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Reg. 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. Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd? No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose To wagel 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. [Looking on the Steward. Gon. At your choice, sir. Lear. I pr'ythee, 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 embossed2 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.
Reg. Not altogether so, sir 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 soBut she knows what she does.
Lear. Is this well spoken now? Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers? Is it not well? What should you need of more? Yea, or so many? sith3 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.
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive at
tendance From those that she calls servants, or from mine? Reg. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to slack you,
We could control them: If you will come to me
Lear. I gave you all-
And in good time you gave it.
Reg. And speak it again, my lord; no more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look wellfavour'd,
When others are more wicked; not being the worst,
Gon. Hear me, my lord; What need five and twenty, ten, or five, (1) War. (2) Swelling. (3) Since. (4) Instigate.
To follow in a house, where twice so many Have a command to tend you?
What need one?
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 is 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,
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
[Exeunt Lear, Gloster, Kent, and Fool Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm. [Storm heard at a distance. This house
Reg. Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd.
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth :-he is return'd.
Glo. The king is in high rage.
Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
Gent. One minded like the weather, most un- You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout
Kent. I know you; where's the king?
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Gent. None but the fool; His heart-struck injuries. Kent.
But who is with him? who labours to out-jest
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would nuncle, in and ask thy daughters' blessing: here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.
Lear. Rumble thy belly full! Spit, fire! spout, rain !
Sir, I do know you;
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not. For confirmation that I am much more Than my out wall, open this and take purse, 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 fellow5 is That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm! I will go seek the king.
Gent. 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,
(1) Whose dugs are drawn dry by its young.
Which teaches us to find the mind's construction in the face."
(3) Snuffs are dislikes, and packings, underhand contrivances.
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o'the world!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o'door.-Good
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
The cod-piece that will house,
What he his heart should make,
And turn his sleep to wake.
-for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.
Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing.
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
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Let the great goda,
(6) Quick as thought. (7) Avant couriers, French.
More sinn'd against, than sinning.
My wits begin to turn.—
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my
Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,—
With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,! Must make content with his fortunes fit; For the rain it raineth every day.2
Lear. True, my good boy.-Come, bring us to
When priests are more in word than matter;
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see't,'
Gloster and Edmund.
Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke|
The younger rises, when the old doth fall. [Exit.
(2) Part of the Clown's song in Twelfth Night.
Let me alone.
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this conten-
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Good my lord, enter here. Lear. Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.-
Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this un-Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; natural dealing: When I desired their leave that I Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel; might pity him, they took from me the use of mine That thou may'st shake the superflux to them, own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual And show the heavens more just. displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!
Glo. Go to say you nothing: There is division between 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 is part of a power already footed:3 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. If 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.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
Edg. [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?
Enter Edgar, disguised as a madman.
Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters ?
Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow,
(3) A force already landed.
and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; wild field were like an old lecher's heart: a small made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-spark, all the rest of his body cold.-Look, here horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own comes a walking fire. 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, and there again, and there. [Storm continues.
Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this pass? Could'st thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.-
Edg Pillicock sat on pillicock's-hill;—
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair; wore gloves in my cap,2 served the lust of my mistress's 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 women: 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 continues. Lear. Why, thou were 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 of us 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.3 [Tearing off his clothes. Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; this is a naughty night to swim in.-Now a little fire in a
(1) To take is to blast, or strike with malignant influence.
Edg. Take heed of the foul fiend: Obey thy parents; keep thy word justly; swear not; com-Beware my follower:-Peace, Smolkin;10 peace, mit not with man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud array: Tom's a-cold.
Lear. What hast thou been?
(2) It was the custom to wear gloves in the hat, as the favour of a mistress.
(3) The words unbutton here, are probably only a marginal direction crept into the matter. (4) Diseases of the eye.
Edg. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin,4 squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Witholds footed thrice the wold,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint' thee, witch, aroint thee!
Enter Gloster, with a torch.
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek? Glo. What are you there? Your names? Edg Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt, and the water;8 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 tything to tything, and stocked, 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,
Glo. What, hath your grace no better company? Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Modo he's called, and Mahu.11
Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so
That it doth hate what gets it.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer;
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned
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 reproveable 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!
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 hissing in upon them :
Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, tell me, whether a madman be a gentleman, or a yeoman?
Lear. A king, a king!
Edg. 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
Lear. It shall be done, I will arraign them straight: :
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer ;
[To Edgar. Thou, sapient sir, sit here. [To the Fool.]-Now, you she foxes!
Edg. Look, where he stands and glares !3— Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me:→
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.
of a nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly, Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice for two white herrings. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee.
Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd:
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions? Lear. I'll see their trial first :-Bring in the evidence.
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;
Edg. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest, or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Pur! the cat is grey.
my oath before this honourable assembly, she kickLear. Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take
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 ofed the poor king her father.
Gloster. 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.-I will persevere 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 dearer father in my love. [Exeunt. SCENE VI-A chamber in a farm-house, adjoining the castle. Enter Gloster, Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar.
Glo. 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 has given way to his impatience:-The gods reward kindness! [Exit Gloster. Edg. Frateretto calls me; and tells me, Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent,2 and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Come hither, mistress; Is your name Goneril?
Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
What store her heart is made of.—Stop her there!
Kent. O pity!-Sir, where is the patience now,
Edg. My tears begin to take his part so much, They'll mar my counterfeiting. [Aside.
Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.
Be thy mouth or black or white,
(1) Child is an old term for knight.
(2) Addressed to the fool, who was anciently man, who thinks he sees the fiend. called an innocent.
(3) Edgar is speaking in the character of a mad
(4) Brook or rivulet. (5) A blood-hound.