The Tragedy of King Lear

A tragedy written in 1605 by William Shakespeare

1(stage directions)11Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. [Kent and Gloucester converse. Edmund stands back.]
211KENTI thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
311GLOUIt did always seem so to us; but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the Dukes he values most, for equalities are so weigh'd that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
411KENTIs not this your son, my lord?
511GLOUHis breeding, sir, hath been at my charge. I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him that now I am braz'd to't.
611KENTI cannot conceive you.
711GLOUSir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew round-womb'd, and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
811KENTI cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
911GLOUBut I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder 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 noble gentleman, Edmund?
1011EDM[comes forward] No, my lord.
1111GLOUMy Lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
1211EDMMy services to your lordship.
1311KENTI must love you, and sue to know you better.
1411EDMSir, I shall study deserving.
1511GLOUHe hath been out nine years, and away he shall again. [Sound a sennet.] The King is coming.
16(stage directions)11 Enter one bearing a coronet; then Lear; then the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall; next, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, with Followers.
1711LEARAttend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.
1811GLOUI shall, my liege.
19(stage directions)11 Exeunt [Gloucester and Edmund].
2011LEARMeantime we shall express our darker purpose. Give me the map there. Know we have divided In three our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring 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 May 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, Interest 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.
2111GONSir, I love you more than words can wield the matter; Dearer than eyesight, 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 lov'd, or father found; A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
2211COR[aside] What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
2311LEAROf all these bounds, even from this line to this, With 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.
2411REGSir, I am made Of the selfsame 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 Myself 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.
2511COR[aside] Then poor Cordelia! And yet not so; since I am sure my love's More richer than my tongue.
2611LEARTo thee and thine hereditary ever Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom, No less in space, validity, and pleasure Than 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 interest; what can you say to draw A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
2711CORNothing, my lord.
3011LEARNothing can come of nothing. Speak again.
3111CORUnhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty According to my bond; no more nor less.
3211LEARHow, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Lest it may mar your fortunes.
3311CORGood my lord, You have begot me, bred me, lov'd 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, That 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.
3411LEARBut goes thy heart with this?
3511CORAy, good my lord.
3611LEARSo young, and so untender?
3711CORSo young, my lord, and true.
3811LEARLet it be so! thy truth then be thy dower! For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The 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, And 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 reliev'd, As thou my sometime daughter.
3911KENTGood my liege-
4011LEARPeace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On 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; Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. I do invest you jointly in my power, Preeminence, and all the large effects That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course, With reservation of an hundred knights, By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain The name, and all th' additions to a king. The sway, Revenue, execution of the rest, Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm, This coronet part betwixt you.
4111KENTRoyal Lear, Whom I have ever honour'd as my king, Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd, As my great patron thought on in my prayers-
4211LEARThe bow is bent and drawn; make from the shaft.
4311KENTLet it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart! Be Kent unmannerly When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound When majesty falls to folly. Reverse thy doom; And in thy best consideration check This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound Reverbs no hollowness.
4411LEARKent, on thy life, no more!
4511KENTMy life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.
4611LEAROut of my sight!
4711KENTSee better, Lear, and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye.
4811LEARNow by Apollo-
4911KENTNow by Apollo, King, Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
5011LEARO vassal! miscreant! [Lays his hand on his sword.]
5111ALB[with Cornwall] Dear sir, forbear!
5211KENTDo! Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift, Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat, I'll tell thee thou dost evil.
5311LEARHear me, recreant! On 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,- Our 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, Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revok'd.
5411KENTFare thee well, King. Since thus thou wilt appear, Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. [To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, That justly think'st and hast most rightly said! [To Regan and Goneril] 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; He'll shape his old course in a country new. Exit.
55(stage directions)11Flourish. Enter Gloucester, with France and Burgundy; Attendants.
5611GLOUHere's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
5711LEARMy Lord of Burgundy, We first address toward you, who with this king Hath rivall'd for our daughter. What in the least Will you require in present dower with her, Or cease your quest of love?
5811BURMost royal Majesty, I crave no more than hath your Highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less.
5911LEARRight 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 piec'd, And nothing more, may fitly like your Grace, She's there, and she is yours.
6011BURI know no answer.
6111LEARWill you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new adopted to our hate, Dow'r'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath, Take her, or leave her?
6211BURPardon me, royal sir. Election makes not up on such conditions.
6311LEARThen leave her, sir; for, by the pow'r that made me, I tell you all her wealth. [To France] For you, great King, I would not from your love make such a stray To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you T' avert your liking a more worthier way Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd Almost t' acknowledge hers.
6411FRANCEThis is most strange, That she that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most 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 Fall'n into taint; which to believe of her Must be a faith that reason without miracle Should never plant in me.
6511CORI yet beseech your Majesty, If for I want that glib and oily art To 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, murther, or foulness, No unchaste action or dishonoured step, That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour; But 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.
6611LEARBetter thou Hadst not been born than not t' have pleas'd me better.
6711FRANCEIs 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 When it is mingled with regards that stands Aloof from th' entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.
6811BURRoyal Lear, Give but that portion which yourself propos'd, And here I take Cordelia by the hand, Duchess of Burgundy.
6911LEARNothing! I have sworn; I am firm.
7011BURI am sorry then you have so lost a father That you must lose a husband.
7111CORPeace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife.
7211FRANCEFairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor; Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd! Thee 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 inflam'd respect. Thy dow'rless daughter, King, thrown to my chance, Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France. Not all the dukes in wat'rish Burgundy Can buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me. Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind. Thou losest here, a better where to find.
7311LEARThou 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.
74(stage directions)11 Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, [Cornwall, Albany, Gloucester, and Attendants].
7511FRANCEBid farewell to your sisters.
7611CORThe 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 nam'd. Use well our father. To 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.
7711GONPrescribe not us our duties.
7811REGLet your study Be to content your lord, who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted.
7911CORTime shall unfold what plighted cunning hides. Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper!
8011FRANCECome, my fair Cordelia.
81(stage directions)11 Exeunt France and Cordelia.
8211GONSister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think our father will hence to-night.
8311REGThat's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
8411GONYou see how full of changes his age is. The observation we have made of it hath not been little. He always lov'd our sister most, and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.
8511REG'Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
8611GONThe best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-ingraffed condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
8711REGSuch unconstant starts are we like to have from him as this of Kent's banishment.
8811GONThere is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you let's hit together. If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
8911REGWe shall further think on't.
9011GONWe must do something, and i' th' heat.
91(stage directions)11 Exeunt.
92(stage directions)12Enter [Edmund the] Bastard solus, [with a letter].
9312EDMThou, 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, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines 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 With 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 th' creating a whole tribe of fops Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund As to th' legitimate. Fine word- 'legitimate'! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top th' legitimate. I grow; I prosper. Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
94(stage directions)12 Enter Gloucester.
9512GLOUKent banish'd thus? and France in choler parted? And the King gone to-night? subscrib'd his pow'r? Confin'd to exhibition? All this done Upon the gad? Edmund, how now? What news?
9612EDMSo please your lordship, none.
97(stage directions)12 [Puts up the letter.]
9812GLOUWhy so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
9912EDMI know no news, my lord.
10012GLOUWhat paper were you reading?
10112EDMNothing, my lord.
10212GLOUNo? 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, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
10312EDMI 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 perus'd, I find it not fit for your o'erlooking.
10412GLOUGive me the letter, sir.
10512EDMI shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
10612GLOULet's see, let's see!
10712EDMI hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.
10812GLOU[reads] '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 in the oppression of aged tyranny, who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffer'd. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, 'EDGAR.' Hum! Conspiracy? 'Sleep till I wak'd 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 brought it?
10912EDMIt was not brought me, my lord: there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.
11012GLOUYou know the character to be your brother's?
11112EDMIf the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.
11212GLOUIt is his.
11312EDMIt is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is not in the contents.
11412GLOUHath he never before sounded you in this business?
11512EDMNever, 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 ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
11612GLOUO 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! Where is he?
11712EDMI 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 should run a certain course; 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 writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
11812GLOUThink you so?
11912EDMIf your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very evening.
12012GLOUHe cannot be such a monster.
12112EDMNor is not, sure.
12212GLOUTo his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves 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.
12312EDMI will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
12412GLOUThese 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 scourg'd by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide. In cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the King falls 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 lose thee nothing; do it carefully. And the noble and true-hearted Kent banish'd! his offence, honesty! 'Tis strange. Exit.
12512EDMThis is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father 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. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar- [Enter Edgar.] and pat! he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy. My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la, mi.
12612EDGHow now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
12712EDMI am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
12812EDGDo you busy yourself with that?
12912EDMI 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 diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
13012EDGHow long have you been a sectary astronomical?
13112EDMCome, come! When saw you my father last?
13212EDGThe night gone by.
13312EDMSpake you with him?
13412EDGAy, two hours together.
13512EDMParted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him by word or countenance
13612EDGNone at all.
13712EDMBethink yourself wherein you may have offended him; and at my entreaty forbear his presence until 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 would scarcely allay.
13812EDGSome villain hath done me wrong.
13912EDMThat's my fear. I pray you have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, 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 arm'd.
14012EDGArm'd, brother?
14112EDMBrother, I advise you to the best. Go arm'd. I am no honest man if there be any good meaning toward you. I have told you what I have seen and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray you, away!
14212EDGShall I hear from you anon?
14312EDMI do serve you in this business. [Exit Edgar.] A credulous father! and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy! I see the business. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit; All with me's meet that I can fashion fit. Exit.
144(stage directions)13Enter Goneril and [her] Steward [Oswald].
14513GONDid my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
14613OSWAy, madam.
14713GONBy day and night, he wrongs me! Every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other That 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, You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
148(stage directions)13 [Horns within.]
14913OSWHe's coming, madam; I hear him.
15013GONPut on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows. I'd have it come to question. If he distaste it, let him to our sister, Whose mind and mine I know in that are one, Not to be overrul'd. 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 us'd With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abus'd. Remember what I have said.
15113OSWVery well, madam.
15213GONAnd let his knights have colder looks among you. What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so. I 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.
153(stage directions)13 Exeunt.
15414KENTIf 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 raz'd my likeness. Now, banish'd Kent, If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd, So may it come, thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labours. Horns within. Enter Lear, [Knights,] and Attendants.
15514LEARLet me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now? What art thou?
