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Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Lear. Let the great gods,
hard by here is a hovel; Some friendship will it lend you ’gainst the tempest: Repose you there, while I to this hard house (More hard than is the stone whereof ’ris rais’d; Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in) return, and force Their fcanted courtesy.
Lear. My wits begin to turn. Come on, my boy. How doft, my boy! art cold? I'm cold myself. Where is the straw, my fellow? The art of our neceffities is ftrange, That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel;
(27) Tremble, tbou wretch,] Thus fiuvenal in his 13th satire;
Hi funt qui trepidant, & ad omnia fulgura pallent,
Cum tonat; &c. (28) Tbou perjur’d, and thou fimular man of virtue,] The first Folio leaves out man in this verse; and, I believe, rightly to the poet's mind. He would use a simular of vircue to signify, a false pretender to it; a diffembler, that wouid make an outward (hew of it: as he elsewhere employs perjure substantively, for a perjur'd creature, So in Love's Labour lofti
Why, he comes like a Perjure, wearing papers.
Poor fool and knave, I've one part in my heart,
With heigh ho, the wind and the rain;
Though the rain it raineth every day. Lear. True, my good boy: come, bring us to this hovel.
[Exit. Fool. 'Tis a brave night to cool a curtezan. I'll speak a prophecy, or ere I go; When priests are more in words than matter, When brewers marr their malt with water; When nobles are their taylors tutors; No hereticks burn'd, but wenches suitors; When every case in law is right, No Squire in debt, nor no poor Knight; When flanders do not live in tongues, And cut-purses come not to throngs; When usurers tell their gold i'th' field, And bawds and whores do churches build : 'Then thall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion : Then comes the time, who lives to see't, That going ihall be us’d with feet.
This prophecy Merlin fall make, for I do live before his time.
SCENE, An apartment in Glo'sier's castle.
Enter Glo'fter, and Edmund.
Gio. A I
that I might pity him, they took from me the use of minc own house; charg'd me, on pain of perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, or any way sustain him.
Edm. Most favage and unnatural!
tween the Dukes, and a worse matter than that: I have receiv'd a letter this night, 'tis dangerous to be spoken; (I have lock'd the letter in my closet:) these injuries, the King now bears, will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed; () we must incline to the King; I will look for him, and privily relieve him; go you, and maintain talk with the Duke, that my charity be not of him perceiv’d; if he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed; if I die for it, as no less is threaten’d me, the King my old master must be relieved. There are strange things toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.
[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the Duke Inftantly know, and of that letter too. This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me That which
father lo es; no less than all. The younger rises, when the old doth fall.
SCENE changes to a part of the Heath,
with a hovel.
Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool. Kent. Ere is the place, my Lord; good my Lord,
enter; The tyranny o'th'open night's too rough For nature to endure.
Storm Hill. Lear. Let me alone, Kent. Good my Lord, enter here.
(t) There is part of a power already landed.] This reading, notwithitanding Mr. Pope's declaration in his preface, is not ex fide Cudi
All the authentick copies read, footed, i. e. on foot, on their march. If this gentleman's nice car was offended at the word in this place, how came he to let it pass undisturbid in some others? As, for instance, afterwards in this play;
And what confe 1'racy liave you with the traitors,
late forted in the kingoom? And again. in Henry Vth.
Dispatch us with a:l speed, lest that our King
Lear. Wilt break my heart?
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious
Kent. Good my Lord, enter here.
Lear. Prythee, go in thyself; seek thine own eafe: This tempest will not give me leave to ponder On things would hurt me more but I'll go in, In, boy, go firft. You houseless poverty Nay, get thee in; I'll pray, and then I'll neepPoor naked wretches, wherefoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm! How shall your houseless heads, and unfed fides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness defend you From seasons such as these? -O, I have ta’en Too little care of this! take physick, Pomp; Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, That thou may'st shake the superflux to them, And shew the Heavens more juft.
[Tom. Edg. within. Fathom and half, fathom and half! poor
Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a fpirit; help me, help me. [The Fool runs out from the bovel,
Kent. Give me thy hand, who's there?
Kent. What art thou, that doft grumble there i'th' Hraw ? come forth.
Enter Edgar, disguis'd like a Madman. Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me. Through the tharp bawthorn blows the cold wind. Humph, go to thy bed and warm thee.
Lear. Didt thou give all to thy daughters ? and art thou come to this? (29)
Edg. (29) Didst thou give all to thy daughters? and art thou come to this:] Here Lear's madness first begins to break out. His mind, long beata ing on his afflictions, had laid a preparation for his frenzy: and nothing was wanting but such an object as Edgar, to set it on work, as it were by sympathy. In this our author has shewn an exquilite knowledge of nature; as he has, with no less propriety, diftinguith'd the King's real, from the other’s alum'd paffion. What Lear says, for the most part, springs either from the source and fountain of his d.forder; the injuries done him by his daughters; or his desire of being revengid on them. What Edgar says, seems a fantaflick wildness, only extorted to disguise fenle, and to blunt the fufpicion of his concealment. This makes it, that we are always must strongly af. fected with the King's madness, as we know it to be a real distress. But tho' what Edgar says, seems extravagance of thought, and the coinage of the poet's brain only, to the end already mention'd; yet I'll venture to assure my readers, his whole frenzy is satire levell’d at a modern fact, which made no little noise at that period of time: and consequenily, must have been a rapturous entertainment to the Spectators, when it was first presented. The secret is this: While the Spaniards were preparing their armado against England, the Jesuits were here bufily at work to promote the success by making converis. One method they used, to do this, was to disposicfs pretended demcniacks of their own church: by which artifice, they made seveial hundred converts among the common people, and grew so ela'e upon their success, as to publish an account of their exploits in this wonderful talent of exorcising. A main scene of their business, in this seeming-holy discipline, lay in the family of one Mr. Edmund Pockbam; where Marwood a servant of Antony Babington's, (who was af. terwards executed for treason) Travford an attendant upon Mr: Peiko bam, and Sarah and Friswood Williams and Anne Smith (three charberinaids in that family) were supposed to be poffefs’d by devils, and came under the hands of the priests for their cure. The parties either so little lik’d the discipline, or the je uits behav'd with such ill ada dress, that the consequence was, the imposture was discover'd: the demoniacks were examin'd; and their confeffions taken upon oaih before the privy council. The whole matter being blown ur, the