Infomotions, Inc.King Lear / Shakespeare, William



Author: Shakespeare, William
Title: King Lear
Publisher: Unknown. (Ask Eric.)
Tag(s): king lear; lear; gloucester; regan; goneril; kent; edgar; edmund; cordelia; cornwall; albany; king; fool; exeunt king; enter gloucester; foul fiend; lord; gentleman; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 27,739 words (really short) Grade range: 6-8 (grade school) Readability score: 77 (easy)
Identifier: shakespeare-king-45
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	KING LEAR

	DRAMATIS PERSONAE

LEAR	king of Britain  (KING LEAR:)

KING OF FRANCE:

DUKE OF BURGUNDY	(BURGUNDY:)

DUKE OF CORNWALL	(CORNWALL:)

DUKE OF ALBANY	(ALBANY:)

EARL OF KENT	(KENT:)

EARL OF GLOUCESTER	(GLOUCESTER:)

EDGAR	son to Gloucester.

EDMUND	bastard son to Gloucester.

CURAN	a courtier.

Old Man	tenant to Gloucester.

Doctor:

Fool:

OSWALD	steward to Goneril.

	A Captain employed by Edmund. (Captain:)

	Gentleman attendant on Cordelia. (Gentleman:)
	A Herald.

	Servants to Cornwall.
	(First Servant:)
	(Second Servant:)
	(Third Servant:)

GONERIL	|
	|
REGAN	|  daughters to Lear.
	|
CORDELIA	|

	Knights of Lear's train, Captains, Messengers,
	Soldiers, and Attendants
	(Knight:)
	(Captain:)
	(Messenger:)

SCENE	Britain.

	KING LEAR

ACT I

SCENE I	King Lear's palace.

	[Enter KENT, GLOUCESTER, and EDMUND]

KENT	I thought the king had more affected the Duke of
	Albany than Cornwall.

GLOUCESTER	It did always seem so to us: but now, in the
	division of the kingdom, it appears not which of
	the dukes he values most; for equalities are so
	weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice
	of either's moiety.

KENT	Is not this your son, my lord?

GLOUCESTER	His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have
	so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am
	brazed to it.

KENT	I cannot conceive you.

GLOUCESTER	Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon
	she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a son
	for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.
	Do you smell a fault?

KENT	I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it
	being so proper.

GLOUCESTER	But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year
	elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account:
	though this knave came something saucily into the
	world before he was sent for, yet was his mother
	fair; there was good sport at his making, and the
	whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this
	noble gentleman, Edmund?

EDMUND	No, my lord.

GLOUCESTER	My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my
	honourable friend.

EDMUND	My services to your lordship.

KENT	I must love you, and sue to know you better.

EDMUND	Sir, I shall study deserving.

GLOUCESTER	He hath been out nine years, and away he shall
	again. The king is coming.

	[Sennet. Enter KING LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY,
	GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants]

KING LEAR	Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER	I shall, my liege.

	[Exeunt GLOUCESTER and EDMUND]

KING LEAR	Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
	Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
	In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent
	To shake all cares and business from our age;
	Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
	Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall,
	And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
	We have this hour a constant will to publish
	Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
	May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,
	Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
	Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
	And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, my daughters,--
	Since now we will divest us both of rule,
	Interest of territory, cares of state,--
	Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
	That we our largest bounty may extend
	Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
	Our eldest-born, speak first.

GONERIL	Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
	Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
	Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
	No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
	As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
	A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
	Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

CORDELIA	[Aside]  What shall Cordelia do?
	Love, and be silent.

LEAR	Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
	With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
	With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
	We make thee lady: to thine and Albany's issue
	Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
	Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.

REGAN	Sir, I am made
	Of the self-same metal that my sister is,
	And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
	I find she names my very deed of love;
	Only she comes too short: that I profess
	Myself an enemy to all other joys,
	Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
	And find I am alone felicitate
	In your dear highness' love.

CORDELIA	[Aside]	Then poor Cordelia!
	And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
	More richer than my tongue.

KING LEAR	To thee and thine hereditary ever
	Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
	No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
	Than that conferr'd on Goneril. Now, our joy,
	Although the last, not least; to whose young love
	The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
	Strive to be interess'd; what can you say to draw
	A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA	Nothing, my lord.

KING LEAR	Nothing!

CORDELIA	Nothing.

KING LEAR	Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

CORDELIA	Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
	My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
	According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR	How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,
	Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA	Good my lord,
	You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
	Return those duties back as are right fit,
	Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
	Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
	They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
	That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
	Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
	Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
	To love my father all.

KING LEAR	But goes thy heart with this?

CORDELIA	Ay, good my lord.

KING LEAR	So young, and so untender?

CORDELIA	So young, my lord, and true.

KING LEAR	Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
	For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
	The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
	By all the operation of the orbs
	From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
	Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
	Propinquity and property of blood,
	And as a stranger to my heart and me
	Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
	Or he that makes his generation messes
	To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
	Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
	As thou my sometime daughter.

KENT	Good my liege,--

KING LEAR	Peace, Kent!
	Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
	I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
	On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
	So be my grave my peace, as here I give
	Her father's heart from her! Call France; who stirs?
	Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,
	With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
	Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
	I do invest you jointly with my power,
	Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
	That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
	With reservation of an hundred knights,
	By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
	Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
	The name, and all the additions to a king;
	The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
	Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
	This coronet part betwixt you.

	[Giving the crown]

KENT	Royal Lear,
	Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
	Loved as my father, as my master follow'd,
	As my great patron thought on in my prayers,--

KING LEAR	The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.

KENT	Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
	The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly,
	When Lear is mad. What wilt thou do, old man?
	Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
	When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound,
	When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
	And, in thy best consideration, cheque
	This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
	Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
	Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
	Reverbs no hollowness.

KING LEAR	Kent, on thy life, no more.

KENT	My life I never held but as a pawn
	To wage against thy enemies; nor fear to lose it,
	Thy safety being the motive.

KING LEAR	Out of my sight!

KENT	See better, Lear; and let me still remain
	The true blank of thine eye.

KING LEAR	Now, by Apollo,--

KENT	                  Now, by Apollo, king,
	Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

KING LEAR	O, vassal! miscreant!

	[Laying his hand on his sword]

ALBANY	|
	|  Dear sir, forbear.
CORNWALL	|

KENT	Do:
	Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
	Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy doom;
	Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
	I'll tell thee thou dost evil.

KING LEAR	Hear me, recreant!
	On thine allegiance, hear me!
	Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
	Which we durst never yet, and with strain'd pride
	To come between our sentence and our power,
	Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
	Our potency made good, take thy reward.
	Five days we do allot thee, for provision
	To shield thee from diseases of the world;
	And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
	Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following,
	Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
	The moment is thy death. Away! by Jupiter,
	This shall not be revoked.

KENT	Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear,
	Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.

	[To CORDELIA]

	The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
	That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!

	[To REGAN and GONERIL]

	And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
	That good effects may spring from words of love.
	Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
	He'll shape his old course in a country new.

	[Exit]

	[Flourish. Re-enter GLOUCESTER, with KING OF FRANCE,
	BURGUNDY, and Attendants]

GLOUCESTER	Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

KING LEAR	My lord of Burgundy.
	We first address towards you, who with this king
	Hath rivall'd for our daughter: what, in the least,
	Will you require in present dower with her,
	Or cease your quest of love?

BURGUNDY	Most royal majesty,
	I crave no more than what your highness offer'd,
	Nor will you tender less.

KING LEAR	Right noble Burgundy,
	When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;
	But now her price is fall'n. Sir, there she stands:
	If aught within that little seeming substance,
	Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,
	And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
	She's there, and she is yours.

BURGUNDY	I know no answer.

KING LEAR	Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
	Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
	Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
	Take her, or leave her?

BURGUNDY	Pardon me, royal sir;
	Election makes not up on such conditions.

KING LEAR	Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,
	I tell you all her wealth.

	[To KING OF FRANCE]

		     For you, great king,
	I would not from your love make such a stray,
	To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
	To avert your liking a more worthier way
	Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
	Almost to acknowledge hers.

KING OF FRANCE	This is most strange,
	That she, that even but now was your best object,
	The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
	Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
	Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
	So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
	Must be of such unnatural degree,
	That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
	Fall'n into taint: which to believe of her,
	Must be a faith that reason without miracle
	Could never plant in me.

CORDELIA	I yet beseech your majesty,--
	If for I want that glib and oily art,
	To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
	I'll do't before I speak,--that you make known
	It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
	No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
	That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
	But even for want of that for which I am richer,
	A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
	As I am glad I have not, though not to have it
	Hath lost me in your liking.

KING LEAR	Better thou
	Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.

KING OF FRANCE	Is it but this,--a tardiness in nature
	Which often leaves the history unspoke
	That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,
	What say you to the lady? Love's not love
	When it is mingled with regards that stand
	Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
	She is herself a dowry.

BURGUNDY	Royal Lear,
	Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
	And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
	Duchess of Burgundy.

KING LEAR	Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.

BURGUNDY	I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
	That you must lose a husband.

CORDELIA	Peace be with Burgundy!
	Since that respects of fortune are his love,
	I shall not be his wife.

KING OF FRANCE	Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
	Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!
	Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:
	Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.
	Gods, gods! 'tis strange that from their cold'st neglect
	My love should kindle to inflamed respect.
	Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
	Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
	Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
	Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.
	Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
	Thou losest here, a better where to find.

KING LEAR	Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
	Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
	That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
	Without our grace, our love, our benison.
	Come, noble Burgundy.

	[Flourish. Exeunt all but KING OF FRANCE, GONERIL,
	REGAN, and CORDELIA]

KING OF FRANCE	Bid farewell to your sisters.

CORDELIA	The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
	Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
	And like a sister am most loath to call
	Your faults as they are named. Use well our father:
	To your professed bosoms I commit him
	But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
	I would prefer him to a better place.
	So, farewell to you both.

REGAN	Prescribe not us our duties.

GONERIL	Let your study
	Be to content your lord, who hath received you
	At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
	And well are worth the want that you have wanted.

CORDELIA	Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides:
	Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
	Well may you prosper!

KING OF FRANCE	Come, my fair Cordelia.

	[Exeunt KING OF FRANCE and CORDELIA]

GONERIL	Sister, it is not a little I have to say of what
	most nearly appertains to us both. I think our
	father will hence to-night.

REGAN	That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.

GONERIL	You see how full of changes his age is; the
	observation we have made of it hath not been
	little: he always loved our sister most; and
	with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off
	appears too grossly.

REGAN	'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever
	but slenderly known himself.

GONERIL	The best and soundest of his time hath been but
	rash; then must we look to receive from his age,
	not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
	condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
	that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

REGAN	Such unconstant starts are we like to have from
	him as this of Kent's banishment.

GONERIL	There is further compliment of leavetaking
	between France and him. Pray you, let's hit
	together: if our father carry authority with
	such dispositions as he bears, this last
	surrender of his will but offend us.

REGAN	We shall further think on't.

GONERIL	We must do something, and i' the heat.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT I

SCENE II	The Earl of Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter EDMUND, with a letter]

EDMUND	Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
	My services are bound. Wherefore should I
	Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
	The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
	For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
	Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
	When my dimensions are as well compact,
	My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
	As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
	With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
	Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
	More composition and fierce quality
	Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
	Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
	Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
	Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
	Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
	As to the legitimate: fine word,--legitimate!
	Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
	And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
	Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
	Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

	[Enter GLOUCESTER]

GLOUCESTER	Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted!
	And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!
	Confined to exhibition! All this done
	Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news?

EDMUND	So please your lordship, none.

	[Putting up the letter]

GLOUCESTER	Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

EDMUND	I know no news, my lord.

GLOUCESTER	What paper were you reading?

EDMUND	Nothing, my lord.

GLOUCESTER	No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of
	it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath
	not such need to hide itself. Let's see: come,
	if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

EDMUND	I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter
	from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read;
	and for so much as I have perused, I find it not
	fit for your o'er-looking.

GLOUCESTER	Give me the letter, sir.

EDMUND	I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The
	contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

GLOUCESTER	Let's see, let's see.

EDMUND	I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote
	this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.

GLOUCESTER	[Reads]  'This policy and reverence of age makes
	the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps
	our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish
	them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage
	in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not
	as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to
	me, that of this I may speak more. If our father
	would sleep till I waked him, you should half his
	revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your
	brother,	EDGAR.'

	Hum--conspiracy!--'Sleep till I waked him,--you
	should enjoy half his revenue,'--My son Edgar!
	Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain
	to breed it in?--When came this to you? who
	brought it?

