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The Tragedie of King Lear by William Shakespeare

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With fiue and twenty? Regan, said you so?
Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me

Lea. Those wicked Creatures yet do look wel fauor'd
When others are more wicked, not being the worst
Stands in some ranke of praise, Ile go with thee,
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
And thou art twice her Loue

Gon. Heare me my Lord;
What need you fiue and twenty? Ten? Or fiue?
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Haue a command to tend you?
Reg. What need one?
Lear. O reason not the need: our basest Beggers
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not Nature, more then Nature needs:
Mans life is cheape as Beastes. Thou art a Lady;
If onely to go warme were gorgeous,
Why Nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keepes thee warme, but for true need:
You Heauens, giue me that patience, patience I need,
You see me heere (you Gods) a poore old man,
As full of griefe as age, wretched in both,
If it be you that stirres these Daughters hearts
Against their Father, foole me not so much,
To beare it tamely: touch me with Noble anger,
And let not womens weapons, water drops,
Staine my mans cheekes. No you vnnaturall Hags,
I will haue such reuenges on you both,
That all the world shall- I will do such things,
What they are yet, I know not, but they shalbe
The terrors of the earth? you thinke Ile weepe,
No, Ile not weepe, I haue full cause of weeping.

Storme and Tempest.

But this heart shal break into a hundred thousand flawes
Or ere Ile weepe; O Foole, I shall go mad.


Corn. Let vs withdraw, 'twill be a Storme

Reg. This house is little, the old man and's people,
Cannot be well bestow'd

Gon. 'Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
And must needs taste his folly

Reg. For his particular, Ile receiue him gladly,
But not one follower

Gon. So am I purpos'd,
Where is my Lord of Gloster?
Enter Gloster.

Corn. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd

Glo. The King is in high rage

Corn. Whether is he going?
Glo. He cals to Horse, but will I know not whether

Corn. 'Tis best to giue him way, he leads himselfe

Gon. My Lord, entreate him by no meanes to stay

Glo. Alacke the night comes on, and the high windes
Do sorely ruffle, for many Miles about
There's scarce a Bush

Reg. O Sir, to wilfull men,
The iniuries that they themselues procure,
Must be their Schoole-Masters: shut vp your doores,
He is attended with a desperate traine,
And what they may incense him too, being apt,
To haue his eare abus'd, wisedome bids feare

Cor. Shut vp your doores my Lord, 'tis a wil'd night,
My Regan counsels well: come out oth' storme.


Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.

Storme still. Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, seuerally.

Kent. Who's there besides foule weather?
Gen. One minded like the weather, most vnquietly

Kent. I know you: Where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull Elements;
Bids the winde blow the Earth into the Sea,
Or swell the curled Waters 'boue the Maine,
That things might change, or cease

Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the Foole, who labours to out-iest
His heart-strooke iniuries

Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare vpon the warrant of my note
Commend a deere thing to you. There is diuision
(Although as yet the face of it is couer'd
With mutuall cunning) 'twixt Albany, and Cornwall:
Who haue, as who haue not, that their great Starres
Thron'd and set high; Seruants, who seeme no lesse,
Which are to France the Spies and Speculations
Intelligent of our State. What hath bin seene,
Either in snuffes, and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard Reine which both of them hath borne
Against the old kinde King; or something deeper,
Whereof (perchance) these are but furnishings

Gent. I will talke further with you

Kent. No, do not:
For confirmation that I am much more
Then my out-wall; open this Purse, and take
What it containes. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As feare not but you shall) shew her this Ring,
And she will tell you who that Fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fye on this Storme,
I will go seeke the King

Gent. Giue me your hand,
Haue you no more to say?
Kent. Few words, but to effect more then all yet;
That when we haue found the King, in which your pain
That way, Ile this: He that first lights on him,
Holla the other.


Scena Secunda.

Storme still. Enter Lear, and Foole.

Lear. Blow windes, & crack your cheeks; Rage, blow
You Cataracts, and Hyrricano's spout,
Till you haue drench'd our Steeples, drown the Cockes.
You Sulph'rous and Thought-executing Fires,
Vaunt-curriors of Oake-cleauing Thunder-bolts,
Sindge my white head. And thou all-shaking Thunder,
Strike flat the thicke Rotundity o'th' world,
Cracke Natures moulds, all germaines spill at once
That makes ingratefull Man

Foole. O Nunkle, Court holy-water in a dry house, is
better then this Rain-water out o' doore. Good Nunkle,
in, aske thy Daughters blessing, heere's a night pitties
neither Wisemen, nor Fooles

Lear. Rumble thy belly full: spit Fire, spowt Raine:
Nor Raine, Winde, Thunder, Fire are my Daughters;
I taxe not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse.
I neuer gaue you Kingdome, call'd you Children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Heere I stand your Slaue,
A poore, infirme, weake, and dispis'd old man:
But yet I call you Seruile Ministers,
That will with two pernicious Daughters ioyne
Your high-engender'd Battailes, 'gainst a head
So old, and white as this. O, ho! 'tis foule

Foole. He that has a house to put's head in, has a good
The Codpiece that will house, before the head has any;
The Head, and he shall Lowse: so Beggers marry many.
The man y makes his Toe, what he his Hart shold make,
Shall of a Corne cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake.
For there was neuer yet faire woman, but shee made
mouthes in a glasse.
Enter Kent

Lear. No, I will be the patterne of all patience,
I will say nothing

Kent. Who's there?
Foole. Marry here's Grace, and a Codpiece, that's a
Wiseman, and a Foole

Kent. Alas Sir are you here? Things that loue night,
Loue not such nights as these: The wrathfull Skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the darke
And make them keepe their Caues: Since I was man,
Such sheets of Fire, such bursts of horrid Thunder,
Such groanes of roaring Winde, and Raine, I neuer
Remember to haue heard. Mans Nature cannot carry
Th' affliction, nor the feare

Lear. Let the great Goddes
That keepe this dreadfull pudder o're our heads,
Finde out their enemies now. Tremble thou Wretch,
That hast within thee vndivulged Crimes
Vnwhipt of Iustice. Hide thee, thou Bloudy hand;
Thou Periur'd, and thou Simular of Vertue
That art Incestuous. Caytiffe, to peeces shake
That vnder couert, and conuenient seeming
Ha's practis'd on mans life. Close pent-vp guilts,
Riue your concealing Continents, and cry
These dreadfull Summoners grace. I am a man,
More sinn'd against, then sinning

Kent. Alacke, bare-headed?
Gracious my Lord, hard by heere is a Houell,
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the Tempest:
Repose you there, while I to this hard house,
(More harder then the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which euen but now, demanding after you,
Deny'd me to come in) returne, and force
Their scanted curtesie

Lear. My wits begin to turne.
Come on my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold my selfe. Where is this straw, my Fellow?
The Art of our Necessities is strange,
And can make vilde things precious. Come, your Houel;
Poore Foole, and Knaue, I haue one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee

Foole. He that has and a little-tyne wit,
With heigh-ho, the Winde and the Raine,
Must make content with his Fortunes fit,
Though the Raine it raineth euery day

Le. True Boy: Come bring vs to this Houell.

