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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

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If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd,
So may it come, thy master, whom thou lov'st,
Shall find thee full of labours.

Horns within. Enter Lear, [Knights,] and Attendants.

Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready. [Exit
an Attendant.] How now? What art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly
that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to
converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear
judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King.
Lear. If thou be'st as poor for a subject as he's for a king, thou
art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
Kent. Service.
Lear. Who wouldst thou serve?
Kent. You.
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would
fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Kent. Authority.
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in
telling it and deliver a plain message bluntly. That which
ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in, and the best of me
is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to
dote on her for anything. I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worse after
dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner, ho, dinner!
Where's my knave? my fool? Go you and call my fool hither.

[Exit an attendant.]

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
Osw. So please you- Exit.
Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.
[Exit a Knight.] Where's my fool, ho? I think the world's

[Enter Knight]

How now? Where's that mongrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me when I call'd him?
Knight. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not?
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but to my judgment
your Highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection
as you were wont. There's a great abatement of kindness appears
as well in the general dependants as in the Duke himself also
and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for
my duty cannot be silent when I think your Highness wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but rememb'rest me of mine own conception. I have
perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather
blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretence
and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into't. But
where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool
hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you and tell my
daughter I would speak with her. [Exit Knight.] Go you, call
hither my fool.
[Exit an Attendant.]

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

O, you, sir, you! Come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?
Osw. My lady's father.
Lear. 'My lady's father'? My lord's knave! You whoreson dog! you
slave! you cur!
Osw. I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
[Strikes him.]
Osw. I'll not be strucken, my lord.
Kent. Nor tripp'd neither, you base football player?
[Trips up his heels.
Lear. I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences. Away,
away! If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry; but
away! Go to! Have you wisdom? So.
[Pushes him out.]
Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee. There's earnest of thy
service. [Gives money.]

Enter Fool.

Fool. Let me hire him too. Here's my coxcomb.
[Offers Kent his cap.]
Lear. How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?
Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that's out of favour. Nay, an thou
canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly.
There, take my coxcomb! Why, this fellow hath banish'd two on's
daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If
thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.- How now,
nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'ld keep my coxcombs myself.
There's mine! beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah- the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipp'd out, when
Lady the brach may stand by th' fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Lear. Do.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle.
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
Kent. This is nothing, fool.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfeed lawyer- you gave me
nothing for't. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. [to Kent] Prithee tell him, so much the rent of his land
comes to. He will not believe a fool.
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter
fool and a sweet fool?
Lear. No, lad; teach me.
Fool. That lord that counsell'd thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me-
Do thou for him stand.
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear;
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast
born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, faith; lords and great men will not let me. If I had a
monopoly out, they would have part on't. And ladies too, they
will not let me have all the fool to myself; they'll be
snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' th' middle and eat up the
meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'
th' middle and gav'st away both parts, thou bor'st thine ass on
thy back o'er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown
when thou gav'st thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in
this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.

[Sings] Fools had ne'er less grace in a year,
For wise men are grown foppish;
They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.

Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool. I have us'd it, nuncle, ever since thou mad'st thy daughters
thy mother; for when thou gav'st them the rod, and put'st down
thine own breeches,

[Sings] Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep
And go the fools among.

Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to
lie. I would fain learn to lie.
Lear. An you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd.
Fool. I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They'll have me
whipp'd for speaking true; thou'lt have me whipp'd for lying;
and sometimes I am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather be
any kind o' thing than a fool! And yet I would not be thee,
nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides and left nothing
i' th' middle. Here comes one o' the parings.

Enter Goneril.

Lear. How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on? Methinks you
are too much o' late i' th' frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for
her frowning. Now thou art an O without a figure. I am better
than thou art now: I am a fool, thou art nothing.
[To Goneril] Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue. So your face
bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum!

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.-

[Points at Lear] That's a sheal'd peascod.
Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir,
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful,
By what yourself, too, late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Must call discreet proceeding.
Fool. For you know, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long
That it had it head bit off by it young.