EDMUND	It was not brought me, my lord; there's the
	cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the
	casement of my closet.

GLOUCESTER	You know the character to be your brother's?

EDMUND	If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear
	it were his; but, in respect of that, I would
	fain think it were not.

GLOUCESTER	It is his.

EDMUND	It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is
	not in the contents.

GLOUCESTER	Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?

EDMUND	Never, my lord: but I have heard him oft
	maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age,
	and fathers declining, the father should be as
	ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

GLOUCESTER	O villain, villain! His very opinion in the
	letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested,
	brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah,
	seek him; I'll apprehend him: abominable villain!
	Where is he?

EDMUND	I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please
	you to suspend your indignation against my
	brother till you can derive from him better
	testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain
	course; where, if you violently proceed against
	him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great
	gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the
	heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life
	for him, that he hath wrote this to feel my
	affection to your honour, and to no further
	pretence of danger.

GLOUCESTER	Think you so?

EDMUND	If your honour judge it meet, I will place you
	where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an
	auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and
	that without any further delay than this very evening.

GLOUCESTER	He cannot be such a monster--

EDMUND	Nor is not, sure.

GLOUCESTER	To his father, that so tenderly and entirely
	loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him
	out: wind me into him, I pray you: frame the
	business after your own wisdom. I would unstate
	myself, to be in a due resolution.

EDMUND	I will seek him, sir, presently: convey the
	business as I shall find means and acquaint you withal.

GLOUCESTER	These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
	no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
	reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
	scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
	friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
	cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
	palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
	and father. This villain of mine comes under the
	prediction; there's son against father: the king
	falls from bias of nature; there's father against
	child. We have seen the best of our time:
	machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all
	ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our
	graves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall
	lose thee nothing; do it carefully. And the
	noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his
	offence, honesty! 'Tis strange.

	[Exit]

EDMUND	This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
	when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit
	of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our
	disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
	if we were villains by necessity; fools by
	heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
	treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
	liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
	planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
	by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
	of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
	disposition to the charge of a star! My
	father compounded with my mother under the
	dragon's tail; and my nativity was under Ursa
	major; so that it follows, I am rough and
	lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am,
	had the maidenliest star in the firmament
	twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar--

	[Enter EDGAR]

	And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old
	comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with a
	sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do
	portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.

EDGAR	How now, brother Edmund! what serious
	contemplation are you in?

EDMUND	I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read
	this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

EDGAR	Do you busy yourself about that?

EDMUND	I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed
	unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child
	and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
	ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
	maledictions against king and nobles; needless
	diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
	of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

EDGAR	How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

EDMUND	Come, come; when saw you my father last?

EDGAR	Why, the night gone by.

EDMUND	Spake you with him?

EDGAR	Ay, two hours together.

EDMUND	Parted you in good terms? Found you no
	displeasure in him by word or countenance?

EDGAR	None at all.

EDMUND	Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended
	him: and at my entreaty forbear his presence
	till some little time hath qualified the heat of
	his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth
	in him, that with the mischief of your person it
	would scarcely allay.

EDGAR	Some villain hath done me wrong.

EDMUND	That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent
	forbearance till the spied of his rage goes
	slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my
	lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to
	hear my lord speak: pray ye, go; there's my key:
	if you do stir abroad, go armed.

EDGAR	Armed, brother!

EDMUND	Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed: I
	am no honest man if there be any good meaning
	towards you: I have told you what I have seen
	and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image
	and horror of it: pray you, away.

EDGAR	Shall I hear from you anon?

EDMUND	I do serve you in this business.

	[Exit EDGAR]

	A credulous father! and a brother noble,
	Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
	That he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty
	My practises ride easy! I see the business.
	Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
	All with me's meet that I can fashion fit.

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT I

SCENE III	The Duke of Albany's palace.

	[Enter GONERIL, and OSWALD, her steward]

GONERIL	Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

OSWALD	Yes, madam.

GONERIL	By day and night he wrongs me; every hour
	He flashes into one gross crime or other,
	That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:
	His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
	On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
	I will not speak with him; say I am sick:
	If you come slack of former services,
	You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.

OSWALD	He's coming, madam; I hear him.

	[Horns within]

GONERIL	Put on what weary negligence you please,
	You and your fellows; I'll have it come to question:
	If he dislike it, let him to our sister,
	Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
	Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man,
	That still would manage those authorities
	That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
	Old fools are babes again; and must be used
	With cheques as flatteries,--when they are seen abused.
	Remember what I tell you.

OSWALD	Well, madam.

GONERIL	And let his knights have colder looks among you;
	What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:
	I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
	That I may speak: I'll write straight to my sister,
	To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT I

SCENE IV	A hall in the same.

	[Enter KENT, disguised]

KENT	If but as well I other accents borrow,
	That can my speech defuse, my good intent
	May carry through itself to that full issue
	For which I razed my likeness. Now, banish'd Kent,
	If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd,
	So may it come, thy master, whom thou lovest,
	Shall find thee full of labours.

	[Horns within. Enter KING LEAR, Knights, and
	Attendants]

KING LEAR	Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready.

	[Exit an Attendant]

	How now! what art thou?

KENT	A man, sir.

KING LEAR	What dost thou profess? what wouldst thou with us?

KENT	I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve
	him truly that will put me in trust: to love him
	that is honest; to converse with him that is wise,
	and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I
	cannot choose; and to eat no fish.

KING LEAR	What art thou?

KENT	A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.

KING LEAR	If thou be as poor for a subject as he is for a
	king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?

KENT	Service.

KING LEAR	Who wouldst thou serve?

KENT	You.

KING LEAR	Dost thou know me, fellow?

KENT	No, sir; but you have that in your countenance
	which I would fain call master.

KING LEAR	What's that?

KENT	Authority.

KING LEAR	What services canst thou do?

KENT	I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious
	tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message
	bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am
	qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.

KING LEAR	How old art thou?

KENT	Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor
	so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years
	on my back forty eight.

KING LEAR	Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no
	worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.
	Dinner, ho, dinner! Where's my knave? my fool?
	Go you, and call my fool hither.

	[Exit an Attendant]

	[Enter OSWALD]

	You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?

OSWALD	So please you,--

	[Exit]

KING LEAR	What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.

	[Exit a Knight]

	Where's my fool, ho? I think the world's asleep.

	[Re-enter Knight]

	How now! where's that mongrel?

Knight	He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

KING LEAR	Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.

Knight	Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would
	not.

KING LEAR	He would not!

Knight	My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my
	judgment, your highness is not entertained with that
	ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a
	great abatement of kindness appears as well in the
	general dependants as in the duke himself also and
	your daughter.

KING LEAR	Ha! sayest thou so?

Knight	I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken;
	for my duty cannot be silent when I think your
	highness wronged.

KING LEAR	Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception: I
	have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I
	have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity
	than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness:
	I will look further into't. But where's my fool? I
	have not seen him this two days.

Knight	Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the
	fool hath much pined away.

KING LEAR	No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you, and
	tell my daughter I would speak with her.

	[Exit an Attendant]

	Go you, call hither my fool.

	[Exit an Attendant]

	[Re-enter OSWALD]

	O, you sir, you, come you hither, sir: who am I,
	sir?

OSWALD	My lady's father.

KING LEAR	'My lady's father'! my lord's knave: your
	whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!

OSWALD	I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.

KING LEAR	Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

	[Striking him]

OSWALD	I'll not be struck, my lord.

KENT	Nor tripped neither, you base football player.

	[Tripping up his heels]

KING LEAR	I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll
	love thee.

KENT	Come, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences:
	away, away! if you will measure your lubber's
	length again, tarry: but away! go to; have you
	wisdom? so.

	[Pushes OSWALD out]

KING LEAR	Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's
	earnest of thy service.

	[Giving KENT money]

	[Enter Fool]

Fool	Let me hire him too: here's my coxcomb.

	[Offering KENT his cap]

KING LEAR	How now, my pretty knave! how dost thou?

Fool	Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

KENT	Why, fool?

Fool	Why, for taking one's part that's out of favour:
	nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits,
	thou'lt catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb:
	why, this fellow has banished two on's daughters,
	and did the third a blessing against his will; if
	thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.
	How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!

KING LEAR	Why, my boy?

Fool	If I gave them all my living, I'ld keep my coxcombs
	myself. There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.

KING LEAR	Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool	Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipped
	out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink.

KING LEAR	A pestilent gall to me!

Fool	Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.

KING LEAR	Do.

Fool	Mark it, nuncle:
	Have more than thou showest,
	Speak less than thou knowest,
	Lend less than thou owest,
	Ride more than thou goest,
	Learn more than thou trowest,
	Set less than thou throwest;
	Leave thy drink and thy whore,
	And keep in-a-door,
	And thou shalt have more
	Than two tens to a score.

KENT	This is nothing, fool.

Fool	Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you
	gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of
	nothing, nuncle?

KING LEAR	Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.

Fool	[To KENT]  Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of
	his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.

KING LEAR	A bitter fool!

Fool	Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a
	bitter fool and a sweet fool?

KING LEAR	No, lad; teach me.

Fool	That lord that counsell'd thee
	To give away thy land,
	Come place him here by me,
	Do thou for him stand:
	The sweet and bitter fool
	Will presently appear;
	The one in motley here,
	The other found out there.

KING LEAR	Dost thou call me fool, boy?

Fool	All thy other titles thou hast given away; that
	thou wast born with.

KENT	This is not altogether fool, my lord.

Fool	No, faith, lords and great men will not let me; if
	I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't:
	and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool
	to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an egg,
	nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.

KING LEAR	What two crowns shall they be?

Fool	Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and eat
	up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou
	clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away
	both parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back o'er
	the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown,
	when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak
	like myself in this, let him be whipped that first
	finds it so.

	[Singing]

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

KING LEAR	When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

Fool	I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy
	daughters thy mothers: for when thou gavest them
	the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,

	[Singing]

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

	Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach
	thy fool to lie: I would fain learn to lie.

KING LEAR	An you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipped.

Fool	I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are:
	they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt
	have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am
	whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any
	kind o' thing than a fool: and yet I would not be
	thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides,
	and left nothing i' the middle: here comes one o'
	the parings.

	[Enter GONERIL]

KING LEAR	How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet on?
	Methinks you are too much of late i' the frown.

Fool	Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to
	care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a
	figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool,
	thou art nothing.

	[To GONERIL]

	Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face
	bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
	He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
	Weary of all, shall want some.

	[Pointing to KING LEAR]

	That's a shealed peascod.

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

Fool	For, you trow, nuncle,
	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.

KING LEAR	Are you our daughter?

GONERIL	Come, sir,
	I would you would make use of that good wisdom,
	Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away
	These dispositions, that of late transform you
	From what you rightly are.

Fool	May not an ass know when the cart
	draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

KING LEAR	Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:
	Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
	Either his notion weakens, his discernings
	Are lethargied--Ha! waking? 'tis not so.
	Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Fool	Lear's shadow.

KING LEAR	I would learn that; for, by the
	marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,
	I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

Fool	Which they will make an obedient father.

KING LEAR	Your name, fair gentlewoman?

GONERIL	This admiration, sir, is much o' the savour
	Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
	To understand my purposes aright:
	As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
	Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
	Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd and bold,
	That this our court, infected with their manners,
	Shows like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust
	Make it more like a tavern or a brothel
	Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
	For instant remedy: be then desired
	By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
	A little to disquantity your train;
	And the remainder, that shall still depend,
	To be such men as may besort your age,
	And know themselves and you.

KING LEAR	Darkness and devils!
	Saddle my horses; call my train together:
	Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee.
	Yet have I left a daughter.

GONERIL	You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
	Make servants of their betters.

	[Enter ALBANY]

KING LEAR	Woe, that too late repents,--

	[To ALBANY]

		        O, sir, are you come?
	Is it your will? Speak, sir. Prepare my horses.
	Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
	More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
	Than the sea-monster!

ALBANY	Pray, sir, be patient.

KING LEAR	[To GONERIL]  Detested kite! thou liest.
	My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
	That all particulars of duty know,
	And in the most exact regard support
	The worships of their name. O most small fault,
	How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
	That, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
	From the fix'd place; drew from heart all love,
	And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
	Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,

	[Striking his head]

	And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.

ALBANY	My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
	Of what hath moved you.

