Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)


THE TRAGEDIE OF
KING LEAR.
1
Actus Primus. Scœna Prima.
Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmond.
Kent.
I thought the Kinghad more affected the
5Duke of Albany, then Cornwall.
Glou. It did alwayes seeme so to vs: But
now in the diuision of the Kingdome, it ap-
peares not which of the Dukes hee valewes
most, for qualities are so weigh'd, that curiosity in nei-
10ther, can make choise of eithers moity.
Kent. Is not this your Son, my Lord?
Glou. His breeding Sir,hath bin at my charge. I haue
so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am
braz'd too't.
15Kent. I cannot conceiue you.
Glou. Sir,this yong Fellowes mother could; where-
vpon she grew round womb'd, and had indeede (Sir) a
Sonne for her Cradle, ere she had husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault?
20Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it,
being so proper.
Glou. But I haue a Sonne, Sir, by order of Law,some
yeere elder then this; who, yet is no deerer in my ac-
count, though this Knaue came somthing sawcily to the
25world before he was sent for: yet was his Mother fayre,
there was good sport at his making, and the horson must
be acknowledged. Doe you know this Noble Gentle-
man, Edmond?
Edm. No, my Lord.
30Glou. My Lord of Kent:
Remember him heereafter,as my Honourable Friend.
Edm. My seruices to your Lordship.
Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir,I shall study deseruing.
35Glou. He hath bin out nine yeares, and away he shall
againe. The King is comming.
Sennet. Enter King Lear, Cornwall,Albany,Gonerill, Re-
gan, Cordelia, and attendants.
Lear. Attend the Lords of France & Burgundy,Gloster.
40Glou. I shall,my Lord.
Exit.
Lear. Meane time we shal expresse our darker purpose.
Giue me the Map there. Know, that we haue diuided
In three our Kingdome: and 'tis our fast intent,
To shake all Cares and Businesse from our Age,
45Conferring them on yonger strengths, while we
Vnburthen'd crawle toward death. Our son of Cornwal,
And you our no lesse louing Sonne of Albany,
We haue this houre a constant will to publish
Our daughters seuerall Dowers, that future strife
50May be preuented now. The Princes, France & Burgundy,
Great Riuals in our yongest daughters loue,
Long in our Court, haue made their amorous soiourne,
And heere are to be answer'd. Tell me my daughters
(Since now we will diuest vs both of Rule,
55Interest of Territory, Cares of State)
Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most,
That we, our largest bountie may extend
Where Nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill,
Our eldest borne, speake first.
60Gon.Sir, I loue you more then word can weild ye matter,
Deerer then eye-sight, space, and libertie,
Beyond what can be valewed, rich or rare,
No lesse then life, with grace, health,beauty, honor:
As much as Childe ere lou'd, or Father found.
65A loue that makes breath poore,and speech vnable,
Beyond all manner of so much I loue you.
Cor. What shall Cordelia speake? Loue,and be silent.
Lear.Of all these bounds euen from this Line,to this,
With shadowie Forrests,and with Champains rich'd
70With plenteous Riuers,and wide-skirted Meades
We make thee Lady. To thine and Albanies issues
Be this perpetuall. What sayes our second Daughter?
Our deerest Regan, wife of Cornwall?
Reg. I am made of that selfe-mettle as my Sister,
75And prize me at her worth. In my true heart,
I finde she names my very deede of loue:
Onely she comes too short, that I professe
My selfe an enemy to all other ioyes,
Which the most precious square of sense professes,
80And finde I am alone felicitate
In your deere Highnesse loue.
Cor. Then poore Cordelia,
And yet not so, since I am sure my loue's
More ponderous then my tongue.
85Lear. To thee, and thinehereditarie euer,
Remaine this ample third of our faire Kingdome,
No lesse in space, validitie, and pleasure
Then that conferr'd on Gonerill. Now our Ioy,
Although our last and least; to whose yong loue,
90The Vines of France, and Milke of Burgundie,
Striue to be interest. What can you say, to draw
A third, more opilent then your Sisters? speake.
Cor. Nothing my Lord.
Lear. Nothing?
95Cor. Nothing.
Lear. Nothing will come of nothing,speake againe.
Cor. Vnhappie that I am,I cannot heaue
My heart into my mouth:I loue your Maiesty
According to my bond,no more nor lesse.
100Lear. How,how Cordelia?mend your speech a little,
Least you may marre your Fortunes.
Cor. Good my Lord,
You haue begot me,bred me,lou'd me.
I returne those duties backe as are right fit,
105Obey you,Loue you,and most Honour you.
Why haue my Sisters Husbands,if they say
They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed,
That Lord,whose hand must take my plight,shall carry
Halfe my loue with him, halfe my Care,and Dutie,
110Sure I shall neuer marry like my Sisters.
Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
Cor. I my good Lord.
Lear. So young, and so vntender?
Cor. So young my Lord,and true.
115Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre:
For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
The miseries of Heccat and the night:
By all the operation of the Orbes,
From whom we do exist,and cease to be,
120Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me,
Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
125To gorge his appetite,shall to my bosome
Be as well neighbour'd,pittied,and releeu'd,
As thou my sometime Daughter.
Kent. Good my Liege.
Lear. Peace Kent,
130Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath,
I lou'd her most,and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight:
So be my graue my peace, as here I giue
Her Fathers heart from her ; call France,who stirres?
135Call Burgundy,Cornwall,and Albanie,
With my two Daughters Dowres,digest the third,
Let pride, which she cals plainnesse,marry her:
I doe inuest you ioyntly with my power,
Preheminence,and all the large effects
140That troope with Maiesty. Our selfe by Monthly course,
With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
By you to be sustain'd,shall our abode
Make with you by due turne,onely we shall retaine
The name, and all th'addition to a King:the Sway,
145Reuennew, Execution of the rest,
Beloued Sonnes be yours,which to confirme,
This Coronet part betweene you.
Kent. Royall Lear,
Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
150Lou'd as my Father,as my Master follow'd,
As my great Patron thought on in my praiers.
Le. The bow is bent & drawne,make from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather,though the forke inuade
The region of my heart,be Kent vnmannerly,
155When Lear is mad,what wouldest thou do old man?
Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake,
When power to flattery bowes?
To plainnesse honour's bound,
When Maiesty falls to folly,reserue thy state,
160And in thy best consideration checke
This hideous rashnesse,answere my life,my iudgement:
Thy yongest Daughter do's not loue thee least,
Nor are those empty hearted,whose low sounds
Reuerbe no hollownesse.
165Lear. Kent,on thy life no more.
Kent. My life I neuer held but as pawne
To wage against thine enemies,nere feare to loose it,
Thy safety being motiue.
Lear. Out of my sight.
170Kent. See better Lear,and let me still remaine
The true blanke of thine eie.
Kear. Now by Apollo,
Lent. Now by Apollo,King
Thou swear.st thy Gods in vaine.
175Lear. O Vassall! Miscreant.
Alb. Cor. Deare Sir forbeare.
Kent. Kill thy Physition,and thy fee bestow
Vpon the foule disease,reuoke thy guift,
Or whil'st I can vent clamour from my throate,
180Ile tell thee thou dost euill.
Lea. Heare me recreant,on thine allegeance heare me;
That thou hast sought to make vs breake our vowes,
Which we durst neuer yet; and with strain'd pride,
To come betwixt our sentences,and our power,
185Which,nor our nature,nor our place can beare;
Our potencie made good,take thy reward.
Fiue dayes we do allot thee for prouision,
To shield thee from disasters of the world,
And on the sixt to turne thy hated backe
190Vpon our kingdome; if on the tenth day following,
Thy banisht trunke be found in our Dominions,
The moment is thy death,away. By Iupiter,
This shall not be reuok'd,
Kent. Fare thee well King,sith thus thou wilt appeare,
195Freedome liues hence,and banishment is here;
The Gods to their deere shelter take thee Maid,
That iustly think'st,and hast most rightly said:
And your large speeches,may your deeds approue,
That good effects may spring from words of loue:
200Thus Kent,O Princes,bids you all adew,
Hee'l shape his old course, in a Country new.
Exit.
Flourish. Enter Gloster with France,and Bur-
gundy,Attendants.
Cor. Heere's France and Burgundy,my Noble Lord.
205Lear. My Lord of Bugundie,
We first addresse toward you,who with this King
Hath riuald for our Daughter; what in the least
Will you require in present Dower with her,
Or cease your quest of Loue?
210Bur. Most Royall Maiesty,
I craue no more then hath your Highnesse offer'd,
Nor will you tender lesse?
Lear. Right Noble Burgundy,
When she was deare to vs,we did hold her so,
215But now her price is fallen: Sir,there she stands,
If ought within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more may fitly like your Grace,
Shee's there,and she is yours.
220Bur. I know no answer.
Lear. Will you with those infirmities she owes,
Vnfriended,new adopted to our hate,
Dow'rd with our curse,and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her or,leaue her.
225Bur. Pardon me Royall Sir,
Election makes not vp in such conditions.
Le. Then leaue her sir,for by the powre that made me,
I tell you all her wealth. For you great King,
I would not from your loue make such a stray,
230To match you where I hate,therefore beseech you
T'auert your liking a more worthier way,
Then on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
Almost t'acknowledge hers.
Fra. This is most strange,
235That she whom euen but now,was your obiect,
The argument of your praise,balme of your age,
The best,the deerest,{sh}ould in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous,to dismantle
So many folds of fauour:sure her offence
240Must be of such vnnaturall degree,
That monsters it: Or your fore-voucht affection
Fall into taint,which to beleeue of her
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should neuer plant in me.
245Cor. I yet beseech your Maiesty.
If for I want that glib and oylie Art,
To speake and purpose not,since what I will intend,
Ile do't before I speake,that you make knowne
It is no vicious blot,murther,or foulenesse,
250No vnchaste action or dishonoured step
That hath depriu'd me of your Grace and fauour,
But euen for want of that,for which I am richer,
A still soliciting eye,and such a tongue,
That I am glad I haue not,though not to haue it,
255Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear. Better thou had'st'
Not beene borne,then not t haue pleas'd me better.
Fra. Is it but this ? A tardinesse in nature,
Which often leaues the history vnspoke
260That it intends to do: my Lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the Lady? Loue's not loue
When it is mingled with regards,that stands
Aloofe from th'intire point,will you haue her?
She is herselfe a Dowrie.
265Bur. RoyallKing,
Giue but that portion which your selfe propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Dutchesse of Burgundie.
Lear. Nothing,I haue sworne,I am firme.
270Bur. I am sorry then you haue so lost a Father,
That you must loose a husband.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundie,
Since that respect and Fortunes are his loue,
I shall not be his wife.
275Fra. Fairest Cordelia,that art most rich being poore,
Most choise forsaken, and most lou'd despis'd,
Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon,
Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
Gods,Gods! 'Tis strange,that from their cold'st neglect
280My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
Thy dowrelesse Daughter King, throwne to my chance,
Is Queene of vs,of ours,and our faire France:
Not all the Dukes of watrish Burgundy,
Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
285Bid them farewellCordelia,though vnkinde,
Thou loosest here a better where to finde.
Lear. Thou hast her France,let her be thine,for we
Haue no such Daughter,nor shall euer see
That face of hers againe,therfore be gone,
290Without our Grace,our Loue,our Benizon:
Come Noble Burgundie.
Flourish. Exeunt.
Fra. Bid farwell to your Sisters.
Cor. The Iewels of our Father,with wash'd eies
Cordelia leaues you,I know you what you are,
295And like a Sister am most loth to call
Your faults as they are named. Loue well our Father:
To your professed bosomes I commit him,
But yet alas,stood I within his Grace,
I would prefer him to a better place,
300So farewell to you both.