Foole. This is a braue night to coole a Curtizan:
Ile speake a Prophesie ere I go:
When Priests are more in word, then matter;
When Brewers marre their Malt with water;
When Nobles are their Taylors Tutors,
No Heretiques burn'd, but wenches Sutors;
When euery Case in Law, is right;
No Squire in debt, nor no poore Knight;
When Slanders do not liue in Tongues;
Nor Cut-purses come not to throngs;
When Vsurers tell their Gold i'th' Field,
And Baudes, and whores, do Churches build,
Then shal the Realme of Albion, come to great confusion:
Then comes the time, who liues to see't,
That going shalbe vs'd with feet.
This prophecie Merlin shall make, for I liue before his time.

Scaena Tertia.

Enter Gloster, and Edmund.

Glo. Alacke, alacke Edmund, I like not this vnnaturall
dealing; when I desired their leaue that I might pity him,
they tooke from me the vse of mine owne house, charg'd
me on paine of perpetuall displeasure, neither to speake
of him, entreat for him, or any way sustaine him

Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall

Glo. Go too; say you nothing. There is diuision betweene
the Dukes, and a worsse matter then that: I haue
receiued a Letter this night, 'tis dangerous to be spoken,
I haue lock'd the Letter in my Closset, these iniuries the
King now beares, will be reuenged home; ther is part of
a Power already footed, we must incline to the King, I
will looke him, and priuily relieue him; goe you and
maintaine talke with the Duke, that my charity be not of
him perceiued; If he aske for me, I am ill, and gone to
bed, if I die for it, (as no lesse is threatned me) the King
my old Master must be relieued. There is strange things
toward Edmund, pray you be carefull.

Bast. This Curtesie forbid thee, shall the Duke
Instantly know, and of that Letter too;
This seemes a faire deseruing, and must draw me
That which my Father looses: no lesse then all,
The yonger rises, when the old doth fall.

Scena Quarta.

Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.

Kent. Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter,
The tirrany of the open night's too rough
For Nature to endure.

Storme still

Lear. Let me alone

Kent. Good my Lord enter heere

Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
Kent. I had rather breake mine owne,
Good my Lord enter

Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storme
Inuades vs to the skin so: 'tis to thee,
But where the greater malady is fixt,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a Beare,
But if thy flight lay toward the roaring sea,
Thou'dst meete the Beare i'th' mouth, when the mind's free,
The bodies delicate: the tempest in my mind,
Doth from my sences take all feeling else,
Saue what beates there, Filliall ingratitude,
Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food too't? But I will punish home;
No, I will weepe no more; in such a night,
To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure:
In such a night as this? O Regan, Gonerill,
Your old kind Father, whose franke heart gaue all,
O that way madnesse lies, let me shun that:
No more of that

Kent. Good my Lord enter here

Lear. Prythee go in thy selfe, seeke thine owne ease,
This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me more, but Ile goe in,
In Boy, go first. You houselesse pouertie,

Nay get thee in; Ile pray, and then Ile sleepe.
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
That bide the pelting of this pittilesse storme,
How shall your House-lesse heads, and vnfed sides,
Your lop'd, and window'd raggednesse defend you
From seasons such as these? O I haue tane
Too little care of this: Take Physicke, Pompe,
Expose thy selfe to feele what wretches feele,
That thou maist shake the superflux to them,
And shew the Heauens more iust.
Enter Edgar, and Foole.

Edg. Fathom, and halfe, Fathom and halfe; poore Tom

Foole. Come not in heere Nuncle, here's a spirit, helpe
me, helpe me

Kent. Giue my thy hand, who's there?
Foole. A spirite, a spirite, he sayes his name's poore

Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i'th'
straw? Come forth

Edg. Away, the foule Fiend followes me, through the
sharpe Hauthorne blow the windes. Humh, goe to thy
bed and warme thee

Lear. Did'st thou giue all to thy Daughters? And art
thou come to this?
Edgar. Who giues any thing to poore Tom? Whom
the foule fiend hath led through Fire, and through Flame,
through Sword, and Whirle-Poole, o're Bog, and Quagmire,
that hath laid Kniues vnder his Pillow, and Halters
in his Pue, set Rats-bane by his Porredge, made him
Proud of heart, to ride on a Bay trotting Horse, ouer foure
incht Bridges, to course his owne shadow for a Traitor.
Blisse thy fiue Wits, Toms a cold. O do, de, do, de, do, de,
blisse thee from Whirle-Windes, Starre-blasting, and taking,
do poore Tom some charitie, whom the foule Fiend
vexes. There could I haue him now, and there, and there
againe, and there.

Storme still.

Lear. Ha's his Daughters brought him to this passe?
Could'st thou saue nothing? Would'st thou giue 'em all?
Foole. Nay, he reseru'd a Blanket, else we had bin all

Lea. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
Hang fated o're mens faults, light on thy Daughters

Kent. He hath no Daughters Sir

Lear. Death Traitor, nothing could haue subdu'd Nature
To such a lownesse, but his vnkind Daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded Fathers,
Should haue thus little mercy on their flesh:
Iudicious punishment, 'twas this flesh begot
Those Pelicane Daughters

Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock hill, alow: alow, loo, loo

Foole. This cold night will turne vs all to Fooles, and

Edgar. Take heed o'th' foule Fiend, obey thy Parents,
keepe thy words Iustice, sweare not, commit not,
with mans sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on
proud array. Tom's a cold

Lear. What hast thou bin?
Edg. A Seruingman? Proud in heart, and minde; that
curl'd my haire, wore Gloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust
of my Mistris heart, and did the acte of darkenesse with
her. Swore as many Oathes, as I spake words, & broke
them in the sweet face of Heauen. One, that slept in the
contriuing of Lust, and wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I
deerely, Dice deerely; and in Woman, out-Paramour'd
the Turke. False of heart, light of eare, bloody of hand;
Hog in sloth, Foxe in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog
in madnes, Lyon in prey. Let not the creaking of shooes,
Nor the rustling of Silkes, betray thy poore heart to woman.
Keepe thy foote out of Brothels, thy hand out of
Plackets, thy pen from Lenders Bookes, and defye the
foule Fiend. Still through the Hauthorne blowes the
cold winde: Sayes suum, mun, nonny, Dolphin my Boy,
Boy Sesey: let him trot by.

Storme still.

