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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

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Edg. Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath. Poor Tom hath been
scar'd out of his good wits. Bless thee, good man's son, from
the foul fiend! Five fiends have been in poor Tom at once: of
lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and
mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and waiting women. So,
bless thee, master!
Glou. Here, take this Purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your pow'r quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
Edg. Ay, master.
Glou. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep.
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me. From that place
I shall no leading need.
Edg. Give me thy arm.
Poor Tom shall lead thee.

Scene II.
Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

Enter Goneril and [Edmund the] Bastard.

Gon. Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

Now, where's your master?
Osw. Madam, within, but never man so chang'd.
I told him of the army that was landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were coming:
His answer was, 'The worse.' Of Gloucester's treachery
And of the loyal service of his son
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out.
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.
Gon. [to Edmund] Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake. He'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother.
Hasten his musters and conduct his pow'rs.
I must change arms at home and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us. Ere long you are like to hear
(If you dare venture in your own behalf)
A mistress's command. Wear this. [Gives a favour.]
Spare speech.
Decline your head. This kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.
Conceive, and fare thee well.
Edm. Yours in the ranks of death! Exit.
Gon. My most dear Gloucester!
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due;
My fool usurps my body.
Osw. Madam, here comes my lord. Exit.

Enter Albany.

Gon. I have been worth the whistle.
Alb. O Goneril,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face! I fear your disposition.
That nature which contemns it origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.
Gon. No more! The text is foolish.
Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile;
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.
Gon. Milk-liver'd man!
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,
With plumed helm thy state begins to threat,
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
'Alack, why does he so?'
Alb. See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.
Gon. O vain fool!
Alb. Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame!
Bemonster not thy feature! Were't my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones. Howe'er thou art a fiend,
A woman's shape doth shield thee.
Gon. Marry, your manhood mew!

Enter a Gentleman.

Alb. What news?
Gent. O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall 's dead,
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.
Alb. Gloucester's eyes?
Gent. A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enrag'd,
Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke which since
Hath pluck'd him after.
Alb. This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge! But O poor Gloucester!
Lose he his other eye?
Gent. Both, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
'Tis from your sister.
Gon. [aside] One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life. Another way
The news is not so tart.- I'll read, and answer.
Alb. Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
Gent. Come with my lady hither.
Alb. He is not here.
Gent. No, my good lord; I met him back again.
Alb. Knows he the wickedness?
Gent. Ay, my good lord. 'Twas he inform'd against him,
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.
Alb. Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the King,
And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend.
Tell me what more thou know'st.

Scene III.
The French camp near Dover.

Enter Kent and a Gentleman.

Kent. Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back know you the
Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his
coming forth is thought of, which imports to the kingdom so much
fear and danger that his personal return was most required and
Kent. Who hath he left behind him general?
Gent. The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.
Kent. Did your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration of
Gent. Ay, sir. She took them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Her delicate cheek. It seem'd she was a queen
Over her passion, who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.
Kent. O, then it mov'd her?
Gent. Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like, a better way. Those happy smilets
That play'd on her ripe lip seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most belov'd,
If all could so become it.
Kent. Made she no verbal question?
Gent. Faith, once or twice she heav'd the name of father
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Cried 'Sisters, sisters! Shame of ladies! Sisters!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i' th' storm? i' th' night?
Let pity not be believ'd!' There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd. Then away she started
To deal with grief alone.
Kent. It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?
Gent. No.
Kent. Was this before the King return'd?
Gent. No, since.
Kent. Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' th' town;
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.
Gent. Why, good sir?
Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him; his own unkindness,
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters- these things sting
His mind so venomously that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.
Gent. Alack, poor gentleman!
Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?
Gent. 'Tis so; they are afoot.
Kent. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear
And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile.
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you go
Along with me. Exeunt.

Scene IV.
The French camp.

Enter, with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Doctor, and Soldiers.

Cor. Alack, 'tis he! Why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex'd sea, singing aloud,
Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow weeds,
With hardocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo flow'rs,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. A century send forth.
Search every acre in the high-grown field
And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer.] What can man's
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He that helps him take all my outward worth.
Doct. There is means, madam.
Our foster nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks. That to provoke in him
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.
Cor. All blest secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
In the good man's distress! Seek, seek for him!
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

Enter Messenger.

Mess. News, madam.
The British pow'rs are marching hitherward.
Cor. 'Tis known before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about.
Therefore great France
My mourning and important tears hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right.
Soon may I hear and see him!

Scene V.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Regan and [Oswald the] Steward.

