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The Tragedy of King Lear

ACT I

SCENE I. King Lear's palace.

KENTI thought the king had more affected the Duke of
Albany than Cornwall.
GLOUCESTERIt did always seem so to us: but now, in the
division of the kingdom, it appears not which of
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 5the dukes he values most; for equalities are so
weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice
of either's moiety.
KENTIs not this your son, my lord?
GLOUCESTERHis breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 10so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am
brazed to it.
KENTI cannot conceive you.
GLOUCESTERSir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon
she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a son
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 15for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault?
KENTI cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it
being so proper.
GLOUCESTERBut I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 20elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account:
though this knave came something saucily into the
world before he was sent for, yet was his mother
fair; there was good sport at his making, and the
whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 25noble gentleman, Edmund?
EDMUNDNo, my lord.
GLOUCESTERMy lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my
honourable friend.
EDMUNDMy services to your lordship.
KENTAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 30I must love you, and sue to know you better.
EDMUNDSir, I shall study deserving.
GLOUCESTERHe hath been out nine years, and away he shall
again. The king is coming.
KING LEARAttend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.
GLOUCESTERAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 35I shall, my liege.
KING LEARMeantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 40Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall,
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 45May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, my daughters, —
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 50Interest of territory, cares of state, —
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.
GONERILAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 55Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 60A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
CORDELIA What shall Cordelia do?
Love, and be silent.
LEAROf all these bounds, even from this line to this,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 65With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: to thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
REGANAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 70Sir, I am made
Of the self-same metal that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short: that I profess
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 75Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
CORDELIA Then poor Cordelia!
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 80And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.
KING LEARTo thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 85Than that conferr'd on Goneril. Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interess'd; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
CORDELIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 90Nothing, my lord.
KING LEARNothing!
CORDELIANothing.
KING LEARNothing will come of nothing: speak again.
CORDELIAUnhappy that I am, I cannot heave
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 95My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.
KING LEARHow, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
CORDELIAGood my lord,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 100You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 105That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
KING LEARBut goes thy heart with this?
CORDELIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 110Ay, good my lord.
KING LEARSo young, and so untender?
CORDELIASo young, my lord, and true.
KING LEARLet it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 115The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 120And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 125As thou my sometime daughter.
KENTGood my liege, —
KING LEARPeace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 130On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her! Call France; who stirs?
Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 135Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 140By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additions to a king;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 145This coronet part betwixt you.
KENTRoyal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Loved as my father, as my master follow'd,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers, —
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 150The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.
KENTLet it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly,
When Lear is mad. What wilt thou do, old man?
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 155When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound,
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
And, in thy best consideration, cheque
This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 160Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
KING LEARKent, on thy life, no more.
KENTMy life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thy enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 165Thy safety being the motive.
KING LEAROut of my sight!
KENTSee better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.
KING LEARNow, by Apollo, —
KENTAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 170Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
KING LEARO, vassal! miscreant!
ALBANYDear sir, forbear.
KENTDo:
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 175Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy doom;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee thou dost evil.
KING LEARHear me, recreant!
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 180On thine allegiance, hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and with strain'd pride
To come between our sentence and our power,
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 185Our potency made good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision
To shield thee from diseases of the world;
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 190Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death. Away! by Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked.
KENTFare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 195The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!
And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
That good effects may spring from words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 200He'll shape his old course in a country new.
GLOUCESTERHere's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
KING LEARMy lord of Burgundy.
We first address towards you, who with this king
Hath rivall'd for our daughter: what, in the least,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 205Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love?
BURGUNDYMost royal majesty,
I crave no more than what your highness offer'd,
Nor will you tender less.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 210Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;
But now her price is fall'n. Sir, there she stands:
If aught within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 215And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.
BURGUNDYI know no answer.
KING LEARWill you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 220Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?
BURGUNDYPardon me, royal sir;
Election makes not up on such conditions.
KING LEARThen leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 225I tell you all her wealth.
For you, great king,
I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 230Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.
KING OF FRANCEThis is most strange,
That she, that even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 235Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 240Fall'n into taint: which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.
CORDELIAI yet beseech your majesty, —
If for I want that glib and oily art,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 245To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
I'll do't before I speak, — that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 250But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
As I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.
KING LEARBetter thou
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 255Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.
KING OF FRANCEIs it but this, — a tardiness in nature
Which often leaves the history unspoke
That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love's not love
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 260When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.
BURGUNDYRoyal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 265And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.
KING LEARNothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
BURGUNDYI am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.
CORDELIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 270Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
KING OF FRANCEFairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 275Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:
Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods! 'tis strange that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 280Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 285Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benison.
Come, noble Burgundy.
KING OF FRANCEAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 290Bid farewell to your sisters.
CORDELIAThe jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And like a sister am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Use well our father:
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 295To your professed bosoms I commit him
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So, farewell to you both.
REGANPrescribe not us our duties.
GONERILAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 300Let your study
Be to content your lord, who hath received you
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.
CORDELIATime shall unfold what plaited cunning hides:
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 305Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper!
KING OF FRANCECome, my fair Cordelia.
GONERILSister, it is not a little I have to say of what
most nearly appertains to us both. I think our
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 310father will hence to-night.
REGANThat's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
GONERILYou see how full of changes his age is; the
observation we have made of it hath not been
little: he always loved our sister most; and
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 315with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off
appears too grossly.
REGAN'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever
but slenderly known himself.
GONERILThe best and soundest of his time hath been but
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 320rash; then must we look to receive from his age,
not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
REGANSuch unconstant starts are we like to have from
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 325him as this of Kent's banishment.
GONERILThere is further compliment of leavetaking
between France and him. Pray you, let's hit
together: if our father carry authority with
such dispositions as he bears, this last
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 330surrender of his will but offend us.
REGANWe shall further think on't.
GONERILWe must do something, and i' the heat.

ACT I

SCENE II. The Earl of Gloucester's castle.

EDMUNDThou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 5For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 10With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 15Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word, — legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 20And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
GLOUCESTERKent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 25Confined to exhibition! All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news?
EDMUNDSo please your lordship, none.
GLOUCESTERWhy so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
EDMUNDI know no news, my lord.
GLOUCESTERAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 30What paper were you reading?
EDMUNDNothing, my lord.
GLOUCESTERNo? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of
it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath
not such need to hide itself. Let's see: come,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 35if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
EDMUNDI beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter
from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read;
and for so much as I have perused, I find it not
fit for your o'er-looking.
GLOUCESTERAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 40Give me the letter, sir.
EDMUNDI shall offend, either to detain or give it. The
contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
GLOUCESTERLet's see, let's see.
EDMUNDI hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 45this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.
GLOUCESTER 'This policy and reverence of age makes
the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps
our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish
them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 50in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not
as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to
me, that of this I may speak more. If our father
would sleep till I waked him, you should half his
revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 55brother, EDGAR.'
Hum — conspiracy! — 'Sleep till I waked him, — you
should enjoy half his revenue,' — My son Edgar!
Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain
to breed it in? — When came this to you? who
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 60brought it?
EDMUNDIt was not brought me, my lord; there's the
cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the
casement of my closet.
GLOUCESTERYou know the character to be your brother's?
EDMUNDAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 65If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear
it were his; but, in respect of that, I would
fain think it were not.
GLOUCESTERIt is his.
EDMUNDIt is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 70not in the contents.
GLOUCESTERHath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
EDMUNDNever, my lord: but I have heard him oft
maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age,
and fathers declining, the father should be as
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 75ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
GLOUCESTERO villain, villain! His very opinion in the
letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested,
brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah,
seek him; I'll apprehend him: abominable villain!
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 80Where is he?
EDMUNDI do not well know, my lord. If it shall please
you to suspend your indignation against my
brother till you can derive from him better
testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 85course; where, if you violently proceed against
him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great
gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the
heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life
for him, that he hath wrote this to feel my
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 90affection to your honour, and to no further
pretence of danger.
GLOUCESTERThink you so?
EDMUNDIf your honour judge it meet, I will place you
where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 95auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and
that without any further delay than this very evening.
GLOUCESTERHe cannot be such a monster —
EDMUNDNor is not, sure.
GLOUCESTERTo his father, that so tenderly and entirely
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 100loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him
out: wind me into him, I pray you: frame the
business after your own wisdom. I would unstate
myself, to be in a due resolution.
EDMUNDI will seek him, sir, presently: convey the
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 105business as I shall find means and acquaint you withal.
GLOUCESTERThese late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 110friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
and father. This villain of mine comes under the
prediction; there's son against father: the king
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 115falls from bias of nature; there's father against
child. We have seen the best of our time:
machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all
ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our
graves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 120lose thee nothing; do it carefully. And the
noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his
offence, honesty! 'Tis strange.
EDMUNDThis is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune, — often the surfeit
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 125of our own behavior, — we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity; fools by
heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 130liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
disposition to the charge of a star! My
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 135father compounded with my mother under the
dragon's tail; and my nativity was under Ursa
major; so that it follows, I am rough and
lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am,
had the maidenliest star in the firmament
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 140twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar —
And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old
comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with a
sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do
portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
EDGARAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 145How now, brother Edmund! what serious
contemplation are you in?
EDMUNDI am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read
this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
EDGARDo you busy yourself about that?
EDMUNDAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 150I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed
unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
maledictions against king and nobles; needless
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 155diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
EDGARHow long have you been a sectary astronomical?
EDMUNDCome, come; when saw you my father last?
EDGARWhy, the night gone by.
EDMUNDAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 160Spake you with him?
EDGARAy, two hours together.
EDMUNDParted you in good terms? Found you no
displeasure in him by word or countenance?
EDGARNone at all.
EDMUNDAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 165Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended
him: and at my entreaty forbear his presence
till some little time hath qualified the heat of
his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth
in him, that with the mischief of your person it
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 170would scarcely allay.
EDGARSome villain hath done me wrong.
EDMUNDThat's my fear. I pray you, have a continent
forbearance till the spied of his rage goes
slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 175lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to
hear my lord speak: pray ye, go; there's my key:
if you do stir abroad, go armed.
EDGARArmed, brother!
EDMUNDBrother, I advise you to the best; go armed: I
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 180am no honest man if there be any good meaning
towards you: I have told you what I have seen
and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image
and horror of it: pray you, away.
EDGARShall I hear from you anon?
EDMUNDAct 1 Sc 2 Ln 185I do serve you in this business.
A credulous father! and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty
My practises ride easy! I see the business.
Act 1 Sc 2 Ln 190Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet that I can fashion fit.

