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The Tragedie of King Lear
Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.
Enter KentGloucesterand Edmond.
Kent. I thought the King had more affected the
Duke of Albanythen Cornwall
Glou. It did alwayes seeme so to vs: But
now in the diuision of the Kingdomeit appeares
not which of the Dukes hee valewes
mostfor qualities are so weigh'dthat curiosity in neither
can make choise of eithers moity
Kent. Is not this your Sonmy Lord?
Glou. His breeding Sirhath bin at my charge. I haue
so often blush'd to acknowledge himthat now I am
Kent. I cannot conceiue you
Glou. Sirthis yong Fellowes mother could; wherevpon
she grew round womb'dand had indeede (Sir) a
Sonne for her Cradleere she had a husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndonethe issue of it
being so proper
Glou. But I haue a SonneSirby order of Lawsome
yeere elder then this; whoyet is no deerer in my account
though this Knaue came somthing sawcily to the
world before he was sent for: yet was his Mother fayre
there was good sport at his makingand the horson must
be acknowledged. Doe you know this Noble Gentleman
Edm. Nomy Lord
Glou. My Lord of Kent:
Remember him heereafteras my Honourable Friend
Edm. My seruices to your Lordship
Kent. I must loue youand sue to know you better
Edm. SirI shall study deseruing
Glou. He hath bin out nine yearesand away he shall
againe. The King is comming.
Sennet. Enter King LearCornwallAlbanyGonerillRegan
Lear. Attend the Lords of France & BurgundyGloster
Glou. I shallmy Lord.
Lear. Meane time we shal expresse our darker purpose.
Giue me the Map there. Knowthat we haue diuided
In three our Kingdome: and 'tis our fast intent
To shake all Cares and Businesse from our Age
Conferring them on yonger strengthswhile we
Vnburthen'd crawle toward death. Our son of Cornwal
And you our no lesse louing Sonne of Albany
We haue this houre a constant will to publish
Our daughters seuerall Dowersthat future strife
May be preuented now. The PrincesFrance & Burgundy
Great Riuals in our yongest daughters loue
Long in our Courthaue made their amorous soiourne
And heere are to be answer'd. Tell me my daughters
(Since now we will diuest vs both of Rule
Interest of TerritoryCares of State)
Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most
That weour largest bountie may extend
Where Nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill
Our eldest bornespeake first
Gon. SirI loue you more then word can weild y matter
Deerer then eye-sightspaceand libertie
Beyond what can be valewedrich or rare
No lesse then lifewith gracehealthbeautyhonor:
As much as Childe ere lou'dor Father found.
A loue that makes breath pooreand speech vnable
Beyond all manner of so much I loue you
Cor. What shall Cordelia speake? Loueand be silent
Lear. Of all these bounds euen from this Lineto this
With shadowie Forrestsand with Champains rich'd
With plenteous Riuersand wide-skirted Meades
We make thee Lady. To thine and Albanies issues
Be this perpetuall. What sayes our second Daughter?
Our deerest Reganwife of Cornwall?
Reg. I am made of that selfe-mettle as my Sister
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I finde she names my very deede of loue:
Onely she comes too shortthat I professe
My selfe an enemy to all other ioyes
Which the most precious square of sense professes
And finde I am alone felicitate
In your deere Highnesse loue
Cor. Then poore Cordelia
And yet not sosince I am sure my loue's
More ponderous then my tongue
Lear. To theeand thine hereditarie euer
Remaine this ample third of our faire Kingdome
No lesse in spacevaliditieand pleasure
Then that conferr'd on Gonerill. Now our Ioy
Although our last and least; to whose yong loue
The Vines of Franceand Milke of Burgundie
Striue to be interest. What can you sayto draw
A thirdmore opilent then your Sisters? speake
Cor. Nothing my Lord
Lear. Nothing will come of nothingspeake againe
Cor. Vnhappie that I amI cannot heaue
My heart into my mouth: I loue your Maiesty
According to my bondno more nor lesse
Lear. Howhow Cordelia? Mend your speech a little
Least you may marre your Fortunes
Cor. Good my Lord
You haue begot mebred melou'd me.
I returne those duties backe as are right fit
Obey youLoue youand most Honour you.
Why haue my Sisters Husbandsif they say
They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed
That Lordwhose hand must take my plightshall carry
Halfe my loue with himhalfe my Careand Dutie
Sure I shall neuer marry like my Sisters
Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
Cor. I my good Lord
Lear. So youngand so vntender?
Cor. So young my Lordand true
Lear. Let it be sothy truth then be thy dowre:
For by the sacred radience of the Sunne
The misteries of Heccat and the night:
By all the operation of the Orbes
From whom we do existand cease to be
Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care
Propinquity and property of blood
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetiteshall to my bosome
Be as well neighbour'dpittiedand releeu'd
As thou my sometime Daughter
Kent. Good my Liege
Lear. Peace Kent
Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath
I lou'd her mostand thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight:
So be my graue my peaceas here I giue
Her Fathers heart from her; call Francewho stirres?
Call BurgundyCornwalland Albanie
With my two Daughters Dowresdigest the third
Let pridewhich she cals plainnessemarry her:
I doe inuest you ioyntly with my power
Preheminenceand all the large effects
That troope with Maiesty. Our selfe by Monthly course
With reseruation of an hundred Knights
By you to be sustain'dshall our abode
Make with you by due turneonely we shall retaine
The nameand all th' addition to a King: the Sway
ReuennewExecution of the rest
Beloued Sonnes be yourswhich to confirme
This Coronet part betweene you
Kent. Royall Lear
Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King
Lou'd as my Fatheras my Master follow'd
As my great Patron thought on in my praiers
Le. The bow is bent & drawnemake from the shaft
Kent. Let it fall ratherthough the forke inuade
The region of my heartbe Kent vnmannerly
When Lear is madwhat wouldest thou do old man?
Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake
When power to flattery bowes?
To plainnesse honour's bound
When Maiesty falls to follyreserue thy state
And in thy best consideration checke
This hideous rashnesseanswere my lifemy iudgement:
Thy yongest Daughter do's not loue thee least
Nor are those empty heartedwhose low sounds
Reuerbe no hollownesse
Lear. Kenton thy life no more
Kent. My life I neuer held but as pawne
To wage against thine enemiesnere feare to loose it
Thy safety being motiue
Lear. Out of my sight
Kent. See better Learand let me still remaine
The true blanke of thine eie
Lear. Now by Apollo
Kent. Now by ApolloKing
Thou swear'st thy Gods in vaine
Lear. O Vassall! Miscreant
Alb. Cor. Deare Sir forbeare
Kent. Kill thy Physitionand thy fee bestow
Vpon the foule diseasereuoke thy guift
Or whil'st I can vent clamour from my throate
Ile tell thee thou dost euill
Lea. Heare me recreanton thine allegeance heare me;
That thou hast sought to make vs breake our vowes
Which we durst neuer yet; and with strain'd pride
To come betwixt our sentencesand our power
Whichnor our naturenor our place can beare;
Our potencie made goodtake thy reward.
Fiue dayes we do allot thee for prouision
To shield thee from disasters of the world
And on the sixt to turne thy hated backe
Vpon our kingdome: if on the tenth day following
Thy banisht trunke be found in our Dominions
The moment is thy deathaway. By Iupiter
This shall not be reuok'd
Kent. Fare thee well Kingsith thus thou wilt appeare
Freedome liues henceand banishment is here;
The Gods to their deere shelter take thee Maid
That iustly think'stand hast most rightly said:
And your large speechesmay your deeds approue
That good effects may spring from words of loue:
Thus KentO Princesbids you all adew
Hee'l shape his old coursein a Country new.
Flourish. Enter Gloster with Franceand BurgundyAttendants.
Cor. Heere's France and Burgundymy Noble Lord
Lear. My Lord of Burgundie
We first addresse toward youwho with this King
Hath riuald for our Daughter; what in the least
Will you require in present Dower with her
Or cease your quest of Loue?
Bur. Most Royall Maiesty
I craue no more then hath your Highnesse offer'd
Nor will you tender lesse?
Lear. Right Noble Burgundy
When she was deare to vswe did hold her so
But now her price is fallen: Sirthere she stands
If ought within that little seeming substance
Or all of it with our displeasure piec'd
And nothing more may fitly like your Grace
Shee's thereand she is yours
Bur. I know no answer
Lear. Will you with those infirmities she owes
Vnfriendednew adopted to our hate
Dow'rd with our curseand stranger'd with our oath
Take her orleaue her
Bur. Pardon me Royall Sir
Election makes not vp in such conditions
Le. Then leaue her sirfor by the powre that made me
I tell you all her wealth. For you great King
I would not from your loue make such a stray
To match you where I hatetherefore beseech you
T' auert your liking a more worthier way
Then on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
Almost t' acknowledge hers
Fra. This is most strange
That she whom euen but nowwas your obiect
The argument of your praisebalme of your age
The bestthe deerestshould in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrousto dismantle
So many folds of fauour: sure her offence
Must be of such vnnaturall degree
That monsters it: Or your fore-voucht affection
Fall into taintwhich to beleeue of her
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should neuer plant in me
Cor. I yet beseech your Maiesty.
If for I want that glib and oylie Art
To speake and purpose notsince what I will intend
Ile do't before I speakethat you make knowne
It is no vicious blotmurtheror foulenesse
No vnchaste action or dishonoured step
That hath depriu'd me of your Grace and fauour
But euen for want of thatfor which I am richer
A still soliciting eyeand such a tongue
That I am glad I haue notthough not to haue it
Hath lost me in your liking
Lear. Better thou had'st
Not beene bornethen not t'haue pleas'd me better
Fra. Is it but this? A tardinesse in nature
Which often leaues the history vnspoke
That it intends to do: my Lord of Burgundy
What say you to the Lady? Loue's not loue
When it is mingled with regardsthat stands
Aloofe from th' intire pointwill you haue her?
She is herselfe a Dowrie
Bur. Royall King
Giue but that portion which your selfe propos'd
And here I take Cordelia by the hand
Dutchesse of Burgundie
Lear. NothingI haue sworneI am firme
Bur. I am sorry then you haue so lost a Father
That you must loose a husband
Cor. Peace be with Burgundie
Since that respect and Fortunes are his loue
I shall not be his wife
Fra. Fairest Cordeliathat art most rich being poore
Most choise forsakenand most lou'd despis'd
Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon
Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
GodsGods! 'Tis strangethat from their cold'st neglect
My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
Thy dowrelesse Daughter Kingthrowne to my chance
Is Queene of vsof oursand our faire France:
Not all the Dukes of watrish Burgundy
Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
Bid them farewell Cordeliathough vnkinde
Thou loosest here a better where to finde
Lear. Thou hast her Francelet her be thinefor we
Haue no such Daughternor shall euer see
That face of hers againetherfore be gone
Without our Graceour Loueour Benizon:
Come Noble Burgundie.
Fra. Bid farwell to your Sisters
Cor. The Iewels of our Fatherwith wash'd eies
Cordelia leaues youI know you what you are
And like a Sister am most loth to call
Your faults as they are named. Loue well our Father:
To your professed bosomes I commit him
But yet alasstood I within his Grace
I would prefer him to a better place
So farewell to you both
Regn. Prescribe not vs our dutie
Gon. Let your study
Be to content your Lordwho hath receiu'd you
At Fortunes almesyou haue obedience scanted
And well are worth the want that you haue wanted
Cor. Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides
Who couers faultsat last with shame derides:
Well may you prosper
Fra. Come my faire Cordelia.
Exit France and Cor.
Gon. Sisterit is not little I haue to say
Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both
I thinke our Father will hence to night
Reg. That's most certaineand with you: next moneth with vs
Gon. You see how full of changes his age isthe obseruation
we haue made of it hath beene little; he alwaies
lou'd our Sister mostand with what poore iudgement he
hath now cast her offappeares too grossely
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his ageyet he hath euer but
slenderly knowne himselfe
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but
rashthen must we looke from his ageto receiue not alone
the imperfections of long ingraffed conditionbut
therewithall the vnruly way-wardnessethat infirme and
cholericke yeares bring with them
Reg. Such vnconstant starts are we like to haue from
himas this of Kents banishment
Gon. There is further complement of leaue-taking betweene
France and himpray you let vs sit togetherif our
Father carry authority with such disposition as he beares
this last surrender of his will but offend vs
Reg. We shall further thinke of it
Gon. We must do somethingand i'th' heate.
Bast. Thou Nature art my Goddesseto thy Law
My seruices are boundwherefore should I
Stand in the plague of customeand permit
The curiosity of Nationsto depriue me?
For that I am some twelueor fourteene Moonshines
Lag of a Brother? Why Bastard? Wherefore base?
When my Dimensions are as well compact
My minde as generousand my shape as true
As honest Madams issue? Why brand they vs
With Base? With basenes Bastardie? BaseBase?
Who in the lustie stealth of Naturetake
More compositionand fierce qualitie
Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
Goe to th' creating a whole tribe of Fops
Got 'tweene a sleepeand wake? Well then
Legitimate EdgarI must haue your land
Our Fathers loueis to the Bastard Edmond
As to th' legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.
Wellmy Legittimateif this Letter speed
And my inuention thriueEdmond the base
Shall to'th' Legitimate: I growI prosper:
Now Godsstand vp for Bastards.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus? and France in choller parted?
And the King gone to night? Prescrib'd his powre
Confin'd to exhibition? All this done
Vpon the gad? Edmondhow now? What newes?
Bast. So please your Lordshipnone
Glou. Why so earnestly seeke you to put vp y Letter?
Bast. I know no newesmy Lord
Glou. What Paper were you reading?
Bast. Nothing my Lord
Glou. No? what needed then that terrible dispatch of
it into your Pocket? The quality of nothinghath not
such neede to hide it selfe. Let's see: comeif it bee nothing
I shall not neede Spectacles
Bast. I beseech you Sirpardon mee; it is a Letter
from my Brotherthat I haue not all ore-read; and for so
much as I haue perus'dI finde it not fit for your ore-looking
Glou. Giue me the LetterSir
Bast. I shall offendeither to detaineor giue it:
The Contentsas in part I vnderstand them
Are too blame
Glou. Let's seelet's see
Bast. I hope for my Brothers iustificationhee wrote
this but as an essayor taste of my Vertue
Glou. reads. This policieand reuerence of Agemakes the
world bitter to the best of our times: keepes our Fortunes from
vstill our oldnesse cannot rellish them. I begin to finde an idle
and fond bondagein the oppression of aged tyrannywho swayes
not as it hath powerbut as it is suffer'd. Come to methat of
this I may speake more. If our Father would sleepe till I wak'd
himyou should enioy halfe his Reuennew for euerand liue the
beloued of your Brother. Edgar.
Hum? Conspiracy? Sleepe till I wake himyou should
enioy halfe his Reuennew: my Sonne Edgarhad hee a
hand to write this? A heart and braine to breede it in?
When came you to this? Who brought it?
