Part 1 out of 3
Scanner's Notes: What this is and isn't. This was taken from
a copy of Shakespeare's first folio and it is as close as I can
come in ASCII to the printed text.
The elongated S's have been changed to small s's and the
conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the spelling,
punctuation, capitalization as close as possible to the
printed text. I have corrected some spelling mistakes (I have put
together a spelling dictionary devised from the spellings of the
Geneva Bible and Shakespeare's First Folio and have unified
spellings according to this template), typo's and expanded
abbreviations as I have come across them. Everything within
brackets  is what I have added. So if you don't like that
you can delete everything within the brackets if you want a
Another thing that you should be aware of is that there are textual
differences between various copies of the first folio. So there may
be differences (other than what I have mentioned above) between
this and other first folio editions. This is due to the printer's
habit of setting the type and running off a number of copies and
then proofing the printed copy and correcting the type and then
continuing the printing run. The proof run wasn't thrown away but
incorporated into the printed copies. This is just the way it is.
The text I have used was a composite of more than 30 different
First Folio editions' best pages.
If you find any scanning errors, out and out typos, punctuation
errors, or if you disagree with my spelling choices please feel
free to email me those errors. I wish to make this the best
etext possible. My email address for right now are firstname.lastname@example.org
and email@example.com. I hope that you enjoy this.
The Tragedie of King Lear
Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.
Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmond.
Kent. I thought the King had more affected the
Duke of Albany, then Cornwall
Glou. It did alwayes seeme so to vs: But
now in the diuision of the Kingdome, it appeares
not which of the Dukes hee valewes
most, for qualities are so weigh'd, that curiosity in neither,
can make choise of eithers moity
Kent. Is not this your Son, my Lord?
Glou. His breeding Sir, hath bin at my charge. I haue
so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am
Kent. I cannot conceiue you
Glou. Sir, this yong Fellowes mother could; wherevpon
she grew round womb'd, and had indeede (Sir) a
Sonne for her Cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it,
being so proper
Glou. But I haue a Sonne, Sir, by order of Law, some
yeere elder then this; who, yet is no deerer in my account,
though this Knaue came somthing sawcily to the
world before he was sent for: yet was his Mother fayre,
there was good sport at his making, and the horson must
be acknowledged. Doe you know this Noble Gentleman,
Edm. No, my Lord
Glou. My Lord of Kent:
Remember him heereafter, as my Honourable Friend
Edm. My seruices to your Lordship
Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better
Edm. Sir, I shall study deseruing
Glou. He hath bin out nine yeares, and away he shall
againe. The King is comming.
Sennet. Enter King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Gonerill, Regan,
Lear. Attend the Lords of France & Burgundy, Gloster
Glou. I shall, my Lord.
Lear. Meane time we shal expresse our darker purpose.
Giue me the Map there. Know, that we haue diuided
In three our Kingdome: and 'tis our fast intent,
To shake all Cares and Businesse from our Age,
Conferring them on yonger strengths, while we
Vnburthen'd crawle toward death. Our son of Cornwal,
And you our no lesse louing Sonne of Albany,
We haue this houre a constant will to publish
Our daughters seuerall Dowers, that future strife
May be preuented now. The Princes, France & Burgundy,
Great Riuals in our yongest daughters loue,
Long in our Court, haue made their amorous soiourne,
And heere are to be answer'd. Tell me my daughters
(Since now we will diuest vs both of Rule,
Interest of Territory, Cares of State)
Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most,
That we, our largest bountie may extend
Where Nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill,
Our eldest borne, speake first
Gon. Sir, I loue you more then word can weild y matter,
Deerer then eye-sight, space, and libertie,
Beyond what can be valewed, rich or rare,
No lesse then life, with grace, health, beauty, honor:
As much as Childe ere lou'd, or Father found.
A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnable,
Beyond all manner of so much I loue you
Cor. What shall Cordelia speake? Loue, and be silent
Lear. Of all these bounds euen from this Line, to this,
With shadowie Forrests, and with Champains rich'd
With plenteous Riuers, and wide-skirted Meades
We make thee Lady. To thine and Albanies issues
Be this perpetuall. What sayes our second Daughter?
Our deerest Regan, wife of Cornwall?
Reg. I am made of that selfe-mettle as my Sister,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart,
I finde she names my very deede of loue:
Onely she comes too short, that I professe
My selfe an enemy to all other ioyes,
Which the most precious square of sense professes,
And finde I am alone felicitate
In your deere Highnesse loue
Cor. Then poore Cordelia,
And yet not so, since I am sure my loue's
More ponderous then my tongue
Lear. To thee, and thine hereditarie euer,
Remaine this ample third of our faire Kingdome,
No lesse in space, validitie, and pleasure
Then that conferr'd on Gonerill. Now our Ioy,
Although our last and least; to whose yong loue,
The Vines of France, and Milke of Burgundie,
Striue to be interest. What can you say, to draw
A third, more opilent then your Sisters? speake
Cor. Nothing my Lord
Lear. Nothing will come of nothing, speake againe
Cor. Vnhappie that I am, I cannot heaue
My heart into my mouth: I loue your Maiesty
According to my bond, no more nor lesse
Lear. How, how Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
Least you may marre your Fortunes
Cor. Good my Lord,
You haue begot me, bred me, lou'd me.
I returne those duties backe as are right fit,
Obey you, Loue you, and most Honour you.
Why haue my Sisters Husbands, if they say
They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed,
That Lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry
Halfe my loue with him, halfe my Care, and Dutie,
Sure I shall neuer marry like my Sisters
Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
Cor. I my good Lord
Lear. So young, and so vntender?
Cor. So young my Lord, and true
Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre:
For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
The misteries of Heccat and the night:
By all the operation of the Orbes,
From whom we do exist, and cease to be,
Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me,
Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosome
Be as well neighbour'd, pittied, and releeu'd,
As thou my sometime Daughter
Kent. Good my Liege
Lear. Peace Kent,
Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath,
I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight:
So be my graue my peace, as here I giue
Her Fathers heart from her; call France, who stirres?
Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albanie,
With my two Daughters Dowres, digest the third,
Let pride, which she cals plainnesse, marry her:
I doe inuest you ioyntly with my power,
Preheminence, and all the large effects
That troope with Maiesty. Our selfe by Monthly course,
With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turne, onely we shall retaine
The name, and all th' addition to a King: the Sway,
Reuennew, Execution of the rest,
Beloued Sonnes be yours, which to confirme,
This Coronet part betweene you
Kent. Royall Lear,
Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
Lou'd as my Father, as my Master follow'd,
As my great Patron thought on in my praiers
Le. The bow is bent & drawne, make from the shaft
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the forke inuade
The region of my heart, be Kent vnmannerly,
When Lear is mad, what wouldest thou do old man?
Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake,
When power to flattery bowes?