Lear. Thou wert better in a Graue, then to answere
with thy vncouer'd body, this extremitie of the Skies. Is
man no more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st
the Worme no Silke; the Beast, no Hide; the Sheepe, no
Wooll; the Cat, no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are
sophisticated. Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommodated
man, is no more but such a poore, bare, forked Animall
as thou art. Off, off you Lendings: Come, vnbutton
Enter Gloucester, with a Torch.

Foole. Prythee Nunckle be contented, 'tis a naughtie
night to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field,
were like an old Letchers heart, a small spark, all the rest
on's body, cold: Looke, heere comes a walking fire

Edg. This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins at
Curfew, and walkes at first Cocke: Hee giues the Web
and the Pin, squints the eye, and makes the Hare-lippe;
Mildewes the white Wheate, and hurts the poore Creature
of earth.
Swithold footed thrice the old,
He met the Night-Mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her a-light, and her troth-plight,
And aroynt thee Witch, aroynt thee

Kent. How fares your Grace?
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seeke?
Glou. What are you there? Your Names?
Edg. Poore Tom, that eates the swimming Frog, the
Toad, the Tod-pole, the wall-Neut, and the water: that
in the furie of his heart, when the foule Fiend rages, eats
Cow-dung for Sallets; swallowes the old Rat, and the
ditch-Dogge; drinkes the green Mantle of the standing
Poole: who is whipt from Tything to Tything, and
stockt, punish'd, and imprison'd: who hath three Suites
to his backe, sixe shirts to his body:
Horse to ride, and weapon to weare:
But Mice, and Rats, and such small Deare,
Haue bin Toms food, for seuen long yeare:
Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkin, peace thou Fiend

Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo
he's call'd, and Mahu

Glou. Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is growne so
vilde, that it doth hate what gets it

Edg. Poore Tom's a cold

Glou. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
T' obey in all your daughters hard commands:
Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores,
And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you,
Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out,
And bring you where both fire, and food is ready

Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher,
What is the cause of Thunder?
Kent. Good my Lord take his offer,
Go into th' house

Lear. Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
What is your study?
Edg. How to preuent the Fiend, and to kill Vermine

Lear. Let me aske you one word in priuate

Kent. Importune him once more to go my Lord,
His wits begin t' vnsettle

Glou. Canst thou blame him?

Storm still

His Daughters seeke his death: Ah, that good Kent,
He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
Thou sayest the King growes mad, Ile tell thee Friend
I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne,
Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
No Father his Sonne deerer: true to tell thee,
The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
I do beseech your grace

Lear. O cry you mercy, Sir:
Noble Philosopher, your company

Edg. Tom's a cold

Glou. In fellow there, into th' Houel; keep thee warm

Lear. Come, let's in all

Kent. This way, my Lord

Lear. With him;
I will keepe still with my Philosopher

Kent. Good my Lord, sooth him:
Let him take the Fellow

Glou. Take him you on

Kent. Sirra, come on: go along with vs

Lear. Come, good Athenian

Glou. No words, no words, hush

Edg. Childe Rowland to the darke Tower came,
His word was still, fie, foh, and fumme,
I smell the blood of a Brittish man.


Scena Quinta.

Enter Cornwall, and Edmund.

Corn. I will haue my reuenge, ere I depart his house

Bast. How my Lord, I may be censured, that Nature
thus giues way to Loyaltie, something feares mee to
thinke of

Cornw. I now perceiue, it was not altogether your
Brothers euill disposition made him seeke his death: but
a prouoking merit set a-worke by a reprouable badnesse
in himselfe

Bast. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent
to be iust? This is the Letter which hee spoake of;
which approues him an intelligent partie to the aduantages
of France. O Heauens! that this Treason were not;
or not I the detector

Corn. Go with me to the Dutchesse

Bast. If the matter of this Paper be certain, you haue
mighty businesse in hand

Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earle of Gloucester:
seeke out where thy Father is, that hee may bee
ready for our apprehension

Bast. If I finde him comforting the King, it will stuffe
his suspition more fully. I will perseuer in my course of
Loyalty, though the conflict be sore betweene that, and
my blood

Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee: and thou shalt finde
a deere Father in my loue.


Scena Sexta.

Enter Kent, and Gloucester.

Glou. Heere is better then the open ayre, take it thankfully:
I will peece out the comfort with what addition I
can: I will not be long from you.


Kent. All the powre of his wits, haue giuen way to his
impatience: the Gods reward your kindnesse.
Enter Lear, Edgar, and Foole.

Edg. Fraterretto cals me, and tells me Nero is an Angler
in the Lake of Darknesse: pray Innocent, and beware
the foule Fiend

Foole. Prythee Nunkle tell me, whether a madman be
a Gentleman, or a Yeoman

Lear. A King, a King

Foole. No, he's a Yeoman, that ha's a Gentleman to
his Sonne: for hee's a mad Yeoman that sees his Sonne a
Gentleman before him

Lear. To haue a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in vpon 'em

Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits

Kent. O pitty: Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine?
Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much,
They marre my counterfetting

Lear. The little dogges, and all;
Trey, Blanch, and Sweet-heart: see, they barke at me

Edg. Tom, will throw his head at them: Auaunt you
Curres, be thy mouth or blacke or white:
Tooth that poysons if it bite:
Mastiffe, Grey-hound, Mongrill, Grim,
Hound or Spaniell, Brache, or Hym:
Or Bobtaile tight, or Troudle taile,
Tom will make him weepe and waile,
For with throwing thus my head;
Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.
Do, de, de, de: sese: Come, march to Wakes and Fayres,
And Market Townes: poore Tom thy horne is dry,
Lear. Then let them Anatomize Regan: See what
breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in Nature that
make these hard-hearts. You sir, I entertaine for one of
my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your garments.
You will say they are Persian; but let them bee
Enter Gloster.

Kent. Now good my Lord, lye heere, and rest awhile

Lear. Make no noise, make no noise, draw the Curtaines:
so, so, wee'l go to Supper i'th' morning

Foole. And Ile go to bed at noone

Glou. Come hither Friend:
Where is the King my Master?
Kent. Here Sir, but trouble him not, his wits are gon

Glou. Good friend, I prythee take him in thy armes;
I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him:
There is a Litter ready, lay him in't,
And driue toward Douer friend, where thou shalt meete
Both welcome, and protection. Take vp thy Master,
If thou should'st dally halfe an houre, his life
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured losse. Take vp, take vp,
And follow me, that will to some prouision
Giue thee quicke conduct. Come, come, away.


Scena Septima.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Bastard, and Seruants.

Corn. Poste speedily to my Lord your husband, shew
him this Letter, the Army of France is landed: seeke out
the Traitor Glouster

Reg. Hang him instantly

Gon. Plucke out his eyes

Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure. Edmond, keepe
you our Sister company: the reuenges wee are bound to
take vppon your Traitorous Father, are not fit for your
beholding. Aduice the Duke where you are going, to a
most festinate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our
Postes shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt vs. Farewell
deere Sister, farewell my Lord of Glouster.
Enter Steward.

