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Pr’ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach thy fool to lye; I would fain learn to lye.
Lear. If you lye, sirrah, we'll have you whipt.
Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipt for speaking true, thou’lt have me whipt for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipt for holding my peace.
I had rather be any kind o'thing than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o’both sides, and left nothing i' the middle; here comes one o' th' parings.
Enter Gonerill. Lear. How now, daughter, what makes 4 that frontlet ? Methinks you are too much of late i the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now : I am a fool, thou art nothing.--Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue (To Gonerill]; so your face bids me, tho' you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor cruft nor crum, [Singing.
Weary of all, Mall want some. 5 That's a sheal’d peascod. [Pointing to Lear.
Gon. Not only, Sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But others of your insolent retinue,
- that frontlet?-) A frontlet was anciently one of the ornaments of an altar; I suppose of the front of it. In the inventory of the wardrobe belonging to Salisbury cathedral, in 1536, are the following particulars :“A red cloth of gold, “ and á frontlet of the fame fuit.” Again,-“ A purpure “ cloth, with a divers fruntlet.” Again,—“A cloth white “ with trefoil., &c. and a frontlet of the same.” The word is here used figuratively. STEEVENS.
s That's a sneal'd peafood.) i. e. Now a mere husk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, but all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone: he has nothing to give.
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
Fool. For you know, nuncle,
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, Sir,-I would you would make use of that good wisdom, Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away These dispositions, which of late transform you From what you rightly are.
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horfe? 8 Whoop, Jug, I love thee. Lear. Does any here know me? Why this is not
Lear. Does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, his discernings
- put it on) i. e. promote, push it forward. So Macbeth,
the pow'rs “ Put on their instruments.
Steevens. were left dan kling.] This word is ased by Milton, Paradise Lost, book i.
as the wakeful bird
"boop, Jug, &c.] There are in the fool's speeches several passages which seem to be proverbial allusions, perhaps not now to be underfond. JOHNSON.
Whoop, Jug, I love thec.] This, as I am informed, is a quotation from the burthen of an old song. STEEVENS.
Are lethargy'd-Ha! waking ?—’tis not fo.
Fool. Lear's shadow.
Lear. I would learn that ; 9 for by the marks
Fool. · Which they will make an obedient father.
Gon. for by the marks Of sovereignty, of knowledge, and of reason.] His daughters prove lo unnatural, that, if he were only to judge by the reason of things, he must conclude, they cannot be his daughters. This is the thought. But how does his kingship or sovereignty enable him to judge of this matter? The line, by being falle pointed, has loit its fense. We should read,
Of sovereignty of knowledge. i. e. the understanding. He calls it, by an equally fine phrase, in Hamlet, — Sou'reignty of reason. And it is remarkable that the editors had depraved it there too. See note, act i. scene 7. of that play. WAR BÚRTON.
Which they will make an obedient father.] This line I have restored from the quarto. Which, in the fool's answer, is used with two deviations from the present language. It is referred, contrary to the rules of grammarians, to the particle I, and is used, according to a mode now obsolete, for the perfonal pronoun whom. To this note I have fubjoined the following remark from the Objervations and Conjectures on fome Papages in Shakespeare, printed at Oxford, 1766.
“ The difficulty, which must occur to every reader, is, to conceive how the marks of fovereignty, of knowledge, and of reason, Mould be of any use to persuade Lear that he had, or had not, daughters. No logic, I apprehend, could draw such a conclufion from such premises. This difficulty, however, may be entirely removed, by only pointing the passage thus :
for by the marks
Your name, fair gentlewoman? The chain of Lear's fpcech being thus untangled, we can clearly trace the succession and connection of his ideas. The undutiful behaviour of his daughter so disconcerts him, that he doubts, by turns, whether the is Gonerill, and whether he himself is Lear. Upon her first speech, he only exclaims,
Are your our daughter?
Gon. This admiration, Sir, is much o' the favour Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you To understand my purposes aright. As you are old and reverend, you should be wise. Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires; Men so disorder'd, so debauch’d, and bold, That this our court, infected with their manners, Shews like a riotous inn: epicurism and luft Make it more like a tavern or a brothel, Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak For instant remedy. . Be then desir'd By her, that else will take the thing she begs, 3 A little to disquantity your train ;
Upon her going on in the same styie, he begins to question his own sanity of mind, and even his personal identity. He appeals to the by-standers,
· Who is it that can tell me who I am ? I fhould be glad to be told. For (if I was to judge myself) by the marks of fovereignty, of knowledge, and of reason, which once distinguished Lear, but which I have now loft) I should be false (against my own consciousness) perfuaded (that I am not Lear). He then slides to the examination of another distinguishing mark of Lear:
I had daughters. But not able, as it should seem, to dwell upon so tender a subject, he haftily recurs to his first doubt concerning Gonerill,
Your name, fair gentlewoman. STEVENS. This note is written with confidence disproportionate to the conviction which it can bring. Lear might as well know by the marks and tokens arising from sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, that he had or had not daughters, as he could know by any thing else. But, says he, if I judge by these tokens, Í find the persuasion false by which I long thought myself the father of daughters. JOHNSON.
a grac'd palace.-) A palace grac'd by the presence of a sovereign. WARBURTON.
3. A little to disquantity your train;] A little is the reading; but it appears, from what Lear says in the next scene, that this number fifty was required to be cut off, which (as the editions stood) is no where specified by Gonerill. Pope.
of fifty to disquantity your train;] If Mr. Pope had examined the old copies as accurately as he pretended to have done, he VOL. IX.
And the remainder, 4 that shall still depend,
Lear. Darkness and devils ! -
rabble Make servants of their betters.
Enter Albany. Lear. Woe! that too late repents-O, Sir, are you
come? Is it your will ? Speak, Sir.—Prepare my
[To Albany. Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou shew'st thee in a child, 5 Than the sea-monster!
Alb. Pray, Sir, be patient.
would have found, in the first folio, that Lear had an exit marked for him after these words,
To have a thankless child-go, go, my people; and goes out while Albany and Gonerill have a short conference of two speeches; and then returns in a ftill greater passion, having been informed (as it should seem) of the express number without
What? fifty of my followers at a clap! This renders all change needless; and away, away, being reftored, prevents the repetition of go, go, my people; which, as the text stood before this regulation, concluded both that and the foregoing speech. Gonerill, with great art, is made to avoid mentioning the limited number; and leaves her father to be informed of it by accident, which she know would be the case as soon as he left her presence. STEEVENS.
that the!l fill dipind,] Depend, for continue in service. WARBURTON.
s Than the fea-wonfier!] Mr. Upton observes, that the seamonster is the Hippopoiamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude. Sandys, in his travels, says" that he is killeth his fire, and raviheth his own dam." STEEVENS.