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Enter CORNWALL, Regan, and Attendants. Corn. How now, my noble friend ? since I came
hither (Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short, Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord ?
Glo. O madam, my old heart is cracked, is cracked !
Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life? He whom my father named ? your Edgar?
Glo. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid !
I know not, madam;
Yes, madam, he was.
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.Edmund, I hear that you have shown your
father A child-like office.
'Twas my duty, sir.
Corn. Is he pursued ?
Ay, my good lord, he is.
—For you, Edmund, Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant So much commend itself, you shall be ours; Natures of such deep trust we shall much need; You we first seize on.
1“ Bewray his practice.” That is, he did betray or reveal his treacherous devices. The quartos read betray.
I shall serve you, sir,
For him I thank your grace. Corn. You know not why we came to visit you,
Reg. Thus out of season ; threading dark-eyed night. Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poize,' Wherein we must have use of your advice :Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister, Of differences, which I best thought it fit To answer from our home;' the several messengers From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend, Lay comforts to your bosom ; and bestow Your needful counsel to our business, Which craves the instant use. Glo.
I serve you, madam; Your graces are right welcome.
SCENE II. Before Gloster's Castle.
Enter KENT and Steward, severally. Stew. Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of the house?
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.
Stew. Why dost thou use me thus ? I know thee not.
Kent. Fellow, I know thee.
1 i. e. of some weight, or moment. The folio and quarto B. read prize. 2 That is, not at home, but at some other place.
3 The quartos read “ good even.”. It is clear, from various passages in this scene, that the morning is just beginning to dawn.
4 i. e. Lipsbury pound." Lipsbury pinfold” may, perhaps, like Lob's pound, be a coined name; but with what allusion does not appear.
Stew. What dost thou know me for ?
Kent. A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundredpound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave; a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good-service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.
Stew. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee!
Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago, since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king ? Draw, you rogue; for, though it be night, the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshineof you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.
[Drawing his sword. Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal ! you come with letters against the king; and take Vanity 4 the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks.—Draw, you rascal ; come your ways.
Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike.
[Beating him. Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder !
1 i. e. thy titles.
• Alluding to the moralities or allegorical shows, in which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices, were personified.
5 You finical rascal, you assemblage of foppery and poverty.
Enter EDMUND, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and
Kent. With you goodman boy, if you please ; come, I'll flesh you ; come on, young master.
Glo. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives ;
Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king. .
Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow; a tailor make a man?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir; a stone-cutter, or a painter, could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel ?
Kent. Thou whoreson zed !2 thou unnecessary letter!-My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted 3 villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him.-Spare my gray beard, you wagtail ?
Corn. Peace, sirrah !
Kent. Yes, sir ; but anger has a privilege.
i To disclaim in, for to disclaim simply, was the phraseology of the Poet's age. See Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. iii. p. 264.
2 Zed is here used as a term of contempt, because it is the last letter in the English alphabet. Baret omits it in his Alvearie, affirming it to be rather a syllable than a letter. And Mulcaster says, “ Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom seen. S is become its lieutenant-generai.“
3 Coarse villain. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime ; and therefore to break the lumps, it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes.
Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a
sword, Who wears no honesty: Such smiling rogues as these, Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain Which are too intrinse’ túnloose; smooth every passion That in the natures of their lords rebels; Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods; Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon” beaks With every gale and vary of their masters, As knowing nought, like dogs, but following:A plague upon your epileptic visage ! Smile
you my speeches, as I were a fool ? Goose, if I had you up
you upon Sarum-plain, I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow ?
How fell you out? Say that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy, Than I and such a knave. Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What's his
offence ? Kent. His countenance likes me not.5 Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, or his, or
This is some fellow,
| The quartos read, to intrench; the folio, t’intrince. Perhaps intrinse, for so it should be written, was put by Shakspeare for intrinsicate, which he has used in Antony and Cleopatra. The word too in the text is substituted for to by Mr. Singer.
2 To renege is to deny.
3 The bird called the kingfisher, which, when dried and hung up by a thread, is supposed to turn his bill to the point from whence the wind blows.
4 In Somersetshire, near Camelot, are many large moors, where are bred great quantities of geese.
5 i. e. pleases me not.