How now? Where's the King?
Stew. My Lord of Glouster hath conuey'd him hence
Some fiue or six and thirty of his Knights
Hot Questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who, with some other of the Lords, dependants,
Are gone with him toward Douer; where they boast
To haue well armed Friends

Corn. Get horses for your Mistris

Gon. Farewell sweet Lord, and Sister.


Corn. Edmund farewell: go seek the Traitor Gloster,
Pinnion him like a Theefe, bring him before vs:
Though well we may not passe vpon his life
Without the forme of Iustice: yet our power
Shall do a curt'sie to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not comptroll.
Enter Gloucester, and Seruants.

Who's there? the Traitor?
Reg. Ingratefull Fox, 'tis he

Corn. Binde fast his corky armes

Glou. What meanes your Graces?
Good my Friends consider you are my Ghests:
Do me no foule play, Friends

Corn. Binde him I say

Reg. Hard, hard: O filthy Traitor

Glou. Vnmercifull Lady, as you are, I'me none

Corn. To this Chaire binde him,
Villaine, thou shalt finde

Glou. By the kinde Gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To plucke me by the Beard

Reg. So white, and such a Traitor?
Glou. Naughty Ladie,
These haires which thou dost rauish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your Host,
With Robbers hands, my hospitable fauours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Corn. Come Sir.
What Letters had you late from France?
Reg. Be simple answer'd, for we know the truth

Corn. And what confederacie haue you with the Traitors,
late footed in the Kingdome?
Reg. To whose hands
You haue sent the Lunaticke King: Speake

Glou. I haue a Letter guessingly set downe
Which came from one that's of a newtrall heart,
And not from one oppos'd

Corn. Cunning

Reg. And false

Corn. Where hast thou sent the King?
Glou. To Douer

Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Was't thou not charg'd at perill

Corn. Wherefore to Douer? Let him answer that

Glou. I am tyed to'th' Stake,
And I must stand the Course

Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Glou. Because I would not see thy cruell Nailes
Plucke out his poore old eyes: nor thy fierce Sister,
In his Annointed flesh, sticke boarish phangs.
The Sea, with such a storme as his bare head,
In Hell-blacke-night indur'd, would haue buoy'd vp
And quench'd the Stelled fires:
Yet poore old heart, he holpe the Heauens to raine.
If Wolues had at thy Gate howl'd that sterne time,
Thou should'st haue said, good Porter turne the Key:
All Cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
The winged Vengeance ouertake such Children

Corn. See't shalt thou neuer. Fellowes hold y Chaire,
Vpon these eyes of thine, Ile set my foote

Glou. He that will thinke to liue, till he be old,
Giue me some helpe. - O cruell! O you Gods

Reg. One side will mocke another: Th' other too

Corn. If you see vengeance

Seru. Hold your hand, my Lord:
I haue seru'd you euer since I was a Childe:
But better seruice haue I neuer done you,
Then now to bid you hold

Reg. How now, you dogge?
Ser. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin,
I'ld shake it on this quarrell. What do you meane?
Corn. My Villaine?
Seru. Nay then come on, and take the chance of anger

Reg. Giue me thy Sword. A pezant stand vp thus?

Killes him.

Ser. Oh I am slaine: my Lord, you haue one eye left
To see some mischefe on him. Oh

Corn. Lest it see more, preuent it; Out vilde gelly:
Where is thy luster now?
Glou. All darke and comfortlesse?
Where's my Sonne Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparkes of Nature
To quit this horrid acte

Reg. Out treacherous Villaine,
Thou call'st on him, that hates thee. It was he
That made the ouerture of thy Treasons to vs:
Who is too good to pitty thee

Glou. O my Follies! then Edgar was abus'd,
Kinde Gods, forgiue me that, and prosper him

Reg. Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Douer.
Exit with Glouster.

How is't my Lord? How looke you?
Corn. I haue receiu'd a hurt: Follow me Lady;
Turne out that eyelesse Villaine: throw this Slaue
Vpon the Dunghill: Regan, I bleed apace,
Vntimely comes this hurt. Giue me your arme.


Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.

Enter Edgar.

Edg. Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemn'd,
Then still contemn'd and flatter'd, to be worst:
The lowest, and most deiected thing of Fortune,
Stands still in esperance, liues not in feare:
The lamentable change is from the best,
The worst returnes to laughter. Welcome then,
Thou vnsubstantiall ayre that I embrace:
The Wretch that thou hast blowne vnto the worst,
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Enter Glouster, and an Oldman.

But who comes heere? My Father poorely led?
World, World, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
Life would not yeelde to age

Oldm. O my good Lord, I haue bene your Tenant,
And your Fathers Tenant, these fourescore yeares

Glou. Away, get thee away: good Friend be gone,
Thy comforts can do me no good at all,
Thee, they may hurt

Oldm. You cannot see your way

Glou. I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes:
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seene,
Our meanes secure vs, and our meere defects
Proue our Commodities. Oh deere Sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused Fathers wrath:
Might I but liue to see thee in my touch,
I'ld say I had eyes againe

Oldm. How now? who's there?
Edg. O Gods! Who is't can say I am at the worst?
I am worse then ere I was

Old. 'Tis poore mad Tom

Edg. And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,
So long as we can say this is the worst

Oldm. Fellow, where goest?
Glou. Is it a Beggar-man?
Oldm. Madman, and beggar too

Glou. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I'th' last nights storme, I such a fellow saw;
Which made me thinke a Man, a Worme. My Sonne
Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
Was then scarse Friends with him.
I haue heard more since:
As Flies to wanton Boyes, are we to th' Gods,
They kill vs for their sport

Edg. How should this be?
Bad is the Trade that must play Foole to sorrow,
Ang'ring it selfe, and others. Blesse thee Master

Glou. Is that the naked Fellow?
Oldm. I, my Lord

Glou. Get thee away: If for my sake
Thou wilt ore-take vs hence a mile or twaine
I'th' way toward Douer, do it for ancient loue,
And bring some couering for this naked Soule,
Which Ile intreate to leade me

Old. Alacke sir, he is mad

Glou. 'Tis the times plague,
When Madmen leade the blinde:
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure:
Aboue the rest, be gone

Oldm. Ile bring him the best Parrell that I haue
Come on't what will.