To plainnesse honour's bound,
When Maiesty falls to folly, reserue thy state,
And in thy best consideration checke
This hideous rashnesse, answere my life, my iudgement:
Thy yongest Daughter do's not loue thee least,
Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sounds
Reuerbe no hollownesse
Lear. Kent, on thy life no more
Kent. My life I neuer held but as pawne
To wage against thine enemies, nere feare to loose it,
Thy safety being motiue
Lear. Out of my sight
Kent. See better Lear, and let me still remaine
The true blanke of thine eie
Lear. Now by Apollo,
Kent. Now by Apollo, King
Thou swear'st thy Gods in vaine
Lear. O Vassall! Miscreant
Alb. Cor. Deare Sir forbeare
Kent. Kill thy Physition, and thy fee bestow
Vpon the foule disease, reuoke thy guift,
Or whil'st I can vent clamour from my throate,
Ile tell thee thou dost euill
Lea. Heare me recreant, on thine allegeance heare me;
That thou hast sought to make vs breake our vowes,
Which we durst neuer yet; and with strain'd pride,
To come betwixt our sentences, and our power,
Which, nor our nature, nor our place can beare;
Our potencie made good, take thy reward.
Fiue dayes we do allot thee for prouision,
To shield thee from disasters of the world,
And on the sixt to turne thy hated backe
Vpon our kingdome: if on the tenth day following,
Thy banisht trunke be found in our Dominions,
The moment is thy death, away. By Iupiter,
This shall not be reuok'd,
Kent. Fare thee well King, sith thus thou wilt appeare,
Freedome liues hence, and banishment is here;
The Gods to their deere shelter take thee Maid,
That iustly think'st, and hast most rightly said:
And your large speeches, may your deeds approue,
That good effects may spring from words of loue:
Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adew,
Hee'l shape his old course, in a Country new.
Flourish. Enter Gloster with France, and Burgundy, Attendants.
Cor. Heere's France and Burgundy, my Noble Lord
Lear. My Lord of Burgundie,
We first addresse toward you, who with this King
Hath riuald for our Daughter; what in the least
Will you require in present Dower with her,
Or cease your quest of Loue?
Bur. Most Royall Maiesty,
I craue no more then hath your Highnesse offer'd,
Nor will you tender lesse?
Lear. Right Noble Burgundy,
When she was deare to vs, we did hold her so,
But now her price is fallen: Sir, there she stands,
If ought within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more may fitly like your Grace,
Shee's there, and she is yours
Bur. I know no answer
Lear. Will you with those infirmities she owes,
Vnfriended, new adopted to our hate,
Dow'rd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her or, leaue her
Bur. Pardon me Royall Sir,
Election makes not vp in such conditions
Le. Then leaue her sir, for by the powre that made me,
I tell you all her wealth. For you great King,
I would not from your loue make such a stray,
To match you where I hate, therefore beseech you
T' auert your liking a more worthier way,
Then on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
Almost t' acknowledge hers
Fra. This is most strange,
That she whom euen but now, was your obiect,
The argument of your praise, balme of your age,
The best, the deerest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of fauour: sure her offence
Must be of such vnnaturall degree,
That monsters it: Or your fore-voucht affection
Fall into taint, which to beleeue of her
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should neuer plant in me
Cor. I yet beseech your Maiesty.
If for I want that glib and oylie Art,
To speake and purpose not, since what I will intend,
Ile do't before I speake, that you make knowne
It is no vicious blot, murther, or foulenesse,
No vnchaste action or dishonoured step
That hath depriu'd me of your Grace and fauour,
But euen for want of that, for which I am richer,
A still soliciting eye, and such a tongue,
That I am glad I haue not, though not to haue it,
Hath lost me in your liking
Lear. Better thou had'st
Not beene borne, then not t'haue pleas'd me better
Fra. Is it but this? A tardinesse in nature,
Which often leaues the history vnspoke
That it intends to do: my Lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the Lady? Loue's not loue
When it is mingled with regards, that stands
Aloofe from th' intire point, will you haue her?
She is herselfe a Dowrie
Bur. Royall King,
Giue but that portion which your selfe propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Dutchesse of Burgundie
Lear. Nothing, I haue sworne, I am firme
Bur. I am sorry then you haue so lost a Father,
That you must loose a husband
Cor. Peace be with Burgundie,
Since that respect and Fortunes are his loue,
I shall not be his wife
Fra. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poore,
Most choise forsaken, and most lou'd despis'd,
Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon,
Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
Gods, Gods! 'Tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
Thy dowrelesse Daughter King, throwne to my chance,
Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
Not all the Dukes of watrish Burgundy,
Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
Bid them farewell Cordelia, though vnkinde,
Thou loosest here a better where to finde
Lear. Thou hast her France, let her be thine, for we
Haue no such Daughter, nor shall euer see
That face of hers againe, therfore be gone,
Without our Grace, our Loue, our Benizon:
Come Noble Burgundie.
Fra. Bid farwell to your Sisters
Cor. The Iewels of our Father, with wash'd eies
Cordelia leaues you, I know you what you are,
And like a Sister am most loth to call
Your faults as they are named. Loue well our Father:
To your professed bosomes I commit him,
But yet alas, stood I within his Grace,
I would prefer him to a better place,
So farewell to you both
Regn. Prescribe not vs our dutie
Gon. Let your study
Be to content your Lord, who hath receiu'd you
At Fortunes almes, you haue obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you haue wanted
Cor. Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides,
Who couers faults, at last with shame derides:
Well may you prosper
Fra. Come my faire Cordelia.
Exit France and Cor.
Gon. Sister, it is not little I haue to say,
Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both,
I thinke our Father will hence to night
Reg. That's most certaine, and with you: next moneth with vs
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the obseruation
we haue made of it hath beene little; he alwaies
lou'd our Sister most, and with what poore iudgement he
hath now cast her off, appeares too grossely
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath euer but
slenderly knowne himselfe
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but
rash, then must we looke from his age, to receiue not alone
the imperfections of long ingraffed condition, but
therewithall the vnruly way-wardnesse, that infirme and
cholericke yeares bring with them
Reg. Such vnconstant starts are we like to haue from
him, as this of Kents banishment
Gon. There is further complement of leaue-taking betweene
France and him, pray you let vs sit together, if our
Father carry authority with such disposition as he beares,
this last surrender of his will but offend vs
Reg. We shall further thinke of it
Gon. We must do something, and i'th' heate.
Bast. Thou Nature art my Goddesse, to thy Law
My seruices are bound, wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custome, and permit
The curiosity of Nations, to depriue me?
For that I am some twelue, or fourteene Moonshines
Lag of a Brother? Why Bastard? Wherefore base?
When my Dimensions are as well compact,
My minde as generous, and my shape as true
As honest Madams issue? Why brand they vs
With Base? With basenes Bastardie? Base, Base?
Who in the lustie stealth of Nature, take
More composition, and fierce qualitie,
Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
Goe to th' creating a whole tribe of Fops
Got 'tweene a sleepe, and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must haue your land,
Our Fathers loue, is to the Bastard Edmond,
As to th' legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.
Well, my Legittimate, if this Letter speed,
And my inuention thriue, Edmond the base
Shall to'th' Legitimate: I grow, I prosper:
Now Gods, stand vp for Bastards.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus? and France in choller parted?
And the King gone to night? Prescrib'd his powre,
Confin'd to exhibition? All this done
Vpon the gad? Edmond, how now? What newes?
