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Lear. Follow me not; stay here.
[Exit. 58 Gent. Made you no more offence but what you speak of? Kent. None.
60 How chance the king comes with so small a number?
Fool. And thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question, thou'dst well deserved it.
Kent. Why, Fool?
Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee 65 there's no labouring i th' winter. All that follow their
61. chance] The conclusion that ABBOTT, S 37, draws from many instances is that, perhaps, Sh. used ‘chance' as an adverb, but unconsciously retained the order of words, which shows that, strictly speaking, it is to be considered as a verb.
65. We'll set, &c.] MALONE: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard,' says Solomon, * consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.' [Proverbs, vi, 6-8.] If, says the Fool, you had been schooled by the ant, you would have known that the king's train, like that sagacious animal, prefer the summer of prosperity to the colder season of adversity, from which no profit can be derived. SCHMIDT: Elsewhere Sh, uses 'to set to school' in the sense of to teach.
66. All that follow, &c.] JOHNSON : There is in this sentence no clear series of thought. If he that follows his nose is led or guided by his eyes, he wants no information from his nose. I persuade myself, but know not whether'I can persuade others, that Sh. wrote: “All men are led by their eyes but blind men, and they follow their noses, and there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking.' Here is a succession of reasoning. You ask why the king has no more train? Why, because men who are led by their eyes see that he is ruined, and is there were any blind among them, who, for want of eyes, followed their noses, they might by their noses discover that it was no longer fit to follow the king. STEEVENS : •Twenty' refers to the noses of the blind men,' and not to the men in general. The passage, thus considered, bears clearly the very sense which the above note endeavors to establish by alteration. For stinking,' Masox maintained that we should read sinking, because it would be nothing extraordinary that a nose should smell out a person that was " stinking.” What the Fool wants to describe is the sagacity of mankind in finding out the man whose fortunes are declining.' MALONE, however, vindicated the present text by showing that the same simile is applied to fallen fortunes in All's Well, V, ii, 5: Mankind, says the Fool, may be divided into those
noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and there's not 67
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
75 Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.
And let the wise man fly;
68. twenty) a 100 Qy: a hundred Qz.
70. following it. ] following. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. Knt, Sch.
71. upwaril] Fit, Cap. Knt, Wh. Sch. 7p the hill Qq et cet.
him] it Han. 72. thee] Om. Jen.
have) hause F 74. That sir] That, Sir, F, Rowe, Johns. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. Wh. That Sir, F_F_Fz, Theub. Cap. Coll. Del. Kıly.
which] that Qq.
who can see and those who are blind. All men, but blind men, though they follow their noses, are led by their eyes; and this class of mankind, seeing the king ruined, have all deserted him. With respect to the other class, the blind, who have nothing but their noses to guide them, they also fly equally from a king whose fortunes are declining; for, of the noses of twenty blind men, there is not one but can smell him who, being muddied in fortune's mood, smells somewhat strong of her strong displeasure.' HALLIWELL: The word twenty' does not, I think, reser solely to the noses of the blind men. The Fool says Kent deserves to be put in the stocks for his silly question, for not looking which way the wind blows, for being too simple. He says that all men who follow their noses are led by their eyes, blind men excepted. Kent, according to his notion, has not used his eyes, and therefore he deserved the stocks. Not a nose of any kind but smells him that's stinking; and he insers that Kent had neither used his eyes to see, nor his nose to smell; in short, had not made use of his senses,
74. sir] For many other instances of the use of sir' as a substantive, see SCHMIDT (Lex.).
80, 81. The ... perdy] JOHNSON: The sense will be mended if we read: • The
Kent. Where learned you this, Fool ?
Re-enter LEAR, with GLOUCESTER.
Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick ? they
83. fool] Om. Qq.
Re-enter...] Cap. Enter Lear and Gloster. Qq.
SCENE IX. Pope, Han. SCENE X. Warb. Johns. Jen.
84. Deny...weary?] Two lines, Ff.
84. They are....they are] th' are... th' are Qq. they're...they're Pope +, Jen. Dyce ii, Huds.
sick ?...weary?] Johns. ficke,... weary, QqFs+, Cap.
fool turns knave, that runs away The knave no fool - That I stay with the king is a proof that I am a fool, the wise men are deserting him. There is knavery in this desertion, but there is no folly. Collier (ed. ii) adopted this change by Johnson (which is also found in his Folio MS), and upholds it thus : •In the old editions the very contrary of what Sh. intended is expressed. The reasoning in the earlier part of the rhyme is that, when it begins to rain, wise men fly to shelter, but fouls stay; and it ought to be followed up by the statement that, if the fool runs away, he turns knave, and that the knave, being no fool, will not be so silly as to remain in the wet.' But Collier, in his Third edition, returns to the old read. ing. Both HEATH and Capell adopted Johnson's change in the first of these two lines; and in the second, Heath suggested «The fool's no knave, perdy.' White: No transposition is necessary, if, as I believe, óknave' in line 8o is used in the sense of servant, in line 81 of rogue, while • fool,' in line 80, has the reproachful sense it has in the Bible, and in line 81 is but the official title. HUDSON: The Fool seems here to be using the trick of suggesting a thing by saying the opposite. CLARKE: Sh., in his own noble philosophy, here affirms that the cunning rogue who deserts his benefactor in the time of reverse, from motives of prudence, shows himself fool as well as knave, moral miscalculator as well as moral coward. MOBERLY: The touching faith of the Fool to his master is one of the most beautiful points of the play. The history of court-fools does not offer anything quite like it. It, however, took six strong men to drag away Patch, Cardinal Wolsey's Fool, from his disgraced master, who wished to send him as a propitiatory offering to Henry VIII. Wright: The text requires no alteration. The Fool points out who the real fools in the world are. Coleridge said a knave is a fool with a circumbendibus. [I think the meaning is made clearer by showing the difference, by means of capital letters, as WHITE does, between the generic fool and the specific Fool.-ED.]
