SCENE I. King Lear's palace.
Enter KENT, GLOUCESTER, and EDMUND KENT
I thought the king had more affected the Duke
Albany than Cornwall.
It did always seem so to us: but now, in
division of the kingdom, it appears not which
the dukes he values most; for equalities are
weighed, that curiosity in neither can make
of either's moiety.
Is not this your son, my lord?GLOUCESTER
His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I
so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I
brazed to it.
I cannot conceive you.GLOUCESTER
Sir, this young fellow's mother could:
she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a
for her cradle ere she had a husband for her
Do you smell a fault?
I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of
being so proper.
But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some
elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my
though this knave came something saucily into
world before he was sent for, yet was his
fair; there was good sport at his making, and
whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know
noble gentleman, Edmund?
No, my lord.GLOUCESTER
My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as
My services to your lordship.KENT
I must love you, and sue to know you
Sir, I shall study deserving.GLOUCESTER
He hath been out nine years, and away he
again. The king is coming.
Sennet. Enter KING LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and
Attend the lords of France and Burgundy,
I shall, my liege.KING
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and EDMUND
Meantime we shall express our darker
Give me the map there. Know that we have
In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast
To shake all cares and business from our
Conferring them on younger strengths, while
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of
And you, our no less loving son of
We have this hour a constant will to
Our daughters' several dowers, that future
May be prevented now. The princes, France and
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's
Long in our court have made their amorous
And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, my
Since now we will divest us both of
Interest of territory, cares of state,--
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
eldest-born, speak first.
Sir, I love you more than words can wield the
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and
Beyond what can be valued, rich or
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty,
As much as child e'er loved, or father
A love that makes breath poor, and speech
Beyond all manner of so much I love
[Aside] What shall Cordelia do?LEAR
Love, and be silent.
Of all these bounds, even from this line to
With shadowy forests and with champains
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted
We make thee lady: to thine and Albany's
Be this perpetual. What says our second
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall?
Sir, I am madeCORDELIA
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
Only she comes too short: that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am
In your dear highness'
[Aside] Then poor Cordelia!KING LEAR
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.
To thee and thine hereditary everCORDELIA
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?
Nothing, my lord.KING LEAR
Nothing will come of nothing: speak
Unhappy that I am, I cannot heaveKING LEAR
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.
How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a
Lest it may mar your
Good my lord,KING LEAR
You have begot
me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as
are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour
Why have my sisters husbands, if they
They love you all? Haply, when I shall
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall
Half my love with him, half my care and
Sure, I shall never marry like my
To love my father all.
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
For, by the sacred radiance of the
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my
Propinquity and property of
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
gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well
neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime
Good my liege,--KING LEAR
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
Her father's heart from her! Call France; who
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,
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
Beloved sons, be yours: which to
This coronet part betwixt you.
Giving the crown
Royal Lear,KING LEAR
Whom I have
ever honour'd as my king,
Loved as my father, as my
As my great patron thought on in my
The bow is bent and drawn, make from the
Let it fall rather, though the fork
The region of my heart: be Kent
When Lear is mad. What wilt thou do, old
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to
When power to flattery bows? To plainness
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse
And, in thy best consideration,
This hideous rashness: answer my life my
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low
Reverbs no hollowness.
Kent, on thy life, no more.KENT
My life I never held but as a pawnKING LEAR
To wage against thy enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.
Out of my sight!KENT
See better, Lear; and let me still
The true blank of thine
Now, by Apollo,--KENT
Now, by Apollo, king,KING
swear'st thy gods in vain.
O, vassal! miscreant!ALBANY CORNWALL
Laying his hand on his sword
Dear sir, forbear.KENT
Kill thy physician, and
the fee bestow
Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my
I'll tell thee thou dost
Hear me, recreant!KENT
allegiance, hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us
break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and with
To come between our sentence and our
Which nor our nature nor our place can
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.
Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is
To CORDELIAThe gods to their dear shelter take
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly
To REGAN and GONERILAnd your large speeches may
your deeds approve,
That good effects may spring from
words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all
He'll shape his old course in a country
Flourish. Re-enter GLOUCESTER, with KING OF FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and
Here's France and Burgundy, my noble
My lord of Burgundy.BURGUNDY
first address towards you, who with this king
rivall'd for our daughter: what, in the least,
require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest
Most royal majesty,KING LEAR
no more than what your highness offer'd,
Nor will you
Right noble Burgundy,BURGUNDY
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
And nothing more, may fitly like
She's there, and she is
I know no answer.KING LEAR
Will you, with those infirmities she
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?
Pardon me, royal sir;KING LEAR
Election makes not up on such conditions.
Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made
me,KING OF FRANCE
I tell you all her wealth.
To KING OF FRANCEFor 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.
This is most strange,CORDELIA
she, that even but now was your best object,
argument of your praise, balm of your age,
most dearest, should in this trice of time
thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of
favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd
Fall'n into taint: which to believe of
Must be a faith that reason without
Could never plant in me.
I yet beseech your majesty,--KING LEAR
If for I want that glib and oily art,
speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
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
A still-soliciting eye, and such a
As I am glad I have not, though not to have
Hath lost me in your liking.
Better thouKING OF FRANCE
Hadst not been
born than not to have pleased me better.
Is it but this,--a tardiness in natureBURGUNDY
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.
Royal Lear,KING LEAR
Give but that
portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take
Cordelia by the hand,
Nothing: I have sworn; I am
I am sorry, then, you have so lost a
That you must lose a
Peace be with Burgundy!KING OF FRANCE
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved,
Thee and thy virtues here I seize
Be it lawful I take up what's cast
Gods, gods! 'tis strange that from their cold'st
My love should kindle to inflamed
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair
Not all the dukes of waterish
Can buy this unprized precious maid of
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though
Thou losest here, a better where to
Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for
weKING OF FRANCE
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
Bid farewell to your sisters.CORDELIA
The jewels of our father, with wash'd
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you
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
yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him
to a better place.
So, farewell to you
Prescribe not us our duties.GONERIL
Let your studyCORDELIA
content your lord, who hath received you
alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth
the want that you have wanted.
Time shall unfold what plaited cunning
hides:KING OF FRANCE
Who cover faults, at last shame them
Well may you prosper!
Come, my fair Cordelia.GONERIL
Exeunt KING OF FRANCE and CORDELIA
Sister, it is not a little I have to say of
most nearly appertains to us both. I think
father will hence to-night.
That's most certain, and with you; next month with
You see how full of changes his age is;
observation we have made of it hath not
little: he always loved our sister most;
with what poor judgment he hath now cast her
appears too grossly.
'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath
but slenderly known himself.
The best and soundest of his time hath been
rash; then must we look to receive from his
not alone the imperfections of
condition, but therewithal the unruly
that infirm and choleric years bring with
Such unconstant starts are we like to have
him as this of Kent's
There is further compliment of
between France and him. Pray you, let's
together: if our father carry authority
such dispositions as he bears, this last
surrender of his will but offend us.
We shall further think on't.GONERIL
We must do something, and i' the heat.
SCENE II. The Earl of Gloucester's castle.
Enter EDMUND, with a letter EDMUND
Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy lawGLOUCESTER
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
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
My mind as generous, and my shape as
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base,
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature,
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:
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
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his
Confined to exhibition! All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news?
So please your lordship, none.GLOUCESTER
Putting up the letter
Why so earnestly seek you to put up that
I know no news, my lord.GLOUCESTER
What paper were you reading?EDMUND
Nothing, my lord.GLOUCESTER
No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch
it into your pocket? the quality of nothing
not such need to hide itself. Let's see:
if it be nothing, I shall not need
I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a
from my brother, that I have not all
and for so much as I have perused, I find it
fit for your o'er-looking.
Give me the letter, sir.EDMUND
I shall offend, either to detain or give it.
contents, as in part I understand them, are to
Let's see, let's see.EDMUND
I hope, for my brother's justification, he
this but as an essay or taste of my
[Reads] 'This policy and reverence of age
the world bitter to the best of our times;
our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot
them. I begin to find an idle and fond
in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways,
as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come
me, that of this I may speak more. If our
would sleep till I waked him, you should half
revenue for ever, and live the beloved of
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
It was not brought me, my lord; there's
cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the
casement of my closet.
You know the character to be your
If the matter were good, my lord, I durst
it were his; but, in respect of that, I
fain think it were not.
It is his.EDMUND
It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart
not in the contents.
Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this
Never, my lord: but I have heard him oftGLOUCESTER
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
O villain, villain! His very opinion in
letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural,
brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go,
seek him; I'll apprehend him: abominable
Where is he?
I do not well know, my lord. If it shall
you to suspend your indignation against
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.
