The Tragedie of King Lear by William Shakespeare

*** 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
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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 purer Shakespeare.

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 and I hope that you enjoy this.

David Reed

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 braz’d too’t

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, Edmond?
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, Cordelia, and

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?
Cor. Nothing

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. Enter.

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.

Flourish. Exeunt.

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.


Scena Secunda.

Enter Bastard.

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.
Enter Gloucester.

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 my Closset

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 were not

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.
Enter Edgar.

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 vnhappily.
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.

Scena Tertia.

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 for dinner.


Scena Quarta.

Enter Kent.

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 with vs?
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 the King

Lear. If thou be’st as poore for a subiect, as hee’s for a King, thou art poore enough. What wouldst thou? Kent. Seruice

Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
Kent. You

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?
Kent. Authority

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? Enter Steward.

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 call’d him?
Knigh. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would not

Lear. He would not?
Knight. My Lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my 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 your Daughter

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?
Enter Steward.

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.
Enter Foole.

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 Daughters

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 and stinke

Lear. A pestilent gall to me

Foole. Sirha, Ile teach thee a speech

Lear. Do

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 Nuncle?
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 two Crownes

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.
Enter Gonerill.

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 the Horse?
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.
Enter Albany.

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. Enter.

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.
Enter Lear.

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.
Enter Steward.

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.


Scena Quinta.

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 you

Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered your Letter.

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 slip-shod

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 on’s face?
Lear. No

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? Lear. No

Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha’s a house

Lear. Why?
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 bin wise

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 ear-kissing arguments

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. Enter Edgar.

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.

Exit Edgar.

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.

Tucket within.

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.

Exeunt. Flourish.

Scena Secunda.

Enter Kent, and Steward seuerally.

Stew. Good dawning to thee Friend, art of this house? Kent. I

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 knowes thee?
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 Barber-monger, draw

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 your waies

Ste. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe

Kent. Strike you slaue: stand rogue, stand you neat slaue, strike

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 made thee

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.
Enter Edgar.

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.

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

Kent. Yes

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?
Kent. None:
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. Enter.

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.

Tucket within.

Lear. Who put my man i’th’ Stockes?
Enter Steward.

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?
Enter Gonerill.

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