ACT I

SCENE III. The Duke of Albany's palace.

GONERILDid my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
OSWALDYes, madam.
GONERILBy day and night he wrongs me; every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
Act 1 Sc 3 Ln 5That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say I am sick:
If you come slack of former services,
Act 1 Sc 3 Ln 10You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
OSWALDHe's coming, madam; I hear him.
GONERILPut on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows; I'll have it come to question:
If he dislike it, let him to our sister,
Act 1 Sc 3 Ln 15Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again; and must be used
Act 1 Sc 3 Ln 20With cheques as flatteries, — when they are seen abused.
Remember what I tell you.
OSWALDWell, madam.
GONERILAnd let his knights have colder looks among you;
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:
Act 1 Sc 3 Ln 25I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
That I may speak: I'll write straight to my sister,
To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner.

ACT I

SCENE IV. A hall in the same.

KENTIf but as well I other accents borrow,
That can my speech defuse, my good intent
May carry through itself to that full issue
For which I razed my likeness. Now, banish'd Kent,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 5If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd,
So may it come, thy master, whom thou lovest,
Shall find thee full of labours.
KING LEARLet me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready.
How now! what art thou?
KENTAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 10A man, sir.
KING LEARWhat dost thou profess? what wouldst thou with us?
KENTI do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve
him truly that will put me in trust: to love him
that is honest; to converse with him that is wise,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 15and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I
cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
KING LEARWhat art thou?
KENTA very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
KING LEARIf thou be as poor for a subject as he is for a
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 20king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
KENTService.
KING LEARWho wouldst thou serve?
KENTYou.
KING LEARDost thou know me, fellow?
KENTAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 25No, sir; but you have that in your countenance
which I would fain call master.
KING LEARWhat's that?
KENTAuthority.
KING LEARWhat services canst thou do?
KENTAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 30I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am
qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.
KING LEARHow old art thou?
KENTAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 35Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor
so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years
on my back forty eight.
KING LEARFollow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 40Dinner, ho, dinner! Where's my knave? my fool?
Go you, and call my fool hither.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
OSWALDSo please you, —
KING LEARWhat says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 45Where's my fool, ho? I think the world's asleep.
How now! where's that mongrel?
KnightHe says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
KING LEARWhy came not the slave back to me when I called him.
KnightSir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 50not.
KING LEARHe would not!
KnightMy lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my
judgment, your highness is not entertained with that
ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 55great abatement of kindness appears as well in the
general dependants as in the duke himself also and
your daughter.
KING LEARHa! sayest thou so?
KnightI beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken;
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 60for my duty cannot be silent when I think your
highness wronged.
KING LEARThou but rememberest me of mine own conception: I
have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I
have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 65than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness:
I will look further into't. But where's my fool? I
have not seen him this two days.
KnightSince my young lady's going into France, sir, the
fool hath much pined away.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 70No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you, and
tell my daughter I would speak with her.
Go you, call hither my fool.
O, you sir, you, come you hither, sir: who am I,
sir?
OSWALDAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 75My lady's father.
KING LEAR'My lady's father'! my lord's knave: your
whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
OSWALDI am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.
KING LEARDo you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
OSWALDAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 80I'll not be struck, my lord.
KENTNor tripped neither, you base football player.
KING LEARI thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll
love thee.
KENTCome, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences:
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 85away, away! if you will measure your lubber's
length again, tarry: but away! go to; have you
wisdom? so.
KING LEARNow, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's
earnest of thy service.
FoolAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 90Let me hire him too: here's my coxcomb.
KING LEARHow now, my pretty knave! how dost thou?
FoolSirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
KENTWhy, fool?
FoolWhy, for taking one's part that's out of favour:
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 95nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits,
thou'lt catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb:
why, this fellow has banished two on's daughters,
and did the third a blessing against his will; if
thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 100How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!
KING LEARWhy, my boy?
FoolIf I gave them all my living, I'ld keep my coxcombs
myself. There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.
KING LEARTake heed, sirrah; the whip.
FoolAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 105Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipped
out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink.
KING LEARA pestilent gall to me!
FoolSirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
KING LEARDo.
FoolAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 110Mark it, nuncle:
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 115Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 120Than two tens to a score.
KENTThis is nothing, fool.
FoolThen 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you
gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of
nothing, nuncle?
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 125Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of
his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.
KING LEARA bitter fool!
FoolDost thou know the difference, my boy, between a
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 130bitter fool and a sweet fool?
KING LEARNo, lad; teach me.
FoolThat lord that counsell'd thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 135Do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear;
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 140Dost thou call me fool, boy?
FoolAll thy other titles thou hast given away; that
thou wast born with.
KENTThis is not altogether fool, my lord.
FoolNo, faith, lords and great men will not let me; if
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 145I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't:
and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool
to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an egg,
nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
KING LEARWhat two crowns shall they be?
FoolAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 150Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and eat
up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou
clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away
both parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back o'er
the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 155when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak
like myself in this, let him be whipped that first
finds it so.
Fools had ne'er less wit in a year;
For wise men are grown foppish,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 160They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.
KING LEARWhen were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
FoolI have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy
daughters thy mothers: for when thou gavest them
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 165the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 170Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach
thy fool to lie: I would fain learn to lie.
KING LEARAn you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipped.
FoolI marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are:
they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 175have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am
whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any
kind o' thing than a fool: and yet I would not be
thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides,
and left nothing i' the middle: here comes one o'
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 180the parings.
KING LEARHow now, daughter! what makes that frontlet on?
Methinks you are too much of late i' the frown.
FoolThou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to
care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 185figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool,
thou art nothing.
Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face
bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 190Weary of all, shall want some.
That's a shealed peascod.
GONERILNot only, sir, this your all-licensed fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 195In rank and not-to-be endured riots. Sir,
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done.
That you protect this course, and put it on
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 200By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 205Will call discreet proceeding.
FoolFor, you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it's had it head bit off by it young.
So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 210Are you our daughter?
GONERILCome, sir,
I would you would make use of that good wisdom,
Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away
These dispositions, that of late transform you
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 215From what you rightly are.
FoolMay not an ass know when the cart
draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.
KING LEARDoth any here know me? This is not Lear:
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 220Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied — Ha! waking? 'tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
FoolLear's shadow.
KING LEARI would learn that; for, by the
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 225marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,
I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
FoolWhich they will make an obedient father.
KING LEARYour name, fair gentlewoman?
GONERILThis admiration, sir, is much o' the savour
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 230Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd and bold,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 235That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel
Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: be then desired
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 240By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 245Darkness and devils!
Saddle my horses; call my train together:
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee.
Yet have I left a daughter.
GONERILYou strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 250Make servants of their betters.
KING LEARWoe, that too late repents, —
O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? Speak, sir. Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 255More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!
ALBANYPray, sir, be patient.
KING LEAR Detested kite! thou liest.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 260That all particulars of duty know,
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
That, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 265From the fix'd place; drew from heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.
ALBANYMy lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 270Of what hath moved you.
KING LEARIt may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 275Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 280And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 285How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!
ALBANYNow, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
GONERILNever afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 290That dotage gives it.
KING LEARWhat, fifty of my followers at a clap!
Within a fortnight!
ALBANYWhat's the matter, sir?
KING LEARI'll tell thee:
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 295Life and death! I am ashamed
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 300Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Yea, it is come to this?
Let is be so: yet have I left a daughter,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 305Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever: thou shalt,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 310I warrant thee.
GONERILDo you mark that, my lord?
ALBANYI cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you, —
GONERILPray you, content. What, Oswald, ho!
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 315You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
FoolNuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool
with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 320Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter:
So the fool follows after.
GONERILThis man hath had good counsel: — a hundred knights!
'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 325At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I say!
ALBANYWell, you may fear too far.
GONERILAct 1 Sc 4 Ln 330Safer than trust too far:
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister
If she sustain him and his hundred knights
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 335When I have show'd the unfitness, —
How now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
OSWALDYes, madam.
GONERILTake you some company, and away to horse:
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 340Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
And hasten your return.
No, no, my lord,
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 345This milky gentleness and course of yours
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.
ALBANYHow far your eyes may pierce I can not tell:
Act 1 Sc 4 Ln 350Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
GONERILNay, then —
ALBANYWell, well; the event.

