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hawthorn blows the cold wind: Says suum, mun, ha no nonny, dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa; let him trot by 20. [Storm still continues.
Lear. Why, thou were better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.-Is man no more than this? Consider him well: Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume: -Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated!-Thou art the thing itself:- unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.-Off, off, you lendings:-Come; unbutton here21, [Tearing off his Clothes.
Fool. 'Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; this is a naughty 22 night to swim in.-Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the rest of his body cold.-Look, here comes a walking fire.
device to colour the statute, but your conscience knows what I had.'
If I but write my name in mercer's books,
I am as sure to have at six months end
All Fools, by Chapman, 1605.
'Dolphin my boy, my boy,
Cease, let him trot by;
It seemeth not that such a foe
From me or you would fly.'
This is a stanza from a very old ballad, written on some battle fought in France; during which the king, unwilling to put the suspected valour of his son the Dauphin to the trial, therefore, as different champions cross the field, the king always discovers some objection to his attacking each of them. and repeats the two first lines as every fresh personage is introduced; and at last assists in propping up a dead body against a tree for him to try his manhood upon. Steevens had this account from an old gentleman, who was only able to report part of the ballad. In Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, Cokes cries out, God's my life! He shall be Dauphin, my boy!' Hey nonny nonny is merely the burthen of another
21 The words unbutton here are only in the folio. The quartos read, Come on, be true.
22 Naughty signifies bad, unfit, improper. This epithet, which, as it stands here, excites a smile, in the age of Shakspeare was employed on serious occasions. The merriment of the Fool depended on his general image, and not on the quaintness of its auxiliary.
Edg. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet23: he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin24, squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Withold footed thrice the wold25;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
23 The name of this fiend, though so grotesque, was not invented by Shakspeare, but by those who wished to impose upon their hearers the belief of his actual existence: this and most of the fiends mentioned by Edgar being to be found in Bishop Harsnet's book, among those which the Jesuits, about the time of the Spanish invasion, pretended to cast out, for the purpose of making converts. The principal scene of this farce was laid in the family of Mr. Edmund Peckham, a Catholic. Harsenet published his account of the detection of the imposture, by order of the privy council. Frateretto, Fliberdigibet, Hoberdidance, Tocobatto, were four devils of the round or morrice..... These four had forty assistants under them, as themselves doe confesse. Flebergibbe is used by Latimer for a sycophant. And Cotgrave explains Coquette by a Flebergibet or Titifill.
It was an old tradition that spirits were relieved from the confinement in which they were held during the day, at the time of curfew, that is, at the close of the day, and were permitted to wander at large till the first cock-crowing. Hence, in The Tempest, they are said to rejoice to hear the solemn curfew. See vol. i. p. 26, note 32; and Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 1, and Sc. 5.
24 The pin and web is a disease of the eyes resembling the cataract in an imperfect stage. Acerbi, in his Travels, vol. ii. p. 20, has given the Lapland method of cure.
25 About St. Withold we have no certainty. This adventure is not found in the common legends of St. Vitalis, whom Mr. Tyrwhitt thought was meant. The wold is a plain aud open country; wold, Saxon: a country without wood, whether hilly or not. It appears to have been pronounced old, or ould, and is sometimes so written. Bullokar calls it a sheep-walk. We have Stow-on-theWold in Gloucestershire. The wold also designates a large tract of country on the borders of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire; and Cotswold in Gloucestershire. Antiquaries are divided in opinion whether weald is of the same family, as it is said to mean a woody country. Her nine-fold' seems to be put for the sake of the rhyme, instead of nine foals. For what purpose the incubus is enjoined to plight her troth will appear from a charm against the night-mare in Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, which occurs, with slight variation, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas:
'S. George, S. George, our ladies knight,
He hir beat, and he hir bound,
Until hir she to him plight,
She would not come to [him] that night.'
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee26! Kent. How fares your grace?
Enter GLOSTER, with a Torch.
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?
Edg. Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt, and the water27; that in the fury of the heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat, and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool; who is whipped from tything to tything, and stocked, punished, and imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear,—
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year28. Beware my follower: Peace, Smolkin29; peace, thou fiend!
Glo. What, hath your grace no better company? Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Modo he's call'd, and Mahu29.
26 See Macbeth.
27 i. e. and the water-newt.
28 In the metrical Romance of Sir Bevis, who was confined seven years in a dungeon, it is said that
'Rattes and mice, and such smal dere,
Was his meat that seven yere.'
29 The names of other punie spirits cast out of Twyford were these-Hilco, Smolkin, Hillio,' &c -Harsnet's Detection, &c. p. 49. Again, Maho was the chief devil that had possession of Sarah Williams; but annother of the possessed, named Richard Mainy, was molested by a still more considerable fiend, called Modu,' p. 268; where the said Richard Mainy deposes :- Furthermore it is pretended, that there remaineth still in mee the prince of devils, whose name should be Modu. And, p. 269:- When the said priests had despatched their business at Hackney (where they had been exorcising Sarah Williams), they then returned towards mee, upon pretence to cast the great prince Modu out of mee.'
In the Goblins, by Sir John Suckling, a catch is introduced, which concludes with these two lines:
Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vie, That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer To obey in all your daughter's hard commands: Though their injunction be to bar my doors, And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you, Yet have I ventur'd to come to seek you out, And bring you where both fire and food is ready. Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher:What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer;
Go into the house.
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban:
What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin. Lear. Let me ask you one word in private. Kent. Impórtune him once more to go, my lord, His wits begin to unsettle30.
Glo. Canst thou blame him? His daughters seek his death: -Ah, that good
He said it would be thus:-Poor banish'd man!— Thou say'st, the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself; I had a son,
The prince of darkness is a gentleman;
Mahu, Mahu is his name."
This catch may not be the production of Suckling, but the original referred to by Edgar's speech.
30 Lord Orford has the following remark in the postscript to his Mysterious Mother, which deserves a place here:- When Belvidera talks of lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of Amber, she is not mad, but light-headed. When madness has taken possession of a person, such character ceases to be fit for the stage, or at least should appear there but for a short time; it being the business of the theatre to exhibit passions, not distempers. The finest picture ever drawn of a head discomposed by misfortune is that of King Lear. His thoughts dwell on the ingratitude of his daughters, and every sentence that falls from his wildness excites reflection and pity. Had frenzy entirely seized him, our compassion would abate; we should conclude that he no longer felt unhappiness. Shakspeare wrote as a philosopher, Otway as a poet.'
Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life,
O, cry you mercy,
Noble philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
Glo. In, fellow, there, to the hovel; keep thee
I will keep still with my philosopher.
Kent. Good my lord, sooth him; let him take
Glo. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
Lear. Come, good Athenian.
No words, no words:
Edg. Child Rowland31 to the dark tower came,
31 Capel observes that Child Rowland means the Knight Orlando. He would read come, with the quartos absolutely (Orlando being come to the dark tower); and supposes a line to be lost which spoke of some giant, the inhabitant of that tower, and the smellerout of Child Rowland, who comes to encounter him. He proposes to fill up the passage thus:
Child Rowland to the dark tower come,
[The giant roar'd, and out he ran];
Part of this is to be found in the second part of Jack and the Giants, which, if not as old as the time of Shakspeare, may have been compiled from something that was so: they are uttered by a giant :