Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Secunda.
1075
Enter Kent,aad Steward seuerally.
Stew. Good dawning to thee Friend,art of this house?
Kent. I.
Stew. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. I'th'myre.
1080Stew. Prythee,if thou lou'st me,tell me.
Kent. I loue thee not.
Ste. Why then I care not for thee.
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold,I would make
thee care for me.
1085Ste. Why do'st thou vse me thus? I know thee not.
Kent. Fellow I know thee.
Ste. What do'st thou know me for?
Kent. A Knaue,a Rascall, an eater of broken meates,a
base, proud, shallow, beggerly, three-suited-hundred
1090pound, filthy woosted-stocking knaue,a Lilly-liuered,
action-taking,whoreson glasse-gazing super-seruiceable
finicall Rogue, one Trunke-inheriting slaue, one that
would'st be a Baud in way of good seruice, and art no-
thing but the composition of a Knaue, Begger, Coward,
1095Pandar, and the Sonne and Heire of a Mungrill Bitch,
one whom I will beate into clamours whining, if thou
deny'st the least sillable of thy addition.
Stew. Why,what a monstrous Fellow art thou, thus
to raile on one, that is neither knowne of thee, nor
1100knowes thee?
Kent. What a brazen-fac'd Varlet art thou, to deny
thou knowest me? Is it two dayes since I tript vp thy
heeles,and beate thee before the King?Draw you rogue,
for though it be night,yet the Moone shines,Ile make a
1105sop oth'Moonshine of you, you whoreson Cullyenly
Barber-monger,draw.
Stew. Away,I haue nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw you Rascall, you come with Letters a-
gainst the King,and take Vanitie the puppets part, a-
1110gainst the Royaltie of her Father: draw you Rogue, or
Ile so carbonado your shanks, draw you Rascall, come
your waies.
Ste. Helpe,ho,murther,helpe.
Kent. Strike you slaue: stand rogue, stand you neat
1115slaue,strike.
Stew. Helpe hoa,murther,murther.
Enter Bastard,Cornewall, Regan, Gloster,Seruants.
Bast. How now,what's the matter?Part.
Kent. With you goodman Boy, if you please,come,
1120Ile flesh ye,come on yong Master.
Glo. Weapons? Armes? what's the matter here?
Cor. Keepe peace vpon your liues, he dies that strikes
againe,what is the matter?
Reg. The Messengers from our Sister, and the King?
1125Cor. What is your difference, speake?
Stew. I am scarce in breath my Lord.
Kent. No Maruell,you haue so bestir'd your valour,
you cowardly Rascall,nature disclaimes in thee:a Taylor
made thee.
1130Cor. Thou art a strange fellow,a Taylor make a man?
Kent. A Taylor Sir,a Stone-cutter, or a Painter,could
not haue made him so ill, though they had bin but two
yeares oth'trade.
Cor. Speake yet,how grew your quarrell?
1135Ste. This ancient Ruffian Sir, whose life I haue spar'd
at sute of his gray-beard.
Kent. Thou whoreson Zed, thou vnnecessary letter:
my Lord,if you will giue me leaue, I will tread this vn-
boulted villaine into morter, and daube the wall of a
1140Iakes with him. Spare my gray-beard,you wagtaile?
Cor. Peace sirrah,
You beastly knaue,know you no reuerence?
Kent. Yes Sir,but anger hath a priuiledge.
Cor. Why art thou angrie?
1145Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a Sword,
Who weares no honesty: such smiling rogues as these,
Like Rats oft bite the holy cords a twaine,
Which are t'intrince, t'vnloose: smooth euery passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
1150Being oile to fire,snow to the colder moodes,
Reuenge,affirme, and turne their Halcion beakes
With euery gall,and varry of their Masters,
Knowing naught (like dogges) but following:
A plague vpon your Epilepticke visage,
1155Smoile you my speeches,as I were a Foole?
Goose,if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
I'ld driue ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What art thou mad old Fellow?
Glost. How fell you out,say that?
1160Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy,
Then I,and such a knaue.
Corn. Why do'st thou call him Knaue?
What is his fault?
Kent. His countenance likes me not.
1165Cor. No more perchance do's mine,nor his,nor hers.
Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plaine,
I haue seene better faces in my time,
Then stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me,at this instant.