Bast. It was not brought meemy Lord; there's the
cunning of it. I found it throwne in at the Casement of
Glou. You know the character to be your Brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good my LordI durst swear
it were his: but in respect of thatI would faine thinke it
Glou. It is his
Bast. It is his handmy Lord: but I hope his heart is
not in the Contents
Glo. Has he neuer before sounded you in this busines?
Bast. Neuer my Lord. But I haue heard him oft maintaine
it to be fitthat Sonnes at perfect ageand Fathers
declin'dthe Father should bee as Ward to the Sonand
the Sonne manage his Reuennew
Glou. O Villainvillain: his very opinion in the Letter.
Villaine; worse then brutish: Go sirrahseeke him: Ile
apprehend him. Abhominable Villainewhere is he?
Bast. I do not well know my L[ord]. If it shall please you to
suspend your indignation against my Brothertil you can
deriue from him better testimony of his intentyou shold
run a certaine course: whereif you violently proceed against
himmistaking his purposeit would make a great
gap in your owne Honorand shake in peecesthe heart of
his obedience. I dare pawne downe my life for himthat
he hath writ this to feele my affection to your Honor&
to no other pretence of danger
Glou. Thinke you so?
Bast. If your Honor iudge it meeteI will place you
where you shall heare vs conferre of thisand by an Auricular
assurance haue your satisfactionand that without
any further delaythen this very Euening
Glou. He cannot bee such a Monster. Edmond seeke
him out: winde me into himI pray you: frame the Businesse
after your owne wisedome. I would vnstate my
selfeto be in a due resolution
Bast. I will seeke him Sirpresently: conuey the businesse
as I shall find meanesand acquaint you withall
Glou. These late Eclipses in the Sun and Moone portend
no good to vs: though the wisedome of Nature can
reason it thusand thusyet Nature finds it selfe scourg'd
by the sequent effects. Loue coolesfriendship falls off
Brothers diuide. In Citiesmutinies; in Countriesdiscord;
in PallacesTreason; and the Bond crack'd'twixt
Sonne and Father. This villaine of mine comes vnder the
prediction; there's Son against Fatherthe King fals from
byas of Naturethere's Father against Childe. We haue
seene the best of our time. Machinationshollownesse
treacherieand all ruinous disorders follow vs disquietly
to our Graues. Find out this VillainEdmondit shall lose
thee nothingdo it carefully: and the Noble & true-harted
Kent banish'd; his offencehonesty. 'Tis strange.
Bast. This is the excellent foppery of the worldthat
when we are sicke in fortuneoften the surfets of our own
behauiourwe make guilty of our disastersthe Sunthe
Mooneand Starresas if we were villaines on necessitie
Fooles by heauenly compulsionKnauesTheeuesand
Treachers by Sphericall predominance. DrunkardsLyars
and Adulterers by an inforc'd obedience of Planatary
influence; and all that we are euill inby a diuine thrusting
on. An admirable euasion of Whore-master-man
to lay his Goatish disposition on the charge of a Starre
My father compounded with my mother vnder the Dragons
taileand my Natiuity was vnder Vrsa Maiorso
that it followesI am rough and Leacherous. I should
haue bin that I amhad the maidenlest Starre in the Firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing.
Pat: he comes like the Catastrophe of the old Comedie:
my Cue is villanous Melanchollywith a sighe like Tom
o' Bedlam. - O these Eclipses do portend these diuisions.
Edg. How now Brother Edmondwhat serious contemplation
are you in?
Bast. I am thinking Brother of a prediction I read this
other daywhat should follow these Eclipses
Edg. Do you busie your selfe with that?
Bast. I promise youthe effects he writes ofsucceede
When saw you my Father last?
Edg. The night gone by
Bast. Spake you with him?
Edg. Itwo houres together
Bast. Parted you in good termes? Found you no displeasure
in himby wordnor countenance?
Edg. None at all
Bast. Bethink your selfe wherein you may haue offended
him: and at my entreaty forbeare his presencevntill
some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure
which at this instant so rageth in himthat with the mischiefe
of your personit would scarsely alay
Edg. Some Villaine hath done me wrong
Edm. That's my feareI pray you haue a continent
forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower: and as
I sayretire with me to my lodgingfrom whence I will
fitly bring you to heare my Lord speake: pray ye goe
there's my key: if you do stirre abroadgoe arm'd
Edm. BrotherI aduise you to the bestI am no honest
manif ther be any good meaning toward you: I haue told
you what I haue seeneand heard: But faintly. Nothing
like the imageand horror of itpray you away
Edg. Shall I heare from you anon?
Edm. I do serue you in this businesse:
A Credulous Fatherand a Brother Noble
Whose nature is so farre from doing harmes
That he suspects none: on whose foolish honestie
My practises ride easie: I see the businesse.
Let meif not by birthhaue lands by wit
All with me's meetethat I can fashion fit.
Enter Gonerilland Steward.
Gon. Did my Father strike my Gentleman for chiding
of his Foole?
Ste. I Madam
Gon. By day and nighthe wrongs meeuery howre
He flashes into one grosse crimeor other
That sets vs all at ods: Ile not endure it;
His Knights grow riotousand himselfe vpbraides vs
On euery trifle. When he returnes from hunting
I will not speake with himsay I am sicke
If you come slacke of former seruices
You shall do wellthe fault of it Ile answer
Ste. He's comming MadamI heare him
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please
You and your Fellowes: I'de haue it come to question;
If he distaste itlet him to my Sister
Whose mind and mine I know in that are one
Remember what I haue said
Ste. Well Madam
Gon. And let his Knights haue colder lookes among
you: what growes of it no matteraduise your fellowes
soIle write straight to my Sister to hold my course; prepare
Kent. If but as will I other accents borrow
That can my speech defusemy good intent
May carry through it selfe to that full issue
For which I raiz'd my likenesse. Now banisht Kent
If thou canst serue where thou dost stand condemn'd
So may it comethy Master whom thou lou'st
Shall find thee full of labours.
Hornes within. Enter Lear and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinnergo get it ready:
how nowwhat art thou?
Kent. A man Sir
Lear. What dost thou professe? What would'st thou
Kent. I do professe to be no lesse then I seeme; to serue
him truely that will put me in trustto loue him that is
honestto conuerse with him that is wise and saies littleto
feare iudgementto fight when I cannot chooseand to
eate no fish
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest hearted Fellowand as poore as
Lear. If thou be'st as poore for a subiectas hee's for a
Kingthou art poore enough. What wouldst thou?
Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
Kent. No Sirbut you haue that in your countenance
which I would faine call Master
Lear. What's that?
Lear. What seruices canst thou do?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaileriderunmarre a
curious tale in telling itand deliuer a plaine message
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit forI am quallified
inand the best of meis Dilligence
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young Sir to loue a woman for singing
nor so old to dote on her for any thing. I haue yeares on
my backe forty eight
Lear. Follow methou shalt serue meif I like thee no
worse after dinnerI will not part from thee yet. Dinner
hodinnerwhere's my knaue? my Foole? Go you and call
my Foole hither. You you Sirrahwhere's my Daughter?
Ste. So please you-
Lear. What saies the Fellow there? Call the Clotpole
backe: wher's my Foole? HoI thinke the world's
asleepehow now? Where's that Mungrell?
Knigh. He saies my Lordyour Daughters is not well
Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to me when I
Knigh. Sirhe answered me in the roundest mannerhe
Lear. He would not?
Knight. My LordI know not what the matter is
but to my iudgement your Highnesse is not entertain'd
with that Ceremonious affection as you were wont
theres a great abatement of kindnesse appeares as well in
the generall dependantsas in the Duke himselfe alsoand
Lear. Ha? Saist thou so?
Knigh. I beseech you pardon me my Lordif I bee
mistakenfor my duty cannot be silentwhen I thinke
your Highnesse wrong'd
Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne Conception
I haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late
which I haue rather blamed as mine owne iealous curiositie
then as a very pretence and purpose of vnkindnesse;
I will looke further intoo't: but where's my Foole? I
haue not seene him this two daies
Knight. Since my young Ladies going into France
Sirthe Foole hath much pined away
Lear. No more of thatI haue noted it wellgoe you
and tell my DaughterI would speake with her. Goe you
call hither my Foole; Oh you Siryoucome you hither
Sirwho am I Sir?
Ste. My Ladies Father
Lear. My Ladies Father? my Lords knaueyou whorson
dogyou slaueyou curre
Ste. I am none of these my Lord
I beseech your pardon
Lear. Do you bandy lookes with meyou Rascall?
Ste. Ile not be strucken my Lord
Kent. Nor tript neitheryou base Foot-ball plaier
Lear. I thanke thee fellow.
Thou seru'st meand Ile loue thee
Kent. Come sirariseawayIle teach you differences:
awayawayif you will measure your lubbers length againe
tarrybut awaygoe toohaue you wisedomeso
Lear. Now my friendly knaue I thanke theethere's
earnest of thy seruice.
Foole. Let me hire him toohere's my Coxcombe
Lear. How now my pretty knauehow dost thou?
Foole. Sirrahyou were best take my Coxcombe
Lear. Why my Boy?
Foole. Why? for taking ones part that's out of fauour
nay& thou canst not smile as the wind sitsthou'lt catch
colde shortlythere take my Coxcombe; why this fellow
ha's banish'd two on's Daughtersand did the third a
blessing against his willif thou follow himthou must
needs weare my Coxcombe. How now Nunckle? would
I had two Coxcombes and two Daughters
Lear. Why my Boy?
Fool. If I gaue them all my liuingI'ld keepe my Coxcombes
my selfethere's minebeg another of thy
Lear. Take heed Sirrahthe whip
Foole. Truth's a dog must to kennellhee must bee
whipt outwhen the Lady Brach may stand by'th' fire
Lear. A pestilent gall to me
Foole. SirhaIle teach thee a speech
Foole. Marke it Nuncle;
Haue more then thou showest
Speake lesse then thou knowest
Lend lesse then thou owest
Ride more then thou goest
Learne more then thou trowest
Set lesse then thou throwest;
Leaue thy drinke and thy whore
And keepe in a dore
And thou shalt haue more
Then two tens to a score
Kent. This is nothing Foole
Foole. Then 'tis like the breath of an vnfeed Lawyer
you gaue me nothing for'tcan you make no vse of nothing
Lear. Why no Boy
Nothing can be made out of nothing
Foole. Prythee tell himso much the rent of his land
comes tohe will not beleeue a Foole
Lear. A bitter Foole
Foole. Do'st thou know the difference my Boybetweene
a bitter Fooleand a sweet one
Lear. No Ladteach me
Foole. Nuncklegiue me an eggeand Ile giue thee
Lear. What two Crownes shall they be?
Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge i'th' middle and
eate vp the meatethe two Crownes of the egge: when
thou clouest thy Crownes i'th' middleand gau'st away
both partsthou boar'st thine Asse on thy backe o're the
durtthou hadst little wit in thy bald crownewhen thou
gau'st thy golden one away; if I speake like my selfe in
thislet him be whipt that first findes it so.
Fooles had nere lesse grace in a yeere
For wisemen are growne foppish
And know not how their wits to weare
Their manners are so apish
Le. When were you wont to be so full of Songs sirrah?
Foole. I haue vsed it Nunckleere since thou mad'st
thy Daughters thy Mothersfor when thou gau'st them
the rodand put'st downe thine owne breechesthen they
For sodaine ioy did weepe
And I for sorrow sung
That such a King should play bo-peepe
And goe the Foole among.
Pry'thy Nunckle keepe a Schoolemaster that can teach
thy Foole to lieI would faine learne to lie
Lear. And you lie sirrahwee'l haue you whipt
Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are
they'l haue me whipt for speaking true: thou'lt haue me
whipt for lyingand sometimes I am whipt for holding
my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing then a foole
and yet I would not be thee Nuncklethou hast pared thy
wit o' both sidesand left nothing i'th' middle; heere
comes one o'the parings.
Lear. How now Daughter? what makes that Frontlet
on? You are too much of late i'th' frowne
Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no
need to care for her frowningnow thou art an O without
a figureI am better then thou art nowI am a Foole
thou art nothing. Yes forsooth I will hold my tongueso
your face bids methough you say nothing.
Mummumhe that keepes nor crustnor crum
Weary of allshall want some. That's a sheal'd Pescod
Gon. Not only Sir thisyour all-lycenc'd Foole
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourely Carpe and Quarrellbreaking forth
In rankeand (not to be endur'd) riots Sir.
I had thought by making this well knowne vnto you
To haue found a safe redressebut now grow fearefull
By what your selfe too late haue spoke and done
That you protect this courseand put it on
By your allowancewhich if you shouldthe fault
Would not scape censurenor the redresses sleepe
Which in the tender of a wholesome weale
Mighty in their working do you that offence
Which else were shamethat then necessitie
Will call discreet proceeding
Foole. For you know Nuncklethe Hedge-Sparrow
fed the Cuckoo so longthat it's had it head bit off by it
youngso out went the Candleand we were left darkling
Lear. Are you our Daughter?
Gon. I would you would make vse of your good wisedome
(Whereof I know you are fraught)and put away
These dispositionswhich of late transport you
From what you rightly are
Foole. May not an Asse knowwhen the Cart drawes
Whoop Iugge I loue thee
Lear. Do's any heere know me?
This is not Lear:
Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies?
Either his Notion weakenshis Discernings
Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so?
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Foole. Lears shadow
Lear. Your namefaire Gentlewoman?
Gon. This admiration Siris much o'th' sauour
Of other your new prankes. I do beseech you
To vnderstand my purposes aright:
As you are Oldand Reuerendshould be Wise.
Heere do you keepe a hundred Knights and Squires
Men so disorder'dso debosh'd and bold
That this our Court infected with their manners
Shewes like a riotous Inne; Epicurisme and Lust
Makes it more like a Tauerneor a Brothell
Then a grac'd Pallace. The shame it selfe doth speake
For instant remedy. Be then desir'd
By herthat else will take the thing she begges
A little to disquantity your Traine
And the remainders that shall still depend
To be such men as may besort your Age
Which know themseluesand you
Lear. Darknesseand Diuels.
Saddle my horses: call my Traine together.
Degenerate BastardIle not trouble thee;
Yet haue I left a daughter
Gon. You strike my peopleand your disorder'd rable
make Seruants of their Betters.
Lear. Woethat too late repents:
Is it your willspeake Sir? Prepare my Horses.
Ingratitude! thou Marble-hearted Fiend
More hideous when thou shew'st thee in a Child
Then the Sea-monster
Alb. Pray Sir be patient
Lear. Detested Kitethou lyest.
My Traine are men of choiceand rarest parts
That all particulars of dutie know
And in the most exact regardsupport
The worships of their name. O most small fault
How vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shew?
Which like an Enginewrencht my frame of Nature
From the fixt place: drew from my heart all loue
And added to the gall. O LearLearLear!