Think you so?EDMUND
If your honour judge it meet, I will place
where you shall hear us confer of this, and by
auricular assurance have your satisfaction;
that without any further delay than this very
He cannot be such a monster--EDMUND
Nor is not, sure.GLOUCESTER
To his father, that so tenderly and
loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek
out: wind me into him, I pray you: frame
business after your own wisdom. I would
myself, to be in a due
I will seek him, sir, presently: convey
business as I shall find means and acquaint you
These late eclipses in the sun and moon
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds
scourged by the sequent effects: love
friendship falls off, brothers divide:
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord;
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt
and father. This villain of mine comes under
prediction; there's son against father: the
falls from bias of nature; there's father
child. We have seen the best of our
machinations, hollowness, treachery, and
ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to
graves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it
lose thee nothing; do it carefully. And
noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his
offence, honesty! 'Tis strange.
This is the excellent foppery of the world,
when we are sick in fortune,--often the
of our own behavior,--we make guilty of
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars:
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 EDGARAnd pat he comes like the catastrophe
of the old
comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with
sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses
portend these divisions! fa, sol, la,
How now, brother Edmund! what seriousEDMUND
contemplation are you in?
I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I
this other day, what should follow these
Do you busy yourself about
I promise you, the effects he writes of
unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces
maledictions against king and nobles;
diffidences, banishment of friends,
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know
How long have you been a sectary
Come, come; when saw you my father
Why, the night gone by.EDMUND
Spake you with him?EDGAR
Ay, two hours together.EDMUND
Parted you in good terms? Found you noEDGAR
displeasure in him by word or countenance?
None at all.EDMUND
Bethink yourself wherein you may have
him: and at my entreaty forbear his
till some little time hath qualified the heat
his displeasure; which at this instant so
in him, that with the mischief of your person
would scarcely allay.
Some villain hath done me
That's my fear. I pray you, have a
forbearance till the spied of his rage
slower; and, as I say, retire with me to
lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you
hear my lord speak: pray ye, go; there's my
if you do stir abroad, go
Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed:
am no honest man if there be any good
towards you: I have told you what I have
and heard; but faintly, nothing like the
and horror of it: pray you,
Shall I hear from you anon?EDMUND
I do serve you in this business.
Exit EDGARA credulous father! and a brother
Whose nature is so far from doing
That he suspects none: on whose foolish
My practises ride easy! I see the
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by
All with me's meet that I can fashion fit.
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
By day and night he wrongs me; every hourOSWALD
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
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
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll
He's coming, madam; I hear him.GONERIL
Put on what weary negligence you please,OSWALD
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,
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
Remember what I tell
And let his knights have colder looks among
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows
I would breed from hence occasions, and I
That I may speak: I'll write straight to my
To hold my very course. Prepare for
SCENE IV. A hall in the same.
Enter KENT, disguised KENT
If but as well I other accents borrow,KING LEAR
That can my speech defuse, my good intent
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
Horns within. Enter KING LEAR, Knights, and
Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it
Exit an AttendantHow now! what art
A man, sir.KING LEAR
What dost thou profess? what wouldst thou with
I do profess to be no less than I seem; to
him truly that will put me in trust: to love
that is honest; to converse with him that is
and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when
cannot choose; and to eat no
What art thou?KENT
A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the
If thou be as poor for a subject as he is for
king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst
Who wouldst thou serve?KENT
Dost thou know me, fellow?KENT
No, sir; but you have that in your
which I would fain call
What services canst thou do?KENT
I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a
tale in telling it, and deliver a plain
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I
qualified in; and the best of me is
How old art thou?KENT
Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing,
so old to dote on her for any thing: I have
on my back forty eight.
Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee
Dinner, ho, dinner! Where's my knave? my
Go you, and call my fool hither.
Exit an Attendant
Enter OSWALDYou, you, sirrah, where's my
So please you,--KING LEAR
What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll
Exit a KnightWhere's my fool, ho? I think the
Re-enter KnightHow now! where's that
He says, my lord, your daughter is not
Why came not the slave back to me when I called
Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he
He would not!Knight
My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to
judgment, your highness is not entertained with
ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's
great abatement of kindness appears as well in
general dependants as in the duke himself also
Ha! sayest thou so?Knight
I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be
for my duty cannot be silent when I think
Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception:
have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which
have rather blamed as mine own jealous
than as a very pretence and purpose of
I will look further into't. But where's my
have not seen him this two
Since my young lady's going into France, sir,
fool hath much pined away.
No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you,
tell my daughter I would speak with her.
Exit an AttendantGo you, call hither my
Exit an Attendant
Re-enter OSWALDO, you sir, you, come you hither,
sir: who am I,
My lady's father.KING LEAR
'My lady's father'! my lord's knave: yourOSWALD
whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your
Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?OSWALD
I'll not be struck, my lord.KENT
Nor tripped neither, you base football
Tripping up his heels
I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and
Come, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you
away, away! if you will measure your
length again, tarry: but away! go to; have
Pushes OSWALD out
Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee:
earnest of thy service.
Giving KENT money
Let me hire him too: here's my coxcomb.KING
Offering KENT his cap
How now, my pretty knave! how dost
Sirrah, you were best take my
Why, for taking one's part that's out of
nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind
thou'lt catch cold shortly: there, take my
why, this fellow has banished two on's
and did the third a blessing against his
thou follow him, thou must needs wear my
How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and
Why, my boy?Fool
If I gave them all my living, I'ld keep my
myself. There's mine; beg another of thy
Take heed, sirrah; the whip.Fool
Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be
out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire
A pestilent gall to me!Fool
Sirrah, I'll teach thee a
Mark it, nuncle:KENT
than thou showest,
Speak less than thou
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
This is nothing, fool.Fool
Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer;
gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use
Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of
[To KENT] Prithee, tell him, so much the rent
his land comes to: he will not believe a
A bitter fool!Fool
Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between
bitter fool and a sweet fool?
No, lad; teach me.Fool
That lord that counsell'd theeKING LEAR
To give away thy land,
Come place him here
Do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.
Dost thou call me fool, boy?Fool
All thy other titles thou hast given away;
thou wast born with.
This is not altogether fool, my
No, faith, lords and great men will not let me;
I had a monopoly out, they would have part
and ladies too, they will not let me have all
to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an
nuncle, and I'll give thee two
What two crowns shall they
Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and
up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When
clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest
both parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back
the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald
when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I
like myself in this, let him be whipped that
finds it so.
SingingFools had ne'er less wit in a
For wise men are grown foppish,
They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.
When were you wont to be so full of songs,
I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest
daughters thy mothers: for when thou gavest
the rod, and put'st down thine own
SingingThen they for sudden joy did
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,
go the fools among.
Prithee, nuncle, keep a
schoolmaster that can teach
thy fool to lie: I would
fain learn to lie.
An you lie, sirrah, we'll have you
I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters
they'll have me whipped for speaking true,
have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I
whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be
kind o' thing than a fool: and yet I would not
thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both
and left nothing i' the middle: here comes one
How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet
Methinks you are too much of late i' the
Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need
care for her frowning; now thou art an O without
figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a
thou art nothing.
To GONERILYes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue;
so your face
bids me, though you say nothing. Mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.
Pointing to KING LEARThat's a shealed
Not only, sir, this your all-licensed
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.
For, you trow, nuncle,KING LEAR
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.
Are you our daughter?GONERIL
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
May not an ass know when the cartKING LEAR
draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.
Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:Fool
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?
Lear's shadow.KING LEAR
I would learn that; for, by theFool
marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,
I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Which they will make an obedient
Your name, fair gentlewoman?GONERIL
This admiration, sir, is much o' the
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech
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
her, that else will take the thing she begs,
to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that
shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your
And know themselves and you.
Darkness and devils!GONERIL
my horses; call my train together:
I'll not trouble thee.
Yet have I left a
You strike my people; and your disorder'd
Make servants of their betters.
Woe, that too late repents,--ALBANY
To ALBANYO, 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!
Pray, sir, be patient.KING LEAR
[To GONERIL] Detested kite! thou liest.ALBANY
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know,
the most exact regard support
The worships of their
name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in
That, like an engine, wrench'd my frame
From the fix'd place; drew from heart all
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear,
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
Striking his headAnd thy dear judgment out! Go,
go, my people.
My lord, I am guiltless, as I am
Of what hath moved you.
It may be so, my lord.ALBANY
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of
And from her derogate body never
A babe to honour her! If she must
Create her child of spleen; that it may
And be a thwart disnatured torment to
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of
With cadent tears fret channels in her
Turn all her mother's pains and
To laughter and contempt; that she may
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!
Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes
Never afflict yourself to know the
But let his disposition have that
That dotage gives it.
Re-enter KING LEAR
What, fifty of my followers at a clap!ALBANY
Within a fortnight!
