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I'll apprehend him.-Abominable villain !-Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please ye to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where,' if proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honor, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honor, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so ?
Edm. If your honor judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster. [Edm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth! ^]_Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you; frame the business after your own wisdom; I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey? the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason ; and the bond cracked between son and father. [This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father. The king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time; machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves !!]—Find out this villain, Edmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully.—And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished ! his offence, honesty !-Strange! strange!
1 Where for whereas.
5 “ Wind me into him." Another example of familiar expressive phraseology not unfrequent in Shakspeare.
6 " I would give all that I am possessed of, to be satisfied of the truth.” 7 To convey is to conduct, or carry through.
8 That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipses, yet we feel their consequences.
[Exit. Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behavior,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion ; knaves, thieves, and treachers 2 by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay bis goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail ; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows I am rough and lecherous.—Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar
Enter EDGAR. and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy. My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o’Bedlam.-0, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la, mi.
1 All between brackets is omitted in the quartos.
2 Treachers is the reading of the folio. Chaucer, in his Romaunt of the Rose, mentions " the false treacher ;” and Spenser many times uses the same epithet. The quartos all read treacherers.
3 Shakspeare shows, by the context, that he was well acquainted with the property of these syllables in solmization, which imply a series of sounds so unnatural that ancient musicians prohibited their use. The monkish writers on music say mi contra fa, est diabolus : the interval
Edg. How now, brother Edmund ? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?
Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily: [as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles ; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical ?
Edm. Come, come ;] when saw you my father last ?
Edm. Parted you in good terms ? Found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance ?
Edg. None at all.
Edm. Betbink yourself, wherein you may have offended him; and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure ; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear. [I pray you, have a continent 3 forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord
fa mi including a tritonus or sharp fourth, consisting of three tones without the intervention of a semi-tone, expressed in the modern scale by the letters F G A B, would form a musical phrase extremely disagreeable to the ear. Edmund, speaking of eclipses as portents and prodigies, compares the dislocation of events, the times being out of joint, to the unnatural and offensive sounds fa sol la mi.-Dr. Burney.
1 The folio edition commonly differs from the first quarto, by augmentations or insertions; but in this place, it varies by the omission of all between brackets.
2 For cohorts some editors read courts.
speak. Pray you, go; there's my key.—If you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother ?]
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed. I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you. I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it. 'Pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
SCENE III. A Room in the Duke of Albany's
Enter GONERIL and Steward.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chid
ing of his fool ? Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night he wrongs me; every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other, That sets us all at odds. · I'll not endure it; His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle.-When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him: say, I am sick.If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer. Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.
[Horns within Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question. If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
abused.27 Remember what I have said. Stew.
Very well, madam. Gon. And let his knights have colder looks among
you; What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so. [I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak.:]—I'll write straight to my sister, To hold my very course.—Prepare for dinner.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse, 4 my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue For which I razed 5 my likeness.—Now, banished Kent, If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labors.
I This line and the four following are not in the folio. Theobald observes, that they are fine in themselves, and much in character for Goneril.
2 The meaning of this passage may be,“ Old men are babes again, and must be accustomed to checks as well as flatteries, especially when the latter are seen to be abused by them."
3 The words in brackets are found in the quartos, but omitted in the folio.
4 To diffuse here means to disguise, to render it strange, to obscure it. See Merry Wives of Windsor. We must suppose that Kent advances looking on his disguise.
5 i. e. effaced.