ACT I

SCENE V. Court before the same.

KING LEARGo you before to Gloucester with these letters.
Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you
know than comes from her demand out of the letter.
If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.
KENTAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 5I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered
your letter.
FoolIf a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in
danger of kibes?
KING LEARAy, boy.
FoolAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 10Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne'er go
slip-shod.
KING LEARHa, ha, ha!
FoolShalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly;
for though she's as like this as a crab's like an
Act 1 Sc 5 Ln 15apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
KING LEARWhy, what canst thou tell, my boy?
FoolShe will taste as like this as a crab does to a
crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i'
the middle on's face?
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 20No.
FoolWhy, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose; that
what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
KING LEARI did her wrong —
FoolCanst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 25No.
FoolNor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
KING LEARWhy?
FoolWhy, to put his head in; not to give it away to his
daughters, and leave his horns without a case.
KING LEARAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 30I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my
horses ready?
FoolThy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the
seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
KING LEARBecause they are not eight?
FoolAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 35Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.
KING LEARTo take 't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
FoolIf thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten
for being old before thy time.
KING LEARHow's that?
FoolAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 40Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst
been wise.
KING LEARO, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!
How now! are the horses ready?
GentlemanAct 1 Sc 5 Ln 45Ready, my lord.
KING LEARCome, boy.
FoolShe that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.

ACT II

SCENE I. GLOUCESTER's castle.

EDMUNDSave thee, Curan.
CURANAnd you, sir. I have been with your father, and
given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
his duchess will be here with him this night.
EDMUNDAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 5How comes that?
CURANNay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
ear-kissing arguments?
EDMUNDNot I pray you, what are they?
CURANAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 10Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the
Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
EDMUNDNot a word.
CURANYou may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
EDMUNDThe duke be here to-night? The better! best!
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 15This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 20My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 25And Regan with him: have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.
EDGARI am sure on't, not a word.
EDMUNDI hear my father coming: pardon me:
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 30In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 35Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?
GLOUCESTERNow, Edmund, where's the villain?
EDMUNDHere stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 40Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress, —
GLOUCESTERBut where is he?
EDMUNDLook, sir, I bleed.
GLOUCESTERWhere is the villain, Edmund?
EDMUNDAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 45Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could —
GLOUCESTERPursue him, ho! Go after.
By no means what?
EDMUNDPersuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 50'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 55With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 60Full suddenly he fled.
GLOUCESTERLet him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found — dispatch. The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 65By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
EDMUNDWhen I dissuaded him from his intent,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 70And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 75Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny, —
As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
My very character, — I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 80If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
GLOUCESTERStrong and fasten'd villain
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 85Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have the due note of him; and of my land,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 90Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.
CORNWALLHow now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.
REGANIf it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 95Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?
GLOUCESTERO, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
REGANWhat, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?
GLOUCESTERO, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
REGANAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 100Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?
GLOUCESTERI know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.
EDMUNDYes, madam, he was of that consort.
REGANNo marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 105'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 110I'll not be there.
CORNWALLNor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
EDMUND'Twas my duty, sir.
GLOUCESTERAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 115He did bewray his practise; and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
CORNWALLIs he pursued?
GLOUCESTERAy, my good lord.
CORNWALLIf he be taken, he shall never more
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 120Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 125You we first seize on.
EDMUNDI shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
GLOUCESTERFor him I thank your grace.
CORNWALLYou know not why we came to visit you, —
REGANAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 130Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
Act 2 Sc 1 Ln 135To answer from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
GLOUCESTERAct 2 Sc 1 Ln 140I serve you, madam:
Your graces are right welcome.

ACT II

SCENE II. Before Gloucester's castle.

OSWALDGood dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?
KENTAy.
OSWALDWhere may we set our horses?
KENTI' the mire.
OSWALDAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 5Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.
KENTI love thee not.
OSWALDWhy, then, I care not for thee.
KENTIf I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
care for me.
OSWALDAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 10Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
KENTFellow, I know thee.
OSWALDWhat dost thou know me for?
KENTA knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 15hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 20the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
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.
OSWALDWhy, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 25on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!
KENTWhat 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, yet the moon
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 30shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you:
draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.
OSWALDAway! I have nothing to do with thee.
KENTDraw, you rascal: you come with letters against the
king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 35royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so
carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.
OSWALDHelp, ho! murder! help!
KENTStrike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
slave, strike.
OSWALDAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 40Help, ho! murder! murder!
EDMUNDHow now! What's the matter?
KENTWith you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll
flesh ye; come on, young master.
GLOUCESTERWeapons! arms! What 's the matter here?
CORNWALLAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 45Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
REGANThe messengers from our sister and the king.
CORNWALLWhat is your difference? speak.
OSWALDI am scarce in breath, my lord.
KENTAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 50No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a
tailor made thee.
CORNWALLThou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
KENTAy, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 55not have made him so ill, though he had been but two
hours at the trade.
CORNWALLSpeak yet, how grew your quarrel?
OSWALDThis ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
at suit of his gray beard, —
KENTAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 60Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this
unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of
a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?
CORNWALLPeace, sirrah!
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 65You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
KENTYes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.
CORNWALLWhy art thou angry?
KENTThat such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 70Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 75With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 80I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
CORNWALLWhy, art thou mad, old fellow?
GLOUCESTERHow fell you out? say that.
KENTNo contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
CORNWALLAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 85Why dost thou call him a knave? What's his offence?
KENTHis countenance likes me not.
CORNWALLNo more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
KENTSir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 90Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
CORNWALLThis is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 95Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 100Than twenty silly ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
KENTSir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 105On flickering Phoebus' front, —
CORNWALLWhat mean'st by this?
KENTTo go out of my dialect, which you
discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no
flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 110accent was a plain knave; which for my part
I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
to entreat me to 't.
CORNWALLWhat was the offence you gave him?
OSWALDI never gave him any:
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 115It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 120That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
KENTNone of these rogues and cowards
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 125But Ajax is their fool.
CORNWALLFetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you —
KENTSir, I am too old to learn:
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 130Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.
CORNWALLAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 135Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,
There shall he sit till noon.
REGANTill noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.
KENTWhy, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.
REGANAct 2 Sc 2 Ln 140Sir, being his knave, I will.
CORNWALLThis is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
GLOUCESTERLet me beseech your grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 145Will cheque him for 't: your purposed low correction
Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill,
That he's so slightly valued in his messenger,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 150Should have him thus restrain'd.
CORNWALLI'll answer that.
REGANMy sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 155Come, my good lord, away.
GLOUCESTERI am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee.
KENTPray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd hard;
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 160Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
Give you good morrow!
GLOUCESTERThe duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.
KENTGood king, that must approve the common saw,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 165Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 170But misery: I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
Of my obscured course; and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o'erwatch'd,
Act 2 Sc 2 Ln 175Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!

ACT II

SCENE III. A wood.

EDGARI heard myself proclaim'd;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free; no place,
That guard, and most unusual vigilance,
Act 2 Sc 3 Ln 5Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may 'scape,
I will preserve myself: and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with filth;
Act 2 Sc 3 Ln 10Blanket my loins: elf all my hair in knots;
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Act 2 Sc 3 Ln 15Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Act 2 Sc 3 Ln 20Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.

ACT II

SCENE IV. Before GLOUCESTER's castle. KENT in the stocks.