Reg. But are my brother's pow'rs set forth?
Osw. Ay, madam.
Reg. Himself in person there?
Osw. Madam, with much ado.
Your sister is the better soldier.
Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
Osw. No, madam.
Reg. What might import my sister's letter to him?
Osw. I know not, lady.
Reg. Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out,
To let him live. Where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life; moreover, to descry
The strength o' th' enemy.
Osw. I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.
Reg. Our troops set forth to-morrow. Stay with us.
The ways are dangerous.
Osw. I may not, madam.
My lady charg'd my duty in this business.
Reg. Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something- I know not what- I'll love thee much-
Let me unseal the letter.
Osw. Madam, I had rather-
Reg. I know your lady does not love her husband;
I am sure of that; and at her late being here
She gave strange eliads and most speaking looks
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.
Osw. I, madam?
Reg. I speak in understanding. Y'are! I know't.
Therefore I do advise you take this note.
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd,
And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady's. You may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you give him this;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisdom to her.
So farewell.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
Osw. Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
What party I do follow.
Reg. Fare thee well. Exeunt.

Scene VI.
The country near Dover.

Enter Gloucester, and Edgar [like a Peasant].

Glou. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climb up it now. Look how we labour.
Glou. Methinks the ground is even.
Edg. Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?
Glou. No, truly.
Edg. Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.
Glou. So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.
Edg. Y'are much deceiv'd. In nothing am I chang'd
But in my garments.
Glou. Methinks y'are better spoken.
Edg. Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
Glou. Set me where you stand.
Edg. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.
Glou. Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
Edg. Now fare ye well, good sir.
Glou. With all my heart.
Edg. [aside]. Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.
Glou. O you mighty gods! He kneels.
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
He falls [forward and swoons].
Edg. Gone, sir, farewell.-
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life when life itself
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past.- Alive or dead?
Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir? Speak!-
Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives.
What are you, sir?
Glou. Away, and let me die.
Edg. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fadom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg; but thou dost breathe;
Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
Thy life is a miracle. Speak yet again.
Glou. But have I fall'n, or no?
Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height. The shrill-gorg'd lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.
Glou. Alack, I have no eyes!
Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage
And frustrate his proud will.
Edg. Give me your arm.
Up- so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.
Glou. Too well, too well.
Edg. This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o' th' cliff what thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glou. A poor unfortunate beggar.
Edg. As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.
Glou. I do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man. Often 'twould say
'The fiend, the fiend'- he led me to that place.
Edg. Bear free and patient thoughts.

Enter Lear, mad, [fantastically dressed with weeds].

But who comes here?
The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.
Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coming;
I am the King himself.
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature 's above art in that respect. There's your press
money. That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper. Draw me
a clothier's yard. Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece
of toasted cheese will do't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it
on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O, well flown, bird! i'
th' clout, i' th' clout! Hewgh! Give the word.
Edg. Sweet marjoram.
Lear. Pass.
Glou. I know that voice.
Lear. Ha! Goneril with a white beard? They flatter'd me like a dog,
and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones
were there. To say 'ay' and 'no' to everything I said! 'Ay' and
'no' too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me
once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would
not peace at my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em
out. Go to, they are not men o' their words! They told me I was
everything. 'Tis a lie- I am not ague-proof.
Glou. The trick of that voice I do well remember.
Is't not the King?
Lear. Ay, every inch a king!
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause?
Thou shalt not die. Die for adultery? No.
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simp'ring dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow,
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name.
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above.
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's.
There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit;
burning, scalding, stench, consumption. Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my
imagination. There's money for thee.
Glou. O, let me kiss that hand!
Lear. Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
Glou. O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll not love. Read thou this
challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glou. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.
Edg. [aside] I would not take this from report. It is,
And my heart breaks at it.
Lear. Read.
Glou. What, with the case of eyes?
Lear. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no
money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse
in a light. Yet you see how this world goes.
Glou. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how the world goes with no eyes.
Look with thine ears. See how yond justice rails upon yond
simple thief. Hark in thine ear. Change places and, handy-dandy,
which is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen a
farmer's dog bark at a beggar?
Glou. Ay, sir.
Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold
the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back.
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind
For which thou whip'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pygmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none- I say none! I'll able 'em.
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal th' accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now!
Pull off my boots. Harder, harder! So.
Edg. O, matter and impertinency mix'd!
Reason, in madness!
Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester.
Thou must be patient. We came crying hither;
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee. Mark.
Glou. Alack, alack the day!
Lear. When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools. This' a good block.
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt. I'll put't in proof,
And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Enter a Gentleman [with Attendants].

Gent. O, here he is! Lay hand upon him.- Sir,
Your most dear daughter-
Lear. No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have a surgeon;
I am cut to th' brains.
Gent. You shall have anything.
Lear. No seconds? All myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden waterpots,
Ay, and laying autumn's dust.
Gent. Good sir-
Lear. I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom. What!
I will be jovial. Come, come, I am a king;
My masters, know you that?
Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then there's life in't. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it
by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa!
Exit running. [Attendants follow.]
Gent. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.
Edg. Hail, gentle sir.
Gent. Sir, speed you. What's your will?
Edg. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?
Gent. Most sure and vulgar. Every one hears that
Which can distinguish sound.
Edg. But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?
Gent. Near and on speedy foot. The main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.
Edg. I thank you sir. That's all.
Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here,
Her army is mov'd on.
Edg. I thank you, sir
Exit [Gentleman].
Glou. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!
Edg. Well pray you, father.
Glou. Now, good sir, what are you?
Edg. A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows,
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand;
I'll lead you to some biding.
Glou. Hearty thanks.
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