KING LEAR	It may be so, my lord.
	Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
	Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
	To make this creature fruitful!
	Into her womb convey sterility!
	Dry up in her the organs of increase;
	And from her derogate body never spring
	A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
	Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
	And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
	Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
	With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
	Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
	To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
	How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
	To have a thankless child! Away, away!

	[Exit]

ALBANY	Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

GONERIL	Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
	But let his disposition have that scope
	That dotage gives it.

	[Re-enter KING LEAR]

KING LEAR	What, fifty of my followers at a clap!
	Within a fortnight!

ALBANY	What's the matter, sir?

KING LEAR	I'll tell thee:

	[To GONERIL]

	Life and death! I am ashamed
	That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
	That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
	Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
	The untented woundings of a father's curse
	Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
	Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out,
	And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
	To temper clay. Yea, it is come to this?
	Let is be so: yet have I left a daughter,
	Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
	When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
	She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
	That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
	I have cast off for ever: thou shalt,
	I warrant thee.

	[Exeunt KING LEAR, KENT, and Attendants]

GONERIL	Do you mark that, my lord?

ALBANY	I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
	To the great love I bear you,--

GONERIL	Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho!

	[To the Fool]

	You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

Fool	Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool
	with thee.
	A fox, when one has caught her,
	And such a daughter,
	Should sure to the slaughter,
	If my cap would buy a halter:
	So the fool follows after.

	[Exit]

GONERIL	This man hath had good counsel:--a hundred knights!
	'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
	At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every dream,
	Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
	He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
	And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I say!

ALBANY	Well, you may fear too far.

GONERIL	Safer than trust too far:
	Let me still take away the harms I fear,
	Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
	What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister
	If she sustain him and his hundred knights
	When I have show'd the unfitness,--

	[Re-enter OSWALD]

		                  How now, Oswald!
	What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

OSWALD	Yes, madam.

GONERIL	Take you some company, and away to horse:
	Inform her full of my particular fear;
	And thereto add such reasons of your own
	As may compact it more. Get you gone;
	And hasten your return.

	[Exit OSWALD]

		  No, no, my lord,
	This milky gentleness and course of yours
	Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
	You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
	Than praised for harmful mildness.

ALBANY	How far your eyes may pierce I can not tell:
	Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

GONERIL	Nay, then--

ALBANY	Well, well; the event.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT I

SCENE V	Court before the same.

	[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool]

KING LEAR	Go you before to Gloucester with these letters.
	Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you
	know than comes from her demand out of the letter.
	If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.

KENT	I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered
	your letter.

	[Exit]

Fool	If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in
	danger of kibes?

KING LEAR	Ay, boy.

Fool	Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne'er go
	slip-shod.

KING LEAR	Ha, ha, ha!

Fool	Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly;
	for though she's as like this as a crab's like an
	apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

KING LEAR	Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

Fool	She will taste as like this as a crab does to a
	crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i'
	the middle on's face?

KING LEAR	No.

Fool	Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose; that
	what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.

KING LEAR	I did her wrong--

Fool	Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

KING LEAR	No.

Fool	Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

KING LEAR	Why?

Fool	Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his
	daughters, and leave his horns without a case.

KING LEAR	I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my
	horses ready?

Fool	Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the
	seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

KING LEAR	Because they are not eight?

Fool	Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.

KING LEAR	To take 't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!

Fool	If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten
	for being old before thy time.

KING LEAR	How's that?

Fool	Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst
	been wise.

KING LEAR	O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
	Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!

	[Enter Gentleman]

	How now! are the horses ready?

Gentleman	Ready, my lord.

KING LEAR	Come, boy.

Fool	She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
	Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT II

SCENE I	GLOUCESTER's castle.

	[Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him]

EDMUND	Save thee, Curan.

CURAN	And you, sir. I have been with your father, and
	given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
	his duchess will be here with him this night.

EDMUND	How comes that?

CURAN	Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
	I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
	ear-kissing arguments?

EDMUND	Not I	pray you, what are they?

CURAN	Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the
	Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

EDMUND	Not a word.

CURAN	You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.

	[Exit]

EDMUND	The duke be here to-night? The better! best!
	This weaves itself perforce into my business.
	My father hath set guard to take my brother;
	And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
	Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
	Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!

	[Enter EDGAR]

	My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
	Intelligence is given where you are hid;
	You have now the good advantage of the night:
	Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
	He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
	And Regan with him: have you nothing said
	Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
	Advise yourself.

EDGAR	                  I am sure on't, not a word.

EDMUND	I hear my father coming: pardon me:
	In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
	Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
	Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
	Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.

	[Exit EDGAR]

	Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.

	[Wounds his arm]

	Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
	Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
	Stop, stop! No help?

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches]

GLOUCESTER	Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

EDMUND	Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
	Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
	To stand auspicious mistress,--

GLOUCESTER	But where is he?

EDMUND	Look, sir, I bleed.

GLOUCESTER	Where is the villain, Edmund?

EDMUND	Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could--

GLOUCESTER	Pursue him, ho! Go after.

	[Exeunt some Servants]

		     By no means what?

EDMUND	Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
	But that I told him, the revenging gods
	'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
	Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
	The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
	Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
	To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
	With his prepared sword, he charges home
	My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
	But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
	Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
	Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
	Full suddenly he fled.

GLOUCESTER	Let him fly far:
	Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
	And found--dispatch. The noble duke my master,
	My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
	By his authority I will proclaim it,
	That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
	Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
	He that conceals him, death.

EDMUND	When I dissuaded him from his intent,
	And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
	I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
	'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
	If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
	Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
	Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--
	As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
	My very character,--I'ld turn it all
	To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
	And thou must make a dullard of the world,
	If they not thought the profits of my death
	Were very pregnant and potential spurs
	To make thee seek it.'

GLOUCESTER	Strong and fasten'd villain
	Would he deny his letter? I never got him.

	[Tucket within]

	Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
	All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
	The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
	I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
	May have the due note of him; and of my land,
	Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
	To make thee capable.

	[Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants]

CORNWALL	How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
	Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.

REGAN	If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
	Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

GLOUCESTER	O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!

REGAN	What, did my father's godson seek your life?
	He whom my father named? your Edgar?

GLOUCESTER	O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

REGAN	Was he not companion with the riotous knights
	That tend upon my father?

GLOUCESTER	I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.

EDMUND	Yes, madam, he was of that consort.

REGAN	No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
	'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
	To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
	I have this present evening from my sister
	Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
	That if they come to sojourn at my house,
	I'll not be there.

CORNWALL	Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
	Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
	A child-like office.

EDMUND	'Twas my duty, sir.

GLOUCESTER	He did bewray his practise; and received
	This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

CORNWALL	Is he pursued?

GLOUCESTER	                  Ay, my good lord.

CORNWALL	If he be taken, he shall never more
	Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
	How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
	Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
	So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
	Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
	You we first seize on.

EDMUND	I shall serve you, sir,
	Truly, however else.

GLOUCESTER	For him I thank your grace.

CORNWALL	You know not why we came to visit you,--

REGAN	Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:
	Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
	Wherein we must have use of your advice:
	Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
	Of differences, which I least thought it fit
	To answer from our home; the several messengers
	From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
	Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
	Your needful counsel to our business,
	Which craves the instant use.

GLOUCESTER	I serve you, madam:
	Your graces are right welcome.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT II

SCENE II	Before Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally]

OSWALD	Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?

KENT	Ay.

OSWALD	Where may we set our horses?

KENT	I' the mire.

OSWALD	Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

KENT	I love thee not.

OSWALD	Why, then, I care not for thee.

KENT	If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
	care for me.

OSWALD	Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

KENT	Fellow, I know thee.

OSWALD	What dost thou know me for?

KENT	A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
	base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
	hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
	lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
	glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
	one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
	bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
	the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
	and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
	will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
	the least syllable of thy addition.

OSWALD	Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
	on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!

KENT	What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
	knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up
	thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you
	rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon
	shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you:
	draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

	[Drawing his sword]

OSWALD	Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

KENT	Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the
	king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the
	royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so
	carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

OSWALD	Help, ho! murder! help!

KENT	Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
	slave, strike.

	[Beating him]

OSWALD	Help, ho! murder! murder!

	[Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL,
	REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants]

EDMUND	How now! What's the matter?

KENT	With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll
	flesh ye; come on, young master.

GLOUCESTER	Weapons! arms! What 's the matter here?

CORNWALL	Keep peace, upon your lives:
	He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?

REGAN	The messengers from our sister and the king.

CORNWALL	What is your difference? speak.

OSWALD	I am scarce in breath, my lord.

KENT	No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You
	cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a
	tailor made thee.

CORNWALL	Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?

KENT	Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
	not have made him so ill, though he had been but two
	hours at the trade.

CORNWALL	Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

OSWALD	This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
	at suit of his gray beard,--

KENT	Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
	lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this
	unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of
	a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?

CORNWALL	Peace, sirrah!
	You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

KENT	Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

CORNWALL	Why art thou angry?

KENT	That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
	Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
	Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
	Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
	That in the natures of their lords rebel;
	Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
	Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
	With every gale and vary of their masters,
	Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
	A plague upon your epileptic visage!
	Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
	Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
	I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

CORNWALL	Why, art thou mad, old fellow?

GLOUCESTER	How fell you out? say that.

KENT	No contraries hold more antipathy
	Than I and such a knave.

CORNWALL	Why dost thou call him a knave?  What's his offence?

KENT	His countenance likes me not.

CORNWALL	No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

KENT	Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:
	I have seen better faces in my time
	Than stands on any shoulder that I see
	Before me at this instant.

CORNWALL	This is some fellow,
	Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
	A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
	Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
	An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
	An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
	These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
	Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
	Than twenty silly ducking observants
	That stretch their duties nicely.

KENT	Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
	Under the allowance of your great aspect,
	Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
	On flickering Phoebus' front,--

CORNWALL	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 beguiled you in a plain
	accent was a plain knave; which for my part
	I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
	to entreat me to 't.

CORNWALL	What was the offence you gave him?

OSWALD	I never gave him any:
	It pleased the king his master very late
	To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
	When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
	Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
	And put upon him such a deal of man,
	That worthied him, got praises of the king
	For him attempting who was self-subdued;
	And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
	Drew on me here again.

KENT	None of these rogues and cowards
	But Ajax is their fool.

CORNWALL	Fetch forth the stocks!
	You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
	We'll teach you--

KENT	                  Sir, I am too old to learn:
	Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
	On whose employment I was sent to you:
	You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
	Against the grace and person of my master,
	Stocking his messenger.

CORNWALL	Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,
	There shall he sit till noon.

REGAN	Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.

KENT	Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
	You should not use me so.

REGAN	Sir, being his knave, I will.

CORNWALL	This is a fellow of the self-same colour
	Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!

	[Stocks brought out]

GLOUCESTER	Let me beseech your grace not to do so:
	His fault is much, and the good king his master
	Will cheque him for 't: your purposed low correction
	Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
	For pilferings and most common trespasses
	Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill,
	That he's so slightly valued in his messenger,
	Should have him thus restrain'd.

CORNWALL	I'll answer that.

REGAN	My sister may receive it much more worse,
	To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
	For following her affairs. Put in his legs.

	[KENT is put in the stocks]

	Come, my good lord, away.

	[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER and KENT]

GLOUCESTER	I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,
	Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
	Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee.

KENT	Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd hard;
	Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
	A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
	Give you good morrow!

GLOUCESTER	The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.

	[Exit]

KENT	Good king, that must approve the common saw,
	Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
	To the warm sun!
	Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
	That by thy comfortable beams I may
	Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles
	But misery: I know 'tis from Cordelia,
	Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
	Of my obscured course; and shall find time
	From this enormous state, seeking to give
	Losses their remedies. All weary and o'erwatch'd,
	Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
	This shameful lodging.
	Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!

	[Sleeps]

	KING LEAR

ACT II

SCENE III	A wood.

	[Enter EDGAR]

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

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT II

SCENE IV	Before GLOUCESTER's castle. KENT in the stocks.

	[Enter KING LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman]

KING LEAR	'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
	And not send back my messenger.

Gentleman	As I learn'd,
	The night before there was no purpose in them
	Of this remove.

KENT	                  Hail to thee, noble master!

KING LEAR	Ha!
	Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

KENT	No, my lord.

Fool	Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied
	by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by
	the loins, and men by the legs: when a man's
	over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden
	nether-stocks.

KING LEAR	What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
	To set thee here?

KENT	                  It is both he and she;
	Your son and daughter.

KING LEAR	No.

KENT	Yes.

KING LEAR	No, I say.

KENT	I say, yea.

KING LEAR	No, no, they would not.