KING LEAR'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send back my messenger.
GentlemanAs I learn'd,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 5Of this remove.
KENTHail to thee, noble master!
KING LEARHa!
Makest thou this shame thy pastime?
KENTNo, my lord.
FoolAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 10Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied
by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by
the loins, and men by the legs: when a man's
over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden
nether-stocks.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 15What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?
KENTIt is both he and she;
Your son and daughter.
KING LEARNo.
KENTAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 20Yes.
KING LEARNo, I say.
KENTI say, yea.
KING LEARNo, no, they would not.
KENTYes, they have.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 25By Jupiter, I swear, no.
KENTBy Juno, I swear, ay.
KING LEARThey durst not do 't;
They could not, would not do 't; 'tis worse than murder,
To do upon respect such violent outrage:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 30Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.
KENTMy lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 35Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 40Which presently they read: on whose contents,
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse;
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 45Whose welcome, I perceived, had poison'd mine, —
Being the very fellow that of late
Display'd so saucily against your highness, —
Having more man than wit about me, drew:
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 50Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.
FoolWinter's not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind;
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 55But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to the poor.
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 60for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.
KING LEARO, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?
KENTWith the earl, sir, here within.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 65Follow me not;
Stay here.
GentlemanMade you no more offence but what you speak of?
KENTNone.
How chance the king comes with so small a train?
FoolAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 70And thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that
question, thou hadst well deserved it.
KENTWhy, fool?
FoolWe'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee
there's no labouring i' the winter. All that follow
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 75their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and
there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him
that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel
runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with
following it: but the great one that goes up the
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 80hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man
gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 85Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm,
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away;
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 90The fool no knave, perdy.
KENTWhere learned you this, fool?
FoolNot i' the stocks, fool.
KING LEARDeny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches;
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 95The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.
GLOUCESTERMy dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke;
How unremoveable and fix'd he is
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 100In his own course.
KING LEARVengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
GLOUCESTERWell, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 105Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?
GLOUCESTERAy, my good lord.
KING LEARThe king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood!
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 110Fiery? the fiery duke? Tell the hot duke that —
No, but not yet: may be he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 115To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;
And am fall'n out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man. Death on my state! wherefore
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 120That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practise only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and 's wife I'ld speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber-door I'll beat the drum
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 125Till it cry sleep to death.
GLOUCESTERI would have all well betwixt you.
KING LEARO me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!
FoolCry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels
when she put 'em i' the paste alive; she knapped 'em
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 130o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cried 'Down,
wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that, in pure
kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.
KING LEARGood morrow to you both.
CORNWALLHail to your grace!
REGANAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 135I am glad to see your highness.
KING LEARRegan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress.
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 140O, are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here:
I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 145With how depraved a quality — O Regan!
REGANI pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope.
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.
KING LEARSay, how is that?
REGANAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 150I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 155My curses on her!
REGANO, sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 160Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wrong'd her, sir.
KING LEARAsk her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 165'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'
REGANGood sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks:
Return you to my sister.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 170 Never, Regan:
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 175On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!
CORNWALLFie, sir, fie!
KING LEARYou nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 180You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blast her pride!
REGANO the blest gods! so will you wish on me,
When the rash mood is on.
KING LEARNo, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 185Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 190And in conclusion to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 195Wherein I thee endow'd.
REGANGood sir, to the purpose.
KING LEARWho put my man i' the stocks?
CORNWALLWhat trumpet's that?
REGANI know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 200That she would soon be here.
Is your lady come?
KING LEARThis is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
Out, varlet, from my sight!
CORNWALLAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 205What means your grace?
KING LEARWho stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on't. Who comes here? O heavens,
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 210Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
GONERILWhy not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion finds
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 215And dotage terms so.
KING LEARO sides, you are too tough;
Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the stocks?
CORNWALLI set him there, sir: but his own disorders
Deserved much less advancement.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 220You! did you?
REGANI pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 225I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
KING LEARReturn to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o' the air;
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 230To be a comrade with the wolf and owl, —
Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like; pension beg
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 235To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom.
GONERILAt your choice, sir.
KING LEARI prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 240I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
We'll no more meet, no more see one another:
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 245A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 250Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.
REGANNot altogether so:
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 255For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so —
But she knows what she does.
KING LEARIs this well spoken?
REGANAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 260I dare avouch it, sir: what, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,
Should many people, under two commands,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 265Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.
GONERILWhy might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants or from mine?
REGANWhy not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you,
We could control them. If you will come to me, —
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 270For now I spy a danger, — I entreat you
To bring but five and twenty: to no more
Will I give place or notice.
KING LEARI gave you all —
REGANAnd in good time you gave it.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 275Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be follow'd
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?
REGANAnd speak't again, my lord; no more with me.
KING LEARAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 280Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,
When others are more wicked: not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise.
I'll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 285And thou art twice her love.
GONERILHear me, my lord;
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?
REGANAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 290What need one?
KING LEARO, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life's as cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 295If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need, —
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 300As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 305Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall — I will do such things, —
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 310No, I'll not weep:
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!
CORNWALLLet us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.
REGANAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 315This house is little: the old man and his people
Cannot be well bestow'd.
GONERIL'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.
REGANFor his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 320But not one follower.
GONERILSo am I purposed.
Where is my lord of Gloucester?
CORNWALLFollow'd the old man forth: he is return'd.
GLOUCESTERThe king is in high rage.
CORNWALLAct 2 Sc 4 Ln 325Whither is he going?
GLOUCESTERHe calls to horse; but will I know not whither.
CORNWALL'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
GONERILMy lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
GLOUCESTERAlack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 330Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.
REGANO, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors:
Act 2 Sc 4 Ln 335He is attended with a desperate train;
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.
CORNWALLShut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night:
My Regan counsels well; come out o' the storm.

ACT III

SCENE I. A heath.

KENTWho's there, besides foul weather?
GentlemanOne minded like the weather, most unquietly.
KENTI know you. Where's the king?
GentlemanContending with the fretful element:
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 5Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled water 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 10Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 15And bids what will take all.
KENTBut who is with him?
GentlemanNone but the fool; who labours to out-jest
His heart-struck injuries.
KENTSir, I do know you;
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 20And dare, upon the warrant of my note,
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
Although as yet the face of it be cover'd
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have — as who have not, that their great stars
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 25Throned and set high? — servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 30Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof perchance these are but furnishings;
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 35In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 40Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And, from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to you.
GentlemanAct 3 Sc 1 Ln 45I will talk further with you.
KENTNo, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia, —
Act 3 Sc 1 Ln 50As fear not but you shall, — show her this ring;
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the king.
GentlemanGive me your hand: have you no more to say?
KENTAct 3 Sc 1 Ln 55Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet;
That, when we have found the king, — in which your pain
That way, I'll this, — he that first lights on him
Holla the other.

ACT III

SCENE II. Another part of the heath. Storm still.

KING LEARBlow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 5Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!
FoolAct 3 Sc 2 Ln 10O 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 man nor fool.
KING LEARRumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 15Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 20A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
FoolAct 3 Sc 2 Ln 25He that has a house to put's head in has a good
head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse;
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 30So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 35For there was never yet fair woman but she made
mouths in a glass.
KING LEARNo, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.
KENTWho's there?
FoolAct 3 Sc 2 Ln 40Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece; that's a wise
man and a fool.
KENTAlas, sir, are you here? things that love night
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 45And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
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 carry
The affliction nor the fear.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 2 Ln 50Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother 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 hand;
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 55Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practised on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 60These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.
KENTAlack, bare-headed!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 65Repose you there; while I to this hard house —
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in — return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 2 Ln 70My wits begin to turn.
Come on, my boy: how dost, my boy? art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come,
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 75your hovel.
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.
Fool(STAGEDIR "Singing")
He that has and a little tiny wit —
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 80With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, —
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
For the rain it raineth every day.
KING LEARTrue, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.
FoolThis is a brave night to cool a courtezan.
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 85I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 90When every case in law is right;
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues;
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 95And bawds and whores do churches build;
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion:
Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
That going shall be used with feet.
Act 3 Sc 2 Ln 100This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.

ACT III

SCENE III. Gloucester's castle.

GLOUCESTERAlack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural
dealing. When I desire their leave that I might
pity him, they took from me the use of mine own
house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual
Act 3 Sc 3 Ln 5displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for
him, nor any way sustain him.
EDMUNDMost savage and unnatural!
GLOUCESTERGo to; say you nothing. There's a division betwixt
the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have
Act 3 Sc 3 Ln 10received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to be
spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet:
these injuries the king now bears will be revenged
home; there's part of a power already footed: we
must incline to the king. I will seek him, and
Act 3 Sc 3 Ln 15privily relieve him: go you and maintain talk with
the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived:
if he ask for me. I am ill, and gone to bed.
Though I die for it, as no less is threatened me,
the king my old master must be relieved. There is
Act 3 Sc 3 Ln 20some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.
EDMUNDThis courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
Instantly know; and of that letter too:
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses; no less than all:
Act 3 Sc 3 Ln 25The younger rises when the old doth fall.