Regn. Prescribe not vs our dutie.
Gon. Let your study
Be to content your Lord,who hath receiu'd you
At Fortunes almes,you haue obedience scanted,
305And well are worth the want that you haue wanted.
Cor. Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides,
Who couers faults,at last with shame derides:
Well may you prosper.
Fra. Come my faire Cordelia.
Exit France and Cor.
310Gon. Sister,it is not little I haue to say,
Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both,
I thinke our Father will hence to night.
Reg. That's most certaine,and with you: next moneth
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the ob-
315seruation we haue made of it hath beene little;he alwaies
lou'd our Sister most,and with what poore iudgement he
hath now cast her off,appeares too grossely.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age,yet he hath euer but
slenderly knowne himselfe.
320Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but
rash,then must we looke from his age, to receiue not a-
lone the imperfections of long ingraffed condition, but
therewithall the vnruly way-wardnesse,that infirme and
cholericke yeares bring with them.
325Reg. Such vnconstant starts are we like to haue from
him,as this of Kents banishment.
Gon. There is further complement of leaue-taking be-
tweene France and him,pray you let vs sit together, if our
Father carry authority with such disposition as he beares,
330this last surrender of his will but offend vs.
Reg. We shall further thinke of it.
Gon. We must do something,and i'th'heate.
Exeunt.
Scena Secunda.
Enter Bastard.
335Bast. Thou Nature art my Goddesse,to thy Law
My seruices are bound,wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custome,and permit
The curiosity of Nations, to depriue me?
For that I am some twelue, or fourteene Moonshines
340Lag of a Brother? Why Bastard? Wherefore base?
When my Dimensions are as well compact,
My minde as generous,and my shape as true
As honest Madams issue? Why brand they vs
With Base? With basenes Barstadie? Base, Base?
345Who in the lustie stealth of Nature,take
More composition,and fierce qualitie,
Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
Goe to th'creating a whole tribe of Fops
Got'tweene a sleepe,and wake? Well then,
350Legitimate Edgar,I must haue your land,
Our Fathers loue,is to the Bastard Edmond,
As to th'legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.
Well,my Legittimate, if this Letter speed,
And my inuention thriue, Edmond the base
355Shall to'th'Legitimate: I grow,I prosper:
Now Gods,stand vp for Bastards.
Enter Gloucester.
Glo.Kent banish'd thus? and France in choller parted?
And the King gone to night? Prescrib'd his powre,
360Confin'd to exhibition? All this done
Vpon the gad? Edmond, how now? What newes?
Bast. So please your Lordship, none.
Glou. Why so earnestly seeke you to put vpy^t Letter?
Bast. I know no newes,my Lord.
365Glou. What Paper were you reading?
Bast. Nothing my Lord.
Glou. No? what needed then that terrible dispatch of
it into your Pocket? The quality of nothing, hath not
such neede to hide it selfe. Let's see: come, if it bee no-
370thing, I shall not neede Spectacles.
Bast. I beseech you Sir, pardon mee; it is a Letter
from my Brother, that I haue not all ore-read; and for so
much as I haue perus'd, I finde it not fit for your ore-loo-
king.
375Glou. Giue me the Letter,Sir.
Bast. I shall offend, either to detaine, or giue it:
The Contents, as in part I vnderstand them,
Are too blame.
Glou. Let's see, let's see.
380Bast. I hope for my Brothers iustification, hee wrote
this but as an essay,or taste of my Vertue.
Glou. reads.
This policie, and reuerence of Age,makes the
world bitter to the best of our times: keepes our Fortunes from
vs, till our oldnesse cannot rellish them. I begin to finde an idle
385and fond bondage, in the oppression of aged tyranny,who swayes
not as it hath power, but as it is suffer'd. Come to me, that of
this I may speake more. If our Father would sleepe till I wak'd
him, you should enioy halfe his Reuennew for euer, and liue the
beloued of your Brother.
Edgar.
390Hum? Conspiracy? Sleepe till I wake him, you should
enioy halfe his Reuennew: my Sonne Edgar, had hee a
hand to write this? A heart and braine to breede it in?
When came you to this? Who brought it?
Bast. It was not brought mee, my Lord; there's the
395cunning of it. I found it throwne in at the Casement of
my Closset.
Glou. You know the character to be your Brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good my Lord, I durst swear
it were his: but in respect of that,I would faine thinke it
400were not.
Glou. It is his.
Bast. It is his hand,my Lord: but I hope his heart is
not in the Contents.
Glo. Has he neuer before sounded you in this busines?
405Bast. Neuer my Lord.But I haue heard him oft main-
taine it to be fit,that Sonnes at perfect age, and Fathers
declin'd, the Father should bee as Ward to the Son, and
the Sonne manage his Reuennew.
Glou. O Villain, villain: his very opinion in the Let-
410ter. Abhorred Villaine, vnnaturall, detested, brutish
Villaine; worse then brutish: Go sirrah, seeke him: Ile
apprehend him. Abhominable Villaine,where is he?
Bast.I do not well know my L. If it shall please you to
suspend your indignation against my Brother,til you can
415deriue from him better testimony of his intent, you shold
run a certaine course: where,if you violently proceed a-
gainst him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great
gap in your owne Honor,and shake in peeces,the heart of
his obedience. I dare pawne downe my life for him,that
420he hath writ this to feele my affection to your Honor, &
to no other pretence of danger.
Glou. Thinke you so?
Bast. If your Honor iudge it meete, I will place you
where you shall heare vs conferre of this,and by an Auri-
425cular assurance haue your satisfaction, and that without
any further delay, then this very Euening.
Glou. He cannot bee such a Monster. Edmond seeke
him out: winde me into him,I pray you: frame the Bu-
sinesse after your owne wisedome. I would vnstate my
430selfe, to be in a due resolution.
Bast. I will seeke him Sir, presently: conuey the bu-
sinesse as I shall find meanes,and acquaint you withall.
Glou. These late Eclipses in the Sun and Moone por-
tend no good to vs: though the wisedome ofNature can
435reason it thus, and thus, yet Nature finds it selfe scourg'd
by the sequent effects. Loue cooles, friendship falls off,
Brothers diuide. In Cities, mutinies; in Countries, dis-
cord; in Pallaces, Treason; and the Bond crack'd, 'twixt
Sonne and Father. This villaine of mine comes vnder the
440prediction; there's Son against Father, the King fals from
byas of Nature, there's Father against Childe. We haue
seene the best of our time. Machinations, hollownesse,
treacherie, and all ruinous disorders follow vs disquietly
to our Graues. Find out this Villain, Edmond, it shall lose
445thee nothing, do it carefully: and the Noble & true-har-
ted Kent banish'd; his offence,honesty.'Tis strange.
Exit
Bast. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that
when we are sicke in fortune,often the surfets of our own
behauiour, we make guilty of our disasters, the Sun, the
450Moone,and Starres,as if we were villaines on necessitie,
Fooles by heauenly compulsion, Knaues, Theeues, and
Treachers by Sphericall predominance. Drunkards,Ly-
ars,and Adulterers by an inforc'd obedience of Planatary
influence; and all that we are euill in, by a diuine thru-
455sting on. An admirable euasion of Whore-master-man,
to lay his Goatish disposition on the charge of a Starre,
My father compounded with my mother vnder the Dra-
gons taile, and my Natiuity was vnder Vrsa Maior, so
that it followes, I am rough and Leacherous. I should
460haue bin that I am, had the maidenlest Starre in the Fir-
mament twinkled on my bastardizing.
Enter Edgar.
Pat: he comes like the Catastrophe of the old Comedie:
my Cue is villanous Melancholly, with a sighe like Tom
465o'Bedlam. ---O these Eclipses do portend these diui-
sions. Fa, Sol, La, Me.
Edg. How now Brother Edmond, what serious con-
templation are you in?
Bast. I am thinking Brother of a prediction I read this
470other day, what should follow these Eclipses.
Edg. Do you busie your selfe with that?
Bast. I promise you, the effects he writes of,succeede
vnhappily.
When saw you my Father last?
475Edg. The night gone by.
Bast. Spake you with him??
Edg. I, two houres together.
Bast. Parted you in good termes? Found you no dis-
pleasure in him, by word, nor countenance?
480Edg. None at all,
Bast. Bethink your selfe wherein you may haue offen-
ded him: and at my entreaty forbeare his presence, vntill
some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure,
which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mis-
485chiefe of your person,it would scarsely alay.
Edg. Some Villaine hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my feare, I pray you haue a continent
forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower: and as
I say,retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will
490fitly bring you to heare my Lord speake: pray ye goe,
there's my key: if you do stirre abroad,goe arm'd.
Edg. Arm'd,Brother?
Edm. Brother, I aduise you to the best,I am no honest
man,if ther be any good meaning toward you:I haue told
495you what I haue seene,and heard: But faintly. Nothing
like the image,and horror of it, pray you away.
Edg. Shall I heare from you anon?
Exit.
Edm. I do serue you in this businesse:
A Credulous Father, and a Brother Noble,
500Whose nature is so farre from doing harmes,
That he suspects none: on whose foolish honestie
My practises ride easie: I see the businesse.
Let me,if not by birth,haue lands by wit,
All with me's meete,that I can fashion fit.
Exit.
505
Scena Tertia.
Enter Gonerill, and Steward.
Gon. Did my Father strike my Gentleman for chi-
ding of his Foole?
Ste. I Madam.
510Gon. By day and night,he wrongs me,euery howre
He flashes into one grosse crime,or other,
That sets vs all at ods: Ile not endure it;
His Knights grow riotous,and himselfe vpbraides vs
On euery trifle. When he returnes fromhunting,
515I will not speake with him, say I am sicke,
If you come slacke of former seruices,
You shall do well, the fault of it Ile answer.
Ste. He's comming Madam, I heare him.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please,
520You and your Fellowes: I'de haue it come to question;
If he distaste it,let him to my Sister,
Whose mind and mine I know in that are one,
Remember what I haue said.
Ste. Well Madam.
525Gon. And let his Knights haue colder lookes among
you: what growes of it no matter, aduise your fellowes
so,Ile write straight to my Sister to hold my course;pre-
pare for dinner.
Exeunt.
Scena Quarta.
530
Enter Kent.
Kent. If but as will I other accents borrow,
That can my speech defuse,my good intent
May carry through it selfe to that full issue
For which I raiz'd my likenesse. Now banisht Kent,
535If thou canst serue where thou dost stand condemn'd,
So may it come,thy Master whom thou lou'st,
Shall find thee full of labours.
Hornes within. Enter Lear and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, go get it rea-
540dy:how now,what art thou?
Kent. A man Sir.
Lear. What dost thou professe? What would'st thou
with vs?
Kent. I do professe to be no lesse then I seeme;to serue
545him truely that will put me in trust, to loue him that is
honest,to conuerse with him that is wise and saies little,to
feare iudgement,to fight when I cannot choose, and to
eate no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
550Kent. A very honest hearted Fellow, and as poore as
the King.
Lear. If thou be'st as poore for a subiect,as hee's for a
King,thou art poore enough. What wouldst thou?
Kent. Seruice.
555Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
Kent. You.
Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
Kent. No Sir,but you haue that in your countenance,
which I would faine call Master.
560Lear. What's that?
Kent. Authority.
Lear. What seruices canst thou do?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run,marre a
curious tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message
565bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qual-
lified in,and the best of me,is Dilligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young Sir to loue a woman for singing,
nor so old to dote on her for any thing. I haue yeares on
570my backe forty eight.
Lear. Follow me,thou shalt serue me,if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner
ho,dinner,where's my knaue?my Foole? Go you and call
my Foole hither. You you Sirrah,where's my Daughter?