Osw. A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember. The sword is out
That must destroy thee.
Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to't.
[Edgar interposes.]
Osw. Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence!
Lest that th' infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
Edg. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'cagion.
Osw. Let go, slave, or thou diest!
Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor voke pass. An chud
ha' bin zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as
'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near th' old man. Keep out,
che vore ye, or Ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the
harder. Chill be plain with you.
Osw. Out, dunghill!
They fight.
Edg. Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come! No matter vor your foins.
[Oswald falls.]
Osw. Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body,
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out
Upon the British party. O, untimely death! Death!
He dies.
Edg. I know thee well. A serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.
Glou. What, is he dead?
Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.
Let's see his pockets; these letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead. I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman. Let us see.
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not.
To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful. Reads the letter.

'Let our reciprocal vows be rememb'red. You have many
opportunities to cut him off. If your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done, if he
return the conqueror. Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my
jail; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the
place for your labour.
'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant,

O indistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life,
And the exchange my brother! Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murtherous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke, For him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.
Glou. The King is mad. How stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract.
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.
A drum afar off.
Edg. Give me your hand.
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend. Exeunt.

Scene VII.
A tent in the French camp.

Enter Cordelia, Kent, Doctor, and Gentleman.

Cor. O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short
And every measure fail me.
Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth;
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
Cor. Be better suited.
These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
I prithee put them off.
Kent. Pardon, dear madam.
Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.
Cor. Then be't so, my good lord. [To the Doctor] How, does the King?
Doct. Madam, sleeps still.
Cor. O you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
Th' untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up
Of this child-changed father!
Doct. So please your Majesty
That we may wake the King? He hath slept long.
Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
I' th' sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.

Gent. Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep
We put fresh garments on him.
Doct. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.
I doubt not of his temperance.
Cor. Very well.
Doct. Please you draw near. Louder the music there!
Cor. O my dear father, restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!
Kent. Kind and dear princess!
Cor. Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? to watch- poor perdu!-
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all.- He wakes. Speak to him.
Doct. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.
Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares your Majesty?
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o' th' grave.
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
Cor. Sir, do you know me?
Lear. You are a spirit, I know. When did you die?
Cor. Still, still, far wide!
Doct. He's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.
Lear. Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight,
I am mightily abus'd. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands. Let's see.
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assur'd
Of my condition!
Cor. O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.
No, sir, you must not kneel.
Lear. Pray, do not mock me.
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
For (as I am a man) I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
Cor. And so I am! I am!
Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray weep not.
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
You have some cause, they have not.
Cor. No cause, no cause.
Lear. Am I in France?
Kent. In your own kingdom, sir.
Lear. Do not abuse me.
Doct. Be comforted, good madam. The great rage
You see is kill'd in him; and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more
Till further settling.
Cor. Will't please your Highness walk?
Lear. You must bear with me.
Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.
Exeunt. Manent Kent and Gentleman.
Gent. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?
Kent. Most certain, sir.
Gent. Who is conductor of his people?
Kent. As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.
Gent. They say Edgar, his banish'd son, is with the Earl of Kent
in Germany.
Kent. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of
the kingdom approach apace.
Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody.
Fare you well, sir. [Exit.]
Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought. Exit.


ACT V. Scene I.
The British camp near Dover.

Enter, with Drum and Colours, Edmund, Regan, Gentleman, and Soldiers.

Edm. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is advis'd by aught
To change the course. He's full of alteration
And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure.
[Exit an Officer.]
Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
Edm. Tis to be doubted, madam.
Reg. Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you.
Tell me- but truly- but then speak the truth-
Do you not love my sister?
Edm. In honour'd love.
Reg. But have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?
Edm. That thought abuses you.
Reg. I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
Edm. No, by mine honour, madam.
Reg. I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.
Edm. Fear me not.
She and the Duke her husband!

Enter, with Drum and Colours, Albany, Goneril, Soldiers.

Gon. [aside] I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.
Alb. Our very loving sister, well bemet.
Sir, this I hear: the King is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigour of our state
Forc'd to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant. For this business,
It toucheth us as France invades our land,
Not bolds the King, with others whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
Edm. Sir, you speak nobly.
Reg. Why is this reason'd?
Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.
Alb. Let's then determine
With th' ancient of war on our proceeding.
Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent.
Reg. Sister, you'll go with us?
Gon. No.
Reg. 'Tis most convenient. Pray you go with us.
Gon. [aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.- I will go.

[As they are going out,] enter Edgar [disguised].

Edg. If e'er your Grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.
Alb. I'll overtake you.- Speak.
Exeunt [all but Albany and Edgar].
Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it. Wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you!
Alb. Stay till I have read the letter.
Edg. I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.
Alb. Why, fare thee well. I will o'erlook thy paper.
Exit [Edgar].