Glou. Sirrah, naked fellow

Edg. Poore Tom's a cold. I cannot daub it further

Glou. Come hither fellow

Edg. And yet I must:
Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleede

Glou. Know'st thou the way to Douer?
Edg. Both style, and gate; Horseway, and foot-path:
poore Tom hath bin scarr'd out of his good wits. Blesse
thee good mans sonne, from the foule Fiend

Glou. Here take this purse, y whom the heau'ns plagues
Haue humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: Heauens deale so still:
Let the superfluous, and Lust-dieted man,
That slaues your ordinance, that will not see
Because he do's not feele, feele your powre quickly:
So distribution should vndoo excesse,
And each man haue enough. Dost thou know Douer?
Edg. I Master

Glou. There is a Cliffe, whose high and bending head
Lookes fearfully in the confined Deepe:
Bring me but to the very brimme of it,
And Ile repayre the misery thou do'st beare
With something rich about me: from that place,
I shall no leading neede

Edg. Giue me thy arme;
Poore Tom shall leade thee.


Scena Secunda.

Enter Gonerill, Bastard, and Steward.

Gon. Welcome my Lord. I meruell our mild husband
Not met vs on the way. Now, where's your Master?
Stew. Madam within, but neuer man so chang'd:
I told him of the Army that was Landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
His answer was, the worse. Of Glosters Treachery,
And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
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, seemes pleasant to him;
What like, offensiue

Gon. Then shall you go no further.
It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother,
Hasten his Musters, and conduct his powres.
I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech,
Decline your head. This kisse, if it durst speake
Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
Conceiue, and fare thee well

Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.

Gon. My most deere Gloster.
Oh, the difference of man, and man,
To thee a Womans seruices are due,
My Foole vsurpes my body

Stew. Madam, here come's my Lord.
Enter Albany.

Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle

Alb. Oh Gonerill,
You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
Blowes in your face

Gon. Milke-Liuer'd man,
That bear'st a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
Thine Honor, from thy suffering

Alb. See thy selfe diuell:
Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
So horrid as in woman

Gon. Oh vaine Foole.
Enter a Messenger.

Mes. Oh my good Lord, the Duke of Cornwals dead,
Slaine by his Seruant, going to put out
The other eye of Glouster

Alb. Glousters eyes

Mes. A Seruant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
To his great Master, who, threat-enrag'd
Flew on him, and among'st them fell'd him dead,
But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
Hath pluckt him after

Alb. This shewes you are aboue
You Iustices, that these our neather crimes
So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
Lost he his other eye?
Mes. Both, both, my Lord.
This Leter Madam, craues a speedy answer:
'Tis from your Sister

Gon. One way I like this well.
But being widdow, and my Glouster with her,
May all the building in my fancie plucke
Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
The Newes is not so tart. Ile read, and answer

Alb. Where was his Sonne,
When they did take his eyes?
Mes. Come with my Lady hither

Alb. He is not heere

Mes. No my good Lord, I met him backe againe

Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse?
Mes. I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might haue the freer course

Alb. Glouster, I liue
To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King,
And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend,
Tell me what more thou know'st.


Scena Tertia.

Enter with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Gentlemen, and

Cor. Alacke, 'tis he: why he was met euen now
As mad as the vext Sea, singing alowd.
Crown'd with ranke Fenitar, and furrow weeds,
With Hardokes, Hemlocke, Nettles, Cuckoo flowres,
Darnell, and all the idle weedes that grow
In our sustaining Corne. A Centery send forth;
Search euery Acre in the high-growne field,
And bring him to our eye. What can mans wisedome
In the restoring his bereaued Sense; he that helpes him,
Take all my outward worth

Gent. There is meanes Madam:
Our foster Nurse of Nature, is repose,
The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
Are many Simples operatiue, whose power
Will close the eye of Anguish

Cord. All blest Secrets,
All you vnpublish'd Vertues of the earth
Spring with my teares; be aydant, and remediate
In the Goodmans desires: seeke, seeke for him,
Least his vngouern'd rage, dissolue the life
That wants the meanes to leade it.
Enter Messenger.

Mes. Newes Madam,
The Brittish Powres are marching hitherward

Cor. 'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O deere Father,
It is thy businesse that I go about: Therfore great France
My mourning, and importun'd teares hath pittied:
No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite,
But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd Fathers Rite:
Soone may I heare, and see him.


Scena Quarta.

Enter Regan, and Steward.

Reg. But are my Brothers Powres set forth?
Stew. I Madam

Reg. Himselfe in person there?
Stew. Madam with much ado:
Your Sister is the better Souldier

Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?
Stew. No Madam

Reg. What might import my Sisters Letter to him?
Stew. I know not, Lady

Reg. Faith he is poasted hence on serious matter:
It was great ignorance, Glousters eyes being out
To let him liue. Where he arriues, he moues
All hearts against vs: Edmund, I thinke is gone
In pitty of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
The strength o'th' Enemy

Stew. I must needs after him, Madam, with my Letter

Reg. Our troopes set forth to morrow, stay with vs:
The wayes are dangerous

Stew. I may not Madam:
My Lady charg'd my dutie in this busines

Reg. Why should she write to Edmund?
Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Some things, I know not what. Ile loue thee much
Let me vnseale the Letter

Stew. Madam, I had rather-
Reg. I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband,
I am sure of that: and at her late being heere,
She gaue strange Eliads, and most speaking lookes
To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome

Stew. I, Madam?
Reg. I speake in vnderstanding: Y'are: I know't,
Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
My Lord is dead: Edmond, and I haue talk'd,
And more conuenient is he for my hand
Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
If you do finde him, pray you giue him this;
And when your Mistris heares thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisedome to her.
So fare you well:
If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor,
Preferment fals on him, that cuts him off

Stew. Would I could meet Madam, I should shew
What party I do follow

Reg. Fare thee well.


Scena Quinta.

Enter Gloucester, and Edgar.

Glou. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor

Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen

Edg. Horrible steepe.
Hearke, do you heare the Sea?
Glou. No truly

Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
By your eyes anguish

Glou. So may it be indeed.
Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase, and matter then thou did'st

Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
But in my Garments

Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken

Edg. Come on Sir,
Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
And dizie 'tis, to cast ones eyes so low,
The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
Shew scarse so grosse as Beetles. Halfe way downe
Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
The Fishermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
Diminish'd to her Cocke: her Cocke, a Buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
That on th' vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong

Glou. Set me where you stand

Edg. Giue me your hand:
You are now within a foote of th' extreme Verge:
For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright

Glou. Let go my hand:
Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going

Edg. Now fare ye well, good Sir

Glou. With all my heart

Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
Is done to cure it

Glou. O you mighty Gods!
This world I do renounce, and in your sights
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could beare it longer, and not fall
To quarrell with your great opposelesse willes,
My snuffe, and loathed part of Nature should

Burne it selfe out. If Edgar liue, O blesse him:
Now Fellow, fare thee well

Edg. Gone Sir, farewell:
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The Treasury of life, when life it selfe
Yeelds to the Theft. Had he bin where he thought,
By this had thought bin past. Aliue, or dead?
Hoa, you Sir: Friend, heare you Sir, speake:
Thus might he passe indeed: yet he reuiues.
What are you Sir?
Glou. Away, and let me dye