15614KENTA man, sir.
15714LEARWhat dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?
15814KENTI 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 and says little, to fear judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
15914LEARWhat art thou?
16014KENTA very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King.
16114LEARIf thou be'st as poor for a subject as he's for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
16314LEARWho wouldst thou serve?
16514LEARDost thou know me, fellow?
16614KENTNo, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master.
16714LEARWhat's that?
16914LEARWhat services canst thou do?
17014KENTI 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.
17114LEARHow old art thou?
17214KENTNot so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything. I have years on my back forty-eight.
17314LEARFollow me; thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner, ho, dinner! Where's my knave? my fool? Go you and call my fool hither. [Exit an attendant.] [Enter [Oswald the] Steward.] You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
17414OSWSo please you- Exit.
17514LEARWhat says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back. [Exit a Knight.] Where's my fool, ho? I think the world's asleep. [Enter Knight] How now? Where's that mongrel?
17614KNIGHTHe says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
17714LEARWhy came not the slave back to me when I call'd him?
17814KNIGHTSir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would not.
17914LEARHe would not?
18014KNIGHTMy lord, I know not what the matter is; but to my judgment your Highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont. There's a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependants as in the Duke himself also and your daughter.
18114LEARHa! say'st thou so?
18214KNIGHTI beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent when I think your Highness wrong'd.
18314LEARThou but rememb'rest me of mine own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than 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.
18414KNIGHTSince my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
18514LEARNo more of that; I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her. [Exit Knight.] Go you, call hither my fool. [Exit an Attendant.] [Enter [Oswald the] Steward.] O, you, sir, you! Come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?
18614OSWMy lady's father.
18714LEAR'My lady's father'? My lord's knave! You whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
18814OSWI am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.
18914LEARDo you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
190(stage directions)14 [Strikes him.]
19114OSWI'll not be strucken, my lord.
19214KENTNor tripp'd neither, you base football player?
193(stage directions)14 [Trips up his heels.
19414LEARI thank thee, fellow. Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee.
19514KENTCome, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences. Away, away! If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry; but away! Go to! Have you wisdom? So.
196(stage directions)14 [Pushes him out.]
19714LEARNow, my friendly knave, I thank thee. There's earnest of thy service. [Gives money.]
198(stage directions)14 Enter Fool.
19914FOOLLet me hire him too. Here's my coxcomb.
200(stage directions)14 [Offers Kent his cap.]
20114LEARHow now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?
20214FOOLSirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
20314KENTWhy, fool?
20414FOOLWhy? For taking one's part that's out of favour. Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb! Why, this fellow hath banish'd two on's daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.- How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!
20514LEARWhy, my boy?
20614FOOLIf I gave them all my living, I'ld keep my coxcombs myself. There's mine! beg another of thy daughters.
20714LEARTake heed, sirrah- the whip.
20814FOOLTruth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipp'd out, when Lady the brach may stand by th' fire and stink.
20914LEARA pestilent gall to me!
21014FOOLSirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
21214FOOLMark it, nuncle. Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest, Ride more than thou goest, Learn 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 Than two tens to a score.
21314KENTThis is nothing, fool.
21414FOOLThen 'tis like the breath of an unfeed lawyer- you gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
21514LEARWhy, no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.
21614FOOL[to Kent] Prithee tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool.
21714LEARA bitter fool!
21814FOOLDost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool?
21914LEARNo, lad; teach me.
22014FOOLThat lord that counsell'd thee To give away thy land, Come place him here by me- Do thou for him stand. The sweet and bitter fool Will presently appear; The one in motley here, The other found out there.
22114LEARDost thou call me fool, boy?
22214FOOLAll thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
22314KENTThis is not altogether fool, my lord.
22414FOOLNo, faith; lords and great men will not let me. If I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't. And ladies too, they will not let me have all the fool to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
22514LEARWhat two crowns shall they be?
22614FOOLWhy, after I have cut the egg i' th' middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' th' middle and gav'st away both parts, thou bor'st thine ass on thy back o'er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gav'st thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so. [Sings] Fools had ne'er less grace in a year, For wise men are grown foppish; They know not how their wits to wear, Their manners are so apish.
22714LEARWhen were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
22814FOOLI have us'd it, nuncle, ever since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mother; for when thou gav'st them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches, [Sings] 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. Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie. I would fain learn to lie.
22914LEARAn you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd.
23014FOOLI marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They'll have me whipp'd for speaking true; thou'lt have me whipp'd for lying; and sometimes I am whipp'd 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' th' middle. Here comes one o' the parings.
231(stage directions)14 Enter Goneril.
23214LEARHow now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on? Methinks you are too much o' late i' th' frown.
23314FOOLThou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning. Now thou art an O without a figure. I am better than thou art now: I am a fool, thou art nothing. [To Goneril] 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, Weary of all, shall want some.- [Points at Lear] That's a sheal'd peascod.
23414GONNot only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth In 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 By 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 Must call discreet proceeding.
23514FOOLFor you know, nuncle, The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long That it had it head bit off by it young. So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
23614LEARAre you our daughter?
23714GONCome, 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 From what you rightly are.
23814FOOLMay not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug, I love thee!
23914LEARDoth any here know me? This is not Lear. Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, his discernings Are lethargied- Ha! waking? 'Tis not so! Who is it that can tell me who I am?
24014FOOLLear's shadow.
24114LEARI would learn that; for, by the marks of sovereignty, Knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
24214FOOLWhich they will make an obedient father.
24314LEARYour name, fair gentlewoman?
24414GONThis admiration, sir, is much o' th' savour Of 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 That 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 grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak For instant remedy. Be then desir'd By 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, Which know themselves, and you.
24514LEARDarkness and devils! Saddle my horses! Call my train together! Degenerate bastard, I'll not trouble thee; Yet have I left a daughter.
24614GONYou strike my people, and your disorder'd rabble Make servants of their betters.
247(stage directions)14 Enter Albany.
24814LEARWoe that too late repents!- O, sir, are you come? Is it your will? Speak, sir!- Prepare my horses. Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child Than the sea-monster!
24914ALBPray, sir, be patient.
25014LEAR[to Goneril] Detested kite, thou liest! My train are men of choice and rarest parts, That 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! Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate that let thy folly in [Strikes his head.] And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.
25114ALBMy lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant Of what hath mov'd you.
25214LEARIt may be so, my lord. Hear, Nature, hear! dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend To make this creature fruitful. Into 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 And be a thwart disnatur'd 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 How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child! Away, away! Exit.
25314ALBNow, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
25414GONNever afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.
255(stage directions)14 Enter Lear.
25614LEARWhat, fifty of my followers at a clap? Within a fortnight?
25714ALBWhat's the matter, sir?
25814LEARI'll tell thee. [To Goneril] Life and death! I am asham'd 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! Th' untented woundings of a father's curse Pierce 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, is it come to this? Let it be so. Yet have I left a daughter, Who 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, I warrant thee.
259(stage directions)14 Exeunt [Lear, Kent, and Attendants].
26014GONDo you mark that, my lord?
26114ALBI cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you--
26214GONPray you, content.- What, Oswald, ho! [To the Fool] You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master!
26314FOOLNuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry! Take the fool with thee. A fox when one has caught her, And such a daughter, Should sure to the slaughter, If my cap would buy a halter. So the fool follows after. Exit.
26414GONThis man hath had good counsel! A hundred knights? 'Tis politic and safe to let him keep At point a hundred knights; yes, that on every dream, Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike, He may enguard his dotage with their pow'rs And hold our lives in mercy.- Oswald, I say!
26514ALBWell, you may fear too far.
26614GONSafer 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, When I have show'd th' unfitness- [Enter [Oswald the] Steward.] How now, Oswald? What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
26714OSWYes, madam.
26814GONTake you some company, and away to horse! Inform 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. [Exit Oswald.] No, no, my lord! This milky gentleness and course of yours, Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon, You are much more at task for want of wisdom Than prais'd for harmful mildness.
26914ALBHow far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell. Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
27014GONNay then-
27114ALBWell, well; th' event. Exeunt.
27215LEARGo you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.
27315KENTI will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter. Exit.
27415FOOLIf a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of kibes?
27515LEARAy, boy.
27615FOOLThen I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod.
27715LEARHa, ha, ha!
27815FOOLShalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
27915LEARWhat canst tell, boy?
28015FOOLShe'll taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i' th' middle on's face?
28215FOOLWhy, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that what a man cannot smell out, 'a may spy into.
28315LEARI did her wrong.
28415FOOLCanst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
28615FOOLNor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
28815FOOLWhy, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns without a case.
28915LEARI will forget my nature. So kind a father!- Be my horses ready?
29015FOOLThy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.
29115LEARBecause they are not eight?
29215FOOLYes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.
29315LEARTo tak't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
29415FOOLIf thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being old before thy time.
29515LEARHow's that?
29615FOOLThou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
29715LEARO, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be mad! [Enter a Gentleman.] How now? Are the horses ready?
29815GENTReady, my lord.
29915LEARCome, boy.
30015FOOLShe that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure, Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter
301(stage directions)15 Exeunt.
302(stage directions)21Enter [Edmund the] Bastard and Curan, meeting.
30321EDMSave thee, Curan.
30421CURAnd 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.
30521EDMHow comes that?
30621CURNay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad- I mean the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?
30721EDMNot I. Pray you, what are they?
30821CURHave you heard of no likely wars toward 'twixt the two Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
30921EDMNot a word.
31021CURYou may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir. Exit.
31121EDMThe Duke be here to-night? The better! best! This 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! [Enter Edgar.] My 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' th' night, i' th' haste, And Regan with him. Have you nothing said Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany? Advise yourself.
31221EDGI am sure on't, not a word.
31321EDMI hear my father coming. Pardon me! In 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. [Exit Edgar.] Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion Of my more fierce endeavour. [Stabs his arm.] I have seen drunkards Do more than this in sport.- Father, father!- Stop, stop! No help?
314(stage directions)21 Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches.
31521GLOUNow, Edmund, where's the villain?
31621EDMHere stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out, Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon To stand 's auspicious mistress.
31721GLOUBut where is he?
31821EDMLook, sir, I bleed.
31921GLOUWhere is the villain, Edmund?
32021EDMFled this way, sir. When by no means he could-
32121GLOUPursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants]. By no means what?
