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Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.
Enter LEAR and Fool.
LEAR. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks!" rage! blow!
You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks!] Thus the quartos. The folio has-winds. The poet, as Mr. M. Mason has observed in a note on The Tempest, was here thinking of the common representation of the winds, which he might have found in many books of his own time. So again, as the same gentleman has observed, in Troilus and Cressida :
"Blow, villain, till thy sphered bias cheek
We find the same allusion in Kempe's Nine Daies Wonder, &c. quarto 1600: "—he swells presently, like one of the four winds." MALONE.
7thought-executing-] Doing execution with rapidity equal to thought. JOHNSON.
* Vaunt couriers-] Avant couriers, Fr. This phrase is not unfamiliar to other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army. So, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607:
-as soon as the first vancurrer encountered him
Again, in The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613:
"Might to my death, but the vaunt-currier prove.” Again, in Darius, 1603:
"Th' avant-corours, that came for to examine."
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thun
Strike flat the thick rotundity o'the world! Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once, That make ingrateful man!
FOOL. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o'door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing; here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.
In The Tempest, "Jove's lightnings" are termed more fami liarly
"O' the dreadful thunder-claps.-" MALONE.
9 Strike flat &c.] The quarto reads,—Smite flat.
1 Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,] Crack nature's mould, and spill all the seeds of matter, that are hoarded within it. Our author not only uses the same thought again, but the word that ascertains my explication, in The Winter's Tale: "Let nature crush the sides o'the earth together, "And mar the seeds within." THEOBALD.
So, again in Macbeth:
and the sum
"Of nature's germens tumble altogether." STEEVEns.
-spill at once,] To spill is to destroy. So, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, Lib. IV. fol. 67 :
"So as I shall myself spill." STEEVENS.
-court holy-water-] Ray, among his proverbial phrases, p. 184, mentions court holy-water to mean fair words. The French have the same phrase. Eau benite de cour; fair empty words.Chambaud's Dictionary.
The same phrase also occurs in Churchyard's Charitie, 1595: "The great good turnes in court that thousands felt, "Is turn'd to cleer faire holie water there" &c.
Cotgrave in his Dict. 1611, defines Eau benite de cour, "court holie water; compliments, faire words, flattering speeches," &c. See also Florio's Italian Dict. 1598: "Mantellizare, To flatter, to claw, to give one court holie-water." MALONE.
LEAR. Rumble thy bellyfull! Spit, fire! spout,
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
FOOL. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house,
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make,
Shall of a corn cry woe,°
And turn his sleep to wake.
You owe me no subscription;] Subscription for obedience.
See p. 336, n. 6. MALONE.
So, in Rowley's Search for Money, 1609, p. 17: "I tell yee besides this he is an obstinat wilfull fellow, for since this idolatrous adoration given to him here by men, he has kept the scepter in his own hand and commands every man: which rebellious man now seeing (or rather indeed too obedient to him) inclines to all his hests, yields no subscription, nor will he be commanded by any power," &c. REED.
'-'tis foul !] Shameful; dishonourable. JOHNSON.
So beggars marry many.] i. e. A beggar marries a wife
and lice. JOHNSON.
-for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.
LEAR. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing."
KENT. Who's there?
FOOL. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece; that's a wise man, and a fool.
KENT. Alas, sir, are you here?" things that love
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,'
Rather, "So many beggars marry;" meaning, that they marry in the manner he has described, before they have houses to put their heads in. M. MASON.
-cry woe,] i. e. be grieved, or pained. So, in King Richard III:
“You live, that shall cry woe for this hereafter."
"No, I will be the pattern of all patience,
I will say nothing.] So Perillus, in the old anonymous play, speaking of Leir:
"But he, the myrrour of mild patience,
grace, and a cod-piece; that's a wise man, and a fool.] In Shakspeare's time, "the king's grace" was the usual expression. In the latter phrase, the speaker perhaps alludes to an old notion concerning fools. See Vol. XV. p. 202, n. 5. MALONE. Alluding perhaps to the saying of a contemporary wit; that there is no discretion below the girdle. STEEVENS.
9 — are you here?] The quartos-sit you here?
1 Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,] So, in Venus and Adonis :
'stonish'd as night-wanderers are." MALONE. Gallow, a west-country word, signifies to scare or frighten.
And make them keep their caves: Since I was
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot
The affliction, nor the fear.2
LEAR. Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pother3 o'er our heads, Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch, That hast within thee undivulged crimes, Unwhipp'd of justice: Hide thee, thou bloody
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
So, the Somersetshire proverb: "The dunder do gally the beans." Beans are vulgarly supposed to shoot up faster after thunder-storms. STEEVENS.
-fear.] So the folio: the latter editions read, with the quarto, force for fear, less elegantly. JOHNSON.
3 keep this dreadful pother-] Thus one of the quartos and the folio. The other quarto reads thund'ring.
The reading of the text, however, is an expression common to others. So, in The Scornful Lady of Beaumont and Fletcher: faln out with their meat, and kept a pudder.”
That under covert and convenient seeming-] Convenient needs not be understood in any other than its usual and proper sense; accommodate to the present purpose; suitable to a design. Convenient seeming is appearance such as may promote his purpose to destroy. JOHNSON.
concealing continents,] Continent stands for that which contains or incloses. JOHNSON.
Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra ;
"Heart, once be stronger than thy continent!”