575
Enter Steward.
Ste. So please you----
Exit.
Lear. What saies the Fellow there? Call the Clot-
pole backe: wher's my Foole? Ho, I thinke the world's
asleepe,how now? Where's that Mungrell?
580Knigh. He saies my Lord, your Daughters is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to me when I
call'd him?
Knigh. Sir,he answered me in the roundest manner,he
would not.
585Lear. He would not{# }?
Knight. My Lord, I know not what the matter is,
but to my iudgement your Highnesse is not entertain'd
with that Ceremonious affection as you were wont,
theres a great abatement of kindnesse appeares as well in
590the generall dependants,as in the Duke himselfe also,and
your Daughter.
Lear. Ha? Saist thou so?
Knigh. I beseech you pardon me my Lord, if I bee
mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent, when I thinke
595your Highnesse wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne Con-
ception, I haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late,
which I haue rather blamed as mine owne iealous curio-
sitie,then as a very pretence and purpose of vnkindnesse;
600I will looke further intoo't: but where's my Foole? I
haue not seene him this two daies.
Knight. Since my young Ladies going into France
Sir,the Foole hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it well, goe you
605and tell my Daughter,I would speake with her. Goe you
call hither my Foole; Oh you Sir,you, come you hither
Sir,who am I Sir?
Enter Steward.
Ste. My Ladies Father.
610Lear. My Ladies Father? my Lords knaue,you whor-
son dog,you slaue,you curre.
Ste. I am none of these my Lord,
I beseech your pardon.
Lear. Do you bandy lookes with me,you Rascall?
615Ste. Ile not be strucken my Lord.
Kent. Nor tript neither,you base Foot-ball plaier.
Lear. I thanke thee fellow.
Thou seru'st me,and Ile loue thee.
Kent. Come sir,arise,away,Ile teach you differences:
620away, away, if you will measure your lubbers length a-
gaine,tarry,but away,goe too,haue you wisedome,so.
Lear. Now my friendly knaue I thanke thee, there's
earnest of thy seruice.
Enter Foole.
625Foole. Let me hire him too,here's my Coxcombe.
Lear. How now my pretty knaue,how dost thou?
Foole. Sirrah,you were best take my Coxcombe.
Lear. Why my Boy?
Foole. Why?for taking ones part that's out of fauour,
630nay, & thou canst not smile as the wind sits,thou'lt catch
colde shortly,there take my Coxcombe; why this fellow
ha's banish'd two on's Daughters, and did the third a
blessing against his will,if thou follow him, thou must
needs weare my Coxcombe. How now Nunckle? would
635I had two Coxcombes and two Daughters.
Lear. Why my Boy?
Fool. If I gaue them all my liuing,I'ld keepe my Cox-
combes my selfe, there's mine, beg another of thy
Daughters.
640Lear. Take heed Sirrah,the whip.
Foole. Truth's a dog must to kennell, hee must bee
whipt out, when theLady Brach may stand by'th'fire
and stinke.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me.
645Foole. Sirha,Ile teach thee a speech.
Lear. Do.
Foole. Marke it Nuncle;
Haue more then thou showest,
Speake lesse then thou knowest,
650Lend lesse then thou owest,
Ride more then thou goest,
Learne more then thou trowest,
Set lesse then thou throwest;
Leaue thy drinke and thy whore,
655And keepe in a dore,
And thou shalt haue more,
Then two tens to a score.
Kent. This is nothing Foole.
Foole. Then 'tis like the breath of an vnfeed Lawyer,
660you gaue me nothing for't,can you make no vse of no-
thing Nuncle?
Lear. Why no Boy,
Nothing can be made out of nothing.
Foole. Prythee tell him, so much the rent of his land
665comes to,he will not beleeue a Foole.
Lear. A bitter Foole.
Foole. Do'st thou know the difference my Boy, be-
tweene a bitter Foole,and a sweet one.
Lear. No Lad, reach me.
670Foole. Nunckle, giue me an egge, and Ile giue thee
two Crownes.
Lear. What two Crownes shall they be?
Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge i'th'middle and
eate vp the meate,the two Crownes of the egge: when
675thou clouest thy Crownes i'th'middle, and gau'st away
both parts, thou boar'st thine Asse on thy backe o're the
durt,thou had'st little wit in thy bald crowne,when thou
gau'st thy golden one away; if I speake like my selfe in
this, let him be whipt that first findes it so.
680Fooles had nere lesse grace in a yeere,
For wisemen are growne foppish,
And know not how their wits to weare,
Their manners are so apish.
Le. When were you wont to be so full of Songs sirrah?
685Foole. I haue vsed it Nunckle, ere since thou mad'st
thy Daughters thy Mothers, for when thou gau'st them
the rod,and put'st downe thine owne breeches,then they
For sodaine ioy did weepe,
And I for sorrow sung,
690That such a King should play bo-peepe,
And goe the Foole among.
Pry'thy Nunckle keepe a Schoolemaster that can teach
thy Foole to lie,I would faine learne to lie.
Lear. And you lie sirrah,wee'l haue you whipt.
695Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are,
they'l haue me whipt for speaking true: thou'lt haue me
whipt for lying, and sometimes I am whipt for holding
my peace. I had rather be any kind o'thing then a foole,
and yet I would not be thee Nunckle,thou hast pared thy
700wit o'both sides, and left nothing i'th'middle; heere
comes one o'the parings.
Enter Gonerill.
Lear. How now Daughter? what makes that Frontlet
on? You are too much of late i'th'frowne.
705Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no
need to care for her frowning, now thou art an O with-
out a figure,I am better then thou art now,I am a Foole,
thou art nothing. Yes forsooth I will hold my tongue,so
your face bids me,though you say nothing.
710Mum,mum,he that keepes nor crust,not crum,
Weary of all,shall want some. That's a sheal'd Pescod.
Gon. Not only Sir this,your all-lycenc'd Foole,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourely Carpe and is Quarrell,breaking forth
715In ranke,and(not to be endur'd) riots Sir.
I had thought by making this well knowne vnto you,
To haue found a safe redresse,but now grow fearefull
By what your selfe too late haue spoke and done,
That you protect this course,and put it on
720By your allowance,which if you should,the fault
Would not scape censure,nor the redresses sleepe,
Which in the tender of a wholesome weale,
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame,that then necessitie
725Will call discreet proceeding.
Foole. For you know Nunckle, the 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 dark-
ling.
730Lear. Are you our Daughter?
Gon. I would you would make vse of your good wise-
(Whereof I know you are fraught),and put away
These dispositions,which of late transport you
From what you rightly are.
735Foole. May not an Asse know, when the Cart drawes
the Horse?
Whoop Iugge I loue thee.
Lear. Do's any heere know me?
This is not Lear:
740Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies?
Either his Notion weakens, his Discernings
Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so?
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Foole. Lears shadow.
745Lear. Your name, faire Gentlewoman?
Gon. This admiration Sir, is much o'th'sauour
Of other your new prankes. I do beseech you
To vnderstand my purposes aright:
As you are Old,and Reuerend,should be Wise.
750Heere do you keepe a hundred Knights and Squires,
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd, and bold,
That this our Court infected with their manners,
Shewes like a riotous Inne; Epicurisme and Lust
Makes it more like a Tauerne, or a Brothell,
755Then a grac'd Pallace. The shame it selfe doth speake
For instant remedy. Be then desir'd
By her, that else will take the thing she begges,
A little to disquantity your Traine,
And the remainders that shall still depend,
760To be such men as may besort your Age,
Which know themselues, and you.
Lear. Darknesse, and Diuels.
Saddle my horses: call my Traine together.
Degenerate Bastard, Ile not trouble thee;
765Yet haue I left a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people,and your disorder'd rable,
make Seruants of their Betters.
Enter Albany.
Lear. Woe, that too late repents:
770Is it your will, speake Sir? Prepare my Horses.
Ingratitude! thou Marble-hearted Fiend,
More hideous when thou shew'st thee in a Child,
Then the Sea-monster.
Alb. Pray Sir be patient.
775Lear. Detested Kite, thou lyest.
My Traine are men of choice, and rarest parts,
That all particulars of dutie know,
And in the most exact regard, support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
780How vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shew?
Which like an Engine, wrencht my frame of Nature
From the fixt place: drew from my heart all loue,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beate at this gate that let thy Folly in,
785And thy deere Iudgement out. Go,go,my people.
Alb. My Lord, I am guiltlesse, as I am ignorant
Of what hath moued you.
Lear. It may be so,my Lord.
Heare Nature, heare deere Goddesse, heare:
790Suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend
To make this Creature fruitfull:
Into her Wombe conuey stirrility,
Drie vp in her the Organs of increase,
And from her derogate body, neuer spring
795A Babe to honor her. If she must teeme,
Create her childe of Spleene, that it may liue
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
Let it stampe wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent Teares fret Channels in her cheekes,
800Turne all her Mothers paines,and benefits
To laughter,and contempt: That she may feele,
How sharper then a Serpents tooth it is,
To haue a thanklesse Childe. Away, away.
Exit.
Alb. Now Gods that we adore,
805Whereof comes this?
Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know more of it:
But let his disposition haue that scope
As dotage giues it.
Enter Lear.
810Lear. What fiftie of my Followers at a clap?
Within a fortnight?
Alb. What's the matter, Sir?
Lear. Ile tell thee:
Life and death, I am asham'd
815That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
That these hot teares, which breake from me perforce
Should make thee worth them.
Blastes and Fogges vpon thee:
Th'vntented woundings of a Fathers curse
820Pierce euerie sense about thee. Old fond eyes,
Beweepe this cause againe, Ile plucke ye out,
And cast you with the waters that you loose
To temper Clay. Ha? Let it be so.
I haue another daughter,
825Who I am sure is kinde and comfortable:
When she shall heare this of thee, with her nailes
Shee'l flea thy Woluish visage. Thou shalt finde,
That Ile resume the shape which thou dost thinke
I haue cast off for euer.
Exit
830Gon. Do you marke that?
Alb. I cannot be so partiall Gonerill,
To the great loue I beare you.
Gon. Pray you content. What Oswald,hoa?
You Sir,more Knaue then Foole,after your Master.
835Foole. Nunkle Lear, Nunkle Lear,
Tarry, take the Foole with thee:
A Fox, when one has caught her,
And such a Daughter,
Should sure to the Slaughter,
840If my Cap would buy a Halter,
So the Foole followes after.
Exit
Gon. This man hath had good Counsell,
A hundred Knights?
'Tis politike, and safe to let him keepe
845At point a hundred Knights: yes, that on euerie dreame,
Each buz, each fancie, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powres,
And hold our liues in mercy. Oswald,I say.
Alb. Well,you may feare too farre.
850Gon. Safer then trust too farre;
Let me still take away the harmes I feare,
Not feare still to be taken. I know his heart,
What he hath vtter'd I haue writ my Sister:
If she sustaine him, and his hundred Knights
855When I haue shew'd th'vnfitnesse.
Enter Steward.
How now Oswald?
What haue you writ that Letter to my Sister?
Stew. I Madam.
860Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse,
Informe her full of my particular feare,
And thereto adde such reasons of your owne,
As may compact it more. Get you gone,
And hasten your returne;no,no,my Lord,
865This milky gentlenesse,and course of yours
Though I condemne not,yet vnder pardon
Your are much more at task for want of wisedome,
Then prai'sd for harmefull mildnesse.
Alb. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell;
870Striuing to better, oft we marre what's well.
Gon. Nay then----
Alb. Well,well,th'euent.
Exeunt
Scena Quinta.
