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When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof, repeals, and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe scape the king!
Lurk, lurk.]


A Room in Gloster's Castle.


and Servants.

Corn. Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him this letter:-the army of France is landed:-Seek out the villain Gloster. [Exeunt some of the Servants. Reg. Hang him instantly.

Gon. Pluck out his eyes.

Corn. Leave him to my displeasure.-Edmund, keep you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father, are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate preparation; we are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt us.7 Farewel, dear sister;-farewel, my lord of Gloster.

The words, however, may allude to the proclamation which had been made for bringing in Edgar:

"I heard myself proclaim'd,

"And by the happy hollow of a tree,
"Escap'd the hunt." Maione.

and thyself bewray,] Bewray, which at present has only a dirty meaning, anciently signified to betray, to discover. In this sense it is used by Spenser; and in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:

"Well, to the king Andrugio now will hye,
"Hap lyfe, hap death, his safetie to bewray."

Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:

With ink bewray what blood began in me." Again, in Lyly's Endymion, 1591:


- lest my head break, and so I bewray my brains."


5 whose wrong thought defiles thee,] The quartos, where alone this speech is found, read-whose wrong thoughts defile thee. The rhyme shows that the correction, which was made by Mr. Theobald is right. Malone.

6 —— a most festinate preparation;] Here we have the same error in the first folio, which has happened in many other places; the u employed instead of an n. It reads-festiuate. The quartos festuant. See Timon of Athens, Act IV, sc. iii; and Vol. III, p. 140, n. 5.

A a ?


Enter Steward.

How now? Where's the king?

Stew. My lord of Gloster hath convey'd him hence: Some five or six and thirty of his knights,

Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;

Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,

Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast To have well-armed friends.


Get horses for your mistress.

Gon. Farewel, sweet lord, and sister.

[Exeunt GoN. and EDM. Corn. Edmund, farewel.-Go, seek the traitor Gloster, Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us:

[Exeunt other Servants. Though well we may not pass upon his life Without the form of justice; yet our power Shall do a courtesy to our wrath,1 which men May blame, but not control. Who's there? The traitor? Re-enter Servants, with GLOSTER.

Reg. Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

7 and intelligent betwixt us,] So, in a former scene: 66 spies and speculations

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Thus the folio. The quartos read-swift and intelligence betwist us: the poet might have written-swift in intelligence - Malone.


•my lord of Gloster.] Meaning Edmund, newly invested with his father's titles. The Steward, speaking immediately after, mentions the old earl by the same title. Johnson.

9 Hot questrists after him.] A questrist is one who goes in search or quest of another. Mr. Pope and Sir T. Hanmer read-questers.

1 Though well we may not pass upon his life

•yet our power


Shall do a courtesy to our wrath,] To do a courtesy is to gratify, to comply with. To pass, is to pass a judicial sentence. Johnson. I believe," do a courtesy to our wrath," simply means-bend to our wrath, as a courtesy is made by bending the body.

The original of the expression, to pass on any one, may be traced from Magna Charta: " - nec super eum ibimus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum."

It is common to most of our early writers. So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: "I do not nowe consider the mischievous pageants he hath played; I do not now passe upon them " Again, in If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612: "A jury of brokers, impanel'd, and deeply sworn to passe on all villains in hell." Steevens

Corn. Bind fast his corky arms.
Glo. What mean your graces?-


Good my friends,

You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.
Corn. Bind him, I say.

[Servants bind him.

Hard, hard :-O filthy traitor!
Glo. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.3

Corn. To this chair bind him:-Villain, thou shalt


[REG. plucks his Beard.

Glo. By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done

To pluck me by the beard.

Reg. So white, and such a traitor!

Glo. Naughty lady, These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin, Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host; With robbers' hands, my hospitable favours


corky arms ] Dry, withered, husky arms. Johnson. As Shakspeare appears from other passages of this play to have had in his eye Bishop Harsenet's Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, &c. 1603, 4to. it is probable, that this very expressive, but peculiar epithet, corky, was suggested to him by a passage in that very curious pamphlet: "It would pose all the cunning exorcists, that are this day to be found, to teach an old corkie woman to writhe, tumble, curvet, and fetch her morice gamboles, as Martha Bressier (one of the possessed mentioned in the pamphlet) did." Percy.