ACT III

SCENE IV. The heath. Before a hovel.

KENTHere is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.
KING LEARLet me alone.
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 5Good my lord, enter here.
KING LEARWilt break my heart?
KENTI had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
KING LEARThou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 10But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the
mind's free,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 15The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 20No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, —
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 25No more of that.
KENTGood my lord, enter here.
KING LEARPrithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 30In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty, —
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 35Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 40And show the heavens more just.
EDGAR Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!
FoolCome not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit
Help me, help me!
KENTGive me thy hand. Who's there?
FoolAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 45A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.
KENTWhat art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
Come forth.
EDGARAway! the foul fiend follows me!
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 50Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
KING LEARHast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?
EDGARWho gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 55through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and quagmire;
that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 60traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold, — O, do
de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
have him now, — and there, — and there again, and there.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 65What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
FoolNay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
KING LEARNow, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 70He hath no daughters, sir.
KING LEARDeath, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 75Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.
EDGARPillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!
FoolThis cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
EDGARAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 80Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
array. Tom's a-cold.
KING LEARWhat hast thou been?
EDGARAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 85A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 90slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 95Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 100Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.
KING LEARWhy, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 105owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 110come unbutton here.
FoolPrithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were
like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the
rest on's body cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.
EDGARAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 115This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins
at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives
the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the
hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the
poor creature of earth.
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 120S. Withold footed thrice the old;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 125How fares your grace?
KING LEARWhat's he?
KENTWho's there? What is't you seek?
GLOUCESTERWhat are you there? Your names?
EDGARPoor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 130the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water; that in
the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages,
eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat and
the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the
standing pool; who is whipped from tithing to
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 135tithing, and stock- punished, and imprisoned; who
hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his
body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 140Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!
GLOUCESTERWhat, hath your grace no better company?
EDGARThe prince of darkness is a gentleman:
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
GLOUCESTEROur flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 145That it doth hate what gets it.
EDGARPoor Tom's a-cold.
GLOUCESTERGo in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters' hard commands:
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 150And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out,
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
KING LEARFirst let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 155Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.
KING LEARI'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?
EDGARHow to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.
KING LEARLet me ask you one word in private.
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 160Importune him once more to go, my lord;
His wits begin to unsettle.
GLOUCESTERCanst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus, poor banish'd man!
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 165Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life,
But lately, very late: I loved him, friend;
No father his son dearer: truth to tell thee,
Act 3 Sc 4 Ln 170The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night's this!
I do beseech your grace, —
KING LEARO, cry your mercy, sir.
Noble philosopher, your company.
EDGARTom's a-cold.
GLOUCESTERAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 175In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee warm.
KING LEARCome let's in all.
KENTThis way, my lord.
KING LEARWith him;
I will keep still with my philosopher.
KENTAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 180Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
GLOUCESTERTake him you on.
KENTSirrah, come on; go along with us.
KING LEARCome, good Athenian.
GLOUCESTERNo words, no words: hush.
EDGARAct 3 Sc 4 Ln 185Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still, — Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.

ACT III

SCENE V. Gloucester's castle.

CORNWALLI will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
EDMUNDHow, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus
gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think
of.
CORNWALLAct 3 Sc 5 Ln 5I now perceive, it was not altogether your
brother's evil disposition made him seek his death;
but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reprovable
badness in himself.
EDMUNDHow malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to
Act 3 Sc 5 Ln 10be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which
approves him an intelligent party to the advantages
of France: O heavens! that this treason were not,
or not I the detector!
CORNWALLo with me to the duchess.
EDMUNDAct 3 Sc 5 Ln 15If the matter of this paper be certain, you have
mighty business in hand.
CORNWALLTrue or false, it hath made thee earl of
Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he
may be ready for our apprehension.
EDMUNDAct 3 Sc 5 Ln 20 If I find him comforting the king, it will
stuff his suspicion more fully. — I will persevere in
my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore
between that and my blood.
CORNWALLI will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a
Act 3 Sc 5 Ln 25dearer father in my love.

ACT III

SCENE VI. A chamber in a farmhouse adjoining the castle.

GLOUCESTERHere is better than the open air; take it
thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can: I will not be long from you.
KENTAll the power of his wits have given way to his
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 5impatience: the gods reward your kindness!
EDGARFrateretto calls me; and tells me
Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness.
Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
FoolPrithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 10gentleman or a yeoman?
KING LEARA king, a king!
FoolNo, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son;
for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman
before him.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 15To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon 'em, —
EDGARThe foul fiend bites my back.
FoolHe's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 20It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer;
Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she foxes!
EDGARLook, where he stands and glares!
Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 25Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me, —
FoolHer boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.
EDGARThe foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 30nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for two
white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no
food for thee.
KENTHow do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed:
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 35I'll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence.
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;
And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
Bench by his side:
you are o' the commission,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 40Sit you too.
EDGARLet us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 45Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Pur! the cat is gray.
KING LEARArraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my
oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the
poor king her father.
FoolAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 50Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
KING LEARShe cannot deny it.
FoolCry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
KING LEARAnd here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 55Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?
EDGARBless thy five wits!
KENTO pity! Sir, where is the patience now,
That thou so oft have boasted to retain?
EDGARAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 60 My tears begin to take his part so much,
They'll mar my counterfeiting.
KING LEARThe little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and
Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.
EDGARTom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 65Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 70Tom will make them weep and wail:
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and
fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
KING LEARAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 75Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds
about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that
makes these hard hearts?
You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred; only I
do not like the fashion of your garments: you will
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 80say they are Persian attire: but let them be changed.
KENTNow, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
KING LEARMake no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains:
so, so, so. We'll go to supper i' he morning. So, so, so.
FoolAnd I'll go to bed at noon.
GLOUCESTERAct 3 Sc 6 Ln 85Come hither, friend: where is the king my master?
KENTHere, sir; but trouble him not, his wits are gone.
GLOUCESTERGood friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms;
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him:
There is a litter ready; lay him in 't,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 90And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master:
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss: take up, take up;
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 95And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.
KENTOppressed nature sleeps:
This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 100Stand in hard cure.
Come, help to bear thy master;
Thou must not stay behind.
GLOUCESTERCome, come, away.
EDGARWhen we our betters see bearing our woes,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 105We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind:
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'er skip,
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 110How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the king bow,
He childed as I father'd! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
Act 3 Sc 6 Ln 115In thy just proof, repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the king!
Lurk, lurk.

ACT III

SCENE VII. Gloucester's castle.

CORNWALLPost speedily to my lord your husband; show him
this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek
out the villain Gloucester.
REGANHang him instantly.
GONERILAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 5Pluck out his eyes.
CORNWALLLeave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
sister company: the revenges we are bound to take
upon your traitorous father are not fit for your
beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 10a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my
lord of Gloucester.
How now! where's the king?
OSWALDAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 15My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence:
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lords dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 20To have well-armed friends.
CORNWALLGet horses for your mistress.
GONERILFarewell, sweet lord, and sister.
CORNWALLEdmund, farewell.
Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 25Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
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 traitor?
REGANAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 30Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.
CORNWALLBind fast his corky arms.
GLOUCESTERWhat mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.
CORNWALLBind him, I say.
REGANAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 35Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
GLOUCESTERUnmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.
CORNWALLTo this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find —
GLOUCESTERBy the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.
REGANAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 40So white, and such a traitor!
GLOUCESTERNaughty lady,
These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 45You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
CORNWALLCome, sir, what letters had you late from France?
REGANBe simple answerer, for we know the truth.
CORNWALLAnd what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?
REGANAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 50To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king? Speak.
GLOUCESTERI have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.
CORNWALLCunning.
REGANAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 55And false.
CORNWALLWhere hast thou sent the king?
GLOUCESTERTo Dover.
REGANWherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril —
CORNWALLWherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.
GLOUCESTERAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 60I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.
REGANWherefore to Dover, sir?
GLOUCESTERBecause I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 65The 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 howl'd that stern time,
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 70Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
All cruels else subscribed: but I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.
CORNWALLSee't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.
GLOUCESTERAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 75He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!
REGANOne side will mock another; the other too.
CORNWALLIf you see vengeance, —
First ServantHold your hand, my lord:
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 80I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
REGANHow now, you dog!
First ServantIf you did wear a beard upon your chin,
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 85I'd shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?
CORNWALLMy villain!
First ServantNay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
REGANGive me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!
First ServantO, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 90To see some mischief on him. O!
CORNWALLLest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?
GLOUCESTERAll dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 95To quit this horrid act.
REGANOut, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.
GLOUCESTERAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 100O my follies! then Edgar was abused.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
REGANGo thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
How is't, my lord? how look you?
CORNWALLAct 3 Sc 7 Ln 105I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.
Second ServantI'll never care what wickedness I do,
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 110If this man come to good.
Third ServantIf she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
Second ServantLet's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
Act 3 Sc 7 Ln 115To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
Allows itself to any thing.
Third ServantGo thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

ACT IV

SCENE I. The heath.

