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Sc. II

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 faith, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,

Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front-

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
beguil'd 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.

CORN. What was the offence you gave him?
Osw. I never gave him any.

It pleas'd 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.




None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.1
Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient Knave, you reverend Braggart,
We'll teach you-
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, shew too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

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

REG. Till noon! till night, my Lord; and all night too.

1 i.e. they pretend to greater prowess than Ajax.


KENT. Why, Madam, if I were your father's dog,

You should not use me so.
Sir, being his knave, I will.
CORN. This is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
[Stocks brought out.

GLOU. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good King his master
Will check him for 't. Your purpos'd 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, so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.



I'll answer that.
REG. My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abus'd, 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. GLOU. I am sorry for thee, Friend; 'tis the Duke's


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 watch'd, and travell'd


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!

GLOU. The Duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.


KENT. Good King, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of Heaven's benediction com'st


To the warm Sun !1

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

1 'Out of God's blessing into the warm sun.' A proverb used of a treacherous advancement, and perhaps suggested by the proximity of church and market-place. 299

Sc. II


Sc. II

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!



Enter EDGAR.

EDG. I heard myself proclaim'd;

And by the happy hollow of a tree

Escap'd 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.

in the stocks.


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Enter LEAR, the Fool, and a Gentleman.

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


As I learn'd,

The night before there was no purpose in them

Of this remove.

Hail to thee, noble Master!



Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime? KENT.

No, my Lord.

Horses are tied

FOOL. Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters.
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.
LEAR. What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?


It is both he and she;

Your son and daughter.


KENT. Yes.

LEAR. No, I say.

KENT. I say, yea.

LEAR. No, no, they would not.
KENT. Yes, they have.

LEAR. By Jupiter, I swear, no.
KENT. By Juno, I swear, ay.

They durst not do 't;

They could not, would not do 't; 'tis worse than murder,

To do upon respect1 such violent outrage:

Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
Thou might'st deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.

My Lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that shew'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

1 i.c. deliberately.




Sc. IV


Sc. IV

The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And, meeting here the other messenger,

Whose welcome, I perceiv'd, had poison'd mine
(Being the very fellow which of late

Display'd so saucily against your Highness)
Having more man than wit about me, drew:

He rais'd 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.

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.


LEAR. Follow me not; stay here.


GENT. Made you no more offence but what you speak of?
KENT. None.


How chance the King comes with so small a train? FOOL. An thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that

question, thou hadst well deserv'd 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.


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