Enter Lear, Kent,Gentleman,and Foole.
875Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these Letters;
acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you
know, then comes from her demand out of the Letter,
if your Dilligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore
you.
880Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered
your Letter.
Exit.
Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeles, wert not in
danger of kybes?
Lear. I Boy.
885Foole. Then I prythee be merry, thy wit shall not go
slip-shod.
Lear. Ha,ha,ha.
Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kind-
ly, for though she's as like this, as a Crabbe's like an
890Apple,yet I can tell what I can tell.
Lear. What can'st tell Boy?
Foole. She will taste as like this as, a Crabbe do's to a
Crab: thou canst tell why ones nose stands i'th'middle
on's face?
895Lear. No.
Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side's nose,
that what a man cannot smell out,he may spy into.
Lear. I did her wrong.
Foole. Can'st tell how an Oyster makes his shell?
900Lear. No.
Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's
a house.
Lear. Why?
Foole. Why to put's head in,not to giue it away to his
905daughters,and leaue his hornes without a case.
Lear. I will forget my Nature, so kind a Father? Be
my Horsses ready?
Foole. Thy Asses are gone about 'em; the reason why
the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen,is a pretty reason.
910Lear. Because they are not eight.
Foole. Yes indeed,thou would'st make a good Foole.
Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Monster Ingratitude!
Foole. If thou wert my Foole Nunckle, Il'd haue thee
beaten for being old before thy time.
915Lear. How's that?
Foole. Thou shouldst not haue bin old, till thou hadst
bin wise.
Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad sweet Heauen:
keepe me in temper,I would not be mad. How now are
920the Horses ready?
Gent. Ready my Lord.
Lear. Come Boy.
Fool. She that's a Maid now,& laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a Maid long, vnlesse things be cut shorter.
925
Exeunt.
Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.
Enter Bastard, and Curan,seuerally.
Bast. Saue thee Curan.
Cur. And your Sir,I haue bin
930With your Father,and giuen him notice
That the Duke of Cornwall,and Regan his Duchesse
Will be here with him this night.
Bast. How comes that?
Cur. Nay I know not, you haue heard of the newes a-
935broad,I meane the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but
ear-kissing arguments.
Bast. NotI: pray you what are they?
Cur. Haue you heard of no likely Warres toward,
'Twixt the Dukes of Cornwall,and Albany?
940Bast. Not a word.
Cur. You may do then in time,
Fare you well Sir.
Exit.
Bast. The Duke be here to night? The better best,
This weaues it selfe perforce into my businesse,
945My Father hath set guard to take my Brother,
And I haue one thing of a queazie question
Which I must act,Briefenesse,and Fortune worke.
Enter Edgar.
Brother, a word, discend; Brother I say,
950My Father watches: O Sir,fly this place,
Intelligence is giuen where you are hid;
You haue now the good aduantage of the night,
Haue you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornewall?
Hee's comming hither,now i'th'night,i'th'haste,
955And Regan with him,haue you nothing said
Vpon his partie 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Aduise your selfe.
Edg. I am sure on't,not a word.
Bast. I heare my Father comming,pardon me:
960In cunning,I must draw my Sword vpon you:
Draw,seeme to defend your selfe,
Now quit you well.
Yeeld, come before my Father,light hoa,here,
Fly Brother,Torches,Torches,so farewell.
965
Exit Edgar.
Some blood drawne on me,would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeauour. I haue seene drunkards
Do more then this in sport;Father,Father,
Stop,stop,no helpe?
970
Enter Gloster,and Seruants with Torches.
Glo. Now Edmund,where's the villaine?
Bast. Here stood he in the dark,his sharpe Sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charmes,coniuring the Moone
To stand auspicious Mistris.
975Glo. But where is he?
Bast. Looke Sir,I bleed.
Glo. Where is the villaine,Edmund?
Bast. Fled this way Sir,when by no meanes he could.
Glo. Pursue him, ho:go after. By no meanes,what?
980Bast. Perswade me to the murther of your Lordship,
But that I told him the reuenging Gods,
'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend,
Spoke with how manifold,and strong aBond
The Child was bound to'th'Father; Sir in fine,
985Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
To his vnnaturall purpose,in fell motion
With his prepared Sword,he charges home
My vnprouided body,latch'd mine arme;
And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
990Bold in the quarrels right,rouz'd to th'encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noyse I made,
Full sodainely he fled.
Glost. Let him fly farre:
Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
995And found; dispatch,the Noble Duke my Master,
My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night,
By his authoritie I will proclaime it,
That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
1000He that conceales him death.
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to doe it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied,
Thou vnpossessing Bastard,dost thou thinke,
1005If I would stand against thee,would the reposall
Ofany trust,vertue,or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No, what should I denie,
(As this I would, though thou didst produce
My very Character) I'ld turne it all
1010To thy suggestion,plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
To make thee seeke it.
Tucket within.
1015Glo. O strange and fastned Villaine,
Would he deny his Letter,said he?
Harke,the Dukes Trumpets, I know not wher he comes.The 'e' is quite faded-->;
All Ports Ile barre,the villaine shall not scape,
The Duke must grant me that: besides,his picture
1020I will send farre and neere,that all the kingdome
May haue due note of him,and of my land,
(Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
To make thee capable.
Enter Cornewall,Regan, and Attendants.
1025Corn. How now my Noble friend,since I came hither
(Which I can call but now,)I haue heard strangenesse.
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th'offender; how dost my Lord?
Glo. O Madam,my old heart is crack'd,it's crack'd.
1030Reg. What,did my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
He whom my Father nam'd,your Edgar?
Glo. O Lady, Lady,shame would haue it hid.
Reg.Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
That tended vpon my Father?
1035Glo. I know not Madam, 'tis too bad,too bad.
Bast. Yes Madam,he was of that consort.
Reg. No maruaile then,though he were ill affected,
'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
To haue th'expence and wast of his Reuenues:
1040I haue this present euening from my Sister
Beene well inform'd of them,and with such cautions,
That if they come to soiourne at my house,
Ile not be there.
Cor. Nor I,assure thee Regan;
1045Edmund,I heare that you haue shewne yout Father
A Child-like Office.
Bast. It was my duty Sir.
Glo. He did bewray his practise,and receiu'd
This hurt you see,striuing to apprehend him.
1050Cor. Is he pursued?
Glo. I my good Lord.
Cor. If he be taken,he shall neuer more
Be fear'd of doing harme,make your owne purpose,
How in my strength you please: for you Edmund,
1055Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend it selfe,you shall be ours,
Nature's of such deepe trust,we shall much need:
You we first seize on.
Bast. I shall serue you Sir truely,how euer else.
1060Glo. For him I thanke your Grace.
Cor. You know not why we came to visit you?
Reg. Thus out of season,thredding darke ey'd night,
Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
1065Our Father he hath writ,so hath our Sister,
Of differences,which I best though it fit
To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
From hence attend dispatch,our good old Friend,
Lay comforts to your bosome,and bestow
1070Your needfull counsaile to our businesses,
Which craues the instant vse.
Glo. I serue you Madam,
Your Graces are right welcome.
Exeunt.Flourish.
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 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 trueneed:
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.
Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.
1615
Storme still. Enter Kent,and a Gentleman,seuerally.
Kent. Who's there besides foule weather?
Gen. One minded like the weather,most vnquietly.
Kent. I know you: Where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull Elements;
1620Bids the winde blow the Earth into the Sea,
Or swell the curled Waters 'boue the Maine,
That things might change,or cease.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the Foole, who labours to out-iest
1625His heart-strooke iniuries.
Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare vpon the warrant of my note
Commend a deere thing to you. There is diuision
(Although as yet the face of it is couer'd
1630With mutuall cunning) 'twixt Albany, and Cornwall:
Who haue, as who haue not, that their great Starres
Thron'd and set high; Seruants, who seeme no lesse,
Which are to France the Spies and Speculations
Intelligent of our State. What hath bin seene,
1635Either in snuffes, and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard Reine which both of them hath borne
Against the old kinde King; or something deeper,
Whereof (perchance) these are but furnishings.
Gent. I will talke further with you.
1640Kent. No,do not:
For confirmation that I am much more
Then my out-wall; open this Purse,and take
What it containes. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As feare not but you shall) shew her this Ring,
1645And she will tell you who that Fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fye on this Storme,
I will go seeke the King.
Gent. Giue me your hand,
Haue you no more to say?
1650Kent. Few words, but to effect more then all yet;
That when we haue found the King, in which your pain
That way, Ile this: He that first lights on him,
Holla the other.
Exeunt.
Scena Secunda.
1655
Storme still. Enter Lear,and Foole.
Lear. Blow windes,& crack your cheeks; Rage,blow
You Cataracts, and Hyrricano's spout,
Till you haue drench'd our Steeples, drown the Cockes.
You Sulph'rous and Thought-executing Fires,
1660Vaunt-curriors of Oake-cleauing Thunder-bolts,
Sindge my white head. And thou all-shaking Thunder,
Strike flat the thicke Rotundity o'th'world,
Cracke Natures moulds, all germaines spill at once
That makes ingratefull Man.
1665Foole. O Nunkle, Court holy-water in a dry house, is
better then this Rain-water out o' doore. Good Nunkle,
in, aske thy Daughters blessing, heere's a night pitties
neither Wisemen, nor Fooles.
Lear. Rumble thy belly full: spit Fire, spowt Raine:
1670Nor Raine, Winde, Thunder,Fire are my Daughters;
I taxe not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse.
I neuer gaue you Kingdome, call'd you Children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Heere I stand your Slaue,
1675A poore, infirme, weake, and dispis'd old man:
But yet I call you Seruile Ministers,
Thar will with two pernicious Daughters ioyne
Your high-engender'd Battailes, 'gainst a head
So old, and white as this. O,ho! 'tis foule.
1680Foole. He that has a house to put's head in,has a good
Head-peece:
The Codpiece that will house,before the head has any;
The Head,and he shall Lowse: so Beggers marry many.
The man yt makes his Toe, what he his Hart shold make,
1685Shall of a Corne cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake.
For there was neuer yet faire woman, but shee made
mouthes in a glasse.
Enter Kent.
Lear. No,I will be the patterne of all patience,
1690I will say nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Foole. Marry here's Grace, and a Codpiece, that's a
Wiseman, and a Foole.
Kent. Alas Sir are you here? Things that loue night,
1695Loue not such nights as these: The wrathfull Skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the darke
And make them keepe their Caues: Since I was man,
Such sheets of Fire, such bursts of horrid Thunder,
Such groanes of roaring Winde, and Raine, I neuer
1700Remember to haue heard. Mans Nature cannot carry
th'affliction, nor the feare.
Lear. Let the great Goddes
That keepe this dreadfull pudder o're our heads,
Finde out their enemies now. Tremble thou Wretch,
1705That hast within thee vndivulged Crimes
Vnwhipt of Iustice. Hide thee, thou Bloudy hand;
Thou Periur'd, and thou Simular of Vertue
That art Incestuous. Caytiffe, to peeces shake
That vnder couert, and conuenient seeming
1710Ha's practis'd on mans life. Close pent-vp guilts,
Riue your concealing Continents, and cry
These dreadfull Summoners grace. I am a man,
More sinn'd against, then sinning.
Kent. Alacke, bare-headed?
1715Gracious my Lord, hard by heere is a Houell,
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the Tempest:
Repose you there, while I to this hard house,
(More harder then the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which euen but now, demanding after you,
1720Deny'd me to come in) returne, and force
Their scanted curtesie.
Lear. My wits begin to turne.
Come on my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold my selfe. Where is this straw, my Fellow?
1725The Art of our Necessities is strange,
And can make vilde things precious.Come,your Houel;
Poore Foole, and Knaue,I haue one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.
