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Appear like mice; and yon tall anchoring bark,
Set me where you stand.
- her cock;] Her cock-boat. Johnson. So, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1637: “- I caused my lord to leap into the cock, &c.—at last our cock and we were cast ashore.” Again, in Barclay's Ship of Fools:
our ship can hold no more, “ Hause in the cocke". Hence the term cockswain, a petty officer in a ship. Steevens.
2 Topple down headlong ] To topple is to tumble. The word has been already used in Macbeth. So, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599:
-fifty people topp!ed up their heels there.”-Again :" - he had thought to have toppled his burning car, &c. into the sea.” Steevens.
- for all beneath the moon Would I not leap upright.] But what danger is in leaping upwards or downwards? He who leaps thus must needs fall again on his feet upon the place from whence he rose. We should read:
Would I not leap outright. i. e. forward : and then being on the verge of a precipice, he must needs fall headlong. Warburton.
I doubt whether the word-outright, was even in use at the time when this play was written.
Upright, with the strict definition-" perpendicularly erect,” is ab. surd ; for such a leap is physically impossible. Upright is barely expletive: “ upwards,”—" from the ground." Farmer.
One of the senses of the word upright, in Shakspeare's time, was that in which it is now used. So, in The Tempest:
time goes upright with his carriage.” Again, in Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essays, 1603: “I have seene a man take his full carier: standing boult upright on both his feete in the saddle."
And with this signification, I have no doubt it was used here. Every man who leaps, in his first effort to raise himself from the ground, springs upright. Far from thinking of leaping forwardt, for which, being certain destruction, nothing can compensate, Edgar says, he would not for all beneath the moon run the risk of even leaping upwards.
Dr. Warburton idly objects, that he who leaps upwards, must
Let go my
[Seems to go. Glo.
With all my heart. Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his despair, Is done to cure it.4 Glo,
you mighty gods! This world I do renounce; and, in your sights, Shake patiently my great affliction off: If I could bear it longer, and not fall To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, My snuff, and lothed part of nature, should Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him! Now, fellow, fare thee well. [He leaps, and falls along Edy.
Gone, sir ? farewel.5 And yet I know not how conceit
rob The treasury of life, when life itself Yields to the theft:6 Had he been where he thought, By this, had thought been past.-Alive, or dead?
needs fall again on his feet upon the same place from whence he rose. If the commentator had tried such a leap within a foot of the edge of a precipice, before he undertook the revision of these plays, the world would, I fear, have been deprived of his labours.
Upright, in our author's time, meant also supinus. See Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617: “ Upright, or on the back, with the face upward. G. renversé, ventre en haut. L. supinus, resupinus :" but this sense is here inadmissible. Malone. 4 Why I do trifle thus with
his despair, Is done to cure it.] Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton, who read, with one of the quartos-'Tis done, place an interrogation point at the end of the first of these lines; bur, in my opinion, improperly.
Steevens. Is done --] Thus the quarto A, and the fclio. The other quarto reads-'Tis done. Malone.
5 Gone, sir ? farewel.] Thus the quartos and folio. The modern editors have been content to read-Good sir, &c. Steevens.
They followed the arbitrary alteration of the editor of the second filio. Malone. Perhaps a mere typographical error. Steevens.
zohen life itself
Ho, you sir! friend !--Hear you, sir?--speak!
Away, and let me die.
Glo. But have I fallen, or no?
7 Thus might he pass indeed:] Thus might he die in reality. We still use the word passing bell. Johnson. So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
“ Disturb him not, let him pass peaceably.” Steevens. 8 Had'st thou been aught but gossomer, feathers, air,] Gossomore, the white and cobweb-like exhalations that fly about in hot sunny weather. Skinner says, in a book called The French Gardiner, it signifies the down of the sow-thistle, which is driven to and fro by the
“ As slire some wonder on the cause of thunder,
“ And on all things, till that the cause is wist." Grey. The substance called Gossamer is formed of the collected webs of flying spiders, and during calm weather in Autumn sometimes falls in amazing quantities. H. White.
See Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. vi, Vol. XII. Malone.
9 Ten masts at each make not the altitude,] So Mr. Pope found it in the old editions; and seeing it corrupt, judiciously corrected it to attacht. But Mr. Theobald restores again the old nonsense, at each.
Warburton. Mr. Pope's conjecture may stand if the word which he uses were known in our author's time, but I think it is of later introduction. We may say:
Ten masts on end. Fohnson.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude,] i.e.each, at, or near, the other Such I suppose the meaning, if the text be right; but it is probably corrupt. The word attach'd certainly existed in Shak. speare's time, but was not used in the sense required here. In Bullokar’s English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, to attach is interpreted, “ To take, lay hold on. It was verbum juris. Malone.
chalky bourn :] Bourn seems here to signify a hill. Its comVOL. XIV.
Look up a-height;--the shrill-gorg'd lark so far
Glo. Alack, I have no eyes,
Give me your arm:
This is above all strangeness. Upon the crown o'the cliff, what thing was that Which parted from you? Glo.
A poor unfortunate beggar. Edg. As I stood here below, methought, his eyes Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses, Horns whelk’d,2 and wav'd like the enridged sea ;3 It was some fiend: Therefore, thou happy father, Think that the clearest gods,4 who make them honours Of men's impossibilities, have preserv'd thee.
mon signification is a brook. Milton in Comus uses bosky bourn, in the same sense perhaps with Shakspeare. But in both authors it may mean only a boundary. Johnson.
Here it certainly means “this chalky boundary of England, towards France." Steevens.
2 Horns whelk’d.] Whelkid, I believe, signifies varied with protuberances. So, in King Henry V, Fluellen speaking of Bardolph: "'— his face is all bubukles, and whelks,“ &c. Steevens.
Twisted, convolved. A welk or whilk is a small shell-fish. Drayton in his Mortimeriados, 4to. 1596, seems to use this participle in the sense of rolling or curled :
“ The sunny palfreys have their traces broke,
Malone. enridged sea;] Thus the quarto. The folio enraged.
Steevens. Enridged was certainly our author's word; for he has the same expression in his Venus and Adonis:
66 Till the wild waves will have him seen no more,
Fohnson. So, in Timon of Athens :
“ Roots! you clear gods!” Malone.
Glo. I do remember now: henceforth I 'll bear
Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coining;8
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's above art in that respect.—There's your press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a
who make them honours Of men's impossibilities,] Who are graciously pleased to pre. serve men in situations in which they think it impossible to escape : Or, perhaps, who derive honour from being able to do what man can not do. Malone.
By men's impossibilities perhaps is meant, what men call impossibilities, what appear as such to mere mortal beings. Steevens.
6 Bear free and patient thoughts.] To be melancholy is to have the mind chained down to one painful idea ; there is therefore great propriety in exhorting Gloster to free thoughts, to an emancipation of his soul from grief and despair. Fohnson. 7 The safer sense will ne'er accommo-late His master thuis.] I read:
The saner sense will ne'er accom?nodlate
His master thus. “ Here is Lear, but he must be mad: his sound or sane senses would never suffer him to be thus disguised.” For:son.
I have no doubt but that safer was the poet's word. So, in Measure for Measure:
“ Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
- for coining ;] So the quartos. Folio-for crying. Malone. 9 There is your press-money.] It is evident from the whole of this speech, that Lear fancies himself in a battle: but, There's your pressmoney has not been properly explained. It means the money which was paid to soldiers when they were retained in the King's service; and it appears from some ancient statutes, and particularly 7 Henry VII, c. 1, and 3 Henry VIII, c. 5, that it was felony in any soldier to withdraw himself from the King's service after receipt of this inoney, without special leave. On the contrary, he was obliged at all times to hold himself in readiness. The terın is from the French