EDGARYet 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:
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 5The 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?
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 10My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Lie would not yield to age.
Old ManO, my good lord, I have been your tenant, and
your father's tenant, these fourscore years.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 15Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.
Old ManAlack, sir, you cannot see your way.
GLOUCESTERI have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 20I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen,
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 25I'ld say I had eyes again!
Old ManHow now! Who's there?
EDGAR O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at
the worst'?
I am worse than e'er I was.
Old ManAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 30'Tis poor mad Tom.
EDGAR And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'
Old ManFellow, where goest?
GLOUCESTERIs it a beggar-man?
Old ManAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 35Madman and beggar too.
GLOUCESTERHe has some reason, else he could not beg.
I' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;
Which made me think a man a worm: my son
Came then into my mind; and yet my mind
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 40Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard
more since.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport.
EDGAR How should this be?
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 45Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Angering itself and others. — Bless thee, master!
GLOUCESTERIs that the naked fellow?
Old ManAy, my lord.
GLOUCESTERThen, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my sake,
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 50Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Who I'll entreat to lead me.
Old ManAlack, sir, he is mad.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 55'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
Above the rest, be gone.
Old ManI'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
Come on't what will.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 60Sirrah, naked fellow, —
EDGARPoor Tom's a-cold.
I cannot daub it further.
GLOUCESTERCome hither, fellow.
EDGAR And yet I must. — Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 1 Ln 65Know'st thou the way to Dover?
EDGARBoth stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor
Tom hath been scared out of his good wits: bless
thee, good man's son, from the foul fiend! five
fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 70Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of
mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids
and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!
GLOUCESTERHere, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 75Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 80So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
EDGARAy, master.
GLOUCESTERThere is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 85Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading need.
EDGARGive me thy arm:
Act 4 Sc 1 Ln 90Poor Tom shall lead thee.

ACT IV

SCENE II. Before ALBANY's palace.

GONERILWelcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
Now, where's your master'?
OSWALDMadam, within; but never man so changed.
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 5I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:
His answer was 'The worse:' of Gloucester's treachery,
And of the loyal service of his son,
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 10And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.
GONERIL Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 15That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 20Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech;
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 25Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
Conceive, and fare thee well.
EDMUNDYours in the ranks of death.
GONERILMy most dear Gloucester!
O, the difference of man and man!
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 30To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.
OSWALDMadam, here comes my lord.
GONERILI have been worth the whistle.
ALBANYO Goneril!
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 35You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
That nature, which contemns its origin,
Cannot be border'd certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 40From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.
GONERILNo more; the text is foolish.
ALBANYWisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 45Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 50A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 55Like monsters of the deep.
GONERILMilk-liver'd man!
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 60Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 65'Alack, why does he so?'
ALBANYSee thyself, devil!
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.
GONERILO vain fool!
ALBANYAct 4 Sc 2 Ln 70Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame,
Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 75A woman's shape doth shield thee.
GONERILMarry, your manhood now —
ALBANYWhat news?
MessengerO, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead:
Slain by his servant, going to put out
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 80The other eye of Gloucester.
ALBANYGloucester's eye!
MessengerA servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 85Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke, which since
Hath pluck'd him after.
ALBANYThis shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 90So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other eye?
MessengerBoth, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
'Tis from your sister.
GONERILAct 4 Sc 2 Ln 95 One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: another way,
The news is not so tart. — I'll read, and answer.
ALBANYAct 4 Sc 2 Ln 100Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
MessengerCome with my lady hither.
ALBANYHe is not here.
MessengerNo, my good lord; I met him back again.
ALBANYKnows he the wickedness?
MessengerAct 4 Sc 2 Ln 105Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.
ALBANYGloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
Act 4 Sc 2 Ln 110And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
Tell me what more thou know'st.

ACT IV

SCENE III. The French camp near Dover.

KENTWhy the King of France is so suddenly gone back
know you the reason?
GentlemanSomething he left imperfect in the
state, which since his coming forth is thought
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 5of; which imports to the kingdom so much
fear and danger, that his personal return was
most required and necessary.
KENTWho hath he left behind him general?
GentlemanThe Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.
KENTAct 4 Sc 3 Ln 10Did your letters pierce the queen to any
demonstration of grief?
GentlemanAy, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a queen
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 15Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.
KENTO, then it moved her.
GentlemanNot to a rage: patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 20Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like a better way: those happy smilets,
That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 25Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved,
If all could so become it.
KENTMade she no verbal question?
Gentleman'Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of 'father'
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart:
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 30Cried 'Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies! sisters!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i' the night?
Let pity not be believed!' There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 35To deal with grief alone.
KENTIt is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?
GentlemanAct 4 Sc 3 Ln 40No.
KENTWas this before the king return'd?
GentlemanNo, since.
KENTWell, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the town;
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 45What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.
GentlemanWhy, good sir?
KENTA sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 50To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting
His mind so venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.
GentlemanAlack, poor gentleman!
KENTAct 4 Sc 3 Ln 55Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?
Gentleman'Tis so, they are afoot.
KENTWell, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear,
And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
Act 4 Sc 3 Ln 60When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
Along with me.

ACT IV

SCENE IV. The same. A tent.

CORDELIAAlack, 'tis he: why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex'd sea; singing aloud;
Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Act 4 Sc 4 Ln 5Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. A century send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye.
What can man's wisdom
Act 4 Sc 4 Ln 10In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He that helps him take all my outward worth.
DoctorThere is means, madam:
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Act 4 Sc 4 Ln 15Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.
CORDELIAAll blest secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
Act 4 Sc 4 Ln 20In the good man's distress! Seek, seek for him;
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.
MessengerNews, madam;
The British powers are marching hitherward.
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 4 Ln 25'Tis known before; our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about;
Therefore great France
My mourning and important tears hath pitied.
Act 4 Sc 4 Ln 30No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our aged father's right:
Soon may I hear and see him!

ACT IV

SCENE V. Gloucester's castle.

REGANBut are my brother's powers set forth?
OSWALDAy, madam.
REGANHimself in person there?
OSWALDMadam, with much ado:
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 5Your sister is the better soldier.
REGANLord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
OSWALDNo, madam.
REGANWhat might import my sister's letter to him?
OSWALDI know not, lady.
REGANAct 4 Sc 5 Ln 10'Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out,
To let him live: where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 15His nighted life: moreover, to descry
The strength o' the enemy.
OSWALDI must needs after him, madam, with my letter.
REGANOur troops set forth to-morrow: stay with us;
The ways are dangerous.
OSWALDAct 4 Sc 5 Ln 20I may not, madam:
My lady charged my duty in this business.
REGANWhy should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something — I know not what: I'll love thee much,
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 25Let me unseal the letter.
OSWALDMadam, I had rather —
REGANI know your lady does not love her husband;
I am sure of that: and at her late being here
She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 30To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.
OSWALDI, madam?
REGANI speak in understanding; you are; I know't:
Therefore I do advise you, take this note:
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd;
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 35And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady's: you may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you, give him this;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
Act 4 Sc 5 Ln 40So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
OSWALDWould I could meet him, madam! I should show
What party I do follow.
REGANAct 4 Sc 5 Ln 45Fare thee well.

ACT IV

SCENE VI. Fields near Dover.