What's the matter, sir?KING LEAR
I'll tell thee:GONERIL
To GONERILLife 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,
Exeunt KING LEAR, KENT, and Attendants
Do you mark that, my lord?ALBANY
I cannot be so partial, Goneril,GONERIL
To the great love I bear you,--
Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho!Fool
To the FoolYou, sir, more knave than fool, after
Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the
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.
This man hath had good counsel:--a hundred
'Tis politic and safe to let him
At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint,
He may enguard his dotage with their
And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I
Well, you may fear too far.GONERIL
Safer than trust too far:OSWALD
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 OSWALDHow now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my
Take you some company, and away to
Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
hasten your return.
Exit OSWALDNo, 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.
How far your eyes may pierce I can not
Striving to better, oft we mar what's
Well, well; the event.
SCENE V. Court before the same.
Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool KING LEAR
Go you before to Gloucester with these
Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing
know than comes from her demand out of the
If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there
I will not sleep, my lord, till I have
If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not
danger of kibes?
Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne'er
Ha, ha, ha!Fool
Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee
for though she's as like this as a crab's like
apple, yet I can tell what I can
Why, what canst thou tell, my
She will taste as like this as a crab does to
crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands
the middle on's face?
Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose;
what a man cannot smell out, he may spy
I did her wrong--Fool
Canst tell how an oyster makes his
Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a
Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to
daughters, and leave his horns without a
I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be
Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why
seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty
Because they are not eight?Fool
Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good
To take 't again perforce! Monster
If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee
for being old before thy
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet
Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!
Enter GentlemanHow now! are the horses
Ready, my lord.KING LEAR
She that's a maid now, and laughs at my
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be
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,
given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and
his duchess will be here with him this
How comes that?CURAN
Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news
I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet
Not I pray you, what are they?CURAN
Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt
Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
Not a word.CURAN
You may do, then, in time. Fare you well,
The duke be here to-night? The better!
This weaves itself perforce into my
My father hath set guard to take my
And I have one thing, of a queasy
Which I must act: briefness and fortune,
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
Enter EDGARMy father watches: O sir, fly this
Intelligence is given where you are
You have now the good advantage of the
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of
He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the
And Regan with him: have you nothing
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of
I am sure on't, not a word.EDMUND
I hear my father coming: pardon me:GLOUCESTER
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 EDGARSome blood drawn on me would beget
Wounds his armOf my more fierce endeavour: I have
Do more than this in sport. Father,
Stop, stop! No help?
Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches
Now, Edmund, where's the
Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the
To stand auspicious
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
Pursue him, ho! Go after.EDMUND
Exeunt some ServantsBy no means
Persuade me to the murder of your
But that I told him, the revenging
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a
The child was bound to the father; sir, in
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
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
Full suddenly he fled.
Let him fly far:EDMUND
Not in this
land shall he remain uncaught;
And found--dispatch. The
noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes
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.
When I dissuaded him from his intent,GLOUCESTER
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
thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--
As this I
would: ay, though thou didst produce
character,--I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot,
and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the
If they not thought the profits of my
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
Strong and fasten'd villainCORNWALL
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Tucket withinHark, the duke's trumpets! I know
not why he comes.
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall
The duke must grant me that: besides, his
I will send far and near, that all the
May have the due note of him; and of my
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the
To make thee capable.
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants
How now, my noble friend! since I came
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange
If it be true, all vengeance comes too
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my
O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's
What, did my father's godson seek your
He whom my father named? your
O, lady, lady, shame would have it
Was he not companion with the riotous
That tend upon my father?
I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too
Yes, madam, he was of that
No marvel, then, though he were ill
'Tis they have put him on the old man's
To have the expense and waste of his
I have this present evening from my
Been well inform'd of them; and with such
That if they come to sojourn at my
I'll not be there.
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.EDMUND
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
'Twas my duty, sir.GLOUCESTER
He did bewray his practise; and receivedCORNWALL
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend
Is he pursued?GLOUCESTER
Ay, my good lord.CORNWALL
If he be taken, he shall never moreEDMUND
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.
I shall serve you, sir,GLOUCESTER
Truly, however else.
For him I thank your grace.CORNWALL
You know not why we came to visit
Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some
Wherein we must have use of your
Our father he hath writ, so hath our
Of differences, which I least thought it
To answer from our home; the several
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old
Lay comforts to your bosom; and
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
I serve you, madam:
graces are right welcome.
SCENE II. Before Gloucester's castle.
Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally OSWALD
Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this
Where may we set our horses?KENT
I' the mire.OSWALD
Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell
I love thee not.OSWALD
Why, then, I care not for thee.KENT
If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make
care for me.
Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee
Fellow, I know thee.OSWALD
What dost thou know me for?KENT
A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats;
base, proud, shallow, beggarly,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou
the least syllable of thy
Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny
knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped
thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw,
rogue: for, though it be night, yet the
shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of
draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger,
Drawing his sword
Away! I have nothing to do with
Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against
king; and take vanity the puppet's part against
royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll
carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your
Help, ho! murder! help!KENT
Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you
Help, ho! murder! murder!EDMUND
Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and
How now! What's the matter?KENT
With you, goodman boy, an you please: come,
flesh ye; come on, young
Weapons! arms! What 's the matter
Keep peace, upon your lives:REGAN
He dies that strikes again. What is the
The messengers from our sister and the
What is your difference?
I am scarce in breath, my
No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour.
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee:
tailor made thee.
Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a
Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter
not have made him so ill, though he had been but
hours at the trade.
Speak yet, how grew your
This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have
at suit of his gray beard,--
Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter!
lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread
unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall
a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you
knave, know you no reverence?
Yes, sir; but anger hath a
Why art thou angry?KENT
That such a slave as this should wear a
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every
That in the natures of their lords
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon
With every gale and vary of their
Knowing nought, like dogs, but
A plague upon your epileptic
Smile you my speeches, as I were a
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Why, art thou mad, old fellow?GLOUCESTER
How fell you out? say that.KENT
No contraries hold more antipathyCORNWALL
Than I and such a knave.
Why dost thou call him a knave? What's his
His countenance likes me not.CORNWALL
No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor
Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:CORNWALL
I have seen better faces in my time
stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this
This is some fellow,KENT
having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
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,
These kind of knaves I know, which in this
Harbour more craft and more corrupter
Than twenty silly ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,CORNWALL
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 youCORNWALL
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.
What was the offence you gave
I never gave him any:KENT
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
That worthied him, got praises of the
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 cowardsCORNWALL
But Ajax is their fool.
Fetch forth the stocks!KENT
stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
Sir, I am too old to learn:CORNWALL
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:
shall do small respect, show too bold malice
the grace and person of my master,
Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and
There shall he sit till
Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night
Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,REGAN
You should not use me so.
Sir, being his knave, I will.CORNWALL
This is a fellow of the self-same colourGLOUCESTER
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
Stocks brought out
Let me beseech your grace not to do so:CORNWALL
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.
I'll answer that.REGAN
My sister may receive it much more
To have her gentleman abused,
For following her affairs. Put in his
KENT is put in the stocksCome, my good lord,
Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER and KENT
I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's
Whose disposition, all the world well
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for
Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll
A good man's fortune may grow out at
Give you good morrow!
The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill
Good king, that must approve the common
Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to
this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I
Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees
But misery: I know 'tis from
Who hath most fortunately been
Of my obscured course; and shall find
From this enormous state, seeking to
Losses their remedies. All weary and
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!
SCENE III. A wood.
Enter EDGAR EDGAR
I heard myself proclaim'd;
by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port
is free; no place,
That guard, and most unusual
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may
I will preserve myself: and am
To take the basest and most poorest
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
winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me
proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of
And with this horrible object, from low
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
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
And not send back my
As I learn'd,KENT
The night before
there was no purpose in them
Hail to thee, noble master!KING LEAR
Makest thou this shame thy
No, my lord.Fool
Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are
by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys
the loins, and men by the legs: when a
over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden
What's he that hath so much thy place
To set thee here?
It is both he and she;KING LEAR
son and daughter.
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;KENT
could not, would not do 't; 'tis worse than murder,
do upon respect such violent outrage:
Resolve me, with
all modest haste, which way
Thou mightst deserve, or
they impose, this usage,
My lord, when at their homeFool
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
Deliver'd letters, spite of
Which presently they read: on whose
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
welcome, I perceived, had poison'd mine,--
very fellow that of late
Display'd so saucily against
Having more man than wit about me,
He raised the house with loud and coward
Your son and daughter found this trespass
The shame which here it
Winter's not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that
Fathers that wear rags
make their children blind;
But fathers that bear
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
for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a
O, how this mother swells up toward my
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing
Thy element's below! Where is this
With the earl, sir, here
Follow me not;Gentleman
Made you no more offence but what you speak
How chance the king
comes with so small a train?