KENT	Yes, they have.

KING LEAR	By Jupiter, I swear, no.

KENT	By Juno, I swear, ay.

KING LEAR	They durst not do 't;
	They could not, would not do 't; 'tis worse than murder,
	To do upon respect such violent outrage:
	Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
	Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage,
	Coming from us.

KENT	                  My lord, when at their home
	I did commend your highness' letters to them,
	Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
	My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
	Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
	From Goneril his mistress salutations;
	Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,
	Which presently they read: on whose contents,
	They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse;
	Commanded me to follow, and attend
	The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
	And meeting here the other messenger,
	Whose welcome, I perceived, had poison'd mine,--
	Being the very fellow that of late
	Display'd so saucily against your highness,--
	Having more man than wit about me, drew:
	He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
	Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
	The shame which here it suffers.

Fool	Winter's not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that way.
	Fathers that wear rags
	Do make their children blind;
	But fathers that bear bags
	Shall see their children kind.
	Fortune, that arrant whore,
	Ne'er turns the key to the poor.
	But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours
	for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

KING LEAR	O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
	Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
	Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?

KENT	With the earl, sir, here within.

KING LEAR	Follow me not;
	Stay here.

	[Exit]

Gentleman	Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

KENT	None.
	How chance the king comes with so small a train?

Fool	And thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that
	question, thou hadst well deserved it.

KENT	Why, fool?

Fool	We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee
	there's no labouring i' the winter. All that follow
	their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and
	there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him
	that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel
	runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with
	following it: but the great one that goes up the
	hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man
	gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I
	would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
	That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
	And follows but for form,
	Will pack when it begins to rain,
	And leave thee in the storm,
	But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
	And let the wise man fly:
	The knave turns fool that runs away;
	The fool no knave, perdy.

KENT	Where learned you this, fool?

Fool	Not i' the stocks, fool.

	[Re-enter KING LEAR with GLOUCESTER]

KING LEAR	Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
	They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches;
	The images of revolt and flying off.
	Fetch me a better answer.

GLOUCESTER	My dear lord,
	You know the fiery quality of the duke;
	How unremoveable and fix'd he is
	In his own course.

KING LEAR	Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
	Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
	I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

GLOUCESTER	Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.

KING LEAR	Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?

GLOUCESTER	Ay, my good lord.

KING LEAR	The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
	Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:
	Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood!
	Fiery? the fiery duke? Tell the hot duke that--
	No, but not yet: may be he is not well:
	Infirmity doth still neglect all office
	Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
	When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
	To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;
	And am fall'n out with my more headier will,
	To take the indisposed and sickly fit
	For the sound man. Death on my state! wherefore

	[Looking on KENT]

	Should he sit here? This act persuades me
	That this remotion of the duke and her
	Is practise only. Give me my servant forth.
	Go tell the duke and 's wife I'ld speak with them,
	Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
	Or at their chamber-door I'll beat the drum
	Till it cry sleep to death.

GLOUCESTER	I would have all well betwixt you.

	[Exit]

KING LEAR	O me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!

Fool	Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels
	when she put 'em i' the paste alive; she knapped 'em
	o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cried 'Down,
	wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that, in pure
	kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

	[Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants]

KING LEAR	Good morrow to you both.

CORNWALL	Hail to your grace!

	[KENT is set at liberty]

REGAN	I am glad to see your highness.

KING LEAR	Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
	I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
	I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
	Sepulchring an adultress.

	[To KENT]

		    O, are you free?
	Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
	Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
	Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here:

	[Points to his heart]

	I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe
	With how depraved a quality--O Regan!

REGAN	I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope.
	You less know how to value her desert
	Than she to scant her duty.

KING LEAR	Say, how is that?

REGAN	I cannot think my sister in the least
	Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
	She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
	'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
	As clears her from all blame.

KING LEAR	My curses on her!

REGAN	                  O, sir, you are old.
	Nature in you stands on the very verge
	Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
	By some discretion, that discerns your state
	Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
	That to our sister you do make return;
	Say you have wrong'd her, sir.

KING LEAR	Ask her forgiveness?
	Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
	'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;

	[Kneeling]

	Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg
	That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'

REGAN	Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks:
	Return you to my sister.

KING LEAR	[Rising]  Never, Regan:
	She hath abated me of half my train;
	Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
	Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:
	All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
	On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
	You taking airs, with lameness!

CORNWALL	Fie, sir, fie!

KING LEAR	You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
	Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
	You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
	To fall and blast her pride!

REGAN	O the blest gods! so will you wish on me,
	When the rash mood is on.

KING LEAR	No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:
	Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
	Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
	Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
	To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
	To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
	And in conclusion to oppose the bolt
	Against my coming in: thou better know'st
	The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
	Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
	Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
	Wherein I thee endow'd.

REGAN	Good sir, to the purpose.

KING LEAR	Who put my man i' the stocks?

	[Tucket within]

CORNWALL	What trumpet's that?

REGAN	I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
	That she would soon be here.

	[Enter OSWALD]

		       Is your lady come?

KING LEAR	This is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd pride
	Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
	Out, varlet, from my sight!

CORNWALL	What means your grace?

KING LEAR	Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope
	Thou didst not know on't. Who comes here? O heavens,

	[Enter GONERIL]

	If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
	Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
	Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!

	[To GONERIL]

	Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
	O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

GONERIL	Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?
	All's not offence that indiscretion finds
	And dotage terms so.

KING LEAR	O sides, you are too tough;
	Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the stocks?

CORNWALL	I set him there, sir: but his own disorders
	Deserved much less advancement.

KING LEAR	You! did you?

REGAN	I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
	If, till the expiration of your month,
	You will return and sojourn with my sister,
	Dismissing half your train, come then to me:
	I am now from home, and out of that provision
	Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

KING LEAR	Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?
	No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
	To wage against the enmity o' the air;
	To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,--
	Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her?
	Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
	Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
	To knee his throne, and, squire-like; pension beg
	To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
	Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
	To this detested groom.

	[Pointing at OSWALD]

GONERIL	At your choice, sir.

KING LEAR	I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:
	I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
	We'll no more meet, no more see one another:
	But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
	Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
	Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
	A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
	In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
	Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
	I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
	Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
	Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:
	I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
	I and my hundred knights.

REGAN	Not altogether so:
	I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
	For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;
	For those that mingle reason with your passion
	Must be content to think you old, and so--
	But she knows what she does.

KING LEAR	Is this well spoken?

REGAN	I dare avouch it, sir: what, fifty followers?
	Is it not well? What should you need of more?
	Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
	Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,
	Should many people, under two commands,
	Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

GONERIL	Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
	From those that she calls servants or from mine?

REGAN	Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you,
	We could control them. If you will come to me,--
	For now I spy a danger,--I entreat you
	To bring but five and twenty: to no more
	Will I give place or notice.

KING LEAR	I gave you all--

REGAN	                  And in good time you gave it.

KING LEAR	Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
	But kept a reservation to be follow'd
	With such a number. What, must I come to you
	With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?

REGAN	And speak't again, my lord; no more with me.

KING LEAR	Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,
	When others are more wicked: not being the worst
	Stands in some rank of praise.

	[To GONERIL]

		         I'll go with thee:
	Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
	And thou art twice her love.

GONERIL	Hear me, my lord;
	What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
	To follow in a house where twice so many
	Have a command to tend you?

REGAN	What need one?

KING LEAR	O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
	Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
	Allow not nature more than nature needs,
	Man's life's as cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
	If only to go warm were gorgeous,
	Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
	Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need,--
	You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
	You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
	As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
	If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
	Against their father, fool me not so much
	To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
	And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
	Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,
	I will have such revenges on you both,
	That all the world shall--I will do such things,--
	What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
	The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep
	No, I'll not weep:
	I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
	Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
	Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!

	[Exeunt KING LEAR, GLOUCESTER, KENT, and Fool]

	[Storm and tempest]

CORNWALL	Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.

REGAN	This house is little: the old man and his people
	Cannot be well bestow'd.

GONERIL	'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,
	And must needs taste his folly.

REGAN	For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
	But not one follower.

GONERIL	So am I purposed.
	Where is my lord of Gloucester?

CORNWALL	Follow'd the old man forth: he is return'd.

	[Re-enter GLOUCESTER]

GLOUCESTER	The king is in high rage.

CORNWALL	Whither is he going?

GLOUCESTER	He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.

CORNWALL	'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.

GONERIL	My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

GLOUCESTER	Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
	Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about
	There's scarce a bush.

REGAN	O, sir, to wilful men,
	The injuries that they themselves procure
	Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors:
	He is attended with a desperate train;
	And what they may incense him to, being apt
	To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

CORNWALL	Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night:
	My Regan counsels well; come out o' the storm.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE I	A heath.

	[Storm still. Enter KENT and a Gentleman, meeting]

KENT	Who's there, besides foul weather?

Gentleman	One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

KENT	I know you. Where's the king?

Gentleman	Contending with the fretful element:
	Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea,
	Or swell the curled water 'bove the main,
	That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
	Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
	Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
	Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
	The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
	This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
	The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
	Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
	And bids what will take all.

KENT	But who is with him?

Gentleman	None but the fool; who labours to out-jest
	His heart-struck injuries.

KENT	Sir, I do know you;
	And dare, upon the warrant of my note,
	Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
	Although as yet the face of it be cover'd
	With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
	Who have--as who have not, that their great stars
	Throned and set high?--servants, who seem no less,
	Which are to France the spies and speculations
	Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
	Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,
	Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
	Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
	Whereof perchance these are but furnishings;
	But, true it is, from France there comes a power
	Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
	Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
	In some of our best ports, and are at point
	To show their open banner. Now to you:
	If on my credit you dare build so far
	To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
	Some that will thank you, making just report
	Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
	The king hath cause to plain.
	I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
	And, from some knowledge and assurance, offer
	This office to you.

Gentleman	I will talk further with you.

KENT	No, do not.
	For confirmation that I am much more
	Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
	What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,--
	As fear not but you shall,--show her this ring;
	And she will tell you who your fellow is
	That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
	I will go seek the king.

Gentleman	Give me your hand: have you no more to say?

KENT	Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet;
	That, when we have found the king,--in which your pain
	That way, I'll this,--he that first lights on him
	Holla the other.

	[Exeunt severally]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE II	Another part of the heath. Storm still.

	[Enter KING LEAR and Fool]

KING LEAR	Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
	You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
	Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
	You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
	Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
	Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
	Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
	Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
	That make ingrateful man!

Fool	O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry
	house is better than this rain-water out o' door.
	Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters' blessing:
	here's a night pities neither wise man nor fool.

KING LEAR	Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
	Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
	I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
	I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
	You owe me no subscription: then let fall
	Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
	A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
	But yet I call you servile ministers,
	That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
	Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
	So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!

Fool	He that has a house to put's head in has a good
	head-piece.
	The cod-piece that will house
	Before the head has any,
	The head and he shall louse;
	So beggars marry many.
	The man that makes his toe
	What he his heart should make
	Shall of a corn cry woe,
	And turn his sleep to wake.
	For there was never yet fair woman but she made
	mouths in a glass.

KING LEAR	No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
	I will say nothing.

	[Enter KENT]

KENT	Who's there?

Fool	Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece; that's a wise
	man and a fool.

KENT	Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night
	Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
	Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
	And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
	Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
	Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
	Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
	The affliction nor the fear.

KING LEAR	Let the great gods,
	That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
	Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
	That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
	Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
	Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
	That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
	That under covert and convenient seeming
	Hast practised on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
	Rive your concealing continents, and cry
	These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
	More sinn'd against than sinning.

KENT	Alack, bare-headed!
	Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
	Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
	Repose you there; while I to this hard house--
	More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;
	Which even but now, demanding after you,
	Denied me to come in--return, and force
	Their scanted courtesy.

KING LEAR	My wits begin to turn.
	Come on, my boy: how dost, my boy? art cold?
	I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
	The art of our necessities is strange,
	That can make vile things precious. Come,
	your hovel.
	Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
	That's sorry yet for thee.

Fool	[Singing]

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

KING LEAR	True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.

	[Exeunt KING LEAR and KENT]

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

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE III	Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter GLOUCESTER and EDMUND]

GLOUCESTER	Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural
	dealing. When I desire their leave that I might
	pity him, they took from me the use of mine own
	house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual
	displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for
	him, nor any way sustain him.

EDMUND	Most savage and unnatural!