So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, sir,
I would you would make use of that good wisdom
Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away
These dispositions that of late transform you
From what you rightly are.
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?
Whoop, Jug, I love thee!
Lear. Doth any here know me? This is not Lear.
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied- Ha! waking? 'Tis not so!
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Fool. Lear's shadow.
Lear. I would learn that; for, by the marks of sovereignty,
Knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded
I had daughters.
Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.
Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Gon. This admiration, sir, is much o' th' savour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright.
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd, and bold
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn. Epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel
Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy. Be then desir'd
By her that else will take the thing she begs
A little to disquantity your train,
And the remainder that shall still depend
To be such men as may besort your age,
Which know themselves, and you.
Lear. Darkness and devils!
Saddle my horses! Call my train together!
Degenerate bastard, I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people, and your disorder'd rabble
Make servants of their betters.

Enter Albany.

Lear. Woe that too late repents!- O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? Speak, sir!- Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!
Alb. Pray, sir, be patient.
Lear. [to Goneril] Detested kite, thou liest!
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.- O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate that let thy folly in [Strikes his head.]
And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov'd you.
Lear. It may be so, my lord.
Hear, Nature, hear! dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful.
Into her womb convey sterility;
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away! Exit.
Alb. Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.

Enter Lear.

Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap?
Within a fortnight?
Alb. What's the matter, sir?
Lear. I'll tell thee. [To Goneril] Life and death! I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
Th' untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee!- Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Yea, is it come to this?
Let it be so. Yet have I left a daughter,
Who I am sure is kind and comfortable.
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever; thou shalt, I warrant thee.
Exeunt [Lear, Kent, and Attendants].
Gon. Do you mark that, my lord?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you -
Gon. Pray you, content.- What, Oswald, ho!
[To the Fool] You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master!
Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry! Take the fool with thee.

A fox when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter.
So the fool follows after. Exit.
Gon. This man hath had good counsel! A hundred knights?
'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
At point a hundred knights; yes, that on every dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their pow'rs
And hold our lives in mercy.- Oswald, I say!
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.
Gon. Safer than trust too far.
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart.
What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister.
If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
When I have show'd th' unfitness-

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

How now, Oswald?
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
Osw. Yes, madam.
Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse!
Inform her full of my particular fear,
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone,
And hasten your return. [Exit Oswald.] No, no, my lord!
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more at task for want of wisdom
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
Gon. Nay then-
Alb. Well, well; th' event. Exeunt.

Scene V.
Court before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

Lear. Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my
daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her
demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I
shall be there afore you.
Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.
Fool. If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of
Lear. Ay, boy.
Fool. Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod.
Lear. Ha, ha, ha!
Fool. Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though
she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can tell
what I can tell.
Lear. What canst tell, boy?
Fool. She'll taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou
canst tell why one's nose stands i' th' middle on's face?
Lear. No.
Fool. Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that what a
man cannot smell out, 'a may spy into.
Lear. I did her wrong.
Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
Lear. No.
Fool. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
Lear. Why?
Fool. Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters,
and leave his horns without a case.
Lear. I will forget my nature. So kind a father!- Be my horses
Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars
are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.
Lear. Because they are not eight?
Fool. Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.
Lear. To tak't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being
old before thy time.
Lear. How's that?
Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
Lear. O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!

[Enter a Gentleman.]

How now? Are the horses ready?
Gent. Ready, my lord.
Lear. Come, boy.
Fool. She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter


ACT II. Scene I.
A court within the Castle of the Earl of Gloucester.

Enter [Edmund the] Bastard and Curan, meeting.

Edm. Save thee, Curan.
Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father, and given him
notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan his Duchess will be
here with him this night.
Edm. How comes that?
Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad- I mean the
whisper'd ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?
Edm. Not I. Pray you, what are they?
Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward 'twixt the two Dukes
of Cornwall and Albany?
Edm. Not a word.
Cur. You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir. Exit.
Edm. The Duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act. Briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word! Descend! Brother, I say!

Enter Edgar.