32221EDMPersuade me to the murther of your lordship; But that I told him the revenging gods 'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend; Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond The child was bound to th' father- sir, in fine, Seeing how loathly opposite I stood To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion With his prepared sword he charges home My unprovided body, lanch'd mine arm; But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits, Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to th' encounter, Or whether gasted by the noise I made, Full suddenly he fled.
32321GLOULet 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. By his authority I will proclaim it That he which find, him shall deserve our thanks, Bringing the murderous caitiff to the stake; He that conceals him, death.
32421EDMWhen I dissuaded him from his intent And 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 Make 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 practice; And thou must make a dullard of the world, If they not thought the profits of my death Were very pregnant and potential spurs To make thee seek it.'
32521GLOUStrong and fast'ned villain! Would he deny his letter? I never got him. [Tucket within.] Hark, 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 due note of him, and of my land, Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means To make thee capable.
326(stage directions)21 Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.
32721CORNHow now, my noble friend? Since I came hither (Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.
32821REGIf it be true, all vengeance comes too short Which can pursue th' offender. How dost, my lord?
32921GLOUO madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
33021REGWhat, did my father's godson seek your life? He whom my father nam'd? Your Edgar?
33121GLOUO lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
33221REGWas he not companion with the riotous knights That tend upon my father?
33321GLOUI know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad!
33421EDMYes, madam, he was of that consort.
33521REGNo marvel then though he were ill affected. 'Tis they have put him on the old man's death, To have th' 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, I'll not be there.
33621CORNNor I, assure thee, Regan. Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father A childlike office.
33721EDM'Twas my duty, sir.
33821GLOUHe did bewray his practice, and receiv'd This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
33921CORNIs he pursued?
34021GLOUAy, my good lord.
34121CORNIf he be taken, he shall never more Be 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; You we first seize on.
34221EDMI shall serve you, sir, Truly, however else.
34321GLOUFor him I thank your Grace.
34421CORNYou know not why we came to visit you-
34521REGThus out of season, threading dark-ey'd 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 best thought it fit To 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.
34621GLOUI serve you, madam. Your Graces are right welcome.
347(stage directions)21 Exeunt. Flourish.
34822OSWGood dawning to thee, friend. Art of this house?
35022OSWWhere may we set our horses?
35122KENTI' th' mire.
35222OSWPrithee, if thou lov'st me, tell me.
35322KENTI love thee not.
35422OSWWhy then, I care not for thee.
35522KENTIf I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I would make thee care for me.
35622OSWWhy dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
35722KENTFellow, I know thee.
35822OSWWhat dost thou know me for?
35922KENTA knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least syllable of thy addition.
36022OSWWhy, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that's neither known of thee nor knows thee!
36122KENTWhat a brazen-fac'd varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago since I beat thee and tripp'd up thy heels before the King? [Draws his sword.] Draw, you rogue! for, though it be night, yet the moon shines. I'll make a sop o' th' moonshine o' you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barbermonger! draw!
36222OSWAway! I have nothing to do with thee.
36322KENTDraw, you rascal! You come with letters against the King, and take Vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks! Draw, you rascal! Come your ways!
36422OSWHelp, ho! murther! help!
36522KENTStrike, you slave! Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat slave! Strike! [Beats him.]
36622OSWHelp, ho! murther! murther!
367(stage directions)22Enter Edmund, with his rapier drawn, Gloucester, Cornwall, Regan, Servants.
36822EDMHow now? What's the matter? Parts [them].
36922KENTWith you, goodman boy, an you please! Come, I'll flesh ye! Come on, young master!
37022GLOUWeapons? arms? What's the matter here?
37122CORNKeep peace, upon your lives! He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
37222REGThe messengers from our sister and the King
37322CORNWhat is your difference? Speak.
37422OSWI am scarce in breath, my lord.
37522KENTNo marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
37622CORNThou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a man?
37722KENTAy, a tailor, sir. A stonecutter or a painter could not have made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.
37822CORNSpeak yet, how grew your quarrel?
37922OSWThis ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spar'd At suit of his grey beard-
38022KENTThou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if you'll give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar and daub the walls of a jakes with him. 'Spare my grey beard,' you wagtail?
38122CORNPeace, sirrah! You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
38222KENTYes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.
38322CORNWhy art thou angry?
38422KENTThat such a slave as this should wear a sword, Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these, Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain 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 With every gale and vary of their masters, Knowing naught (like dogs) but following. A plague upon your epileptic visage! Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool? Goose, an I had you upon Sarum Plain, I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
38522CORNWhat, art thou mad, old fellow?
38622GLOUHow fell you out? Say that.
38722KENTNo contraries hold more antipathy Than I and such a knave.
38822CORNWhy dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?
38922KENTHis countenance likes me not.
39022CORNNo more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.
39122KENTSir, 'tis my occupation to be plain. I have seen better faces in my time Than stands on any shoulder that I see Before me at this instant.
39222CORNThis is some fellow Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affect A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb Quite 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 Than twenty silly-ducking observants That stretch their duties nicely.
39322KENTSir, in good faith, in sincere verity, Under th' allowance of your great aspect, Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire On flickering Phoebus' front-
39422CORNWhat mean'st by this?
39522KENTTo go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that beguil'd you in a plain accent was a plain knave, which, for my part, I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to't.
39622CORNWhat was th' offence you gave him?
39722OSWI never gave him any. It pleas'd 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 That worthied him, got praises of the King For him attempting who was self-subdu'd; And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit, Drew on me here again.
39822KENTNone of these rogues and cowards But Ajax is their fool.
39922CORNFetch forth the stocks! You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart, We'll teach you-
40022KENTSir, I am too old to learn. Call 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.
40122CORNFetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour, There shall he sit till noon.
40222REGTill noon? Till night, my lord, and all night too!
40322KENTWhy, madam, if I were your father's dog, You should not use me so.
40422REGSir, being his knave, I will.
40522CORNThis is a fellow of the selfsame colour Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
406(stage directions)22 Stocks brought out.
40722GLOULet me beseech your Grace not to do so. His fault is much, and the good King his master Will check him for't. Your purpos'd low correction Is such as basest and contemn'dest wretches For pilf'rings and most common trespasses Are punish'd with. The King must take it ill That he, so slightly valued in his messenger, Should have him thus restrain'd.
40822CORNI'll answer that.
40922REGMy sister may receive it much more worse, To have her gentleman abus'd, assaulted, For following her affairs. Put in his legs.- [Kent is put in the stocks.] Come, my good lord, away.
410(stage directions)22 Exeunt [all but Gloucester and Kent].
41122GLOUI 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.
41222KENTPray do not, sir. I have watch'd and travell'd hard. Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle. A good man's fortune may grow out at heels. Give you good morrow!
41322GLOUThe Duke 's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken. Exit.
41422KENTGood King, that must approve the common saw, Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st 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 But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia, Who hath most fortunately been inform'd Of my obscured course- and [reads] 'shall find time From this enormous state, seeking to give Losses their remedies'- All weary and o'erwatch'd, Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold This shameful lodging. Fortune, good night; smile once more, turn thy wheel.
415(stage directions)22 Sleeps.
416(stage directions)23Enter Edgar.
41723EDGI heard myself proclaim'd, And by the happy hollow of a tree Escap'd the hunt. No port is free, no place That guard and most unusual vigilance Does 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, Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots, And with presented nakedness outface The winds and persecutions of the sky. The country gives me proof and precedent Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices, Strike 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, sheepcotes, and mills, Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers, Enforce their charity. 'Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!' That's something yet! Edgar I nothing am. Exit.
418(stage directions)24Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman.
41924LEAR'Tis strange that they should so depart from home, And not send back my messenger.
42024GENTAs I learn'd, The night before there was no purpose in them Of this remove.
42124KENTHail to thee, noble master!
42224LEARHa! Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
42324KENTNo, my lord.
42424FOOLHa, ha! look! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the head, dogs and bears by th' neck, monkeys by th' loins, and men by th' legs. When a man's over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks.
42524LEARWhat's he that hath so much thy place mistook To set thee here?
42624KENTIt is both he and she- Your son and daughter.
42924LEARNo, I say.
43024KENTI say yea.
43124LEARNo, no, they would not!
43224KENTYes, they have.
43324LEARBy Jupiter, I swear no!
43424KENTBy Juno, I swear ay!
43524LEARThey durst not do't; They would not, could not do't. 'Tis worse than murther To do upon respect such violent outrage. Resolve me with all modest haste which way Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage, Coming from us.
43624KENTMy lord, when at their home I did commend your Highness' letters to them, Ere 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, Which 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, Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine- Being the very fellow which of late Display'd so saucily against your Highness- Having more man than wit about me, drew. He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries. Your son and daughter found this trespass worth The shame which here it suffers.
43724FOOLWinter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way. Fathers that wear rags Do make their children blind; But fathers that bear bags Shall see their children kind. Fortune, that arrant whore, Ne'er turns the key to th' poor. But for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.
43824LEARO, how this mother swells up toward my heart! Hysterica passio! Down, thou climbing sorrow! Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?
43924KENTWith the Earl, sir, here within.
44024LEARFollow me not; Stay here. Exit.
44124GENTMade you no more offence but what you speak of?
44224KENTNone. How chance the King comes with so small a number?
44324FOOLAn thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question, thou'dst well deserv'd it.
44424KENTWhy, fool?
44524FOOLWe'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring i' th' winter. All that follow their 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 upward, 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, Will 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; The fool no knave, perdy.
44624KENTWhere learn'd you this, fool?
44724FOOLNot i' th' stocks, fool. Enter Lear and Gloucester
44824LEARDeny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary? They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches- The images of revolt and flying off! Fetch me a better answer.
44924GLOUMy dear lord, You know the fiery quality of the Duke, How unremovable and fix'd he is In his own course.
45024LEARVengeance! plague! death! confusion! Fiery? What quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester, I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
45124GLOUWell, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
45224LEARInform'd them? Dost thou understand me, man?
45324GLOUAy, my good lord.
45424LEARThe 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! Fiery? 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 To suffer with the body. I'll forbear; And am fallen out with my more headier will, To take the indispos'd and sickly fit For the sound man.- Death on my state! Wherefore Should he sit here? This act persuades me That this remotion of the Duke and her Is practice 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 Till it cry sleep to death.
45524GLOUI would have all well betwixt you. Exit.