Enter Edmund.

Edm. The enemy 's in view; draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
Is now urg'd on you.
Alb. We will greet the time. Exit.
Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive. To take the widow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use
His countenance for the battle, which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him devise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia-
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate. Exit.

Scene II.
A field between the two camps.

Alarum within. Enter, with Drum and Colours, the Powers of France
over the stage, Cordelia with her Father in her hand, and exeunt.

Enter Edgar and Gloucester.

Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host. Pray that the right may thrive.
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.
Glou. Grace go with you, sir!
Exit [Edgar].

Alarum and retreat within. Enter Edgar,

Edg. Away, old man! give me thy hand! away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en.
Give me thy hand! come on!
Glou. No further, sir. A man may rot even here.
Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all. Come on.
Glou. And that's true too. Exeunt.

Scene III.
The British camp, near Dover.

Enter, in conquest, with Drum and Colours, Edmund; Lear and Cordelia
as prisoners; Soldiers, Captain.

Edm. Some officers take them away. Good guard
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
Cor. We are not the first
Who with best meaning have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else outfrown false Fortune's frown.
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison.
We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness. So we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too-
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out-
And take upon 's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies; and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by th' moon.
Edm. Take them away.
Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?
He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven
And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes.
The goodyears shall devour 'em, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep! We'll see 'em starv'd first.
Come. Exeunt [Lear and Cordelia, guarded].
Edm. Come hither, Captain; hark.
Take thou this note [gives a paper]. Go follow them to prison.
One step I have advanc'd thee. If thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes. Know thou this, that men
Are as the time is. To be tender-minded
Does not become a sword. Thy great employment
Will not bear question. Either say thou'lt do't,
Or thrive by other means.
Capt. I'll do't, my lord.
Edm. About it! and write happy when th' hast done.
Mark- I say, instantly; and carry it so
As I have set it down.
Capt. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
If it be man's work, I'll do't. Exit.

Flourish. Enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Soldiers.

Alb. Sir, you have show'd to-day your valiant strain,
And fortune led you well. You have the captives
Who were the opposites of this day's strife.
We do require them of you, so to use them
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.
Edm. Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable King
To some retention and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen,
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, t' appear
Where you shall hold your session. At this time
We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs'd
By those that feel their sharpness.
The question of Cordelia and her father
Requires a fitter place.
Alb. Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.
Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers,
Bore the commission of my place and person,
The which immediacy may well stand up
And call itself your brother.
Gon. Not so hot!
In his own grace he doth exalt himself
More than in your addition.
Reg. In my rights
By me invested, he compeers the best.
Gon. That were the most if he should husband you.
Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.
Gon. Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so look'd but asquint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach. General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine.
Witness the world that I create thee here
My lord and master.
Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?
Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.
Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.
Reg. [to Edmund] Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
Alb. Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
This gilded serpent [points to Goneril]. For your claim, fair
I bar it in the interest of my wife.
'Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your banes.
If you will marry, make your loves to me;
My lady is bespoke.
Gon. An interlude!
Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloucester. Let the trumpet sound.
If none appear to prove upon thy person
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge [throws down a glove]! I'll prove it on thy
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
Reg. Sick, O, sick!
Gon. [aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.
Edm. There's my exchange [throws down a glove]. What in the world
he is
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies.
Call by thy trumpet. He that dares approach,
On him, on you, who not? I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.
Alb. A herald, ho!
Edm. A herald, ho, a herald!
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.
Reg. My sickness grows upon me.
Alb. She is not well. Convey her to my tent.
[Exit Regan, led.]

Enter a Herald.

Come hither, herald. Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
Capt. Sound, trumpet! A trumpet sounds.

Her. (reads) 'If any man of quality or degree within the lists of
the army will maintain upon Edmund, supposed Earl of Gloucester,
that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear by the third sound
of the trumpet. He is bold in his defence.'

Edm. Sound! First trumpet.
Her. Again! Second trumpet.
Her. Again! Third trumpet.
Trumpet answers within.