Bast. So please your Lordship, none
Glou. Why so earnestly seeke you to put vp y Letter?
Bast. I know no newes, my Lord
Glou. What Paper were you reading?
Bast. Nothing my Lord
Glou. No? what needed then that terrible dispatch of
it into your Pocket? The quality of nothing, hath not
such neede to hide it selfe. Let's see: come, if it bee nothing,
I shall not neede Spectacles
Bast. I beseech you Sir, pardon mee; it is a Letter
from my Brother, that I haue not all ore-read; and for so
much as I haue perus'd, I finde it not fit for your ore-looking
Glou. Giue me the Letter, Sir
Bast. I shall offend, either to detaine, or giue it:
The Contents, as in part I vnderstand them,
Are too blame
Glou. Let's see, let's see
Bast. I hope for my Brothers iustification, hee wrote
this but as an essay, or taste of my Vertue
Glou. reads. This policie, and reuerence of Age, makes the
world bitter to the best of our times: keepes our Fortunes from
vs, till our oldnesse cannot rellish them. I begin to finde an idle
and fond bondage, in the oppression of aged tyranny, who swayes
not as it hath power, but as it is suffer'd. Come to me, that of
this I may speake more. If our Father would sleepe till I wak'd
him, you should enioy halfe his Reuennew for euer, and liue the
beloued of your Brother. Edgar.
Hum? Conspiracy? Sleepe till I wake him, you should
enioy halfe his Reuennew: my Sonne Edgar, had hee a
hand to write this? A heart and braine to breede it in?
When came you to this? Who brought it?
Bast. It was not brought mee, my Lord; there's the
cunning of it. I found it throwne in at the Casement of
Glou. You know the character to be your Brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good my Lord, I durst swear
it were his: but in respect of that, I would faine thinke it
Glou. It is his
Bast. It is his hand, my Lord: but I hope his heart is
not in the Contents
Glo. Has he neuer before sounded you in this busines?
Bast. Neuer my Lord. But I haue heard him oft maintaine
it to be fit, that Sonnes at perfect age, and Fathers
declin'd, the Father should bee as Ward to the Son, and
the Sonne manage his Reuennew
Glou. O Villain, villain: his very opinion in the Letter.
Abhorred Villaine, vnnaturall, detested, brutish
Villaine; worse then brutish: Go sirrah, seeke him: Ile
apprehend him. Abhominable Villaine, where is he?
Bast. I do not well know my L[ord]. If it shall please you to
suspend your indignation against my Brother, til you can
deriue from him better testimony of his intent, you shold
run a certaine course: where, if you violently proceed against
him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great
gap in your owne Honor, and shake in peeces, the heart of
his obedience. I dare pawne downe my life for him, that
he hath writ this to feele my affection to your Honor, &
to no other pretence of danger
Glou. Thinke you so?
Bast. If your Honor iudge it meete, I will place you
where you shall heare vs conferre of this, and by an Auricular
assurance haue your satisfaction, and that without
any further delay, then this very Euening
Glou. He cannot bee such a Monster. Edmond seeke
him out: winde me into him, I pray you: frame the Businesse
after your owne wisedome. I would vnstate my
selfe, to be in a due resolution
Bast. I will seeke him Sir, presently: conuey the businesse
as I shall find meanes, and acquaint you withall
Glou. These late Eclipses in the Sun and Moone portend
no good to vs: though the wisedome of Nature can
reason it thus, and thus, yet Nature finds it selfe scourg'd
by the sequent effects. Loue cooles, friendship falls off,
Brothers diuide. In Cities, mutinies; in Countries, discord;
in Pallaces, Treason; and the Bond crack'd, 'twixt
Sonne and Father. This villaine of mine comes vnder the
prediction; there's Son against Father, the King fals from
byas of Nature, there's Father against Childe. We haue
seene the best of our time. Machinations, hollownesse,
treacherie, and all ruinous disorders follow vs disquietly
to our Graues. Find out this Villain, Edmond, it shall lose
thee nothing, do it carefully: and the Noble & true-harted
Kent banish'd; his offence, honesty. 'Tis strange.
Bast. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that
when we are sicke in fortune, often the surfets of our own
behauiour, we make guilty of our disasters, the Sun, the
Moone, and Starres, as if we were villaines on necessitie,
Fooles by heauenly compulsion, Knaues, Theeues, and
Treachers by Sphericall predominance. Drunkards, Lyars,
and Adulterers by an inforc'd obedience of Planatary
influence; and all that we are euill in, by a diuine thrusting
on. An admirable euasion of Whore-master-man,
to lay his Goatish disposition on the charge of a Starre,
My father compounded with my mother vnder the Dragons
taile, and my Natiuity was vnder Vrsa Maior, so
that it followes, I am rough and Leacherous. I should
haue bin that I am, had the maidenlest Starre in the Firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing.
Pat: he comes like the Catastrophe of the old Comedie:
my Cue is villanous Melancholly, with a sighe like Tom
o' Bedlam. - O these Eclipses do portend these diuisions.
Fa, Sol, La, Me
Edg. How now Brother Edmond, what serious contemplation
are you in?
Bast. I am thinking Brother of a prediction I read this
other day, what should follow these Eclipses
Edg. Do you busie your selfe with that?
Bast. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeede
When saw you my Father last?
Edg. The night gone by
Bast. Spake you with him?
Edg. I, two houres together
Bast. Parted you in good termes? Found you no displeasure
in him, by word, nor countenance?
Edg. None at all,
Bast. Bethink your selfe wherein you may haue offended
him: and at my entreaty forbeare his presence, vntill
some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure,
which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischiefe
of your person, it would scarsely alay
Edg. Some Villaine hath done me wrong
Edm. That's my feare, I pray you haue a continent
forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower: and as
I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will
fitly bring you to heare my Lord speake: pray ye goe,
there's my key: if you do stirre abroad, goe arm'd
Edg. Arm'd, Brother?
Edm. Brother, I aduise you to the best, I am no honest
man, if ther be any good meaning toward you: I haue told
you what I haue seene, and heard: But faintly. Nothing
like the image, and horror of it, pray you away
Edg. Shall I heare from you anon?
Edm. I do serue you in this businesse:
A Credulous Father, and a Brother Noble,
Whose nature is so farre from doing harmes,
That he suspects none: on whose foolish honestie
My practises ride easie: I see the businesse.
Let me, if not by birth, haue lands by wit,
All with me's meete, that I can fashion fit.
Enter Gonerill, and Steward.
Gon. Did my Father strike my Gentleman for chiding
of his Foole?
Ste. I Madam
Gon. By day and night, he wrongs me, euery howre
He flashes into one grosse crime, or other,
That sets vs all at ods: Ile not endure it;
His Knights grow riotous, and himselfe vpbraides vs
On euery trifle. When he returnes from hunting,
I will not speake with him, say I am sicke,
If you come slacke of former seruices,
You shall do well, the fault of it Ile answer
Ste. He's comming Madam, I heare him
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your Fellowes: I'de haue it come to question;
If he distaste it, let him to my Sister,
Whose mind and mine I know in that are one,
Remember what I haue said
Ste. Well Madam
Gon. And let his Knights haue colder lookes among
you: what growes of it no matter, aduise your fellowes
so, Ile write straight to my Sister to hold my course; prepare
Kent. If but as will I other accents borrow,
That can my speech defuse, my good intent
May carry through it selfe to that full issue
For which I raiz'd my likenesse. Now banisht Kent,
If thou canst serue where thou dost stand condemn'd,
So may it come, thy Master whom thou lou'st,
Shall find thee full of labours.