GLOUCESTER	Go to; say you nothing. There's a division betwixt
	the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have
	received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to be
	spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet:
	these injuries the king now bears will be revenged
	home; there's part of a power already footed: we
	must incline to the king. I will seek him, and
	privily relieve him: go you and maintain talk with
	the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived:
	if he ask for me. I am ill, and gone to bed.
	Though I die for it, as no less is threatened me,
	the king my old master must be relieved. There is
	some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.

	[Exit]

EDMUND	This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
	Instantly know; and of that letter too:
	This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
	That which my father loses; no less than all:
	The younger rises when the old doth fall.

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE IV	The heath. Before a hovel.

	[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool]

KENT	Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
	The tyranny of the open night's too rough
	For nature to endure.

	[Storm still]

KING LEAR	Let me alone.

KENT	Good my lord, enter here.

KING LEAR	Wilt break my heart?

KENT	I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

KING LEAR	Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
	Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
	But where the greater malady is fix'd,
	The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;
	But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
	Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the
	mind's free,
	The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
	Doth from my senses take all feeling else
	Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
	Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
	For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:
	No, I will weep no more. In such a night
	To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
	In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
	Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,--
	O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
	No more of that.

KENT	                  Good my lord, enter here.

KING LEAR	Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
	This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
	On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.

	[To the Fool]

	In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty,--
	Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.

	[Fool goes in]

	Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
	That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
	How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
	Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
	From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
	Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
	Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
	That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
	And show the heavens more just.

EDGAR	[Within]  Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

	[The Fool runs out from the hovel]

Fool	Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit
	Help me, help me!

KENT	Give me thy hand. Who's there?

Fool	A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.

KENT	What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
	Come forth.

	[Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man]

EDGAR	Away! the foul fiend follows me!
	Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
	Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

KING LEAR	Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
	And art thou come to this?

EDGAR	Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
	fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
	through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and quagmire;
	that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
	in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
	proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
	four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
	traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold,--O, do
	de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
	star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
	charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
	have him now,--and there,--and there again, and there.

	[Storm still]

KING LEAR	What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
	Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?

Fool	Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.

KING LEAR	Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
	Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!

KENT	He hath no daughters, sir.

KING LEAR	Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
	To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
	Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
	Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
	Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
	Those pelican daughters.

EDGAR	Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
	Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!

Fool	This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

EDGAR	Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
	keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
	man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
	array. Tom's a-cold.

KING LEAR	What hast thou been?

EDGAR	A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
	my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
	my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
	her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
	broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
	slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
	wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
	out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
	ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
	wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
	Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
	silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
	out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
	from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.
	Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
	Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
	Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.

	[Storm still]

KING LEAR	Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
	with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
	Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
	owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
	no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
	's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
	unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
	forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
	come unbutton here.

	[Tearing off his clothes]

Fool	Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night
	to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were
	like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the
	rest on's body cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch]

EDGAR	This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins
	at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives
	the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the
	hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the
	poor creature of earth.
	S. Withold footed thrice the old;
	He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
	Bid her alight,
	And her troth plight,
	And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

KENT	How fares your grace?

KING LEAR	What's he?

KENT	Who's there? What is't you seek?

GLOUCESTER	What are you there? Your names?

EDGAR	Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad,
	the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water; that in
	the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages,
	eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat and
	the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the
	standing pool; who is whipped from tithing to
	tithing, and stock- punished, and imprisoned; who
	hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his
	body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
	But mice and rats, and such small deer,
	Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
	Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!

GLOUCESTER	What, hath your grace no better company?

EDGAR	The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
	Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.

GLOUCESTER	Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
	That it doth hate what gets it.

EDGAR	Poor Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER	Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
	To obey in all your daughters' hard commands:
	Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
	And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
	Yet have I ventured to come seek you out,
	And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

KING LEAR	First let me talk with this philosopher.
	What is the cause of thunder?

KENT	Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.

KING LEAR	I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
	What is your study?

EDGAR	How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.

KING LEAR	Let me ask you one word in private.

KENT	Importune him once more to go, my lord;
	His wits begin to unsettle.

GLOUCESTER	Canst thou blame him?

	[Storm still]

	His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
	He said it would be thus, poor banish'd man!
	Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
	I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
	Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life,
	But lately, very late: I loved him, friend;
	No father his son dearer: truth to tell thee,
	The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night's this!
	I do beseech your grace,--

KING LEAR	O, cry your mercy, sir.
	Noble philosopher, your company.

EDGAR	Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER	In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee warm.

KING LEAR	Come let's in all.

KENT	                  This way, my lord.

KING LEAR	With him;
	I will keep still with my philosopher.

KENT	Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.

GLOUCESTER	Take him you on.

KENT	Sirrah, come on; go along with us.

KING LEAR	Come, good Athenian.

GLOUCESTER	No words, no words: hush.

EDGAR	      Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
	His word was still,--Fie, foh, and fum,
	I smell the blood of a British man.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE V	Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND]

CORNWALL	I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.

EDMUND	How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus
	gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think
	of.

CORNWALL	I now perceive, it was not altogether your
	brother's evil disposition made him seek his death;
	but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reprovable
	badness in himself.

EDMUND	How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to
	be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which
	approves him an intelligent party to the advantages
	of France: O heavens! that this treason were not,
	or not I the detector!

CORNWALL	o with me to the duchess.

EDMUND	If the matter of this paper be certain, you have
	mighty business in hand.

CORNWALL	True or false, it hath made thee earl of
	Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he
	may be ready for our apprehension.

EDMUND	[Aside]  If I find him comforting the king, it will
	stuff his suspicion more fully.--I will persevere in
	my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore
	between that and my blood.

CORNWALL	I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a
	dearer father in my love.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE VI	A chamber in a farmhouse adjoining the castle.

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, KING LEAR, KENT, Fool, and EDGAR]

GLOUCESTER	Here is better than the open air; take it
	thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
	addition I can: I will not be long from you.

KENT	All the power of his wits have given way to his
	impatience: the gods reward your kindness!

	[Exit GLOUCESTER]

EDGAR	Frateretto calls me; and tells me
	Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness.
	Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

Fool	Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
	gentleman or a yeoman?

KING LEAR	A king, a king!

Fool	No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son;
	for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman
	before him.

KING LEAR	To have a thousand with red burning spits
	Come hissing in upon 'em,--

EDGAR	The foul fiend bites my back.

Fool	He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
	horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.

KING LEAR	It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.

	[To EDGAR]

	Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer;

	[To the Fool]

	Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she foxes!

EDGAR	   Look, where he stands and glares!
	Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
	Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me,--

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

EDGAR	The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a
	nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for two
	white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no
	food for thee.

KENT	How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed:
	Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

KING LEAR	I'll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence.

	[To EDGAR]

	Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;

	[To the Fool]

	And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
	Bench by his side:

	[To KENT]

	you are o' the commission,
	Sit you too.

EDGAR	Let us deal justly.
	Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
	Thy sheep be in the corn;
	And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
	Thy sheep shall take no harm.
	Pur! the cat is gray.

KING LEAR	Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my
	oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the
	poor king her father.

Fool	Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

KING LEAR	She cannot deny it.

Fool	Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

KING LEAR	And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
	What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
	Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
	False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?

EDGAR	Bless thy five wits!

KENT	O pity! Sir, where is the patience now,
	That thou so oft have boasted to retain?

EDGAR	[Aside]  My tears begin to take his part so much,
	They'll mar my counterfeiting.

KING LEAR	The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and
	Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.

EDGAR	Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
	Be thy mouth or black or white,
	Tooth that poisons if it bite;
	Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim,
	Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
	Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
	Tom will make them weep and wail:
	For, with throwing thus my head,
	Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
	Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and
	fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

KING LEAR	Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds
	about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that
	makes these hard hearts?

	[To EDGAR]

	You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred; only I
	do not like the fashion of your garments: you will
	say they are Persian attire: but let them be changed.

KENT	Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

KING LEAR	Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains:
	so, so, so. We'll go to supper i' he morning. So, so, so.

Fool	And I'll go to bed at noon.

	[Re-enter GLOUCESTER]

GLOUCESTER	Come hither, friend: where is the king my master?

KENT	Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits are gone.

GLOUCESTER	Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms;
	I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him:
	There is a litter ready; lay him in 't,
	And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
	Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master:
	If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
	With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
	Stand in assured loss: take up, take up;
	And follow me, that will to some provision
	Give thee quick conduct.

KENT	Oppressed nature sleeps:
	This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,
	Which, if convenience will not allow,
	Stand in hard cure.

	[To the Fool]

	Come, help to bear thy master;
	Thou must not stay behind.

GLOUCESTER	Come, come, away.

	[Exeunt all but EDGAR]

EDGAR	When we our betters see bearing our woes,
	We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
	Who alone suffers suffers most i' the mind,
	Leaving free things and happy shows behind:
	But then the mind much sufferance doth o'er skip,
	When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
	How light and portable my pain seems now,
	When that which makes me bend makes the king bow,
	He childed as I father'd! Tom, away!
	Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,
	When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
	In thy just proof, repeals and reconciles thee.
	What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the king!
	Lurk, lurk.

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT III

SCENE VII	Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, EDMUND, and Servants]

CORNWALL	Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him
	this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek
	out the villain Gloucester.

	[Exeunt some of the Servants]

REGAN	Hang him instantly.

GONERIL	Pluck out his eyes.

CORNWALL	Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
	sister company: the revenges we are bound to take
	upon your traitorous father are not fit for your
	beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to
	a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
	like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
	betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my
	lord of Gloucester.

	[Enter OSWALD]

	How now! where's the king?

OSWALD	My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence:
	Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
	Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
	Who, with some other of the lords dependants,
	Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
	To have well-armed friends.

CORNWALL	Get horses for your mistress.

GONERIL	Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

CORNWALL	Edmund, farewell.

	[Exeunt GONERIL, EDMUND, and OSWALD]

	Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
	Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

	[Exeunt other Servants]

	Though well we may not pass upon his life
	Without the form of justice, yet our power
	Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
	May blame, but not control. Who's there? the traitor?

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three]

REGAN	Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

CORNWALL	Bind fast his corky arms.

GLOUCESTER	What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
	You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

CORNWALL	Bind him, I say.

	[Servants bind him]

REGAN	                  Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

GLOUCESTER	Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

CORNWALL	To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find--

	[REGAN plucks his beard]

GLOUCESTER	By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
	To pluck me by the beard.

REGAN	So white, and such a traitor!

GLOUCESTER	Naughty lady,
	These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
	Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
	With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
	You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

CORNWALL	Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

REGAN	Be simple answerer, for we know the truth.

CORNWALL	And what confederacy have you with the traitors
	Late footed in the kingdom?

REGAN	To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king? Speak.

GLOUCESTER	I have a letter guessingly set down,
	Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
	And not from one opposed.

CORNWALL	Cunning.

REGAN	And false.

CORNWALL	Where hast thou sent the king?

GLOUCESTER	To Dover.

REGAN	Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril--

CORNWALL	Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

GLOUCESTER	I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

REGAN	Wherefore to Dover, sir?

GLOUCESTER	Because I would not see thy cruel nails
	Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
	In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
	The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
	In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up,
	And quench'd the stelled fires:
	Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
	If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
	Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
	All cruels else subscribed: but I shall see
	The winged vengeance overtake such children.

CORNWALL	See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
	Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.

GLOUCESTER	He that will think to live till he be old,
	Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!

REGAN	One side will mock another; the other too.

CORNWALL	If you see vengeance,--

First Servant	Hold your hand, my lord:
	I have served you ever since I was a child;
	But better service have I never done you
	Than now to bid you hold.

REGAN	How now, you dog!

First Servant	If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
	I'd shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

CORNWALL	My villain!

	[They draw and fight]

First Servant	Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

REGAN	Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!

	[Takes a sword, and runs at him behind]

First Servant	O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
	To see some mischief on him. O!

	[Dies]

CORNWALL	Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
	Where is thy lustre now?

GLOUCESTER	All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
	Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
	To quit this horrid act.

REGAN	Out, treacherous villain!
	Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
	That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
	Who is too good to pity thee.

GLOUCESTER	O my follies! then Edgar was abused.
	Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

REGAN	Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
	His way to Dover.

	[Exit one with GLOUCESTER]

	How is't, my lord? how look you?

CORNWALL	I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
	Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
	Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
	Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.

	[Exit CORNWALL, led by REGAN]

Second Servant	I'll never care what wickedness I do,
	If this man come to good.

Third Servant	If she live long,
	And in the end meet the old course of death,
	Women will all turn monsters.

Second Servant	Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
	To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
	Allows itself to any thing.

Third Servant	Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
	To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

	[Exeunt severally]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE I	The heath.

	[Enter EDGAR]

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

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, led by an Old Man]

	My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
	But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
	Lie would not yield to age.