Enter Edgar, armed, at the third sound, a Trumpet before him.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' th' trumpet.
Her. What are you?
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?
Edg. Know my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit.
Yet am I noble as the adversary
I come to cope.
Alb. Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?
Edm. Himself. What say'st thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy sword,
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice. Here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession. I protest-
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour and thy heart- thou art a traitor;
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince;
And from th' extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust beneath thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou 'no,'
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.
Edm. In wisdom I should ask thy name;
But since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn.
Back do I toss those treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which- for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise-
This sword of mine shall give them instant way
Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak!
Alarums. Fight. [Edmund falls.]
Alb. Save him, save him!
Gon. This is mere practice, Gloucester.
By th' law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite. Thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguil'd.
Alb. Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it. [Shows her her letter to
Edmund.]- [To Edmund]. Hold, sir.
[To Goneril] Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil.
No tearing, lady! I perceive you know it.
Gon. Say if I do- the laws are mine, not thine.
Who can arraign me for't?
Alb. Most monstrous!
Know'st thou this paper?
Gon. Ask me not what I know. Exit.
Alb. Go after her. She's desperate; govern her.
[Exit an Officer.]
Edm. What, you have charg'd me with, that have I done,
And more, much more. The time will bring it out.
'Tis past, and so am I.- But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou'rt noble,
I do forgive thee.
Edg. Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more th' hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.
Edm. Th' hast spoken right; 'tis true.
The wheel is come full circle; I am here.
Alb. Methought thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness. I must embrace thee.
Let sorrow split my heart if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!
Edg. Worthy prince, I know't.
Alb. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
And when 'tis told, O that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape
That follow'd me so near (O, our lives' sweetness!
That with the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags, t' assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd; and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from despair;
Never (O fault!) reveal'd myself unto him
Until some half hour past, when I was arm'd,
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flaw'd heart
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.
Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me,
And shall perchance do good; but speak you on;
You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
Edg. This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellowed out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
That ever ear receiv'd; which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
Alb. But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Followed his enemy king and did him service
Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman with a bloody knife.

Gent. Help, help! O, help!
Edg. What kind of help?
Alb. Speak, man.
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
Gent. 'Tis hot, it smokes.
It came even from the heart of- O! she's dead!
Alb. Who dead? Speak, man.
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady! and her sister
By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both. All three
Now marry in an instant.

Enter Kent.

Edg. Here comes Kent.
Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead.
[Exit Gentleman.]
This judgement of the heavens, that makes us tremble
Touches us not with pity. O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
That very manners urges.
Kent. I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night.
Is he not here?
Alb. Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the King? and where's Cordelia?
The bodies of Goneril and Regan are brought in.
Seest thou this object, Kent?
Kent. Alack, why thus?
Edm. Yet Edmund was belov'd.
The one the other poisoned for my sake,
And after slew herself.
Alb. Even so. Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life. Some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send
(Be brief in't) to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia.
Nay, send in time.
Alb. Run, run, O, run!
Edg. To who, my lord? Who has the office? Send
Thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on. Take my sword;
Give it the Captain.
Alb. Haste thee for thy life. [Exit Edgar.]
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison and
To lay the blame upon her own despair
That she fordid herself.
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
[Edmund is borne off.]

Enter Lear, with Cordelia [dead] in his arms, [Edgar, Captain,
and others following].

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stone.
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives.
She's dead as earth. Lend me a looking glass.
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror?
Alb. Fall and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! If it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
Kent. O my good master!
Lear. Prithee away!
Edg. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little. Ha!
What is't thou say'st, Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low- an excellent thing in woman.
I kill'd the slave that was a-hanging thee.
Capt. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear. Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip. I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o' th' best. I'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.
Lear. This' a dull sight. Are you not Kent?
Kent. The same-
Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that.
He'll strike, and quickly too. He's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man-
Lear. I'll see that straight.
Kent. That from your first of difference and decay
Have followed your sad steps.
Lear. You're welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else! All's cheerless, dark, and deadly.
Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves,
And desperately are dead.
Lear. Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain is it
That we present us to him.
Edg. Very bootless.

Enter a Captain.

Capt. Edmund is dead, my lord.
Alb. That's but a trifle here.
You lords and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come
Shall be applied. For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old Majesty,
To him our absolute power; [to Edgar and Kent] you to your
With boot, and Such addition as your honours
Have more than merited.- All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings.- O, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you undo this button. Thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her! look! her lips!
Look there, look there! He dies.
Edg. He faints! My lord, my lord!
Kent. Break, heart; I prithee break!
Edg. Look up, my lord.
Kent. Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
Edg. He is gone indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long.
He but usurp'd his life.
Alb. Bear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe. [To Kent and Edgar] Friends of my soul, you
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go.
My master calls me; I must not say no.
Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest have borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
Exeunt with a dead march.





by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae.

FERDINAND, King of Navarre
BEROWNE, lord attending on the King
LONGAVILLE, " " " " "
DUMAIN, " " " " "
BOYET, lord attending on the Princess of France
MARCADE, " " " " " " "
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO, fantastical Spaniard
HOLOFERNES, a schoolmaster
DULL, a constable
COSTARD, a clown
MOTH, page to Armado

ROSALINE, lady attending on the Princess
MARIA, " " " " "
KATHARINE, lady attending on the Princess
JAQUENETTA, a country wench

Lords, Attendants, etc.