Foole.
He that has and a little-tyne wit,
1730
With heigh-ho, the Winde and the Raine,
Must make content with his Fortunes fit,
Though the Raine it raineth euery day.
Le. True Boy: Come bring vs to this Houell.
Exit.
Foole. This is a braue night to coole a Curtizan:
1735Ile speake a Prophesie ere I go:
When Priests are more in word, then matter;
When Brewers marre their Malt with water;
When Nobles are their Taylors Tutors,
No Heretiques burn'd, but wenches Sutors;
1740When euery Case in Law, is right;
No Squire in debt, nor no poore Knight;
When Slanders do not liue in Tongues;
Nor Cut-purses come not to throngs;
When Vsurers tell their Gold i'th'Field,
1745And Baudes,and whores, do Churches build,
Then shal the Realme of Albion,come to great confusion:
Then comes the time, who liues to see't,
That going shalbe vs'd with feet.
This prophecie Merlin shall make, for I liue before his
1750
Exit.
Scæna Tertia.
Enter Gloster,and Edmund.
Glo. Alacke,alacke Edmund, I like not this vnnaturall
dealing;when I desired their leaue that I might pity him,
1755they tooke from me the vse of mine owne house, charg'd
me on paine of perpetuall displeasure, neither to speake
of him,entreat for him,or any way sustaine him.
Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall.
Glo. Go too; say you nothing. There is diuision be-
1760tweene the Dukes, and a worsse matter then that: I haue
receiued a Letter this night, 'tis dangerous to be spoken,
I haue lock'd the Letter in my Closset, these iniuries the
King now beares,will be reuenged home; ther is part of
a Power already footed, we must incline to the King, I
1765will looke him, and priuily relieue him; goe you and
maintaine talke with the Duke,that my charity be not of
him perceiued; If he aske for me, I am ill, and gone to
bed, if I die for it, (as no lesse is threatned me) the King
my old Master must be relieued. There is strange things
1770toward Edmund,pray you be carefull.
Exit.
Bast. This Curtesie forbid thee,shall the Duke
Instantly know,and of that Letter too;
This seemes a faire deseruing, and must draw me
That which my Father looses:no lesse then all,
1775The yonger rises,when the old doth fall.
Exit.
Scena Quarta.
Enter Lear,Kent,and Foole.
Kent. Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter,
The tirrany of the open night's too rough
1780For Nature to endure.
Storme still
Lear. Let me alone.
Kent. Good my Lord enter heere.
Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
Kent. I had rather breake mine owne,
1785Good my Lord enter.
Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious
Inuades vs to the skinso: 'tis to thee,
But where the greater malady is fixt,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a Beare,
1790But if they flight lay toward the roaring Sea,
Thou'dst meete the Beare i'th'mouth, when the mind's
The bodies delicate: the tempest in my mind,
Doth from my sences take all feeling else,
Saue what beates there, Filliall ingratitude,
1795Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food too't? But I will punish home;
No, I will weepe no more; in such a night,
To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure:
In such a night as this? O Regan,Gonerill,
1800Your old kind Father,whose franke heart gaue all,
O that way madnesse lies,let me shun that:
No more of that.
Kent. Good my Lord enter here.
Lear. Prythee go in thy selfe,seeke thine owne ease,
1805This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me more, but Ile goe in,
In Boy, go first. You houselesse pouertie,
Exit.
Nay get thee in; Ile pray,and then Ile sleepe.
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
1810That bide the pelting of this pittilesse storme,
How shall your House-lesse heads,and vnfed sides,
Your lop'd,and window'd raggednesse defend you
From seasons such as these? O I haue tane
Too little care of this: Take Physicke, Pompe,
1815Expose thy selfe to feele what wretches feele,
That thou maist shake the superflux to them,
And shew the Heauens more iust.
Enter Edgar,and Foole.
Edg. Fathom,and halfe,Fathom and halfe;poore Tom.
1820Foole. Come not in heere Nuncle,here's a spirit,helpe
me,helpe me.
Kent. Giue me thy hand,who's there?
Foole. A spirite, a spirite, he sayes his name's poore
Tom.
1825Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i'th'
straw? Come forth.
Edg. Away,the foule Fiend followes me,through the
sharpe Hauthorne blow the windes. Humh, goe to thy
bed and warme thee.
1830Lear. Did'st thou giue all to thy Daughters? And art
thou come to this?
Edgar. Who giues any thing to poore Tom? Whom
the foule fiend hath led though Fire, and through Flame,
through Sword,and Whirle-Poole,o're Bog,and Quag-
1835mire,that hath laid Kniues vnder his Pillow, and Halters
in his Pue, set Rats-bane by his Porredge, made him
Proud of heart,to ride on a Bay trotting Horse,ouer foure
incht Bridges,to course his owne shadow for a Traitor.
Blisse thy fiue Wits, Toms a cold. O do,de,do,de,do de,
1840blisse thee from Whirle-Windes,Starre-blasting, and ta-
king,do poore Tom some charitie, whom the foule Fiend
vexes. There could I haue him now,and there,and there
againe,and there.
Storme still.
Lear. Ha's his Daughters brought him to this passe?
1845Could'st thou saue nothing? Would'st thou giue 'em all?
Foole. Nay,he reseru'd a Blanket, else we had bin all
sham'd.
Lea. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
Hang fated o're mens faults,light on thy Daughters.
1850Kent. He hath no Daughters Sir.
Lear. Death Traitor, nothing could haue subdu'd
To such a lownesse, but his vnkind Daughters.
Is it the fashion,that discarded Fathers,
Should haue thus little mercy on their flesh:
1855Iudicious punishment, 'twas this flesh begot
Those Pelicane Daughters.
Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock hill,alow:alow,loo,loo.
Foole. This cold night will turne vs all to Fooles,and
Madmen.
1860Edgar. Take heed o'th'foule Fiend, obey thy Pa-
rents, keepe thy words Iustice, sweare not, commit not,
with mans sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on
proud array. Tom's a cold.
Lear. What hast thou bin?
1865Edg. A Seruingman? Proud in heart, and minde; that
curl'd my haire, woreGloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust
of my Mistris heart, and did the acte of darkenesse with
her. Swore as many Oathes, as I spake words, & broke
them in the sweet face of Heauen. One, that slept in the
1870contriuing of Lust, and wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I
deerely, Dice deerely;and in Woman, out-Paramour'd
the Turke. False of heart, light of eare, bloody of hand;
Hog in sloth, Foxe in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog
in madnes, Lyon in prey.Let not the creaking of shooes,
1875Nor the rustling of Silkes, betray thy poore heart to wo-
man. Keepe thy foote out of Brothels, thy hand out of
Plackets, thy pen from Lenders Bookes, and defye the
foule Fiend. Still through the Hauthorne blowes the
cold winde: Sayes suum, mun,nonny,Dolphin my Boy,
1880Boy Sesey: let him trot by.
Storme still.
Lear. Thou wert better in a Graue, then to answere
with thy vncouer'd body, this extremitie of the Skies. Is
man no more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st
the Worme no Silke; the Beast, no Hide; the Sheepe,no
1885Wooll; the Cat, no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are
sophisticated. Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommo-
dated man, is no more but such a poore, bare, forked A-
nimall as thou art. Off, off you Lendings: Come, vn-
button heere.
1890
Enter Gloucester, with a Torch.
Foole. Prythee Nunckle be contented, 'tis a naughtie
night to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field,
were like an old Letchers heart, a small spark, all the rest
on's body,cold: Looke, heere comes a walking fire.
1895Edg. This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins at
Curfew, and walkes at first Cocke: Hee giues the Web
and the Pin, squints the eye, and makes the Hare-lippe;
Mildewes the white Wheate, and hurts the poore Crea-
ture of earth.
1900
Swithold footed thrice the old,
He met the Night-Mare,and her nine-fold;
Bid her a-light,and her troth-plight,
And aroynt thee Witch,aroynt thee.
Kent. How fares your Grace?
1905Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seeke?
Glou. What are you there? Your Names?
Edg. Poore Tom, that eates the swimming Frog, the
Toad, the Tod-pole, the wall-Neut, and the water: that
1910in the furie of his heart, when the foule Fiend rages, eats
Cow-dung for Sallets; swallowes the old Rat, and the
ditch-Dogge; drinkes the green Mantle of the standing
Poole: who is whipt from Tything to Tything, and
stockt, punish'd,and imprison'd: who hath three Suites
1915to his backe, sixe shirts to his body:
Horse to ride, and weapon to weare:
But Mice, and Rats,and such small Deare,
Haue bin Toms food, for seuen long yeare:
Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkin,peace thou Fiend.
1920Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo
he's call'd, and Mahu.
Glou. Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is growne so
vilde, that it doth hate what gets it.
1925Edg. Poore Tom's a cold.
Glou. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
T'obey in all your daughters hard commands:
Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores,
And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you,
1930Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out,
And bring you where both fire, and food is ready.
Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher,
What is the cause of Thunder?
Kent. Good my Lord take his offer,
1935Go into th'house.
Lear. Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
What is your study?
Edg. How to preuent the Fiend, and to kill Vermine.
Lear. Let me aske you one word in priuate.
1940Kent. Importune him once more to go my Lord,
His wits begin t' vnsettle.
Glou. Canst thou blame him?
Storm still
His Daughters seeke his death: Ah,that good Kent,
He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
1945Thou sayest the King growes mad, Ile tell thee Friend
I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne,
Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
No Father his Sonne deerern: true to tell thee
1950The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
I do beseech your grace.
Lear. O cry you mercy, Sir:
Noble Philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's a cold.
1955Glou. In fellow there,into th'Houel;keep thee warm.
Lear. Come, let's in all.
Kent. This way,my Lord.
Lear. With him;
I will keepe still with my Philosopher.
1960Kent. Good my Lord, sooth him:
Let him take the Fellow.
Glou. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirra, come on: go along with vs.
Lear. Come, good Athenian.
1965Glou. No words, no words,hush.
Edg. Childe Rowland to the darke Tower came,
His word was still, fie, foh, and fumme,
I smell the blood of a Brittish man.
Exeunt
Scena Quinta.
1970
Enter Cornwall,and Edmund.
Corn. I will haue my reuenge, ere I depart his house.
Bast. How my Lord, I may be censured, that Nature
thus giues way to Loyaltie, something feares mee to
thinke of.
1975Cornw. I now perceiue, it was not altogether your
Brothers euill disposition made him seeke his death: but
a prouoking merit set a-worke by a reprouable badnesse
in himselfe.
Bast. How malicious is my fortune, that I must re-
1980pent to be iust? This is the Letter which hee spoake of;
which approues him an intelligent partie to the aduanta-
ges of France. O Heauens! that this Treason were not;
or not I the detector.
Corn. Go with me to the Dutchesse.
1985Bast. If the matter of this Paper be certain, you haue
mighty businesse in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earle of Glou-
cester: seeke out where thy Father is, that hee may bee
ready for our apprehension.
1990Bast. If I finde him comforting the King, it will stuffe
his suspition more fully. I will perseuer in my course of
Loyalty, though the conflict be sore betweene that, and
my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee: and thou shalt finde
1995a deere Father in my loue.
Exeunt.
Scena Sexta.
Enter Kent, and Gloucester.
Glou. Heere is better then the open ayre,take it thank-
fully: I will peece out the comfort with what addition I
2000can: I will not be long from you.
Exit
Kent. All the powre of his wits,haue giuen way to his
impatience: the Gods reward your kindnesse.
Enter Lear, Edgar,and Foole.
Edg. Fraterretto cals me, and tells me Nero is an Ang-
2005ler in the Lake of Darknesse: pray Innocent, and beware
the foule Fiend.