And thou hadst been set i' the stocks for
question, thou hadst well deserved
We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach
there's no labouring i' the winter. All that
their noses are led by their eyes but blind men;
there's not a nose among twenty but can smell
that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great
runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck
following it: but the great one that goes up
hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise
gives thee better counsel, give me mine again:
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool
That sir which serves and seeks for
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,
thee in the storm,
But I will tarry; the fool will
And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away;
fool no knave, perdy.
Where learned you this, fool?Fool
Not i' the stocks, fool.KING LEAR
Re-enter KING LEAR with GLOUCESTER
Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are
They have travell'd all the night? Mere
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.
My dear lord,KING LEAR
You know the
fiery quality of the duke;
How unremoveable and fix'd he
In his own course.
Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!GLOUCESTER
Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his
Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them
Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me,
Ay, my good lord.KING LEAR
The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear
Would with his daughter speak, commands her
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and
Fiery? the fiery duke? Tell the hot duke
No, but not yet: may be he is not
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;
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 KENTShould he sit here? This act
That this remotion of the duke and
Is practise only. Give me my servant
Go tell the duke and 's wife I'ld speak with
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear
Or at their chamber-door I'll beat the
Till it cry sleep to death.
I would have all well betwixt you.KING LEAR
O me, my heart, my rising heart! but,
Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the
when she put 'em i' the paste alive; she knapped
o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cried
wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that, in
kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants
Good morrow to you both.CORNWALL
Hail to your grace!REGAN
KENT is set at liberty
I am glad to see your
Regan, I think you are; I know what
I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be
I would divorce me from thy mother's
Sepulchring an adultress.
To KENTO, 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 heartI can scarce speak to thee;
thou'lt not believe
With how depraved a quality--O
I pray you, sir, take patience: I have
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.
Say, how is that?REGAN
I cannot think my sister in the leastKING LEAR
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.
My curses on her!REGAN
O, sir, you are old.KING LEAR
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
Say you have wrong'd her,
Ask her forgiveness?REGAN
but mark how this becomes the house:
'Dear daughter, I
confess that I am old;
KneelingAge is unnecessary: on my knees I
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and
Good sir, no more; these are unsightly
Return you to my sister.
[Rising] Never, Regan:CORNWALL
hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me;
struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the
All the stored vengeances of heaven
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young
You taking airs, with
Fie, sir, fie!KING LEAR
You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful
To fall and blast her pride!
O the blest gods! so will you wish on
When the rash mood is on.
No, Regan, thou shalt never have my
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but
Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my
To bandy hasty words, to scant my
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.
Good sir, to the purpose.KING LEAR
Who put my man i' the stocks?CORNWALL
What trumpet's that?REGAN
I know't, my sister's: this approves her
That she would soon be here.
Enter OSWALDIs your lady
This is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he
Out, varlet, from my
What means your grace?KING LEAR
Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good
Thou didst not know on't. Who comes here? O
Enter GONERILIf you do love old men, if your
Allow obedience, if yourselves are
Make it your cause; send down, and take my
To GONERILArt not ashamed to look upon this
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the
Why not by the hand, sir? How have I
All's not offence that indiscretion
And dotage terms so.
O sides, you are too tough;CORNWALL
Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the
I set him there, sir: but his own
Deserved much less
You! did you?REGAN
I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.KING LEAR
If, till the expiration of your month,
will return and sojourn with my sister,
your train, come then to me:
I am now from home, and
out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your
Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?GONERIL
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o' the air;
be a comrade with the wolf and owl,--
pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France,
that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well
To knee his throne, and, squire-like;
To keep base life afoot. Return with
Persuade me rather to be slave and
To this detested groom.
Pointing at OSWALD
At your choice, sir.KING LEAR
I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:REGAN
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,
my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the
Nor tell tales of thee to
Mend when thou canst; be better at
I can be patient; I can stay with
I and my hundred knights.
Not altogether so:KING LEAR
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
Is this well spoken?REGAN
I dare avouch it, sir: what, fifty
Is it not well? What should you need of
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one
Should many people, under two
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost
Why might not you, my lord, receive
From those that she calls servants or from
Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack
We could control them. If you will come to
For now I spy a danger,--I entreat you
To bring but five and twenty: to no more
Will I give place or notice.
I gave you all--REGAN
And in good time you gave it.KING LEAR
Made you my guardians, my depositaries;REGAN
But kept a reservation to be follow'd
such a number. What, must I come to you
With five and
twenty, Regan? said you so?
And speak't again, my lord; no more with
Those wicked creatures yet do look
When others are more wicked: not being
Stands in some rank of praise.
To GONERILI'll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Hear me, my lord;REGAN
you five and twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house
where twice so many
Have a command to tend
What need one?KING LEAR
O, reason not the need: our basest
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,
nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need,--
heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
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
Against their father, fool me not so
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble
And let not women's weapons,
Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural
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
Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go
Exeunt KING LEAR, GLOUCESTER, KENT, and Fool
Storm and tempest
Let us withdraw; 'twill be a
This house is little: the old man and his
Cannot be well bestow'd.
'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from
And must needs taste his
For his particular, I'll receive him
But not one follower.
So am I purposed.CORNWALL
my lord of Gloucester?
Follow'd the old man forth: he is
The king is in high rage.CORNWALL
Whither is he going?GLOUCESTER
He calls to horse; but will I know not
'Tis best to give him way; he leads
My lord, entreat him by no means to
Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak
Do sorely ruffle; for many miles a bout
There's scarce a bush.
O, sir, to wilful men,CORNWALL
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,
To have his ear abused, wisdom bids
Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild
My Regan counsels well; come out o' the
SCENE I. A heath.
Storm still. Enter KENT and a Gentleman, meeting
Who's there, besides foul
One minded like the weather, most
I know you. Where's the king?Gentleman
Contending with the fretful element:KENT
Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea,
swell the curled water 'bove the main,
That things might
change or cease; tears his white hair,
impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury,
and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
bids what will take all.
But who is with him?Gentleman
None but the fool; who labours to
His heart-struck injuries.
Sir, I do know you;Gentleman
upon the warrant of my note,
Commend a dear thing to
you. There is division,
Although as yet the face of it
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and
Who have--as who have not, that their great
Throned and set high?--servants, who seem no
Which are to France the spies and
Intelligent of our state; what hath been
Either in snuffs and packings of the
Or the hard rein which both of them have
Against the old kind king; or something
Whereof perchance these are but
But, true it is, from France there comes a
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who
Wise in our negligence, have secret
In some of our best ports, and are at
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will
thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to
I will talk further with you.KENT
No, do not.Gentleman
that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse,
What it contains. If you shall see
As fear not but you shall,--show her this
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.
Give me your hand: have you no more to
Few words, but, to effect, more than all
That, when we have found the king,--in which your
That way, I'll this,--he that first lights on
Holla the other.
SCENE II. Another part of the heath. Storm still.
Enter KING LEAR and Fool KING
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage!
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!
O nuncle, court holy-water in a dryKING LEAR
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
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout,
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my
I tax not you, you elements, with
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you
You owe me no subscription: then let
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old
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!
He that has a house to put's head in has a
that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse;
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.
No, I will be the pattern of all
I will say nothing.
Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece; that's a
man and a fool.
Alas, sir, are you here? things that love
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful
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.
Let the great gods,KENT
this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their
enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee
Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou
Thou perjured, and thou simular man of
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces
That under covert and convenient
Hast practised on man's life: close pent-up
Rive your concealing continents, and
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.
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
Denied me to come in--return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
My wits begin to turn.Fool
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
fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
yet for thee.
He that has and a
little tiny wit--
With hey, ho, the wind and the
Must make content with his fortunes
For the rain it raineth every
True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this
Exeunt KING LEAR and KENT
This is a brave night to cool a
I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
nobles are their tailors' tutors;
No heretics burn'd,
but wenches' suitors;
When every case in law is
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues;
cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their
gold i' the field;
And bawds and whores do churches
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
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live
before his time.
SCENE III. Gloucester's castle.
Enter GLOUCESTER and EDMUND GLOUCESTER
Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this
dealing. When I desire their leave that I
pity him, they took from me the use of mine
house; charged me, on pain of their
displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat
him, nor any way sustain him.
Most savage and unnatural!GLOUCESTER
Go to; say you nothing. There's a division
the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I
received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to
spoken; I have locked the letter in my
these injuries the king now bears will be
home; there's part of a power already footed:
must incline to the king. I will seek him,
privily relieve him: go you and maintain talk
the duke, that my charity be not of him
if he ask for me. I am ill, and gone to
Though I die for it, as no less is threatened
the king my old master must be relieved. There
some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be
This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the
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.
SCENE IV. The heath. Before a hovel.
Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool KENT
Here is the place, my lord; good my lord,
The tyranny of the open night's too
For nature to endure.
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,
Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
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
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
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
No more of that.
Good my lord, enter here.KING LEAR
Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own
This tempest will not give me leave to
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go
To the FoolIn, boy; go first. You houseless
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll
Fool goes inPoor naked wretches, whereso'er you
That bide the pelting of this pitiless
How shall your houseless heads and unfed
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend
From seasons such as these? O, I have
Too little care of this! Take physic,
Expose thyself to feel what wretches
That thou mayst shake the superflux to
And show the heavens more
[Within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor
The Fool runs out from the hovel
Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spiritKENT
Help me, help me!
Give me thy hand. Who's there?Fool
A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor
What art thou that dost grumble there i' the
Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man
Away! the foul fiend follows me!KING LEAR
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?EDGAR
And art thou come to this?
Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the
fiend hath led through fire and through flame,
through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and
that hath laid knives under his pillow, and
in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse
four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for
traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold,--O,
de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could
have him now,--and there,--and there again, and
What, have his daughters brought him to this
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them
Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all
Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy
He hath no daughters, sir.KING LEAR
Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued
To such a lowness but his unkind
Is it the fashion, that discarded
Should have thus little mercy on their
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh
Those pelican daughters.
Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:Fool
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!
This cold night will turn us all to fools and
Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not
man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on
array. Tom's a-cold.
What hast thou been?EDGAR
A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust
my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness
her; swore as many oaths as I spake words,
broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do
wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in
out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light
ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling
silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy
out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy
from lenders' books, and defy the foul
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold
Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.
Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the
Is man no more than this? Consider him well.
owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three
's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor
forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you
come unbutton here.
Tearing off his clothes
Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field
like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all
rest on's body cold. Look, here comes a walking
Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch
This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he
at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he
the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes
hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts
poor creature of earth.
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!
How fares your grace?KING LEAR
Who's there? What is't you
What are you there? Your
Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the
the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water; that
the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend
eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat
the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of
standing pool; who is whipped from tithing
tithing, and stock- punished, and imprisoned;
hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to
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
What, hath your grace no better
The prince of darkness is a gentleman:GLOUCESTER
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my
That it doth hate what gets
Poor Tom's a-cold.GLOUCESTER
Go in with me: my duty cannot sufferKING LEAR
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
First let me talk with this philosopher.KENT
What is the cause of thunder?
Good my lord, take his offer; go into the
I'll talk a word with this same learned
What is your study?
How to prevent the fiend, and to kill
Let me ask you one word in
Importune him once more to go, my lord;GLOUCESTER
His wits begin to unsettle.
Canst thou blame him?KING LEAR
Storm stillHis daughters seek his death: ah,
that good Kent!
He said it would be thus, poor banish'd
Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee,
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,--
O, cry your mercy, sir.EDGAR
Noble philosopher, your company.
In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee
Come let's in all.KENT
This way, my lord.KING LEAR
I will keep still
with my philosopher.
Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the
Take him you on.KENT
Sirrah, come on; go along with
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,
smell the blood of a British man.
SCENE V. Gloucester's castle.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND CORNWALL
I will have my revenge ere I depart his
How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature
gives way to loyalty, something fears me to
I now perceive, it was not altogether yourEDMUND
brother's evil disposition made him seek his death;
but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reprovable
badness in himself.
How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent
be just! This is the letter he spoke of,
approves him an intelligent party to the
of France: O heavens! that this treason were
or not I the detector!
o with me to the duchess.EDMUND
If the matter of this paper be certain, you
mighty business in hand.
True or false, it hath made thee earl ofEDMUND
Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he
may be ready for our apprehension.
[Aside] If I find him comforting the king, it
stuff his suspicion more fully.--I will persevere
my course of loyalty, though the conflict be
between that and my blood.
I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find
dearer father in my love.
SCENE VI. A chamber in a farmhouse adjoining the castle.
Enter GLOUCESTER, KING LEAR, KENT, Fool, and EDGAR
Here is better than the open air; take itKENT
thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can: I will not be long from you.
All the power of his wits have given way to
impatience: the gods reward your kindness!
Frateretto calls me; and tells meFool
Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness.
Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be
gentleman or a yeoman?
A king, a king!Fool
No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his
for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a
To have a thousand with red burning spitsEDGAR
Come hissing in upon 'em,--
The foul fiend bites my back.Fool
He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf,
horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's
It shall be done; I will arraign them
To EDGARCome, sit thou here, most learned
To the FoolThou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you
Look, where he stands and glares!Fool
Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
the bourn, Bessy, to me,--
Her boat hath a leak,EDGAR
must not speak
Why she dares not come over to
The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of
nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for
white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have
food for thee.
How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed:KING LEAR
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
I'll see their trial first. Bring in the
To EDGARThou robed man of justice, take thy
To the FoolAnd thou, his yoke-fellow of
Bench by his side:
To KENTyou are o' the commission,
Sit you too.
Let us deal justly.KING LEAR
or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Pur! the cat
Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take
oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked
poor king her father.
Come hither, mistress. Is your name
She cannot deny it.Fool
Cry you mercy, I took you for a
And here's another, whose warp'd looks
What store her heart is made on. Stop her
Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the
False justicer, why hast thou let her
Bless thy five wits!KENT
O pity! Sir, where is the patience now,EDGAR
That thou so oft have boasted to retain?
[Aside] My tears begin to take his part so
They'll mar my
The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch,
Sweet-heart, see, they bark at
Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
grey-hound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
Tom will make them weep and wail:
throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes
fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is
Then let them anatomize Regan; see what
about her heart. Is there any cause in nature
makes these hard hearts?
To EDGARYou, 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.
Now, good my lord, lie here and rest
Make no noise, make no noise; draw the
so, so, so. We'll go to supper i' he morning.
So, so, so.
And I'll go to bed at noon.GLOUCESTER
Come hither, friend: where is the king my
Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits are
Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon
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;
follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick
Oppressed nature sleeps:GLOUCESTER
rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,
convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure.
To the FoolCome, help to bear thy
Thou must not stay behind.
Come, come, away.EDGAR
Exeunt all but EDGAR
When we our betters see bearing our
We scarcely think our miseries our
Who alone suffers suffers most i' the
Leaving free things and happy shows
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'er
When grief hath mates, and bearing
How light and portable my pain seems
When that which makes me bend makes the king
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!
SCENE VII. Gloucester's castle.
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, EDMUND, and Servants
Post speedily to my lord your husband; show
this letter: the army of France is landed.
out the villain Gloucester.
Exeunt some of the Servants
Hang him instantly.GONERIL
Pluck out his eyes.CORNWALL
Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you
sister company: the revenges we are bound to
upon your traitorous father are not fit for
beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going,
a most festinate preparation: we are bound to
like. Our posts shall be swift and
betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell,
lord of Gloucester.
Enter OSWALDHow now! where's the
My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him
Some five or six and thirty of his
Hot questrists after him, met him at
Who, with some other of the lords
Are gone with him towards Dover; where they
To have well-armed friends.
Get horses for your mistress.GONERIL
Farewell, sweet lord, and
Exeunt GONERIL, EDMUND, and OSWALDGo seek the
Pinion him like a thief, bring him
Exeunt other ServantsThough well we may not pass
upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our
Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which
May blame, but not control. Who's there? the
Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three
Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.CORNWALL
Bind fast his corky arms.GLOUCESTER
What mean your graces? Good my friends,
You are my guests: do me no foul play,
Bind him, I say.REGAN
Servants bind him
Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!GLOUCESTER
Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm
To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt
REGAN plucks his beard
By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly doneREGAN
To pluck me by the beard.
So white, and such a traitor!GLOUCESTER
which thou dost ravish from my chin,
Will quicken, and
accuse thee: I am your host:
With robbers' hands my
You should not ruffle thus. What will
Come, sir, what letters had you late from
Be simple answerer, for we know the
And what confederacy have you with the
Late footed in the
To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?
I have a letter guessingly set down,CORNWALL
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.
Where hast thou sent the king?GLOUCESTER
Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at
Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer
I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the
Wherefore to Dover, sir?GLOUCESTER
Because I would not see thy cruel nailsCORNWALL
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:
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
See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my
He that will think to live till he be
Give me some help! O cruel! O you
One side will mock another; the other
If you see vengeance,--First Servant
Hold your hand, my lord:REGAN
have served you ever since I was a child;
service have I never done you
Than now to bid you
How now, you dog!First Servant
If you did wear a beard upon your chin,CORNWALL
I'd shake it on this quarrel. What do you
They draw and fight
Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of
Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!First Servant
Takes a sword, and runs at him behind
O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye
To see some mischief on him. O!
Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile
Where is thy lustre now?
All dark and comfortless. Where's my son
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of
To quit this horrid act.
