you cur !
Stew. I am none of these, my lord; I beseech you pardon me. Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal ?
[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tript neither, you bale foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee. Kent. Come, Sir, arise, away. I'll teach
differences. Away, away: if you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry; but away: go to; have you wisdom? fo.
[Pushes the Steward out. Lecr. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service. [Giving money.
Fool. Let me hire him too.--Here's my coxcomb
Giving Kent his cap. Lear. how now, my pretty knave? how do'st thou? Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, my boy?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part, that is out of favour. Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, 4 take my coxcomb.
- take my coxcomb.--) Meaning his cap, called so, be'cause on the top of the fool or jefter's cap was fewed a piece of red cloth, resembling the comb of a cock. The word, afterwards, used to denote a vain, conceited, meddling fellow.
WARBURTON. Another part of the furniture of a fool was a bauble, which, though it is generally taken to fignify any thing of small value, has a precise and determinable meaning. It is, in short, a kind of truncheon with a head carved on it, which the fool anciently carried in his hand. There is a representation of it in a picture of Watteau, formerly in the collection of Dr. Mead, which is engraven by Baron, and called Comediens Italiens. A
Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb. How now, nuncle? Would I had 5 two coxcombs, and two daughters.
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself. There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.Fool. Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipp'd out, when the 6 • lady brach
may stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
[To Kent. Lear. Do,
Fool. Mark, nuncle.
faint resemblance of it may be found in a frontispiece of L. de Guernier to this play in Mr. Pope's edition. HAWKINS.
This explanation, which I did not receive till it was too late to insert it more appositely, is confirmed by a paffage in All's Well, &c. act iv. where the clown says,
“ I would give his wife my bauble, Sir.” STEEVENS,
two coxcombs, -] Two fools caps, intended, as it feems, to mark double folly in the man that gives all to his daughters. JOHNSON.
lady brach-) Brach is a bitch of the hunting kind. Dr. Letherland, on the margin of Dr. Warburton's edition, proposed lady's brach, i. e. favoured animal. The old quarto has a much more unmannerly reading, which I would not with to establish: but all the other editions concur in reading lady brach. Lady is fill a common name for a hound. So Hotspur:
“ I had rather hear lady, my brach, howl in Irish.” Steev, i Lend less than thou owest,] That is, do not lend all that thou haft. To owe, in old English, is to polefs. If owe be taken for to be in debt, the more prudent precept would be, Lend more than thou oweit. JOHNSON.
8 Learn more than thou trowelt,
Kent. This is nothing, fool.
Fool. Then it is like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for’t. Can
make no use of nothing, nuncle ?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing
Fool. Pr’ythee tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool.
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one?
Lear. 9 No, lad, teach me.
To give away thy land,
Or do thou for him stand :
Will presently appear,
The other found out there.
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away ; that thou wast born with,
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
8 Learn more than thou trowej:,] To trow, is an old word which fignifies to believe. The precept is admirable. WARB.
9 This dialogue, from No, lad, teach me, down to, Give me an egg, was reltored from the first edition by Mr. Theobald. It is omitted in the folio, parhaps for political reasons, as it seemed to censure monopolies. JOHNSON.
me; if I had a monopoly on't, they would have part on't: and the ladies too, they'll not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borelt thine ass on thy back over the dirt. Thou hadît little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like. myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it fo.
2 Fools ne'er had 3 less grace in a year, [Singing.
For wise men are grown foppish;
Their manners are so apish. Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, e'er since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mothers : for when thou gav'st them the rod, and put’it down thy own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing.
And I for sorrow fung,
the fools among
'- if I had a monopoly on't, they would have a part on't:A satire on the grofs abuses of monopolies at that time; and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee. WARBURTON.
? Fools ne'er had lefs grace in a year,] There never was a time when fools were less in favour; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place.
Such I think is the meaning. The old edition has wit for grace. Johnson.
3-lefs grace- So the folio. Both the quarto's read less wit. STEEVENS.