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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, which men May blame, but not control. Who's there? The
Re-enter Servants, with GLOSTER. Reg. Ingrateful fox ! 'tis he. Corn. Bind fast his corky arms'. Glo. What mean your graces ?-Good my friends,
consider You are my guests : do me no foul play, friends. Corn. Bind him, I say.
[Servants bind him. Reg.
Hard, hard.–O filthy traitor! Glo. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none”. Corn. To this chair bind him.- Villain, thou shalt find
[REGAN 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!
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 ?
1 Bind fast his CORKY arms.] Dry, withered, husky arms, says Johnson, and Percy adds a passage from Harsnet's “ Declaration,” 1603, in which the epithet, “corky,” is applied to an old woman. Hence, it is possible, Shakespeare obtained it, and it has not been pointed out in any other author.
1- I am NONE.] The quartos, “ I am true.”
To whose hands
Glo. I have a letter guessingly set down,
Wherefore To Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at peril —
Corn. Wherefore to Dover ? Let him answer that. Glo. I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the
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 rash boarish fangs. The sea, with such a storm as his bare head* In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up, And quench'd the stelled fires; Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain. If wolves had at thy gate howld that stern time, Thou should'st have said, “ Good porter, turn the key," All cruels else subscrib’d: but I shall see
3 In his anointed flesh Rasu boarish fangs :) So the quartos : the folio poorly reads“ stick boarish fangs.” Steevens observes, that to “rash,” is the old hunting term for the stroke made by the wild boar with his fangs. In “ Richard III.” Vol. v. p. 111, we have this line:
“He dreamt the boar had rased off his helm :" “ Rased” is there to be taken for the same word as rashed; and in Spenser's “Fairy Queen,” B. v. c. 3, we find the expression “rashing off helis.”
4 - as his BARE head] “ As his lor'd head," in the quartos, and farther on “lay'd up” for “buoy'd up" of the folio : they also read “steeled fires" for “stelled fires," and rage for “rain."
5 — that stern time,] “ That dearn time” in the quartos, which may have been Shakespeare's word, and it is found also in “ Pericles :" dearn is londy, dreary, melancholy, and sometimes secret.
6 — subscrib'd ;] “ Yielded, submitted to the necessity of the occasion," says Johnson. In this play, p. 368, we have already had “subscribed” employed in the sense of yielded or surrendered, and such was by no means an uncommon application of the word. The folio reads, by an error of the press, subscribe.
The winged vengeance overtake such children.
Glo. He, that will think to live till he be old,
Reg. One side will mock another; the other too.
Hold your hand, my lord.
How now, you dog!
[Draws and runs at him. Serv. Nay then, come on, and take the chance of
anger. [Draws. CORNWALL is wounded. Reg. Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?!
Serv. O, I am slain My lord, you have one eye left To see some mischief on him.—0!
Out, treacherous villain !
? A peasant stand up thus !] The only stage-direction in this part of the scene in the folio is, Kills him, although the servant delivers two lines afterwards. The tearing out and trampling on Gloster's eyes, so minutely described in modern editions, (that of Mr. Knight excepted) may be sufficiently gathered from the dialogue. When Regan kills the servant, we are told in the quartos, “She takes a sword and runs at him behind ;" and it seems probable that she snatched it from one of the attendants. She may, however, have seized the weapon which her husband bad drawn in vain.
8 — ENKINDLE all the sparks-) So the folio : the quartos, unbridle.
Who is too good to pity thee.
Glo. O my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd.Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
Reg. Go, thrust him out at gates, and let him smell His way to Dover.-How is't, my lord? How look
[Exit CORNWALL, led by REGAN;-Serrants
unbind GLOSTER, and lead him out. 1 Serv. I'll never care what wickedness I do?, If this man comes to good. 2 Serv.
If she live long, And in the end meet the old course of death, Women will all turn monsters.
1 Serv. Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam To lead him where he would: his roguish madness Allows itself to any thing. 2 Serv. Go thou : I'll fetch some flax, and whites of
eggs, To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him !!
[Exeunt severally. ACT IV. SCENE I.
9 I'll never care what wickedness I do,] From this line inclusive, to the end of the scene, is not in the folio.
10 Now, heaven help him !] “I will not disguise my conviction (says Coleridge, in his Lit. Rem. vol. ii. p. 191) that in this one scene the tragic in this play has been urged beyond the uttermost mark, and ne plus ultra of the dramatic.” We have supposed (Vol. vi. p. 272,) that “ Titus Andronicus" was written soon after Shakespeare joined a theatrical company, and when a taste for horrors was very prevalent. “King Lear” was produced, perhaps, fifteen years afterwards, when audiences had been accustomed to much better and less barbarous representations ; yet there is no scene in “ Titus Andronicus” so repulsively, and almost wantonly, shocking as this just concluded. It is to be remarked, that had not our great dramatist wished to have the tearing out and trampling upon Gloster's eyes exhibited before the audience, he might easily have narrated the incident.
Enter EDGAR. Edg. Yet better thus, and known to be contemn’d, Than still contemn'd and flatter’d. To be worst, The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune, Stands still in esperance', lives not in fear: The lamentable change is from the best; The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then?, Thou unsubstantial air, that I embrace: The wretch, that thou hast blown unto the worst, Owes nothing to thy blasts.-But who comes here?
Enter GLOSTER, led by an old Man.
Old Man. O my good lord! I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant, these fourscore years 3.
Glo. Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone: Thy comforts can do me no good at all;. Thee they may hurt.
Old Man. Alack, sir! you cannot see your way.
Glo. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes :
Stands still in ESPERANCE,] For “esperance” of the folio, the quartos absurdly have experience.
2 Welcome, then,] From these words inclusive, down to “ Owes nothing to thy blasts,” is only in the folio.
3 — these fourscore YEARS.] The quartos omit “ years," making Gloster interrupt the Old Man before he has completed his sentence. In the Old Man's next speech the folio omits “ Alack, sir !”
4 Our MEAN secures us ;] i.e. as Pope and Warburton explain it, “our