3 I am none.] Thus the folio. The quartos read-I am true. Malone.

▲ By the kind gods,] We are not to understand by this the gods in general, who are beneficent and kind to men; but that particular species of them called by the ancients dii hospitales, kind gods. So, Plautus, in Panulo:

"Deum hospitalem ac tesseram mecum fero." Warburton. Shakspeare hardly received any assistance from mythology to furnish out a proper oath for Gloster. People always invoke their deities as they would have them show themselves at particular times in their favour; and he accordingly calls those kind gods whom he would wish to find so on this occasion. He does so yet a second time in this scene. Our own liturgy will sufficiently evince the truth of my supposition. Steevens.

Cordelia also uses the same invocation in the 4th Act:

"O, you kind gods,

"Cure this great breach in his abused nature!" M. Mason.

5 Will quicken,] i. e. quicken into life. M. Mason.


my hospitable favours ] Favours means the same as features, i. e. the different parts of which a face is composed. So, în Drayton's epistle from Matilda to King John:

You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

Corn. Come, sir, what letters had you late from France? Reg. Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth. Corn. And what confederacy have you with the traitors Late footed in the kingdom?

Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatick king? Speak.

Glo. I have a letter guessingly set down, Which came from one that 's of a neutral heart, And not from one oppos'd.

Corn. Reg.


And false.

Corn. Where hast thou sent the king?

Glo. Reg.

To Dover.

To Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at thy peril3 —

Corn. Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that. Glo. I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.9

Reg. Wherefore to Dover?

Glo. Because I would not see thy cruel nails Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.1

The sea, with such a storm as his bare head

"Within the compass of man's face we see,

"How many sorts of several favours be."

Again, in David and Bethsabe, 1599:

"To daunt the favours of his lovely face." Steevens.

7 Be simple-answer'd,] The old quarto reads, Be simple answerer. -Either is good sense: simple means plain. Steevens.


of metre.



thy peril - I have inserted the pronoun-thy, for the sake


the course.] The running of the dogs upon me. Johnson. stick boarish fangs.] The quartos read-rash boarish fangs.

This verb occurs in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. ii:

"And shields did share, and mailes did rash, and helmes did hew."

Again, B. V, c iii:


Rashing off helmes, and ryving plates asunder."

To rash is the old hunting term for the stroke made by a wild boar with his fangs.

So, in Chapman's version of the eleventh Iliad:

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As when two chased boars

"Turn head gainst kennels of bold hounds, and race way through their gores," Steevens.

In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up,
And quench'd the stelled fires: yet, poor old heart,
He holp the heavens to rain.2

If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,3
Thou should'st have said, Good porter, turn the key;
All cruels else subscrib'd:4-But I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.

Corn. See it shalt thou never :-Fellows, hold the chair:

Upon these eyes5 of thine I'll set my foot.

[GLO. is held down in his Chair, while CORN. plucks out one of his Eyes, and sets his Foot on it.

Glo. He, that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help:-O cruel! O ye gods!

Reg. One side will mock another; the other too.
Corn. If you see vengeance,

Hold your hand, my lord:

I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;

2 to rain.] Thus the folio. The quartos read—to rage.



that stern time,] Thus the folio. Both the quartos read— that dearn time. Dearn is a north-country word, signifying lonely, so. litary, secret, obscure, melancholy, uncomfortable, far from neighbours. So, in The Valiant Scot:

"Of all thy joys the dearne and dismal end.”

Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II, c. i:

"They heard a rueful voice that dearnly cride."

Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609:

"By many a dearne and painful pearch.”

The reading in the text, however, is countenanced by the following passage in Chapman's version of the 24th Iliad:


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in this so sterne a time

"Of night and danger," Steevens.

subscrib'd:] Yielded, submitted to the necessity of the occasion. Johnson.

5 Upon these eyes &c.] In Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, one of the sons of Bajazet pulls out the eyes of an Aga on the stage, and says

"Yes, thou shalt live, but never see that day, "Wanting the tapers that should give thee light. ["Pulls out his eyes? Immediately after, his hands are cut off. I have introduced this passage to show that Shakspeare's drama was not more sanguinary than that of his contemporaries. Steevens.

In Marston's Antonio's Revenge, 1602, Piero's tongue is torn out of the stage. Malone,

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