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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 horse? 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 bis notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied.—Sleeping or waking ?-Ha! sure 'tis not so.-Who is it that can tell me who I am ? 1
Fool. Lear's shadow,
Lear. [I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.]
Gon. Come, sir;
your age, And know themselves and you. Lear.
Darkness and devils !Saddle my
1 This passage has been erroneously printed in all the late editions “Who is it can tell me who I am ?” says Lear. In the folio, the reply, * Lear's shadow," is rightly given to the fool. It is remarkable that the continuation of Lear's speech, and the continuation of the fool's comment, is omitted in the folio copy.
2 i. e. of the complerion.
Degenerate bastard ! I'll not trouble thee;
Enter ALBANY. Lear. Woe, that too late repents,'— sir, are you
come? Is it your will ? [To ALB.) Speak, sir.—Prepare my
'Pray, sir, be patient.
[Striking his head. And thy dear judgment out.—Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant Of what hath moved
you. Lear. It may be so, my lord.—Hear, nature, hear; Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if Thou didst intend to make this creature fruitful ! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up in her the organs of increase;
1 One of the quarto copies reads, “We that too late repents us.” The others, “We that too repents.”
2 The sea-monster is the hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude.
3 By an engine the rack is here intended.
And from her derogate 1 body never spring
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this?
Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause ;
What's the matter, sir?
[To GONERIL. That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon
1 Derogate here means degenerate, degraded.
? Thwart as a noun adjective is not frequent in our language. It is to be found, however, in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:
“ Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care.” Disnatured is wanting natural affection.
3 « Pains and benefits,” in this place, signify maternal cares and good offices.
4 The untented woundings are the rankling or never-healing wounds inflicted by a parental malediction. Tents are well-known dressings inserted into wounds as a preparative to healing them.
To temper clay.--Ha! is it come to this?
[Exeunt LEAR, KENT, and Attendants. Gon. Do you mark that, my lord ?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you, —
Gon. 'Pray you, content.—What, Oswald, ho! You sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
[Exit. Gon.” [This man hath had good counsel ;-a hun
dred knights! 'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep At point,a hundred knights! Yes, that on every dream, Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike, He may enguard his dotage with their powers, And hold our lives in mercy.] Oswald, I say !
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.
Safer than trust too far
; Let me still take away the harms I fear, Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart; What he hath uttered, I have writ my sister; If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
1 This speech is gleaned partly from the folios, and partly from the quartos. The omissions in the one and the other are not of sufficient importance to trouble the reader with a separate notice of each.
2 All within brackets is omitted in the quartos. 3 At point probably means completely armed.
When I have showed the unfitness, -How now, Oswald ?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse ; Inform her full of my particular fear; And thereto add such reasons of your own, As may compact it more.
Get you gone;
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot tell ; Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
Gom. Nay, then,
SCENE V. Court before the same.
Enter LEAR, Kent, and Fool. Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these letters; acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered
1 The word task is frequently used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries in the sense of tax.
? The word there, in this speech, shows that when the king says, “Go you before to Gloster," he means the town of Gloster, which Shakspeare chose to make the residence of the duke of Cornwall, to increase the probability of their setting out late from thence on a visit to the earl of Gloster. Our old English earls usually resided in the counties whence they took their titles. Lear, not finding his son-in-law and his wife at home, follows them to the earl of Gloster's castle.