45624LEARO me, my heart, my rising heart! But down!
45724FOOLCry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' th' paste alive. She knapp'd 'em o' th' coxcombs with a stick and cried 'Down, wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.
458(stage directions)24 Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.
45924LEARGood morrow to you both.
46024CORNHail to your Grace!
461(stage directions)24 Kent here set at liberty.
46224REGI am glad to see your Highness.
46324LEARRegan, 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. [To Kent] O, 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! [Lays his hand on his heart.] I can scarce speak to thee. Thou'lt not believe With how deprav'd a quality- O Regan!
46424REGI pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope You less know how to value her desert Than she to scant her duty.
46524LEARSay, how is that?
46624REGI 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.
46724LEARMy curses on her!
46824REGO, sir, you are old! Nature in you stands on the very verge Of her confine. You should be rul'd, and led By some discretion that discerns your state Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you That to our sister you do make return; Say you have wrong'd her, sir.
46924LEARAsk her forgiveness? Do you but mark how this becomes the house: 'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old. [Kneels.] Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'
47024REGGood sir, no more! These are unsightly tricks. Return you to my sister.
47124LEAR[rises] 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 stor'd vengeances of heaven fall On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones, You taking airs, with lameness!
47224CORNFie, sir, fie!
47324LEARYou nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty, You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the pow'rful sun, To fall and blast her pride!
47424REGO the blest gods! so will you wish on me When the rash mood is on.
47524LEARNo, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse. Thy 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, And, 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' th' kingdom hast thou not forgot, Wherein I thee endow'd.
47624REGGood sir, to th' purpose.
477(stage directions)24 Tucket within.
47824LEARWho put my man i' th' stocks?
47924CORNWhat trumpet's that?
48024REGI know't- my sister's. This approves her letter, That she would soon be here. [Enter [Oswald the] Steward.] Is your lady come?
48124LEARThis is a slave, whose easy-borrowed pride Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows. Out, varlet, from my sight!
48224CORNWhat means your Grace?
483(stage directions)24 Enter Goneril.
48424LEARWho 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, Make it your cause! Send down, and take my part! [To Goneril] Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?- O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
48524GONWhy not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended? All's not offence that indiscretion finds And dotage terms so.
48624LEARO sides, you are too tough! Will you yet hold? How came my man i' th' stocks?
48724CORNI set him there, sir; but his own disorders Deserv'd much less advancement.
48824LEARYou? Did you?
48924REGI 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. I am now from home, and out of that provision Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
49024LEARReturn to her, and fifty men dismiss'd? No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose To wage against the enmity o' th' air, To 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 To keep base life afoot. Return with her? Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter To this detested groom. [Points at Oswald.]
49124GONAt your choice, sir.
49224LEARI prithee, daughter, do not make me mad. I 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, A 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. Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure; I can be patient, I can stay with Regan, I and my hundred knights.
49324REGNot altogether so. I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided For 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.
49424LEARIs this well spoken?
49524REGI 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, Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.
49624GONWhy might not you, my lord, receive attendance From those that she calls servants, or from mine?
49724REGWhy not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to slack ye, We could control them. If you will come to me (For now I spy a danger), I entreat you To bring but five-and-twenty. To no more Will I give place or notice.
49824LEARI gave you all-
49924REGAnd in good time you gave it!
50024LEARMade you my guardians, my depositaries; But kept a reservation to be followed With such a number. What, must I come to you With five-and-twenty, Regan? Said you so?
50124REGAnd speak't again my lord. No more with me.
50224LEARThose wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd When others are more wicked; not being the worst Stands in some rank of praise. [To Goneril] I'll go with thee. Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty, And thou art twice her love.
50324GONHear, 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?
50424REGWhat need one?
50524LEARO, reason not the need! Our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's life is cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady: If 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, As full of grief as age; wretched in both. If it be you that stirs 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, Stain 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. No, 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!
506(stage directions)24 Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool. Storm and tempest.
50724CORNLet us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.
50824REGThis house is little; the old man and 's people Cannot be well bestow'd.
50924GON'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest And must needs taste his folly.
51024REGFor his particular, I'll receive him gladly, But not one follower.
51124GONSo am I purpos'd. Where is my Lord of Gloucester?
51224CORNFollowed the old man forth. [Enter Gloucester.] He is return'd.
51324GLOUThe King is in high rage.
51424CORNWhither is he going?
51524GLOUHe calls to horse, but will I know not whither.
51624CORN'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
51724GONMy lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
51824GLOUAlack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about There's scarce a bush.
51924REGO, sir, to wilful men The injuries that they themselves procure Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors. He is attended with a desperate train, And what they may incense him to, being apt To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear.
52024CORNShut up your doors, my lord: 'tis a wild night. My Regan counsels well. Come out o' th' storm. [Exeunt.]
521(stage directions)31Enter Kent and a Gentleman at several doors.
52231KENTWho's there, besides foul weather?
52331GENTOne minded like the weather, most unquietly.
52431KENTI know you. Where's the King?
52531GENTContending with the fretful elements; Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, Or swell the curled waters '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; Strives in his little world of man to outscorn 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, And bids what will take all.
52631KENTBut who is with him?
52731GENTNone but the fool, who labours to outjest His heart-struck injuries.
52831KENTSir, I do know you, And 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 Thron'd 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 Against 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 scattered kingdom, who already, Wise in our negligence, have secret feet In 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 Of 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.
52931GENTI will talk further with you.
53031KENTNo, 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 (As 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.
53131GENTGive me your hand. Have you no more to say?
53231KENTFew 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.
533(stage directions)31 Exeunt [severally].
534(stage directions)32Enter Lear and Fool.
53532LEARBlow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks! You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity o' th' world, Crack Nature's moulds, all germains spill at once, That makes ingrateful man!
53632FOOLO 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 nether wise men nor fools.
53732LEARRumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain! Nor 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, A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man. But yet I call you servile ministers, That will with two pernicious daughters join Your high-engender'd battles 'gainst a head So old and white as this! O! O! 'tis foul!
53832FOOLHe that has a house to put 's head in has a good head-piece. The codpiece that will house Before the head has any, The head and he shall louse: So 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. For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.
539(stage directions)32 Enter Kent.
54032LEARNo, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.
54132KENTWho's there?
54232FOOLMarry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a fool.
54332KENTAlas, sir, are you here? Things that love night Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark And 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 Th' affliction nor the fear.
54432LEARLet the great gods, That keep this dreadful pudder 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; Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue That art incestuous. Caitiff, in pieces shake That under covert and convenient seeming Hast practis'd on man's life. Close pent-up guilts, Rive your concealing continents, and cry These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man More sinn'd against than sinning.
54532KENTAlack, bareheaded? Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel; Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest. Repose you there, whilst I to this hard house (More harder than the stones whereof 'tis rais'd, Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in) return, and force Their scanted courtesy.
54632LEARMy 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, your hovel. Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart That's sorry yet for thee.
54732FOOL[sings] He that has and a little tiny wit- With hey, ho, the wind and the rain- Must make content with his fortunes fit, For the rain it raineth every day.
54832LEARTrue, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.
549(stage directions)32 Exeunt [Lear and Kent].
55032FOOLThis is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I'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; When 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' th' field, And 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 us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time. Exit.
551(stage directions)33Enter Gloucester and Edmund.
55233GLOUAlack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing! When I desir'd their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house, charg'd me on pain of perpetual displeasure neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
55333EDMMost savage and unnatural!
55433GLOUGo to; say you nothing. There is division betwixt the Dukes, and a worse matter than that. I have received a letter this night- 'tis dangerous to be spoken- I have lock'd 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 privily 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't, as no less is threat'ned me, the King my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund. Pray you be careful. Exit.
55533EDMThis 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. The younger rises when the old doth fall. Exit.
556(stage directions)34Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.
55734KENTHere is the place, my lord. Good my lord, enter. The tyranny of the open night 's too rough For nature to endure.
55834LEARLet me alone.
55934KENTGood my lord, enter here.
56034LEARWilt break my heart?
56134KENTI had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
56234LEARThou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm Invades us to the skin. So 'tis to thee; But where the greater malady is fix'd, The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear; But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea, Thou'dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind's free, The 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! No, 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! No more of that.
56334KENTGood my lord, enter here.
56434LEARPrithee 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. [To the Fool] In, boy; go first.- You houseless poverty- Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep. [Exit Fool] Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, Your 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 And show the heavens more just.
56534EDG[within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!
566(stage directions)34 Enter Fool [from the hovel].
56734FOOLCome not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help me!
56834KENTGive me thy hand. Who's there?
56934FOOLA spirit, a spirit! He says his name's poor Tom.
57034KENTWhat art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw? Come forth.
571(stage directions)34 Enter Edgar [disguised as a madman].
57234EDGAway! the foul fiend follows me! Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind. Humh! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
57334LEARHast thou given all to thy two daughters, and art thou come to this?
57434EDGWho gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inch'd bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom 's acold. 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!
575(stage directions)34 Storm still.
57634LEARWhat, have his daughters brought him to this pass? Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give 'em all?
57734FOOLNay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all sham'd.
57834LEARNow all the plagues that in the pendulous air Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
57934KENTHe hath no daughters, sir.
58034LEARDeath, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature To such a lowness but his unkind daughters. Is it the fashion that discarded fathers Should have thus little mercy on their flesh? Judicious punishment! 'Twas this flesh begot Those pelican daughters.
58134EDGPillicock sat on Pillicock's Hill. 'Allow, 'allow, loo, loo!
58234FOOLThis cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
58334EDGTake heed o' th' 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 acold.
58434LEARWhat hast thou been?
58534EDGA servingman, proud in heart and mind; that curl'd my hair, wore gloves in my cap; serv'd 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 slept in the contriving of lust, and wak'd to do it. Wine lov'd I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd 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. Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind; says suum, mun, hey, no, nonny. Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.
586(stage directions)34 Storm still.
58734LEARWhy, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st 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! Come, unbutton here.
588(stage directions)34 [Tears at his clothes.]
58934FOOLPrithee, 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.
590(stage directions)34 Enter Gloucester with a torch.
59134EDGThis 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 harelip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth. Saint Withold footed thrice the 'old; He met the nightmare, and her nine fold; Bid her alight And her troth plight, And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
59234KENTHow fares your Grace?
59334LEARWhat's he?
