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Ay, so I think. Re-enter LEAB, bearing CORDELIA dead in his
ALB. He knows not what he says; and vain it
is * arms; EDGAR, Officer, and others following.
That we present us to him. LEAR. Howl, howl, howl, howl !-0, you are
Enter an Officer.
That's but a trifle here. Why, then she lives.
You lords and noble friends, know our intent, KENT.
Is this the promis'd end ? What comfort to this great decay may come, Edg. Or image of that horror ?
Shall be applied : for us, we will resign, ALB.
Fall, and cease! During the life of this old majesty, LEAR. This feather stirs ! she lives! if it be so, To him our absolute power :-you, to your rights ; It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
[To EDGAR and KENT. That ever I have felt.
With boot, and such addition as your honours KENT. O my good master! [Kneeling. Have more than merited. All friends shall taste LEAR. Pr'ythee, away.
The wages of their virtue, and all foes Eng. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend. The
of their deservings.-0, see, see! LEAR. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors LEAR. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no all !
life! I might have sav'd her ; now she's gone for Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, Cordelia, Cordelia !-stay a little. Ha !
And thou no breath at all? Thou 'lt come no What is't thou say'st ?—Her voice was ever soft,
more, Gentle, and low ;-an excellent thing in woman.- Never, never, never, never, never ! I kill'd the slave that was a-hanging thee.
Pray you, undo this button : thank you, sir.— OFF. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Do you see this? Look on her,- look,-her lips,LEAR. Did I not, fellow ? Look there ! look there !
Dies. I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion Edg. He faints !—My lord ! my lord ! I would have made them * skip: I am old now, KENT, Break, heart, I pr'ythee, break! And these same crosses spoil me.- Who are you? Eng.
Look up, my lord. Mine eyes are not o’the best :—I'll tell you KENT. Vex not his ghost: 0, let him pass ! he straight.
hates him, Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and That would upon the rack of this tough world hated,
Stretch him out longer. One of them we behold.
He is gone, indeed. LEAR. This is a dull sight; are you not Kent ? KENT. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so KENT.
long : Your servant Kent.—Where is your servant Caius ? He but usurp'd his life. LEAR. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that ;
ALB. Bear them from hence.—Our present He'll strike, and quickly too :-he's dead and
Is general woe.—Friends of my soul, you twain Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;
[To Kent and EDGALL LEAR. I'll see that straight.
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain. KENT. That, from your first of difference and KENT. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go ; decay,
My master calls me ;-I must not say, no. Have follow'd your sad steps.
Alb. The weight of this sad time we must LEAR. You are welcome hither.
obey; KENT. Nor no man else ;-all's cheerless, dark, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. and deadly.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves, Shall never see so much, nor live so long. And desperately are dead.
[Exeunt, with a dead march,
(*) First folio, him.
(*) First folio, is it.
(1) SCENE I.
Haply, when I shall wed, That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry Half my love with him, half my care, and duty.] It is not improbable that Cordelia's allusion to her future husband was derived from a story similar to that of Lear, which Camden relates of Ina, King of the West Saxons :“Ina, King of West Saxons, had three daughters, of whom upon a time he demanded whether they did love him, and so would do during their lives, above all others : the two elder sware deepely they would ; the yongest, but the wisest, told her father flatly, without flattery, That albeit she did love, honour, and reverence him, and so would whilst shee lived, as much as nature and daughterlie dutie at the uttermost could expect, yet she did think that one day it would come to passe that she should affect another more fervently, meaning her husband, when she were married ;' who being made one flesh with her, as God by commandement had told, and nature had taught her, she was to cleave fast to, forsaking father and mother, kiffe and kinne.” Or he may have remembered the reply of Cordila, in the “ Mirror for Magistrates," 1587 :
“ But not content with this, hee asked mee likewise
If I did not him love and honour well.