Out, treacherous villain!GLOUCESTER
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.
O my follies! then Edgar was abused.REGAN
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
Go thrust him out at gates, and let him
His way to Dover.
Exit one with GLOUCESTERHow is't, my lord? how
I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.Second
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
I'll never care what wickedness I do,Third Servant
If this man come to good.
If she live long,Second Servant
the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all
Let's follow the old earl, and get the
To lead him where he would: his roguish
Allows itself to any
Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help
SCENE I. The heath.
Enter EDGAR EDGAR
Yet better thus, and known to be
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be
The lowest and most dejected thing of
Stands still in esperance, lives not in
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
to thy blasts. But who comes here?
Enter GLOUCESTER, led by an Old ManMy father,
poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange
mutations make us hate thee,
Lie would not yield to
O, my good lord, I have been your tenant,
your father's tenant, these fourscore
Away, get thee away; good friend, be
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.
Alack, sir, you cannot see your
I have no way, and therefore want no
I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis
Our means secure us, and our mere
Prove our commodities. O dear son
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!
How now! Who's there?EDGAR
[Aside] O gods! Who is't can say 'I am atOld Man
I am worse than e'er I
'Tis poor mad Tom.EDGAR
[Aside] And worse I may be yet: the worst is
So long as we can say 'This is the
Fellow, where goest?GLOUCESTER
Is it a beggar-man?Old Man
Madman and beggar too.GLOUCESTER
He has some reason, else he could not
I' the last night's storm I such a fellow
Which made me think a man a worm: my son
Came then into my mind; and yet my mind
then scarce friends with him: I have heard
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the
They kill us for their sport.
[Aside] How should this be?GLOUCESTER
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Angering itself and others.--Bless thee,
Is that the naked fellow?Old Man
Ay, my lord.GLOUCESTER
Then, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my
Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or
I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient
And bring some covering for this naked
Who I'll entreat to lead me.
Alack, sir, he is mad.GLOUCESTER
'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy
Above the rest, be gone.
I'll bring him the best 'parel that I
Come on't what will.
Sirrah, naked fellow,--EDGAR
Poor Tom's a-cold.GLOUCESTER
AsideI cannot daub it
Come hither, fellow.EDGAR
[Aside] And yet I must.--Bless thy sweet eyes, they
Know'st thou the way to Dover?EDGAR
Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path.
Tom hath been scared out of his good wits:
thee, good man's son, from the foul fiend!
fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust,
Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu,
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet,
mopping and mowing, who since possesses
and waiting-women. So, bless thee,
Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens'
Have humbled to all strokes: that I am
Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted
That slaves your ordinance, that will not
Because he doth not feel, feel your power
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know
There is a cliff, whose high and bending
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading
Give me thy arm:
shall lead thee.
SCENE II. Before ALBANY's palace.
Enter GONERIL and EDMUND GONERIL
Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild
Not met us on the way.
Enter OSWALDNow, where's your
Madam, within; but never man so changed.GONERIL
I told him of the army that was landed;
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
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to
What like, offensive.
[To EDMUND] Then shall you go no further.EDMUND
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
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
Into my husband's hands. This trusty
Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech;
Giving a favourDecline your head: this kiss, if
it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the
Conceive, and fare thee well.
Yours in the ranks of death.GONERIL
My most dear Gloucester!OSWALD
Exit EDMUNDO, the difference of man and
To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.
Madam, here comes my lord.GONERIL
I have been worth the whistle.ALBANY
You are not worth
the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear
That nature, which contemns its
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.
No more; the text is foolish.ALBANY
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem
Filths savour but themselves. What have you
Tigers, not daughters, what have you
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?
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,
monsters of the deep.
bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
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
With plumed helm thy slayer begins
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and
'Alack, why does he so?'
See thyself, devil!GONERIL
deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in
O vain fool!ALBANY
Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for
Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my
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.
Marry, your manhood now--ALBANY
Enter a Messenger
O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.
A servant that he bred, thrill'd with
Opposed against the act, bending his
To his great master; who, thereat
Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him
But not without that harmful stroke, which
Hath pluck'd him after.
This shows you are above,Messenger
justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can
venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other
Both, both, my lord.GONERIL
letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
'Tis from your
[Aside] One way I like this well;ALBANY
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
my hateful life: another way,
The news is not so
tart.--I'll read, and answer.
Where was his son when they did take his
Come with my lady hither.ALBANY
He is not here.Messenger
No, my good lord; I met him back
Knows he the wickedness?Messenger
Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against
And quit the house on purpose, that their
Might have the freer
Gloucester, I live
thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
Tell me what
more thou know'st.
SCENE III. The French camp near Dover.
Enter KENT and a Gentleman KENT
Why the King of France is so suddenly gone
know you the reason?
Something he left imperfect in theKENT
state, which since his coming forth is thought
of; which imports to the kingdom so much
and danger, that his personal return was
Who hath he left behind him
The Marshal of France, Monsieur La
Did your letters pierce the queen to anyGentleman
demonstration of grief?
Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my
And now and then an ample tear trill'd
Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a
Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.
O, then it moved her.Gentleman
Not to a rage: patience and sorrow stroveKENT
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,
all could so become it.
Made she no verbal question?Gentleman
'Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her
Cried 'Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i'
Let pity not be believed!' There she
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
To deal with grief alone.
It is the stars,Gentleman
above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and
mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke
not with her since?
Was this before the king
Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the
Who sometime, in his better tune,
What we are come about, and by no
Will yield to see his
Why, good sir?KENT
A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own
That stripp'd her from his benediction,
To foreign casualties, gave her dear
To his dog-hearted daughters, these things
His mind so venomously, that burning
Detains him from Cordelia.
Alack, poor gentleman!KENT
Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard
'Tis so, they are afoot.KENT
Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master
And leave you to attend him: some dear
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.
SCENE IV. The same. A tent.
Enter, with drum and colours, CORDELIA, Doctor, and
Alack, 'tis he: why, he was met even nowDoctor
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
our sustaining corn. A century send forth;
acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our
Exit an OfficerWhat can man's wisdom
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
helps him take all my outward worth.
There is means, madam:CORDELIA
foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks;
that to provoke in him,
Are many simples operative,
Will close the eye of
All blest secrets,Messenger
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
That wants the means to lead it.
Enter a Messenger
powers are marching hitherward.
'Tis known before; our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O dear father,
thy business that I go about;
My mourning and important tears hath
No blown ambition doth our arms
But love, dear love, and our aged father's
Soon may I hear and see him!
SCENE V. Gloucester's castle.
Enter REGAN and OSWALD REGAN
But are my brother's powers set
Himself in person there?OSWALD
Madam, with much ado:REGAN
sister is the better soldier.
Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at
What might import my sister's letter to
I know not, lady.REGAN
'Faith, he is posted hence on serious
It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being
To let him live: where he arrives he
All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life: moreover, to descry
strength o' the enemy.
I must needs after him, madam, with my
Our troops set forth to-morrow: stay with
The ways are dangerous.
I may not, madam:REGAN
charged my duty in this business.
Why should she write to Edmund? Might not
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something--I know not what: I'll love thee much,
Let me unseal the letter.
Madam, I had rather--REGAN
I know your lady does not love her
I am sure of that: and at her late being
She gave strange oeillades and most speaking
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her
I speak in understanding; you are; I
Therefore I do advise you, take this
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have
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
Would I could meet him, madam! I should
What party I do follow.
Fare thee well.
SCENE VI. Fields near Dover.
Enter GLOUCESTER, and EDGAR dressed like a peasant
When shall we come to the top of that same
You do climb up it now: look, how we
Methinks the ground is even.EDGAR
Hark, do you
hear the sea?
Why, then, your other senses grow
By your eyes' anguish.
So may it be, indeed:EDGAR
thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st
In better phrase
and matter than thou didst.
You're much deceived: in nothing am I
But in my garments.
Methinks you're better spoken.EDGAR
Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How
And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so
The crows and choughs that wing the midway
Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful
Methinks he seems no bigger than his
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.
Set me where you stand.EDGAR
Give me your hand: you are now within a
Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the
Would I not leap upright.
Let go my hand.EDGAR
's another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's
taking: fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee
Now fare you well, good sir.GLOUCESTER
With all my heart.EDGAR
Why I do trifle thus with his despairGLOUCESTER
Is done to cure it.
[Kneeling] O you mighty gods!EDGAR
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
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,
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
He falls forward
Gone, sir: farewell.GLOUCESTER
I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life,
when life itself
Yields to the theft: had he been where
By this, had thought been past. Alive or
Ho, you sir! friend! Hear you, sir!
Thus might he pass indeed: yet he
What are you, sir?
Away, and let me die.EDGAR
Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers,
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:
life's a miracle. Speak yet again.