59434KENTWho's there? What is't you seek?
59534GLOUWhat are you there? Your names?
59634EDGPoor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole, 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 whipp'd from tithing to tithing, and stock-punish'd and imprison'd; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to wear; But mice and rats, and such small deer, Have been Tom's food for seven long year. Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin! peace, thou fiend!
59734GLOUWhat, hath your Grace no better company?
59834EDGThe prince of darkness is a gentleman! Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
59934GLOUOur flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord, That it doth hate what gets it.
60034EDGPoor Tom 's acold.
60134GLOUGo in with me. My duty cannot suffer T' obey in all your daughters' hard commands. Though their injunction be to bar my doors And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you, Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
60234LEARFirst let me talk with this philosopher. What is the cause of thunder?
60334KENTGood my lord, take his offer; go into th' house.
60434LEARI'll talk a word with this same learned Theban. What is your study?
60534EDGHow to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.
60634LEARLet me ask you one word in private.
60734KENTImportune him once more to go, my lord. His wits begin t' unsettle.
60834GLOUCanst thou blame him? [Storm still.] His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent! He said it would be thus- poor banish'd man! Thou 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 lov'd him, friend- No father his son dearer. True to tell thee, The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night 's this! I do beseech your Grace-
60934LEARO, cry you mercy, sir. Noble philosopher, your company.
61034EDGTom's acold.
61134GLOUIn, fellow, there, into th' hovel; keep thee warm.
61234LEARCome, let's in all.
61334KENTThis way, my lord.
61434LEARWith him! I will keep still with my philosopher.
61534KENTGood my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
61634GLOUTake him you on.
61734KENTSirrah, come on; go along with us.
61834LEARCome, good Athenian.
61934GLOUNo words, no words! hush.
62034EDGChild Rowland to the dark tower came; His word was still Fie, foh, and fum! I smell the blood of a British man.
621(stage directions)34 Exeunt.
622(stage directions)35Enter Cornwall and Edmund.
62335CORNI will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
62435EDMHow, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
62535CORNI now perceive it was not altogether your brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set awork by a reproveable badness in himself.
62635EDMHow malicious is my fortune that I must repent to be 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!
62735CORNGo with me to the Duchess.
62835EDMIf the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
62935CORNTrue or false, it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
63035EDM[aside] If I find him comforting the King, it will stuff his suspicion more fully.- I will persever in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
63135CORNI will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love.
632(stage directions)35 Exeunt.
633(stage directions)36Enter Gloucester, Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar.
63436GLOUHere 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.
63536KENTAll the power of his wits have given way to his impatience. The gods reward your kindness!
636(stage directions)36 Exit [Gloucester].
63736EDGFrateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
63836FOOLPrithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman.
63936LEARA king, a king!
64036FOOLNo, 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.
64136LEARTo have a thousand with red burning spits Come hizzing in upon 'em-
64236EDGThe foul fiend bites my back.
64336FOOLHe's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
64436LEARIt shall be done; I will arraign them straight. [To Edgar] Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer. [To the Fool] Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes!
64536EDGLook, where he stands and glares! Want'st thou eyes at trial, madam? Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me.
64636FOOLHer boat hath a leak, And she must not speak Why she dares not come over to thee.
64736EDGThe foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee.
64836KENTHow do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd. Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
64936LEARI'll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence. [To Edgar] Thou, robed man of justice, take thy place. [To the Fool] And thou, his yokefellow of equity, Bench by his side. [To Kent] You are o' th' commission, Sit you too.
65036EDGLet us deal justly. Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd? Thy sheep be in the corn; And for one blast of thy minikin mouth Thy sheep shall take no harm. Purr! the cat is gray.
65136LEARArraign her first. 'Tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor King her father.
65236FOOLCome hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
65336LEARShe cannot deny it.
65436FOOLCry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
65536LEARAnd here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim What store her heart is made on. Stop her there! Arms, arms! sword! fire! Corruption in the place! False justicer, why hast thou let her scape?
65636EDGBless thy five wits!
65736KENTO pity! Sir, where is the patience now That you so oft have boasted to retain?
65836EDG[aside] My tears begin to take his part so much They'll mar my counterfeiting.
65936LEARThe little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.
66036EDGTom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs! Be thy mouth or black or white, Tooth that poisons if it bite; Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim, Hound or spaniel, brach or lym, Bobtail tyke or trundle-tail- Tom 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.
66136LEARThen let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts? [To Edgar] You, sir- I entertain you for one of my hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You'll say they are Persian attire; but let them be chang'd.
66236KENTNow, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
66336LEARMake no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains. So, so, so. We'll go to supper i' th' morning. So, so, so.
66436FOOLAnd I'll go to bed at noon.
665(stage directions)36 Enter Gloucester.
66636GLOUCome hither, friend. Where is the King my master?
66736KENTHere, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.
66836GLOUGood 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 And 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! And follow me, that will to some provision Give thee quick conduct.
66936KENTOppressed nature sleeps. This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses, Which, if convenience will not allow, Stand in hard cure. [To the Fool] Come, help to bear thy master. Thou must not stay behind.
67036GLOUCome, come, away!
671(stage directions)36 Exeunt [all but Edgar].
67236EDGWhen we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers suffers most i' th' mind, Leaving free things and happy shows behind; But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship. How light and portable my pain seems now, When that which makes me bend makes the King bow, He childed as I fathered! Tom, away! Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee, In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee. What will hap more to-night, safe scape the King! Lurk, lurk. [Exit.]
67337CORN[to Goneril] Post speedily to my lord your husband, show him this letter. The army of France is landed.- Seek out the traitor Gloucester.
674(stage directions)37 [Exeunt some of the Servants.]
67537REGHang him instantly.
67637GONPluck out his eyes.
67737CORNLeave 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 a 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. [Enter Oswald the Steward.] How now? Where's the King?
67837OSWMy 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 lord's dependants, Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast To have well-armed friends.
67937CORNGet horses for your mistress.
68037GONFarewell, sweet lord, and sister.
68137CORNEdmund, farewell. [Exeunt Goneril, Edmund, and Oswald.] Go seek the traitor Gloucester, Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us. [Exeunt other Servants.] Though well we may not pass upon his life Without the form of justice, yet our power Shall do a court'sy to our wrath, which men May blame, but not control. [Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three.] Who's there? the traitor?
68237REGIngrateful fox! 'tis he.
68337CORNBind fast his corky arms.
68437GLOUWhat mean, your Graces? Good my friends, consider You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.
68537CORNBind him, I say.
686(stage directions)37 [Servants bind him.]
68737REGHard, hard. O filthy traitor!
68837GLOUUnmerciful lady as you are, I am none.
68937CORNTo this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find-
690(stage directions)37 [Regan plucks his beard.]
69137GLOUBy the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done To pluck me by the beard.
69237REGSo white, and such a traitor!
69337GLOUNaughty lady, These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin Will quicken, and accuse thee. I am your host. With robber's hands my hospitable favours You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
69437CORNCome, sir, what letters had you late from France?
69537REGBe simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.
69637CORNAnd what confederacy have you with the traitors Late footed in the kingdom?
69737REGTo whose hands have you sent the lunatic King? Speak.
69837GLOUI have a letter guessingly set down, Which came from one that's of a neutral heart, And not from one oppos'd.
70037REGAnd false.
70137CORNWhere hast thou sent the King?
70237GLOUTo Dover.
70337REGWherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at peril-
70437CORNWherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.
70537GLOUI am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.
70637REGWherefore to Dover, sir?
70737GLOUBecause I would not see thy cruel nails Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs. The sea, with such a storm as his bare head In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up And quench'd the steeled fires. Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain. If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time, Thou shouldst have said, 'Good porter, turn the key.' All cruels else subscrib'd. But I shall see The winged vengeance overtake such children.
70837CORNSee't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair. Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.
70937GLOUHe that will think to live till he be old, Give me some help!- O cruel! O ye gods!
71037REGOne side will mock another. Th' other too!
71137CORNIf you see vengeance-
71237SERV1Hold your hand, my lord! I have serv'd you ever since I was a child; But better service have I never done you Than now to bid you hold.
71337REGHow now, you dog?
71437SERV1If you did wear a beard upon your chin, I'ld shake it on this quarrel.
71537REGWhat do you mean?
71637CORNMy villain! Draw and fight.
71737SERV1Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
71837REGGive me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus? She takes a sword and runs at him behind.
71937SERV1O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left To see some mischief on him. O! He dies.
72037CORNLest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now?
72137GLOUAll dark and comfortless! Where's my son Edmund? Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature To quit this horrid act.
72237REGOut, 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.
72337GLOUO my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd. Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
72437REGGo thrust him out at gates, and let him smell His way to Dover. [Exit one with Gloucester.] How is't, my lord? How look you?
72537CORNI have receiv'd 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.
726(stage directions)37 Exit [Cornwall, led by Regan].
72737SERV2I'll never care what wickedness I do, If this man come to good.
72837SERV3If she live long, And in the end meet the old course of death, Women will all turn monsters.
72937SERV2Let's follow the old Earl, and get the bedlam To lead him where he would. His roguish madness Allows itself to anything.
73037SERV3Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!
731(stage directions)37 Exeunt.
732(stage directions)41Enter Edgar.
73341EDGYet better thus, and known to be contemn'd, Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst, The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune, Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear. The lamentable change is from the best; The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then, Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace! The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst Owes nothing to thy blasts. [Enter Gloucester, led by an Old Man.] But who comes here? My father, poorly led? World, world, O world! But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee, Life would not yield to age.
73441OLD MANO my good lord, I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant, These fourscore years.
73541GLOUAway, get thee away! Good friend, be gone. Thy comforts can do me no good at all; Thee they may hurt.
73641OLD MANYou cannot see your way.
73741GLOUI have no way, and therefore want no eyes; I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen Our means secure us, and our mere defects Prove our commodities. Ah dear son Edgar, The food of thy abused father's wrath! Might I but live to see thee in my touch, I'ld say I had eyes again!
73841OLD MANHow now? Who's there?
73941EDG[aside] O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at the worst'? I am worse than e'er I was.
74041OLD MAN'Tis poor mad Tom.
74141EDG[aside] And worse I may be yet. The worst is not So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'
74241OLD MANFellow, where goest?
74341GLOUIs it a beggarman?
74441OLD MANMadman and beggar too.