Foole. Prythee Nunkle tell me,whether a madman be
a Gentleman,or a Yeoman.
Lear. A King,a King.
2010Foole. No, he's a Yeoman, that ha's a Gentleman to
his Sonne: for hee's a mad Yeoman that sees his Sonne a
Gentleman before him.
Lear. To haue a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in vpon 'em.
2015Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits.
Kent. O pitty: Sir,where is the patience now
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine?
Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much,
They marre my counterfetting.
2020Lear. The little dogges, and all;
Trey, Blanch,and Sweet-heart: see, they barke at me.
Edg. Tom, will throw his head at them: Auaunt you
Curres, be thy mouth or blacke or white:
Tooth that poysons if it bite:
2025Mastiffe,Grey-hound, Mongrill,Grim,
Hound or Spaniell, Brache,or Hym:
Or Bobtaile tight, or Troudle taile,
Tom will make him weepe and waile,
For with throwing thus my head;
2030Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.
Do,de,de,de: sese: Come, march to Wakes and Fayres,
And Market Townes: poore Tom thy horne is dry,
Lear. Then let them Anatomize Regan: See what
breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in Nature that
2035make these hard-hearts. You sir, I entertaine for one of
my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your gar-
ments. You will say they are Persian; but let them bee
chang'd.
Enter Gloster.
2040Kent. Now good my Lord,lye heere,and rest awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise, draw the Cur-
taines: so,so,wee'l go to Supper i'th'morning.
Foole. And Ile go to bed at noone.
Glou. Come hither Friend:
2045Where is the King my Master?
Kent. Here Sir,but trouble him not,his wits are gon.
Glou. Good friend, I prythee take him in thy armes;
I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him:
There is a Litter ready, lay him in't,
2050And driue toward Douer friend, where thou shalt meete
Both welcome, and protection. Take vp thy Master,
If thou should'st dally halfe an houre, his life
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured losse. Take vp, take vp,
2055And follow me, that will to some prouision
Giue thee quicke conduct. Come,come,away.
Exeunt
Scena Septima.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Bastard,
and Seruants.
2060Corn. Poste speedily to my Lord your husband, shew
him this Letter, the Army of France is landed: seeke out
the Traitor Glouster.
Reg. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Plucke out his eyes.
2065Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure. Edmond, keepe
you our Sister company: the reuenges wee are bound to
take vppon your Traitorous Father, are not fit for your
beholding. Aduice the Duke where you are going, to a
most festiuate preparation: we are bound to the like.Our
2070Postes shall be {s}wift,and intelligent betwixt vs. Fare-
well deere Sister, farewell my Lord of Glouster.
Enter Steward.
How now? Where's the King?
Stew. My Lord of Glouster hath conuey'd him hence
2075Some fiue or six and thirty of his Knights
Hot Questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who, with some other of the Lords, dependants,
Are gone with him toward Douer; where they boast
To haue well armed Friends.
2080Corn. Get horses for your Mistris.
Gon. Farewell sweet Lord,and Sister.
Exit
Corn. Edmund farewell: go seek the Traitor Gloster,
Pinnion him like a Theefe, bring him before vs:
Though well we may not passe vpon his life
2085Without the forme of Iustice: yet our power
Shall do a curt'sie to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not comptroll.
Enter Gloucester,and Seruants.
Who's there? the Traitor?
2090Reg. Ingratefull Fox, 'tis he.
Corn. Binde fast his corky armes.
Glou. What meanes your Graces?
Good my Friends consider you are my Ghests:
Do me no foule play, Friends.
2095Corn. Binde him I say.
Reg. Hard,hard: O filthy Traitor.
Glou. Vnmercifull Lady, as you are,I'me none.
Corn. To this Chaire binde him,
Villaine, thou shalt finde.
2100Glou. By the kinde Gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To plucke me by the Beard.
Reg. So white, and such a Traitor?
Glou. Naughty Ladie,
These haires which thou dost rauish from my chin
2105Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your Host,
With Robbers hands, my hospitable fauours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Corn. Come Sir.
What Letters had you late from France?
2110Reg. Be simple answer'd, for we know the truth.
Corn. And what confederacie haue you with the Trai-
tors, late footed in the Kingdome?
Reg. To whose hands
You haue sent the Lunaticke King: Speake.
2115Glou. I haue a Letter guessingly set downe
Which came from one that's of a newtrall heart,
And not from one oppos'd.
Corn. Cunning.
Reg. And false.
2120Corn. Where hast thou sent the King?
Glou. To Douer.
Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Was't thou not charg'd at perill.
Corn. Wherefore to Douer? Let him answer that.
2125Glou. I am tyed to'th'Stake,
And I must stand the Course.
Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
Glou. Because I would not see thy cruell Nailes
Plucke out his poore old eyes: nor thy fierce Sister,
2130In his Annointed flesh, sticke boarish phangs.
The Sea, with such a storme as his bare head,
In Hell-blacke-night indur'd, would haue buoy'd vp
And quench'd the Stelled fires:
Yet poore old heart, he holpe the Heauens to raine.
2135If Wolues had at thy Gate howl'd that sterne time,
Thou should'st haue said, good Porter turne the Key:
All Cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
The winged Vengeance ouertake such Children.
Corn. See't shalt thou neuer.Fellowes hold ye Chaire,
2140Vpon these eyes of thine, Ile set my foote.
Glou. He that will thinke to liue,till he be old,
Giue me some helpe.----O cruell! O you Gods.
Reg. One side will mocke another: th'other too.
Corn. If you see vengeance.
2145Seru. Hold your hand,my Lord:
I haue seru'd you euer since I was a Childe:
But better seruice haue I neuer done you,
Then now to bid you hold.
Reg. How now, you dogge?
2150Ser. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin,
I'ld shake it on this quarrell. What do you meane?
Corn. My Villaine?
Seru. Nay then come on, and take the chance of anger.
Reg. Giue me thy Sword. A pezant stand vp thus?
2155
Killes him.
Ser. Oh I am slaine: my Lord,you haue one eye left
To see some mischefe on him. Oh.
Corn. Lest it see more,preuent it; Out vilde gelly:
Where is thy luster now?
2160Glou. All datke and comfortlesse?
Where's my Sonne Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparkes of Nature
To quit this horrid acte.
Reg. Out treacherous Villaine,
2165Thou call'st on him, that hates thee. It was he
That made the ouerture of thy Treasons to vs:
Who is too good to pitty thee.
Glou. O my Follies! then Edgar was abus'd,
Kinde Gods, forgiue me that,and prosper him.
2170Reg. Go thrust him out at gates,and let him smell
His way to Douer.
Exit with Glouster.
How is't my Lord? How looke you?
Corn. I haue receiu'd a hurt: Follow me Lady;
Turne out that eyelesse Villaine: throw this Slaue
2175Vpon the Dunghill: Regan,I bleed apace,
Vntimely comes this hurt. Giue me your arme.
Exeunt,
Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
Enter Edgar.
Edg. Yet better thus,and knowne to be contemn'd,
2180Then still contemn'd and flatter'd, to be worst:
The lowest, and most deiected thing of Fortune,
Stands still in esperance, liues not in feare:
The lamentable change is from the best,
The worst returnes to laughter. Welcome then,
2185Thou vnsubstantiall ayre that I embrace:
The Wretch that thou hast blowne vnto the worst,
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Enter Glouster,and an Oldman.
But who comes heere? My Father poorely led?
2190World, World, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
Life would not yeelde to age.
Oldm. O my good Lord, I haue bene your Tenant,
And your Fathers Tenant, these fourescore yeares.
2195Glou. Away,get thee away: good Friend be gone,
Thy comforts can do me no good at all,
Thee, they may hurt.
Oldm. You cannot see your way.
Glou. I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes:
2200I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seene,
Our meanes secure vs, and our meere defects
Proue our Commodities. Oh deere Sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused Fathers wrath:
Might I but liue to see thee in my touch,
2205I'ld say I had eyes againe.
Oldm. How now? who's there?
Edg. O Gods! Who is't can say I am at the worst?
I am worse then ere I was.
Old. 'Tis poore mad Tom.
2210Edg. And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,
So long as we can say this is the worst.
Oldm. Fellow, where goest?
Glou. Is it a Beggar-man?
Oldm. Madman,and beggar too.
2215Glou. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I'th'last nights storme, I such a fellow saw;
Which made me thinke a Man,a Worme. My Sonne
Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
Was then scarse Friends with him.
2220I haue heard more since:
As Flies to wanton Boyes, are we to th'Gods,
They kill vs for their sport.
Edg. How should this be?
Bad is the Trade that must play Foole to sorrow,
2225Ang'ring it selfe,and others. Blesse thee Master.
Glou. Is that the naked Fellow?
Oldm. I,my Lord.
Glou. Get thee away: If for my sake
Thou wilt ore-take vs hence a mile or twaine
2230I'th'way toward Douer, do it for ancient loue,
And bring some couering for this naked Soule,
Which Ile intreate to leade me.
Old. Alacke sir, he is mad.
Glou. 'Tis the times plague,
2235When Madmen leade the blinde:
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure:
Aboue the rest, be gone.
Oldm. Ile bring him the best Parrell that I haue
Come on't,what will.
Exit
2240Glou. Sirrah, naked fellow.
Edg. Poore Tom's a cold. I cannot daub it further.
Glou. Come hither fellow.
Edg. And yet I must:
Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleede.
2245Glou. Know'st thou the way to Douer?
Edg. Both style,and gate; Horseway,and foot-path:
poore Tom hath bin scarr'd out of his good wits. Blesse
thee good mans sonne, from the foule Fiend.
Glou.Here take this purse, yu whom the heau'ns plagues
2250Haue humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: Heauens deale so still:
Let the superfluous, and Lust-dieted man,
That slaues your ordinance, that will not see
Because he do's not feele, feele your powre quickly:
2255So distribution should vndoo excesse,
And each man haue enough. Dost thou know Douer?
Edg. I Master.
Glou. There is a Cliffe, whose high and bending head
Lookes fearfully in the confined Deepe:
2260Bring me but to the very brimme of it,
And Ile repayre the misery thou do'st beare
With something rich about me: from that place,
I shall no leading neede.
Edg. Giue me thy arme;
2265Poore Tom shall leade thee.
Exeunt.
Scena Secunda.
Enter Gonerill, Bastard, and Steward.
Gon. Welcome my Lord.I meruell our mild husband
Not met vs on the way. Now,where's your Master?
2270Stew. Madam within, but neuer man so chang'd:
I told him of the Army that was Landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
His answer was, the worse. OfGlosters Treachery,
And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
2275When I inform'd him, then he call'd me Sot,
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike, seemes pleasant to him;
What like, offensiue.
Gon. Then shall you go no further.
2280It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother,
Hasten his Musters,and conduct his powres.
2285I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech,
2290Decline your head. This kisse, if it durst speake
Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
Conceiue, and fare thee well.
Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.
Exit.
Gon. My most deere Gloster.
2295Oh, the difference of man,and man,
To thee a Womans seruices are due,
My Foole vsurpes my body.
Stew. Madam, here come's my Lord.
Enter Albany.
2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle.
Alb. Oh Gonerill,
You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
Blowes in your face.
Gon. Milke-Liuer'd man,
2305That bear'st a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
Thine Honor, from thy suffering.
Alb. See thy selfe diuell:
Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
2310So horrid as in woman.
Gon. Oh vaine Foole.
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Oh my good Lord,the Duke of Cornwals dead,
Slaine by his Seruant, going to put out
2315The other eye of Glouster.
Alb. Glousters eyes.