GLOUCESTERWhen shall we come to the top of that same hill?
EDGARYou do climb up it now: look, how we labour.
GLOUCESTERMethinks the ground is even.
EDGARHorrible steep.
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 5Hark, do you hear the sea?
GLOUCESTERNo, truly.
EDGARWhy, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.
GLOUCESTERSo may it be, indeed:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 10Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.
EDGARYou're much deceived: in nothing am I changed
But in my garments.
GLOUCESTERMethinks you're better spoken.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 15Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 20Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 25That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
GLOUCESTERSet me where you stand.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 30Give me your hand: you are now within a foot
Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.
GLOUCESTERLet go my hand.
Here, friend, 's another purse; in it a jewel
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 35Well worth a poor man's taking: fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou farther off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
EDGARNow fare you well, good sir.
GLOUCESTERWith all my heart.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 40Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.
GLOUCESTER O you mighty gods!
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 45If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 50Gone, sir: farewell.
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft: had he been where he thought,
By this, had thought been past. Alive or dead?
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 55Ho, you sir! friend! Hear you, sir! speak!
Thus might he pass indeed: yet he revives.
What are you, sir?
GLOUCESTERAway, and let me die.
EDGARHadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 60So many fathom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg: but thou dost breathe;
Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 65Thy life's a miracle. Speak yet again.
GLOUCESTERBut have I fall'n, or no?
EDGARFrom the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height; the shrill-gorged lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard: do but look up.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 70Alack, I have no eyes.
Is wretchedness deprived that benefit,
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage,
And frustrate his proud will.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 75Give me your arm:
Up: so. How is 't? Feel you your legs? You stand.
GLOUCESTERToo well, too well.
EDGARThis is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o' the cliff, what thing was that
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 80Which parted from you?
GLOUCESTERA poor unfortunate beggar.
EDGARAs I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns whelk'd and waved like the enridged sea:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 85It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibilities, have preserved thee.
GLOUCESTERI do remember now: henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 90'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man; often 'twould say
'The fiend, the fiend:' he led me to that place.
EDGARBear free and patient thoughts. But who comes here?
The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 95His master thus.
KING LEARNo, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the
king himself.
EDGARO thou side-piercing sight!
KING LEARNature's above art in that respect. There's your
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 100press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a
crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard. Look,
look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece of toasted
cheese will do 't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove
it on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O, well
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 105flown, bird! i' the clout, i' the clout: hewgh!
Give the word.
EDGARSweet marjoram.
KING LEARPass.
GLOUCESTERI know that voice.
KING LEARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 110Ha! Goneril, with a white beard! They flattered
me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my
beard ere the black ones were there. To say 'ay'
and 'no' to every thing that I said! — 'Ay' and 'no'
too was no good divinity. When the rain came to
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 115wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when
the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I
found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they are
not men o' their words: they told me I was every
thing; 'tis a lie, I am not ague-proof.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 120The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is 't not the king?
KING LEARAy, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery?
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 125Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 130Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To 't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 135To hear of pleasure's name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 140But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends';
There's hell, there's darkness, there's the
sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 145fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination:
there's money for thee.
GLOUCESTERO, let me kiss that hand!
KING LEARLet me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 150O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to nought. Dost thou know me?
KING LEARI remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny
at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll not
love. Read thou this challenge; mark but the
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 155penning of it.
GLOUCESTERWere all the letters suns, I could not see one.
EDGARI would not take this from report; it is,
And my heart breaks at it.
KING LEARRead.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 160What, with the case of eyes?
KING LEARO, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your
head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in
a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how
this world goes.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 165I see it feelingly.
KING LEARWhat, art mad? A man may see how this world goes
with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond
justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in
thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 170is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen
a farmer's dog bark at a beggar?
GLOUCESTERAy, sir.
KING LEARAnd the creature run from the cur? There thou
mightst behold the great image of authority: a
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 175dog's obeyed 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 cozener.
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 180Through 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 does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 185Take 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.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 190O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!
KING LEARIf thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 195We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee: mark.
GLOUCESTERAlack, alack the day!
KING LEARWhen we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools: this a good block;
It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 200A troop of horse with felt: I'll put 't in proof;
And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
GentlemanO, here he is: lay hand upon him. Sir,
Your most dear daughter —
KING LEARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 205No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.
GentlemanYou shall have any thing.
KING LEARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 210No seconds? all myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and laying autumn's dust.
GentlemanGood sir, —
KING LEARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 215I will die bravely, like a bridegroom. What!
I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,
My masters, know you that.
GentlemanYou are a royal one, and we obey you.
KING LEARThen there's life in't. Nay, if you get it, you
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 220shall get it with running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.
GentlemanA 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.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 225Hail, gentle sir.
GentlemanSir, speed you: what's your will?
EDGARDo you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?
GentlemanMost sure and vulgar: every one hears that,
Which can distinguish sound.
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 230But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?
GentlemanNear and on speedy foot; the main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.
EDGARI thank you, sir: that's all.
GentlemanAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 235Though that the queen on special cause is here,
Her army is moved on.
EDGARI thank you, sir.
GLOUCESTERYou ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me:
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 240To die before you please!
EDGARWell pray you, father.
GLOUCESTERNow, good sir, what are you?
EDGARA most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows;
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 245Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.
GLOUCESTERHearty thanks:
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!
OSWALDAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 250A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember: the sword is out
That must destroy thee.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 255Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to't.
OSWALDWherefore, bold peasant,
Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 260Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
EDGARCh'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.
OSWALDLet go, slave, or thou diest!
EDGARGood gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk
pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered out of my life,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 265'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight.
Nay, come not near th' old man; keep out, che vor
ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be
the harder: ch'ill be plain with you.
OSWALDOut, dunghill!
EDGARAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 270Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: come; no matter vor
your foins.
OSWALDSlave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 275To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!
EDGARI know thee well: a serviceable villain;
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.
GLOUCESTERAct 4 Sc 6 Ln 280What, is he dead?
EDGARSit you down, father; rest you
Let's see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry
He had no other death's-man. Let us see:
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 285Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful.
'Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have
many opportunities to cut him off: if your will
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 290want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered.
There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror:
then am I the prisoner, and his bed my goal; from
the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply
the place for your labour.
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 295'Your — wife, so I would say —
'Affectionate servant,
'GONERIL.'
O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 300And the exchange my brother! Here, in the sands,
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death practised duke: for him 'tis well
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 305That of thy death and business I can tell.
GLOUCESTERThe king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
Act 4 Sc 6 Ln 310And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.
EDGARGive me your hand:
Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum:
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.

ACT IV

SCENE VII. A tent in the French camp. LEAR on a bed asleep, soft music playing; Gentleman, and others attending.

CORDELIAO thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
And every measure fail me.
KENTTo be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 5All my reports go with the modest truth;
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
CORDELIABe better suited:
These weeds are memories of those worser hours:
I prithee, put them off.
KENTAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 10Pardon me, dear madam;
Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
My boon I make it, that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.
CORDELIAThen be't so, my good lord.
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 15How does the king?
DoctorMadam, sleeps still.
CORDELIAO you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 20Of this child-changed father!
DoctorSo please your majesty
That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.
CORDELIABe govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?
GentlemanAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 25Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep
We put fresh garments on him.
DoctorBe by, good madam, when we do awake him;
I doubt not of his temperance.
CORDELIAVery well.
DoctorAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 30Please you, draw near. Louder the music there!
CORDELIAO my dear father! Restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!
KENTAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 35Kind and dear princess!
CORDELIAHad you not been their father, these white flakes
Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
To be opposed against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 40In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick, cross lightning? to watch — poor perdu! —
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 45To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him.
DoctorMadam, do you; 'tis fittest.
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 50How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?
KING LEARYou do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like moulten lead.
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 55Sir, do you know me?
KING LEARYou are a spirit, I know: when did you die?
CORDELIAStill, still, far wide!
DoctorHe's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.
KING LEARWhere have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 60I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 65O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:
No, sir, you must not kneel.
KING LEARPray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 70Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful for I am mainly ignorant
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 75What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 80And so I am, I am.
KING LEARBe your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 85You have some cause, they have not.
CORDELIANo cause, no cause.
KING LEARAm I in France?
KENTIn your own kingdom, sir.
KING LEARDo not abuse me.
DoctorAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 90Be comforted, good madam: the great rage,
You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further settling.
CORDELIAAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 95Will't please your highness walk?
KING LEARYou must bear with me:
Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.
GentlemanHolds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?
KENTMost certain, sir.
GentlemanAct 4 Sc 7 Ln 100Who is conductor of his people?
KENTAs 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.
GentlemanThey say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl
of Kent in Germany.
KENTReport is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the
Act 4 Sc 7 Ln 105powers of the kingdom approach apace.
GentlemanThe arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you
well, sir.
KENTMy point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.

ACT V

SCENE I. The British camp, near Dover.

REGANOur sister's man is certainly miscarried.
EDMUND'Tis to be doubted, madam.
REGANNow, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you:
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 5Tell me — but truly — but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister?
EDMUNDIn honour'd love.
REGANBut have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 10That thought abuses you.
REGANI am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
EDMUNDNo, by mine honour, madam.
REGANI never shall endure her: dear my lord,
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 15Be not familiar with her.
EDMUNDFear me not:
She and the duke her husband!
GONERIL I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 20Our very loving sister, well be-met.
Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigor of our state
Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 25It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
EDMUNDSir, you speak nobly.
REGANWhy is this reason'd?
GONERILAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 30Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.
ALBANYLet's then determine
With the ancient of war on our proceedings.
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 35I shall attend you presently at your tent.
REGANSister, you'll go with us?
GONERILNo.
REGAN'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.
GONERIL O, ho, I know the riddle. — I will go.
EDGARAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 40If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.
ALBANYI'll overtake you. Speak.
EDGARBefore you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 45For him that brought it: wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 50Stay till I have read the letter.
EDGARI was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.
ALBANYWhy, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 55The enemy's in view; draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
Is now urged on you.
ALBANYWe will greet the time.
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 1 Ln 60To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive: to take the widow
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 65Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use
His countenance for the battle; which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him devise
Act 5 Sc 1 Ln 70His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

ACT V

SCENE II. A field between the two camps.