Beate at this gate that let thy Folly in
And thy deere Iudgement out. Gogomy people
Alb. My LordI am guiltlesseas I am ignorant
Of what hath moued you
Lear. It may be somy Lord.
Heare Natureheare deere Goddesseheare:
Suspend thy purposeif thou did'st intend
To make this Creature fruitfull:
Into her Wombe conuey stirrility
Drie vp in her the Organs of increase
And from her derogate bodyneuer spring
A Babe to honor her. If she must teeme
Create her childe of Spleenethat it may liue
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
Let it stampe wrinkles in her brow of youth
With cadent Teares fret Channels in her cheekes
Turne all her Mothers painesand benefits
To laughterand contempt: That she may feele
How sharper then a Serpents tooth it is
To haue a thanklesse Childe. Awayaway.
Alb. Now Gods that we adore
Whereof comes this?
Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know more of it:
But let his disposition haue that scope
As dotage giues it.
Lear. What fiftie of my Followers at a clap?
Within a fortnight?
Alb. What's the matterSir?
Lear. Ile tell thee:
Life and deathI am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus
That these hot teareswhich breake from me perforce
Should make thee worth them.
Blastes and Fogges vpon thee:
Th' vntented woundings of a Fathers curse
Pierce euerie sense about thee. Old fond eyes
Beweepe this cause againeIle plucke ye out
And cast you with the waters that you loose
To temper Clay. Ha? Let it be so.
I haue another daughter
Who I am sure is kinde and comfortable:
When she shall heare this of theewith her nailes
Shee'l flea thy Woluish visage. Thou shalt finde
That Ile resume the shape which thou dost thinke
I haue cast off for euer.
Gon. Do you marke that?
Alb. I cannot be so partiall Gonerill
To the great loue I beare you
Gon. Pray you content. What Oswaldhoa?
You Sirmore Knaue then Fooleafter your Master
Foole. Nunkle LearNunkle Lear
Tarrytake the Foole with thee:
A Foxwhen one has caught her
And such a Daughter
Should sure to the Slaughter
If my Cap would buy a Halter
So the Foole followes after.
Gon. This man hath had good Counsell
A hundred Knights?
'Tis politikeand safe to let him keepe
At point a hundred Knights: yesthat on euerie dreame
Each buzeach fancieeach complaintdislike
He may enguard his dotage with their powres
And hold our liues in mercy. OswaldI say
Alb. Wellyou may feare too farre
Gon. Safer then trust too farre;
Let me still take away the harmes I feare
Not feare still to be taken. I know his heart
What he hath vtter'd I haue writ my Sister:
If she sustaine himand his hundred Knights
When I haue shew'd th' vnfitnesse.
How now Oswald?
What haue you writ that Letter to my Sister?
Stew. I Madam
Gon. Take you some companyand away to horse
Informe her full of my particular feare
And thereto adde such reasons of your owne
As may compact it more. Get you gone
And hasten your returne; nonomy Lord
This milky gentlenesseand course of yours
Though I condemne notyet vnder pardon
You are much more at task for want of wisedome
Then prais'd for harmefull mildnesse
Alb. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell;
Striuing to betteroft we marre what's well
Gon. Nay then-
Alb. Wellwellth' euent.
Enter LearKentGentlemanand Foole.
Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these Letters;
acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you
knowthen comes from her demand out of the Letter
if your Dilligence be not speedyI shall be there afore
Kent. I will not sleepe my Lordtill I haue deliuered
Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeleswert not in
danger of kybes?
Lear. I Boy
Foole. Then I prythee be merrythy wit shall not go
Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kindly
for though she's as like thisas a Crabbe's like an
Appleyet I can tell what I can tell
Lear. What can'st tell Boy?
Foole. She will taste as like this asa Crabbe do's to a
Crab: thou cansttell why ones nose stands i'th' middle
Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side 's nose
that what a man cannot smell outhe may spy into
Lear. I did her wrong
Foole. Can'st tell how an Oyster makes his shell?
Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's
Foole. Why to put's head innot to giue it away to his
daughtersand leaue his hornes without a case
Lear. I will forget my Natureso kind a Father? Be
my Horsses ready?
Foole. Thy Asses are gone about 'em; the reason why
the seuen Starres are no mo then seuenis a pretty reason
Lear. Because they are not eight
Foole. Yes indeedthou would'st make a good Foole
Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Monster Ingratitude!
Foole. If thou wert my Foole NunckleIl'd haue thee
beaten for being old before thy time
Lear. How's that?
Foole. Thou shouldst not haue bin oldtill thou hadst
Lear. O let me not be madnot mad sweet Heauen:
keepe me in temperI would not be mad. How now are
the Horses ready?
Gent. Ready my Lord
Lear. Come Boy
Fool. She that's a Maid now& laughs at my departure
Shall not be a Maid longvnlesse things be cut shorter.
Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.
Enter Bastardand Curanseuerally.
Bast. Saue thee Curan
Cur. And you SirI haue bin
With your Fatherand giuen him notice
That the Duke of Cornwalland Regan his Duchesse
Will be here with him this night
Bast. How comes that?
Cur. Nay I know notyou haue heard of the newes abroad
I meane the whisper'd onesfor they are yet but
Bast. Not I: pray you what are they?
Cur. Haue you heard of no likely Warres toward
'Twixt the Dukes of Cornwalland Albany?
Bast. Not a word
Cur. You may do then in time
Fare you well Sir.
Bast. The Duke be here to night? The better best
This weaues it selfe perforce into my businesse
My Father hath set guard to take my Brother
And I haue one thing of a queazie question
Which I must actBriefenesseand Fortune worke.
Brothera worddiscend; Brother I say
My Father watches: O Sirfly this place
Intelligence is giuen where you are hid;
You haue now the good aduantage of the night
Haue you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornewall?
Hee's comming hithernow i'th' nighti'th' haste
And Regan with himhaue you nothing said
Vpon his partie 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Aduise your selfe
Edg. I am sure on'tnot a word
Bast. I heare my Father commingpardon me:
In cunningI must draw my Sword vpon you:
Drawseeme to defend your selfe
Now quit you well.
Yeeldcome before my Fatherlight hoahere
Fly BrotherTorchesTorchesso farewell.
Some blood drawne on mewould beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeauour. I haue seene drunkards
Do more then this in sport; FatherFather
Enter Glosterand Seruants with Torches.
Glo. Now Edmundwhere's the villaine?
Bast. Here stood he in the darkhis sharpe Sword out
Mumbling of wicked charmesconiuring the Moone
To stand auspicious Mistris
Glo. But where is he?
Bast. Looke SirI bleed
Glo. Where is the villaineEdmund?
Bast. Fled this way Sirwhen by no meanes he could
Glo. Pursue himho: go after. By no meaneswhat?
Bast. Perswade me to the murther of your Lordship
But that I told him the reuenging Gods
'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend
Spoke with how manifoldand strong a Bond
The Child was bound to'th' Father; Sir in fine
Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
To his vnnaturall purposein fell motion
With his prepared Swordhe charges home
My vnprouided bodylatch'd mine arme;
And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
Bold in the quarrels rightrouz'd to th' encounter
Or whether gasted by the noyse I made
Full sodainely he fled
Glost. Let him fly farre:
Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
And found; dispatchthe Noble Duke my Master
My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night
By his authoritie I will proclaime it
That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes
Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
He that conceales him death
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent
And found him pight to doe itwith curst speech
I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied
Thou vnpossessing Bastarddost thou thinke
If I would stand against theewould the reposall
Of any trustvertueor worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? Nowhat should I denie
(As this I wouldthough thou didst produce
My very Character) I'ld turne it all
To thy suggestionplotand damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
To make thee seeke it.
Glo. O strange and fastned Villaine
Would he deny his Lettersaid he?
Harkethe Dukes TrumpetsI know not wher he comes;
All Ports Ile barrethe villaine shall not scape
The Duke must grant me that: besideshis picture
I will send farre and neerethat all the kingdome
May haue due note of himand of my land
(Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
To make thee capable.
Enter CornewallReganand Attendants.
Corn. How now my Noble friendsince I came hither
(Which I can call but now) I haue heard strangenesse
Reg. If it be trueall vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th' offender; how dost my Lord?
Glo. O Madammy old heart is crack'dit's crack'd
Reg. Whatdid my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
He whom my Father nam'dyour Edgar?
Glo. O LadyLadyshame would haue it hid
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
That tended vpon my Father?
Glo. I know not Madam'tis too badtoo bad
Bast. Yes Madamhe was of that consort
Reg. No maruaile thenthough he were ill affected
'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death
To haue th' expence and wast of his Reuenues:
I haue this present euening from my Sister
Beene well inform'd of themand with such cautions
That if they come to soiourne at my house
Ile not be there
Cor. Nor Iassure thee Regan;
EdmundI heare that you haue shewne your Father
A Child-like Office
Bast. It was my duty Sir
Glo. He did bewray his practiseand receiu'd
This hurt you seestriuing to apprehend him
Cor. Is he pursued?
Glo. I my good Lord
Cor. If he be takenhe shall neuer more
Be fear'd of doing harmemake your owne purpose
How in my strength you please: for you Edmund
Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend it selfeyou shall be ours
Nature's of such deepe trustwe shall much need:
You we first seize on
Bast. I shall serue you Sir truelyhow euer else
Glo. For him I thanke your Grace
Cor. You know not why we came to visit you?
Reg. Thus out of seasonthredding darke ey'd night
Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
Our Father he hath writso hath our Sister
Of differenceswhich I best thought it fit
To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
From hence attend dispatchour good old Friend
Lay comforts to your bosomeand bestow
Your needfull counsaile to our businesses
Which craues the instant vse
Glo. I serue you Madam
Your Graces are right welcome.
Enter Kentand Steward seuerally.
Stew. Good dawning to thee Friendart of this house?
Stew. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. I'th' myre
Stew. Prytheeif thou lou'st metell me
Kent. I loue thee not
Ste. Why then I care not for thee
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury PinfoldI would make
thee care for me
Ste. Why do'st thou vse me thus? I know thee not
Kent. Fellow I know thee
Ste. What do'st thou know me for?
Kent. A Knauea Rascallan eater of broken meatesa
poundfilthy woosted-stocking knauea Lilly-liuered
action-takingwhoreson glasse-gazing super-seruiceable
finicall Rogueone Trunke-inheriting slaueone that
would'st be a Baud in way of good seruiceand art nothing
but the composition of a KnaueBeggerCoward
Pandarand the Sonne and Heire of a Mungrill Bitch
one whom I will beate into clamours whiningif thou
deny'st the least sillable of thy addition
Stew. Whywhat a monstrous Fellow art thouthus
to raile on onethat is neither knowne of theenor
Kent. What a brazen-fac'd Varlet art thouto deny
thou knowest me? Is it two dayes since I tript vp thy
heelesand beate thee before the King? Draw you rogue
for though it be nightyet the Moone shinesIle make a
sop oth' Moonshine of youyou whoreson Cullyenly
Stew. AwayI haue nothing to do with thee
Kent. Draw you Rascallyou come with Letters against
the Kingand take Vanitie the puppets partagainst
the Royaltie of her Father: draw you Rogueor
Ile so carbonado your shanksdraw you Rascallcome
Kent. Strike you slaue: stand roguestand you neat
Stew. Helpe hoamurthermurther.
Bast. How nowwhat's the matter? Part
Kent. With you goodman Boyif you pleasecome
Ile flesh yecome on yong Master
Glo. Weapons? Armes? what's the matter here?
Cor. Keepe peace vpon your liueshe dies that strikes
againewhat is the matter?
Reg. The Messengers from our Sisterand the King?
Cor. What is your differencespeake?
Stew. I am scarce in breath my Lord
Kent. No Maruellyou haue so bestir'd your valour
you cowardly Rascallnature disclaimes in thee: a Taylor
Cor. Thou art a strange fellowa Taylor make a man?
Kent. A Taylor Sira Stone-cutteror a Paintercould
not haue made him so illthough they had bin but two
yeares oth' trade
Cor. Speake yethow grew your quarrell?
Ste. This ancient Ruffian Sirwhose life I haue spar'd
at sute of his gray-beard
Kent. Thou whoreson Zedthou vnnecessary letter:
my Lordif you will giue me leaueI will tread this vnboulted
villaine into morterand daube the wall of a
Iakes with him. Spare my gray-beardyou wagtaile?
Cor. Peace sirrah
You beastly knaueknow you no reuerence?
Kent. Yes Sirbut anger hath a priuiledge
Cor. Why art thou angrie?
Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a Sword
Who weares no honesty: such smiling rogues as these
Like Rats oft bite the holy cords a twaine
Which are t' intrincet' vnloose: smooth euery passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebell
Being oile to firesnow to the colder moodes
Reuengeaffirmeand turne their Halcion beakes
With euery galland varry of their Masters
Knowing naught (like dogges) but following:
A plague vpon your Epilepticke visage
Smoile you my speechesas I were a Foole?
Gooseif I had you vpon Sarum Plaine
I'ld driue ye cackling home to Camelot
Corn. What art thou mad old Fellow?
Glost. How fell you outsay that?
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Then Iand such a knaue
Corn. Why do'st thou call him Knaue?
What is his fault?
Kent. His countenance likes me not
Cor. No more perchance do's minenor hisnor hers
Kent. Sir'tis my occupation to be plaine
I haue seene better faces in my Time
Then stands on any shoulder that I see
Before meat this instant
Corn. This is some Fellow
Who hauing beene prais'd for bluntnessedoth affect
A saucy roughnesand constraines the garb
Quite from his Nature. He cannot flatter he
An honest mind and plainehe must speake truth
And they will take it soif nothee's plaine.
These kind of Knaues I knowwhich in this plainnesse
Harbour more craftand more corrupter ends
Then twenty silly-ducking obseruants
That stretch their duties nicely
Kent. Sirin good faithin sincere verity
Vnder th' allowance of your great aspect
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
On flickring Phoebus front
Corn. What mean'st by this?
Kent. To go out of my dialectwhich you discommend
so much; I know SirI am no flattererhe that beguild
you in a plaine accentwas a plaine Knauewhich
for my part I will not bethough I should win your
displeasure to entreat me too't
Corn. What was th' offence you gaue him?
Ste. I neuer gaue him any:
It pleas'd the King his Master very late
To strike at me vpon his misconstruction
When he compactand flattering his displeasure
Tript me behind: being downeinsultedrail'd
And put vpon him such a deale of Man
That worthied himgot praises of the King
For him attemptingwho was selfe-subdued
And in the fleshment of this dead exploit
Drew on me here againe
Kent. None of these Roguesand Cowards
But Aiax is there Foole
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks?
You stubborne ancient Knaueyou reuerent Bragart
Wee'l teach you
Kent. SirI am too old to learne:
Call not your Stocks for meI serue the King.