Edg. Had'st thou beene ought
But Gozemore, Feathers, Ayre,
(So many fathome downe precipitating)
Thou'dst shiuer'd like an Egge: but thou do'st breath:
Hast heauy substance, bleed'st not, speak'st, art sound,
Ten Masts at each, make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell,
Thy life's a Myracle. Speake yet againe

Glou. But haue I falne, or no?
Edg. From the dread Somnet of this Chalkie Bourne
Looke vp a height, the shrill-gorg'd Larke so farre
Cannot be seene, or heard: Do but looke vp

Glou. Alacke, I haue no eyes:
Is wretchednesse depriu'd that benefit
To end it selfe by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the Tyrants rage,
And frustrate his proud will

Edg. Giue me your arme.
Vp, so: How is't? Feele you your Legges? You stand

Glou. Too well, too well

Edg. This is aboue all strangenesse,
Vpon the crowne o'th' Cliffe. What thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glou. A poore vnfortunate Beggar

Edg. As I stood heere below, me thought his eyes
Were two full Moones: he had a thousand Noses,
Hornes wealk'd, and waued like the enraged Sea:
It was some Fiend: Therefore thou happy Father,
Thinke that the cleerest Gods, who make them Honors
Of mens Impossibilities, haue preserued thee

Glou. I do remember now: henceforth Ile beare
Affliction, till it do cry out it selfe
Enough, enough, and dye. That thing you speake of,
I tooke it for a man: often 'twould say
The Fiend, the Fiend, he led me to that place

Edgar. Beare free and patient thoughts.
Enter Lear.

But who comes heere?
The safer sense will ne're accommodate
His Master thus

Lear. No, they cannot touch me for crying. I am the
King himselfe

Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's aboue Art, in that respect. Ther's your
Presse-money. That fellow handles his bow, like a Crowkeeper:
draw mee a Cloathiers yard. Looke, looke, a
Mouse: peace, peace, this peece of toasted Cheese will
doo't. There's my Gauntlet, Ile proue it on a Gyant.
Bring vp the browne Billes. O well flowne Bird: i'th'
clout, i'th' clout: Hewgh. Giue the word

Edg. Sweet Mariorum

Lear. Passe

Glou. I know that voice

Lear. Ha! Gonerill with a white beard? They flatter'd
me like a Dogge, and told mee I had the white hayres in
my Beard, ere the blacke ones were there. To say I, and
no, to euery thing that I said: I, and no too, was no good
Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me once, and the
winde to make me chatter: when the Thunder would not
peace at my bidding, there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em
out. Go too, they are not men o'their words; they told
me, I was euery thing: 'Tis a Lye, I am not Agu-proofe

Glou. The tricke of that voyce, I do well remember:
Is't not the King?
Lear. I, euery inch a King.
When I do stare, see how the Subiect quakes.
I pardon that mans life. What was thy cause?
Adultery? thou shalt not dye: dye for Adultery?
No, the Wren goes too't, and the small gilded Fly
Do's letcher in my sight. Let Copulation thriue:
For Glousters bastard Son was kinder to his Father,
Then my Daughters got 'tweene the lawfull sheets.
Too't Luxury pell-mell, for I lacke Souldiers.
Behold yond simpring Dame, whose face betweene her
Forkes presages Snow; that minces Vertue, & do's shake
the head to heare of pleasures name. The Fitchew, nor
the soyled Horse goes too't with a more riotous appetite:
Downe from the waste they are Centaures, though
Women all aboue: but to the Girdle do the Gods inherit,
beneath is all the Fiends. There's hell, there's darkenes,
there is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench,
consumption: Fye, fie, fie; pah, pah: Giue me an Ounce
of Ciuet; good Apothecary sweeten my immagination:
There's money for thee

Glou. O let me kisse that hand

Lear. Let me wipe it first,
It smelles of Mortality

Glou. O ruin'd peece of Nature, this great world
Shall so weare out to naught.
Do'st thou know me?
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough: dost thou
squiny at me? No, doe thy worst blinde Cupid, Ile not
loue. Reade thou this challenge, marke but the penning
of it

Glou. Were all thy Letters Sunnes, I could not see

Edg. I would not take this from report,
It is, and my heart breakes at it

Lear. Read

Glou. What with the Case of eyes?
Lear. Oh ho, are you there with me? No eies in your
head, nor no mony in your purse? Your eyes are in a heauy
case, your purse in a light, yet you see how this world

Glou. I see it feelingly

Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how this world
goes, with no eyes. Looke with thine eares: See how
yond Iustice railes vpon yond simple theefe. Hearke in
thine eare: Change places, and handy-dandy, which is
the Iustice, which is the theefe: Thou hast seene a Farmers
dogge barke at a Beggar?
Glou. I Sir

Lear. And the Creature run from the Cur: there thou
might'st behold the great image of Authoritie, a Dogg's
obey'd in Office. Thou, Rascall Beadle, hold thy bloody
hand: why dost thou lash that Whore? Strip thy owne
backe, thou hotly lusts to vse her in that kind, for which
thou whip'st her. The Vsurer hangs the Cozener. Thorough
tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare: Robes,
and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Gold, and
the strong Lance of Iustice, hurtlesse breakes: Arme it in
ragges, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it. None do's offend,
none, I say none, Ile able 'em; take that of me my Friend,
who haue the power to seale th' accusers lips. Get thee
glasse-eyes, and like a scuruy Politician, seeme to see the
things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now. Pull off my
Bootes: harder, harder, so

Edg. O matter, and impertinency mixt,
Reason in Madnesse

Lear. If thou wilt weepe my Fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough, thy name is Glouster:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the Ayre
We wawle, and cry. I will preach to thee: Marke

Glou. Alacke, alacke the day

Lear. When we are borne, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe,
And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
Enter a Gentleman.

Gent. Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon him, Sir.
Your most deere Daughter-
Lear. No rescue? What, a Prisoner? I am euen
The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well,
You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons,
I am cut to'th' Braines

Gent. You shall haue any thing

Lear. No Seconds? All my selfe?
Why, this would make a man, a man of Salt
To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots. I wil die brauely,
Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
Come, come, I am a King, Masters, know you that?
Gent. You are a Royall one, and we obey you

Lear. Then there's life in't. Come, and you get it,
You shall get it by running: Sa, sa, sa, sa.

Gent. A sight most pittifull in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a King. Thou hast a Daughter
Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
Which twaine haue brought her to

Edg. Haile gentle Sir

Gent. Sir, speed you: what's your will?
Edg. Do you heare ought (Sir) of a Battell toward

Gent. Most sure, and vulgar:
Euery one heares that, which can distinguish sound

Edg. But by your fauour:
How neere's the other Army?
Gent. Neere, and on speedy foot: the maine descry
Stands on the hourely thought

Edg. I thanke you Sir, that's all

Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here
Her Army is mou'd on.