My father watches. O sir, fly this place!
Intelligence is given where you are hid.
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither; now, i' th' night, i' th' haste,
And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.
Edg. I am sure on't, not a word.
Edm. I hear my father coming. Pardon me!
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you.
Draw, seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.-
Yield! Come before my father. Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother.- Torches, torches!- So farewell.
Exit Edgar.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavour. [Stabs his arm.] I have seen
Do more than this in sport.- Father, father!-
Stop, stop! No help?

Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches.

Glou. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand 's auspicious mistress.
Glou. But where is he?
Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Glou. Where is the villain, Edmund?
Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could-
Glou. Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants].
By no means what?
Edm. Persuade me to the murther of your lordship;
But that I told him the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to th' father- sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared sword he charges home
My unprovided body, lanch'd mine arm;
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to th' encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.
Glou. Let him fly far.
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found- dispatch. The noble Duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night.
By his authority I will proclaim it
That he which find, him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous caitiff to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discover him. He replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard, dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No. What I should deny
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character), I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice;
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
Glou. Strong and fast'ned villain!
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Tucket within.
Hark, the Duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not scape;
The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him, and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.

Corn. How now, my noble friend? Since I came hither
(Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th' offender. How dost, my lord?
Glou. O madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father nam'd? Your Edgar?
Glou. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?
Glou. I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad!
Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
Reg. No marvel then though he were ill affected.
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have th' expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform'd of them, and with such cautions
That, if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.
Corn. Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A childlike office.
Edm. 'Twas my duty, sir.
Glou. He did bewray his practice, and receiv'd
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Corn. Is he pursued?
Glou. Ay, my good lord.
Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm. Make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours.
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.
Edm. I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
Glou. For him I thank your Grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you-
Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night.
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home. The several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
Glou. I serve you, madam.
Your Graces are right welcome.
Exeunt. Flourish.

Scene II.
Before Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Kent and [Oswald the] Steward, severally.

Osw. Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this house?
Kent. Ay.
Osw. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. I' th' mire.
Osw. Prithee, if thou lov'st me, tell me.
Kent. I love thee not.
Osw. Why then, I care not for thee.
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I would make thee care for
Osw. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
Kent. Fellow, I know thee.
Osw. What dost thou know me for?
Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud,
shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy,
worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson,
glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of
good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave,
beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch;
one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the
least syllable of thy addition.
Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one
that's neither known of thee nor knows thee!
Kent. What a brazen-fac'd varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me!
Is it two days ago since I beat thee and tripp'd up thy heels
before the King? [Draws his sword.] Draw, you rogue! for, though
it be night, yet the moon shines. I'll make a sop o' th'
moonshine o' you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barbermonger!
Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal! You come with letters against the King, and
take Vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father.
Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks! Draw, you
rascal! Come your ways!
Osw. Help, ho! murther! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat slave!
Strike! [Beats him.]
Osw. Help, ho! murther! murther!

Enter Edmund, with his rapier drawn, Gloucester, Cornwall,
Regan, Servants.