81. perdy) The corruption of par Dieu. See Ham. III, ii, 282.
83. Not i' th' stocks, fool] SCHMIDT thinks that this . fool’ is not a mere retort, but is really meant, according to the song, as a title of respect, which Kent has earned by his fidelity to the king.
84. Deny] SCHMIDT (Ler.): To refuse. Compare Rom. & Jul. I, v, 16: 'which of you all Will now deny to dance ?'
They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches,
My dear lord,
Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion !
Glou. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
85. have travell’d] haue trauail'd F,F; have travel'd Fz. traueled Q: traueld Qz:
all the] hard to Qq, Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. Sing
85, 86. fetches, The] Ff+, Jen. Coll. Wh. Sch. Tuftice, I the Qq. fetches ; ay, The Cap. conj. (Notes, i, Var. Read. p. 29.) fetches all— The Steev. conj. fetches these ; The Ktly. fetches ; The Cap. et cet.
87. Fetch] Fet F,F.. Bring Pope +. 87-93. My dear...wife.] Prose, Q9. 91. plague! death!] Plague, Death,
Ff. death, plague, Qq.
92. 'Fiery?' what quality ? '] what fiery quality ; Qq. Jen. Ec. Fiery? what fiery quality ? Pope +.
Gloucester, Gloucester] Glofter,
94, 95. Om. Qq.
98. command's her service] Qq. com-
85. fetches] WRIGHT: Devices, cunning contrivances, pretexts. See Ham. II, i, 38. Compare 2 Samuel, xiv, 20, where the verb • fetch about' occurs in the sense of bringing about by artifice: “To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing.'
86. images] WALKER (Vers. 255), on the score of metre, suggests that this is the singular, and would print it image'. For similar instances, see horses,' Macb. II, iv, 14; "sense is,' Ib. V, i, 22; message, Ham. I, ii, 22; ABBOTT, $ 471.
88. quality] Wright: Nature, character. See below, line 133. MOBERLY: For a man so passionate as Lear to be asked to humour the vehement temper of one whom he still considers his inferior, is the most stinging request that can possibly be made.
98. SCHMIDT thus justifies his reading, which is virtually that of the Ff: The majority of the Qq read .commands her service,' and this convenient reading has been adopted, without more ado, by the modern editors. But they sailed to note
Are they'inform'd' of this? My breath and blood!
105 And am fall'n out with my more headier will, To take the indisposed and sickly fit 99. Om. Qq.
Dyce ii, Huds. 100. • Fiery ? '...that-] Fierie duke, 104. commands] Comand Q,. tell the hot duke that Lear, Qq.
106. fall n] fallen Qq, F,F. Cap. that-] that—[Glocester offers (changed to fallon in Errata), Jen. Steev. to go. Johns.
Ec. Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly, 102-105. Infirmity...forbear;] Three
Sch. lines, the first two ending health...op
headier] heitier Qq. heady Pope, prep Qq.
Han. 103. Whereto] where to Qq.
107-110. To...her] Three lines, the we are] we're Pope +, Jen. first two ending man,...here ? Qq.
that one Quarto, and probably the oldest (see Q2 (Bodl. 1) in Appendix, p. -], reads come and tends service, of course, nonsense, but yet containing nearly the same letters as the Folio; also that Lear demands service not only from Regan, but also from Cornwall, and that the circumstances, at least, would require : commands them service, which would come nearer to the ductus literarum of the true reading. As concerns this latter, it must be granted that tend, which is elsewhere so often identical with attend, is used by Sh. nowhere in the sense of await, in which sense he frequently uses attend (see II, i, 125). But this is of no material weight. Just as the prefix a is found before numberless verbs without changing their essential meaning (abate, abide, accursed, advantage, adventure, affright, affront, appertain, &c.), so, on the other hand, in the older language the prefix a (whatever may be its origin) is often omitted at will. In II, i, 30, we have had • quit thyself' as a hapax legomenon for acquit thyself. So also in IV, 1, 49, parel 'for apparel. Other hapax legomena are •lege' for allege, noyance' for annoyance, paritor' for apparitor, ‘rest' (only in Com. of Err.) for arrest, 'say' for assay, “stonish' for astonish, ‘void: (Cor. IV, v, 88) for avoid. The occurrence of the shortened form is not therefore conclusive against the use of tend in a sense with which attend does not seem hitherto to have had anything in common, especially since the meanings of the two words in other passages coincide in the majority of cases, and also since tendance is equivalent in Sh. to attendance.
101. well] COLERIDGE: The strong interest now felt by Lear, to try to find excuses for his daughter, is most pathetic.
102. still] Constantly. See Rom. & Jul. V, iii, 106; Macb. V, viii, 14; Ham. I, i, 122; IV, vii, 117; ABBOTT, S 69; and Sh. passim.
106. more headier] See II, ii, 97. SCHMIDT: Heady is not headstrong, but headlong, impetuous. Will' occurs frequently in Sh., as the blind impulse in oppo. sition to wit or reason.