Hornes within. Enter Lear and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, go get it ready:
how now, what art thou?
Kent. A man Sir
Lear. What dost thou professe? What would'st thou
Kent. I do professe to be no lesse then I seeme; to serue
him truely that will put me in trust, to loue him that is
honest, to conuerse with him that is wise and saies little, to
feare iudgement, to fight when I cannot choose, and to
eate no fish
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest hearted Fellow, and as poore as
Lear. If thou be'st as poore for a subiect, as hee's for a
King, thou art poore enough. What wouldst thou?
Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
Kent. No Sir, but you haue that in your countenance,
which I would faine call Master
Lear. What's that?
Lear. What seruices canst thou do?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, marre a
curious tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am quallified
in, and the best of me, is Dilligence
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young Sir to loue a woman for singing,
nor so old to dote on her for any thing. I haue yeares on
my backe forty eight
Lear. Follow me, thou shalt serue me, if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner
ho, dinner, where's my knaue? my Foole? Go you and call
my Foole hither. You you Sirrah, where's my Daughter?
Ste. So please you-
Lear. What saies the Fellow there? Call the Clotpole
backe: wher's my Foole? Ho, I thinke the world's
asleepe, how now? Where's that Mungrell?
Knigh. He saies my Lord, your Daughters is not well
Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to me when I
Knigh. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he
Lear. He would not?
Knight. My Lord, I know not what the matter is,
but to my iudgement your Highnesse is not entertain'd
with that Ceremonious affection as you were wont,
theres a great abatement of kindnesse appeares as well in
the generall dependants, as in the Duke himselfe also, and
Lear. Ha? Saist thou so?
Knigh. I beseech you pardon me my Lord, if I bee
mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent, when I thinke
your Highnesse wrong'd
Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne Conception,
I haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late,
which I haue rather blamed as mine owne iealous curiositie,
then as a very pretence and purpose of vnkindnesse;
I will looke further intoo't: but where's my Foole? I
haue not seene him this two daies
Knight. Since my young Ladies going into France
Sir, the Foole hath much pined away
Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it well, goe you
and tell my Daughter, I would speake with her. Goe you
call hither my Foole; Oh you Sir, you, come you hither
Sir, who am I Sir?
Ste. My Ladies Father
Lear. My Ladies Father? my Lords knaue, you whorson
dog, you slaue, you curre
Ste. I am none of these my Lord,
I beseech your pardon
Lear. Do you bandy lookes with me, you Rascall?
Ste. Ile not be strucken my Lord
Kent. Nor tript neither, you base Foot-ball plaier
Lear. I thanke thee fellow.
Thou seru'st me, and Ile loue thee
Kent. Come sir, arise, away, Ile teach you differences:
away, away, if you will measure your lubbers length againe,
tarry, but away, goe too, haue you wisedome, so
Lear. Now my friendly knaue I thanke thee, there's
earnest of thy seruice.
Foole. Let me hire him too, here's my Coxcombe
Lear. How now my pretty knaue, how dost thou?
Foole. Sirrah, you were best take my Coxcombe
Lear. Why my Boy?
Foole. Why? for taking ones part that's out of fauour,
nay, & thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch
colde shortly, there take my Coxcombe; why this fellow
ha's banish'd two on's Daughters, and did the third a
blessing against his will, if thou follow him, thou must
needs weare my Coxcombe. How now Nunckle? would
I had two Coxcombes and two Daughters
Lear. Why my Boy?
Fool. If I gaue them all my liuing, I'ld keepe my Coxcombes
my selfe, there's mine, beg another of thy
Lear. Take heed Sirrah, the whip
Foole. Truth's a dog must to kennell, hee must bee
whipt out, when the Lady Brach may stand by'th' fire
Lear. A pestilent gall to me
Foole. Sirha, Ile teach thee a speech
Foole. Marke it Nuncle;
Haue more then thou showest,
Speake lesse then thou knowest,
Lend lesse then thou owest,
Ride more then thou goest,
Learne more then thou trowest,
Set lesse then thou throwest;
Leaue thy drinke and thy whore,
And keepe in a dore,
And thou shalt haue more,
Then two tens to a score
Kent. This is nothing Foole
Foole. Then 'tis like the breath of an vnfeed Lawyer,
you gaue me nothing for't, can you make no vse of nothing
Lear. Why no Boy,
Nothing can be made out of nothing
Foole. Prythee tell him, so much the rent of his land
comes to, he will not beleeue a Foole
Lear. A bitter Foole
Foole. Do'st thou know the difference my Boy, betweene
a bitter Foole, and a sweet one
Lear. No Lad, teach me
Foole. Nunckle, giue me an egge, and Ile giue thee
Lear. What two Crownes shall they be?
Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge i'th' middle and
eate vp the meate, the two Crownes of the egge: when
thou clouest thy Crownes i'th' middle, and gau'st away
both parts, thou boar'st thine Asse on thy backe o're the
durt, thou hadst little wit in thy bald crowne, when thou
gau'st thy golden one away; if I speake like my selfe in
this, let him be whipt that first findes it so.
Fooles had nere lesse grace in a yeere,
For wisemen are growne foppish,
And know not how their wits to weare,
Their manners are so apish
Le. When were you wont to be so full of Songs sirrah?
Foole. I haue vsed it Nunckle, ere since thou mad'st
thy Daughters thy Mothers, for when thou gau'st them
the rod, and put'st downe thine owne breeches, then they
For sodaine ioy did weepe,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a King should play bo-peepe,
And goe the Foole among.
Pry'thy Nunckle keepe a Schoolemaster that can teach
thy Foole to lie, I would faine learne to lie
Lear. And you lie sirrah, wee'l haue you whipt
Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are,
they'l haue me whipt for speaking true: thou'lt haue me
whipt for lying, and sometimes I am whipt for holding
my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing then a foole,
and yet I would not be thee Nunckle, thou hast pared thy
wit o' both sides, and left nothing i'th' middle; heere
comes one o'the parings.
Lear. How now Daughter? what makes that Frontlet
on? You are too much of late i'th' frowne
Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no
need to care for her frowning, now thou art an O without
a figure, I am better then thou art now, I am a Foole,
thou art nothing. Yes forsooth I will hold my tongue, so
your face bids me, though you say nothing.
Mum, mum, he that keepes nor crust, nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some. That's a sheal'd Pescod
Gon. Not only Sir this, your all-lycenc'd Foole,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourely Carpe and Quarrell, breaking forth
In ranke, and (not to be endur'd) riots Sir.