(2) SCENE IV.- And to eat no fish.] “In Queen Elizabeth's time the Papists were esteemed, and with good reason, enemies to the government. Hence the proverbial phrase of, He's an honest man, and eats no fish; to signify he's a friend to the government and a Protestant. The eating fish, on a religious account, being then esteemed such a badge of popery, that when it was enjoined for a season by act of parliament, for the encouragement of the fish towns, it was thought necessary to declare the reason; hence it was called Cecil's fast." —WARBURTON.
The Act to which Warburton refers was a Statute passed in the fifth year of Elizabeth, 1562, Cap. v: “touching Politick Constitutions for the Maintenance of the Navy, Sect. xiv.-xxii. The fifteenth section of this Act provides, that any person eating flesh on the usual fish-days, "shall forfeit Three Pound for every time he or they shall offend; or else suffer three months close imprisonment without bail or mainprise.” It is probable that the greatest objection to the Act was the order in Sect. xiv. :—“That from the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, in the Year of our Lord God 1564, every Wednesday in every week throughout the whole year, which heretofore hath not by the laws or customs of this realm been used and observed as a Fish-day-shall be hereafter observed and kept, as the Saturdays in every week be or ought to be.
The penal part of this statute was mitigated in 1593, the thirty-fifth of Elizabeth, cap. vii. sect. xxii., to á for
feiture of twenty shillings or one month's imprisonment, In the same Act it was provided, that all the Statutes recited in it should continue in force only until the end of the Parliament next ensuing, which met October 24th, 1597, and was dissolved February 9th, in the following year, when they were presumed to have expired. So late, however, as 1655, Izaak Walton, in the second edition of his “ Complete Angler,” refers to “those very few that are left, that make conscience of the laws of the nation, and of keeping days of abstinence.”
(3) SCENE IV.- If I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't.] In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there were three kinds of privileges issued by the king to individuals, which, from their gross abuse, were felt to be among the most intolerable of popular grievances :-Pre-Emption or Purveyance, Monopolies, and Patents. The first was the royal right of buying provisions and other articles for the king's household, first, and in preference to all other customers, and even against the will of the vendors. This was an ancient prerogative, regulated by Magna Charta, and was not finally abrogated until the restoration of Charles II. A Monopoly was a privilege " for the sole buying, selling, making, working, or using of any thing; by which other persons are restrained of any freedom or liberty that they had before, or hindered in their lawful trade." These Monopolies had been carried to an outrageous extent in the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Queen Elizabeth ; and the evil was not much abated at the period when this tragedy was written; nor was it effectually remedied until the passing of the statute of the twenty-first of James, 1623. Warburton supposes that the Fool's remark conveys a satire on the corruption of the courtiers of the time, who were sharers with the patentee, on the strength of having procured his grant from the sovereign ; and other com. mentators would read, instead of “- á monopoly out," “ – a monopoly on't." But the real meaning appears to be, that “lords and great men," "and ladies too,
were all so determinately bent on playing the fool, that, although the jester might have a monopoly for folly out,--that is, in force, and extant,--yet they would insist upon participating in the exercise of his privilege.