On whose imployment I was sent to you
You shall doe small respectsshow too bold malice
Against the Graceand Person of my Master
Stocking his Messenger
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks;
As I haue life and Honourthere shall he sit till Noone
Reg. Till noone? till night my Lordand all night too
Kent. Why Madamif I were your Fathers dog
You should not vse me so
Reg. Sirbeing his KnaueI will.
Stocks brought out.
Cor. This is a Fellow of the selfe same colour
Our Sister speakes of. Comebring away the Stocks
Glo. Let me beseech your Gracenot to do so
The King his Masterneeds must take it ill
That he so slightly valued in his Messenger
Should haue him thus restrained
Cor. Ile answere that
Reg. My Sister may recieue it much more worsse
To haue her Gentleman abus'dassaulted
Corn. Come my Lordaway.
Glo. I am sorry for thee friend'tis the Dukes pleasure
Whose disposition all the world well knowes
Will not be rub'd nor stoptIle entreat for thee
Kent. Pray do not SirI haue watch'd and trauail'd hard
Some time I shall sleepe outthe rest Ile whistle:
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles:
Giue you good morrow
Glo. The Duke's too blame in this
'Twill be ill taken.
Kent. Good Kingthat must approue the common saw
Thou out of Heauens benediction com'st
To the warme Sun.
Approach thou Beacon to this vnder Globe
That by thy comfortable Beames I may
Peruse this Letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But miserie. I know 'tis from Cordelia
Who hath most fortunately beene inform'd
Of my obscured course. And shall finde time
From this enormous Stateseeking to giue
Losses their remedies. All weary and o're-watch'd
Take vantage heauie eyesnot to behold
This shamefull lodging. Fortune goodnight
Smile once moreturne thy wheele.
Edg. I heard my selfe proclaim'd
And by the happy hollow of a Tree
Escap'd the hunt. No Port is freeno place
That guardand most vnusall vigilance
Do's not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
I will preserue myselfe: and am bethought
To take the basestand most poorest shape
That euer penury in contempt of man
Brought neere to beast; my face Ile grime with filth
Blanket my loineselse all my haires in knots
And with presented nakednesse out-face
The Windesand persecutions of the skie;
The Country giues me proofeand president
Of Bedlam beggerswho with roaring voices
Strike in their num'd and mortified Armes.
PinsWodden-prickesNaylesSprigs of Rosemarie:
And with this horrible obiectfrom low Farmes
Poore pelting VillagesSheeps-Coatesand Milles
Sometimes with Lunaticke banssometime with Praiers
Inforce their charitie: poore Turlygod poore Tom
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
Enter LearFooleand Gentleman.
Lea. 'Tis strange that they should so depart from home
And not send backe my Messengers
Gent. As I learn'd
The night beforethere was no purpose in them
Of this remoue
Kent. Haile to thee Noble Master
Lear. Ha? Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
Kent. No my Lord
Foole. Hahhahe weares Cruell Garters Horses are
tide by the headsDogges and Beares by'th' necke
Monkies by'th' loynesand Men by'th' legs: when a man
ouerlustie at legsthen he weares wodden nether-stocks
Lear. What's he
That hath so much thy place mistooke
To set thee heere?
Kent. It is both he and she
Your Sonand Daughter
Lear. No I say
Kent. I say yea
Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no
Kent. By IunoI sweare I
Lear. They durst not do't:
They could notwould not do't: 'tis worse then murther
To do vpon respect such violent outrage:
Resolue me with all modest hastewhich way
Thou might'st deserueor they impose this vsage
Comming from vs
Kent. My Lordwhen at their home
I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them
Ere I was risen from the placethat shewed
My dutie kneelingcame there a reeking Poste
Stew'd in his hastehalfe breathlessepainting forth
From Gonerill his Mistrissalutations;
Deliuer'd Letters spight of intermission
Which presently they read; on those contents
They summon'd vp their meineystraight tooke Horse
Commanded me to followand attend
The leisure of their answergaue me cold lookes
And meeting heere the other Messenger
Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poison'd mine
Being the very fellow which of late
Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse
Hauing more man then wit about medrew;
He rais'd the housewith loud and coward cries
Your Sonne and Daughter found this trespasse worth
The shame which heere it suffers
Foole. Winters not gon yetif the wil'd Geese fly that way
Fathers that weare ragsdo make their Children blind
But Fathers that beare bagsshall see their children kind.
Fortune that arrant whorenere turns the key toth' poore.
But for all this thou shalt haue as many Dolors for thy
Daughtersas thou canst tell in a yeare
Lear. Oh how this Mother swels vp toward my heart!
Historica passiodowne thou climing sorrow
Thy Elements below where is this Daughter?
Kent. With the Earle Sirhere within
Lear. Follow me notstay here.
Gen. Made you no more offence
But what you speake of?
How chance the King comes with so small a number?
Foole. And thou hadst beene set i'th' Stockes for that
questionthoud'st well deseru'd it
Kent. Why Foole?
Foole. Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Antto teach
thee ther's no labouring i'th' winter. All that follow their
nosesare led by their eyesbut blinde menand there's
not a nose among twentybut can smell him that's stinking;
let go thy hold when a great wheele runs downe a
hillleast it breake thy necke with following. But the
great one that goes vpwardlet him draw thee after:
when a wiseman giues thee better counsell giue me mine
againeI would haue none but knaues follow itsince a
Foole giues it.
That Sirwhich serues and seekes for gaine
And followes but for forme;
Will packewhen it begins to raine
And leaue thee in the storme
But I will tarrythe Foole will stay
And let the wiseman flie:
The knaue turnes Foole that runnes away
The Foole no knaue perdie.
Enter Learand Gloster] :
Kent. Where learn'd you this Foole?
Foole. Not i'th' Stocks Foole
Lear. Deny to speake with me?
They are sickethey are weary
They haue trauail'd all the night? meere fetches
The images of reuolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer
Glo. My deere Lord
You know the fiery quality of the Duke
How vnremoueable and fixt he is
In his owne course
Fiery? What quality? Why GlosterGloster
I'ld speake with the Duke of Cornewalland his wife
Glo. Well my good LordI haue inform'd them so
Lear. Inform'd them? Do'st thou vnderstand me man
Glo. I my good Lord
Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall
The deere Father
Would with his Daughter speakecommandstendsseruice
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood:
Fiery? The fiery Duketell the hot Duke that-
Nobut not yetmay be he is not well
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is boundwe are not our selues
When Nature being opprestcommands the mind
To suffer with the body; Ile forbeare
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 heere? This act perswades me
That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practise only. Giue me my Seruant forth;
Goe tell the Dukeand's wifeIl'd speake with them:
Nowpresently: bid them come forth and heare me
Or at their Chamber doore Ile beate the Drum
Till it crie sleepe to death
Glo. I would haue all well betwixt you.
Lear. Oh me my heart! My rising heart! But downe
Foole. Cry to it Nunckleas the Cockney did to the
Eeleswhen she put 'em i'th' Paste aliueshe knapt 'em
o'th' coxcombs with a stickeand cryed downe wantons
downe; 'twas her Brotherthat in pure kindnesse to his
Horse buttered his Hay.
Lear. Good morrow to you both
Corn. Haile to your Grace.
Kent here set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse
Lear. ReganI thinke you are. I know what reason
I haue to thinke soif thou should'st not be glad
I would diuorce me from thy Mother Tombe
Sepulchring an Adultresse. O are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan
Thy Sisters naught: oh Reganshe hath tied
Sharpe-tooth'd vnkindnesselike a vulture heere
I can scarce speake to theethou'lt not beleeue
With how deprau'd a quality. Oh Regan
Reg. I pray you Sirtake patienceI haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert
Then she to scant her dutie
Lear. Say? How is that?
Reg. I cannot thinke my Sister in the least
Would faile her Obligation. If Sir perchance
She haue restrained the Riots of your Followres
'Tis on such groundand to such wholesome end
As cleeres her from all blame
Lear. My curses on her
Reg. O Siryou are old
Nature in you stands on the very Verge
Of his confine: you should be rul'dand led
By some discretionthat discernes your state
Better then you your selfe: therefore I pray you
That to our Sisteryou do make returne
Say you haue wrong'd her
Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse?
Do you but marke how this becomes the house?
Deere daughterI confesse that I am old;
Age is vnnecessary: on my knees I begge
That you'l vouchsafe me RaymentBedand Food
Reg. Good Sirno more: these are vnsightly trickes:
Returne you to my Sister
Lear. Neuer Regan:
She hath abated me of halfe my Traine;
Look'd blacke vpon mestrooke me with her Tongue
Most Serpent-likevpon the very Heart.
All the stor'd Vengeances of Heauenfall
On her ingratefull top: strike her yong bones
You taking Ayreswith Lamenesse
Corn. Fye sirfie
Le. You nimble Lightningsdart your blinding flames
Into her scornfull eyes: Infect her Beauty
You Fen-suck'd Foggesdrawne by the powrfull Sunne
To falland blister
Reg. O the blest Gods!
So will you wish on mewhen the rash moode is on
Lear. No Reganthou shalt neuer haue my curse:
Thy tender-hefted Nature shall not giue
Thee o're to harshnesse: Her eyes are fiercebut thine
Do comfortand not burne. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasuresto cut off my Traine
To bandy hasty wordsto scant my sizes
And in conclusionto oppose the bolt
Against my comming in. Thou better know'st
The Offices of Naturebond of Childhood
Effects of Curtesiedues of Gratitude:
Thy halfe o'th' Kingdome hast thou not forgot
Wherein I thee endow'd
Reg. Good Sirto'th' purpose.
Lear. Who put my man i'th' Stockes?
Corn. What Trumpet's that?
Reg. I know'tmy Sisters: this approues her Letter
That she would soone be heere. Is your Lady come?
Lear. This is a Slauewhose easie borrowed pride
Dwels in the sickly grace of her he followes.
Out Varletfrom my sight
Corn. What meanes your Grace?
Lear. Who stockt my Seruant? ReganI haue good hope
Thou did'st not know on't.
Who comes here? O Heauens!
If you do loue old men; if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if you your selues are old
Make it your cause: Send downeand take my part.
Art not asham'd to looke vpon this Beard?
O Reganwill you take her by the hand?
Gon. Why not by'th' hand Sir? How haue I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes
And dotage termes so
Lear. O sidesyou are too tough!
Will you yet hold?
How came my man i'th' Stockes?
Corn. I set him thereSir: but his owne Disorders
Deseru'd much lesse aduancement
Lear. You? Did you?
Reg. I pray you Father being weakeseeme so.
If till the expiration of your Moneth
You will returne and soiourne with my Sister
Dismissing halfe your trainecome then to me
I am now from homeand out of that prouision
Which shall be needfull for your entertainement
Lear. Returne to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
Norather I abiure all roofesand chuse
To wage against the enmity oth' ayre
To be a Comrade with the Wolfeand Owle
Necessities sharpe pinch. Returne with her?
Why the hot-bloodied Francethat dowerlesse tooke
Our yongest borneI could as well be brought
To knee his Throneand Squire-like pension beg
To keepe base life a foote; returne with her?
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
To this detested groome
Gon. At your choice Sir
Lear. I prythee Daughter do not make me mad
I will not trouble thee my Child; farewell:
Wee'l no more meeteno more see one another.
But yet thou art my fleshmy bloodmy Daughter
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh
Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a Byle
A plague soreor imbossed Carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But Ile not chide thee
Let shame come when it willI do not call it
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoote
Nor tell tales of thee to high-iudging Ioue
Mend when thou can'stbe better at thy leisure
I can be patientI can stay with Regan
I and my hundred Knights
Reg. Not altogether so
I look'd not for you yetnor am prouided
For your fit welcomegiue eare Sir to my Sister
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to thinke you oldand so
But she knowes what she doe's
Lear. Is this well spoken?
Reg. I dare auouch it Sirwhat fifty Followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yeaor so many? Sith that both charge and danger
Speake 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many peoplevnder two commands
Hold amity? 'Tis hardalmost impossible
Gon. Why might not you my Lordreceiue attendance
From those that she cals Seruantsor from mine?
Reg. Why not my Lord?
If then they chanc'd to slacke ye
We could comptroll them; if you will come to me
(For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
To bring but fiue and twentieto no more
Will I giue place or notice
Lear. I gaue you all
Reg. And in good time you gaue it
Lear. Made you my Guardiansmy Depositaries
But kept a reseruation to be followed
With such a number? Whatmust I come to you
With fiue and twenty? Regansaid you so?
Reg. And speak't againe my Lordno more with me
Lea. Those wicked Creatures yet do look wel fauor'd
When others are more wickednot being the worst
Stands in some ranke of praiseIle go with thee
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty
And thou art twice her Loue
Gon. Heare me my Lord;
What need you fiue and twenty? Ten? Or fiue?
To follow in a housewhere twice so many
Haue a command to tend you?
Reg. What need one?
Lear. O reason not the need: our basest Beggers
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not Naturemore then Nature needs:
Mans life is cheape as Beastes. Thou art a Lady;
If onely to go warme were gorgeous
Why Nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st
Which scarcely keepes thee warmebut for true need:
You Heauensgiue me that patiencepatience I need
You see me heere (you Gods) a poore old man
As full of griefe as agewretched in both
If it be you that stirres these Daughters hearts
Against their Fatherfoole me not so much
To beare it tamely: touch me with Noble anger
And let not womens weaponswater drops
Staine my mans cheekes. No you vnnaturall Hags
I will haue such reuenges on you both
That all the world shall- I will do such things
What they are yetI know notbut they shalbe
The terrors of the earth? you thinke Ile weepe
NoIle not weepeI haue full cause of weeping.
Storme and Tempest.
But this heart shal break into a hundred thousand flawes
Or ere Ile weepe; O FooleI shall go mad.
Corn. Let vs withdraw'twill be a Storme
Reg. This house is littlethe old man and's people
Cannot be well bestow'd
Gon. 'Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest
And must needs taste his folly
Reg. For his particularIle receiue him gladly
But not one follower
Gon. So am I purpos'd
Where is my Lord of Gloster?
Corn. Followed the old man forthhe is return'd
Glo. The King is in high rage
Corn. Whether is he going?
Glo. He cals to Horsebut will I know not whether
Corn. 'Tis best to giue him wayhe leads himselfe
Gon. My Lordentreate him by no meanes to stay
Glo. Alacke the night comes onand the high windes
Do sorely rufflefor many Miles about
There's scarce a Bush
Reg. O Sirto wilfull men
The iniuries that they themselues procure
Must be their Schoole-Masters: shut vp your doores
He is attended with a desperate traine
And what they may incense him toobeing apt
To haue his eare abus'dwisedome bids feare
Cor. Shut vp your doores my Lord'tis a wil'd night
My Regan counsels well: come out oth' storme.
Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.
Storme still. Enter Kentand a Gentlemanseuerally.
Kent. Who's there besides foule weather?