74541GLOUHe has some reason, else he could not beg. I' th' 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 Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since. As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods. They kill us for their sport.
74641EDG[aside] How should this be? Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow, Ang'ring itself and others.- Bless thee, master!
74741GLOUIs that the naked fellow?
74841OLD MANAy, my lord.
74941GLOUThen prithee get thee gone. If for my sake Thou wilt o'ertake us hence a mile or twain I' th' way toward Dover, do it for ancient love; And bring some covering for this naked soul, Who I'll entreat to lead me.
75041OLD MANAlack, sir, he is mad!
75141GLOU'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind. Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure. Above the rest, be gone.
75241OLD MANI'll bring him the best 'parel that I have, Come on't what will. Exit.
75341GLOUSirrah naked fellow-
75441EDGPoor Tom's acold. [Aside] I cannot daub it further.
75541GLOUCome hither, fellow.
75641EDG[aside] And yet I must.- Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.
75741GLOUKnow'st thou the way to Dover?
75841EDGBoth stile and gate, horseway and footpath. Poor Tom hath been scar'd 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 Obidicut; 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!
75941GLOUHere, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues Have 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 does not feel, feel your pow'r quickly; So distribution should undo excess, And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
76041EDGAy, master.
76141GLOUThere is a cliff, whose high and bending head Looks fearfully in the confined deep. Bring 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.
76241EDGGive me thy arm. Poor Tom shall lead thee.
763(stage directions)41 Exeunt.
764(stage directions)42Enter Goneril and [Edmund the] Bastard.
76542GONWelcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband Not met us on the way. [Enter Oswald the Steward.] Now, where's your master?
76642OSWMadam, within, but never man so chang'd. I told him of the army that was landed: He smil'd 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 And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out. What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him; What like, offensive.
76742GON[to Edmund] Then shall you go no further. It is the cowish terror of his spirit, That 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 pow'rs. I must change arms at home and give the distaff Into 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. [Gives a favour.] Spare speech. Decline your head. This kiss, if it durst speak, Would stretch thy spirits up into the air. Conceive, and fare thee well.
76842EDMYours in the ranks of death! Exit.
76942GONMy most dear Gloucester! O, the difference of man and man! To thee a woman's services are due; My fool usurps my body.
77042OSWMadam, here comes my lord. Exit.
771(stage directions)42 Enter Albany.
77242GONI have been worth the whistle.
77342ALBO Goneril, You are not worth the dust which the rude wind Blows in your face! I fear your disposition. That nature which contemns it origin Cannot be bordered certain in itself. She that herself will sliver and disbranch From her material sap, perforce must wither And come to deadly use.
77442GONNo more! The text is foolish.
77542ALBWisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile; Filths savour but themselves. What have you done? Tigers, 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? A 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, Like monsters of the deep.
77642GONMilk-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 Fools 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 state begins to threat, Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest 'Alack, why does he so?'
77742ALBSee thyself, devil! Proper deformity seems not in the fiend So horrid as in woman.
77842GONO vain fool!
77942ALBThou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame! Bemonster 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, A woman's shape doth shield thee.
78042GONMarry, your manhood mew!
781(stage directions)42 Enter a Gentleman.
78242ALBWhat news?
78342GENTO, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall 's dead, Slain by his servant, going to put out The other eye of Gloucester.
78442ALBGloucester's eyes?
78542GENTA servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse, Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword To his great master; who, thereat enrag'd, Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead; But not without that harmful stroke which since Hath pluck'd him after.
78642ALBThis shows you are above, You justicers, that these our nether crimes So speedily can venge! But O poor Gloucester! Lose he his other eye?
78742GENTBoth, both, my lord. This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer. 'Tis from your sister.
78842GON[aside] 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. Exit.
78942ALBWhere was his son when they did take his eyes?
79042GENTCome with my lady hither.
79142ALBHe is not here.
79242GENTNo, my good lord; I met him back again.
79342ALBKnows he the wickedness?
79442GENTAy, my good lord. 'Twas he inform'd against him, And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment Might have the freer course.
79542ALBGloucester, I live To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the King, And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend. Tell me what more thou know'st.
796(stage directions)42 Exeunt.
797(stage directions)43Enter Kent and a Gentleman.
79843KENTWhy the King of France is so suddenly gone back know you the reason?
79943GENTSomething he left imperfect in the state, which since his coming forth is thought of, which imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger that his personal return was most required and necessary.
80043KENTWho hath he left behind him general?
80143GENTThe Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.
80243KENTDid your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration of grief?
80343GENTAy, 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 Over her passion, who, most rebel-like, Sought to be king o'er her.
80443KENTO, then it mov'd her?
80543GENTNot to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove Who should express her goodliest. You have seen Sunshine 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, Sorrow would be a rarity most belov'd, If all could so become it.
80643KENTMade she no verbal question?
80743GENTFaith, once or twice she heav'd the name of father Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart; Cried 'Sisters, sisters! Shame of ladies! Sisters! Kent! father! sisters! What, i' th' storm? i' th' night? Let pity not be believ'd!' There she shook The holy water from her heavenly eyes, And clamour moisten'd. Then away she started To deal with grief alone.
80843KENTIt 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?
81043KENTWas this before the King return'd?
81143GENTNo, since.
81243KENTWell, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' th' town; Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers What we are come about, and by no means Will yield to see his daughter.
81343GENTWhy, good sir?
81443KENTA sovereign shame so elbows him; his own unkindness, That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her To 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.
81543GENTAlack, poor gentleman!
81643KENTOf Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?
81743GENT'Tis so; they are afoot.
81843KENTWell, 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. When I am known aright, you shall not grieve Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you go Along with me. Exeunt.
819(stage directions)44Enter, with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Doctor, and Soldiers.
82044CORAlack, '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 harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo flow'rs, Darnel, 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. [Exit an Officer.] What can man's wisdom In the restoring his bereaved sense? He that helps him take all my outward worth.
82144DOCTThere is means, madam. Our foster nurse of nature is repose, The which he lacks. That to provoke in him Are many simples operative, whose power Will close the eye of anguish.
82244CORAll blest secrets, All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth, Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate In the good man's distress! Seek, seek for him! Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life That wants the means to lead it.
823(stage directions)44 Enter Messenger.
82444MESSNews, madam. The British pow'rs are marching hitherward.
82544COR'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. No blown ambition doth our arms incite, But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right. Soon may I hear and see him!
826(stage directions)44 Exeunt.
827(stage directions)45Enter Regan and [Oswald the] Steward.
82845REGBut are my brother's pow'rs set forth?
82945OSWAy, madam.
83045REGHimself in person there?
83145OSWMadam, with much ado. Your sister is the better soldier.
83245REGLord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
83345OSWNo, madam.
83445REGWhat might import my sister's letter to him?
83545OSWI know not, lady.
83645REGFaith, 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 His nighted life; moreover, to descry The strength o' th' enemy.
83745OSWI must needs after him, madam, with my letter.
83845REGOur troops set forth to-morrow. Stay with us. The ways are dangerous.
83945OSWI may not, madam. My lady charg'd my duty in this business.
84045REGWhy should she write to Edmund? Might not you Transport her purposes by word? Belike, Something- I know not what- I'll love thee much- Let me unseal the letter.
84145OSWMadam, I had rather-
84245REGI know your lady does not love her husband; I am sure of that; and at her late being here She gave strange eyeliads and most speaking looks To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.
84345OSWI, madam?
84445REGI speak in understanding. Y'are! I know't. Therefore I do advise you take this note. My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd, And 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. So farewell. If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor, Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
84545OSWWould I could meet him, madam! I should show What party I do follow.
84645REGFare thee well. Exeunt.
84746GLOUWhen shall I come to th' top of that same hill?
84846EDGYou do climb up it now. Look how we labour.
84946GLOUMethinks the ground is even.
85046EDGHorrible steep. Hark, do you hear the sea?
85146GLOUNo, truly.
85246EDGWhy, then, your other senses grow imperfect By your eyes' anguish.
85346GLOUSo may it be indeed. Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st In better phrase and matter than thou didst.
85446EDGY'are much deceiv'd. In nothing am I chang'd But in my garments.
85546GLOUMethinks y'are better spoken.
85646EDGCome 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. Halfway down Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade! Methinks 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 That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more, Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple down headlong.
85746GLOUSet me where you stand.
85846EDGGive me your hand. You are now within a foot Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon Would I not leap upright.
85946GLOULet go my hand. Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off; Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
86046EDGNow fare ye well, good sir.
86146GLOUWith all my heart.
86246EDG[aside]. Why I do trifle thus with his despair Is done to cure it.
86346GLOUO you mighty gods! He kneels. This world I do renounce, and, in your sights, Shake patiently my great affliction off. If I could bear it longer and not fall To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, My snuff and loathed part of nature should Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him! Now, fellow, fare thee well. He falls [forward and swoons].
86446EDGGone, 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? Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir? Speak!- Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives. What are you, sir?
86546GLOUAway, and let me die.
86646EDGHadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air, So many fadom 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. Thy life is a miracle. Speak yet again.
86746GLOUBut have I fall'n, or no?
86846EDGFrom the dread summit of this chalky bourn. Look up a-height. The shrill-gorg'd lark so far Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.
86946GLOUAlack, I have no eyes! Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage And frustrate his proud will.
87046EDGGive me your arm. Up- so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.
87146GLOUToo well, too well.
87246EDGThis is above all strangeness. Upon the crown o' th' cliff what thing was that Which parted from you?
87346GLOUA poor unfortunate beggar.
87446EDGAs I stood here below, methought his eyes Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea. It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father, Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.
87546GLOUI do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear Affliction till it do cry out itself '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.
87646EDGBear free and patient thoughts. Enter Lear, mad, [fantastically dressed with weeds]. But who comes here? The safer sense will ne'er accommodate His master thus.
87746LEARNo, they cannot touch me for coming; I am the King himself.
87846EDGO thou side-piercing sight!
87946LEARNature 's above art in that respect. There's your press 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 flown, bird! i' th' clout, i' th' clout! Hewgh! Give the word.
88046EDGSweet marjoram.
88246GLOUI know that voice.
88346LEARHa! Goneril with a white beard? They flatter'd 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 everything I said! 'Ay' and 'no' too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet 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 everything. 'Tis a lie- I am not ague-proof.