(4) SCENE IV.-How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet on ?] The frontlet was literally, as Malone explains it, a forehead-cloth, formerly worn by ladies at night to render that part of the countenance free from wrinkles, The very remarkable effect of this band, in the contraction of the brows, may be observed in some of the monumental effigies of the fourteenth century, and especially in those small figures usually called “Weepers," which are found standing in tabernacles, on the sides of the rich altar-tombs of the same period. Lear, however, may be supposed to speak metaphorically and to refer only to Goneril's cloudy looks,
(1) SCENE II.-I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.] So far as there can be any identification of a modern place with an ancient name in old romances, Camelot must be regarded as that mound which Selden has described in his notes on Drayton's “Polyolbion" :-"By South Cadbury is that Camelot; a hill of a mile compass at the top ; four trenches encircling it; and betwixt every of them an earthen wall: the contents of it within, about twenty acres; full of ruins and reliques of old buildings.-Antique report makes this one of Arthur's places of the Round Table, as the muse here sings :
Like Camelot what place was ever yet renown'd,
Where, as at Caerlion oft, he kept the Table Round ?"" Capell has been censured for “a mistaken theory that Camelot is a name for Winchester, one of the places where Arthur held his Round Table; " and that in which the Table itself was supposed to be preserved. The History of King Arthur was, however, so long in the completion, that, while in one chapter (xxvi.) Camelot is located in the West of England (Somersetshire); in another (xliv.) it is stated that Sir “Balins sword was put in marble ston, standing upright, as great as a milstone; and the stone hoved alwayes above the water, and did many yeares; and so, by adventure, it swam down the stream to the citie of Camelot; that is, in English, Winchester.” At a still later period, when Caxton finished the printing of the “Mort Arthur," in 1485, he says of the hero :“He is more spoken of beyond the sea ; more books be made of his noble acts than there be in England : as well in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Greekish, as in French. And yet of record remain, in witness of him in Wales, in the town of Camelot, the great stones, and marvellous works of iron lying under the ground, and royal vaults, which divers now living hath seen.” Warburton imagines that Kent intended an allusion to some proverbial saying in the romances of Arthur; but this is hardly required for the explanation of the text. In Chapter xlix. of Arthur's History, the Quest of the White Hart is undertaken by three knights, at the wedding-feast of the king with the princess Guenever, which was held at Camelot. This ad. venture was encountered by Sir Gawayne, Sir Tor, and King Pellinore; and, whenever they had overcome the knights whom they engaged, the vanquished combatants were always sent "unto King Arthur, and yielded them unto his grace.'
(2) SCENE III.-Bedlam beggars.] The Bedlam beggars proper, were such lunatics as had really been confined in Bethlem Hospital, but, owing to the want of funds to support them there longer, or from their being partially restored to their senses, were dismissed into the world, with a licence to beg. The sympathy excited by these unfortunates, occasioned many sturdy vagabonds to counterfeit and exaggerate their dress and peculiarities. Of these soi-disant madmen, who were distinguished among the vast community of rascaldom as Abraham-Men, Decker gives an animated description in his “O per se 0," 1612, and “The Bell-man of London," 1608:
“The Abram Cove is a fustie strong Roague, who walketh with a Slade about his Quarrons, (a sheete about his body,) Trining, (hanging) to his hammes, bandelierewise, for all the world as Cutpurses and Theeves weare their sheetes to the Gallowes, in which their Truls are to bury them : oftentimes (because hee scornes to follow any fashions of Hose) he goes without breeches, a cut Jerkin with hanging sleeves (in imitation of our Gallants) but no Sattin or Chamblet elbowes, for both his legges and armes are bare, having no Commission to cover his body, that is
to say, no shirt: A face staring like a Sarasin, his hayre long and filthily knotted, for he keepes no Barber: a good Filch (or Staffe) of growne Ash, or else Hazell, in his Famble (in his Hand) and sometimes a sharpe sticke, on which hee hangeth Ruffe-pecke (Bacon). These, walking up and downe the countrey, are more terrible to women and children, then the name of Raw-head and Bloudy-bones, Robin Good-fellow or any other Hobgobling. Crackers, tyed to a Dogges tayle, make not the poore Curre runne faster, then these Abram Ninnies doe the silly Villagers of the Country, so that when they come to any doore a begging, nothing is denyed them.
Their Markes. Some of these Abrams have the letters E and R upon their armes, some have Crosses, and some other marke, all of them carrying a blew colour ; some wear an iron ring, &c. which markes are printed upon their flesh, by tying their arme hard with two strings three or foure inches asunder, and then with a sharpe Awle pricking or raizing the skinne, to such a figure or print as they best fancy, they rub that place with burnt paper and Gunpowder, which being hard rubd in, and suffered to dry, stickes in the flesh a long time after : when these markes faile, they renew them at pleasure. If you examine how these letters or figures are printed upon their armes, they will tell you it is the Marke of Bedlam,* but the truth is, they are made as I have reported.
“And to color their villanie the better, every one of these Abrams hath a severall gesture in playing his part: some make an horrid noyse, hollowly sounding : some whoope, some hollow, some shew onely a kind of wilde distracted ugly looke, uttering a simple kinde of Mawn. ding, with these addition of words (Well and Wisely). Some daunce, (but keepe no measure) others leape up and downe, and fetch gambals; all their actions shew them to be as drunke as Beggers : for not to belye them, what are they but drunken Beggers ? All that they begge being either Loure or Bouse (money or drinke).
