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me mine again: I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.

That, sir, which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,

Will pack, when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.

But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly:

The knave turns fool, that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.

KENT. Where learn'd you this, fool?
FOOL. Not i' the stocks, fool.

Re-enter LEAR, with GLOSTER.

LEAR. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?

They have travell'd hard to-night? Mere fetches;' The images of revolt and flying off!

Fetch me a better answer.


My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke;

* But I will tarry; the fool will stay,

And let &c.] I think this passage erroneous, though both the copies concur. The sense will be mended if we read: But I will tarry; the fool will stay,

And let the wise man fly;

The fool turns knave, that runs away;
The knave no fool,-

That I stay with the king is a proof that I am a fool; the wise men are deserting him. There is knavery in this desertion, but there is no folly. JOHNSON.

• Mere fetches;] Though this line is now defective, perhaps it originally stood thus:

Mere fetches all;- STEEVENS.

How unremoveable and fix'd he is
In his own course.

LEAR. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloster, Gloster, I'd speak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife. GLO. Well, my good lord,' I have inform'd

them so.

LEAR. Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?

GLO. Ay, my good lord.

LEAR. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father

Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:

Are they inform'd of this?'-My breath and blood!

Fiery? the fiery duke?-Tell the hot duke, that?— No, but not yet :-may be, he is not well: Infirmity doth still neglect all office,

Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves,
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;

And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit

For the sound man.-Death on my state! wherefore [Looking on Kent. Should he sit here? This act persuades me,3

Glo. Well, &c.] This, with the following speech, is omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS.

1 Are they inform'd of this?] This line is not in the quartos. MALONE.

Tell the hot duke, that-] The quartos read-Tell the

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— This act persuades me,] As the measure is here defective, perhaps our author wrote:

This act almost persuades me,-. STEEVENS.

That this remotion of the duke and her

Is practice only. Give me my servant forth:
Go, tell the duke and his wife, I'd speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum,
Till it cry-Sleep to death.

GLO. I'd have all well betwixt you.


LEAR. O me, my heart, my rising heart!—but,


FOOL. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney' did to

this remotion-] From their own house to that of the Earl of Gloster. MALONE.

Is practice only.] Practice is, in Shakspeare, and other old writers, used commonly in an ill sense for unlawful artifice. JOHNSON.

• Till it cry-Sleep to death.] This, as it stands, appears to be a mere nonsensical rhapsody. Perhaps we should read→ Death to sleep, instead of Sleep to death. M. MASON.

The meaning of this passage seems to be-I'll beat the drum till it cries out-Let them awake no more;-Let their present sleep be their last.

Somewhat similar occurs in Troilus and Cressida :

"the death tokens of it

"Cry-No recovery."

The sentiment of Lear does not therefore, in my opinion, deserve the censure bestowed on it by Mr. M. Mason, but is, to the full, as defensible as many other bursts of dramatick passion. STEEVENS.


the cockney-] It is not easy to determine the exact. power of this term of contempt, which, as the editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer observes, might have been originally borrowed from the kitchen. From the ancient ballad of The Turnament of Tottenham, published by Dr. Percy, in his second volume of Ancient Poetry, p. 24, it should seem to signify a cook:

"At that feast were they served in rich array;

"Every five and five had a cokeney."

i. e. a cook, or scullion, to attend them.

Shakspeare, however, in Twelfth-Night, makes his Clown say—“I am afraid this great lubber the world, will prove a

the eels, when she put them i' the pastes alive; she rapp'd 'em' o'the coxcombs with a stick, and

cockney." In this place it seems to have a signification not unlike that which it bears at present; and, indeed, Chaucer, in his Reve's Tale, ver. 4205, appears to employ it with such a meaning:

"And when this jape is tald another day,

"I shall be halden a daffe or a cokenay."

Meres, likewise, in the Second Part of his Wit's Commonwealth, 1568, observes, that "many cockney and wanton women are often sick, but in faith they cannot tell where." Decker, also, in his Newes from Hell, &c. 1606, has the following passage: "'Tis not their fault, but our mother's, our cockering mothers, who for their labour made us to be called cockneys." See the notes on The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Vol. IV. p. 253, where the reader will meet with more information on this subject. STEEvens.

Cockenay, as Dr. Percy imagines, cannot be a cook or scullion, but is some dish which I am unable to ascertain. My authority is the following epigram from Davies:

"He that comes every day, shall have a cock-nay,

"And he that comes but now and then, shall have a fat hen." Epigram on English Proverbs, 179. WHALLEY.

Mr. Malone expresses his doubt whether cockney means a scullion, &c. in The Turnament of Tottenham; and to the lines already quoted from J. Davies's Scourge of Folly, adds the two


"But cocks that to hens come but now and then,
"Shall have a cock-nay, not the fat hen."

I have been lately informed, by an old lady, that, during her childhood, she remembers having eaten a kind of sugar pellets called at that time cockneys. STEEVENS.

the eels, when she put them i' the paste-] Hinting that the eel and Lear are in the same danger. JOHNSON. The Fool does not compare Lear himself to the eels, but his rising choler. M. MASON.

This reference is not sufficiently explained. The paste, or crust of a pie, in Shakspeare's time, was called a coffin.



she rapp'd 'em-] So the quartos. The folio readsshe knapt 'em. MALONE.

cry'd, Down, wantons, down: 'Twas her brother, that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

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REG. I am glad to see your highness.

LEAR. Regan, I think you are; I know what


I have to think so: if thou should'st not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepúlch'ring' an adultress.-O, are you free?
Some other time for that.-Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here,2-
[Points to his Heart.
I can scarce speak to thee; thou❜lt not believe,
Of how deprav'd a quality3-O Regan!

Rapp'd must be the true reading, as the only sense of the verb-to knap, is to snap, or break asunder. STEEVENS.

Sepulch'ring-] This word is accented in the same manner by Fairfax and Milton:

"As if his work should his sepulcher be." C. i. st. 25.
"And so sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie."
Milton on Shakspeare, line 15.

she hath tied

Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here,] Alluding

to the fable of Prometheus. WARBUrton.

Of how deprav'd a quality-] Thus the quarto. The folio reads:

With how deprav'd a quality. JOHNSON.

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