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Man's life is cheap31 as beast's: thou art a lady;
[Exeunt LéAR, GLOSTER, Kent, and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw 'twill be a storm.
[Storm heard at a distance. Reg.
This house Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd.
34 As cheap here means as little worth. See Baret's Alvearie, 1573. C. 388. 35
-magnum est quodcunque paravi,
Ovid. Met. lib. vi.
Senecae Thyestes Let such as are unwilling to allow that copiers of nature must occasionally use the same ihoughts and expressions, remember that of both these authors there were early translations. "Golding thus renders the passage from Ovid :
'The thing that I do purpose on is great, whate'er it is
I know not what it may be yet.' 36 Flaws anciently signified fragments, as well as mere cracks. Among the Saxons it certainly had that meaning, as may be seen in Somner's Dict. Saxon, voce floh. The word, as Bailey observes, was especially applied to the breaking off shivers or thin pieces from precious stones.'
'Tis his own blame; hath put Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly, But not one follower. Gon.
So am I purpos'd. Where is my lord of Gloster?
Re-enter GLOSTER. Corn. Follow'd the old man forth:-he is return'd. Glo. The king is in high rage. Corn.
Whither is he going? Glo. He calls to horse;) but will I know not whither. Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself. Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak
0, sir, to wilful men,
night; My Regan counsels well; come out o'the storm.
37 Thus the folio. The quartos read, •Do sorely russel, i. e. rustle. But ruffle is most probably the true reading. See the first pote on Macbeth. 38 To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate.
A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting.
Gent. Contending with the fretful element:
1 The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent. The main is again used in this sense in Hamlet :
• Goes it against the main of Poland, sir ?' So in Bacon's Wars with Spain :- In 1589 we turned challengers, and invaded the main of Spain.' This interpretation sets the two objects of Lear's desire in proper opposition to each other. He wishes for the destruction of the world, either by the winds blowing the land into the water, or raising the waters so as to overwhelm the land: terra mari miscebitur, et mare cælo.'
Lucret. iii. 854.
The bounded waters
And make a sop of all this solid globe.'
3 Steevens thinks that we should read, 'out-storm.' The error of printing scorn for storm occurs in the old copies of Troilus and Cressida, and might easily happen from the similarity of the words in old MSS.
4 That is, a bear whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. Shakspeare has the same image in As You Like It:
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
But who is with him ?
Sir, I do know you; And dare upon the warrant of my arts, Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall; Who have (as who have not, that their great stars? Thron'd and set high?) servants, who seem no less; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes; Or the hard rein which both of them have borne Against the old kind king; or something deeper, Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings! :-) [But, true it is, from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already Wise in our negligence, have secret feet10
A lione88, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching--' Again ibidem :
• Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness.' 5 So in Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus says :
"I'll strike, and cry, Take all. 6 i. e. on the strength of that art or skill which teaches us find the mind's construction in the face.' The folio reads :
upon the warrant of my note;' which Dr. Johnson explains, my observation of your character.
? This and seven following lines are not in the quartos. The lines in crotchets lower down, from But, true it is, &c. to the end of the speech, are not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition ; and if the former lines are read, and the latter oinitted, it will then stand according to the second. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy: but in this speech the first is preferable ; for in the folio the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither.
8 Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances.
9 A furnish anciently signified a sample. • To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own out to pawn.'-_Green's Groatsworth of Wit.
10 i. e. secret footing.
In some of our best ports, and are at point
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not.
your pain That way; I'll this); he that first lights on him, Holla the other.
Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool.
1 The poet was here thinking of the common representation of the winds in many books of his time, We find the same allusion in Troilus and Cressida. See vol. vii. p. 384.