But have I fall'n, or no?EDGAR
From the dread summit of this chalky
Look up a-height; the shrill-gorged lark so
Cannot be seen or heard: do but look
Alack, I have no eyes.EDGAR
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
Give me your arm:GLOUCESTER
Up: so. How
is 't? Feel you your legs? You stand.
Too well, too well.EDGAR
This is above all strangeness.GLOUCESTER
Upon the crown o' the cliff, what thing was that
Which parted from you?
A poor unfortunate beggar.EDGAR
As I stood here below, methought his eyesGLOUCESTER
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
I do remember now: henceforth I'll bearEDGAR
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
fiend, the fiend:' he led me to that place.
Bear free and patient thoughts. But who comes
Enter KING LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild flowersThe safer sense will ne'er accommodate
No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am
O thou side-piercing sight!KING LEAR
Nature's above art in that respect. There's
press-money. That fellow handles his bow like
crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard.
look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece of
cheese will do 't. There's my gauntlet; I'll
it on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O,
flown, bird! i' the clout, i' the clout:
Give the word.
Sweet marjoram.KING LEAR
I know that voice.KING LEAR
Ha! Goneril, with a white beard! They
me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs
beard ere the black ones were there. To say
and 'no' to every thing that I said!--'Ay' and
too was no good divinity. When the rain came
wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter;
the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there
found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they
not men o' their words: they told me I was
thing; 'tis a lie, I am not
The trick of that voice I do well
Is 't not the king?
Ay, every inch a king:GLOUCESTER
I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that
man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery?
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.
luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Whose face between her forks presages
That minces virtue, and does shake the
To hear of pleasure's name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
With a more riotous appetite.
the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends';
there's darkness, there's the
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.
O, let me kiss that hand!KING LEAR
Let me wipe it first; it smells of
O ruin'd piece of nature! This great
Shall so wear out to nought. Dost thou know
I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou
at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll
love. Read thou this challenge; mark but
penning of it.
Were all the letters suns, I could not see
I would not take this from report; it
And my heart breaks at it.
What, with the case of eyes?KING LEAR
O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in
head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are
a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see
this world goes.
I see it feelingly.KING LEAR
What, art mad? A man may see how this world
with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how
justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark,
thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy,
is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast
a farmer's dog bark at a
Ay, sir.KING LEAR
And the creature run from the cur? There
mightst behold the great image of authority:
dog's obeyed in office.
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
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll
Take that of me, my friend, who have the
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.
O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in
If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my
I know thee well enough; thy name is
Thou must be patient; we came crying
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee:
Alack, alack the day!KING LEAR
When we are born, we cry that we are
To this great stage of fools: this a good
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
O, here he is: lay hand upon him. Sir,KING LEAR
Your most dear daughter--
No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am evenGentleman
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.
You shall have any thing.KING LEAR
No seconds? all myself?Gentleman
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
and laying autumn's dust.
Good sir,--KING LEAR
I will die bravely, like a bridegroom.
I will be jovial: come, come; I am a
My masters, know you that.
You are a royal one, and we obey
Then there's life in't. Nay, if you get it,
shall get it with running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.
Exit running; Attendants follow
A sight most pitiful in the meanest
Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one
Who redeems nature from the general
Which twain have brought her
Hail, gentle sir.Gentleman
Sir, speed you: what's your
Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle
Most sure and vulgar: every one hears
Which can distinguish sound.
But, by your favour,Gentleman
near's the other army?
Near and on speedy foot; the main descryEDGAR
Stands on the hourly thought.
I thank you, sir: that's all.Gentleman
Though that the queen on special cause is
Her army is moved on.
I thank you, sir.GLOUCESTER
You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!
Well pray you, father.GLOUCESTER
Now, good sir, what are you?EDGAR
A most poor man, made tame to fortune's
Who, by the art of known and feeling
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your
I'll lead you to some
and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!
A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!GLOUCESTER
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.
Now let thy friendly handOSWALD
Put strength enough to't.
Wherefore, bold peasant,EDGAR
Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther
Let go, slave, or thou diest!EDGAR
Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor
pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered out of my
'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a
Nay, come not near th' old man; keep out,
ye, or ise try whether your costard or my
the harder: ch'ill be plain with
Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: come; no matter
They fight, and EDGAR knocks him down
Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my
And give the letters which thou find'st about
To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!
I know thee well: a serviceable villain;GLOUCESTER
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
badness would desire.
What, is he dead?EDGAR
Sit you down, father; rest youGLOUCESTER
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
many opportunities to cut him off: if your
want not, time and place will be fruitfully
There is nothing done, if he return the
then am I the prisoner, and his bed my goal;
the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and
the place for your labour.
'Your--wife, so I would say--
O undistinguish'd space of
A plot upon her virtuous husband's
And the exchange my brother! Here, in the
Thee I'll rake up, the post
Of murderous lechers: and in the mature
With this ungracious paper strike the
Of the death practised duke: for him 'tis
That of thy death and business I can
The king is mad: how stiff is my vile
That I stand up, and have ingenious
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.
Give me your hand:
Drum afar offFar off, methinks, I hear the
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a
SCENE VII. A tent in the French camp. LEAR on a bed asleep,
soft music playing; Gentleman, and others
Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Doctor
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and
To match thy goodness? My life will be too
And every measure fail me.
To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.CORDELIA
All my reports go with the modest truth;
more nor clipp'd, but so.
Be better suited:KENT
are memories of those worser hours:
I prithee, put them
Pardon me, dear madam;CORDELIA
be known shortens my made intent:
My boon I make it,
that you know me not
Till time and I think
Then be't so, my good lord.Doctor
To the DoctorHow does the
Madam, sleeps still.CORDELIA
O you kind gods,Doctor
great breach in his abused nature!
The untuned and
jarring senses, O, wind up
Of this child-changed
So please your majestyCORDELIA
we may wake the king: he hath slept long.
Be govern'd by your knowledge, and
I' the sway of your own will. Is he
Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleepDoctor
We put fresh garments on him.
Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;CORDELIA
I doubt not of his temperance.
Please you, draw near. Louder the music
O my dear father! Restoration hangKENT
Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!
Kind and dear princess!CORDELIA
Had you not been their father, these white
Had challenged pity of them. Was this a
To be opposed against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
quick, cross lightning? to watch--poor perdu!--
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
In short and musty straw? Alack,
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at
Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to
Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.CORDELIA
How does my royal lord? How fares your
You do me wrong to take me out o' the
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own
Do scald like moulten lead.
Sir, do you know me?KING LEAR
You are a spirit, I know: when did you
Still, still, far wide!Doctor
He's scarce awake: let him alone
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair
I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with
To see another thus. I know not what to
I will not swear these are my hands: let's
I feel this pin prick. Would I were
Of my condition!
O, look upon me, sir,KING LEAR
hold your hands in benediction o'er me:
No, sir, you
must not kneel.
Pray, do not mock me:CORDELIA
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.
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
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
And so I am, I am.KING LEAR
Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep
If you have poison for me, I will drink
I know you do not love me; for your
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.
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,CORDELIA
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.
Will't please your highness
You must bear with me:Gentleman
you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.
Exeunt all but KENT and Gentleman
Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was
Most certain, sir.Gentleman
Who is conductor of his
As 'tis said, the bastard son of
They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the
of Kent in Germany.
Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about;
powers of the kingdom approach
The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare
My point and period will be throughly
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's
SCENE I. The British camp, near Dover.
Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Gentlemen, and
Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,REGAN
Or whether since he is advised by aught
change the course: he's full of alteration
self-reproving: bring his constant pleasure.
To a Gentleman, who goes out
Our sister's man is certainly
'Tis to be doubted, madam.REGAN
Now, sweet lord,EDMUND
You know the
goodness I intend upon you:
Tell me--but truly--but then
speak the truth,
Do you not love my
In honour'd love.REGAN
But have you never found my brother's wayEDMUND
To the forfended place?
That thought abuses you.REGAN
I am doubtful that you have been conjunctEDMUND
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
No, by mine honour, madam.REGAN
I never shall endure her: dear my lord,EDMUND
Be not familiar with her.
Fear me not:GONERIL
She and the duke
Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, and
[Aside] I had rather lose the battle than that
Should loosen him and me.
Our very loving sister, well be-met.EDMUND
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.
Sir, you speak nobly.REGAN
Why is this reason'd?GONERIL
Combine together 'gainst the enemy;ALBANY
For these domestic and particular broils
not the question here.
Let's then determineEDMUND
ancient of war on our proceedings.
I shall attend you presently at your
Sister, you'll go with us?GONERIL
'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with
[Aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.--I will
As they are going out, enter EDGAR disguised
If e'er your grace had speech with man so
Hear me one word.
I'll overtake you. Speak.EDGAR
Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR
Before you fight the battle, ope this
If you have victory, let the trumpet
For him that brought it: wretched though I
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.
