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Man's life is cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
That all the world shall-I will do such things,—
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
[Exeunt LEAR, GLOSTER, KENT, and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw 'twill be a storm.
[Storm heard at a distance.
34 As cheap here means as little worth. See Baret's Alvearie,
1573. C. 388.
Sed grande quiddam est.'
Ovid. Met. lib. vi.
Let such as are unwilling to allow that copiers of nature must occasionally use the same thoughts 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.
Where is my lord of Gloster?
So am I purpos'd.
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth:-he is return'd. Glo. The king is in high rage.
(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 winds
Do sorely ruffle37; for many miles about
O, sir, to wilful men,
And what they may incense38 him to, being apt
Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord: 'tis a wild 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 note on Macbeth.
38 To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate.
SCENE I. A Heath.
A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, meeting.
Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most un-
Kent. I know you; Where's the king?
Gent. Contending with the fretful element:
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear4 would
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,
'—-terra mari miscebitur, et mare cœlo.'
Lucret. iii. 854.
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe.
2 The first folio ends this speech at
change, or cease,' and be
gins again at Kent's speech, "But who is with him?'
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?
Kent. Gent. None but the fool; who labours to outjest His heart-struck injuries.
Sir, I do know you;
And dare upon the warrant of my art,
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
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 to 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 omitted, 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
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Gent. Give me your hand: Have you no more
Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet; That, when we have found the king (in which
That way; I'll this); he that first lights on him,
Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool.
Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks1! rage! blow!
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.