Old Man	O, my good lord, I have been your tenant, and
	your father's tenant, these fourscore years.

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

Old Man	Alack, sir, you cannot see your way.

GLOUCESTER	I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
	I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen,
	Our means secure us, and our mere defects
	Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
	The food of thy abused father's wrath!
	Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
	I'ld say I had eyes again!

Old Man	How now! Who's there?

EDGAR	[Aside]  O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at
	the worst'?
	I am worse than e'er I was.

Old Man	'Tis poor mad Tom.

EDGAR	[Aside]  And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
	So long as we can say  'This is the worst.'

Old Man	Fellow, where goest?

GLOUCESTER	Is it a beggar-man?

Old Man	Madman and beggar too.

GLOUCESTER	He has some reason, else he could not beg.
	I' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;
	Which made me think a man a worm: my son
	Came then into my mind; and yet my mind
	Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard
	more since.
	As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
	They kill us for their sport.

EDGAR	[Aside]	How should this be?
	Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
	Angering itself and others.--Bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER	Is that the naked fellow?

Old Man	Ay, my lord.

GLOUCESTER	Then, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my sake,
	Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
	I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
	And bring some covering for this naked soul,
	Who I'll entreat to lead me.

Old Man	Alack, sir, he is mad.

GLOUCESTER	'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind.
	Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
	Above the rest, be gone.

Old Man	I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
	Come on't what will.

	[Exit]

GLOUCESTER	Sirrah, naked fellow,--

EDGAR	Poor Tom's a-cold.

	[Aside]

	I cannot daub it further.

GLOUCESTER	Come hither, fellow.

EDGAR	[Aside]  And yet I must.--Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

GLOUCESTER	Know'st thou the way to Dover?

EDGAR	Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor
	Tom hath been scared out of his good wits: bless
	thee, good man's son, from the foul fiend! five
	fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as
	Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
	stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of
	mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids
	and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER	Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
	Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
	Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so still!
	Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
	That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
	Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;
	So distribution should undo excess,
	And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

EDGAR	Ay, master.

GLOUCESTER	There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
	Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
	Bring me but to the very brim of it,
	And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
	With something rich about me: from that place
	I shall no leading need.

EDGAR	Give me thy arm:
	Poor Tom shall lead thee.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE II	Before ALBANY's palace.

	[Enter GONERIL and EDMUND]

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

	[Enter OSWALD]

		 Now, where's your master'?

OSWALD	Madam, within; but never man so changed.
	I told him of the army that was landed;
	He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:
	His answer was 'The worse:' of Gloucester's treachery,
	And of the loyal service of his son,
	When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot,
	And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
	What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
	What like, offensive.

GONERIL	[To EDMUND]  Then shall you go no further.
	It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
	That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
	Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
	May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
	Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
	I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
	Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
	Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,
	If you dare venture in your own behalf,
	A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech;

	[Giving a favour]

	Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
	Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
	Conceive, and fare thee well.

EDMUND	Yours in the ranks of death.

GONERIL	My most dear Gloucester!

	[Exit EDMUND]

	O, the difference of man and man!
	To thee a woman's services are due:
	My fool usurps my body.

OSWALD	Madam, here comes my lord.

	[Exit]

	[Enter ALBANY]

GONERIL	I have been worth the whistle.

ALBANY	O Goneril!
	You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
	Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
	That nature, which contemns its origin,
	Cannot be border'd certain in itself;
	She that herself will sliver and disbranch
	From her material sap, perforce must wither
	And come to deadly use.

GONERIL	No more; the text is foolish.

ALBANY	Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
	Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
	Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
	A father, and a gracious aged man,
	Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
	Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
	Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
	A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
	If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
	Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
	It will come,
	Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
	Like monsters of the deep.

GONERIL	Milk-liver'd man!
	That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
	Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
	Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
	Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd
	Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
	France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
	With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
	Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
	'Alack, why does he so?'

ALBANY	See thyself, devil!
	Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
	So horrid as in woman.

GONERIL	O vain fool!

ALBANY	Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame,
	Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
	To let these hands obey my blood,
	They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
	Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,
	A woman's shape doth shield thee.

GONERIL	Marry, your manhood now--

	[Enter a Messenger]

ALBANY	What news?

Messenger	O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead:
	Slain by his servant, going to put out
	The other eye of Gloucester.

ALBANY	Gloucester's eye!

Messenger	A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
	Opposed against the act, bending his sword
	To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
	Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
	But not without that harmful stroke, which since
	Hath pluck'd him after.

ALBANY	This shows you are above,
	You justicers, that these our nether crimes
	So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
	Lost he his other eye?

Messenger	Both, both, my lord.
	This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
	'Tis from your sister.

GONERIL	[Aside]              One way I like this well;
	But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
	May all the building in my fancy pluck
	Upon my hateful life: another way,
	The news is not so tart.--I'll read, and answer.

	[Exit]

ALBANY	Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

Messenger	Come with my lady hither.

ALBANY	He is not here.

Messenger	No, my good lord; I met him back again.

ALBANY	Knows he the wickedness?

Messenger	Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against him;
	And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
	Might have the freer course.

ALBANY	Gloucester, I live
	To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
	And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
	Tell me what more thou know'st.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE III	The French camp near Dover.

	[Enter KENT and a Gentleman]

KENT	Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back
	know you the reason?

Gentleman	Something he left imperfect in the
	state, which since his coming forth is thought
	of; which imports to the kingdom so much
	fear and danger, that his personal return was
	most required and necessary.

KENT	Who hath he left behind him general?

Gentleman	The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

KENT	Did your letters pierce the queen to any
	demonstration of grief?

Gentleman	Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
	And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
	Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a queen
	Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
	Sought to be king o'er her.

KENT	O, then it moved her.

Gentleman	Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove
	Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
	Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
	Were like a better way: those happy smilets,
	That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
	What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
	As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,
	Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved,
	If all could so become it.

KENT	Made she no verbal question?

Gentleman	'Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of 'father'
	Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart:
	Cried 'Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies! sisters!
	Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i' the night?
	Let pity not be believed!' There she shook
	The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
	And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
	To deal with grief alone.

KENT	It is the stars,
	The stars above us, govern our conditions;
	Else one self mate and mate could not beget
	Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

Gentleman	No.

KENT	Was this before the king return'd?

Gentleman	No, since.

KENT	Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the town;
	Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
	What we are come about, and by no means
	Will yield to see his daughter.

Gentleman	Why, good sir?

KENT	A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,
	That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
	To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
	To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting
	His mind so venomously, that burning shame
	Detains him from Cordelia.

Gentleman	Alack, poor gentleman!

KENT	Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?

Gentleman	'Tis so, they are afoot.

KENT	Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear,
	And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
	Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
	When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
	Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
	Along with me.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE IV	The same. A tent.

	[Enter, with drum and colours, CORDELIA, Doctor, and Soldiers]

CORDELIA	Alack, 'tis he: why, he was met even now
	As mad as the vex'd sea; singing aloud;
	Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
	With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
	Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
	In our sustaining corn. A century send forth;
	Search every acre in the high-grown field,
	And bring him to our eye.

	[Exit an Officer]

		    What can man's wisdom
	In the restoring his bereaved sense?
	He that helps him take all my outward worth.

Doctor	There is means, madam:
	Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
	The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
	Are many simples operative, whose power
	Will close the eye of anguish.

CORDELIA	All blest secrets,
	All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
	Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
	In the good man's distress! Seek, seek for him;
	Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
	That wants the means to lead it.

	[Enter a Messenger]

Messenger	News, madam;
	The British powers are marching hitherward.

CORDELIA	'Tis known before; our preparation stands
	In expectation of them. O dear father,
	It is thy business that I go about;
	Therefore great France
	My mourning and important tears hath pitied.
	No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
	But love, dear love, and our aged father's right:
	Soon may I hear and see him!

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE V	Gloucester's castle.

	[Enter REGAN and OSWALD]

REGAN	But are my brother's powers set forth?

OSWALD	Ay, madam.

REGAN	Himself in person there?

OSWALD	Madam, with much ado:
	Your sister is the better soldier.

REGAN	Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

OSWALD	No, madam.

REGAN	What might import my sister's letter to him?

OSWALD	I know not, lady.

REGAN	'Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
	It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out,
	To let him live: where he arrives he moves
	All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone,
	In pity of his misery, to dispatch
	His nighted life: moreover, to descry
	The strength o' the enemy.

OSWALD	I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

REGAN	Our troops set forth to-morrow: stay with us;
	The ways are dangerous.

OSWALD	I may not, madam:
	My lady charged my duty in this business.

REGAN	Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
	Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
	Something--I know not what: I'll love thee much,
	Let me unseal the letter.

OSWALD	Madam, I had rather--

REGAN	I know your lady does not love her husband;
	I am sure of that: and at her late being here
	She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks
	To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

OSWALD	I, madam?

REGAN	I speak in understanding; you are; I know't:
	Therefore I do advise you, take this note:
	My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd;
	And more convenient is he for my hand
	Than for your lady's: you may gather more.
	If you do find him, pray you, give him this;
	And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
	I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
	So, fare you well.
	If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
	Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

OSWALD	Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
	What party I do follow.

REGAN	Fare thee well.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE VI	Fields near Dover.

	[Enter GLOUCESTER, and EDGAR dressed like a peasant]

GLOUCESTER	When shall we come to the top of that same hill?

EDGAR	You do climb up it now: look, how we labour.

GLOUCESTER	Methinks the ground is even.

EDGAR	Horrible steep.
	Hark, do you hear the sea?

GLOUCESTER	No, truly.

EDGAR	Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
	By your eyes' anguish.

GLOUCESTER	So may it be, indeed:
	Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st
	In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

EDGAR	You're much deceived: in nothing am I changed
	But in my garments.

GLOUCESTER	Methinks you're better spoken.

EDGAR	Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How fearful
	And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
	The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
	Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down
	Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
	Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
	The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
	Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
	Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
	Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge,
	That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
	Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more;
	Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
	Topple down headlong.

GLOUCESTER	Set me where you stand.

EDGAR	Give me your hand: you are now within a foot
	Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the moon
	Would I not leap upright.

GLOUCESTER	Let go my hand.
	Here, friend, 's another purse; in it a jewel
	Well worth a poor man's taking: fairies and gods
	Prosper it with thee! Go thou farther off;
	Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

EDGAR	Now fare you well, good sir.

GLOUCESTER	With all my heart.

EDGAR	Why I do trifle thus with his despair
	Is done to cure it.

GLOUCESTER	[Kneeling]  O you mighty gods!
	This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
	Shake patiently my great affliction off:
	If I could bear it longer, and not fall
	To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
	My snuff and loathed part of nature should
	Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
	Now, fellow, fare thee well.

	[He falls forward]

EDGAR	Gone, sir: farewell.
	And yet I know not how conceit may rob
	The treasury of life, when life itself
	Yields to the theft: had he been where he thought,
	By this, had thought been past. Alive or dead?
	Ho, you sir! friend! Hear you, sir! speak!
	Thus might he pass indeed: yet he revives.
	What are you, sir?

GLOUCESTER	                  Away, and let me die.

EDGAR	Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
	So many fathom down precipitating,
	Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg: but thou dost breathe;
	Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
	Ten masts at each make not the altitude
	Which thou hast perpendicularly fell:
	Thy life's a miracle. Speak yet again.

GLOUCESTER	But have I fall'n, or no?

EDGAR	From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
	Look up a-height; the shrill-gorged lark so far
	Cannot be seen or heard: do but look up.

GLOUCESTER	Alack, I have no eyes.
	Is wretchedness deprived that benefit,
	To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
	When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage,
	And frustrate his proud will.

EDGAR	Give me your arm:
	Up: so. How is 't? Feel you your legs? You stand.

GLOUCESTER	Too well, too well.

EDGAR	This is above all strangeness.
	Upon the crown o' the cliff, what thing was that
	Which parted from you?

GLOUCESTER	A poor unfortunate beggar.

EDGAR	As I stood here below, methought his eyes
	Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
	Horns whelk'd and waved like the enridged sea:
	It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father,
	Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
	Of men's impossibilities, have preserved thee.

GLOUCESTER	I do remember now: henceforth I'll bear
	Affliction till it do cry out itself
	'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
	I took it for a man; often 'twould say
	'The fiend, the fiend:' he led me to that place.

EDGAR	Bear free and patient thoughts. But who comes here?

	[Enter KING LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild flowers]

	The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
	His master thus.

KING LEAR	No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the
	king himself.

EDGAR	O thou side-piercing sight!