Stay till I have read the
I was forbid it.ALBANY
shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear
Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy
The enemy's in view; draw up your powers.ALBANY
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
urged on you.
We will greet the time.EDMUND
To both these sisters have I sworn my
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,
husband being alive. Now then we'll use
for the battle; which being done,
Let her who would be
rid of him devise
His speedy taking off. As for the
Which he intends to Lear and to
The battle done, and they within our
Shall never see his pardon; for my
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.
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 treeGLOUCESTER
For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you
Grace go with you, sir!EDGAR
Alarum and retreat within. Re-enter EDGAR
Away, old man; give me thy hand; away!GLOUCESTER
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en:
Give me thy hand; come on.
No farther, sir; a man may rot even
What, in ill thoughts again? Men must
Their going hence, even as their coming
Ripeness is all: come on.
And that's true too.
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,CORDELIA
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
We are not the firstKING
best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else
out-frown false fortune's frown.
Shall we not see these
daughters and these sisters?
No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to
We two alone will sing like birds i' the
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's
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.
Take them away.KING LEAR
Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,EDMUND
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
Exeunt KING LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded
Come hither, captain; hark.Captain
Take thou this note;
Giving a papergo 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
not become a sword: thy great employment
Will not bear
question; either say thou'lt do 't,
Or thrive by other
I'll do 't, my lord.EDMUND
About it; and write happy when thou hast
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so
As I have set it down.
I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;ALBANY
If it be man's work, I'll do 't.
Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, another Captain, and
Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant
And fortune led you well: you have the
That were the opposites of this day's
We do require them of you, so to use
As we shall find their merits and our
May equally determine.
Sir, I thought it fitALBANY
the old and miserable king
To some retention and
Whose age has charms in it, whose title
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:
question of Cordelia and her father
Requires a fitter
Sir, by your patience,REGAN
you but a subject of this war,
Not as a
That's as we list to grace him.GONERIL
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,
call itself your brother.
Not so hot:REGAN
In his own grace
he doth exalt himself,
More than in your
In my rights,GONERIL
By me invested,
he compeers the best.
That were the most, if he should husband
Jesters do oft prove prophets.GONERIL
That eye that
told you so look'd but a-squint.
Lady, I am not well; else I should answerGONERIL
From a full-flowing stomach. General,
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
Mean you to enjoy him?ALBANY
The let-alone lies not in your good
Nor in thine, lord.ALBANY
Half-blooded fellow, yes.REGAN
[To EDMUND] Let the drum strike, and prove my title
Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest
On capital treason; and, in thine
This gilded serpent
Pointing to GonerilFor your claim, fair
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.
Thou art arm'd, Gloucester: let the trumpet
If none appear to prove upon thy head
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge;
Throwing down a gloveI'll prove it on thy
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing
Than I have here proclaim'd
Sick, O, sick!GONERIL
[Aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust
There's my exchange:ALBANY
Throwing down a glovewhat in the world he
That names me traitor, villain-like he
Call by thy trumpet: he that dares
On him, on you, who not? I will
My truth and honour
A herald, ho!EDMUND
A herald, ho, a herald!ALBANY
Trust to thy single virtue; for thy
All levied in my name, have in my
Took their discharge.
My sickness grows upon me.ALBANY
She is not well; convey her to my tent.Captain
Exit Regan, led
Enter a HeraldCome hither, herald,--Let the
And read out this.
A trumpet sounds
[Reads] 'If any man of quality or degree
the lists of the army will maintain upon
supposed Earl of Gloucester, that he is a
traitor, let him appear by the third sound of
trumpet: he is bold in his
Trumpet answers within
Enter EDGAR, at the third sound, armed, with a trumpet before
Ask him his purposes, why he appearsHerald
Upon this call o' the trumpet.
What are you?EDGAR
your quality? and why you answer
Know, my name is lost;ALBANY
treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit:
Yet am I
noble as the adversary
I come to
Which is that adversary?EDGAR
What's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of
Himself: what say'st thou to
Draw thy sword,EDMUND
That, if my
speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee
justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of
My oath, and my profession: I
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new
Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy
Conspirant 'gainst this high-illustrious
And, from the extremest upward of thy
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,
In wisdom I should ask thy name;ALBANY
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
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
This sword of mine shall give them
Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets,
Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls
Save him, save him!GONERIL
This is practise, Gloucester:ALBANY
By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguiled.
Shut your mouth, dame,GONERIL
with this paper shall I stop it: Hold, sir:
than any name, read thine own evil:
No tearing, lady: I
perceive you know it.
Gives the letter to EDMUND
Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not
Who can arraign me for't.
Most monstrous! oh!GONERIL
thou this paper?
Ask me not what I know.ALBANY
Go after her: she's desperate; govern
What you have charged me with, that have I
And more, much more; the time will bring it
'Tis past, and so am I. But what art
That hast this fortune on me? If thou'rt
I do forgive thee.
Let's exchange charity.EDMUND
am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the
more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy
The gods are just, and of our pleasant
Make instruments to plague us:
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.
Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;ALBANY
The wheel is come full circle: I am here.
Methought thy very gait did prophesyEDGAR
A royal nobleness: I must embrace thee:
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
hate thee or thy father!
Worthy prince, I know't.ALBANY
Where have you hid yourself?EDGAR
How have you known the miseries of your
By nursing them, my lord. List a brief
And when 'tis told, O, that my heart would
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,
This speech of yours hath moved me,ALBANY
And shall perchance do good: but speak you on;
You look as you had something more to say.
If there be more, more woeful, hold it
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
This would have seem'd a periodALBANY
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
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then,
Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong
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.
But who was this?EDGAR
Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in
Follow'd his enemy king, and did him
Improper for a slave.
Enter a Gentleman, with a bloody knife
Help, help, O, help!EDGAR
What kind of help?ALBANY
What means that bloody knife?Gentleman
'Tis hot, it smokes;ALBANY
came even from the heart of--O, she's dead!
Who dead? speak, man.Gentleman
Your lady, sir, your lady: and her
By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd
I was contracted to them both: all threeEDGAR
Now marry in an instant.
Here comes Kent.ALBANY
Produce their bodies, be they alive or
This judgment of the heavens, that makes us
Touches us not with pity.
Enter KENTO, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
Which very manners urges.
I am comeALBANY
To bid my king
and master aye good night:
Is he not
Great thing of us forgot!KENT
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
Alack, why thus?EDMUND
Yet Edmund was beloved:ALBANY
one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew
Even so. Cover their faces.EDMUND
I pant for life: some good I mean to do,ALBANY
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.
Run, run, O, run!EDGAR
To who, my lord? Who hath the office?
Thy token of reprieve.
Well thought on: take my sword,ALBANY
Give it the captain.
Haste thee, for thy life.EDMUND
He hath commission from thy wife and meALBANY
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid
The gods defend her! Bear him hence
EDMUND is borne off
Re-enter KING LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR, Captain, and
Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for
I know when one is dead, and when one
She's dead as earth. Lend me a
If that her breath will mist or stain
Why, then she lives.
Is this the promised endEDGAR
Or image of that horror?ALBANY
Fall, and cease!KING LEAR
This feather stirs; she lives! if it be
It is a chance which does redeem all
That ever I have felt.
[Kneeling] O my good master!KING LEAR
'Tis noble Kent, your friend.KING LEAR
A plague upon you, murderers, traitors
I might have saved her; now she's gone for
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.
'Tis true, my lords, he did.KING LEAR
Did I not, fellow?KENT
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.
If fortune brag of two she loved and
One of them we behold.
This is a dull sight. Are you not
Kent: Where is your servant Caius?
He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;KENT
He'll strike, and quickly too: he's dead and
No, my good lord; I am the very
I'll see that straight.KENT
That, from your first of difference and
Have follow'd your sad
You are welcome hither.KENT
Nor no man else: all's cheerless, dark, and
Your eldest daughters have fordone them
And desperately are dead.
Ay, so I think.ALBANY
He knows not what he says: and vain it
That we present us to him.
Enter a Captain
Edmund is dead, my lord.ALBANY
That's but a trifle here.KING LEAR
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,
him our absolute power:
To EDGAR and KENTyou, 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!
And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no
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!
He faints! My lord, my lord!KENT
Break, heart; I prithee,
Look up, my lord.KENT
Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough
Stretch him out longer.
He is gone, indeed.KENT
The wonder is, he hath endured so long:ALBANY
He but usurp'd his life.
Bear them from hence. Our present
Is general woe.
To KENT and EDGARFriends of my soul, you
Rule in this realm, and the gored state
I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;ALBANY
My master calls me, I must not say no.
The weight of this sad time we must
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to
The oldest hath borne most: we that are
Shall never see so much, nor live so
Exeunt, with a dead march