Navarre. The King's park


KING. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live regist'red upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
Th' endeavour of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge,
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors- for so you are
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world's desires-
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here.
Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein.
If you are arm'd to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.
LONGAVILLE. I am resolv'd; 'tis but a three years' fast.
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine.
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
DUMAIN. My loving lord, Dumain is mortified.
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves;
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die,
With all these living in philosophy.
BEROWNE. I can but say their protestation over;
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,
That is, to live and study here three years.
But there are other strict observances,
As: not to see a woman in that term,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there;
And one day in a week to touch no food,
And but one meal on every day beside,
The which I hope is not enrolled there;
And then to sleep but three hours in the night
And not be seen to wink of all the day-
When I was wont to think no harm all night,
And make a dark night too of half the day-
Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!
KING. Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these.
BEROWNE. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please:
I only swore to study with your Grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space.
LONGAVILLE. You swore to that, Berowne, and to the rest.
BEROWNE. By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
What is the end of study, let me know.
KING. Why, that to know which else we should not know.
BEROWNE. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?
KING. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
BEROWNE. Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know,
As thus: to study where I well may dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
Or, having sworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If study's gain be thus, and this be so,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know.
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.
KING. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
And train our intellects to vain delight.
BEROWNE. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain,
As painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look.
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks;
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save base authority from others' books.
These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights
That give a name to every fixed star
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.
KING. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
DUMAIN. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!
LONGAVILLE. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.
BEROWNE. The spring is near, when green geese are a-breeding.
DUMAIN. How follows that?
BEROWNE. Fit in his place and time.
DUMAIN. In reason nothing.
BEROWNE. Something then in rhyme.
LONGAVILLE. Berowne is like an envious sneaping frost
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
BEROWNE. Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in any abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing that in season grows;
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate.
KING. Well, sit out; go home, Berowne; adieu.
BEROWNE. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you;
And though I have for barbarism spoke more
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strictest decrees I'll write my name.
KING. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!
BEROWNE. [Reads] 'Item. That no woman shall come within a mile of
my court'- Hath this been proclaimed?
LONGAVILLE. Four days ago.
BEROWNE. Let's see the penalty. [Reads] '-on pain of losing her
tongue.' Who devis'd this penalty?
LONGAVILLE. Marry, that did I.
BEROWNE. Sweet lord, and why?
LONGAVILLE. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
BEROWNE. A dangerous law against gentility.
[Reads] 'Item. If any man be seen to talk with a woman within
the term of three years, he shall endure such public shame as the
rest of the court can possibly devise.'
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For well you know here comes in embassy
The French king's daughter, with yourself to speak-
A mild of grace and complete majesty-
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick, and bedrid father;
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired princess hither.
KING. What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.
BEROWNE. So study evermore is over-shot.
While it doth study to have what it would,
It doth forget to do the thing it should;
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won as towns with fire- so won, so lost.
KING. We must of force dispense with this decree;
She must lie here on mere necessity.
BEROWNE. Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years' space;
For every man with his affects is born,
Not by might mast'red, but by special grace.
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me:
I am forsworn on mere necessity.
So to the laws at large I write my name; [Subscribes]
And he that breaks them in the least degree
Stands in attainder of eternal shame.
Suggestions are to other as to me;
But I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?
KING. Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain,
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One who the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain lost in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But I protest I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
BEROWNE. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
LONGAVILLE. Costard the swain and he shall be our sport;
And so to study three years is but short.

Enter DULL, a constable, with a letter, and COSTARD

DULL. Which is the Duke's own person?
BEROWNE. This, fellow. What wouldst?
DULL. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his Grace's
farborough; but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
BEROWNE. This is he.
DULL. Signior Arme- Arme- commends you. There's villainy abroad;
this letter will tell you more.
COSTARD. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
KING. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
BEROWNE. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
LONGAVILLE. A high hope for a low heaven. God grant us patience!
BEROWNE. To hear, or forbear hearing?
LONGAVILLE. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or, to
forbear both.
BEROWNE. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb
in the merriness.
COSTARD. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.
The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
BEROWNE. In what manner?
COSTARD. In manner and form following, sir; all those three: I was
seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with her upon the form,
and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is in
manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner- it is the
manner of a man to speak to a woman. For the form- in some form.
BEROWNE. For the following, sir?
COSTARD. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the
KING. Will you hear this letter with attention?
BEROWNE. As we would hear an oracle.
COSTARD. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
KING. [Reads] 'Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent and sole
dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's god and body's fost'ring
COSTARD. Not a word of Costard yet.
KING. [Reads] 'So it is'-
COSTARD. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling
true, but so.
KING. Peace!
COSTARD. Be to me, and every man that dares not fight!
KING. No words!
COSTARD. Of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
KING. [Reads] 'So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I
did commend the black oppressing humour to the most wholesome
physic of thy health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook
myself to walk. The time When? About the sixth hour; when beasts
most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment
which is called supper. So much for the time When. Now for the
ground Which? which, I mean, I upon; it is ycleped thy park. Then
for the place Where? where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene
and most prepost'rous event that draweth from my snow-white pen
the ebon-coloured ink which here thou viewest, beholdest,
surveyest, or seest. But to the place Where? It standeth
north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy
curious-knotted garden. There did I see that low-spirited swain,
that base minnow of thy mirth,'
KING. 'that unlettered small-knowing soul,'
KING. 'that shallow vassal,'
COSTARD. Still me?
KING. 'which, as I remember, hight Costard,'
KING. 'sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed
edict and continent canon; which, with, O, with- but with this I
passion to say wherewith-'
COSTARD. With a wench.
King. 'with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy
more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I, as my ever-esteemed
duty pricks me on, have sent to thee, to receive the meed of
punishment, by thy sweet Grace's officer, Antony Dull, a man of
good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.'
DULL. Me, an't shall please you; I am Antony Dull.
KING. 'For Jaquenetta- so is the weaker vessel called, which I
apprehended with the aforesaid swain- I keep her as a vessel of
thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice,
bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and
heart-burning heat of duty,