Edm. How now? What's the matter? Parts [them].
Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please! Come, I'll flesh ye!
Come on, young master!
Glou. Weapons? arms? What's the matter here?
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives!
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
Reg. The messengers from our sister and the King
Corn. What is your difference? Speak.
Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord.
Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour. You cowardly
rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a man?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir. A stonecutter or a painter could not have
made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spar'd
At suit of his grey beard-
Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if
you'll give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into
mortar and daub the walls of a jakes with him. 'Spare my grey
beard,' you wagtail?
Corn. Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
Kent. Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.
Corn. Why art thou angry?
Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel,
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing naught (like dogs) but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, an I had you upon Sarum Plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow?
Glou. How fell you out? Say that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?
Kent. His countenance likes me not.
Corn. No more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.
Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain.
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
Corn. This is some fellow
Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he!
An honest mind and plain- he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
Kent. Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Under th' allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front-
Corn. What mean'st by this?
Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I
know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that beguil'd you in a plain
accent was a plain knave, which, for my part, I will not be,
though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to't.
Corn. What was th' offence you gave him?
Osw. I never gave him any.
It pleas'd the King his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd
And put upon him such a deal of man
That worthied him, got praises of the King
For him attempting who was self-subdu'd;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
Kent. None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.
Corn. Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
We'll teach you-
Kent. Sir, I am too old to learn.
Call not your stocks for me. I serve the King;
On whose employment I was sent to you.
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.
Corn. Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,
There shall he sit till noon.
Reg. Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night too!
Kent. Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.
Reg. Sir, being his knave, I will.
Corn. This is a fellow of the selfsame colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
Stocks brought out.
Glou. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so.
His fault is much, and the good King his master
Will check him for't. Your purpos'd low correction
Is such as basest and contemn'dest wretches
For pilf'rings and most common trespasses
Are punish'd with. The King must take it ill
That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.
Corn. I'll answer that.
Reg. My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abus'd, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.-
[Kent is put in the stocks.]
Come, my good lord, away.
Exeunt [all but Gloucester and Kent].
Glou. I am sorry for thee, friend. 'Tis the Duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd. I'll entreat for thee.
Kent. Pray do not, sir. I have watch'd and travell'd hard.
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels.
Give you good morrow!
Glou. The Duke 's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.
Kent. Good King, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
Of my obscured course- and [reads] 'shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies'- All weary and o'erwatch'd,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night; smile once more, turn thy wheel.

Scene III.
The open country.

Enter Edgar.

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

Scene IV.
Before Gloucester's Castle; Kent in the stocks.

Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman.

Lear. 'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send back my messenger.
Gent. As I learn'd,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.
Kent. Hail to thee, noble master!
Lear. Ha!
Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
Kent. No, my lord.
Fool. Ha, ha! look! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the
head, dogs and bears by th' neck, monkeys by th' loins, and men
by th' legs. When a man's over-lusty at legs, then he wears
wooden nether-stocks.
Lear. What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?
Kent. It is both he and she-
Your son and daughter.
Lear. No.
Kent. Yes.
Lear. No, I say.
Kent. I say yea.
Lear. No, no, they would not!
Kent. Yes, they have.
Lear. By Jupiter, I swear no!
Kent. By Juno, I swear ay!
Lear. They durst not do't;
They would not, could not do't. 'Tis worse than murther
To do upon respect such violent outrage.
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,
Coming from us.
Kent. My lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read; on whose contents,
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse,
Commanded me to follow and attend
The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks,
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine-
Being the very fellow which of late
Display'd so saucily against your Highness-
Having more man than wit about me, drew.
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.
Fool. Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.

Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind;
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.

But for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year.
Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio! Down, thou climbing sorrow!
Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?
Kent. With the Earl, sir, here within.
Lear. Follow me not;
Stay here. Exit.
Gent. Made you no more offence but what you speak of?
Kent. None.
How chance the King comes with so small a number?
Fool. An thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question,
thou'dst well deserv'd it.
Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no
labouring i' th' winter. All that follow their noses are led by
their eyes but blind men, and there's not a nose among twenty
but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great
wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following
it; but the great one that goes upward, let him draw thee after.
When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again. I
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly.
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.
Kent. Where learn'd you this, fool?
Fool. Not i' th' stocks, fool.

Enter Lear and Gloucester

Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches-
The images of revolt and flying off!
Fetch me a better answer.
Glou. My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How unremovable and fix'd he is
In his own course.
Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? What quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
Glou. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
Lear. Inform'd them? Dost thou understand me, man?
Glou. Ay, my good lord.
Lear. The King would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service.
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood!
Fiery? the fiery Duke? Tell the hot Duke that-
No, but not yet! May be he is not well.
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound. We are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit
For the sound man.- Death on my state! Wherefore
Should be sit here? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the Duke and 's wife I'ld speak with them-
Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death.
Glou. I would have all well betwixt you. Exit.
Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down!
Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she
put 'em i' th' paste alive. She knapp'd 'em o' th' coxcombs with
a stick and cried 'Down, wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that,
in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.

