Imágenes de páginas

Sc. IV

ALB. Now, Gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
GON. Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope

That dotage gives it.

Re-enter LEAR.

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


What's the matter, Sir? LEAR. I'll tell thee. [to GONERIL.] Life and death! I am asham'd


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

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. Ha, is it come to this?
Let it be so. I have another 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 LEAR, KENT, and Attendants.
GON. Do you mark that, my Lord?
ALB. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,


To the great love I bear you

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

[to the Fool.] You, Sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

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.


FOOL. Nuncle Lear, Nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the
Fool with thee.



GON. This man hath had good counsel! A hundred ACT I knights! Sc. IV

'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!
ALB. Well, you may fear too far.

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 shew'd the unfitness-

Re-enter OsWALD.

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SCENE V. Court before the Same.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and the Fool.

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.



Sc. V


your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore


KENT. I will not sleep, my Lord, till I have deliver'd
your letter.

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

LEAR. Ay, Boy.


FOOL. Then, I pr'ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slip-shod.

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.

LEAR. What canst tell, 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?



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

LEAR. I did her wrong.

FOOL. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?


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

LEAR. Why?


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

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


LEAR. Because they are not eight?

FOOL. Yes, indeed: thou would'st make a good Fool.
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.


LEAR. How's that?

FOOL. Thou should'st not have been old till thou hadst ACT I been wise.

Sc. V

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

Enter a Gentleman.

How now! are the horses ready?

GENT. Ready, my Lord.

LEAR. Come, Boy.


FOOL. She that's a maid now, and laughs at my


Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.




Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him.

EDM. Save thee, Curan.

CUR. 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.

EDM. How comes that?

CUR. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad? I mean the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments.

EDM. Not I pray you, what are they?

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

EDM. Not a word.

CUR. You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, Sir.


EDM. 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,1
Which I must act: Briefness and Fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: Brother, I say!

1 i.e. in a ticklish business.


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Sc. I

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.
I am sure on 't, not a word.
EDM. 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. 30
Yield! come before my father!
Fly, Brother! Torches, torches!

Do more than this in sport.
Stop, stop! No help?

Light, ho, here!
So, farewell.

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavour:

[Exit EDGAR.


Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches.

GLOU. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
EDM. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the Moon
To stand auspicious mistress.

[wounds his arm. I have seen drunkards Father, Father!

But where is he?

EDM. Look, Sir, I bleed.
Where is the villain, Edmund ?
EDM. Fled this way, Sir. When by no means he could-
GLOU. Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants.
By no means what?
EDM. 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

1 side.

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