BEROWNE. This is not so well as I look'd for, but the best that
ever I heard.
KING. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to
COSTARD. Sir, I confess the wench.
KING. Did you hear the proclamation?
COSTARD. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the
marking of it.
KING. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment to be taken with a
COSTARD. I was taken with none, sir; I was taken with a damsel.
KING. Well, it was proclaimed damsel.
COSTARD. This was no damsel neither, sir; she was a virgin.
KING. It is so varied too, for it was proclaimed virgin.
COSTARD. If it were, I deny her virginity; I was taken with a maid.
KING. This 'maid' not serve your turn, sir.
COSTARD. This maid will serve my turn, sir.
KING. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast a week
with bran and water.
COSTARD. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
KING. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My Lord Berowne, see him delivered o'er;
And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
BEROWNE. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
Sirrah, come on.
COSTARD. I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is I was taken
with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore
welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile
again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow.

The park

Enter ARMADO and MOTH, his page

ARMADO. Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit grows
MOTH. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
ARMADO. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
MOTH. No, no; O Lord, sir, no!
ARMADO. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender
MOTH. By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough signior.
ARMADO. Why tough signior? Why tough signior?
MOTH. Why tender juvenal? Why tender juvenal?
ARMADO. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton
appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.
MOTH. And I, tough signior, as an appertinent title to your old
time, which we may name tough.
ARMADO. Pretty and apt.
MOTH. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or I apt, and
my saying pretty?
ARMADO. Thou pretty, because little.
MOTH. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
ARMADO. And therefore apt, because quick.
MOTH. Speak you this in my praise, master?
ARMADO. In thy condign praise.
MOTH. I will praise an eel with the same praise.
ARMADO. that an eel is ingenious?
MOTH. That an eel is quick.
ARMADO. I do say thou art quick in answers; thou heat'st my blood.
MOTH. I am answer'd, sir.
ARMADO. I love not to be cross'd.
MOTH. [Aside] He speaks the mere contrary: crosses love not him.
ARMADO. I have promised to study three years with the Duke.
MOTH. You may do it in an hour, sir.
ARMADO. Impossible.
MOTH. How many is one thrice told?
ARMADO. I am ill at reck'ning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
MOTH. You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.
ARMADO. I confess both; they are both the varnish of a complete
MOTH. Then I am sure you know how much the gross sum of deuce-ace
amounts to.
ARMADO. It doth amount to one more than two.
MOTH. Which the base vulgar do call three.
MOTH. Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here is three
studied ere ye'll thrice wink; and how easy it is to put 'years'
to the word 'three,' and study three years in two words, the
dancing horse will tell you.
ARMADO. A most fine figure!
MOTH. [Aside] To prove you a cipher.
ARMADO. I will hereupon confess I am in love. And as it is base for
a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing
my sword against the humour of affection would deliver me from
the reprobate thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devis'd curtsy. I
think scorn to sigh; methinks I should out-swear Cupid. Comfort
me, boy; what great men have been in love?
MOTH. Hercules, master.
ARMADO. Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear boy, name more;
and, sweet my child, let them be men of good repute and carriage.
MOTH. Samson, master; he was a man of good carriage, great
carriage, for he carried the town gates on his back like a
porter; and he was in love.
ARMADO. O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do excel thee
in my rapier as much as thou didst me in carrying gates. I am in
love too. Who was Samson's love, my dear Moth?
MOTH. A woman, master.
ARMADO. Of what complexion?
MOTH. Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the
ARMADO. Tell me precisely of what complexion.
MOTH. Of the sea-water green, sir.
ARMADO. Is that one of the four complexions?
MOTH. As I have read, sir; and the best of them too.
ARMADO. Green, indeed, is the colour of lovers; but to have a love
of that colour, methinks Samson had small reason for it. He
surely affected her for her wit.
MOTH. It was so, sir; for she had a green wit.
ARMADO. My love is most immaculate white and red.
MOTH. Most maculate thoughts, master, are mask'd under such
ARMADO. Define, define, well-educated infant.
MOTH. My father's wit my mother's tongue assist me!
ARMADO. Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty, and pathetical!
MOTH. If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne'er be known;
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred,
And fears by pale white shown.
Then if she fear, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know;
For still her cheeks possess the same
Which native she doth owe.
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of white and red.
ARMADO. Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar?
MOTH. The world was very guilty of such a ballad some three ages
since; but I think now 'tis not to be found; or if it were, it
would neither serve for the writing nor the tune.
ARMADO. I will have that subject newly writ o'er, that I may
example my digression by some mighty precedent. Boy, I do love
that country girl that I took in the park with the rational hind
Costard; she deserves well.
MOTH. [Aside] To be whipt; and yet a better love than my master.
ARMADO. Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love.
MOTH. And that's great marvel, loving a light wench.
ARMADO. I say, sing.
MOTH. Forbear till this company be past.


