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If you do find him, pray you, give him this ;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
Stew. 'Would I could meet him, madam! I

would show What party' I do follow. Reg.

Fare thee well. [Exeunt.

SCENE VIS.

VI

The Country near Dover.

Enter GLOSTER, and EDGAR, dressed like a

Peasant. Glo. When shall we come to the top of that

same hill ? Edg. You do climb up it now : look, how we

labour. Glo. Methinks, the ground is even. EDG.

Horrible steep: Hark, do you hear the sea ? Glo.

No, truly

some

give him this ;] I suppose Regan here delivers a ring or er favour to the Ste rd, to be conveyed to Edmund.

MALONE. ? What party -] Quarto, What lady. Johnson.

& Scene VI.] This scene, and the stratagem by which Gloster is cured of his desperation, are wholly borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia, book ii. JOHNSON.

9 No, truly.] Somewhat, necessary to complete the measure, is omitted in this or the foregoing hemistich. Sir Thomas Hanmer supplies the defect, though perhaps but aukwardly, by reading

No truly, not." STEEVENS. The quartos read as one line: " Horrible sleep: hark, do you hear the sea ? " BosWELL,

Edg. Why, then your other senses grow imper

fect By your eyes' anguish. Glo.

So may it be, indeed : Methinks, thy voice is alter'd’; and thou speak'st In better phrase, and matter, than thou didst. Edg. You are much deceiv'd ; in nothing am I

chang’d, But in my garments. Glo.

Methinks, you are better spoken. EDG. Come on, sir ; here's the place :- -stand

still. How fearful And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low ? ! The crows, and choughs, that wing the midway

air,

Show scarce so gross as beetles : Half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade'!

1

2

thy voice is alter'd; &c.] Edgar alters his voice in order to pass afterwards for a malignant spirit. Johnson.

How fearful And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!) This description has been much admired since the time of Addison, who has remarked, with a poor attempt at pleasantry, that "he who can read it without being giddy, has a very good head, or a very bad one." The description is certainly not mean, but I am far from thinking it wrought to the utmost excellence of poetry. He that looks from a precipice finds himself assailed by one great and dreadful image of irresistible destruction. But this overwhelming idea is dissipated and enfeebled from the instant that the mind can restore itself to the observation of particulars, and diffuse its attention to distinct objects. The enumeration of the choughs and crows, the samphire-man, and the fishers, counteracts the great effect of the prospect, as it peoples the desert of intermediate vacuity, and stops the mind in the rapidity of its descent through emptiness and horror. Johnson.

It is to be considered that Edgar is describing an imaginary precipice, and is not therefore supposed to be so strongly impressed with the dreadful prospect of inevitable destruction, as a person would be who really found himself on the brink of one.

M. Mason.
Half way down
Hangs one that gathers SAMPHIRE ; dreadful trade !]

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" Sam

Methinks, he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice; and yon' tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock * ; her cock, a buoy
Álmost too small for sight: The murmuring surge,
That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high:~I'll look no more ;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong 5.

It is a

phire grows in great plenty on most of the sea-cliffs in this country: it is terrible to see how people gather it, hanging by a rope several fathom from the top of the impending rocks as it were in the air.” Smith's History of Waterford, p. 315, edit. 1774.

TOLLET. This personage is not a mere creature of Shakspeare's imagination, for the gathering of samphire was literally a trade or common occupation in his time, it being carried and cried about the streets, and much used as a pickle. So, in a song in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, in which the cries of London are enumerated under the title of the cries of Rome :

“I ha' rock-samphier, rock-samphier ;
Thus go

the cries in Rome's faire towne ;
“ First they go up street, and then they go downe :

Buy a map, a mill-mat,” &c. Again, in Venner's Via recta, &c. 4to. 1622 : Samphire is in like manner preserved in pickle, and eaten with meates. very pleasant and familiar sauce, and agreeing with man's body."

Dover Cliff was particularly resorted to for this plant. See Drayton's Polyolbion, book xviii. :

“ Rob Dover's neighbouring cleeves of samphire, to excite
“ His dull and sickly taste, and stir up appetite.” Malone.

· her cock ;] Her cock-boat. Johnson. So, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1637: “ I caused my lord to leap into the cock, &c.—at last our cock and we were cast ashore."

Again, in the ancient bl. 1. comedy called Common Conditions : “ B. Lanche out the cocke, boies, and set the maister ashoare. M. The cocke is lanshed, eche man to his oare.

“ M. Boie, come up, and grounde the cocke on the sande.” Again, in Barclay's Ship of Fools :

our ship can hold no more,

“ Hause in the cockeHence the term cockswain, a petty officer in a ship. Steevens. Topple down headlong.] To topple is to tumble. The word

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Glo.

Set me where you stand. Edg. Give me your hand : You are now within

a foot

Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap uprighto.
Glo.

Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse ; in it, a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking: Fairies, and gods,

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read :

is also used in Macbeth. So, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599 :

fifty people toppled up their heels there."-Again, - he had thought to have toppled his burning ear, &c. into the sea."

STEEVENS. for all beneath the moon Would I not leap UPRIGHT.] But what danger is in leaping upwards or downwards ? He who leaps thus must needs fall again on his feet upon the place from whence he rose. We should

“ Would I not leap outright,i. e. forward : and then being on the verge of a precipice, he must needs fall headlong.

WARBURTON. I doubt whether the word-outright, was even in use at the time when this play was written.

Upright, with the strict definition—" perpendicularly erect,is absurd; for such a leap is physically impossible. Upright is barely expletive : upwards, from the ground. Farmer.

One of the senses of the word upright, in Shakspeare's time, was that in which it is now used. So, in The Tempest :

“ time goes upright with his carriage.” Again, in Florio’s translation of Montaigne's Essays, 1603 : “I have seene a man take his full carier : standing boult upright on both his feete in the saddle."

And with this signification, I have no doubt, it was used here. Every man who leaps, in his first effort to raise himself from the ground, springs upright. Far from thinking of leaping forward for which, being certain destruction, nothing could compensate, Edgar says, he would not for all beneath the moon run the risk of even leaping upwards.

Dr. Warburton idly objects, that he who leaps upwards, must needs fall again on his feet upon the same place from whence he

If the commentator had tried such a leap within a foot of the edge of a precipice, before he undertook the revision of these plays, the world would, I fear, have been deprived of his labours.

MALONE.

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Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off ;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

Edg. Now fare you well, good sir. [Seems to go.
Glo.

With all my heart.
Edo. Why I do trifle thus with his despair,
Is done to cure it?.
Glo.

O you mighty gods !
This world I do renounce; and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff, and loathed part of nature, should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!-
Now, fellow, fare thee well.

[He leaps, and falls along. Edg.

Gone, sir ? farewell
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft : Had he been where he

thought,
By this, had thought been past.--Alive, or dead. ?
Ho, you sir! friend !—Hear you, sir ?—speak!

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- Why I do trifle thus with his despair,

Is done to cure it.] Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton, who read, with one of the quartos--"'Tis done," place an interrogation point at the end of the first of these lines ; but, in my opinion, improperly. Steevens.

* Is done --" Thus the quartos B and C, and the folio. Quarto A, reads-Tis done, MALONE.

8 Gone, sir ? farewell.] Thus the quartos and folio. The modern editors have been content to read-Good sir, &c.

STEEVENS.
They followed the arbitrary alteration of the editor of the second
folio. MALONE.
Perhaps, a mere typographical error. STEEVENS.

when lifc itself
Yields to the theft :] When life is willing to be destroyed.

Johnson.

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