1170Corn. This is some Fellow,
Who hauing beene prais'd for bluntnesse,doth affect
A saucy roughnes,and constraines the garb
Quite from his Nature. He cannot flatter he,
An honest mind and plaine,he must speake truth,
1175And they will take it so,if not, hee's plaine.
These kind of Knaues I know,which in this plainnesse
Harbour more craft,and more corrupter ends,
Then twenty silly-ducking obseruants,
That stretch their duties nicely.
1180Kent. Sir,in good faith,in sincere verity,
Vnder th'allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
On flicking Phœbus front.
Corn. What mean'st by this?
1185Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discom-
mend so much; I know Sir,I am no flatterer, he that be-
guild you in a plaine accent, was a plaine Knaue, which
for my part I will not be, though I should win your
displeasure to entreat me too't.
1190Corn. What was th'offence you gaue him?
Ste. I neuer gaue him any:
It pleas'd the King his Master very late
To strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
When he compact,and flattering his displeasure
1195Tript me behind:being downe, insulted,rail'd,
And put vpon him such a deale of Man,
That worthied him,got praises of the King,
For him attempting,who was selfe-subdued,
And in the fleshment of this dead exploit,
1200Drew on me here againe.
Kent. None of these Rogues,and Cowards
But Aiax is there Foole.
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks?
You stubborne ancient Knaue,you reuerent Bragart,
1205Wee'l teach you.
Kent. Sir,I am too old to learne:
Call not your Stocks for me,I serue the King.
On whose imployment I was sent to you,
You shall doe small respects,show too bold malice
1210Against the Grace,and Person of my Master,
Stocking his Messenger.
Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks;
As I haue life and Honour,there shall he sit till Noone.
Reg. Till noone? till night my Lord,and all night too.
1215Kent. Why Madam,if I were your Fathers dog,
You should not vse me so.
Reg. Sir,being his Knaue,I will.
Stocks brought out.
Cor. This is a Fellow of the selfe same colour,
Our Sister speakes of. Come,bring away the Stocks.
1220Glo. Let me beseech your Grace,not to do so,
The King his Master,needs must take it ill
That he so slightly valued in his Messenger,
Should haue him thus restrained.
Cor. Ile answere that.
1225Reg. My Sister may recieue it much more worsse,
To haue her Gentleman abus'd,assaulted.
Corn. Come my Lord,away.
Exit.
Glo. I am sorry for thee friend,'tis the Duke pleasure,
Whose disposition all the world well knowes
1230Will not be rub'd nor stopt,Ile entreat for thee.
Kent.Pray do not Sir,I haue watch'd and trauail'd hard,
Some time I shall sleepe out,the rest Ile whistle:
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles:
Giue you good morrow.
1235Glo. The Duke's too blamein this,
'Twill be ill taken.
Exit.
Kent.Good King,that must approue the common saw,
Thou out of Heauens benediction com'st
To the warme Sun.
1240Approach thou Beacon to this vnder Globe,
That by thy comfortable Beames I may
Peruse this Letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But miserie. I know'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately beene inform'd
1245Of my obscured course. And shall finde time
From this enormous State,seeking to giue
Losses their remedies.All weary and o're-watch'd,
Take vantage heauie eyes,not to behold
This shamefnll lodging. Fortune goodnight,
1250Smile once more,turne thy wheele.
Enter Edgar.
Edg. I heard my selfe proclaim'd,
And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
Escap'd the hunt. No Port is free,no place
1255That guard, and most vnusall vigilance
Do's not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
I will preserue myselfe: and am bethought
To take the basest,and most poorest shape
That euer penury in contempt of man,
1260Brought neere to beast; my face Ile grime with filth,
Blanket my loines,elfe all my haires in knots,
And with presented nakednesse out-face
The Windes,and persecutions of the skie;
The Country giues me proofe,and president
1265Of Bedlam beggers, who with roaring voices,
Strike in their num'd and mortified Armes.
Pins, Wodden-prickes,Nayles,Sprigs of Rosemarie:
And with this horrible obiect,from low Farmes,
Poore pelting Villages, Sheeps-Coates, and Milles,
1270Sometimes with Lunaticke bans, sometime with Praiers
Inforce their charitie: poore Turlygodpoore Tom,
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
Exit.
Enter Lear,Foole,and Gentleman.
Lea. 'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
1275And not send backe my Messengers.
Gent. As I learn'd,
The night before,there was no purpose in them
Of this remoue.
Kent. Haile to thee Noble Master.
