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might'st behold the great image of authority: a dog's obey'd in office

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand:

Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back; Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind

For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the


Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide all. Plate sin' with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:8
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem

To see the things thou dost not.-Now, now, now, now:
Pull off
my boots:-harder, harder; so.

Edg. O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!

Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloster: Thou must be patient; we came crying hither. Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, We wawl, and cry :9—I will preach to thee; mark me.

• Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide all.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece: "Hiding base sin in pleats of majesty Malone.

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From hide all to accuser's lips, the whole passage is wanting in the first edition, being added, I suppose, at his revisal Johnson.

* Plate sin-] The old copies read-Place sin. Mr. Pope made the correction. Malone.

So, in King Richard II:


"Thus plated in habiliments of war. Steevens.

8 — I'll able 'em:] An old phrase signifying to qualify, or uphold them So Scogan, contemporary with Chaucer, says: "Set all my life after thyne ordinaunce, "And able me to mercie or thou deme." So Chapman, in his comedy of The Widow's Tears, 1612: "Admitted! ay, into her heart, and I 'll able it.",

Again, in his version of the 23d Iliad:

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Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air,

We wawl, and cry:]


"Vagituque locum lugubri complet, ut æquum est

"Cui tantum in vitâ restat transire malorum." Lucretius.

Glo. Alack, alack the day!

Lear. When we are born, we cry, that we are come To this great stage of fools;—This a good block ?1——-It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe

A troop of horse with felt: I'll put it in proof;

Thus also, in Sidney's Arcadia, Lib. II:

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"The child feeles that, the man that feeling knowes,
"Which cries first borne, the presage of his life," &c.

This a good block?] Perhaps, we should read—
'Tis a good block. Ritson.

Upon the king's saying, I will preach to thee, the poet seems to have meant him to pull off his hat, and keep turning it and feeling it, in the attitude of one of the preachers of those times, (whom I have seen so represented in ancient prints) till the idea of felt, which the good hat or block was made of, raises the stratagem in his brain of sheng a troop of horse with a substance soft as that which he held and moulded between his hands. This makes him start from his preachment.-Block anciently signified the head part of the hat, or the thing on which a hat is formed, and sometimes the hat itself.-See Much Ado about Nothing: "He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it changes with the next block.”

Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit at several Weapons:

"I am so haunted with this broad-brim'd hat,

"Of the last progress block, with the young hatband.” Again, in The Two Merry Milkmaids, 1620: “— - my haberdasher has a new block, and will find me and all my generation in beavers,' &c.

Again, in Decker's Gul's Hornbook, 1609: " — that cannot observe the time of his hatband, nor know what fashioned block is most kin to his head; for in my opinion, the braine that cannot chuse his felt well," &c.

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Again, in The Seven deadly Sinnes of London, by Decker, 1606: The blocke for his head alters faster than the felt-maker can fitte


Again, in Run and a great Cast, an ancient collection of Epigrams, 4to. without date, Epigram 46. In Sextinum:

"A pretty blocke Sextinus names his hat;

"So much the fitter for his head by that." Steevens.

2 It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe

A troop of horse with felt:] i e. with flocks kneaded to a mass, a practice I believe sometimes used in former ages, for it is mentioned in Ariosto:


fece nel cadar strepito quanto

"Avesse avuto sotto i piedi il feltro" Johnson.

Shakspeare however might have adopted the stratagem of shoeing a troop of horse with felt, from the following passage in Fenton's Tragicall Discourses, 4 o. bl. 1. 1567: "he attyreth himselfe for the purpose in a night-gowne girt to hym, with a paire of

And when I have stolen upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.31

Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants.
Gent. O, here he is; lay hand upon him.—Sir,
Your most dear daughter.

Lear. No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune.4-Use me well;

You shall have ransome. Let me have a surgeon,
I am cut to the brains.


You shall have any thing,

Lear. No seconds? All myself?

Why, this would make a man, a man of salt,5
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,

shoes of felte, leaste the noyse of his feete shoulde discover his goinge." P. 58.

Again, in Hay any Worke for a Cooper, an ancient pamphlet, no date: "Their adversaries are very eager: the saints in heaven have felt o' their tongues." Steevens.

