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LEAR. Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
EDG. 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 harelip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of Earth.
Saint Withold footed thrice the wold;
KENT. How fares your Grace?
Enter GLOUCESTER with a torch.
LEAR. What's he?
KENT. Who's there? What is 't you seek?
GLOU. What are you there? Your names?
1 i.e. the cataract.
Horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou Fiend!
he's call'd, and Mahu.
GLOU. Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is grown so vile,
That it doth hate what gets it.
EDG. Poor Tom's a-cold.
GLOU. Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters' hard commands:
And bring you where both fire and food is ready. 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.
What is your study?
EDG. How to prevent the Fiend, and to kill vermin.
KENT. Importune him once more to go, my Lord; 159
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 lov'd him, Friend,
No father his son dearer: true to tell thee,
O, cry you mercy, Sir.
Noble Philosopher, your company.
EDG. Tom's a-cold.
GLOU. In, Fellow, there, into the hovel; keep thee warm.
I will keep still with my philosopher.
KENT. Good my Lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
GLOU. Take him you on.
KENT. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
LEAR. Come, good Athenian.
GLOU. No words, no words: hush.
Child Rowland to the dark tower came;
SCENE V. GLOUCESTER's Castle.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND.
CORN. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house. EDM. How, my Lord, I may be censur'd, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of. CORN. 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. EDM. 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!
CORN. Go with me to the Duchess.
EDM. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
CORN. True or false, it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
EDM. [aside.] If I find him comforting the King, it will stuff his suspicion more fully. [to CORNWALL.] I will persever in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
CORN. I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a
SCENE VI. A Chamber in a Farmhouse adjoining the Castle.
Enter GLOUCESTER, LEAR, KENT, the Fool,
GLOU. 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. EDG. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the Lake of Darkness. Pray, Innocent, and beware the foul Fiend.
FOOL. Pr'ythee, Nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman?
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.
LEAR. To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in upon 'em
EDG. The foul Fiend bites my back.
FOOL. He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
[to EDGAR.] Come, sit thou here, most learned Justicer;
EDG. Look, where he stands and glares! Wantest thou eyes at trial, Madam?
Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me.
Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.
EDG. 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 amaz'd:
Sit you too.
EDG. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly Shepherd?
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Pur! the cat is gray.
LEAR. Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my
FOOL. Come hither, Mistress. Is your name Goneril?
EDG. Bless thy five wits!
KENT. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain ?
FOOL. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
EDG. [aside.] My tears begin to take his part so much,
Be thy mouth or black or white,
LEAR. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me. EDG. Tom will throw his head at them.