1280Lear. Ha? Mak'st thou this shame ahy pastime?
Kent. No my Lord.
Foole. Hah, ha, he weares Cruell Garters Horses are
tide by the heads, Dogges and Beares by'th'necke,
Monkies by'th'loynes, and Men by'th'legs: when a man
1285ouerlustie at legs,then he weares wodden nether-stocks.
Lear. What's he,
That hath so much thy place mistooke
To set thee heere?
Kent. It is both he and she,
1290Your Son,and Daughter.
Lear. No.
Kent. Yes.
Lear. No I say.
Kent. I say yea.
1295Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no.
Kent. By Iuno,I sweare I.
Lear. They durst not do't:
They could not, would not do't: 'tis worse then murther,
To do vpon respect such violent outrage:
1300Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
Thou might'st deserue,or they impose this vsage,
Comming from vs.
Kent. My Lord,when at their home
I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them,
1305Ere I was risen from the place, that shewed
My dutie kneeling,came there a reeking Poste,
Stew'd in his haste,halfe breathlesse,painting forth
From Gonerill his Mistris,salutations;
Deliuer'd Letters spight of intermission,
1310Which presently they read; on those contents
They summon'd vp their meiney,straight tooke Horse,
Commanded me to follow,and attend
The leisure of their answer,gaue me cold lookes,
And meeting heere the other Messenger,
1315Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poison'd mine,
Being the very fellow which of late
Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
Hauing more man then wit about me,drew;
He rais'd the house, with loud and coward cries,
1320Your Sonne and Daughter found this trespasse worth
The shame which heere it suffers.
Foole. Winters not gon yet, if the wil'd Geese fly that
Fathers that weare rags, do make their Children blind,
But Fathers that beare bags,shall see their children kind.
1325Fortune that arrant whore,nere turns the key to th'poore.
But for all this thou shalt haue as many Dolors for thy
Daughters,as thou canst tell in a yeare.
Lear. Oh how this Mother swels vp toward my heart!
Historica passio,downe thou climing sorrow,
1330Thy Elements below where is this Daughter?
Kent. Wirh the Earle Sir,here within.
Lear. Follow me not,stay here.
Exit.
Gen. Made you no more offence,
But what you speake of?
1335Kent. None:
How chance the the King comes with so small a number?
Foole. And thou hadst beene set i'th'Stockes for that
question,thoud'st well deseru'd it.
Kent. Why Foole?
1340Foole. Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach
thee ther's no labouring i'th'winter. All that follow their
noses,are led by their eyes, but blinde men, and there's
not a nose among twenty,but can smell him that's stink-
ing; let go thy hold,when a greatwheele runs downe a
1345hill, least it breake thy necke with following. But the
great one that goes vpward, let him drawthee after:
when a wiseman giues thee better counsellgiue me mine
againe,I would hause nonebut knaues follow it, since a
Foole giues it.
1350That Sir,which serues and seekes for gaine,
And followes but for forme;
Will packe,when it begins to raine,
And leaue thee in the storme,
But I will tarry,the Foole will stay,
1355And let the wiseman flie:
The knaue turnes Foole that runnes away,
The Foole noknaue perdie.
Enter Lear,and Gloster:
Kent. Where learn'd you this Foole?
1360Foole. Not i'th'Stocks Foole.
Lear. Deny to speake with me?
They are sicke,they are weary,
They haue trauail'd all the night? meere fetches,
The images of reuolt and flying off.
1365Fetch me a better answer.
Glo. My deere Lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How vnremoueable and fixt he is
In his owne course.
1370Lear. Vengeance, Plague,Death,Confusion:
Fiery? What quality? Why Gloster, Gloster,
I'ld speake with the Duke of Cornewall,and his wife.
Glo. Well my good Lord,I haue inform'd them so.
Lear. Inform'd them? Do'st thou vnderstand me man.
1375Glo. I my good Lord.
Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall,
The deere Father
Would with his Daughter speake,commands,tends,ser-
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood:
1380Fiery? The fiery Duke,tell the hot Duke that----
No,but not yet,may be he is not well,
Infirmity doth still neglect all office,
Whereto our health is bound,we are not our selues,
When Nature being opprest,commands the mind
1385To suffer with the body; Ile forbeare,
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit,
For the sound man. Death on my state: wherefore
Should he sit heere? This act perswades me,
1390That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practise only. Giue me my Seruant forth;
Goe tell the Duke, and's wife,Il'd speake with them:
Now,presently: bid them come forth and heare me,
Or at their Chamber doore Ile beate the Drum,
1395Till it crie sleepe to death.