Mes. A Seruant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
To his great Master, who, threat-enrag'd
2320Flew on him, and among'st them fell'd him dead,
But not without that harmefull stroke,which since
Hath pluckt him after.
Alb. This shewes you are aboue
You Iustices, that these our neather crimes
2325So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
Lost he his other eye?
Mes. Both, both, my Lord.
This Leter Madam, craues a speedy answer:
'Tis from your Sister.
2330Gon. One way I like this well,
But being widdow, and my Glouster with her,
May all the building in my fancie plucke
Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
The Newes is not so tart. Ile read,and answer.
2335Alb. Where was his Sonne,
When they did take his eyes?
Mes. Come with my Lady hither.
Alb. He is not heere.
Mes. No my good Lord, I met him backe againe.
2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse?
Mes. I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might haue the freer course.
Alb. Glouster,I liue
2345To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King,
And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend,
Tell me what more thou know'st.
Exeunt.
Scena Tertia.
Enter with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Gentlemen,
2350and Souldiours.
Cor. Alacke, 'tis he: why he was met euen now
As mad as the vext Sea, singing alowd,
Crown'd with ranke Fenitar, and furrow weeds,
With Hardokes, Hemlocke, Nettles, Cuckoo flowres,
2355Darnell, and all the idle weedes that grow
In our sustaining Corne. A Centery send forth;
Search euery Acre in the high-growne field,
And bring him to our eye. What can mans wisedome
In the restoring his bereaued Sense; he that helpes him,
2360Take all my outward worth.
Gent. There is meanes Madam:
Our foster Nurse of Nature, is repose,
The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
Are many Simples operatiue, whose power
2365Will close the eye of Anguish.
Cord. All blest Secrets,
All you vnpublish'd Vertues of the earth
Spring with my teares; be aydant,and remediate
In the Goodmans desires: seeke, seeke for him,
2370Least his vngouern'd rage, dissolue the life
That wants the meanes to leade it.
Enter Messenger.
Mes. Newes Madam,
The Brittish Powres are marching hitherward.
2375Cor. 'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O deere Father,
It is thy businesse that I go about: Therfore great France
My mourning, and importun'd teares hath pittied:
No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite,
2380But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd Fathers Rite:
Soone may I heare, and see him.
Exeunt.
Scena Quarta.
Enter Regan,and Steward.
Reg. But are my Brothers Powres set forth?
2385Stew. I Madam,
Reg. Himselfe in person there?
Stew. Madam with much ado:
Your Sister is the better Souldier.
Reg.Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?
2390Stew. No Madam.
Reg. What night import my Sisters Letter to him?
Stew. I know not, Lady.
Reg. Faith he is poasted hence on serious matter:
It was great ignorance, Glousters eyes being out
2395To let him liue. Where he arriues, he moues
All hearts against vs: Edmund, I thinke is gone
In pitty of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
The strength o'th'Enemy.
2400Stew. I must needs after him, Madam,with my Letter.
Reg. Our troopes set forth to morrow, stay with vs:
The wayes are dangerous.
Stew. I may not Madam:
My Lady charg'd my dutie in this busines.
2405Reg. Why should she write to Edmund?
Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Some things, I know not what. Ile loue thee much
Let me vnseale the Letter.
Stew. Madam,I had rather----
2410Reg. I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband,
I am sure of that: and at her late being heere,
She gaue strange Eliads, and most speaking lookes
To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome.
Stew. I,Madam?
2415Reg. I speake in vnderstanding: Y'are: I know't,
Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
My Lord is dead: Edmond, and I haue talk'd,
And more conuenient is he for my hand
Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
2420If you do finde him, pray you giue him this;
And when your Mistris heares thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisedome to her.
So fare you well:
If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor,
2425Preferment fals on him, that cuts him off.
Stew. Would I could meet Madam, I should shew
What party I do follow.
Reg. Fare thee well.
Exeunt
Scena Quinta.
2430
Enter Gloucester, and Edgar.
Glou. When shall I come to th'top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor.
Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen.
Edg. Horrible steepe.
2435Hearke, do you heare the Sea?
Glou. No truly.
Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
By your eyes anguish.
Glou. So may it be indeed.
2440Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase, and matter then thou did'st.
Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
But in my Garments.
Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken.
2445Edg. Come on Sir,
Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
And dizie 'tis,to cast ones eyes so low,
The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
Shew scarse so grosse as Beetles. Halfe way downe
2450Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
The Fishermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
Diminish'd to her Cocke: her Cocke,a Buoy
2455Almost too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
That on th'vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong.
2460Glou. Set me where you stand.
Edg. Giue me your hand:
You are now within a foote of th'extreme Verge:
For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright.
Glou. Let go my hand:
2465Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
Edg. Now fare ye well, good Sir.
2470Glou. With all my heart.
Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
Is done to cure it.
Glou. O you mighty Gods!
This world I do renounce,and in your sights
2475Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could beare it longer, and not fall
To quarrell with your great opposelesse willes,
My snuffe, and loathed part of Nature should
Burne it selfe out. If Edgar liue, O blesse him:
2480Now Fellow, fare thee well.
Edg. Gone Sir, farewell:
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The Treasury of life, when life it selfe
Yeelds to the Theft. Had he bin where he thought,
2485By this had thought bin past. Aliue,or dead?
Hoa,you Sir: Friend, heare you Sir, speake:
Thus might he passe indeed: yet he reuiues.
What are you Sir?
Glou. Away,and let me dye.
2490Edg. Had'st thou beene ought
But Gozemore, Feathers, Ayre,
(So many fathome downe precipitating)
Thou'dst shiuer'd like an Egge: but thou do'st breath:
Hast heauy substance, bleed'st not, speak'st,art sound,
2495Ten Masts at each, make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell,
Thy life's a Myracle. Speake yet againe.
Glou. But haue I falne, or no?
Edg. From the dread Somnet of this Chalkie Bourne
2500Looke vp a height, the shrill-gorg'd Larke so farre
Cannot be seene, or heard: Do but looke vp.
Glou. Alacke, I haue no eyes:
Is wretchednesse depriu'd that benefit
To end it selfe by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
2505When misery could beguile the Tyranrs rage,
And frustrate his proud will.
Edg. Giue me your arme.
Vp, so: How is't? Feele you your Legges? You stand.
Glou. Too well, too well.
2510Edg. This is aboue all strangenesse,
Vpon the crowne o'th'Cliffe. What thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glou. A poore vnfortunate Beggar.
Edg. As I stood heere below, me thought his eyes
2515Were two full Moones: he had a thousand Noses,
Hornes wealk'd, and waued like the enraged Sea:
It was some Fiend: Therefore thou happy Father,
Thinke that the cleerest Gods, who make them Honors
Of mens Impossibilities, haue preserued thee.
2520Glou. I do remember now: henceforth Ile beare
Affliction, till it do cry out it selfe
Enough, enough,and dye. That thing you speake of,
I tooke it for a man: often 'twould say
The Fiend, the Fiend, he led me to that place.
2525Edgar. Beare free and patient thoughts.
Enter Lear.
But who comes heere?
The safer sense will ne're accommodate
His Master thus.
2530Lear. No, they cannot touch me for crying. I am the
King himselfe.
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's aboue Art, in that respect.Ther's your
Presse-money.That fellow handles his bow,like a Crow-
2535keeper: draw mee a Cloathiers yard. Looke, looke, a
Mouse: peace, peace, this peece of toasted Cheese will
doo't. There's my Gauntlet, Ile proue it on a Gyant.
Bring vp the browne Billes. O well flowne Bird: i'th'
clout, i'th'clout: Hewgh. Giue the word.
2540Edg. Sweet Mariorum.
Lear. Passe.
Glou. I know that voice.
Lear. Ha! Gonerill with a white beard? They flatter'd
me like a Dogge, and told mee I had the white hayres in
2545my Beard, ere the blacke ones were there. To say I, and
no, to euery thing that I said: I,and no too,was no good
Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me once, and the
winde to make me chatter: when the Thunder would not
peace at my bidding, there I found 'em,there I smelt 'em
2550out. Go too, they are not men o'their words; they told
me, I was euery thing: 'Tis a Lye, I am not Agu-proofe.
Glou. The tricke of that voyce, I do well remember:
Is't not the King?
Lear. I, euery inch a King.
2555When I do stare, see how the Subiect quakes.
I pardon that mans life. What was thy cause?
Adultery? thou shalt not dye: dye for Adultery?
No, the Wren goes too't, and the small gilded Fly
Do's letcher in my sight. Let Copulation thriue:
2560For Glousters bastard Son was kinder to his Father,
Then my Daughters got 'tweene the lawfull sheets.
Too't Luxury pell-mell, for I lacke Souldiers.
Behold yond simpring Dame, whose face betweene her
Forkes presages Snow; that minces Vertue,& do's shake
2565the head to heare of pleasures name. The Fitchew, nor
the soyled Horse goes too't with a more riotous appe-
tite: Downe from the waste they are Centaures, though
Women all aboue: but to the Girdle do the Gods inhe-
rit, beneath is all the Fiends. There's hell, there's darke-
2570nes,there is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench,
consumption: Fye,fie, fie; pah, pah: Giue me an Ounce
of Ciuet; good Apothecary sweeten my immagination:
There's money for thee.
Glou. O let me kisse that hand.
2575Lear. Let me wipe it first,
It smelles of Mortality.
Glou. O ruin'd peece of Nature, this great world
Shall so weare out to naught.
Do'st thou know me?
2580Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough: dost thou
squiny at me? No, doe thy worst blinde Cupid, Ile not
loue. Reade thou this challenge, marke but the penning
of it.
Glou. Were all thy Letters Sunnes, I could not see.
2585Edg. I would not take this from report,
It is, and my heart breakes at it.
Lear. Read.
Glou. What with the Case of eyes?
Lear. Oh ho, are you there with me? No eies in your
2590head, nor no mony in your purse? Your eyes are in a hea-
uy case, your purse in a light, yet you see how this world
goes.
Glou. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how this world
2595goes,with no eyes. Looke with thine eares: See how
yond Iustice railes vpon yond simple theefe. Hearke in
thine eare: Change places, and handy-dandy, which is
the Iustice,which is the theefe: Thou hast seene a Far-
mers dogge barke at a Beggar?
2600Glou. I Sir.
Lear. And the Creature run from the Cur:there thou
might'st behold the great image of Authoritie, a Dogg's
obey'd in Office. Thou, Rascall Beadle,hold thy bloody
hand: why dost thou lash that Whore? Strip thy owne
2605backe, thou hotly lusts to vse her in that kind, for which
thou whip'st her. The Vsurer hangs the Cozener. Tho-
rough tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare: Robes,
and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Gold, and
the strong Lance of Iustice,hurtlesse breakes: Arme it in
2610ragges, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it. None do's offend,
none, I say none, Ile able 'em; take that of me my Friend,
who haue the power to seale th'accusers lips. Get thee
glasse-eyes, and like a scuruy Politician, seeme to see the
things thou dost not. Now, now,now,now. Pull off my
2615Bootes: harder, harder, so.
Edg. O matter, and impertinency mixt,
Reason in Madnesse.
Lear. If thou wilt weepe my Fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough, thy name is Glouster:
2620Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the Ayre
We wawle,and cry. I will preach to thee: Marke.
Glou. Alacke,alacke the day.
Lear. When we are borne, we cry that we are come
2625To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe,
And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
2630
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon him,Sir.
Your most deere Daughter----
Lear. No rescue? What, a Prisoner? I am euen
The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well,
2635You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons,
I am cut to'th'Braines.
Gent. You shall haue any thing.
Lear. No Seconds? All my selfe?
Why, this would make a man, a man of Salt
2640To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots.I wil die brauely,
Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
Come,come, I am a King,Masters, know you that?