Lear. Good morrow to you both.
Corn. Hail to your Grace!
Kent here set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your Highness.
Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so. If thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress. [To Kent] O, are you free?
Some other time for that.- Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught. O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here!
[Lays his hand on his heart.]
I can scarce speak to thee. Thou'lt not believe
With how deprav'd a quality- O Regan!
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.
Lear. Say, how is that?
Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her!
Reg. O, sir, you are old!
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine. You should be rul'd, and led
By some discretion that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wrong'd her, sir.
Lear. Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old. [Kneels.]
Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'
Reg. Good sir, no more! These are unsightly tricks.
Return you to my sister.
Lear. [rises] Never, Regan!
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart.
All the stor'd vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!
Corn. Fie, sir, fie!
Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the pow'rful sun,
To fall and blast her pride!
Reg. O the blest gods! so will you wish on me
When the rash mood is on.
Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness. Her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort, and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in. Thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude.
Thy half o' th' kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.
Reg. Good sir, to th' purpose.
Tucket within.
Lear. Who put my man i' th' stocks?
Corn. What trumpet's that?
Reg. I know't- my sister's. This approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

Is your lady come?
Lear. This is a slave, whose easy-borrowed pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
Out, varlet, from my sight!
Corn. What means your Grace?

Enter Goneril.

Lear. Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on't.- Who comes here? O heavens!
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience- if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause! Send down, and take my part!
[To Goneril] Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?-
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
Gon. Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.
Lear. O sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold? How came my man i' th' stocks?
Corn. I set him there, sir; but his own disorders
Deserv'd much less advancement.
Lear. You? Did you?
Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me.
I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o' th' air,
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl-
Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom. [Points at Oswald.]
Gon. At your choice, sir.
Lear. I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad.
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell.
We'll no more meet, no more see one another.
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil,
A plague sore, an embossed carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee.
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it.
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoot
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure;
I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.
Reg. Not altogether so.
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so-
But she knows what she does.
Lear. Is this well spoken?
Reg. I dare avouch it, sir. What, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?
Reg. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to slack ye,
We could control them. If you will come to me
(For now I spy a danger), I entreat you
To bring but five-and-twenty. To no more
Will I give place or notice.
Lear. I gave you all-
Reg. And in good time you gave it!
Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be followed
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five-and-twenty, Regan? Said you so?
Reg. And speak't again my lord. No more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd
When others are more wicked; not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise. [To Goneril] I'll go with thee.
Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Gon. Hear, me, my lord.
What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?
Reg. What need one?
Lear. O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady:
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need-
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both.
If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water drops,
Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags!
I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall- I will do such things-
What they are yet, I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth! You think I'll weep.
No, I'll not weep.
I have full cause of weeping, but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!
Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool. Storm and
Corn. Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.
Reg. This house is little; the old man and 's people
Cannot be well bestow'd.
Gon. 'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest
And must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.
Gon. So am I purpos'd.
Where is my Lord of Gloucester?
Corn. Followed the old man forth.

Enter Gloucester.

He is return'd.
Glou. The King is in high rage.
Corn. Whither is he going?
Glou. He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.
Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
Glou. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about
There's scarce a bush.
Reg. O, sir, to wilful men
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors.
He is attended with a desperate train,
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear.
Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord: 'tis a wild night.
My Regan counsels well. Come out o' th' storm. [Exeunt.]


ACT III. Scene I.
A heath.

Storm still. Enter Kent and a Gentleman at several doors.

Kent. Who's there, besides foul weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you. Where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretful elements;
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the fool, who labours to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.
Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare upon the warrant of my note
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division
(Although as yet the face of it be cover'd
With mutual cunning) 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have (as who have not, that their great stars
Thron'd and set high?) servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state. What hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind King, or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings-
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdom, who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The King hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.
Gent. I will talk further with you.
Kent. No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia
(As fear not but you shall), show her this ring,
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the King.
Gent. Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?
Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet:
That, when we have found the King (in which your pain
That way, I'll this), he that first lights on him
Holla the other.
Exeunt [severally].

Scene II.
Another part of the heath.