Edg. I thanke you Sir

Glou. You euer gentle Gods, take my breath from me,
Let not my worser Spirit tempt me againe
To dye before you please

Edg. Well pray you Father

Glou. Now good sir, what are you?
Edg. A most poore man, made tame to Fortunes blows
Who, by the Art of knowne, and feeling sorrowes,
Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand,
Ile leade you to some biding

Glou. Heartie thankes:
The bountie, and the benizon of Heauen
To boot, and boot.
Enter Steward.

Stew. A proclaim'd prize: most happie
That eyelesse head of thine, was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old, vnhappy Traitor,
Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
That must destroy thee

Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough too't

Stew. Wherefore, bold Pezant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd Traitor? Hence,
Least that th' infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arme

Edg. Chill not let go Zir,
Without vurther 'casion

Stew. Let go Slaue, or thou dy'st

Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, and let poore
volke passe: and 'chud ha' bin zwaggerd out of my life,
'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis, by a vortnight. Nay,
come not neere th' old man: keepe out che vor' ye, or Ile
try whither your Costard, or my Ballow be the harder;
chill be plaine with you

Stew. Out Dunghill

Edg. Chill picke your teeth Zir: come, no matter vor
your foynes

Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me: Villain, take my purse;
If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my bodie,
And giue the Letters which thou find'st about me,
To Edmund Earle of Glouster: seeke him out
Vpon the English party. Oh vntimely death, death

Edg. I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine,
As duteous to the vices of thy Mistris,
As badnesse would desire

Glou. What, is he dead?
Edg. Sit you downe Father: rest you.
Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
Leaue gentle waxe, and manners: blame vs not
To know our enemies mindes, we rip their hearts,
Their Papers is more lawfull.

Reads the Letter.

Let our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
returne the Conqueror, then am I the Prisoner, and his bed, my
Gaole, from the loathed warmth whereof, deliuer me, and supply
the place for your Labour.
Your (Wife, so I would say) affectionate
Seruant. Gonerill.
Oh indistinguish'd space of Womans will,
A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life,
And the exchange my Brother: heere, in the sands
Thee Ile rake vp, the poste vnsanctified
Of murtherous Letchers: and in the mature time,
With this vngracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well,
That of thy death, and businesse, I can tell

Glou. The King is mad:
How stiffe is my vilde sense
That I stand vp, and haue ingenious feeling
Of my huge Sorrowes? Better I were distract,
So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes,

Drum afarre off.

And woes, by wrong imaginations loose
The knowledge of themselues

Edg. Giue me your hand:
Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
Come Father, Ile bestow you with a Friend.


Scaena Septima.

Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Gentleman.

Cor. O thou good Kent,
How shall I liue and worke
To match thy goodnesse?
My life will be too short,
And euery measure faile me

Kent. To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-pai'd,
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more, nor clipt, but so

Cor. Be better suited,
These weedes are memories of those worser houres:
I prythee put them off

Kent. Pardon deere Madam,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it, that you know me not,
Till time, and I, thinke meet

Cor. Then be't so my good Lord:
How do's the King?
Gent. Madam sleepes still

Cor. O you kind Gods!
Cure this great breach in his abused Nature,
Th' vntun'd and iarring senses, O winde vp,
Of this childe-changed Father

Gent. So please your Maiesty,
That we may wake the King, he hath slept long?
Cor. Be gouern'd by your knowledge, and proceede
I'th' sway of your owne will: is he array'd?
Enter Lear in a chaire carried by Seruants]
Gent. I Madam: in the heauinesse of sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him.
Be by good Madam when we do awake him,
I doubt of his Temperance

Cor. O my deere Father, restauratian hang
Thy medicine on my lippes, and let this kisse
Repaire those violent harmes, that my two Sisters
Haue in thy Reuerence made

Kent. Kind and deere Princesse

Cor. Had you not bin their Father, these white flakes
Did challenge pitty of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the iarring windes?
Mine Enemies dogge, though he had bit me,
Should haue stood that night against my fire,
And was't thou faine (poore Father)
To houell thee with Swine and Rogues forlorne,
In short, and musty straw? Alacke, alacke,
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits, at once
Had not concluded all. He wakes, speake to him

Gen. Madam do you, 'tis fittest

Cor. How does my Royall Lord?
How fares your Maiesty?
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o'th' graue,
Thou art a Soule in blisse, but I am bound
Vpon a wheele of fire, that mine owne teares
Do scal'd, like molten Lead

Cor. Sir, do you know me?
Lear. You are a spirit I know, where did you dye?
Cor. Still, still, farre wide

Gen. He's scarse awake,
Let him alone a while

Lear. Where haue I bin?
Where am I? Faire day light?
I am mightily abus'd; I should eu'n dye with pitty
To see another thus. I know not what to say:
I will not sweare these are my hands: let's see,
I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd
Of my condition

Cor. O looke vpon me Sir,
And hold your hand in benediction o're me,
You must not kneele

Lear. Pray do not mocke me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourescore and vpward,
Not an houre more, nor lesse:
And to deale plainely,
I feare I am not in my perfect mind.
Me thinkes I should know you, and know this man,
Yet I am doubtfull: For I am mainely ignorant
What place this is: and all the skill I haue
Remembers not these garments: nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me,
For (as I am a man) I thinke this Lady
To be my childe Cordelia

Cor. And so I am: I am

Lear. Be your teares wet?
Yes faith: I pray weepe not,
If you haue poyson for me, I will drinke it:
I know you do not loue me, for your Sisters
Haue (as I do remember) done me wrong.
You haue some cause, they haue not

Cor. No cause, no cause

Lear. Am I in France?
Kent. In your owne kingdome Sir

Lear. Do not abuse me

Gent. Be comforted good Madam, the great rage
You see is kill'd in him: desire him to go in,
Trouble him no more till further setling

Cor. Wilt please your Highnesse walke?
Lear. You must beare with me:
Pray you now forget, and forgiue,
I am old and foolish.


Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.

Enter with Drumme and Colours, Edmund, Regan. Gentlemen, and

Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is aduis'd by ought
To change the course, he's full of alteration,
And selfereprouing, bring his constant pleasure

Reg. Our Sisters man is certainely miscarried

Bast. 'Tis to be doubted Madam

Reg. Now sweet Lord,
You know the goodnesse I intend vpon you:
Tell me but truly, but then speake the truth,
Do you not loue my Sister?
Bast. In honour'd Loue

Reg. But haue you neuer found my Brothers way,
To the fore-fended place?
Bast. No by mine honour, Madam

Reg. I neuer shall endure her, deere my Lord
Be not familiar with her

Bast. Feare not, she and the Duke her husband.
Enter with Drum and Colours, Albany, Gonerill, Soldiers.

