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sesses chamber-maids and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!]
GLO. Here, take this purse, thou whom the heaven's plagues
Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched, Makes thee the happier :-Heavens, deal so still! Let the superfluous, and lust-dieted man,
-possesses chamber-maids and waiting-women.] Shakspeare has made Edgar, in his feigned distraction, frequently allude to a vile imposture of some English jesuits, at that time much the subject of conversation; the history of it having been just then composed with great art and vigour of style and composition by Dr. S. Harsnet, afterwards archbishop of York, by order of the privy-council, in a work intitled, A Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures to withdraw her Majesty's Subjects from their Allegiance, &c. practised by Edmunds, alias Weston, a Jesuit, and divers Romish Priests his wicked Associates: printed 1603. The imposture was in substance this. 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 amongst the common people. The principal scene of this farce was laid in the family of one Mr. Edmund Peckham, a Roman-catholick, 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 priest's 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. The five devils here mentioned, are the names of five of those who were made to act in this farce upon the chamber-maids and waitingwomen; and they were generally so ridiculously nick-named, that Harsnet has one chapter on the strange names of their devils; lest, says he, meeting them otherwise by chance, you mistake them for the names of tapsters or jugglers. WARBURTON.
The passage in crotchets is omitted in the folio, because I suppose as the story was forgotten, the jest was lost. JOHNSON.
'Let the superfluous,] Lear has before uttered the same sen
That slaves your ordinance,' that will not see Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly; So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough.-Dost thou know Dover?
EDG. Ay, master.
GLO. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep :2
timent, which indeed cannot be too strongly impressed, though may be too often repeated. JOHNSON.
Superfluous is here used for one living in abundance.
That slaves your ordinance, &c.] The language of Shakspeare is very licentious, and his words have often meanings remote from the proper and original use. To slave or beslave another is to treat him with terms of indignity: in a kindred sense, to slave the ordinance, may be, to slight or ridicule it.
To slave an ordinance, is to treat it as a slave, to make it subject to us, instead of acting in obedience to it. So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613:
"Could slave him like the Lydian Omphale." Again, in A New Way to pay old Debts, by Massinger: -that slaves me to his will." STEEVENS.
Heywood, in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 1637, uses this verb in the same sense:
"What shall I do? my love I will not slave
"To an old king, though he my love should crave." Again, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604:
"O powerful blood, how dost thou slave their soul !" That slaves your ordinance, is the reading of the folio. Both the quartos have-That stands your ordinance; perhaps for withstands. Stands, however, may be right:-that abides your ordinance. The poet might have intended to mark the criminality of the lust-dieted man only in the subsequent words, that will not see, because he doth not feel. MALONE.
2 Looks fearfully in the confined deep:] So the folio. The quartos read-Looks firmly. Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear,
Poor Tom shall lead thee.
Give me thy arm;
Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.
Enter GONERIL and EDMUND; Steward meeting them.
GON. Welcome, my lord: I marvel, our mild husband 3
Not met us on the way :-Now, where's your master?
STEW. Madam, within; but never man so chang'd: I told him of the army that was landed; He smil❜d at it: I told him, you were coming; His answer was, The worse: of Gloster's treachery, And of the loyal service of his son, When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot; And told me, I had turn'd the wrong side out:
editors for in read on. I see no need of change. Shakspeare considered the sea as a mirrour. To look in a glass, is yet our colloquial phraseology. MALONE.
In for into. We still say that a window looks into the garden or the stable-yard. STEEVENS.
our mild husband-] It must be remembered that Albany, the husband of Goneril, disliked, in the end of the first Act, the scheme of oppression and ingratitude. JOHNSON.
What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to
What like, offensive.
Then shall you go no further. [To EDMUND.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
Our wishes, on the way,
May prove effects.] I believe the meaning of the passage to be this: "What we wish, before our march is at an end, may be brought to happen, i. e. the murder or despatch of her husband. On the way, however, may be equivalent to the expression we now use, viz. By the way, or By the by, i. e. en passant. STEEVENS.
The wishes we have formed and communicated to each other, on our journey, may be carried into effect. M. MASON.
She means, I think, The wishes, which we expressed to each other on our way hither, may be completed, and prove effectual to the destruction of my husband. On her entrance she said
"I marvel our mild husband
Again, more appositely, in King Richard III:
"Thou know'st our reasons, urg'd upon the way."
See also Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: "Umbella. A kind of round thing like a round skreene, that gentlemen use in Italie in time of summer,-to keep the sunne from them, when they are riding by the way." MALONE.
I must change arms-] Thus the quartos. The folia reads-change names. STEEVENS.
A mistresses command. Wear this; spare speech;
EDM. Yours in the ranks of death.
My most dear Gloster! [Exit EDMUND.
O, the difference of man, and man!" To thee
GON. I have been worth the whistle."
Madam, here comes my lord.
Usurps my bed.] One of the quartos read:
• Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air;] She bids him decline his head, that she might give him a kiss (the Steward being present) and that it might appear only to him as a whisper. STEEVENS. 70, the difference of man, and man!] Omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS. Some epithet to difference was probably omitted in the folio. MALONE. According to the present regulation of this passage, the measure is complete. STEEVENS.
The quarto of which the first signature is A, reads-My foot usurps my head. Some of the copies of quarto B, have-My foot usurps my body; others-A fool usurps my bed. The folio reads-My fool usurps my body. MALONE.
I have been worth the whistle.] This expression is a re