Storm still. Enter Lear and Fool.

Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' th' world,
Crack Nature's moulds, all germains spill at once,
That makes ingrateful man!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this
rain water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters
blessing! Here's a night pities nether wise men nor fools.
Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man.
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That will with two pernicious daughters join
Your high-engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this! O! O! 'tis foul!
Fool. He that has a house to put 's head in has a good head-piece.
The codpiece that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse:
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.
For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a

Enter Kent.

Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night
Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark
And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard. Man's nature cannot carry
Th' affliction nor the fear.
Lear. Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipp'd of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous. Caitiff, in pieces shake
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd on man's life. Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.
Kent. Alack, bareheaded?
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.
Repose you there, whilst I to this hard house
(More harder than the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
Lear. My wits begin to turn.
Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.
Fool. [sings]

He that has and a little tiny wit-
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain-
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
For the rain it raineth every day.

Lear. True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.
Exeunt [Lear and Kent].
Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I'll speak a
prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors,
No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
When every case in law is right,
No squire in debt nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues,
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i' th' field,
And bawds and whores do churches build:
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
That going shall be us'd with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

Scene III.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Gloucester and Edmund.

Glou. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing! When
I desir'd their leave that I might pity him, they took from me
the use of mine own house, charg'd me on pain of perpetual
displeasure neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any
way sustain him.
Edm. Most savage and unnatural!
Glou. Go to; say you nothing. There is division betwixt the Dukes,
and a worse matter than that. I have received a letter this
night- 'tis dangerous to be spoken- I have lock'd the letter in
my closet. These injuries the King now bears will be revenged
home; there's part of a power already footed; we must incline to
the King. I will seek him and privily relieve him. Go you and
maintain talk with the Duke, that my charity be not of him
perceived. If he ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. Though I
die for't, as no less is threat'ned me, the King my old master
must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund.
Pray you be careful. Exit.
Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the Duke
Instantly know, and of that letter too.
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses- no less than all.
The younger rises when the old doth fall. Exit.

Scene IV.
The heath. Before a hovel.

Storm still. Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

Kent. Here is the place, my lord. Good my lord, enter.
The tyranny of the open night 's too rough
For nature to endure.
Lear. Let me alone.
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Wilt break my heart?
Kent. I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin. So 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind's free,
The body's delicate. The tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? But I will punish home!
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
'To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all!
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that!
No more of that.
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Prithee go in thyself; seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
[To the Fool] In, boy; go first.- You houseless poverty-
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
Exit [Fool].
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.
Edg. [within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

Enter Fool [from the hovel].

Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help me!
Kent. Give me thy hand. Who's there?
Fool. A spirit, a spirit! He says his name's poor Tom.
Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw?
Come forth.

Enter Edgar [disguised as a madman].

Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me! Through the sharp hawthorn
blows the cold wind. Humh! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters, and art thou come
to this?
Edg. Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inch'd
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five
wits! Tom 's acold. O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him now- and there-
and there again- and there!
Storm still.
Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give 'em all?
Fool. Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all sham'd.
Lear. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
Kent. He hath no daughters, sir.
Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'Twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.
Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock's Hill. 'Allow, 'allow, loo, loo!
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o' th' foul fiend; obey thy parents: keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom 's acold.
Lear. What hast thou been?
Edg. A servingman, proud in heart and mind; that curl'd my hair,
wore gloves in my cap; serv'd the lust of my mistress' heart and
did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven; one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and wak'd to do it. Wine lov'd
I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd the Turk.
False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox
in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray
thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand
out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul
fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind; says
suum, mun, hey, no, nonny. Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let
him trot by.
Storm still.
Lear. Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy
uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than
this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the worm no silk, the beast
no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! Here's three
on's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself;
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked
animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings! Come, unbutton
[Tears at his clothes.]
Fool. Prithee, nuncle, be contented! 'Tis a naughty night to swim
in. Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's
heart- a small spark, all the rest on's body cold. Look, here
comes a walking fire.

Enter Gloucester with a torch.