This "delicate stratagem" had actually been put in practice about fifty years before Shakspeare was born, as we learn from Lord Herbert's Life of Henry the Eighth, p. 41. " And now," says that historian, “having feasted the ladies roy ally for divers dayes, he [Henry] departed from Tournay to Lisle, [Oct. 13, 1513,] whither he was invited by the lady Margaret, who caused there a juste to be held in an extraordinary manner; the place being a fore room raised high from the ground by many steps, and paved with black square stones like marble; while the horses, to prevent sliding, were shod with felt or flocks (the Latin words are feltro sive tomento): after which the ladies danced all night." Malone.

3 Then, kill, kill, &c.] This was formerly the word given in the English army, when an onset was made on the enemy. So, in Venus and Adonis:

"Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny,

"And in a peaceful hour doth cry, kill, kill.” Again, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1610, p. 315: "For while the Frenchmen fresh assaulted still, "Our Englishmen came boldly forth at night, "Crying, St. George, Salisbury, kill, kill,

"And offered freshly with their foes to fight." Malone.

4 The natural fool of fortune.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"O, I am fortune's fool!" Steevens.

5 — a man of salt,] A man of salt is a man of tears. In All's Well that Ends Well, we meet with "your salt tears' head;" and in Troilus and Cressida, "the salt of broken tears." Again, in Corio tanus:

"He has betray'd your business, and given up
"For certain drops of salt, your city Rome."


Ay, and for laying autumn's dust."


Good sir,7

Lear. I will die bravely, like a bridegroom: What? I will be jovial; come, come; I am a king,

My masters, know you that?

Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you.

Lear. Then there 's life in it. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.

[Exit, running; Attendants follow. Gent. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch; Past speaking of in a king!—Thou hast one daughter, Who redeems nature from the general curse

Which twain have brought her to.

Edg. Hail, gentle sir.


Sir, speed you: What's your
Edg. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?
Gent. Most sure, and vulgar: every one hears that,
Which can distinguish sound.

How near 's the other army?

But, by your favour,

Gent. Near, and on speedy foot; the main descry Stands on the hourly thought.9

I thank you, sir: that's all.

Edg. Gent. Though that the queen on special cause is here, Her army is mov'd on.

Edg. I thank you, sir. [Exit Gent. Glo. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me; Let not my worser spirit1 tempt me again

6 Ay, and for laying autumn's dust.] These words are not in the folio. Malone.

For the sake of metre, I have here repeated the preposition-for, which appears to have been accidentally omitted in the old copies. Steevens.

7 Gent. Good sir.] These words I have restored from one of the quartos. In the other, they are omitted. The folio reads:

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8 Then there's life in it.] The case is not yet desperate. Johnson. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"There's sap in 't yet." Steevens.

the main descry

Stands on the hourly thought.] The main body is expected to be descry'd every hour. The expression is harsh. Johnson.


my worser spirit -] By this expression may be meant→ my evil genius. Steevens.

To die before you please!


Well pray you, father.

Glo. Now, good sir, what are you?

Edg. A most poor man, made tame by fortune's blows;2
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,3
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.


Hearty thanks:

The bounty and the benizon of heaven
To boot, and boot!


Enter Steward.

A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes.-Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember :4-The sword is out
That must destroy thee.


Put strength enough to it.

Now let thy friendly hand

[EDG. opposes.

Wherefore, bold peasant,

Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take

Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.


Edg. Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.
Stew. Let go, slave, or thou diest.


made tame by fortunes blows.] So, in Much Ado about

"Taming my wild heart to thy gentle hand."

The quartos read:

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made lame by fortune's blows." Steevens.

The folio has-made tame to fortune's blows. I believe the origi nal is here, as in many other places, the true reading. So, in our poet's 37th Sonnet:

"So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spight, -." Malone. 3 Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,] i. e. Sorrows past and present. Warburton.

"Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco."

I doubt whether feeling is not used, with our poet's usual licence, for felt. Sorrows known, not by relation, but by experience. Malone.

4 Briefly thyself remember:] i. e. Quickly recollect the past of thy life, and recommend thyself to heaven. Warburton. So Othello says to Desdemona:

"If you bethink yourself of any crime,
"Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace,
"Solicit for it straight." Malone.

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