Glo. I would haue all well betwixt you.
Exit.
Lear. Oh me my heart! My rising heart! But downe.
Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cockney did to the
Eeles,when she put 'em i'th'Paste aliue, she knapt 'em
1400o'th'coxcombs with a sticke,and cryed downe wantons,
downe; 'twas her Brother, that in pure kindnesse to his
Horse buttered his Hay.
Enter Cornewall,Regan,Gloster,Seruants.
Lear. Good morrow to you both.
1405Corn. Haile to your Grace. Kent here set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse.
Lear. Regan, I thinke your are. I know what reason
I haue to thinke so,if thou should'st not be glad,
I would diuorce me from thy Mother Tombe,
1410Sepulchring an Adultresse. O are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
Thy Sisters naught: oh Regan, she hath tied
Sharpe-tooth'd vnkindnesse,like a vulture heere,
I can scarce speake to thee,thou'lt not beleeue
1415With how deprau'd a quality. Oh Regan.
Reg. I pray you Sir,take patience,I haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert,
Then she to scant her dutie.
Lear. Say? How is that?
1420Reg. I cannot thinke my Sister in the least
Would faile her Obligation. If Sir perchance
She haue restrained the Riots of your Followres,
'Tis on such ground,and to such wholesome end,
As cleeres her from all blame.
1425Lear. My curses on her.
Reg. O Sir,you are old,
Nature in you stands on the very Verge
Of his confine: you should be rul'd, and led
By some discretion, that discernes your state
1430Better then you your selfe: therefore I pray you,
That to our Sister, you do make returne,
Say you haue wrong'd her.
Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse?
Do you but marke how this becomes the house?
1435Deere daughter, I confesse that I am old;
Age is vnnecessary: on my knees I begge,
That you'l vouchsafe me Rayment, Bed,and Food.
Reg. Good Sir,no more: these are vnsightly trickes:
Returne you to my Sister.
1440Lear. Neuer Regan:
She hath abated me of halfe my Traine;
Look'd blacke vpon me, strooke me with her Tongue
Most Serpent-like, vpon the very Heart.
All the stor'd Vengeances of Heauen, fall
1445On her ingratefull top: strike her yong bones
You taking Ayres, with Lamenesse.
Corn. Fye sir, fie.
Le. You nimble Lightnings,dart your blinding flames
Into her scornfull eyes: Infect her Beauty,
1450You Fen-suck'd Fogges, drawne by the powrfull Sunne,
To fall,and blister.
Reg. O the blest Gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash moode is on.
Lear. No Regan,thou shalt neuer haue my curse:
1455Thy tender-hefted -->Nature shall not giue
Thee o're to harshnesse: Her eyes are fierce, but thine
Do comfort, and not burne. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my Traine,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
1460And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my comming in. Thou better know'st
The Offices of Nature, bond of Childhood,
Effects of Curtesie, dues of Gratitude:
Thy halfe o'th'Kingdome hast thou not forgot,
1465Wherein I thee endow'd.
Reg. Good Sir, to'th'purpose.
Tucket within.
Lear. Who put my man i'th'Stockes?
Enter Steward.
Corn. What Trumpet's that?
1470Reg. I know't,my Sisters: this approues her Letter,
That she would soone be heere. Is your Lady come?
Lear. This is a Slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
Dwels in the sickly grace of her he followes.
Out Varlet, from my sight.
1475Corn. What meanes your Grace?
Enter Gonerill.
Lear. Who stockt my Seruant? Regan,I haue good hope
Thou did'st not know on't.
Who comes here? O Heauens!
1480If you do loue old men; if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if you your selues are old,
Make it your cause: Send downe,and take my part.
Art not asham'd to looke vpon this Beard?
O Regan, will you take her by the hand?
1485Gon. Why not by'th'hand Sir? How haue I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
And dotage termes so.
Lear. O sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold?
1490How came my man i'th'Stockes?
Corn. I set him there,Sir: but his owne Disorders
Deseru'd much lesse aduancement.
Lear. You? Did you?
Reg. I pray you Father being weake,seeme so.
1495If till the expiration of your Moneth
You will returne and soiourne with my Sister,
Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
I am now from home,and out of that prouision
Which shall be needfull for your entertainement.