" Their Maund or Begging.-The first beginnes ; Good Urship, Maister, or good Urships Rulers of this place, bestow your reward on a poore man that hath lyen in Bedlam without Bishopsgate three yeeres, four moneths and nine dayes; And bestow one piece of your small silver towards his fees, which he is indebted there, the summe of three poundes, thirteene shillings, seaven pence, halfpenny, (or to such effect) and hath not wherewith to pay the same, but by the good help of Urshipfull and well disposed people, and God to reward them for it.
“The second beginnes : Now Dame, well and wisely what will you give poore Tom now? one pound of your sheepes feathers to make poore Tom a blanket: or one cutting of your Sow side, no bigger than my arme, or one piece of your Salt meate to make poore Tom a sharing home: or one crosse of your small silver towards the buying a paire of Shooes, (well and wisely :) Ah, God blesse my good Dame, (well and wisely) give poore Tom an old sheete to keepe him from the cold, or an old dublet, or Jerkin of my Maisters, God save his life.
“ Then will he daunce and sing, or use some other An. ticke and ridiculous gesture, shutting up his counterfeite Puppet-play with this Epilogue or Conclusion, Good Dame give poore Tom one cup of the best drinke, (well and wisely) God save the King and his Counsell, and the Governour of this place," &c.—"O per se 0,"1612.
In his “Bell-man of London," he says of an AbrahamMan: ."- - he sweares he hath been in Bedlam, and will
* The real Tom O'BEDLAMS, Aubrey tells us, when they were licentiated to go a begging, had on their left arm an armilla, an iron ring for the arm, about four inches long.
talk frantickely of purpose : you see pinnes stuck in Flemings had a proverb, 'As unfortunate as Turlupin sundry places of his naked flesh, especially of his armes, and his children.' -DOUCE. which paine he gladly puts himselfe to, only to make you believe he is out of his wits. He calls himselfe by the (4) SCENE IV:-Hysterica passio.] The disease, called name of poore Tom, and comming neere any body cries the Mother or Hysterica Passio, was not thought peculiar out Poore Tom is a-cold. Of these Abraham-Men some be to females only in Shakespeare's time, and Percy thinks exceeding merry, and doe nothing but sing songs fashioned it probable that the poet was led to make the poor king out of their own braines ; * some will dance, others will
pass off the indignant swelling of his heart for this comdoe nothing but laugh or weepe; others are dogged and so plaint, from a passage in Harsnet's “Declaration of Popish sullen both in looke
and speech, that, spying but a small Împostures," which he might have met with when companie in a house, they boldly and bluntly enter," &c. selecting other particulars to furnish his character of Tom
of Bedlam. The passage referred to occurs at p. 263, in (3) SCENE III.- Poor Turlygood!] “Warburton would
the deposition of Richard Mainy :-"The disease I spake read Turlupin, and Hanmer Turluru ; but there is a
of was a spice of the Mother, wherewith I had beene better reason for rejecting both these terms than for pre
troubled before my going into Fraunce.” In an early part ferring either; viz. that Turlygood is the corrupted word
of the pamphlet, p. 25, it is said, “Ma. : Maynie had in our language. The Turlupins were a fanatical sect that a spice of the Hysterica passio, as seems from his youth, overran France, Italy, and Germany, in the thirteenth hee himselfe termes it the Moother, and saith that hee and fourteenth centuries. They were at first known by
was much troubled with it in Fraunce, and that it was one the name of Beghards, or Beghins, and brethren and
of the causes that mooved him to leave his holy order sisters of the free spirit. Their manners and appearance
whereinto he was initiated, and to returne into England." exhibited the strongest indications of lunacy and distraction. The common people alone called them T'urlupins ; (5) SCENE IV.--Do you but mark how this becomes the a name which, though it has excited much doubt and house.) Warburton explains “the house" to mean the controversy, seems obviously to be connected with the order of families and duties of relationship; other comwolvish howlings, which these people in all probability mentators regard it as signifying a household establishwould make when influenced by their religious ravings. ment; and Capell conceives the phrase to imply fathers, Their subsequent appellation of the fraternity of poor men, as emphatically " the house," and not the heads merely of might have been the cause why the wandering rogues, a family, but the especial representatives. Shakespeare, called Bedlam beggars, and one of whom Edgar personates, however, more than once, employs the word “house" in assumed or obtained the title of Turlupins or Turlygoods, a genealogical sense, for the paternal line, or first house, especially if their mode of asking alms was accompanied in contradistinction to the persons descended from it, and by the gesticulations of madmen. Turlupino and Turluru that may possibly be its import in this instance. See note are old Italian terms for a fool or madman; and the (6), p. 216, Vol. I.