EDGARHere, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.
GLOUCESTERAct 5 Sc 2 Ln 5Grace go with you, sir!
EDGARAway, old man; give me thy hand; away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en:
Give me thy hand; come on.
GLOUCESTERNo farther, sir; a man may rot even here.
EDGARAct 5 Sc 2 Ln 10What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all: come on.
GLOUCESTERAnd that's true too.

ACT V

SCENE III. The British camp near Dover.

EDMUNDSome officers take them away: good guard,
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
CORDELIAWe are not the first
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 5Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?
KING LEARNo, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 10We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 15Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 20That ebb and flow by the moon.
EDMUNDTake them away.
KING LEARUpon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?
He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 25And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
The good-years shall devour them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see 'em starve
first. Come.
EDMUNDCome hither, captain; hark.
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 30Take thou this note;
go follow them to prison:
One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 35Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword: thy great employment
Will not bear question; either say thou'lt do 't,
Or thrive by other means.
CaptainI'll do 't, my lord.
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 40About it; and write happy when thou hast done.
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so
As I have set it down.
CaptainI cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
If it be man's work, I'll do 't.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 45Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,
And fortune led you well: you have the captives
That were the opposites of this day's strife:
We do require them of you, so to use them
As we shall find their merits and our safety
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 50May equally determine.
EDMUNDSir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 55To pluck the common bosom on his side,
An turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the queen;
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 60Where you shall hold your session. At this time
We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are cursed
By those that feel their sharpness:
The question of Cordelia and her father
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 65Requires a fitter place.
ALBANYSir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.
REGANThat's as we list to grace him.
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 70Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.
GONERILAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 75Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your addition.
REGANIn my rights,
By me invested, he compeers the best.
GONERILAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 80That were the most, if he should husband you.
REGANJesters do oft prove prophets.
GONERILHolla, holla!
That eye that told you so look'd but a-squint.
REGANLady, I am not well; else I should answer
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 85From a full-flowing stomach. General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.
GONERILAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 90Mean you to enjoy him?
ALBANYThe let-alone lies not in your good will.
EDMUNDNor in thine, lord.
ALBANYHalf-blooded fellow, yes.
REGAN Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 95Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
This gilded serpent
For your claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 100'Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will marry, make your loves to me,
My lady is bespoke.
GONERILAn interlude!
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 105Thou art arm'd, Gloucester: let the trumpet sound:
If none appear to prove upon thy head
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge;
I'll prove it on thy heart,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 110Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
REGANSick, O, sick!
GONERIL If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.
EDMUNDThere's my exchange:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 115what in the world he is
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies:
Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach,
On him, on you, who not? I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 120A herald, ho!
EDMUNDA herald, ho, a herald!
ALBANYTrust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.
REGANAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 125My sickness grows upon me.
ALBANYShe is not well; convey her to my tent.
Come hither, herald, — Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
CaptainSound, trumpet!
HeraldAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 130 'If any man of quality or degree within
the lists of the army will maintain upon Edmund,
supposed Earl of Gloucester, that he is a manifold
traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the
trumpet: he is bold in his defence.'
EDMUNDAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 135Sound!
HeraldAgain!
HeraldAgain!
ALBANYAsk him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' the trumpet.
HeraldAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 140What are you?
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?
EDGARKnow, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 145Yet am I noble as the adversary
I come to cope.
ALBANYWhich is that adversary?
EDGARWhat's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?
EDMUNDHimself: what say'st thou to him?
EDGARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 150Draw thy sword,
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 155Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a traitor;
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high-illustrious prince;
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 160And, from the extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou 'No,'
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 165Thou liest.
EDMUNDIn wisdom I should ask thy name;
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 170By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which, for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise,
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 175Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak!
ALBANYSave him, save him!
GONERILThis is practise, Gloucester:
By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 180But cozen'd and beguiled.
ALBANYShut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it: Hold, sir:
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:
No tearing, lady: I perceive you know it.
GONERILAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 185Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not thine:
Who can arraign me for't.
ALBANYMost monstrous! oh!
Know'st thou this paper?
GONERILAsk me not what I know.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 190Go after her: she's desperate; govern her.
EDMUNDWhat you have charged me with, that have I done;
And more, much more; the time will bring it out:
'Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou'rt noble,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 195I do forgive thee.
EDGARLet's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 200The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us:
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.
EDMUNDThou hast spoken right, 'tis true;
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 205The wheel is come full circle: I am here.
ALBANYMethought thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness: I must embrace thee:
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee or thy father!
EDGARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 210Worthy prince, I know't.
ALBANYWhere have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
EDGARBy nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
And when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 215The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, — O, our lives' sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once! — taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 220That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost: became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, saved him from despair;
Never, — O fault! — reveal'd myself unto him,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 225Until some half-hour past, when I was arm'd:
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage: but his flaw'd heart,
Alack, too weak the conflict to support!
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 230'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.
EDMUNDThis speech of yours hath moved me,
And shall perchance do good: but speak you on;
You look as you had something more to say.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 235If there be more, more woeful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
EDGARThis would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 240To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour came there in a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 245Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'ld burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
That ever ear received: which in recounting
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 250His grief grew puissant and the strings of life
Began to crack: twice then the trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranced.
ALBANYBut who was this?
EDGARKent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 255Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.
GentlemanHelp, help, O, help!
EDGARWhat kind of help?
ALBANYSpeak, man.
EDGARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 260What means that bloody knife?
Gentleman'Tis hot, it smokes;
It came even from the heart of — O, she's dead!
ALBANYWho dead? speak, man.
GentlemanYour lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 265By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.
EDMUNDI was contracted to them both: all three
Now marry in an instant.
EDGARHere comes Kent.
ALBANYProduce their bodies, be they alive or dead:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 270This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,
Touches us not with pity.
O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
Which very manners urges.
KENTAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 275I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night:
Is he not here?
ALBANYGreat thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's Cordelia?
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 280See'st thou this object, Kent?
KENTAlack, why thus?
EDMUNDYet Edmund was beloved:
The one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew herself.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 285Even so. Cover their faces.
EDMUNDI pant for life: some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia:
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 290Nay, send in time.
ALBANYRun, run, O, run!
EDGARTo who, my lord? Who hath the office? send
Thy token of reprieve.
EDMUNDWell thought on: take my sword,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 295Give it the captain.
ALBANYHaste thee, for thy life.
EDMUNDHe hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 300That she fordid herself.
ALBANYThe gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
KING LEARHowl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever!
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 305I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth. Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
KENTIs this the promised end
EDGARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 310Or image of that horror?
ALBANYFall, and cease!
KING LEARThis feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
KENTAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 315 O my good master!
KING LEARPrithee, away.
EDGAR'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
KING LEARA plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her; now she's gone for ever!
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 320Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little. Ha!
What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.
I kill'd the slave that was a-hanging thee.
Captain'Tis true, my lords, he did.
KING LEARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 325Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o' the best: I'll tell you straight.
KENTAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 330If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,
One of them we behold.
KING LEARThis is a dull sight. Are you not Kent?
KENTThe same,
Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?
KING LEARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 335He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;
He'll strike, and quickly too: he's dead and rotten.
KENTNo, my good lord; I am the very man, —
KING LEARI'll see that straight.
KENTThat, from your first of difference and decay,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 340Have follow'd your sad steps.
KING LEARYou are welcome hither.
KENTNor no man else: all's cheerless, dark, and deadly.
Your eldest daughters have fordone them selves,
And desperately are dead.
KING LEARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 345Ay, so I think.
ALBANYHe knows not what he says: and vain it is
That we present us to him.
EDGARVery bootless.
CaptainEdmund is dead, my lord.
ALBANYAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 350That's but a trifle here.
You lords and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come
Shall be applied: for us we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 355To him our absolute power:
you, to your rights:
With boot, and such addition as your honours
Have more than merited. All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 360The cup of their deservings. O, see, see!
KING LEARAnd my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 365Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!
EDGARHe faints! My lord, my lord!
KENTBreak, heart; I prithee, break!
EDGARAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 370Look up, my lord.
KENTVex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him much
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
EDGARHe is gone, indeed.
KENTAct 5 Sc 3 Ln 375The wonder is, he hath endured so long:
He but usurp'd his life.
ALBANYBear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe.
Friends of my soul, you twain
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 380Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.
KENTI have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls me, I must not say no.
ALBANYThe weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
Act 5 Sc 3 Ln 385The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.