Edg. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet. He begins at curfew,
and walks till the first cock. He gives the web and the pin,
squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat,
and hurts the poor creature of earth.

Saint Withold footed thrice the 'old;
He met the nightmare, and her nine fold;
Bid her alight
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

Kent. How fares your Grace?
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?
Glou. What are you there? Your names?
Edg. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole,
the wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when
the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets, swallows the
old rat and the ditch-dog, drinks the green mantle of the
standing pool; who is whipp'd from tithing to tithing, and
stock-punish'd and imprison'd; who hath had three suits to his
back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to

But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.

Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin! peace, thou fiend!
Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman!
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
Glou. Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Poor Tom 's acold.
Glou. Go in with me. My duty cannot suffer
T' obey in all your daughters' hard commands.
Though their injunction be to bar my doors
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer; go into th' house.
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.
Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.
Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord.
His wits begin t' unsettle.
Glou. Canst thou blame him?
Storm still.
His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus- poor banish'd man!
Thou say'st the King grows mad: I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself. I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood. He sought my life
But lately, very late. I lov'd him, friend-
No father his son dearer. True to tell thee,
The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night 's this!
I do beseech your Grace-
Lear. O, cry you mercy, sir.
Noble philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's acold.
Glou. In, fellow, there, into th' hovel; keep thee warm.
Lear. Come, let's in all.
Kent. This way, my lord.
Lear. With him!
I will keep still with my philosopher.
Kent. Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
Glou. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
Lear. Come, good Athenian.
Glou. No words, no words! hush.
Edg. Child Rowland to the dark tower came;
His word was still

Fie, foh, and fum!
I smell the blood of a British man.

Scene V.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Cornwall and Edmund.

Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to
loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive it was not altogether your brother's evil
disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set
awork by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune that I must repent to be just!
This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an
intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that
this treason were not- or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the Duchess.
Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty
business in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester.
Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our
Edm. [aside] If I find him comforting the King, it will stuff his
suspicion more fully.- I will persever in my course of loyalty,
though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt find a dearer
father in my love.

Scene VI.
A farmhouse near Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Gloucester, Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar.

Glou. Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully. I will
piece out the comfort with what addition I can. I will not be
long from you.
Kent. All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
The gods reward your kindness!
Exit [Gloucester].
Edg. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the
lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a
Lear. A king, a king!
Fool. No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a
mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in upon 'em-
Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.
Fool. He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's
health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
Lear. It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.
[To Edgar] Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.
[To the Fool] Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes!
Edg. Look, where he stands and glares! Want'st thou eyes at trial,

Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me.

Fool. Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale.
Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak
not, black angel; I have no food for thee.
Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd.
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
Lear. I'll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence.
[To Edgar] Thou, robed man of justice, take thy place.
[To the Fool] And thou, his yokefellow of equity,
Bench by his side. [To Kent] You are o' th' commission,
Sit you too.
Edg. Let us deal justly.

Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Thy sheep shall take no harm.

Purr! the cat is gray.
Lear. Arraign her first. 'Tis Goneril. I here take my oath before
this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor King her father.
Fool. Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms! sword! fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her scape?
Edg. Bless thy five wits!
Kent. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?
Edg. [aside] My tears begin to take his part so much
They'll mar my counterfeiting.
Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.
Edg. Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Bobtail tyke or trundle-tall-
Tom will make them weep and wail;
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market
towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her
heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard
hearts? [To Edgar] You, sir- I entertain you for one of my
hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You'll
say they are Persian attire; but let them be chang'd.
Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains.
So, so, so. We'll go to supper i' th' morning. So, so, so.
Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.

Enter Gloucester.

Glou. Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?
Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.
Glou. Good friend, I prithee take him in thy arms.
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready; lay him in't
And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up!
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.
Kent. Oppressed nature sleeps.
This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure. [To the Fool] Come, help to bear thy master.
Thou must not stay behind.
Glou. Come, come, away!
Exeunt [all but Edgar].
Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' th' mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind;
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the King bow,
He childed as I fathered! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe scape the King!
Lurk, lurk. [Exit.]