Gen. One minded like the weathermost vnquietly
Kent. I know you: Where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull Elements;
Bids the winde blow the Earth into the Sea
Or swell the curled Waters 'boue the Maine
That things might changeor cease
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the Foolewho labours to out-iest
His heart-strooke iniuries
Kent. SirI do know you
And dare vpon the warrant of my note
Commend a deere thing to you. There is diuision
(Although as yet the face of it is couer'd
With mutuall cunning) 'twixt Albanyand Cornwall:
Who haueas who haue notthat their great Starres
Thron'd and set high; Seruantswho seeme no lesse
Which are to France the Spies and Speculations
Intelligent of our State. What hath bin seene
Either in snuffesand packings of the Dukes
Or the hard Reine which both of them hath borne
Against the old kinde King; or something deeper
Whereof (perchance) these are but furnishings
Gent. I will talke further with you
Kent. Nodo not:
For confirmation that I am much more
Then my out-wall; open this Purseand take
What it containes. If you shall see Cordelia
(As feare not but you shall) shew her this Ring
And she will tell you who that Fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fye on this Storme
I will go seeke the King
Gent. Giue me your hand
Haue you no more to say?
Kent. Few wordsbut to effect more then all yet;
That when we haue found the Kingin which your pain
That wayIle this: He that first lights on him
Holla the other.
Storme still. Enter Learand Foole.
Lear. Blow windes& crack your cheeks; Rageblow
You Cataractsand Hyrricano's spout
Till you haue drench'd our Steeplesdrown the Cockes.
You Sulph'rous and Thought-executing Fires
Vaunt-curriors of Oake-cleauing Thunder-bolts
Sindge my white head. And thou all-shaking Thunder
Strike flat the thicke Rotundity o'th' world
Cracke Natures mouldsall germaines spill at once
That makes ingratefull Man
Foole. O NunkleCourt holy-water in a dry houseis
better then this Rain-water out o' doore. Good Nunkle
inaske thy Daughters blessingheere's a night pitties
neither Wisemennor Fooles
Lear. Rumble thy belly full: spit Firespowt Raine:
Nor RaineWindeThunderFire are my Daughters;
I taxe not youyou Elements with vnkindnesse.
I neuer gaue you Kingdomecall'd you Children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Heere I stand your Slaue
A pooreinfirmeweakeand dispis'd old man:
But yet I call you Seruile Ministers
That will with two pernicious Daughters ioyne
Your high-engender'd Battailes'gainst a head
So oldand white as this. Oho! 'tis foule
Foole. He that has a house to put's head inhas a good
The Codpiece that will housebefore the head has any;
The Headand he shall Lowse: so Beggers marry many.
The man y makes his Toewhat he his Hart shold make
Shall of a Corne cry woeand turne his sleepe to wake.
For there was neuer yet faire womanbut shee made
mouthes in a glasse.
Lear. NoI will be the patterne of all patience
I will say nothing
Kent. Who's there?
Foole. Marry here's Graceand a Codpiecethat's a
Wisemanand a Foole
Kent. Alas Sir are you here? Things that loue night
Loue not such nights as these: The wrathfull Skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the darke
And make them keepe their Caues: Since I was man
Such sheets of Firesuch bursts of horrid Thunder
Such groanes of roaring Windeand RaineI neuer
Remember to haue heard. Mans Nature cannot carry
Th' afflictionnor the feare
Lear. Let the great Goddes
That keepe this dreadfull pudder o're our heads
Finde out their enemies now. Tremble thou Wretch
That hast within thee vndivulged Crimes
Vnwhipt of Iustice. Hide theethou Bloudy hand;
Thou Periur'dand thou Simular of Vertue
That art Incestuous. Caytiffeto peeces shake
That vnder couertand conuenient seeming
Ha's practis'd on mans life. Close pent-vp guilts
Riue your concealing Continentsand cry
These dreadfull Summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd againstthen sinning
Gracious my Lordhard by heere is a Houell
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the Tempest:
Repose you therewhile I to this hard house
(More harder then the stones whereof 'tis rais'd
Which euen but nowdemanding after you
Deny'd me to come in) returneand force
Their scanted curtesie
Lear. My wits begin to turne.
Come on my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold my selfe. Where is this strawmy Fellow?
The Art of our Necessities is strange
And can make vilde things precious. Comeyour Houel;
Poore Fooleand KnaueI haue one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee
Foole. He that has and a little-tyne wit
With heigh-hothe Winde and the Raine
Must make content with his Fortunes fit
Though the Raine it raineth euery day
Le. True Boy: Come bring vs to this Houell.
Foole. This is a braue night to coole a Curtizan:
Ile speake a Prophesie ere I go:
When Priests are more in wordthen matter;
When Brewers marre their Malt with water;
When Nobles are their Taylors Tutors
No Heretiques burn'dbut wenches Sutors;
When euery Case in Lawis right;
No Squire in debtnor no poore Knight;
When Slanders do not liue in Tongues;
Nor Cut-purses come not to throngs;
When Vsurers tell their Gold i'th' Field
And Baudesand whoresdo Churches build
Then shal the Realme of Albioncome to great confusion:
Then comes the timewho liues to see't
That going shalbe vs'd with feet.
This prophecie Merlin shall makefor I liue before his time.
Enter Glosterand Edmund.
Glo. Alackealacke EdmundI like not this vnnaturall
dealing; when I desired their leaue that I might pity him
they tooke from me the vse of mine owne housecharg'd
me on paine of perpetuall displeasureneither to speake
of himentreat for himor any way sustaine him
Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall
Glo. Go too; say you nothing. There is diuision betweene
the Dukesand a worsse matter then that: I haue
receiued a Letter this night'tis dangerous to be spoken
I haue lock'd the Letter in my Clossetthese iniuries the
King now beareswill be reuenged home; ther is part of
a Power already footedwe must incline to the KingI
will looke himand priuily relieue him; goe you and
maintaine talke with the Dukethat my charity be not of
him perceiued; If he aske for meI am illand gone to
bedif I die for it(as no lesse is threatned me) the King
my old Master must be relieued. There is strange things
toward Edmundpray you be carefull.
Bast. This Curtesie forbid theeshall the Duke
Instantly knowand of that Letter too;
This seemes a faire deseruingand must draw me
That which my Father looses: no lesse then all
The yonger riseswhen the old doth fall.
Enter LearKentand Foole.
Kent. Here is the place my Lordgood my Lord enter
The tirrany of the open night's too rough
For Nature to endure.
Lear. Let me alone
Kent. Good my Lord enter heere
Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
Kent. I had rather breake mine owne
Good my Lord enter
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storme
Inuades vs to the skin so: 'tis to thee
But where the greater malady is fixt
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a Beare
But if thy flight lay toward the roaring sea
Thou'dst meete the Beare i'th' mouthwhen the mind's free
The bodies delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my sences take all feeling else
Saue what beates thereFilliall ingratitude
Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food too't? But I will punish home;
NoI will weepe no more; in such a night
To shut me out? Poure onI will endure:
In such a night as this? O ReganGonerill
Your old kind Fatherwhose franke heart gaue all
O that way madnesse lieslet me shun that:
No more of that
Kent. Good my Lord enter here
Lear. Prythee go in thy selfeseeke thine owne ease
This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me morebut Ile goe in
In Boygo first. You houselesse pouertie
Nay get thee in; Ile prayand then Ile sleepe.
Poore naked wretcheswhere so ere you are
That bide the pelting of this pittilesse storme
How shall your House-lesse headsand vnfed sides
Your lop'dand window'd raggednesse defend you
From seasons such as these? O I haue tane
Too little care of this: Take PhysickePompe
Expose thy selfe to feele what wretches feele
That thou maist shake the superflux to them
And shew the Heauens more iust.
Enter Edgarand Foole.
Edg. Fathomand halfeFathom and halfe; poore Tom
Foole. Come not in heere Nunclehere's a spirithelpe
Kent. Giue my thy handwho's there?
Foole. A spiritea spiritehe sayes his name's poore
Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i'th'
straw? Come forth
Edg. Awaythe foule Fiend followes methrough the
sharpe Hauthorne blow the windes. Humhgoe to thy
bed and warme thee
Lear. Did'st thou giue all to thy Daughters? And art
thou come to this?
Edgar. Who giues any thing to poore Tom? Whom
the foule fiend hath led through Fireand through Flame
through Swordand Whirle-Pooleo're Bogand Quagmire
that hath laid Kniues vnder his Pillowand Halters
in his Pueset Rats-bane by his Porredgemade him
Proud of heartto ride on a Bay trotting Horseouer foure
incht Bridgesto course his owne shadow for a Traitor.
Blisse thy fiue WitsToms a cold. O dodedodedode
blisse thee from Whirle-WindesStarre-blastingand taking
do poore Tom some charitiewhom the foule Fiend
vexes. There could I haue him nowand thereand there
Lear. Ha's his Daughters brought him to this passe?
Could'st thou saue nothing? Would'st thou giue 'em all?
Foole. Nayhe reseru'd a Blanketelse we had bin all
Lea. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
Hang fated o're mens faultslight on thy Daughters
Kent. He hath no Daughters Sir
Lear. Death Traitornothing could haue subdu'd Nature
To such a lownessebut his vnkind Daughters.
Is it the fashionthat discarded Fathers
Should haue thus little mercy on their flesh:
Iudicious punishment'twas this flesh begot
Those Pelicane Daughters
Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock hillalow: alowlooloo
Foole. This cold night will turne vs all to Foolesand
Edgar. Take heed o'th' foule Fiendobey thy Parents
keepe thy words Iusticesweare notcommit not
with mans sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on
proud array. Tom's a cold
Lear. What hast thou bin?
Edg. A Seruingman? Proud in heartand minde; that
curl'd my hairewore Gloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust
of my Mistris heartand did the acte of darkenesse with
her. Swore as many Oathesas I spake words& broke
them in the sweet face of Heauen. Onethat slept in the
contriuing of Lustand wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I
deerelyDice deerely; and in Womanout-Paramour'd
the Turke. False of heartlight of earebloody of hand;
Hog in slothFoxe in stealthWolfe in greedinesseDog
in madnesLyon in prey. Let not the creaking of shooes
Nor the rustling of Silkesbetray thy poore heart to woman.
Keepe thy foote out of Brothelsthy hand out of
Placketsthy pen from Lenders Bookesand defye the
foule Fiend. Still through the Hauthorne blowes the
cold winde: Sayes suummunnonnyDolphin my Boy
Boy Sesey: let him trot by.
Lear. Thou wert better in a Grauethen to answere
with thy vncouer'd bodythis extremitie of the Skies. Is
man no more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st
the Worme no Silke; the Beastno Hide; the Sheepeno
Wooll; the Catno perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are
sophisticated. Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommodated
manis no more but such a poorebareforked Animall
as thou art. Offoff you Lendings: Comevnbutton
Enter Gloucesterwith a Torch.
Foole. Prythee Nunckle be contented'tis a naughtie
night to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field
were like an old Letchers hearta small sparkall the rest
on's bodycold: Lookeheere comes a walking fire
Edg. This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins at
Curfewand walkes at first Cocke: Hee giues the Web
and the Pinsquints the eyeand makes the Hare-lippe;
Mildewes the white Wheateand hurts the poore Creature
Swithold footed thrice the old
He met the Night-Mareand her nine-fold;
Bid her a-lightand her troth-plight
And aroynt thee Witcharoynt thee
Kent. How fares your Grace?
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seeke?
Glou. What are you there? Your Names?
Edg. Poore Tomthat eates the swimming Frogthe
Toadthe Tod-polethe wall-Neutand the water: that
in the furie of his heartwhen the foule Fiend rageseats
Cow-dung for Sallets; swallowes the old Ratand the
ditch-Dogge; drinkes the green Mantle of the standing
Poole: who is whipt from Tything to Tythingand
stocktpunish'dand imprison'd: who hath three Suites
to his backesixe shirts to his body:
Horse to rideand weapon to weare:
But Miceand Ratsand such small Deare
Haue bin Toms foodfor seuen long yeare:
Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkinpeace thou Fiend
Glou. Whathath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo
he's call'dand Mahu
Glou. Our flesh and bloodmy Lordis growne so
vildethat it doth hate what gets it
Edg. Poore Tom's a cold
Glou. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
T' obey in all your daughters hard commands:
Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores
And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you
Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out
And bring you where both fireand food is ready
Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher
What is the cause of Thunder?
Kent. Good my Lord take his offer
Go into th' house
Lear. Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
What is your study?
Edg. How to preuent the Fiendand to kill Vermine
Lear. Let me aske you one word in priuate
Kent. Importune him once more to go my Lord
His wits begin t' vnsettle
Glou. Canst thou blame him?
His Daughters seeke his death: Ahthat good Kent
He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
Thou sayest the King growes madIle tell thee Friend
I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne
Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
No Father his Sonne deerer: true to tell thee
The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
I do beseech your grace
Lear. O cry you mercySir:
Noble Philosopheryour company
Edg. Tom's a cold
Glou. In fellow thereinto th' Houel; keep thee warm
Lear. Comelet's in all
Kent. This waymy Lord
Lear. With him;
I will keepe still with my Philosopher
Kent. Good my Lordsooth him:
Let him take the Fellow
Glou. Take him you on
Kent. Sirracome on: go along with vs
Lear. Comegood Athenian
Glou. No wordsno wordshush
Edg. Childe Rowland to the darke Tower came
His word was stillfiefohand fumme
I smell the blood of a Brittish man.
Enter Cornwalland Edmund.
Corn. I will haue my reuengeere I depart his house
Bast. How my LordI may be censuredthat Nature
thus giues way to Loyaltiesomething feares mee to
Cornw. I now perceiueit was not altogether your
Brothers euill disposition made him seeke his death: but
a prouoking merit set a-worke by a reprouable badnesse
Bast. How malicious is my fortunethat I must repent
to be iust? This is the Letter which hee spoake of;
which approues him an intelligent partie to the aduantages
of France. O Heauens! that this Treason were not;
or not I the detector
Corn. Go with me to the Dutchesse
Bast. If the matter of this Paper be certainyou haue
mighty businesse in hand
Corn. True or falseit hath made thee Earle of Gloucester:
seeke out where thy Father isthat hee may bee
ready for our apprehension
Bast. If I finde him comforting the Kingit will stuffe
his suspition more fully. I will perseuer in my course of
Loyaltythough the conflict be sore betweene thatand
Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee: and thou shalt finde
a deere Father in my loue.
Enter Kentand Gloucester.
Glou. Heere is better then the open ayretake it thankfully:
I will peece out the comfort with what addition I
can: I will not be long from you.
Kent. All the powre of his witshaue giuen way to his
impatience: the Gods reward your kindnesse.
Enter LearEdgarand Foole.
Edg. Fraterretto cals meand tells me Nero is an Angler
in the Lake of Darknesse: pray Innocentand beware
the foule Fiend
Foole. Prythee Nunkle tell mewhether a madman be
a Gentlemanor a Yeoman
Lear. A Kinga King
Foole. Nohe's a Yeomanthat ha's a Gentleman to
his Sonne: for hee's a mad Yeoman that sees his Sonne a
Gentleman before him
Lear. To haue a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in vpon 'em
Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits
Kent. O pitty: Sirwhere is the patience now
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine?
Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much
They marre my counterfetting
Lear. The little doggesand all;
TreyBlanchand Sweet-heart: seethey barke at me
Edg. Tomwill throw his head at them: Auaunt you
Curresbe thy mouth or blacke or white:
Tooth that poysons if it bite:
Hound or SpaniellBracheor Hym:
Or Bobtaile tightor Troudle taile
Tom will make him weepe and waile
For with throwing thus my head;
Dogs leapt the hatchand all are fled.
Dodedede: sese: Comemarch to Wakes and Fayres
And Market Townes: poore Tom thy horne is dry
Lear. Then let them Anatomize Regan: See what
breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in Nature that
make these hard-hearts. You sirI entertaine for one of
my hundred; onlyI do not like the fashion of your garments.
You will say they are Persian; but let them bee
Kent. Now good my Lordlye heereand rest awhile
Lear. Make no noisemake no noisedraw the Curtaines:
sosowee'l go to Supper i'th' morning
Foole. And Ile go to bed at noone
Glou. Come hither Friend:
Where is the King my Master?
Kent. Here Sirbut trouble him nothis wits are gon
Glou. Good friendI prythee take him in thy armes;
I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him:
There is a Litter readylay him in't
And driue toward Douer friendwhere thou shalt meete
Both welcomeand protection. Take vp thy Master
If thou should'st dally halfe an hourehis life
With thineand all that offer to defend him
Stand in assured losse. Take vptake vp
And follow methat will to some prouision
Giue thee quicke conduct. Comecomeaway.
Enter CornwallReganGonerillBastardand Seruants.
Corn. Poste speedily to my Lord your husbandshew
him this Letterthe Army of France is landed: seeke out
the Traitor Glouster
Reg. Hang him instantly
Gon. Plucke out his eyes
Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure. Edmondkeepe
you our Sister company: the reuenges wee are bound to
take vppon your Traitorous Fatherare not fit for your
beholding. Aduice the Duke where you are goingto a
most festinate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our
Postes shall be swiftand intelligent betwixt vs. Farewell
deere Sisterfarewell my Lord of Glouster.
How now? Where's the King?
Stew. My Lord of Glouster hath conuey'd him hence
Some fiue or six and thirty of his Knights
Hot Questrists after himmet him at gate
Whowith some other of the Lordsdependants
Are gone with him toward Douer; where they boast
To haue well armed Friends
Corn. Get horses for your Mistris
Gon. Farewell sweet Lordand Sister.
Corn. Edmund farewell: go seek the Traitor Gloster
Pinnion him like a Theefebring him before vs:
Though well we may not passe vpon his life
Without the forme of Iustice: yet our power
Shall do a curt'sie to our wrathwhich men
May blamebut not comptroll.
Enter Gloucesterand Seruants.
Who's there? the Traitor?
Reg. Ingratefull Fox'tis he
Corn. Binde fast his corky armes
Glou. What meanes your Graces?
Good my Friends consider you are my Ghests:
Do me no foule playFriends
Corn. Binde him I say
Reg. Hardhard: O filthy Traitor
Glou. Vnmercifull Ladyas you areI'me none
Corn. To this Chaire binde him
Villainethou shalt finde
Glou. By the kinde Gods'tis most ignobly done
To plucke me by the Beard
Reg. So whiteand such a Traitor?
Glou. Naughty Ladie
These haires which thou dost rauish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your Host
With Robbers handsmy hospitable fauours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Corn. Come Sir.
What Letters had you late from France?
Reg. Be simple answer'dfor we know the truth
Corn. And what confederacie haue you with the Traitors
late footed in the Kingdome?
Reg. To whose hands
You haue sent the Lunaticke King: Speake
Glou. I haue a Letter guessingly set downe
Which came from one that's of a newtrall heart
And not from one oppos'd
Reg. And false
Corn. Where hast thou sent the King?
Glou. To Douer
Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Was't thou not charg'd at perill
Corn. Wherefore to Douer? Let him answer that
Glou. I am tyed to'th' Stake
And I must stand the Course
Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Glou. Because I would not see thy cruell Nailes
Plucke out his poore old eyes: nor thy fierce Sister
In his Annointed fleshsticke boarish phangs.
The Seawith such a storme as his bare head
In Hell-blacke-night indur'dwould haue buoy'd vp
And quench'd the Stelled fires:
Yet poore old hearthe holpe the Heauens to raine.
If Wolues had at thy Gate howl'd that sterne time
Thou should'st haue saidgood Porter turne the Key:
All Cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
The winged Vengeance ouertake such Children
Corn. See't shalt thou neuer. Fellowes hold y Chaire
Vpon these eyes of thineIle set my foote
Glou. He that will thinke to liuetill he be old
Giue me some helpe. - O cruell! O you Gods
Reg. One side will mocke another: Th' other too
Corn. If you see vengeance
Seru. Hold your handmy Lord:
I haue seru'd you euer since I was a Childe:
But better seruice haue I neuer done you
Then now to bid you hold
Reg. How nowyou dogge?
Ser. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin
I'ld shake it on this quarrell. What do you meane?
Corn. My Villaine?
Seru. Nay then come onand take the chance of anger
Reg. Giue me thy Sword. A pezant stand vp thus?
Ser. Oh I am slaine: my Lordyou haue one eye left
To see some mischefe on him. Oh
Corn. Lest it see morepreuent it; Out vilde gelly:
Where is thy luster now?
Glou. All darke and comfortlesse?
Where's my Sonne Edmund?
Edmundenkindle all the sparkes of Nature
To quit this horrid acte
Reg. Out treacherous Villaine
Thou call'st on himthat hates thee. It was he
That made the ouerture of thy Treasons to vs:
Who is too good to pitty thee
Glou. O my Follies! then Edgar was abus'd
Kinde Godsforgiue me thatand prosper him
Reg. Go thrust him out at gatesand let him smell
His way to Douer.
Exit with Glouster.
How is't my Lord? How looke you?
Corn. I haue receiu'd a hurt: Follow me Lady;
Turne out that eyelesse Villaine: throw this Slaue
Vpon the Dunghill: ReganI bleed apace
Vntimely comes this hurt. Giue me your arme.
Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
Edg. Yet better thusand knowne to be contemn'd
Then still contemn'd and flatter'dto be worst:
The lowestand most deiected thing of Fortune
Stands still in esperanceliues not in feare:
The lamentable change is from the best
The worst returnes to laughter. Welcome then
Thou vnsubstantiall ayre that I embrace:
The Wretch that thou hast blowne vnto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Enter Glousterand an Oldman.
But who comes heere? My Father poorely led?
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee
Life would not yeelde to age
Oldm. O my good LordI haue bene your Tenant
And your Fathers Tenantthese fourescore yeares
Glou. Awayget thee away: good Friend be gone
Thy comforts can do me no good at all
Theethey may hurt
Oldm. You cannot see your way
Glou. I haue no wayand therefore want no eyes:
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seene
Our meanes secure vsand our meere defects
Proue our Commodities. Oh deere Sonne Edgar
The food of thy abused Fathers wrath:
Might I but liue to see thee in my touch
I'ld say I had eyes againe
Oldm. How now? who's there?
Edg. O Gods! Who is't can say I am at the worst?
I am worse then ere I was
Old. 'Tis poore mad Tom
Edg. And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
So long as we can say this is the worst
Oldm. Fellowwhere goest?
Glou. Is it a Beggar-man?
Oldm. Madmanand beggar too
Glou. He has some reasonelse he could not beg.
I'th' last nights stormeI such a fellow saw;
Which made me thinke a Mana Worme. My Sonne
Came then into my mindeand yet my minde
Was then scarse Friends with him.
I haue heard more since:
As Flies to wanton Boyesare we to th' Gods
They kill vs for their sport
Edg. How should this be?
Bad is the Trade that must play Foole to sorrow
Ang'ring it selfeand others. Blesse thee Master
Glou. Is that the naked Fellow?
Oldm. Imy Lord
Glou. Get thee away: If for my sake
Thou wilt ore-take vs hence a mile or twaine
I'th' way toward Douerdo it for ancient loue
And bring some couering for this naked Soule
Which Ile intreate to leade me
Old. Alacke sirhe is mad
Glou. 'Tis the times plague
When Madmen leade the blinde:
Do as I bid theeor rather do thy pleasure:
Aboue the restbe gone
Oldm. Ile bring him the best Parrell that I haue
Come on't what will.
Glou. Sirrahnaked fellow
Edg. Poore Tom's a cold. I cannot daub it further
Glou. Come hither fellow
Edg. And yet I must:
Blesse thy sweete eyesthey bleede
Glou. Know'st thou the way to Douer?
Edg. Both styleand gate; Horsewayand foot-path:
poore Tom hath bin scarr'd out of his good wits. Blesse
thee good mans sonnefrom the foule Fiend
Glou. Here take this pursey whom the heau'ns plagues
Haue humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: Heauens deale so still:
Let the superfluousand Lust-dieted man
That slaues your ordinancethat will not see
Because he do's not feelefeele your powre quickly:
So distribution should vndoo excesse
And each man haue enough. Dost thou know Douer?
Edg. I Master
Glou. There is a Cliffewhose high and bending head
Lookes fearfully in the confined Deepe:
Bring me but to the very brimme of it
And Ile repayre the misery thou do'st beare
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading neede
Edg. Giue me thy arme;
Poore Tom shall leade thee.
Enter GonerillBastardand Steward.
Gon. Welcome my Lord. I meruell our mild husband
Not met vs on the way. Nowwhere's your Master?
Stew. Madam withinbut neuer man so chang'd:
I told him of the Army that was Landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming
His answer wasthe worse. Of Glosters Treachery
And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
When I inform'd himthen he call'd me Sot
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislikeseemes pleasant to him;
Gon. Then shall you go no further.
It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother
Hasten his Mustersand conduct his powres.
I must change names at homeand giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech
Decline your head. This kisseif it durst speake
Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
Conceiueand fare thee well
Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.
Gon. My most deere Gloster.
Ohthe difference of manand man
To thee a Womans seruices are due
My Foole vsurpes my body
Stew. Madamhere come's my Lord.
Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle
Alb. Oh Gonerill
You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
Blowes in your face
Gon. Milke-Liuer'd man
That bear'st a cheeke for blowesa head for wrongs
Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
Thine Honorfrom thy suffering
Alb. See thy selfe diuell:
Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
So horrid as in woman
Gon. Oh vaine Foole.
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Oh my good Lordthe Duke of Cornwals dead
Slaine by his Seruantgoing to put out
The other eye of Glouster
Alb. Glousters eyes
Mes. A Seruant that he bredthrill'd with remorse
Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
To his great Masterwhothreat-enrag'd
Flew on himand among'st them fell'd him dead
But not without that harmefull strokewhich since
Hath pluckt him after
Alb. This shewes you are aboue
You Iusticesthat these our neather crimes
So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
Lost he his other eye?
Mes. Bothbothmy Lord.
This Leter Madamcraues a speedy answer:
'Tis from your Sister
Gon. One way I like this well.
But being widdowand my Glouster with her
May all the building in my fancie plucke
Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
The Newes is not so tart. Ile readand answer
Alb. Where was his Sonne
When they did take his eyes?
Mes. Come with my Lady hither
Alb. He is not heere
Mes. No my good LordI met him backe againe
Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse?
Mes. I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
And quit the house on purposethat their punishment
Might haue the freer course
Alb. GlousterI liue
To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King
And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend
Tell me what more thou know'st.
Enter with Drum and ColoursCordeliaGentlemenand
Cor. Alacke'tis he: why he was met euen now
As mad as the vext Seasinging alowd.
Crown'd with ranke Fenitarand furrow weeds
With HardokesHemlockeNettlesCuckoo flowres
Darnelland all the idle weedes that grow
In our sustaining Corne. A Centery send forth;
Search euery Acre in the high-growne field
And bring him to our eye. What can mans wisedome
In the restoring his bereaued Sense; he that helpes him
Take all my outward worth
Gent. There is meanes Madam:
Our foster Nurse of Natureis repose
The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
Are many Simples operatiuewhose power
Will close the eye of Anguish
Cord. All blest Secrets
All you vnpublish'd Vertues of the earth
Spring with my teares; be aydantand remediate
In the Goodmans desires: seekeseeke for him
Least his vngouern'd ragedissolue the life
That wants the meanes to leade it.
Mes. Newes Madam
The Brittish Powres are marching hitherward
Cor. 'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O deere Father
It is thy businesse that I go about: Therfore great France
My mourningand importun'd teares hath pittied:
No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite
But louedeere loueand our ag'd Fathers Rite:
Soone may I heareand see him.
Enter Reganand Steward.
Reg. But are my Brothers Powres set forth?
Stew. I Madam
Reg. Himselfe in person there?
Stew. Madam with much ado:
Your Sister is the better Souldier
Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?
Stew. No Madam
Reg. What might import my Sisters Letter to him?
Stew. I know notLady
Reg. Faith he is poasted hence on serious matter:
It was great ignoranceGlousters eyes being out
To let him liue. Where he arriueshe moues
All hearts against vs: EdmundI thinke is gone
In pitty of his miseryto dispatch
His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
The strength o'th' Enemy
Stew. I must needs after himMadamwith my Letter
Reg. Our troopes set forth to morrowstay with vs:
The wayes are dangerous
Stew. I may not Madam:
My Lady charg'd my dutie in this busines
Reg. Why should she write to Edmund?
Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike
Some thingsI know not what. Ile loue thee much
Let me vnseale the Letter
Stew. MadamI had rather
Reg. I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband
I am sure of that: and at her late being heere
She gaue strange Eliadsand most speaking lookes
To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome
Reg. I speake in vnderstanding: Y'are: I know't
Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
My Lord is dead: Edmondand I haue talk'd
And more conuenient is he for my hand
Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
If you do finde himpray you giue him this;
And when your Mistris heares thus much from you
I pray desire her call her wisedome to her.
So fare you well:
If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor
Preferment fals on himthat cuts him off
Stew. Would I could meet MadamI should shew
What party I do follow
Reg. Fare thee well.
Enter Gloucesterand Edgar.
Glou. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor
Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen
Edg. Horrible steepe.
Hearkedo you heare the Sea?
Glou. No truly
Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
By your eyes anguish
Glou. So may it be indeed.
Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'dand thou speak'st
In better phraseand matter then thou did'st
Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
But in my Garments
Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken
Edg. Come on Sir
Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
And dizie 'tisto cast ones eyes so low
The Crowes and Choughesthat wing the midway ayre
Shew scarse so grosse as Beetles. Halfe way downe
Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
The Fishermenthat walk'd vpon the beach
Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke
Diminish'd to her Cocke: her Cockea Buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring Surge
That on th' vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more
Least my braine turneand the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong
Glou. Set me where you stand
Edg. Giue me your hand:
You are now within a foote of th' extreme Verge:
For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright
Glou. Let go my hand:
Heere Friend's another purse: in ita Iewell
Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayriesand Gods
Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off
Bid me farewelland let me heare thee going
Edg. Now fare ye wellgood Sir
Glou. With all my heart
Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire
Is done to cure it
Glou. O you mighty Gods!