Alb. Our very louing Sister, well be-met:
Sir, this I heard, the King is come to his Daughter
With others, whom the rigour of our State
Forc'd to cry out

Regan. Why is this reasond?
Gone. Combine together 'gainst the Enemie:
For these domesticke and particular broiles,
Are not the question heere

Alb. Let's then determine with th' ancient of warre
On our proceeding

Reg. Sister you'le go with vs?
Gon. No

Reg. 'Tis most conuenient, pray go with vs

Gon. Oh ho, I know the Riddle, I will goe.

Exeunt. both the Armies.

Enter Edgar.

Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore,
Heare me one word

Alb. Ile ouertake you, speake

Edg. Before you fight the Battaile, ope this Letter:
If you haue victory, let the Trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though I seeme,
I can produce a Champion, that will proue
What is auouched there. If you miscarry,
Your businesse of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune loues you

Alb. Stay till I haue read the Letter

Edg. I was forbid it:
When time shall serue, let but the Herald cry,
And Ile appeare againe.

Alb. Why farethee well, I will o're-looke thy paper.
Enter Edmund.

Bast. The Enemy's in view, draw vp your powers,
Heere is the guesse of their true strength and Forces,
By dilligent discouerie, but your hast
Is now vrg'd on you

Alb. We will greet the time.

Bast. To both these Sisters haue I sworne my loue:
Each iealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the Adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enioy'd
If both remaine aliue: To take the Widdow,
Exasperates, makes mad her Sister Gonerill,
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being aliue. Now then, wee'l vse
His countenance for the Battaile, which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him, deuise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercie
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The Battaile done, and they within our power,
Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state,
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

Scena Secunda.

Alarum within. Enter with Drumme and Colours, Lear, Cordelia,
Souldiers, ouer the Stage, and Exeunt. Enter Edgar, and Gloster.

Edg. Heere Father, take the shadow of this Tree
For your good hoast: pray that the right may thriue:
If euer I returne to you againe,
Ile bring you comfort

Glo. Grace go with you Sir.

Alarum and Retreat within. Enter Edgar.

Edgar. Away old man, giue me thy hand, away:
King Lear hath lost, he and his Daughter tane,
Giue me thy hand: Come on

Glo. No further Sir, a man may rot euen heere

Edg. What in ill thoughts againe?
Men must endure
Their going hence, euen as their comming hither,
Ripenesse is all come on

Glo. And that's true too.


Scena Tertia.

Enter in conquest with Drum and Colours, Edmund, Lear, and
Cordelia, as
prisoners, Souldiers, Captaine.

Bast. Some Officers take them away: good guard,
Vntill their greater pleasures first be knowne
That are to censure them

Cor. We are not the first,
Who with best meaning haue incurr'd the worst:

For thee oppressed King I am cast downe,
My selfe could else out-frowne false Fortunes frowne.
Shall we not see these 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 aske me blessing, Ile kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenesse: So wee'l liue,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded Butterflies: and heere (poore Rogues)
Talke of Court newes, and wee'l talke with them too,
Who looses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take vpon's the mystery of things,
As if we were Gods spies: And wee'l weare out
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebbe and flow by th' Moone

Bast. Take them away

Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia,
The Gods themselues throw Incense.
Haue I caught thee?
He that parts vs, shall bring a Brand from Heauen,
And fire vs hence, like Foxes: wipe thine eyes,
The good yeares shall deuoure them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make vs weepe?
Weele see 'em staru'd first: come.

Bast. Come hither Captaine, hearke.
Take thou this note, go follow them to prison,
One step I haue aduanc'd thee, if thou do'st
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
Do's not become a Sword, thy great imployment
Will not beare question: either say thou'lt do't,
Or thriue by other meanes

Capt. Ile do't my Lord

Bast. About it, and write happy, when th'hast done,
Marke I say instantly, and carry it so
As I haue set it downe.

Exit Captaine.

Flourish. Enter Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Soldiers.

Alb. Sir, you haue shew'd to day your valiant straine
And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
Who were the opposites of this dayes strife:
I do require them of you so to vse them,
As we shall find their merites, and our safety
May equally determine

Bast. Sir, I thought it fit,
To send the old and miserable King to some retention,
Whose age had Charmes in it, whose Title more,
To plucke the common bosome on his side,
And turne our imprest Launces in our eies
Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen:
My reason all the same, and they are ready
To morrow, or at further space, t' appeare
Where you shall hold your Session

Alb. Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subiect of this Warre,
Not as a Brother

Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Methinkes our pleasure might haue bin demanded
Ere you had spoke so farre. He led our Powers,
Bore the Commission of my place and person,
The which immediacie may well stand vp,
And call it selfe your Brother

Gon. Not so hot:
In his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe,
More then in your addition

Reg. In my rights,
By me inuested, he compeeres the best

Alb. That were the most, if he should husband you

Reg. Iesters do oft proue Prophets

Gon. Hola, hola,
That eye that told you so, look'd but a squint

Rega. Lady I am not well, else I should answere
From a full flowing stomack. Generall,
Take thou my Souldiers, prisoners, patrimony,
Dispose of them, of me, the walls is thine:
Witnesse the world, that I create thee heere
My Lord, and Master

Gon. Meane you to enioy him?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will

Bast. Nor in thine Lord

Alb. Halfe-blooded fellow, yes

Reg. Let the Drum strike, and proue my title thine

Alb. Stay yet, heare reason: Edmund, I arrest thee
On capitall Treason; and in thy arrest,
This guilded Serpent: for your claime faire Sisters,
I bare it in the interest of my wife,
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord,
And I her husband contradict your Banes.
If you will marry, make your loues to me,
My Lady is bespoke

Gon. An enterlude

Alb. Thou art armed Gloster,
Let the Trumpet sound:
If none appeare to proue vpon thy person,
Thy heynous, manifest, and many Treasons,
There is my pledge: Ile make it on thy heart
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing lesse
Then I haue heere proclaim'd thee

Reg. Sicke, O sicke

Gon. If not, Ile nere trust medicine

Bast. There's my exchange, what in the world hes
That names me Traitor, villain-like he lies,
Call by the Trumpet: he that dares approach;
On him, on you, who not, I will maintaine
My truth and honor firmely.
Enter a Herald.

Alb. A Herald, ho.
Trust to thy single vertue, for thy Souldiers
All leuied in my name, haue in my name
Tooke their discharge

Regan. My sicknesse growes vpon me

Alb. She is not well, conuey her to my Tent.
Come hither Herald, let the Trumpet sound,
And read out this.

A Trumpet sounds.

Herald reads.

If any man of qualitie or degree, within the lists of the Army,
will maintaine vpon Edmund, supposed Earle of Gloster,
that he is a manifold Traitor, let him appeare by the third

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