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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. 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 father strike my gentleman for chid
ing of his fool?
Gon. By day and night he wrongs me; every hour
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Very well, madam.
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.
SCENE IV. A Hall in the same.
Enter Kent, disguised.
1 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.
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner ; go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now, what art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst • thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose ; and to eat no fish.2
Lear. What art thou ?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou ?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly. That which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in ; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou ?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing. I have years on my back forty-eight.
1 To converse signifies immediately and properly to keep company, to have commerce with.
2 It is not clear how Kent means to make the eating no fish a recommendatory quality, unless we suppose that it arose from the odium then cast upon the papists, who were the most strict observers of periodical fasts.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.—Dinner, ho, dinner !—Where's my knave ? my fool ? Go
Go you, and call my fool bither.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter ?
[Exit. Lear. What says the fellow there ? Call the clotpoll back.—Where's my fool, ho ? — I think the world's asleep.—How now? where's that mongrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I called him?
Knight. Sir, he answered ine in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertained with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wronged.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity,' than as a very pretence 2 and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't. But where's my fool ? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
1 By jealous curiosity, Lear appears to mean a punctilious jealousy, resulting from a scrupulous watchfulness of his own dignity. See the second note on the first scene of this play.
2 A very pretence is an absolute design.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her Go you, and call hither my fool.
O you sir, you sir, come you hither. Who am 1, sir ?
Stew. My lady's father.
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave; you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you. pardon me. Lear. Do you bandy' looks with me, you rascal ?
[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away. If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry; but away : go to. wisdom? so.
[Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee; there's earnest of thy service. [Giving Kent money.
Enter Fool. . Fool. Let me hire him too ;-here's my coxcomb.
[Giving Kent his cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou? Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool ?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favor; nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits,
! A metaphor from tennis. “Come in and take this bandy with the racket of patience." —Decker's Satiromastir. “ To bandy a ball,” Cole defines clava pilam torquere ; “ To bandy at tennis,” reticulo pellere. « To bandy blows," is still a common idiom.