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Stew. What dost thou know me for ?
Kent. A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundredpound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave; a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good-service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.'
Stew. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee!
Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago, since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king ? Draw, you rogue; for, though it be night, the moon shines; Í'll make a sop o’the moonshine of you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.
[Drawing his sword. Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal! you come with letters against the king; and take Vanity * the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks.—Draw, you rascal ; come your ways.
Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave,5 strike.
[Beating him. Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder !
1 i. e. thy titles.
4 Alluding to the moralities or allegorical shows, in which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices, were personified.
5 You finical rascal, you assemblage of foppery and poverty.
Enter EDMUND, CORNWALL, Regan, GLOSTER, and
Kent. With you goodman boy, if you please ; come, I'll flesh you; come on, young master.
Glo. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives;
Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.
Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow ; a tailor make a man ?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir; a stone-cutter, or a painter, could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel ?
Kent. Thou whoreson zed !thou unnecessary letter !—My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted 3 villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him.-Spare my gray beard, you wagtail ?
Corn. Peace, sirrah !
Kent. Yes, sir ; but anger has a privilege.
1 To disclaim in, for to disclaim simply, was the phraseology of the Poet's age. See Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. iii. p. 264.
2 Zed is here used as a term of contempt, because it is the last letter in the English alphabet. Baret omits it in his Alvearie, affirming it to be rather a syllable than a letter. And Mulcaster says, “ Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom seen. S is become its lieutenant-general.”
3 Coarse villain. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime ; and therefore to break the lumps, it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes.
Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow ?
out? Say that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy, Than I and such a knave. Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What's his
offence ? Kent. His countenance likes me not.5 Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, or his, or
This is some fellow,
| The quartos read, to intrench ; the folio, t’ intrince. Perhaps intrinse, for so it should be written, was put by Shakspeare for intrinsicate, which he has used in Antony and Cleopatra. The word too in the text is substituted for to by Mr. Singer.
? To renege is to deny.
3 The bird called the kingfisher, which, when dried and hung up by a thread, is supposed to turn his bill to the point from whence the wind blows.
4 In Somersetshire, near Camelot, are many large moors, where are bred great quantities of geese.
5 i. e. pleases me not.
A saucy roughness; and constrains the garb,
Kent. Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
What mean'st by this ? Kent. To go out of my dialect, which
discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that beguiled you, in a plain accent, was a plain knave; which, for my part, I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to it. 4
Corn. What was the offence you gave him ?
I never gave him any.
1 « Forces his outside, or his appearance, to something totally different from his natural disposition.”
2 Silly, or rather sely, is simple or rustic. Nicely here is with scrupu lous nicety, punctilious observance.
3 This expressive word is now only applied to the motion and scintillation of flame. Dr. Johnson says, that it means to flutter, which is certainly one of its oldest meanings, it being used in that sense by Chaucer.
4 “Though I should win you, displeased as you now are, to like me so well as to entreat me to be a knave."
5 A young soldier is said to flesh his sword the first time he draws blood with it. Fleshment, therefore, is here metaphorically applied to the first act of service, which Kent, in his new capacity, had performed for his
None of these rogues, and cowards, But Ajax is their fool. Corn.
Fetch forth the stocks, ho ! You stubborn, ancient knave, you reverend braggart, We'll teach you— Kent.
Sir, I am too old to learn ;
. I serve the king;
Fetch forth the stocks ;
Sir, being his knave, I will.
[Stocks brought out. Corn. This is a fellow of the self-same color Our sister speaks of.—Come, bring away the stocks.
Glo. Let me beseech your grace not to do so.
take it ill,
I'll answer that. Reg. My sister may receive it much more worse, To have her gentleman abused, assaulted.
[Kent is put in the stocks. Come, my good lord; away.
[Exeunt Regan and CORNWALL. Glo. I am sorry for thee, friend ; 'tis the duke's