KING LEAR	Nature's above art in that respect. There's your
	press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a
	crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard. Look,
	look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece of toasted
	cheese will do 't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove
	it on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O, well
	flown, bird! i' the clout, i' the clout: hewgh!
	Give the word.

EDGAR	Sweet marjoram.

KING LEAR	Pass.

GLOUCESTER	I know that voice.

KING LEAR	Ha! Goneril, with a white beard! They flattered
	me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my
	beard ere the black ones were there. To say 'ay'
	and 'no' to every thing that I said!--'Ay' and 'no'
	too was no good divinity. When the rain came to
	wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when
	the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I
	found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they are
	not men o' their words: they told me I was every
	thing; 'tis a lie, I am not ague-proof.

GLOUCESTER	The trick of that voice I do well remember:
	Is 't not the king?

KING LEAR	Ay, every inch a king:
	When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
	I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery?
	Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
	The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly
	Does lecher in my sight.
	Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
	Was kinder to his father than my daughters
	Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
	To 't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
	Behold yond simpering dame,
	Whose face between her forks presages snow;
	That minces virtue, and does shake the head
	To hear of pleasure's name;
	The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
	With a more riotous appetite.
	Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
	Though women all above:
	But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
	Beneath is all the fiends';
	There's hell, there's darkness, there's the
	sulphurous pit,
	Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
	fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
	good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination:
	there's money for thee.

GLOUCESTER	O, let me kiss that hand!

KING LEAR	Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

GLOUCESTER	O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
	Shall so wear out to nought. Dost thou know me?

KING LEAR	I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny
	at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll not
	love. Read thou this challenge; mark but the
	penning of it.

GLOUCESTER	Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

EDGAR	I would not take this from report; it is,
	And my heart breaks at it.

KING LEAR	Read.

GLOUCESTER	What, with the case of eyes?

KING LEAR	O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your
	head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in
	a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how
	this world goes.

GLOUCESTER	I see it feelingly.

KING LEAR	What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes
	with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond
	justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in
	thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which
	is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen
	a farmer's dog bark at a beggar?

GLOUCESTER	Ay, sir.

KING LEAR	And the creature run from the cur? There thou
	mightst behold the great image of authority: a
	dog's obeyed in office.
	Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
	Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
	Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
	For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
	Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
	Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
	And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
	Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
	None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
	Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
	To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
	And like a scurvy politician, seem
	To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
	Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.

EDGAR	O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!

KING LEAR	If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
	I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
	Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
	Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air,
	We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee: mark.

GLOUCESTER	Alack, alack the day!

KING LEAR	When we are born, we cry that we are come
	To this great stage of fools: this a good block;
	It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
	A troop of horse with felt: I'll put 't in proof;
	And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
	Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

	[Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants]

Gentleman	O, here he is: lay hand upon him. Sir,
	Your most dear daughter--

KING LEAR	No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
	The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
	You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
	I am cut to the brains.

Gentleman	You shall have any thing.

KING LEAR	No seconds? all myself?
	Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
	To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
	Ay, and laying autumn's dust.

Gentleman	Good sir,--

KING LEAR	I will die bravely, like a bridegroom. What!
	I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,
	My masters, know you that.

Gentleman	You are a royal one, and we obey you.

KING LEAR	Then there's life in't. Nay, if you get it, you
	shall get it with running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.

	[Exit running; Attendants follow]

Gentleman	A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
	Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter,
	Who redeems nature from the general curse
	Which twain have brought her to.

EDGAR	Hail, gentle sir.

Gentleman	                  Sir, speed you: what's your will?

EDGAR	Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Gentleman	Most sure and vulgar: every one hears that,
	Which can distinguish sound.

EDGAR	But, by your favour,
	How near's the other army?

Gentleman	Near and on speedy foot; the main descry
	Stands on the hourly thought.

EDGAR	I thank you, sir: that's all.

Gentleman	Though that the queen on special cause is here,
	Her army is moved on.

EDGAR	I thank you, sir.

	[Exit Gentleman]

GLOUCESTER	You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me:
	Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
	To die before you please!

EDGAR	Well pray you, father.

GLOUCESTER	Now, good sir, what are you?

EDGAR	A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows;
	Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
	Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
	I'll lead you to some biding.

GLOUCESTER	Hearty thanks:
	The bounty and the benison of heaven
	To boot, and boot!

	[Enter OSWALD]

OSWALD	A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
	That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh
	To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
	Briefly thyself remember: the sword is out
	That must destroy thee.

GLOUCESTER	Now let thy friendly hand
	Put strength enough to't.

	[EDGAR interposes]

OSWALD	Wherefore, bold peasant,
	Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
	Lest that the infection of his fortune take
	Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

EDGAR	Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.

OSWALD	Let go, slave, or thou diest!

EDGAR	Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk
	pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered out of my life,
	'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight.
	Nay, come not near th' old man; keep out, che vor
	ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be
	the harder: ch'ill be plain with you.

OSWALD	Out, dunghill!

EDGAR	Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: come; no matter vor
	your foins.

	[They fight, and EDGAR knocks him down]

OSWALD	Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:
	If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
	And give the letters which thou find'st about me
	To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out
	Upon the British party: O, untimely death!

	[Dies]

EDGAR	I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
	As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
	As badness would desire.

GLOUCESTER	What, is he dead?

EDGAR	Sit you down, father; rest you
	Let's see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of
	May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry
	He had no other death's-man. Let us see:
	Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
	To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;
	Their papers, is more lawful.

	[Reads]

	'Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have
	many opportunities to cut him off: if your will
	want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered.
	There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror:
	then am I the prisoner, and his bed my goal; from
	the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply
	the place for your labour.
		'Your--wife, so I would say--
		'Affectionate servant,
		'GONERIL.'
	O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!
	A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
	And the exchange my brother! Here, in the sands,
	Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
	Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time
	With this ungracious paper strike the sight
	Of the death practised duke: for him 'tis well
	That of thy death and business I can tell.

GLOUCESTER	The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
	That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
	Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
	So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
	And woes by wrong imaginations lose
	The knowledge of themselves.

EDGAR	Give me your hand:

	[Drum afar off]

	Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum:
	Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT IV

SCENE VII	A tent in the French camp. LEAR on a bed asleep,
	soft music playing; Gentleman, and others attending.

	[Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Doctor]

CORDELIA	O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
	To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
	And every measure fail me.

KENT	To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.
	All my reports go with the modest truth;
	Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.

CORDELIA	Be better suited:
	These weeds are memories of those worser hours:
	I prithee, put them off.

KENT	Pardon me, dear madam;
	Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
	My boon I make it, that you know me not
	Till time and I think meet.

CORDELIA	Then be't so, my good lord.

	[To the Doctor]

		      How does the king?

Doctor	Madam, sleeps still.

CORDELIA	O you kind gods,
	Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
	The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up
	Of this child-changed father!

Doctor	So please your majesty
	That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.

CORDELIA	Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
	I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Gentleman	Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep
	We put fresh garments on him.

Doctor	Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;
	I doubt not of his temperance.

CORDELIA	Very well.

Doctor	Please you, draw near. Louder the music there!

CORDELIA	O my dear father! Restoration hang
	Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss
	Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
	Have in thy reverence made!

KENT	Kind and dear princess!

CORDELIA	Had you not been their father, these white flakes
	Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
	To be opposed against the warring winds?
	To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
	In the most terrible and nimble stroke
	Of quick, cross lightning? to watch--poor perdu!--
	With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
	Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
	Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
	To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn,
	In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
	'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
	Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him.

Doctor	Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.

CORDELIA	How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

KING LEAR	You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:
	Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
	Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
	Do scald like moulten lead.

CORDELIA	Sir, do you know me?

KING LEAR	You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?

CORDELIA	Still, still, far wide!

Doctor	He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

KING LEAR	Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
	I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
	To see another thus. I know not what to say.
	I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
	I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
	Of my condition!

CORDELIA	                  O, look upon me, sir,
	And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:
	No, sir, you must not kneel.

KING LEAR	Pray, do not mock me:
	I am a very foolish fond old man,
	Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
	And, to deal plainly,
	I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
	Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
	Yet I am doubtful for I am mainly ignorant
	What place this is; and all the skill I have
	Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
	Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
	For, as I am a man, I think this lady
	To be my child Cordelia.

CORDELIA	And so I am, I am.

KING LEAR	Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:
	If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
	I know you do not love me; for your sisters
	Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
	You have some cause, they have not.

CORDELIA	No cause, no cause.

KING LEAR	Am I in France?

KENT	                  In your own kingdom, sir.

KING LEAR	Do not abuse me.

Doctor	Be comforted, good madam: the great rage,
	You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger
	To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
	Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
	Till further settling.

CORDELIA	Will't please your highness walk?

KING LEAR	You must bear with me:
	Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.

	[Exeunt all but KENT and Gentleman]

Gentleman	Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?

KENT	Most certain, sir.

Gentleman	Who is conductor of his people?

KENT	As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.

Gentleman	They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl
	of Kent in Germany.

KENT	Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the
	powers of the kingdom approach apace.

Gentleman	The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you
	well, sir.

	[Exit]

KENT	My point and period will be throughly wrought,
	Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT V

SCENE I	The British camp, near Dover.

	[Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN,
	Gentlemen, and Soldiers.

EDMUND	Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,
	Or whether since he is advised by aught
	To change the course: he's full of alteration
	And self-reproving: bring his constant pleasure.

	[To a Gentleman, who goes out]

REGAN	Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.

EDMUND	'Tis to be doubted, madam.

REGAN	Now, sweet lord,
	You know the goodness I intend upon you:
	Tell me--but truly--but then speak the truth,
	Do you not love my sister?

EDMUND	In honour'd love.

REGAN	But have you never found my brother's way
	To the forfended place?

EDMUND	That thought abuses you.

REGAN	I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
	And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.

EDMUND	No, by mine honour, madam.

REGAN	I never shall endure her: dear my lord,
	Be not familiar with her.

EDMUND	Fear me not:
	She and the duke her husband!

	[Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers]

GONERIL	[Aside]  I had rather lose the battle than that sister
	Should loosen him and me.

ALBANY	Our very loving sister, well be-met.
	Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
	With others whom the rigor of our state
	Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
	I never yet was valiant: for this business,
	It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
	Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear,
	Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

EDMUND	Sir, you speak nobly.

REGAN	Why is this reason'd?

GONERIL	Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
	For these domestic and particular broils
	Are not the question here.

ALBANY	Let's then determine
	With the ancient of war on our proceedings.

EDMUND	I shall attend you presently at your tent.

REGAN	Sister, you'll go with us?

GONERIL	No.

REGAN	'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.

GONERIL	[Aside]  O, ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.

	[As they are going out, enter EDGAR disguised]

EDGAR	If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
	Hear me one word.

ALBANY	                  I'll overtake you. Speak.

	[Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR]

EDGAR	Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
	If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
	For him that brought it: wretched though I seem,
	I can produce a champion that will prove
	What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
	Your business of the world hath so an end,
	And machination ceases. Fortune love you.

ALBANY	Stay till I have read the letter.

EDGAR	I was forbid it.
	When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
	And I'll appear again.

ALBANY	Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.

	[Exit EDGAR]

	[Re-enter EDMUND]

EDMUND	The enemy's in view; draw up your powers.
	Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
	By diligent discovery; but your haste
	Is now urged on you.

ALBANY	We will greet the time.

	[Exit]

EDMUND	To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
	Each jealous of the other, as the stung
	Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
	Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
	If both remain alive: to take the widow
	Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
	And hardly shall I carry out my side,
	Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use
	His countenance for the battle; which being done,
	Let her who would be rid of him devise
	His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
	Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
	The battle done, and they within our power,
	Shall never see his pardon; for my state
	Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

	[Exit]

	KING LEAR

ACT V

SCENE II	A field between the two camps.

	[Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours,
	KING LEAR, CORDELIA, and Soldiers, over the stage;
	and exeunt]

	[Enter EDGAR and GLOUCESTER]

EDGAR	Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
	For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
	If ever I return to you again,
	I'll bring you comfort.

GLOUCESTER	Grace go with you, sir!

	[Exit EDGAR]

	[Alarum and retreat within. Re-enter EDGAR]

EDGAR	Away, old man; give me thy hand; away!
	King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en:
	Give me thy hand; come on.

GLOUCESTER	No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.

EDGAR	What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
	Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
	Ripeness is all: come on.

GLOUCESTER	And that's true too.

	[Exeunt]

	KING LEAR

ACT V

SCENE III	The British camp near Dover.