DULL. Sir, the Duke's pleasure is that you keep Costard safe; and
you must suffer him to take no delight nor no penance; but 'a
must fast three days a week. For this damsel, I must keep her at
the park; she is allow'd for the day-woman. Fare you well.
ARMADO. I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!
ARMADO. I will visit thee at the lodge.
JAQUENETTA. That's hereby.
ARMADO. I know where it is situate.
JAQUENETTA. Lord, how wise you are!
ARMADO. I will tell thee wonders.
JAQUENETTA. With that face?
ARMADO. I love thee.
JAQUENETTA. So I heard you say.
ARMADO. And so, farewell.
JAQUENETTA. Fair weather after you!
DULL. Come, Jaquenetta, away. Exit with JAQUENETTA
ARMADO. Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou be
COSTARD. Well, sir, I hope when I do it I shall do it on a full
ARMADO. Thou shalt be heavily punished.
COSTARD. I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they are but
lightly rewarded.
ARMADO. Take away this villain; shut him up.
MOTH. Come, you transgressing slave, away.
COSTARD. Let me not be pent up, sir; I will fast, being loose.
MOTH. No, sir; that were fast, and loose. Thou shalt to prison.
COSTARD. Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation that I
have seen, some shall see.
MOTH. What shall some see?
COSTARD. Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon. It is
not for prisoners to be too silent in their words, and therefore
I will say nothing. I thank God I have as little patience as
another man, and therefore I can be quiet.
ARMADO. I do affect the very ground, which is base, where her shoe,
which is baser, guided by her foot, which is basest, doth tread.
I shall be forsworn- which is a great argument of falsehood- if I
love. And how can that be true love which is falsely attempted?
Love is a familiar; Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but
Love. Yet was Samson so tempted, and he had an excellent
strength; yet was Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit.
Cupid's butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules' club, and therefore
too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier. The first and second cause
will not serve my turn; the passado he respects not, the duello
he regards not; his disgrace is to be called boy, but his glory
is to subdue men. Adieu, valour; rust, rapier; be still, drum;
for your manager is in love; yea, he loveth. Assist me, some
extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet.
Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.


The park

Enter the PRINCESS OF FRANCE, with three attending ladies,

BOYET. Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits.
Consider who the King your father sends,
To whom he sends, and what's his embassy:
Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem,
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
As Nature was in making graces dear,
When she did starve the general world beside
And prodigally gave them all to you.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise.
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utt'red by base sale of chapmen's tongues;
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending your wit in the praise of mine.
But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
You are not ignorant all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad Navarre hath made a vow,
Till painful study shall outwear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court.
Therefore to's seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure; and in that behalf,
Bold of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor.
Tell him the daughter of the King of France,
On serious business, craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his Grace.
Haste, signify so much; while we attend,
Like humble-visag'd suitors, his high will.
BOYET. Proud of employment, willingly I go.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
FIRST LORD. Lord Longaville is one.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Know you the man?
MARIA. I know him, madam; at a marriage feast,
Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville.
A man of sovereign parts, peerless esteem'd,
Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms;
Nothing becomes him ill that he would well.
The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss,
If virtue's gloss will stain with any soil,
Is a sharp wit match'd with too blunt a will,
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
It should none spare that come within his power.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so?
MARIA. They say so most that most his humours know.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Such short-liv'd wits do wither as they grow.
Who are the rest?
KATHARINE. The young Dumain, a well-accomplish'd youth,
Of all that virtue love for virtue loved;
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill,
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the Duke Alencon's once;
And much too little of that good I saw
Is my report to his great worthiness.
ROSALINE. Another of these students at that time
Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.
Berowne they call him; but a merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withal.
His eye begets occasion for his wit,
For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
Which his fair tongue, conceit's expositor,
Delivers in such apt and gracious words
That aged ears play truant at his tales,
And younger hearings are quite ravished;
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
PRINCESS OF FRANCE. God bless my ladies! Are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnished
With such bedecking ornaments of praise?
FIRST LORD. Here comes Boyet.

Re-enter BOYET

PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Now, what admittance, lord?
BOYET. Navarre had notice of your fair approach,
And he and his competitors in oath
Were all address'd to meet you, gentle lady,
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learnt:
He rather means to lodge you in the field,
Like one that comes here to besiege his court,
Than seek a dispensation for his oath,
To let you enter his unpeopled house.


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