88446GLOUThe trick of that voice I do well remember. Is't not the King?
88546LEARAy, every inch a king! When I do stare, see how the subject quakes. I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery? Thou 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 Got 'tween the lawful sheets. To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers. Behold yond simp'ring dame, Whose face between her forks presageth snow, That minces virtue, and does shake the head To 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. But to the girdle do the gods inherit, Beneath is all the fiend's. There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench, consumption. Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination. There's money for thee.
88646GLOUO, let me kiss that hand!
88746LEARLet me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
88846GLOUO ruin'd piece of nature! This great world Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?
88946LEARI 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 penning of it.
89046GLOUWere all the letters suns, I could not see one.
89146EDG[aside] I would not take this from report. It is, And my heart breaks at it.
89346GLOUWhat, with the case of eyes?
89446LEARO, 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.
89546GLOUI see it feelingly.
89646LEARWhat, art mad? A man may see how the 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 is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar?
89746GLOUAy, sir.
89846LEARAnd the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office. Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand! Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back. Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind For which thou whip'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener. Through 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 pygmy's straw does pierce it. None does offend, none- I say none! I'll able 'em. Take that of me, my friend, who have the power To seal th' 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.
89946EDGO, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason, in madness!
90046LEARIf 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 We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee. Mark.
90146GLOUAlack, alack the day!
90246LEARWhen 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 A 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!
903(stage directions)46 Enter a Gentleman [with Attendants].
90446GENTO, here he is! Lay hand upon him.- Sir, Your most dear daughter-
90546LEARNo rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even The natural fool of fortune. Use me well; You shall have ransom. Let me have a surgeon; I am cut to th' brains.
90646GENTYou shall have anything.
90746LEARNo seconds? All myself? Why, this would make a man a man of salt, To use his eyes for garden waterpots, Ay, and laying autumn's dust.
90846GENTGood sir-
90946LEARI will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom. What! I will be jovial. Come, come, I am a king; My masters, know you that?
91046GENTYou are a royal one, and we obey you.
91146LEARThen there's life in't. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa!
912(stage directions)46 Exit running. [Attendants follow.]
91346GENTA 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.
91446EDGHail, gentle sir.
91546GENTSir, speed you. What's your will?
91646EDGDo you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?
91746GENTMost sure and vulgar. Every one hears that Which can distinguish sound.
91846EDGBut, by your favour, How near's the other army?
91946GENTNear and on speedy foot. The main descry Stands on the hourly thought.
92046EDGI thank you sir. That's all.
92146GENTThough that the Queen on special cause is here, Her army is mov'd on.
92246EDGI thank you, sir
923(stage directions)46 Exit [Gentleman].
92446GLOUYou ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me; Let not my worser spirit tempt me again To die before you please!
92546EDGWell pray you, father.
92646GLOUNow, good sir, what are you?
92746EDGA most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows, Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows, Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand; I'll lead you to some biding.
92846GLOUHearty thanks. The bounty and the benison of heaven To boot, and boot!
929(stage directions)46 Enter [Oswald the] Steward.
93046OSWA proclaim'd prize! Most happy! That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor, Briefly thyself remember. The sword is out That must destroy thee.
93146GLOUNow let thy friendly hand Put strength enough to't.
932(stage directions)46 [Edgar interposes.]
93346OSWWherefore, bold peasant, Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence! Lest that th' infection of his fortune take Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
93446EDGChill not let go, zir, without vurther 'cagion.
93546OSWLet go, slave, or thou diest!
93646EDGGood gentleman, go your gait, and let poor voke pass. An chud ha' bin zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near th' old man. Keep out, che vore ye, or Ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder. Chill be plain with you.
93746OSWOut, dunghill!
938(stage directions)46 They fight.
93946EDGChill pick your teeth, zir. Come! No matter vor your foins.
940(stage directions)46 [Oswald falls.]
94146OSWSlave, 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 To Edmund Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out Upon the British party. O, untimely death! Death!
942(stage directions)46 He dies.
94346EDGI know thee well. A serviceable villain, As duteous to the vices of thy mistress As badness would desire.
94446GLOUWhat, is he dead?
94546EDGSit you down, father; rest you. Let's see his pockets; these letters that he speaks of May be my friends. He's dead. I am only sorry He had no other deathsman. Let us see. Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not. To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts; Their papers, is more lawful. Reads the letter. 'Let our reciprocal vows be rememb'red. You have many opportunities to cut him off. If your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror. Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my jail; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour. 'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant, 'Goneril.' O indistinguish'd space of woman's will! A plot upon her virtuous husband's life, And the exchange my brother! Here in the sands Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified Of murtherous lechers; and in the mature time With this ungracious paper strike the sight Of the death-practis'd Duke, For him 'tis well That of thy death and business I can tell.
94646GLOUThe 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, And woes by wrong imaginations lose The knowledge of themselves.
947(stage directions)46 A drum afar off.
94846EDGGive me your hand. Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum. Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend. Exeunt.
949(stage directions)47Enter Cordelia, Kent, Doctor, and Gentleman.
95047CORO thou good Kent, how shall I live and work To match thy goodness? My life will be too short And every measure fail me.
95147KENTTo be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid. All my reports go with the modest truth; Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
95247CORBe better suited. These weeds are memories of those worser hours. I prithee put them off.
95347KENTPardon, 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.
95447CORThen be't so, my good lord. [To the Doctor] How, does the King?
95547DOCTMadam, sleeps still.
95647CORO you kind gods, Cure this great breach in his abused nature! Th' untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up Of this child-changed father!
95747DOCTSo please your Majesty That we may wake the King? He hath slept long.
95847CORBe govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed I' th' sway of your own will. Is he array'd?
959(stage directions)47 Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.
96047GENTAy, madam. In the heaviness of sleep We put fresh garments on him.
96147DOCTBe by, good madam, when we do awake him. I doubt not of his temperance.
96247CORVery well.
963(stage directions)47 Music.
96447DOCTPlease you draw near. Louder the music there!
96547CORO 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!
96647KENTKind and dear princess!
96747CORHad you not been their father, these white flakes Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face To be oppos'd against the warring winds? To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder? In 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, To 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.
96847DOCTMadam, do you; 'tis fittest.
96947CORHow does my royal lord? How fares your Majesty?
97047LEARYou do me wrong to take me out o' th' grave. Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears Do scald like molten lead.
97147CORSir, do you know me?
97247LEARYou are a spirit, I know. When did you die?
97347CORStill, still, far wide!
97447DOCTHe's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.
97547LEARWhere have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight, I am mightily abus'd. 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 assur'd Of my condition!
97647CORO, look upon me, sir, And hold your hands in benediction o'er me. No, sir, you must not kneel.
97747LEARPray, do not mock me. I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore 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 What 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.
97847CORAnd so I am! I am!
97947LEARBe 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. You have some cause, they have not.
98047CORNo cause, no cause.
98147LEARAm I in France?
98247KENTIn your own kingdom, sir.
98347LEARDo not abuse me.
98447DOCTBe 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.
98547CORWill't please your Highness walk?
98647LEARYou must bear with me. Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.
987(stage directions)47 Exeunt. Manent Kent and Gentleman.
98847GENTHolds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?
98947KENTMost certain, sir.
99047GENTWho is conductor of his people?
99147KENTAs 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.
99247GENTThey say Edgar, his banish'd son, is with the Earl of Kent in Germany.
99347KENTReport is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of the kingdom approach apace.
99447GENTThe arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you well, sir. [Exit.]
99547KENTMy point and period will be throughly wrought, Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought. Exit.
996(stage directions)51Enter, with Drum and Colours, Edmund, Regan, Gentleman, and Soldiers.
99751EDMKnow of the Duke if his last purpose hold, Or whether since he is advis'd by aught To change the course. He's full of alteration And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure.
998(stage directions)51 [Exit an Officer.]
99951REGOur sister's man is certainly miscarried.
100051EDMTis to be doubted, madam.
100151REGNow, sweet lord, You know the goodness I intend upon you. Tell me- but truly- but then speak the truth- Do you not love my sister?
100251EDMIn honour'd love.
100351REGBut have you never found my brother's way To the forfended place?
100451EDMThat thought abuses you.
100551REGI am doubtful that you have been conjunct And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
100651EDMNo, by mine honour, madam.
100751REGI never shall endure her. Dear my lord, Be not familiar with her.
100851EDMFear me not. She and the Duke her husband! Enter, with Drum and Colours, Albany, Goneril, Soldiers.
100951GON[aside] I had rather lose the battle than that sister Should loosen him and me.
101051ALBOur very loving sister, well bemet. Sir, this I hear: the King is come to his daughter, With others whom the rigour of our state Forc'd to cry out. Where I could not be honest, I never yet was valiant. For this business, It toucheth us as France invades our land, Not bolds the King, with others whom, I fear, Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
101151EDMSir, you speak nobly.
101251REGWhy is this reason'd?
101351GONCombine together 'gainst the enemy; For these domestic and particular broils Are not the question here.
101451ALBLet's then determine With th' ancient of war on our proceeding.
101551EDMI shall attend you presently at your tent.
101651REGSister, you'll go with us?
101851REG'Tis most convenient. Pray you go with us.
101951GON[aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.- I will go. [As they are going out,] enter Edgar [disguised].
102051EDGIf e'er your Grace had speech with man so poor, Hear me one word.
102151ALBI'll overtake you.- Speak.
1022(stage directions)51 Exeunt [all but Albany and Edgar].
102351EDGBefore you fight the battle, ope this letter. If you have victory, let the trumpet sound For 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!
102451ALBStay till I have read the letter.
102551EDGI was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again.
102651ALBWhy, fare thee well. I will o'erlook thy paper.
1027(stage directions)51 Exit [Edgar].
1028(stage directions)51 Enter Edmund.
102951EDMThe 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 urg'd on you.
103051ALBWe will greet the time. Exit.
103151EDMTo 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 Exasperates, 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 His 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. Exit.
1032(stage directions)52Enter, with Drum and Colours, the Powers of France over the stage, Cordelia with her Father in her hand, and exeunt. Enter Edgar and Gloucester.
103352EDGHere, 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.
103452GLOUGrace go with you, sir!
1035(stage directions)52 Exit [Edgar].
1036(stage directions)52 Alarum and retreat within. Enter Edgar,
103752EDGAway, old man! give me thy hand! away! King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en. Give me thy hand! come on!