This world I do renounceand in your sights
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could beare it longerand not fall
To quarrell with your great opposelesse willes
My snuffeand loathed part of Nature should
Burne it selfe out. If Edgar liueO blesse him:
Now Fellowfare thee well
Edg. Gone Sirfarewell:
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The Treasury of lifewhen life it selfe
Yeelds to the Theft. Had he bin where he thought
By this had thought bin past. Aliueor dead?
Hoayou Sir: Friendheare you Sirspeake:
Thus might he passe indeed: yet he reuiues.
What are you Sir?
Glou. Awayand let me dye
Edg. Had'st thou beene ought
(So many fathome downe precipitating)
Thou'dst shiuer'd like an Egge: but thou do'st breath:
Hast heauy substancebleed'st notspeak'start sound
Ten Masts at eachmake not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell
Thy life's a Myracle. Speake yet againe
Glou. But haue I falneor no?
Edg. From the dread Somnet of this Chalkie Bourne
Looke vp a heightthe shrill-gorg'd Larke so farre
Cannot be seeneor heard: Do but looke vp
Glou. AlackeI haue no eyes:
Is wretchednesse depriu'd that benefit
To end it selfe by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the Tyrants rage
And frustrate his proud will
Edg. Giue me your arme.
Vpso: How is't? Feele you your Legges? You stand
Glou. Too welltoo well
Edg. This is aboue all strangenesse
Vpon the crowne o'th' Cliffe. What thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glou. A poore vnfortunate Beggar
Edg. As I stood heere belowme thought his eyes
Were two full Moones: he had a thousand Noses
Hornes wealk'dand waued like the enraged Sea:
It was some Fiend: Therefore thou happy Father
Thinke that the cleerest Godswho make them Honors
Of mens Impossibilitieshaue preserued thee
Glou. I do remember now: henceforth Ile beare
Afflictiontill it do cry out it selfe
Enoughenoughand dye. That thing you speake of
I tooke it for a man: often 'twould say
The Fiendthe Fiendhe led me to that place
Edgar. Beare free and patient thoughts.
But who comes heere?
The safer sense will ne're accommodate
His Master thus
Lear. Nothey cannot touch me for crying. I am the
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's aboue Artin that respect. Ther's your
Presse-money. That fellow handles his bowlike a Crowkeeper:
draw mee a Cloathiers yard. Lookelookea
Mouse: peacepeacethis peece of toasted Cheese will
doo't. There's my GauntletIle proue it on a Gyant.
Bring vp the browne Billes. O well flowne Bird: i'th'
clouti'th' clout: Hewgh. Giue the word
Edg. Sweet Mariorum
Glou. I know that voice
Lear. Ha! Gonerill with a white beard? They flatter'd
me like a Doggeand told mee I had the white hayres in
my Beardere the blacke ones were there. To say Iand
noto euery thing that I said: Iand no toowas no good
Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me onceand the
winde to make me chatter: when the Thunder would not
peace at my biddingthere I found 'emthere I smelt 'em
out. Go toothey are not men o'their words; they told
meI was euery thing: 'Tis a LyeI am not Agu-proofe
Glou. The tricke of that voyceI do well remember:
Is't not the King?
Lear. Ieuery inch a King.
When I do staresee how the Subiect quakes.
I pardon that mans life. What was thy cause?
Adultery? thou shalt not dye: dye for Adultery?
Nothe Wren goes too'tand the small gilded Fly
Do's letcher in my sight. Let Copulation thriue:
For Glousters bastard Son was kinder to his Father
Then my Daughters got 'tweene the lawfull sheets.
Too't Luxury pell-mellfor I lacke Souldiers.
Behold yond simpring Damewhose face betweene her
Forkes presages Snow; that minces Vertue& do's shake
the head to heare of pleasures name. The Fitchewnor
the soyled Horse goes too't with a more riotous appetite:
Downe from the waste they are Centauresthough
Women all aboue: but to the Girdle do the Gods inherit
beneath is all the Fiends. There's hellthere's darkenes
there is the sulphurous pit; burningscaldingstench
consumption: Fyefiefie; pahpah: Giue me an Ounce
of Ciuet; good Apothecary sweeten my immagination:
There's money for thee
Glou. O let me kisse that hand
Lear. Let me wipe it first
It smelles of Mortality
Glou. O ruin'd peece of Naturethis great world
Shall so weare out to naught.
Do'st thou know me?
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough: dost thou
squiny at me? Nodoe thy worst blinde CupidIle not
loue. Reade thou this challengemarke but the penning
Glou. Were all thy Letters SunnesI could not see
Edg. I would not take this from report
It isand my heart breakes at it
Glou. What with the Case of eyes?
Lear. Oh hoare you there with me? No eies in your
headnor no mony in your purse? Your eyes are in a heauy
caseyour purse in a lightyet you see how this world
Glou. I see it feelingly
Lear. Whatart mad? A man may see how this world
goeswith no eyes. Looke with thine eares: See how
yond Iustice railes vpon yond simple theefe. Hearke in
thine eare: Change placesand handy-dandywhich is
the Iusticewhich is the theefe: Thou hast seene a Farmers
dogge barke at a Beggar?
Glou. I Sir
Lear. And the Creature run from the Cur: there thou
might'st behold the great image of Authoritiea Dogg's
obey'd in Office. ThouRascall Beadlehold thy bloody
hand: why dost thou lash that Whore? Strip thy owne
backethou hotly lusts to vse her in that kindfor which
thou whip'st her. The Vsurer hangs the Cozener. Thorough
tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare: Robes
and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Goldand
the strong Lance of Iusticehurtlesse breakes: Arme it in
raggesa Pigmies straw do's pierce it. None do's offend
noneI say noneIle able 'em; take that of me my Friend
who haue the power to seale th' accusers lips. Get thee
glasse-eyesand like a scuruy Politicianseeme to see the
things thou dost not. Nownownownow. Pull off my
Edg. O matterand impertinency mixt
Reason in Madnesse
Lear. If thou wilt weepe my Fortunestake my eyes.
I know thee well enoughthy name is Glouster:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'stthe first time that we smell the Ayre
We wawleand cry. I will preach to thee: Marke
Glou. Alackealacke the day
Lear. When we are bornewe cry that we are come
To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe
And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon himSir.
Your most deere Daughter
Lear. No rescue? Whata Prisoner? I am euen
The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well
You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons
I am cut to'th' Braines
Gent. You shall haue any thing
Lear. No Seconds? All my selfe?
Whythis would make a mana man of Salt
To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots. I wil die brauely
Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
ComecomeI am a KingMastersknow you that?
Gent. You are a Royall oneand we obey you
Lear. Then there's life in't. Comeand you get it
You shall get it by running: Sasasasa.
Gent. A sight most pittifull in the meanest wretch
Past speaking of in a King. Thou hast a Daughter
Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
Which twaine haue brought her to
Edg. Haile gentle Sir
Gent. Sirspeed you: what's your will?
Edg. Do you heare ought (Sir) of a Battell toward
Gent. Most sureand vulgar:
Euery one heares thatwhich can distinguish sound
Edg. But by your fauour:
How neere's the other Army?
Gent. Neereand on speedy foot: the maine descry
Stands on the hourely thought
Edg. I thanke you Sirthat's all
Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here
Her Army is mou'd on.
Edg. I thanke you Sir
Glou. You euer gentle Godstake my breath from me
Let not my worser Spirit tempt me againe
To dye before you please
Edg. Well pray you Father
Glou. Now good sirwhat are you?
Edg. A most poore manmade tame to Fortunes blows
Whoby the Art of knowneand feeling sorrowes
Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand
Ile leade you to some biding
Glou. Heartie thankes:
The bountieand the benizon of Heauen
To bootand boot.
Stew. A proclaim'd prize: most happie
That eyelesse head of thinewas first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou oldvnhappy Traitor
Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
That must destroy thee
Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough too't
Stew. Whereforebold Pezant
Dar'st thou support a publish'd Traitor? Hence
Least that th' infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arme
Edg. Chill not let go Zir
Without vurther 'casion
Stew. Let go Slaueor thou dy'st
Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gateand let poore
volke passe: and 'chud ha' bin zwaggerd out of my life
'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tisby a vortnight. Nay
come not neere th' old man: keepe out che vor' yeor Ile
try whither your Costardor my Ballow be the harder;
chill be plaine with you
Stew. Out Dunghill
Edg. Chill picke your teeth Zir: comeno matter vor
Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me: Villaintake my purse;
If euer thou wilt thriuebury my bodie
And giue the Letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earle of Glouster: seeke him out
Vpon the English party. Oh vntimely deathdeath
Edg. I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine
As duteous to the vices of thy Mistris
As badnesse would desire
Glou. Whatis he dead?
Edg. Sit you downe Father: rest you.
Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
Leaue gentle waxeand manners: blame vs not
To know our enemies mindeswe rip their hearts
Their Papers is more lawfull.
Reads the Letter.
Let our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want nottime and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
returne the Conquerorthen am I the Prisonerand his bedmy
Gaolefrom the loathed warmth whereofdeliuer meand supply
the place for your Labour.
Your (Wifeso I would say) affectionate
Oh indistinguish'd space of Womans will
A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life
And the exchange my Brother: heerein the sands
Thee Ile rake vpthe poste vnsanctified
Of murtherous Letchers: and in the mature time
With this vngracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well
That of thy deathand businesseI can tell
Glou. The King is mad:
How stiffe is my vilde sense
That I stand vpand haue ingenious feeling
Of my huge Sorrowes? Better I were distract
So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes
Drum afarre off.
And woesby wrong imaginations loose
The knowledge of themselues
Edg. Giue me your hand:
Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
Come FatherIle bestow you with a Friend.
Enter CordeliaKentand Gentleman.
Cor. O thou good Kent
How shall I liue and worke
To match thy goodnesse?
My life will be too short
And euery measure faile me
Kent. To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-pai'd
All my reports go with the modest truth
Nor morenor cliptbut so
Cor. Be better suited
These weedes are memories of those worser houres:
I prythee put them off
Kent. Pardon deere Madam
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent
My boone I make itthat you know me not
Till timeand Ithinke meet
Cor. Then be't so my good Lord:
How do's the King?
Gent. Madam sleepes still
Cor. O you kind Gods!
Cure this great breach in his abused Nature
Th' vntun'd and iarring sensesO winde vp
Of this childe-changed Father
Gent. So please your Maiesty
That we may wake the Kinghe hath slept long?
Cor. Be gouern'd by your knowledgeand proceede
I'th' sway of your owne will: is he array'd?
Enter Lear in a chaire carried by Seruants]
Gent. I Madam: in the heauinesse of sleepe
We put fresh garments on him.
Be by good Madam when we do awake him
I doubt of his Temperance
Cor. O my deere Fatherrestauratian hang
Thy medicine on my lippesand let this kisse
Repaire those violent harmesthat my two Sisters
Haue in thy Reuerence made
Kent. Kind and deere Princesse
Cor. Had you not bin their Fatherthese white flakes
Did challenge pitty of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the iarring windes?
Mine Enemies doggethough he had bit me
Should haue stood that night against my fire
And was't thou faine (poore Father)
To houell thee with Swine and Rogues forlorne
In shortand musty straw? Alackealacke
'Tis wonder that thy life and witsat once
Had not concluded all. He wakesspeake to him
Gen. Madam do you'tis fittest
Cor. How does my Royall Lord?
How fares your Maiesty?
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o'th' graue
Thou art a Soule in blissebut I am bound
Vpon a wheele of firethat mine owne teares
Do scal'dlike molten Lead
Cor. Sirdo you know me?
Lear. You are a spirit I knowwhere did you dye?
Cor. Stillstillfarre wide
Gen. He's scarse awake
Let him alone a while
Lear. Where haue I bin?
Where am I? Faire day light?
I am mightily abus'd; I should eu'n dye with pitty
To see another thus. I know not what to say:
I will not sweare these are my hands: let's see
I feele this pin prickewould I were assur'd
Of my condition
Cor. O looke vpon me Sir
And hold your hand in benediction o're me
You must not kneele
Lear. Pray do not mocke me:
I am a very foolish fond old man
Fourescore and vpward
Not an houre morenor lesse:
And to deale plainely
I feare I am not in my perfect mind.
Me thinkes I should know youand know this man
Yet I am doubtfull: For I am mainely ignorant
What place this is: and all the skill I haue
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 thinke this Lady
To be my childe Cordelia
Cor. And so I am: I am
Lear. Be your teares wet?
Yes faith: I pray weepe not
If you haue poyson for meI will drinke it:
I know you do not loue mefor your Sisters
Haue (as I do remember) done me wrong.
You haue some causethey haue not
Cor. No causeno cause
Lear. Am I in France?
Kent. In your owne kingdome Sir
Lear. Do not abuse me
Gent. Be comforted good Madamthe great rage
You see is kill'd in him: desire him to go in
Trouble him no more till further setling
Cor. Wilt please your Highnesse walke?
Lear. You must beare with me:
Pray you now forgetand forgiue
I am old and foolish.
Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.
Enter with Drumme and ColoursEdmundRegan. Gentlemenand
Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold
Or whether since he is aduis'd by ought
To change the coursehe's full of alteration
And selfereprouingbring his constant pleasure
Reg. Our Sisters man is certainely miscarried
Bast. 'Tis to be doubted Madam
Reg. Now sweet Lord
You know the goodnesse I intend vpon you:
Tell me but trulybut then speake the truth
Do you not loue my Sister?
Bast. In honour'd Loue
Reg. But haue you neuer found my Brothers way
To the fore-fended place?
Bast. No by mine honourMadam
Reg. I neuer shall endure herdeere my Lord
Be not familiar with her
Bast. Feare notshe and the Duke her husband.
Enter with Drum and ColoursAlbanyGonerillSoldiers.
Alb. Our very louing Sisterwell be-met:
Sirthis I heardthe King is come to his Daughter
With otherswhom the rigour of our State
Forc'd to cry out
Regan. Why is this reasond?
Gone. Combine together 'gainst the Enemie:
For these domesticke and particular broiles
Are not the question heere
Alb. Let's then determine with th' ancient of warre
On our proceeding
Reg. Sister you'le go with vs?
Reg. 'Tis most conuenientpray go with vs
Gon. Oh hoI know the RiddleI will goe.
Exeunt. both the Armies.
Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore
Heare me one word
Alb. Ile ouertake youspeake
Edg. Before you fight the Battaileope this Letter:
If you haue victorylet the Trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though I seeme
I can produce a Championthat will proue
What is auouched there. If you miscarry
Your businesse of the world hath so an end
And machination ceases. Fortune loues you
Alb. Stay till I haue read the Letter
Edg. I was forbid it:
When time shall seruelet but the Herald cry
And Ile appeare againe.
Alb. Why farethee wellI will o're-looke thy paper.
Bast. The Enemy's in viewdraw vp your powers
Heere is the guesse of their true strength and Forces
By dilligent discoueriebut your hast
Is now vrg'd on you
Alb. We will greet the time.
Bast. To both these Sisters haue I sworne my loue:
Each iealous of the otheras the stung
Are of the Adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enioy'd
If both remaine aliue: To take the Widdow
Exasperatesmakes mad her Sister Gonerill
And hardly shall I carry out my side
Her husband being aliue. Now thenwee'l vse
His countenance for the Battailewhich being done
Let her who would be rid of himdeuise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercie
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia
The Battaile doneand they within our power
Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state
Stands on me to defendnot to debate.
Alarum within. Enter with Drumme and ColoursLearCordelia
Souldiersouer the Stageand Exeunt. Enter Edgarand Gloster.
Edg. Heere Fathertake the shadow of this Tree
For your good hoast: pray that the right may thriue:
If euer I returne to you againe
Ile bring you comfort
Glo. Grace go with you Sir.
Alarum and Retreat within. Enter Edgar.
Edgar. Away old mangiue me thy handaway:
King Lear hath losthe and his Daughter tane
Giue me thy hand: Come on
Glo. No further Sira man may rot euen heere
Edg. What in ill thoughts againe?
Men must endure
Their going henceeuen as their comming hither
Ripenesse is all come on
Glo. And that's true too.
Enter in conquest with Drum and ColoursEdmundLearand
Bast. Some Officers take them away: good guard
Vntill their greater pleasures first be knowne
That are to censure them
Cor. We are not the first
Who with best meaning haue incurr'd the worst:
For thee oppressed King I am cast downe
My selfe could else out-frowne false Fortunes frowne.
Shall we not see these Daughtersand these Sisters?
Lear. Nononono: come let's away to prison
We two alone will sing like Birds i'th' Cage:
When thou dost aske me blessingIle kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenesse: So wee'l liue
And prayand singand tell old talesand laugh
At gilded Butterflies: and heere (poore Rogues)
Talke of Court newesand wee'l talke with them too
Who loosesand who wins; who's inwho's out;
And take vpon's the mystery of things
As if we were Gods spies: And wee'l weare out
In a wall'd prisonpacks and sects of great ones
That ebbe and flow by th' Moone
Bast. Take them away
Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia
The Gods themselues throw Incense.
Haue I caught thee?
He that parts vsshall bring a Brand from Heauen
And fire vs hencelike Foxes: wipe thine eyes
The good yeares shall deuoure themflesh and fell
Ere they shall make vs weepe?
Weele see 'em staru'd first: come.
Bast. Come hither Captainehearke.
Take thou this notego follow them to prison
One step I haue aduanc'd theeif thou do'st
As this instructs theethou dost make thy way
To Noble Fortunes: know thou thisthat men
Are as the time is; to be tender minded
Do's not become a Swordthy great imployment
Will not beare question: either say thou'lt do't
Or thriue by other meanes
Capt. Ile do't my Lord
Bast. About itand write happywhen th'hast done
Marke I say instantlyand carry it so
As I haue set it downe.
Flourish. Enter AlbanyGonerillReganSoldiers.
Alb. Siryou haue shew'd to day your valiant straine
And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
Who were the opposites of this dayes strife:
I do require them of you so to vse them
As we shall find their meritesand our safety
May equally determine
Bast. SirI thought it fit
To send the old and miserable King to some retention
Whose age had Charmes in itwhose Title more
To plucke the common bosome on his side
And turne our imprest Launces in our eies
Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen:
My reason all the sameand they are ready
To morrowor at further spacet' appeare
Where you shall hold your Session
Alb. Sirby your patience
I hold you but a subiect of this Warre
Not as a Brother
Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Methinkes our pleasure might haue bin demanded
Ere you had spoke so farre. He led our Powers
Bore the Commission of my place and person
The which immediacie may well stand vp
And call it selfe your Brother
Gon. Not so hot:
In his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe
More then in your addition
Reg. In my rights
By me inuestedhe compeeres the best
Alb. That were the mostif he should husband you
Reg. Iesters do oft proue Prophets
That eye that told you solook'd but a squint
Rega. Lady I am not wellelse I should answere
From a full flowing stomack. Generall
Take thou my Souldiersprisonerspatrimony
Dispose of themof methe walls is thine:
Witnesse the worldthat I create thee heere
My Lordand Master
Gon. Meane you to enioy him?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will
Bast. Nor in thine Lord
Alb. Halfe-blooded fellowyes
Reg. Let the Drum strikeand proue my title thine
Alb. Stay yetheare reason: EdmundI arrest thee
On capitall Treason; and in thy arrest
This guilded Serpent: for your claime faire Sisters
I bare it in the interest of my wife
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord
And I her husband contradict your Banes.
If you will marrymake your loues to me
My Lady is bespoke
Gon. An enterlude
Alb. Thou art armed Gloster
Let the Trumpet sound:
If none appeare to proue vpon thy person
Thy heynousmanifestand many Treasons
There is my pledge: Ile make it on thy heart
Ere I taste breadthou art in nothing lesse
Then I haue heere proclaim'd thee
Reg. SickeO sicke
Gon. If notIle nere trust medicine
Bast. There's my exchangewhat in the world hes
That names me Traitorvillain-like he lies
Call by the Trumpet: he that dares approach;
On himon youwho notI will maintaine
My truth and honor firmely.
Enter a Herald.
Alb. A Heraldho.
Trust to thy single vertuefor thy Souldiers
All leuied in my namehaue in my name
Tooke their discharge
Regan. My sicknesse growes vpon me
Alb. She is not wellconuey her to my Tent.
Come hither Heraldlet the Trumpet sound
And read out this.
A Trumpet sounds.
If any man of qualitie or degreewithin the lists of the Army
will maintaine vpon Edmundsupposed Earle of Gloster
that he is a manifold Traitorlet him appeare by the third
sound of the Trumpet: he is bold in his defence.
Trumpet answers within.
Enter Edgar armed.
Alb. Aske him his purposeswhy he appeares
Vpon this Call o'th' Trumpet
Her. What are you?
Your nameyour qualityand why you answer
This present Summons?
Edg. Know my name is lost
By Treasons tooth: bare-gnawneand Canker-bit
Yet am I Noble as the Aduersary
I come to cope
Alb. Which is that Aduersary?
Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of Gloster?
Bast. Himselfewhat saist thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy Sword
That if my speech offend a Noble heart
Thy arme may do thee Iusticeheere is mine:
Behold it is my priuiledge
The priuiledge of mine Honours
My oathand my profession. I protest
Maugre thy strengthplaceyouthand eminence
Despise thy victor-Swordand fire new Fortune
Thy valorand thy heartthou art a Traitor:
False to thy Godsthy Brotherand thy Father
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious Prince
And from th' extremest vpward of thy head
To the discent and dust below thy foote
A most Toad-spotted Traitor. Say thou no
This Swordthis armeand my best spirits are bent
To proue vpon thy heartwhere to I speake
Bast. In wisedome I should aske thy name
But since thy out-side lookes so faire and Warlike
And that thy tongue (some say) of breeding breathes
What safeand nicely I might well delay
By rule of Knight-hoodI disdaine and spurne:
Backe do I tosse these Treasons to thy head
With the hell-hated Lyeore-whelme thy heart
Which for they yet glance byand scarcely bruise
This Sword of mine shall giue them instant way
Where they shall rest for euer. Trumpets speake
Alb. Saue himsaue him.
Gon. This is practise Gloster
By th' law of Warrethou wast not bound to answer
An vnknowne opposite: thou art not vanquish'd
But cozendand beguild
Alb. Shut your mouth Dame
Or with this paper shall I stop it: hold Sir
Thou worse then any namereade thine owne euill:
No tearing LadyI perceiue you know it
Gon. Say if I dothe Lawes are mine not thine
Who can araigne me for't?
Alb. Most monstrous! Oknow'st thou this paper?
Bast. Aske me not what I know
Alb. Go after hershe's desperategouerne her
Bast. What you haue charg'd me with
That haue I done
And moremuch morethe time will bring it out.
'Tis pastand so am I: But what art thou
That hast this Fortune on me? If thou'rt Noble
I do forgiue thee
Edg. Let's exchange charity:
I am no lesse in blood then thou art Edmond
If morethe more th'hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar and thy Fathers Sonne
The Gods are iustand of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague vs:
The darke and vitious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes
Bast. Th'hast spoken right'tis true
The Wheele is come full circleI am heere
Alb. Me thought thy very gate did prophesie
A Royall Noblenesse: I must embrace thee
Let sorrow split my heartif euer I
Did hate theeor thy Father
Edg. Worthy Prince I know't
Alb. Where haue you hid your selfe?
How haue you knowne the miseries of your Father?
Edg. By nursing them my Lord. List a breefe tale
And when 'tis toldO that my heart would burst.
The bloody proclamation to escape
That follow'd me so neere(O our liues sweetnesse
That we the paine of death would hourely dye
Rather then die at once) taught me to shift
Into a mad-mans ragst' assume a semblance
That very Dogges disdain'd: and in this habit
Met I my Father with his bleeding Rings
Their precious Stones new lost: became his guide
Led himbegg'd for himsau'd him from dispaire.
Neuer (O fault) reueal'd my selfe vnto him
Vntill some halfe houre past when I was arm'd
Not surethough hoping of this good successe
I ask'd his blessingand from first to last
Told him our pilgrimage. But his flaw'd heart
(Alacke too weake the conflict to support)
Twixt two extremes of passionioy and greefe
Bast. This speech of yours hath mou'd me
And shall perchance do goodbut speake you on
You looke as you had something more to say
Alb. If there be moremore wofullhold it in
For I am almost ready to dissolue
Hearing of this.
Enter a Gentleman.
Gen. Helpehelpe: O helpe
Edg. What kinde of helpe?
Alb. Speake man
Edg. What meanes this bloody Knife?
Gen. 'Tis hotit smoakesit came euen from the heart
of- O she's dead
Alb. Who dead? Speake man
Gen. Your Lady Siryour Lady; and her Sister
By her is poyson'd: she confesses it
Bast. I was contracted to them bothall three
Now marry in an instant
Edg. Here comes Kent.
Alb. Produce the bodiesbe they aliue or dead;
Gonerill and Regans bodies brought out.
This iudgement of the Heauens that makes vs tremble.
Touches vs not with pitty: Ois this he?
The time will not allow the complement
Which very manners vrges
Kent. I am come
To bid my King and Master aye good night.
Is he not here?
Alb. Great thing of vs forgot
Speake Edmundwhere's the King? and where's Cordelia?
Seest thou this obiect Kent?
Kent. Alackewhy thus?
Bast. Yet Edmund was belou'd:
The one the other poison'd for my sake
And after slew herselfe
Alb. Euen so: couer their faces
Bast. I pant for life: some good I meane to do
Despight of mine owne Nature. Quickly send
(Be briefe in it) to'th' Castlefor my Writ
Is on the life of Learand on Cordelia:
Naysend in time
Alb. RunrunO run
Edg. To who my Lord? Who ha's the Office?
Send thy token of repreeue
Bast. Well thought ontake my Sword
Giue it the Captaine
Edg. Hast thee for thy life
Bast. He hath Commission from thy Wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prisonand
To lay the blame vpon her owne dispaire
That she for-did her selfe
Alb. The Gods defend herbeare him hence awhile.
Enter Lear with Cordelia in his armes.
Lear. Howlehowlehowle: O you are men of stones
Had I your tongues and eyesIl'd vse them so
That Heauens vault should crack: she's gone for euer.
I know when one is deadand when one liues
She's dead as earth: Lend me a Looking-glasse
If that her breath will mist or staine the stone
Why then she liues
Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror
Alb. Fall and cease
Lear. This feather stirsshe liues: if it be so
It is a chance which do's redeeme all sorrowes
That euer I haue felt
Kent. O my good Master
Lear. Prythee away
Edg. 'Tis Noble Kent your Friend
Lear. A plague vpon you MurderorsTraitors all
I might haue sau'd hernow she's gone for euer:
CordeliaCordeliastay a little. Ha:
What is't thou saist? Her voice was euer soft
Gentleand lowan excellent thing in woman.
I kill'd the Slaue that was a hanging thee
Gent. 'Tis true (my Lords) he did
Lear. Did I not fellow?
I haue seene the daywith my good biting Faulchion
I would haue made him skip: I am old now
And these same crosses spoile me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o'th' bestIle tell you straight
Kent. If Fortune brag of twoshe lou'd and hated
One of them we behold
Lear. This is a dull sightare you not Kent?
Kent. The same: your Seruant Kent
Where is your Seruant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellowI can tell you that
He'le strike and quickly toohe's dead and rotten
Kent. No my good LordI am the very man
Lear. Ile see that straight
Kent. That from your first of difference and decay
Haue follow'd your sad steps
Lear. You are welcome hither
Kent. Nor no man else:
All's cheerlessedarkeand deadly
Your eldest Daughters haue fore-done themselues
And desperately are dead
Lear. I so I thinke
Alb. He knowes not what he saiesand vaine is it
That we present vs to him.
Enter a Messenger.
Edg. Very bootlesse
Mess. Edmund is dead my Lord
Alb. That's but a trifle heere:
You Lords and Noble Friendsknow our intent
What comfort to this great decay may come
Shall be appli'd. For vs we will resigne
During the life of this old Maiesty
To him our absolute poweryou to your rights
With booteand such addition as your Honours
Haue more then merited. All Friends shall
Taste the wages of their vertueand all Foes
The cup of their deseruings: O seesee
Lear. And my poore Foole is hang'd: nonono life?
Why should a Doga Horsea Rat haue life
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more
Pray you vndo this Button. Thanke you Sir
Do you see this? Looke on her? Looke her lips
Looke therelooke there.
Edg. He faintsmy Lordmy Lord
Kent. Breake heartI prythee breake
Edg. Looke vp my Lord
Kent. Vex not his ghostO let him passehe hates him
That would vpon the wracke of this tough world
Stretch him out longer
Edg. He is gon indeed
Kent. The wonder ishe hath endur'd so long
He but vsurpt his life
Alb. Beare them from henceour present businesse
Is generall woe: Friends of my souleyou twaine
Rule in this Realmeand the gor'd state sustaine
Kent. I haue a iourney Sirshortly to go
My Master calls meI must not say no
Edg. The waight of this sad time we must obey
Speake what we feelenot what we ought to say:
The oldest hath borne mostwe that are yong
Shall neuer see so muchnor liue so long.
Exeunt. with a dead March.
FINIS. THE TRAGEDIE OF KING LEAR.