	[Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, EDMUND,
	KING LEAR and CORDELIA, prisoners; Captain,
	Soldiers, &c]

EDMUND	Some officers take them away: good guard,
	Until their greater pleasures first be known
	That are to censure them.

CORDELIA	We are not the first
	Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
	For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
	Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.
	Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?

KING LEAR	No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
	We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
	When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
	And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
	And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
	At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
	Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
	Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
	And take upon's the mystery of things,
	As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
	In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
	That ebb and flow by the moon.

EDMUND	Take them away.

KING LEAR	Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
	The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?
	He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven,
	And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
	The good-years shall devour them, flesh and fell,
	Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see 'em starve
	first. Come.

	[Exeunt KING LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded]

EDMUND	Come hither, captain; hark.
	Take thou this note;

	[Giving a paper]

		go follow them to prison:
	One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost
	As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
	To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men
	Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
	Does not become a sword: thy great employment
	Will not bear question; either say thou'lt do 't,
	Or thrive by other means.

Captain	I'll do 't, my lord.

EDMUND	About it; and write happy when thou hast done.
	Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so
	As I have set it down.

Captain	I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
	If it be man's work, I'll do 't.

	[Exit]

	[Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, another
	Captain, and Soldiers]

ALBANY	Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,
	And fortune led you well: you have the captives
	That were the opposites of this day's strife:
	We do require them of you, so to use them
	As we shall find their merits and our safety
	May equally determine.

EDMUND	Sir, I thought it fit
	To send the old and miserable king
	To some retention and appointed guard;
	Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
	To pluck the common bosom on his side,
	An turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
	Which do command them. With him I sent the queen;
	My reason all the same; and they are ready
	To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
	Where you shall hold your session. At this time
	We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
	And the best quarrels, in the heat, are cursed
	By those that feel their sharpness:
	The question of Cordelia and her father
	Requires a fitter place.

ALBANY	Sir, by your patience,
	I hold you but a subject of this war,
	Not as a brother.

REGAN	                  That's as we list to grace him.
	Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
	Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
	Bore the commission of my place and person;
	The which immediacy may well stand up,
	And call itself your brother.

GONERIL	Not so hot:
	In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
	More than in your addition.

REGAN	In my rights,
	By me invested, he compeers the best.

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

REGAN	Jesters do oft prove prophets.

GONERIL	Holla, holla!
	That eye that told you so look'd but a-squint.

REGAN	Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
	From a full-flowing stomach. General,
	Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
	Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
	Witness the world, that I create thee here
	My lord and master.

GONERIL	Mean you to enjoy him?

ALBANY	The let-alone lies not in your good will.

EDMUND	Nor in thine, lord.

ALBANY	Half-blooded fellow, yes.

REGAN	[To EDMUND]  Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

ALBANY	Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
	On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
	This gilded serpent

	[Pointing to Goneril]

	For your claim, fair sister,
	I bar it in the interest of my wife:
	'Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
	And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
	If you will marry, make your loves to me,
	My lady is bespoke.

GONERIL	An interlude!

ALBANY	Thou art arm'd, Gloucester: let the trumpet sound:
	If none appear to prove upon thy head
	Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
	There is my pledge;

	[Throwing down a glove]

	I'll prove it on thy heart,
	Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
	Than I have here proclaim'd thee.

REGAN	Sick, O, sick!

GONERIL	[Aside]  If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.

EDMUND	There's my exchange:

	[Throwing down a glove]

		what in the world he is
	That names me traitor, villain-like he lies:
	Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach,
	On him, on you, who not? I will maintain
	My truth and honour firmly.

ALBANY	A herald, ho!

EDMUND	                  A herald, ho, a herald!

ALBANY	Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
	All levied in my name, have in my name
	Took their discharge.

REGAN	My sickness grows upon me.

ALBANY	She is not well; convey her to my tent.

	[Exit Regan, led]

	[Enter a Herald]

	Come hither, herald,--Let the trumpet sound,
	And read out this.

Captain	Sound, trumpet!

	[A trumpet sounds]

Herald	[Reads]  'If any man of quality or degree within
	the lists of the army will maintain upon Edmund,
	supposed Earl of Gloucester, that he is a manifold
	traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the
	trumpet: he is bold in his defence.'

EDMUND	Sound!

	[First trumpet]

Herald	Again!

	[Second trumpet]

Herald	Again!

	[Third trumpet]

	[Trumpet answers within]

	[Enter EDGAR, at the third sound, armed, with a
	trumpet before him]

ALBANY	Ask him his purposes, why he appears
	Upon this call o' the trumpet.

Herald	What are you?
	Your name, your quality? and why you answer
	This present summons?

EDGAR	Know, my name is lost;
	By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit:
	Yet am I noble as the adversary
	I come to cope.

ALBANY	                  Which is that adversary?

EDGAR	What's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?

EDMUND	Himself: what say'st thou to him?

EDGAR	Draw thy sword,
	That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
	Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
	Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
	My oath, and my profession: I protest,
	Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
	Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
	Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a traitor;
	False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
	Conspirant 'gainst this high-illustrious prince;
	And, from the extremest upward of thy head
	To the descent and dust below thy foot,
	A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou 'No,'
	This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
	To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
	Thou liest.

EDMUND	In wisdom I should ask thy name;
	But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
	And that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes,
	What safe and nicely I might well delay
	By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
	Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
	With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
	Which, for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise,
	This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
	Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak!

	[Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls]

ALBANY	Save him, save him!

GONERIL	This is practise, Gloucester:
	By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
	An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
	But cozen'd and beguiled.

ALBANY	Shut your mouth, dame,
	Or with this paper shall I stop it: Hold, sir:
	Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:
	No tearing, lady: I perceive you know it.

	[Gives the letter to EDMUND]

GONERIL	Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not thine:
	Who can arraign me for't.

ALBANY	Most monstrous! oh!
	Know'st thou this paper?

GONERIL	Ask me not what I know.

	[Exit]

ALBANY	Go after her: she's desperate; govern her.

EDMUND	What you have charged me with, that have I done;
	And more, much more; the time will bring it out:
	'Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou
	That hast this fortune on me? If thou'rt noble,
	I do forgive thee.

EDGAR	                  Let's exchange charity.
	I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
	If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
	My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
	The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
	Make instruments to plague us:
	The dark and vicious place where thee he got
	Cost him his eyes.

EDMUND	                  Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;
	The wheel is come full circle: I am here.

ALBANY	Methought thy very gait did prophesy
	A royal nobleness: I must embrace thee:
	Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
	Did hate thee or thy father!

EDGAR	Worthy prince, I know't.

ALBANY	Where have you hid yourself?
	How have you known the miseries of your father?

EDGAR	By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
	And when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!
	The bloody proclamation to escape,
	That follow'd me so near,--O, our lives' sweetness!
	That we the pain of death would hourly die
	Rather than die at once!--taught me to shift
	Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
	That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit
	Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
	Their precious stones new lost: became his guide,
	Led him, begg'd for him, saved him from despair;
	Never,--O fault!--reveal'd myself unto him,
	Until some half-hour past, when I was arm'd:
	Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
	I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
	Told him my pilgrimage: but his flaw'd heart,
	Alack, too weak the conflict to support!
	'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
	Burst smilingly.

EDMUND	This speech of yours hath moved me,
	And shall perchance do good: but speak you on;
	You look as you had something more to say.

ALBANY	If there be more, more woeful, hold it in;
	For I am almost ready to dissolve,
	Hearing of this.

EDGAR	                  This would have seem'd a period
	To such as love not sorrow; but another,
	To amplify too much, would make much more,
	And top extremity.
	Whilst I was big in clamour came there in a man,
	Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
	Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
	Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong arms
	He fastened on my neck, and bellow'd out
	As he'ld burst heaven; threw him on my father;
	Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
	That ever ear received: which in recounting
	His grief grew puissant and the strings of life
	Began to crack: twice then the trumpets sounded,
	And there I left him tranced.

ALBANY	But who was this?

EDGAR	Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
	Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
	Improper for a slave.

	[Enter a Gentleman, with a bloody knife]

Gentleman	Help, help, O, help!

EDGAR	What kind of help?

ALBANY	Speak, man.

EDGAR	What means that bloody knife?

Gentleman	'Tis hot, it smokes;
	It came even from the heart of--O, she's dead!

ALBANY	Who dead? speak, man.

Gentleman	Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
	By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.

EDMUND	I was contracted to them both: all three
	Now marry in an instant.

EDGAR	Here comes Kent.

ALBANY	Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead:
	This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,
	Touches us not with pity.

	[Exit Gentleman]

	[Enter KENT]

		    O, is this he?
	The time will not allow the compliment
	Which very manners urges.

KENT	I am come
	To bid my king and master aye good night:
	Is he not here?

ALBANY	                  Great thing of us forgot!
	Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's Cordelia?
	See'st thou this object, Kent?

	[The bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in]

KENT	Alack, why thus?

EDMUND	                  Yet Edmund was beloved:
	The one the other poison'd for my sake,
	And after slew herself.

ALBANY	Even so. Cover their faces.

EDMUND	I pant for life: some good I mean to do,
	Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
	Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ
	Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia:
	Nay, send in time.

ALBANY	                  Run, run, O, run!

EDGAR	To who, my lord? Who hath the office? send
	Thy token of reprieve.

EDMUND	Well thought on: take my sword,
	Give it the captain.

ALBANY	Haste thee, for thy life.

	[Exit EDGAR]

EDMUND	He hath commission from thy wife and me
	To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
	To lay the blame upon her own despair,
	That she fordid herself.

ALBANY	The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

	[EDMUND is borne off]

	[Re-enter KING LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms;
	EDGAR, Captain, and others following]

KING LEAR	Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
	Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them so
	That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever!
	I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
	She's dead as earth. Lend me a looking-glass;
	If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
	Why, then she lives.

KENT	Is this the promised end

EDGAR	Or image of that horror?

ALBANY	Fall, and cease!

KING LEAR	This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,
	It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
	That ever I have felt.

KENT	[Kneeling]  O my good master!

KING LEAR	Prithee, away.

EDGAR	'Tis noble Kent, your friend.

KING LEAR	A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
	I might have saved her; now she's gone for ever!
	Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little. Ha!
	What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft,
	Gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.
	I kill'd the slave that was a-hanging thee.

Captain	'Tis true, my lords, he did.

KING LEAR	Did I not, fellow?
	I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
	I would have made them skip: I am old now,
	And these same crosses spoil me. Who are you?
	Mine eyes are not o' the best: I'll tell you straight.

KENT	If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,
	One of them we behold.

KING LEAR	This is a dull sight. Are you not Kent?

KENT	The same,
	Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?

KING LEAR	He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;
	He'll strike, and quickly too: he's dead and rotten.

KENT	No, my good lord; I am the very man,--

KING LEAR	I'll see that straight.

KENT	That, from your first of difference and decay,
	Have follow'd your sad steps.

KING LEAR	You are welcome hither.

KENT	Nor no man else: all's cheerless, dark, and deadly.
	Your eldest daughters have fordone them selves,
	And desperately are dead.

KING LEAR	Ay, so I think.

ALBANY	He knows not what he says: and vain it is
	That we present us to him.

EDGAR	Very bootless.

	[Enter a Captain]

Captain	Edmund is dead, my lord.

ALBANY	That's but a trifle here.
	You lords and noble friends, know our intent.
	What comfort to this great decay may come
	Shall be applied: for us we will resign,
	During the life of this old majesty,
	To him our absolute power:

	[To EDGAR and KENT]

		     you, to your rights:
	With boot, and such addition as your honours
	Have more than merited. All friends shall taste
	The wages of their virtue, and all foes
	The cup of their deservings. O, see, see!

KING LEAR	And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
	Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
	And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
	Never, never, never, never, never!
	Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
	Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
	Look there, look there!

	[Dies]

EDGAR	He faints! My lord, my lord!

KENT	Break, heart; I prithee, break!

EDGAR	Look up, my lord.

KENT	Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him much
	That would upon the rack of this tough world
	Stretch him out longer.

EDGAR	He is gone, indeed.

KENT	The wonder is, he hath endured so long:
	He but usurp'd his life.

ALBANY	Bear them from hence. Our present business
	Is general woe.

	[To KENT and EDGAR]

	Friends of my soul, you twain
	Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.

KENT	I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
	My master calls me, I must not say no.

ALBANY	The weight of this sad time we must obey;
	Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
	The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
	Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

	[Exeunt, with a dead march]

Colophon

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