« ZurückWeiter »
Lear. Thou were better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep ng wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated; thou art the thing itself; unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked, animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings. Come. Unbutton here.
(Tearing of bis clothes. Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, le contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's heart, a small spark, and all the rest of his body cold. Look, here comes a walking
Edg. This is the foul 2 Flibbertigibbet; he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock. He gives the 3 web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of the earth, of them, and repeats these two lines as every fresh one is introduced :
Dolphin, my boy, my boy, &c. The song I have never seen, but had this account from an old gentleman, who was only able to repeat part of it, and died before I could have supposed the discovery would have been of the least use to me. -As for the words, says fuum, 70:41, they are only to be found in the first folio, and were probably added by the players, who, together with the pressfetters, were likely enough to corrupt what they did not underftand, or to add more of their own to what they already conc!uded to be nonsense. STEEVENS.
Flibterrigibbet;-) We are not much acquainted with this fiend. Latimer in his fermons menticns him ; and Heywood, among his sixte bundred of Epigrams, edit. 1576, has the following, Of calling one Flebergibei.
“ Thou Flebergibet, Flebergibet, thou wretch!
Sreevens. :-web and the pin,--] Diseases of the eye. JOHNSON.
4 Saint Withold footed thrice the wold;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee!
• Swithold facted thrice the OLD;] The old, my ingenious friend Mr. Bihop says, must be wold, which fignifies a down, or ground, hilly and void of wood. THEOBALD.
Saint Withold footed thrice the wold,
And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee!) We should read it thus :
Saint Withold footed thrice the wold,
And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee right. i.e. Saint Wito old traversing the wold or downs, met the night-mare; who having told her name, he obliged her to alight from those perfons whom she rides, and plight ber troth to do no more mischief. This is taken from a story of him in his legend. Hence he was invoked as the patron saint against that distemper. And these verses were no other than a popular charm, or night Spell against the Epialtes. The last line is the formal execration or apostrophe of the speaker of the charm to the witch, aroynt the right, i. e. depart forthwith. Bedlams, gipsies, and such like vagabonds, used to sell these kind of spells or charms to the people. They were of various kinds for various disorders. We have another of them in the Monsieur Thomas of Fletcher, which he exprelly calls a nigbt Spell, and is in these words:
“ Saint George, Saint George, our lady's knight,
“ She would not stir from him that night.” WARB. In the old quarto the corruption is such as inay deserve to be noted. " Swithold footed thrice the old another night moore “' and her nine fold bid her, O light, and her troth plight, " and arint thee, with arint thee." Johnson.
Her nine fold is the same as her nine foais; i.e. her nine imps. I cannot find this adventure in the common legend of Şt, Vitalis, who, I suppose, is here called St. Withold. T.T.
Enter Glo'ster, with a torch.
Edg. Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt, and the waternewt; that in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for fallets, swallows the old rat, and the ditch-dog, drinks the green mantle of the standing pool, who is s whipt from tything to rything, and stock-punish'd, and imprisond: who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body; horse to ride, and weapon to wear, —
But mice, and rats, and such 6 small deer
Have been Tom's food for seven long year. Beware my follower :-peace, Smolkin, peace, thou
fiend! Glo. What, hath your grace no better company ?
Edg. The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman ; 7 Modo he's called, and Mahul.
Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile, That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.
whipt from tything to tyrhing, -] A tyihing is a division of a place, a district; the faine in the country, as a ward in the city. In the Saxon times every hundred was divided into tythings. STEEVENS.
- small deer] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads geer, and is followed by Dr. Warburton. But deer in old language is a general word for wild animals. JOHNSON.
These two line are taken from an old black letter'd romanre of Sir Bevys of Hampton, quarto, printed for William Copland, in which occurs this palage. Percy.
? Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.] These names are all taken from Harsenet's Declaration, &c. as are Hopdance, Fratterretto, Purre, Haberdicut or Obidicut, Smolkin, &c. These last were the devils that poffeffed Sarah Williams.--Harsenet, page 181.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer To obey in all your daughters' hard commands : Though their injunction be to bar my doors, And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you ; Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out, And bring you!, where both fire and food is ready. Leer. First, let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder? Kent. My good lord, take his offer: Go into the house. Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban. What is
your study? Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin. Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.
Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord., His wits begin to unsettle. Glo. Canit thou blame him?
(Storm ftill. His daughters feek his death.—Ah, that good Kent!-He said it would be thus.--Poor banish'd man! Thou fay'st, the king grows mad : I'll tell thee, friend, I am almost mad myself: I had a son, Now out-law'd from my blood; he sought my life, But lately, very late; I lov’d him, friend, No father his son dearer. True to tell thee, The grief hath craz’d my wits. What a night's this? I do beleech your grace.
Lear. O cry you mercy, Sir.
Lear. With him?
Kent. Good my lord, sooth him; let him take the fellow.
Glo. Take him you on.
Lear. Come, good Athenian.
Edg. 8 Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
Changes to Glo'fter's castle.
Enter Cornwall and Edmund.
Edm. How, my lord; I may be censur'd that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive it was not altogether your brother's evil dứposition made him seek his death; * but a provoking merit, fet a-work by a reprovable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be juft! This is the letter which he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent party to the
Child Rowland -] In the old times of chivalry, the noble youth who were candidates for knighthood, during the season of their probation, were called Infans, Varlets, Damoyfels, Bacheliers. The most noble of the youth particularly, Infans. Here a story is toid, in some old ballad, of the famous hero and giant-killer Roland, before he was knighted, who is, therefore, called Infans; which the ballad-maker tranflated, Child Roland. WARRURTON.
This word is in some of our ballads. There is a song of Child Walter, and a Lady. Johnson.
Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Woman's Prize, refer also to this:
a mere hobby-horfe “ She made the Child Rowland.” Steevens. '— but a provoking merit,-) i. e. A merit which being neglected by the father, was provoked to an extravagant act. The Oxford Editor, not underitanding this, alters it to provoked Spirit. WARBURTON.