I had thought by making this well knowne vnto you,
To haue found a safe redresse, but now grow fearefull
By what your selfe too late haue 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 sleepe,
Which in the tender of a wholesome weale,
Mighty in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessitie
Will call discreet proceeding
Foole. For you know Nunckle, the Hedge-Sparrow
fed the Cuckoo so long, that it's had it head bit off by it
young, so out went the Candle, and we were left darkling
Lear. Are you our Daughter?
Gon. I would you would make vse of your good wisedome
(Whereof I know you are fraught), and put away
These dispositions, which of late transport you
From what you rightly are
Foole. May not an Asse know, when the Cart drawes
Whoop Iugge I loue thee
Lear. Do's any heere know me?
This is not Lear:
Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies?
Either his Notion weakens, his Discernings
Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so?
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Foole. Lears shadow
Lear. Your name, faire Gentlewoman?
Gon. This admiration Sir, is much o'th' sauour
Of other your new prankes. I do beseech you
To vnderstand my purposes aright:
As you are Old, and Reuerend, should be Wise.
Heere do you keepe a hundred Knights and Squires,
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd and bold,
That this our Court infected with their manners,
Shewes like a riotous Inne; Epicurisme and Lust
Makes it more like a Tauerne, or a Brothell,
Then a grac'd Pallace. The shame it selfe doth speake
For instant remedy. Be then desir'd
By her, that else will take the thing she begges,
A little to disquantity your Traine,
And the remainders that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your Age,
Which know themselues, and you
Lear. Darknesse, and Diuels.
Saddle my horses: call my Traine together.
Degenerate Bastard, Ile not trouble thee;
Yet haue I left a daughter
Gon. You strike my people, and your disorder'd rable,
make Seruants of their Betters.
Lear. Woe, that too late repents:
Is it your will, speake Sir? Prepare my Horses.
Ingratitude! thou Marble-hearted Fiend,
More hideous when thou shew'st thee in a Child,
Then the Sea-monster
Alb. Pray Sir be patient
Lear. Detested Kite, thou lyest.
My Traine are men of choice, and rarest parts,
That all particulars of dutie know,
And in the most exact regard, support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shew?
Which like an Engine, wrencht my frame of Nature
From the fixt place: drew from my heart all loue,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beate at this gate that let thy Folly in,
And thy deere Iudgement out. Go, go, my people
Alb. My Lord, I am guiltlesse, as I am ignorant
Of what hath moued you
Lear. It may be so, my Lord.
Heare Nature, heare deere Goddesse, heare:
Suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend
To make this Creature fruitfull:
Into her Wombe conuey stirrility,
Drie vp in her the Organs of increase,
And from her derogate body, neuer spring
A Babe to honor her. If she must teeme,
Create her childe of Spleene, that it may liue
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
Let it stampe wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent Teares fret Channels in her cheekes,
Turne all her Mothers paines, and benefits
To laughter, and contempt: That she may feele,
How sharper then a Serpents tooth it is,
To haue a thanklesse Childe. Away, away.
Alb. Now Gods that we adore,
Whereof comes this?
Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know more of it:
But let his disposition haue that scope
As dotage giues it.
Lear. What fiftie of my Followers at a clap?
Within a fortnight?
Alb. What's the matter, Sir?
Lear. Ile tell thee:
Life and death, I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
That these hot teares, which breake from me perforce
Should make thee worth them.
Blastes and Fogges vpon thee:
Th' vntented woundings of a Fathers curse
Pierce euerie sense about thee. Old fond eyes,
Beweepe this cause againe, Ile plucke ye out,
And cast you with the waters that you loose
To temper Clay. Ha? Let it be so.
I haue another daughter,
Who I am sure is kinde and comfortable:
When she shall heare this of thee, with her nailes
Shee'l flea thy Woluish visage. Thou shalt finde,
That Ile resume the shape which thou dost thinke
I haue cast off for euer.
Gon. Do you marke that?
Alb. I cannot be so partiall Gonerill,
To the great loue I beare you
Gon. Pray you content. What Oswald, hoa?
You Sir, more Knaue then Foole, after your Master
Foole. Nunkle Lear, Nunkle Lear,
Tarry, take the Foole 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 Foole followes after.
Gon. This man hath had good Counsell,
A hundred Knights?
'Tis politike, and safe to let him keepe
At point a hundred Knights: yes, that on euerie dreame,
Each buz, each fancie, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powres,
And hold our liues in mercy. Oswald, I say
Alb. Well, you may feare too farre
Gon. Safer then trust too farre;
Let me still take away the harmes I feare,
Not feare still to be taken. I know his heart,
What he hath vtter'd I haue writ my Sister:
If she sustaine him, and his hundred Knights
When I haue shew'd th' vnfitnesse.
How now Oswald?
What haue you writ that Letter to my Sister?
Stew. I Madam
Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse,
Informe her full of my particular feare,
And thereto adde such reasons of your owne,
As may compact it more. Get you gone,
And hasten your returne; no, no, my Lord,
This milky gentlenesse, and course of yours
Though I condemne not, yet vnder pardon
You are much more at task for want of wisedome,
Then prais'd for harmefull mildnesse
Alb. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell;
Striuing to better, oft we marre what's well
Gon. Nay then-
Alb. Well, well, th' euent.
Enter Lear, Kent, Gentleman, and Foole.
Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these Letters;
acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you
know, then comes from her demand out of the Letter,
if your Dilligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore
Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered
Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeles, wert not in
danger of kybes?
Lear. I Boy
Foole. Then I prythee be merry, thy wit shall not go
Lear. Ha, ha, ha
Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kindly,
for though she's as like this, as a Crabbe's like an
Apple, yet I can tell what I can tell
Lear. What can'st tell Boy?
Foole. She will taste as like this as, a Crabbe do's to a
Crab: thou canst, tell why ones nose stands i'th' middle
Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side 's nose,
that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into
Lear. I did her wrong
Foole. Can'st tell how an Oyster makes his shell?
Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's
Foole. Why to put's head in, not to giue it away to his
daughters, and leaue his hornes without a case
Lear. I will forget my Nature, so kind a Father? Be
my Horsses ready?
Foole. Thy Asses are gone about 'em; the reason why
the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen, is a pretty reason
Lear. Because they are not eight
Foole. Yes indeed, thou would'st make a good Foole
Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Monster Ingratitude!
Foole. If thou wert my Foole Nunckle, Il'd haue thee
beaten for being old before thy time
Lear. How's that?
Foole. Thou shouldst not haue bin old, till thou hadst
Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad sweet Heauen:
keepe me in temper, I would not be mad. How now are
the Horses ready?
Gent. Ready my Lord
Lear. Come Boy
Fool. She that's a Maid now, & laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a Maid long, vnlesse things be cut shorter.
Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.
Enter Bastard, and Curan, seuerally.
Bast. Saue thee Curan
Cur. And you Sir, I haue bin
With your Father, and giuen him notice
That the Duke of Cornwall, and Regan his Duchesse
Will be here with him this night
Bast. How comes that?
Cur. Nay I know not, you haue heard of the newes abroad,
I meane the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but
Bast. Not I: pray you what are they?
Cur. Haue you heard of no likely Warres toward,
'Twixt the Dukes of Cornwall, and Albany?