1500Lear. Returne to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abiure all roofes,and chuse
To wage against the enmity oth'ayre,
To be a Comrade with the Wolfe,and Owle,
Necessities sharpe pinch. Returne with her?
1505Why the hot-bloodiedFrance,that dowerlesse tooke
Our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
To knee his Throne,and Squire-like pension beg,
To keepe base life a foote; returne with her?
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
1510To this detested groome.
Gon. At your choice Sir.
Lear. I prythee Daughter do not make me mad,
I will not trouble thee my Child;farewell:
Wee'l no more meete,no more see one another.
1515But 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 Byle,
A plague sore,or imbossed Carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But Ile not chide thee,
1520Let shame come when it will,I do not call it,
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoote,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-iudging Ioue,
Mend when thou can'st,be better at thy leisure,
I can be patient,I can stay with Regan,
1525I and my hundred Knights.
Reg. Not altogether so,
I look'd not for you yet,nor am prouided
For your fit welcome,giue eare Sir to my Sister,
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
1530Must be content to thinke you old,and so,
But she knowes what she doe's.
Lear. Is this well spoken?
Reg. I dare auouch it Sir,what fifty Followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
1535Yea,or so many? Sith that both charge and danger,
Speake 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many people,vnder two commands
Hold amity? 'Tis hard,almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you my Lord,receiue attendance
1540From those that she cals Seruants,or from mine?
Reg. Why not my Lord?
If then they chanc'd to slacke ye,
We could comptroll them; if you will come to me,
(For now I spie a danger)I entreate you
1545To bring but fiue and twentie,to no more
Will I giue place or notice.
Lear. I gaue you all.
Reg. And in good time you gaue it.
Lear. Made you my Guardians,my Depositaries,
1550But kept a reseruation to be followed
With such a number? What, must I come to you
With fiue and twenty? Regan,said you so?
Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.
Lea. Those wicked Creatures yet do look wel fauor'd
1555When others are more wicked,not being the worst
Stands in some ranke of praise,Ile go with thee,
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
And thou art twice her Loue.
Gon. Heare me my Lord;
1560What need you fiue and twenty? Ten? Or fiue?
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Haue a command to tend you?
Reg. What need one?
Lear. O reason not the need: our basest Beggers
1565Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not Nature,more then Nature needs:
Mans life is cheape as Beastes. Thou art a Lady;
If onely to go warme were gorgeous,
Why Nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
1570Which scarcely keepes thee warme,but for true need:
You Heauens,giue me that patience,patience I need,
You see me heere (you Gods)a poore old man,
As full of griefe as age,wretched in both,
If it be you that stirres these Daughters hearts
1575Against their Father,foole me not so much,
To beare it tamely{ }:touch me with Noble anger,
And let not womens weapons, water drops,
Staine my mans cheekes.No you vnnaturall Hags,
I will haue such reuenges on you both,
1580That all the world shall---I will do such things,
What they are yet,I know not,but they shalbe
The terrors of the earth?you thinke Ile weepe,
No,Ile not weepe,I haue full cause of weeping.
Storme and Tempest.
1585But this heart shal break into a hundred thousand flawes
Or ere Ile weepe; O Foole,I shall go mad.
Exeunt.
Corn. Let vs withdraw, 'twill be a Storme.
Reg. This house is little,the old man an'ds people,
Cannot be well bestow'd.
1590Gon. 'Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular,Ile receiue him gladly,
But not one follower.
Gon. So am I purpos'd.
1595Where is my Lord of Gloster?
Enter Gloster.
Corn. Followed the old man forth,he is return'd.
Glo. The King is in high rage.
Corn. Whether is he going?
1600Glo. He cals to Horse,but will I know not whether.
Corn. 'Tis best to giue him way,he leads himselfe.
Gon. My Lord,entreate him by no meanes to stay.
Glo. Alacke the night comes on,and the high windes
Do sorely ruffle,for many Miles about
1605There's scarce a Bush.
Reg. O Sir,to wilfull men,
The iniuries that they themselues procure,
Must be their Schoole-Masters: shut vp your doores,
He is attended with a desperate traine,
1610And what they may incense him too,being apt,
To haue his eare abus'd,wisedome bids feare.
Cor. Shut vp your doores my Lord, 'tis a wil'd night,
My Regan counsels well: come out oth'storme.
Exeunt.