Scene VII.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, [Edmund the] Bastard, and Servants.

Corn. [to Goneril] Post speedily to my lord your husband, show him
this letter. The army of France is landed.- Seek out the traitor
[Exeunt some of the Servants.]
Reg. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Pluck out his eyes.
Corn. Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our sister
company. The revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous
father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the Duke where you
are going, to a most festinate preparation. We are bound to the
like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.
Farewell, dear sister; farewell, my Lord of Gloucester.

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

How now? Where's the King?
Osw. My Lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence.
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast
To have well-armed friends.
Corn. Get horses for your mistress.
Gon. Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.
Corn. Edmund, farewell.
Exeunt Goneril, [Edmund, and Oswald].
Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
[Exeunt other Servants.]
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a court'sy to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not control.

Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three.

Who's there? the traitor?
Reg. Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.
Corn. Bind fast his corky arms.
Glou. What mean, your Graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.
Corn. Bind him, I say.
[Servants bind him.]
Reg. Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
Glou. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.
Corn. To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find-
[Regan plucks his beard.]
Glou. By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.
Reg. So white, and such a traitor!
Glou. Naughty lady,
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken, and accuse thee. I am your host.
With robber's hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Corn. Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?
Reg. Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.
Corn. And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?
Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatic King?
Glou. I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one oppos'd.
Corn. Cunning.
Reg. And false.
Corn. Where hast thou sent the King?
Glou. To Dover.
Reg. Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at peril-
Corn. Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.
Glou. I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.
Reg. Wherefore to Dover, sir?
Glou. Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up
And quench'd the steeled fires.
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said, 'Good porter, turn the key.'
All cruels else subscrib'd. But I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.
Corn. See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.
Glou. He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help!- O cruel! O ye gods!
Reg. One side will mock another. Th' other too!
Corn. If you see vengeance-
1. Serv. Hold your hand, my lord!
I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
Reg. How now, you dog?
1. Serv. If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I'ld shake it on this quarrel.
Reg. What do you mean?
Corn. My villain! Draw and fight.
1. Serv. Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
Reg. Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?
She takes a sword and runs at him behind.
1. Serv. O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O! He dies.
Corn. Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?
Glou. All dark and comfortless! Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.
Reg. Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.
Glou. O my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
Reg. Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
Exit [one] with Gloucester.
How is't, my lord? How look you?
Corn. I have receiv'd a hurt. Follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
Exit [Cornwall, led by Regan].
2. Serv. I'll never care what wickedness I do,
If this man come to good.
3. Serv. If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
2. Serv. Let's follow the old Earl, and get the bedlam
To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.
3. Serv. Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!


ACT IV. Scene I.
The heath.

Enter Edgar.

Edg. Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.

Enter Gloucester, led by an Old Man.

But who comes here?
My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.
Old Man. O my good lord,
I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant,
These fourscore years.
Glou. Away, get thee away! Good friend, be gone.
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.
Old Man. You cannot see your way.
Glou. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. Ah dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'ld say I had eyes again!
Old Man. How now? Who's there?
Edg. [aside] O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at the worst'?
I am worse than e'er I was.
Old Man. 'Tis poor mad Tom.
Edg. [aside] And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'
Old Man. Fellow, where goest?
Glou. Is it a beggarman?
Old Man. Madman and beggar too.
Glou. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I' th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.
They kill us for their sport.
Edg. [aside] How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Ang'ring itself and others.- Bless thee, master!
Glou. Is that the naked fellow?
Old Man. Ay, my lord.
Glou. Then prithee get thee gone. If for my sake
Thou wilt o'ertake us hence a mile or twain
I' th' way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Who I'll entreat to lead me.
Old Man. Alack, sir, he is mad!
Glou. 'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.
Above the rest, be gone.
Old Man. I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
Come on't what will. Exit.
Glou. Sirrah naked fellow-
Edg. Poor Tom's acold. [Aside] I cannot daub it further.
Glou. Come hither, fellow.
Edg. [aside] And yet I must.- Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.
Glou. Know'st thou the way to Dover?

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