Bast. Not a word
Cur. You may do then in time,
Fare you well Sir.
Bast. The Duke be here to night? The better best,
This weaues it selfe perforce into my businesse,
My Father hath set guard to take my Brother,
And I haue one thing of a queazie question
Which I must act, Briefenesse, and Fortune worke.
Brother, a word, discend; Brother I say,
My Father watches: O Sir, fly this place,
Intelligence is giuen where you are hid;
You haue now the good aduantage of the night,
Haue you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornewall?
Hee's comming hither, now i'th' night, i'th' haste,
And Regan with him, haue you nothing said
Vpon his partie 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Aduise your selfe
Edg. I am sure on't, not a word
Bast. I heare my Father comming, pardon me:
In cunning, I must draw my Sword vpon you:
Draw, seeme to defend your selfe,
Now quit you well.
Yeeld, come before my Father, light hoa, here,
Fly Brother, Torches, Torches, so farewell.
Some blood drawne on me, would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeauour. I haue seene drunkards
Do more then this in sport; Father, Father,
Stop, stop, no helpe?
Enter Gloster, and Seruants with Torches.
Glo. Now Edmund, where's the villaine?
Bast. Here stood he in the dark, his sharpe Sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charmes, coniuring the Moone
To stand auspicious Mistris
Glo. But where is he?
Bast. Looke Sir, I bleed
Glo. Where is the villaine, Edmund?
Bast. Fled this way Sir, when by no meanes he could
Glo. Pursue him, ho: go after. By no meanes, what?
Bast. Perswade me to the murther of your Lordship,
But that I told him the reuenging Gods,
'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend,
Spoke with how manifold, and strong a Bond
The Child was bound to'th' Father; Sir in fine,
Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
To his vnnaturall purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared Sword, he charges home
My vnprouided body, latch'd mine arme;
And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
Bold in the quarrels right, rouz'd to th' encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noyse I made,
Full sodainely he fled
Glost. Let him fly farre:
Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
And found; dispatch, the Noble Duke my Master,
My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night,
By his authoritie I will proclaime it,
That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
He that conceales him death
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to doe it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied,
Thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposall
Of any trust, vertue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No, what should I denie,
(As this I would, though thou didst produce
My very Character) I'ld turne it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
To make thee seeke it.
Glo. O strange and fastned Villaine,
Would he deny his Letter, said he?
Harke, the Dukes Trumpets, I know not wher he comes;
All Ports Ile barre, the villaine shall not scape,
The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send farre and neere, that all the kingdome
May haue due note of him, and of my land,
(Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
To make thee capable.
Enter Cornewall, Regan, and Attendants.
Corn. How now my Noble friend, since I came hither
(Which I can call but now,) I haue heard strangenesse
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th' offender; how dost my Lord?
Glo. O Madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd
Reg. What, did my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
He whom my Father nam'd, your Edgar?
Glo. O Lady, Lady, shame would haue it hid
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
That tended vpon my Father?
Glo. I know not Madam, 'tis too bad, too bad
Bast. Yes Madam, he was of that consort
Reg. No maruaile then, though he were ill affected,
'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
To haue th' expence and wast of his Reuenues:
I haue this present euening from my Sister
Beene well inform'd of them, and with such cautions,
That if they come to soiourne at my house,
Ile not be there
Cor. Nor I, assure thee Regan;
Edmund, I heare that you haue shewne your Father
A Child-like Office
Bast. It was my duty Sir
Glo. He did bewray his practise, and receiu'd
This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him
Cor. Is he pursued?
Glo. I my good Lord
Cor. If he be taken, he shall neuer more
Be fear'd of doing harme, make your owne purpose,
How in my strength you please: for you Edmund,
Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend it selfe, you shall be ours,
Nature's of such deepe trust, we shall much need:
You we first seize on
Bast. I shall serue you Sir truely, how euer else
Glo. For him I thanke your Grace
Cor. You know not why we came to visit you?
Reg. Thus out of season, thredding darke ey'd night,
Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
Our Father he hath writ, so hath our Sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
From hence attend dispatch, our good old Friend,
Lay comforts to your bosome, and bestow
Your needfull counsaile to our businesses,
Which craues the instant vse
Glo. I serue you Madam,
Your Graces are right welcome.
Enter Kent, and Steward seuerally.
Stew. Good dawning to thee Friend, art of this house?
Stew. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. I'th' myre
Stew. Prythee, if thou lou'st me, tell me
Kent. I loue thee not
Ste. Why then I care not for thee
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I would make
thee care for me
Ste. Why do'st thou vse me thus? I know thee not
Kent. Fellow I know thee
Ste. What do'st thou know me for?
Kent. A Knaue, a Rascall, an eater of broken meates, a
base, proud, shallow, beggerly, three-suited-hundred
pound, filthy woosted-stocking knaue, a Lilly-liuered,
action-taking, whoreson glasse-gazing super-seruiceable
finicall Rogue, one Trunke-inheriting slaue, one that
would'st be a Baud in way of good seruice, and art nothing
but the composition of a Knaue, Begger, Coward,
Pandar, and the Sonne and Heire of a Mungrill Bitch,
one whom I will beate into clamours whining, if thou
deny'st the least sillable of thy addition
Stew. Why, what a monstrous Fellow art thou, thus
to raile on one, that is neither knowne of thee, nor
Kent. What a brazen-fac'd Varlet art thou, to deny
thou knowest me? Is it two dayes since I tript vp thy
heeles, and beate thee before the King? Draw you rogue,
for though it be night, yet the Moone shines, Ile make a
sop oth' Moonshine of you, you whoreson Cullyenly
Stew. Away, I haue nothing to do with thee
Kent. Draw you Rascall, you come with Letters against
the King, and take Vanitie the puppets part, against
the Royaltie of her Father: draw you Rogue, or
Ile so carbonado your shanks, draw you Rascall, come
Ste. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe
Kent. Strike you slaue: stand rogue, stand you neat
Stew. Helpe hoa, murther, murther.
Enter Bastard, Cornewall, Regan, Gloster, Seruants.
Bast. How now, what's the matter? Part
Kent. With you goodman Boy, if you please, come,
Ile flesh ye, come on yong Master
Glo. Weapons? Armes? what's the matter here?
Cor. Keepe peace vpon your liues, he dies that strikes
againe, what is the matter?
Reg. The Messengers from our Sister, and the King?
Cor. What is your difference, speake?
Stew. I am scarce in breath my Lord
Kent. No Maruell, you haue so bestir'd your valour,
you cowardly Rascall, nature disclaimes in thee: a Taylor
Cor. Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylor make a man?
Kent. A Taylor Sir, a Stone-cutter, or a Painter, could
not haue made him so ill, though they had bin but two
yeares oth' trade
Cor. Speake yet, how grew your quarrell?
Ste. This ancient Ruffian Sir, whose life I haue spar'd
at sute of his gray-beard
Kent. Thou whoreson Zed, thou vnnecessary letter:
my Lord, if you will giue me leaue, I will tread this vnboulted
villaine into morter, and daube the wall of a
Iakes with him. Spare my gray-beard, you wagtaile?