103852GLOUNo further, sir. A man may rot even here.
103952EDGWhat, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure Their going hence, even as their coming hither; Ripeness is all. Come on.
104052GLOUAnd that's true too. Exeunt.
1041(stage directions)53Enter, in conquest, with Drum and Colours, Edmund; Lear and Cordelia as prisoners; Soldiers, Captain.
104253EDMSome officers take them away. Good guard Until their greater pleasures first be known That are to censure them.
104353CORWe are not the first Who with best meaning have incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else outfrown false Fortune's frown. Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?
104453LEARNo, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison. We two alone will sing like birds i' th' 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 Talk 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 That ebb and flow by th' moon.
104553EDMTake them away.
104653LEARUpon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee? He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes. The goodyears shall devour 'em, flesh and fell, Ere they shall make us weep! We'll see 'em starv'd first. Come. Exeunt [Lear and Cordelia, guarded].
104753EDMCome hither, Captain; hark. Take thou this note [gives a paper]. Go follow them to prison. One step I have advanc'd thee. If thou dost As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way To noble fortunes. Know thou this, that men Are 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.
104853CAPTI'll do't, my lord.
104953EDMAbout it! and write happy when th' hast done. Mark- I say, instantly; and carry it so As I have set it down.
105053CAPTI cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I'll do't. Exit.
1051(stage directions)53 Flourish. Enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Soldiers.
105253ALBSir, you have show'd to-day your valiant strain, And fortune led you well. You have the captives Who 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 May equally determine.
105353EDMSir, 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, To pluck the common bosom on his side And 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, t' appear Where 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 curs'd By those that feel their sharpness. The question of Cordelia and her father Requires a fitter place.
105453ALBSir, by your patience, I hold you but a subject of this war, Not as a brother.
105553REGThat's as we list to grace him. Methinks 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.
105653GONNot so hot! In his own grace he doth exalt himself More than in your addition.
105753REGIn my rights By me invested, he compeers the best.
105853GONThat were the most if he should husband you.
105953REGJesters do oft prove prophets.
106053GONHolla, holla! That eye that told you so look'd but asquint.
106153REGLady, I am not well; else I should answer From 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.
106253GONMean you to enjoy him?
106353ALBThe let-alone lies not in your good will.
106453EDMNor in thine, lord.
106553ALBHalf-blooded fellow, yes.
106653REG[to Edmund] Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
106753ALBStay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee On capital treason; and, in thine attaint, This gilded serpent [points to Goneril]. For your claim, fair sister, I bar it in the interest of my wife. 'Tis she is subcontracted to this lord, And I, her husband, contradict your banes. If you will marry, make your loves to me; My lady is bespoke.
106853GONAn interlude!
106953ALBThou art arm'd, Gloucester. Let the trumpet sound. If none appear to prove upon thy person Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons, There is my pledge [throws down a glove]! I'll prove it on thy heart, Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
107053REGSick, O, sick!
107153GON[aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.
107253EDMThere's my exchange [throws down a glove]. What 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.
107353ALBA herald, ho!
107453EDMA herald, ho, a herald!
107553ALBTrust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers, All levied in my name, have in my name Took their discharge.
107653REGMy sickness grows upon me.
107753ALBShe is not well. Convey her to my tent. [Exit Regan, led. Enter a Herald.] Come hither, herald. Let the trumpet sound, And read out this.
107853CAPTSound, trumpet! A trumpet sounds.
107953HER[reads] '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.'
108053EDMSound! First trumpet.
108153HERAgain! Second trumpet.
108253HERAgain! Third trumpet.
1083(stage directions)53 Trumpet answers within.
1084(stage directions)53Enter Edgar, armed, at the third sound, a Trumpet before him.
108553ALBAsk him his purposes, why he appears Upon this call o' th' trumpet.
108653HERWhat are you? Your name, your quality? and why you answer This present summons?
108753EDGKnow my name is lost; By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit. Yet am I noble as the adversary I come to cope.
108853ALBWhich is that adversary?
108953EDGWhat's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?
109053EDMHimself. What say'st thou to him?
109153EDGDraw 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- Maugre 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; And from th' extremest upward of thy head To the descent and dust beneath 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, Thou liest.
109253EDMIn 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 By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn. Back do I toss those 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 Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak!
1093(stage directions)53 Alarums. Fight. [Edmund falls.]
109453ALBSave him, save him!
109553GONThis is mere practice, Gloucester. By th' law of arms thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite. Thou art not vanquish'd, But cozen'd and beguil'd.
109653ALBShut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it. [Shows her her letter to Edmund.]- [To Edmund]. Hold, sir. [To Goneril] Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil. No tearing, lady! I perceive you know it.
109753GONSay if I do- the laws are mine, not thine. Who can arraign me for't?
109853ALBMost monstrous! Know'st thou this paper?
109953GONAsk me not what I know. Exit.
110053ALBGo after her. She's desperate; govern her.
1101(stage directions)53 [Exit an Officer.]
110253EDMWhat, you have charg'd 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, I do forgive thee.
110353EDGLet's exchange charity. I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund; If more, the more th' hast wrong'd me. My name is Edgar and thy father's son. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to scourge us. The dark and vicious place where thee he got Cost him his eyes.
110453EDMTh' hast spoken right; 'tis true. The wheel is come full circle; I am here.
110553ALBMethought 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!
110653EDGWorthy prince, I know't.
110753ALBWhere have you hid yourself? How have you known the miseries of your father?
110853EDGBy nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale; And when 'tis told, O that my heart would burst! The bloody proclamation to escape That follow'd me so near (O, our lives' sweetness! That with the pain of death would hourly die Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift Into a madman's rags, t' assume a semblance That 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, sav'd him from despair; Never (O fault!) reveal'd myself unto him Until 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!) 'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief, Burst smilingly.
110953EDMThis speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall perchance do good; but speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.
111053ALBIf there be more, more woful, hold it in; For I am almost ready to dissolve, Hearing of this.
111153EDGThis would have seem'd a period To such as love not sorrow; but another, To amplify too much, would make much more, And top extremity. Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man, Who, having seen me in my worst estate, Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms He fastened on my neck, and bellowed out As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father; Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him That ever ear receiv'd; which in recounting His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life Began to crack. Twice then the trumpets sounded, And there I left him tranc'd.
111253ALBBut who was this?
111353EDGKent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise Followed his enemy king and did him service Improper for a slave.
1114(stage directions)53 Enter a Gentleman with a bloody knife.
111553GENTHelp, help! O, help!
111653EDGWhat kind of help?
111753ALBSpeak, man.
111853EDGWhat means that bloody knife?
111953GENT'Tis hot, it smokes. It came even from the heart of- O! she's dead!
112053ALBWho dead? Speak, man.
112153GENTYour lady, sir, your lady! and her sister By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.
112253EDMI was contracted to them both. All three Now marry in an instant.
1123(stage directions)53 Enter Kent.
112453EDGHere comes Kent.
112553ALBProduce their bodies, be they alive or dead. [Exit Gentleman.] This judgement of the heavens, that makes us tremble Touches us not with pity. O, is this he? The time will not allow the compliment That very manners urges.
112653KENTI am come To bid my king and master aye good night. Is he not here?
112753ALBGreat thing of us forgot! Speak, Edmund, where's the King? and where's Cordelia? [The bodies of Goneril and Regan are brought in.] Seest thou this object, Kent?
112853KENTAlack, why thus?
112953EDMYet Edmund was belov'd. The one the other poisoned for my sake, And after slew herself.
113053ALBEven so. Cover their faces.
113153EDMI pant for life. Some good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send (Be brief in't) to the castle; for my writ Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia. Nay, send in time.
113253ALBRun, run, O, run!
113353EDGTo who, my lord? Who has the office? Send Thy token of reprieve.
113453EDMWell thought on. Take my sword; Give it the Captain.
113553ALBHaste thee for thy life. [Exit Edgar.]
113653EDMHe hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison and To lay the blame upon her own despair That she fordid herself.
113753ALBThe gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
1138(stage directions)53 [Edmund is borne off.]
1139(stage directions)53Enter Lear, with Cordelia [dead] in his arms, [Edgar, Captain, and others following].
114053LEARHowl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stone. Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them so That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever! I 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.
114153KENTIs this the promis'd end?
114253EDGOr image of that horror?
114353ALBFall and cease!
114453LEARThis feather stirs; she lives! If it be so, It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows That ever I have felt.
114553KENTO my good master!
114653LEARPrithee away!
114753EDG'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
114853LEARA plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever! Cordelia, 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.
114953CAPT'Tis true, my lords, he did.
115053LEARDid 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' th' best. I'll tell you straight.
115153KENTIf fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated, One of them we behold.
115253LEARThis' a dull sight. Are you not Kent?
115353KENTThe same- Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?
115453LEARHe's a good fellow, I can tell you that. He'll strike, and quickly too. He's dead and rotten.
115553KENTNo, my good lord; I am the very man-
115653LEARI'll see that straight.
115753KENTThat from your first of difference and decay Have followed your sad steps.
115853LEARYou're welcome hither.
115953KENTNor no man else! All's cheerless, dark, and deadly. Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves, And desperately are dead.
116053LEARAy, so I think.
116153ALBHe knows not what he says; and vain is it That we present us to him.
116253EDGVery bootless.
1163(stage directions)53 Enter a Captain.
116453CAPTEdmund is dead, my lord.
116553ALBThat'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, To him our absolute power; [to Edgar and Kent] 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 The cup of their deservings.- O, see, see!
116653LEARAnd 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! Pray you undo this button. Thank you, sir. Do you see this? Look on her! look! her lips! Look there, look there! He dies.
116753EDGHe faints! My lord, my lord!
116853KENTBreak, heart; I prithee break!
116953EDGLook up, my lord.
117053KENTVex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him That would upon the rack of this tough world Stretch him out longer.
117153EDGHe is gone indeed.
117253KENTThe wonder is, he hath endur'd so long. He but usurp'd his life.
117353ALBBear them from hence. Our present business Is general woe. [To Kent and Edgar] Friends of my soul, you twain Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
117453KENTI have a journey, sir, shortly to go. My master calls me; I must not say no.
117553ALBThe weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest have borne most; we that are young Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
1176(stage directions)53 Exeunt with a dead march.
1177(stage directions)53THE END

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