(1) SCENE IV.-Hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters in his pex.] In the temptations to suicide by which Edgar pretends to have been beset by the “ foul fiend," Shakespeare seems to have had in view the following passage in Harsnet's “ Declaration,”&c. :
perceave that the devil hath layd them heere, to worke some mischiefe upon you, that are possessed.
Hereuppon a great search was made in the house, to know how the said halter and knife blades came thether : but it could not in any wise be found out, as it was pretended, till Ma: Mainy in his next fit said, as it was reported, that the devil layd them in the Gallery, that some of those that were possessed, might either hang themselves with the halter, or kil themselves with the blades." -Examination of Frisvood Williams, p. 219.
"This examinant further saith, that one Alexander an apothecarie, having brought with him from London to Denham on a time a new halter, and two blades of knives, did leave the same upon the gallerie floare in her Maisters house. The next morning he tooke occasion to goe with this examinant into the said gallerie, where she espying the said halter and blades, asked Ma: Alexander what they did there : Hee making the matter strange, aunswered, that he saw them not, though hee looked fully upon them : she her selfe pointing to them with her finger, where they lay within a yard of them, where they stoode both together. Now (quoth this examinant) doe you not see them ? and so taking them up, said, looke you heere : Ah (quoth hee) now I see them indeed, but before I could not see them: And therefore saith he, I
The object of the impostures which form the subject of Dr. Harsnet's exposition, Warburton describes as follows:
“ While the Spaniards were preparing their armada against England, the jesuits were here busy at work to promote it, by making converts : one method they employed was to dispossess pretended demoniacks, by which artifice they made several hundred converts among the common people. The principal scene of this farce was laid in the family of one Mr. Edmund Peckham, a Romancatholick, where Marwood, a servant of Antony Babington's (who was afterwards executed for treason),
Trayford, an attendant upon Mr. Peckham, and Sarah and Friswood Williams, and Anne Smith, three chambermaids in that family, came into the priests' hands for cure. But the discipline of the patients was so long and severe, and the priests so elate and careless with their success, that the plot was discovered on the confession of the parties concerned, and the contrivers of it deservedly punished.”
(2) SCENE IV.- Wore gloves in my cap.] Steevens remarks, " It was anciently the custom to wear gloves in the hat on three distinct occasions, viz. as the favour of a mistress, the memorial of a friend, and as a mark to be challenged by an enemy. Prince Henry boasts that he will pluck a glove from the commonest creature, and fix it in
See note (f), p. 90. + As the poet was doubtless indebted to this curious work for the names of poor Tom's evil spirits, and it has now become rarissimus, we append the exact title of the book, from a copy
in the library of the British Museum :
" A Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, to withdraw the harts of her Majesties Subjects from their allegeance, and from the truth of Christian Religion professed in England, under the pretence of casting out devils. Practised by Edmunds, alias Weston a Jesuit, and divers Romish priests his wicked associates. Whereunto are annexed the Copies of the Confessions, and Examinations of the parties themselves, which were pretended to be possessed, and dispossessed, taken upon oath before her Majesties Commissioners for causes Ecclesiasticall. At London Printed by James Roberts, dwelling in Barbican 1603."--4to.