Cor. Peace sirrah,
You beastly knaue, know you no reuerence?
Kent. Yes Sir, but anger hath a priuiledge
Cor. Why art thou angrie?
Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a Sword,
Who weares no honesty: such smiling rogues as these,
Like Rats oft bite the holy cords a twaine,
Which are t' intrince, t' vnloose: smooth euery passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
Being oile to fire, snow to the colder moodes,
Reuenge, affirme, and turne their Halcion beakes
With euery gall, and varry of their Masters,
Knowing naught (like dogges) but following:
A plague vpon your Epilepticke visage,
Smoile you my speeches, as I were a Foole?
Goose, if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
I'ld driue ye cackling home to Camelot
Corn. What art thou mad old Fellow?
Glost. How fell you out, say that?
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy,
Then I, and such a knaue
Corn. Why do'st thou call him Knaue?
What is his fault?
Kent. His countenance likes me not
Cor. No more perchance do's mine, nor his, nor hers
Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plaine,
I haue seene better faces in my Time,
Then stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me, at this instant
Corn. This is some Fellow,
Who hauing beene prais'd for bluntnesse, doth affect
A saucy roughnes, and constraines the garb
Quite from his Nature. He cannot flatter he,
An honest mind and plaine, he must speake truth,
And they will take it so, if not, hee's plaine.
These kind of Knaues I know, which in this plainnesse
Harbour more craft, and more corrupter ends,
Then twenty silly-ducking obseruants,
That stretch their duties nicely
Kent. Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Vnder th' allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
On flickring Phoebus front
Corn. What mean'st by this?
Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend
so much; I know Sir, I am no flatterer, he that beguild
you in a plaine accent, was a plaine Knaue, which
for my part I will not be, though I should win your
displeasure to entreat me too't
Corn. What was th' offence you gaue him?
Ste. I neuer gaue him any:
It pleas'd the King his Master very late
To strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
When he compact, and flattering his displeasure
Tript me behind: being downe, insulted, rail'd,
And put vpon him such a deale of Man,
That worthied him, got praises of the King,
For him attempting, who was selfe-subdued,
And in the fleshment of this dead exploit,
Drew on me here againe
Kent. None of these Rogues, and Cowards
But Aiax is there Foole
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks?
You stubborne ancient Knaue, you reuerent Bragart,
Wee'l teach you
Kent. Sir, I am too old to learne:
Call not your Stocks for me, I serue the King.
On whose imployment I was sent to you,
You shall doe small respects, show too bold malice
Against the Grace, and Person of my Master,
Stocking his Messenger
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks;
As I haue life and Honour, there shall he sit till Noone
Reg. Till noone? till night my Lord, and all night too
Kent. Why Madam, if I were your Fathers dog,
You should not vse me so
Reg. Sir, being his Knaue, I will.
Stocks brought out.
Cor. This is a Fellow of the selfe same colour,
Our Sister speakes of. Come, bring away the Stocks
Glo. Let me beseech your Grace, not to do so,
The King his Master, needs must take it ill
That he so slightly valued in his Messenger,
Should haue him thus restrained
Cor. Ile answere that
Reg. My Sister may recieue it much more worsse,
To haue her Gentleman abus'd, assaulted
Corn. Come my Lord, away.
Glo. I am sorry for thee friend, 'tis the Dukes pleasure,
Whose disposition all the world well knowes
Will not be rub'd nor stopt, Ile entreat for thee
Kent. Pray do not Sir, I haue watch'd and trauail'd hard,
Some time I shall sleepe out, the rest Ile whistle:
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles:
Giue you good morrow
Glo. The Duke's too blame in this,
'Twill be ill taken.
Kent. Good King, that must approue the common saw,
Thou out of Heauens benediction com'st
To the warme Sun.
Approach thou Beacon to this vnder Globe,
That by thy comfortable Beames I may
Peruse this Letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But miserie. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately beene inform'd
Of my obscured course. And shall finde time
From this enormous State, seeking to giue
Losses their remedies. All weary and o're-watch'd,
Take vantage heauie eyes, not to behold
This shamefull lodging. Fortune goodnight,
Smile once more, turne thy wheele.
Edg. I heard my selfe proclaim'd,
And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
Escap'd the hunt. No Port is free, no place
That guard, and most vnusall vigilance
Do's not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
I will preserue myselfe: and am bethought
To take the basest, and most poorest shape
That euer penury in contempt of man,
Brought neere to beast; my face Ile grime with filth,
Blanket my loines, else all my haires in knots,
And with presented nakednesse out-face
The Windes, and persecutions of the skie;
The Country giues me proofe, and president
Of Bedlam beggers, who with roaring voices,
Strike in their num'd and mortified Armes.
Pins, Wodden-prickes, Nayles, Sprigs of Rosemarie:
And with this horrible obiect, from low Farmes,
Poore pelting Villages, Sheeps-Coates, and Milles,
Sometimes with Lunaticke bans, sometime with Praiers
Inforce their charitie: poore Turlygod poore Tom,
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
Enter Lear, Foole, and Gentleman.
Lea. 'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send backe my Messengers
Gent. As I learn'd,
The night before, there was no purpose in them
Of this remoue
Kent. Haile to thee Noble Master
Lear. Ha? Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
Kent. No my Lord
Foole. Hah, ha, he weares Cruell Garters Horses are
tide by the heads, Dogges and Beares by'th' necke,
Monkies by'th' loynes, and Men by'th' legs: when a man
ouerlustie at legs, then he weares wodden nether-stocks
Lear. What's he,
That hath so much thy place mistooke
To set thee heere?
Kent. It is both he and she,
Your Son, and Daughter
Lear. No I say
Kent. I say yea
Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no
Kent. By Iuno, I sweare I
Lear. They durst not do't:
They could not, would not do't: 'tis worse then murther,
To do vpon respect such violent outrage:
Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
Thou might'st deserue, or they impose this vsage,
Comming from vs
Kent. My Lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place, that shewed
My dutie kneeling, came there a reeking Poste,
Stew'd in his haste, halfe breathlesse, painting forth
From Gonerill his Mistris, salutations;
Deliuer'd Letters spight of intermission,
Which presently they read; on those contents
They summon'd vp their meiney, straight tooke Horse,
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer, gaue me cold lookes,
And meeting heere the other Messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poison'd mine,
Being the very fellow which of late
Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
Hauing more man then wit about me, drew;
He rais'd the house, with loud and coward cries,
Your Sonne and Daughter found this trespasse worth
The shame which heere it suffers
Foole. Winters not gon yet, if the wil'd Geese fly that way,
Fathers that weare rags, do make their Children blind,
But Fathers that beare bags, shall see their children kind.
Fortune that arrant whore, nere turns the key toth' poore.
But for all this thou shalt haue as many Dolors for thy
Daughters, as thou canst tell in a yeare
Lear. Oh how this Mother swels vp toward my heart!
Historica passio, downe thou climing sorrow,
Thy Elements below where is this Daughter?
Kent. With the Earle Sir, here within
Lear. Follow me not, stay here.
Gen. Made you no more offence,
But what you speake of?
How chance the King comes with so small a number?
Foole. And thou hadst beene set i'th' Stockes for that
question, thoud'st well deseru'd it
Kent. Why Foole?
Foole. Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach
thee ther's no labouring i'th' winter. All that follow their
noses, are led by their eyes, but blinde men, and there's
not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's stinking;
let go thy hold when a great wheele runs downe a
hill, least it breake thy necke with following. But the
great one that goes vpward, let him draw thee after:
when a wiseman giues thee better counsell giue me mine
againe, I would haue none but knaues follow it, since a
Foole giues it.
That Sir, which serues and seekes for gaine,
And followes but for forme;
Will packe, when it begins to raine,
And leaue thee in the storme,
But I will tarry, the Foole will stay,
And let the wiseman flie:
The knaue turnes Foole that runnes away,
The Foole no knaue perdie.
Enter Lear, and Gloster] :
Kent. Where learn'd you this Foole?
Foole. Not i'th' Stocks Foole
Lear. Deny to speake with me?
They are sicke, they are weary,
They haue trauail'd all the night? meere fetches,
The images of reuolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer
Glo. My deere Lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How vnremoueable and fixt he is
In his owne course
Lear. Vengeance, Plague, Death, Confusion:
Fiery? What quality? Why Gloster, Gloster,
I'ld speake with the Duke of Cornewall, and his wife
Glo. Well my good Lord, I haue inform'd them so
Lear. Inform'd them? Do'st thou vnderstand me man
Glo. I my good Lord
Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall,
The deere Father
Would with his Daughter speake, commands, tends, seruice,
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 our selues,
When Nature being opprest, commands the mind
To suffer with the body; Ile forbeare,
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit,
For the sound man. Death on my state: wherefore
Should he sit heere? This act perswades me,
That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practise only. Giue me my Seruant forth;
Goe tell the Duke, and's wife, Il'd speake with them:
Now, presently: bid them come forth and heare me,
Or at their Chamber doore Ile beate the Drum,
Till it crie sleepe to death
Glo. I would haue all well betwixt you.
Lear. Oh me my heart! My rising heart! But downe
Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cockney did to the
Eeles, when she put 'em i'th' Paste aliue, she knapt 'em
o'th' coxcombs with a sticke, and cryed downe wantons,
downe; 'twas her Brother, that in pure kindnesse to his
Horse buttered his Hay.
Enter Cornewall, Regan, Gloster, Seruants.
Lear. Good morrow to you both
Corn. Haile to your Grace.
Kent here set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse
Lear. Regan, I thinke you are. I know what reason
I haue to thinke so, if thou should'st not be glad,
I would diuorce me from thy Mother Tombe,
Sepulchring an Adultresse. O are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
Thy Sisters naught: oh Regan, she hath tied
Sharpe-tooth'd vnkindnesse, like a vulture heere,
I can scarce speake to thee, thou'lt not beleeue
With how deprau'd a quality. Oh Regan
Reg. I pray you Sir, take patience, I haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert,
Then she to scant her dutie
Lear. Say? How is that?
Reg. I cannot thinke my Sister in the least
Would faile her Obligation. If Sir perchance
She haue restrained the Riots of your Followres,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As cleeres her from all blame
Lear. My curses on her
Reg. O Sir, you are old,
Nature in you stands on the very Verge
Of his confine: you should be rul'd, and led
By some discretion, that discernes your state
Better then you your selfe: therefore I pray you,
That to our Sister, you do make returne,
Say you haue wrong'd her
Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse?
Do you but marke how this becomes the house?
Deere daughter, I confesse that I am old;
Age is vnnecessary: on my knees I begge,
That you'l vouchsafe me Rayment, Bed, and Food
Reg. Good Sir, no more: these are vnsightly trickes:
Returne you to my Sister
Lear. Neuer Regan:
She hath abated me of halfe my Traine;
Look'd blacke vpon me, strooke me with her Tongue
Most Serpent-like, vpon the very Heart.
All the stor'd Vengeances of Heauen, fall
On her ingratefull top: strike her yong bones
You taking Ayres, with Lamenesse
Corn. Fye sir, fie
Le. You nimble Lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornfull eyes: Infect her Beauty,
You Fen-suck'd Fogges, drawne by the powrfull Sunne,
To fall, and blister
Reg. O the blest Gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash moode is on
Lear. No Regan, thou shalt neuer haue my curse:
Thy tender-hefted Nature shall not giue
Thee o're to harshnesse: Her eyes are fierce, but thine
Do comfort, and not burne. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my Traine,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my comming in. Thou better know'st
The Offices of Nature, bond of Childhood,
Effects of Curtesie, dues of Gratitude:
Thy halfe o'th' Kingdome hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd
Reg. Good Sir, to'th' purpose.
Lear. Who put my man i'th' Stockes?
Corn. What Trumpet's that?
Reg. I know't, my Sisters: this approues her Letter,
That she would soone be heere. Is your Lady come?
Lear. This is a Slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
Dwels in the sickly grace of her he followes.
Out Varlet, from my sight
Corn. What meanes your Grace?
Lear. Who stockt my Seruant? Regan, I haue good hope
Thou did'st not know on't.
Who comes here? O Heauens!
If you do loue old men; if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if you your selues are old,
Make it your cause: Send downe, and take my part.
Art not asham'd to looke vpon this Beard?
O Regan, will you take her by the hand?
Gon. Why not by'th' hand Sir? How haue I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
And dotage termes so
Lear. O sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold?
How came my man i'th' Stockes?
Corn. I set him there, Sir: but his owne Disorders
Deseru'd much lesse aduancement
Lear. You? Did you?
Reg. I pray you Father being weake, seeme so.
If till the expiration of your Moneth
You will returne and soiourne with my Sister,
Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
I am now from home, and out of that prouision
Which shall be needfull for your entertainement
Lear. Returne to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
To wage against the enmity oth' ayre,
To be a Comrade with the Wolfe, and Owle,
Necessities sharpe pinch. Returne with her?
Why the hot-bloodied France, that dowerlesse tooke
Our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
To knee his Throne, and Squire-like pension beg,
To keepe base life a foote; returne with her?
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
To this detested groome
Gon. At your choice Sir
Lear. I prythee Daughter do not make me mad,
I will not trouble thee my Child; farewell:
Wee'l no more meete, 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 Byle,
A plague sore, or imbossed Carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But Ile not chide thee,
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it,
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoote,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-iudging Ioue,
Mend when thou can'st, 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 prouided
For your fit welcome, giue eare Sir to my Sister,
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to thinke you old, and so,
But she knowes what she doe's
Lear. Is this well spoken?
Reg. I dare auouch 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,
Speake 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many people, vnder two commands
Hold amity? 'Tis hard, almost impossible
Gon. Why might not you my Lord, receiue attendance
From those that she cals Seruants, or from mine?
Reg. Why not my Lord?
If then they chanc'd to slacke ye,
We could comptroll them; if you will come to me,
(For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
To bring but fiue and twentie, to no more
Will I giue place or notice
Lear. I gaue you all
Reg. And in good time you gaue it
Lear. Made you my Guardians, my Depositaries,
But kept a reseruation to be followed
With such a number? What, must I come to you