Gent. You are a Royall one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then there's life in't. Come,and you get it,
2645You shall get it by running: Sa, sa,sa, sa.
Exit.
Gent. A sight most pittifull in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking ofin a King. Thou hast a Daughter
Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
Which twaine haue brought her to.
2650Edg. Haile gentle Sir.
Gent. Sir,speed you: what's your will?
Edg. Do you heare ought (Sir)of a Battell toward.
Gent. Most sure, and vulgar:
Euery one heares that, which can distinguish sound.
2655Edg. But by your fauour:
How neere's the other Army?
Gent. Neere,and on speedy foot: the maine descry
Stands on the hourely thought.
Edg. I thanke you Sir, that's all.
2660Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here
Her Army is mou'd on.
Exit.
Edg. I thanke you Sir.
Glou. You euer gentle Gods, take my breath from me,
Let not my worser Spirit tempt me againe
2665To dye before you please.
Edg. Well pray you Father.
Glou. Now good sir,what are you?
Edg. A most poore man,made tame to Fortunes blows
Who, by the Art of knowne,and feeling sorrowes,
2670Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand,
Ile leade you to some biding.
Glou. Heartie thankes:
The bountie, and the benizon of Heauen
To boot, and boot.
2675
Enter Steward.
Stew. A proclaim'd prize: most happie
That eyelesse head of thine, was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old, vnhappy Traitor,
Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
2680That must destroy thee.
Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough too't.
Stew. Wherefore, bold Pezant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd Traitor? Hence,
2685Least that th'infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arme.
Edg. Chill not let go Zir,
Without vurther 'casion.
Stew. Let go Slaue, or thou dy'st.
2690Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, and let poore
volke passe: and 'chud ha'bin zwaggerd out of my life,
'twould not ha'bin zo long as 'tis, by a vortnight. Nay,
come not neere th'old man: keepe out che vor'ye, or ice
try whither your Costard, or my Ballow be the harder;
2695chill be plaine with you.
Stew. Out Dunghill.
Edg. Chill picke your teeth Zir: come,no matter vor
your foynes.
Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me:Villain,take my purse;
2700If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my bodie,
And giue the Letters which thou find'st about me,
To Edmund Earle of Glouster: seeke him out
Vpon the English party. Oh vntimely death, death.
Edg. I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine,
2705As duteous to the vices of thy Mistris,
As badnesse would desire.
Glou. What, is he dead?
Edg. Sit you downe Father: rest you.
Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
2710May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
Leaue gentle waxe, and manners: blame vs not
To know our enemies mindes, we rip their hearts,
Their Papers is more lawfull.
2715
Reads the Letter.
LEt our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not,time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
returne the Conqueror,then am I the Prisoner,and his bed,my
2720Gaole, from the loathed warmth whereof, deliuer me, and sup-
ply the place for your Labour.
Your (Wife, so I would say) affectio-
nate Seruant. Gonerill.
Oh indinguish'd space of Womans will,
2725A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life,
And the exchange my Brother: heere, in the sands
Thee Ile rake vp, the poste vnsanctified
Of murtherous Letchers: and in the mature time,
With this vngracious paper strike the sight
2730Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well,
That of thy death, and businesse, I can tell.
Glou. The King is mad:
How stiffe is my vilde sense
That I stand vp, and haue ingenious feeling
2735Of my huge Sorrowes? Better I were distract,
So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes,
Drum afarre off.
And woes, by wrong imaginations loose
The knowledge of themselues.
2740Edg. Giue me your hand:
Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
Come Father,Ile bestow you with a Friend.
Exeunt.
Scæna Septima.
Enter Cordelia,Kent,and Gentleman.
2745Cor. O thou good Kent,
How shall I liue and worke
To match thy goodnesse?
My life will be too short,
And euery measure faile me.
2750Kent. To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-pai'd,
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more,nor clipt,but so.
Cor. Be better suited,
These weedes are memories of those worser houres:
2755I prythee put them off.
Kent. Pardon deere Madam,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it,that you know me not,
Till time and I,thinke meet.
2760Cor. Then be't so my good Lord:
How do's the King?
Gent. Madam sleepes still.
Cor. O you kind Gods!
Cure this great breach in his abused Nature,
2765Th'vntun'd and iarring senses,O winde vp,
Of this childe-changed Father.
Gent. So please your Maiesty,
That we may wake the King, he hath slept long?
Cor. Be gouern'd by your knowledge,and proceede
2770I'th'sway of your owne will: is he array'd?
Enter Lear in a chaire carried by Seruants
Gent. I Madam: in the heauinesse of sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him.
Be by good Madam when we do awake him,
2775I doubt of his Temperance.
Cor. O my deere Father,restauratian hang
Thy medicine on my lippes,and let this kisse
Repaire those violent harmes,that my two Sisters
Haue in thy Reuerence made.
2780Kent. Kind and deere Princesse.
Cor. Had you not bin their Father,these white flakes
Did challenge pitty of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the iarring windes?
Mine Enemies dogge,though he had bit me,
2785Should haue stood that night against my fire,
Andwas't thou faine (poore Father)
To houell thee with Swineand Rogues forlorne,
In short,and musty straw? Alacke, alacke,
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits, at once
2790Had not concluded all. He wakes,speake to him.
Gen. Madam do you, 'tis fittest.
Cor. How does my Royall Lord?
How fares your Maiesty?
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o'th'graue,
2795Thou art a Soule in blisse,but I am bound
Vpon a wheele of fire,that mine owne teares
Do scal'd,like molten Lead.
Cor. Sir,do you know me?
Lear. You are a spirit I know,where did you dye?
2800Cor. Still,still,farre wide.
Gen. He's scarse awake,
Let him alone a while.
Lear. Where haue I bin?
Where am I? Faire day light?
2805I am mightily abus'd; I should eu'n dye with pitty
To see another thus. I know not what to say:
I will not sweare these are my hands: let's see,
I feele this pin pricke,would I were assur'd
Of my condition.
2810Cor. O looke vpon me Sir,
And hold your hand in benediction o're me,
You must not kneele.
Lear. Pray do not mocke me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
2815Fourescore and vpward,
Not an houre more,nor lesse:
And to deale plainely,
I feare I am not in my perfect mind.
Me thinkes I should know you,and know this man,
2820Yet I am doubtfull: For I am mainely ignorant
What place this is:and all the skill I haue
Remembers not these garments: nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me,
For(as I am a man) I thinke this Lady
2825To be my childe Cordelia.
Cor. And so I am: I am.
Lear.Be your teares wet?
Yes faith: I pray weepe not,
If you haue poyson for me,I will drinke it:
2830I know you do not loue me, for your Sisters
Haue (as I do remember)done me wrong.
You haue some cause,they haue not.
Cor. No cause,no cause.
Lear. Am I in France?
2835Kent. In your owne kingdome Sir.
Lear. Do not abuse me.
Gent. Be comforted good Madam,the great rage
You see is kill'd in him:desire him to go in,
Trouble him no more till further setling.
2840Cor. Wilt please your Highnesse walke?
Lear. You must beare with me:
Pray you now forget,and forgiue,
I am old and foolish.
Exeunt
Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.
2845
Enter with Drumme and Colours,Edmund,Regan.
Gentlemen,and Souldiers.
Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is aduis'd by ought
To change the course,he's full of alteration,
2850And selfereprouing,bring his constant pleasure.
Reg. Our Sisters man is certainely miscarried.
Bast. 'Tis to be doubted Madam.
Reg. Now sweet Lord,
You know the goodnesse I intend vpon you:
2855Tell me but truly,but then speake the truth,
Do you not loue my Sister?
Bast. In honour'd Loue.
Reg. But haue you neuer found my Brothers way,
To the fore-fended place?
2860Bast. No by mine honour,Madam.
Reg. I neuer shall endure her,deere my Lord
Be not familiar with her.
Bast. Feare not,she and the Duke her husband.
Enter with Drum and Colours,Albany, Gonerill,Soldiers.
2865Alb. Our very louing Sister, well be-met:
Sir,this I heard,the King is come to his Daughter
With others,whom the rigour of our State
Forc'd to cry out.
Regan. Why is this reasond?
2870Gone. Combine together 'gainst the Enemie:
For these domesticke and particurlar broiles,
Are not the question heere.
Alb. Let's then determine with th'ancient of warre
On our proceeding.
2875Reg. Sister you'le go with vs?
Gon. No.
Reg. 'Tis most conuenient,pray go with vs.
Gon. Oh ho,I know the Riddle, I will goe.
Exeunt both the Armies.
2880
Enter Edgar.
Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore,
Heare me one word.
Alb. Ile ouertake you,speake.
Edg. Before you fight the Battaile,ope this Letter:
2885If you haue victory,let the Trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though Iseeme,
I can produce a Champion,that will proue
What is auouched there. If you miscarry,
Your businesse of the world hath so an end,
2890And machination ceases. Fortune loues you.
Alb. Stay till I haue read the Letter.
Edg. I was forbid it:
When time shall serue,let but the Herald cry,
And Ile appeare againe.
Exit.
2895Alb. Why farethee well,I will o're-looke thy paper.
Enter Edmund.
Bast. The Enemy's in view,draw vp your powers,
Heere is the guesse of their true strength and Forces,
By dilligent discouerie,but your hast
2900Is now vrg'd on you.
Alb. We will greet the time.
Exit.
Bast. To both these Sisters haue I sworne my loue:
Each iealous of the other,as the stung
Are of the Adder. Which of them shall I take?
2905Both? One? Or neither?Neither can be enioy'd
If both remaine aliue: To take the Widdow,
Exasperates,makes mad her Sister Gonerill,
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being aliue. Now then,wee'l vse
2910His countenance for the Battaile,which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him,deuise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercie
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The Battaile done,and they within our power,
2915Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state,
Stands on me to defend,not to debate.
Exit.
Scena Secunda.
Alarum within. Enter with Drumme and Colours,Lear,
Cordelia, and Souldiers,ouer the Stage, and Exeunt.
2920
Enter Edgar,and Gloster.
Edg. Heere Father,take the shadow of this Tree
For your good hoast: pray that the right may thriue:
If euer I returne to you againe,
Ile bring you comfort.
2925Glo. Grace go with you Sir.
Exit.
Alarum and Retreat within.
Enter Edgar.
Egdar. Away old man,giue me thy hand,away:
King Lear hath lost,he and his Daughter tane,
2930Giue me thy hand: Come on.
Glo. No further Sir,a man may rot euen heere.
Edg. What in ill thoughts againe?
Men must endure
Their going hence,euen as their comming hither,
2935Ripenesse is all come on.
Glo. And that's true too.
Exeunt.
Scena Tertia.
Enter in conquest with Drum and Colours,Edmund,Lear,
and Cordelia,as prisoners,Souldiers, Captaine.
2940Bast. Some Officers take them away: good guard,
Vntill their greater pleasures first be knowne
That are to censure them.
Cor. We are not the first,
Who with best meaning haue incurr'd the worst:
2945For thee oppressed King I am cast downe,
My selfe could else out-frowne false Fortunes frowne.
Shall we not see these Daughters,and these Sisters?
Lear. No,no,no,no: come let's away to prison,
We two alone will sing like Birds i'th'Cage:
2950When thou dost aske me blessing,Ile kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenesse: So wee'l liue,
And pray,and sing,and tell old tales,and laugh
At gilded Butterflies: and heere (poore Rogues)
Talke of Court newes,and wee'l talke with them too,
2955Who looses,and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take vpon's the mystery of things,
As if we were Gods spies: And wee'l weare out
In a wall'd prison,packs and sects of great ones,
That ebbe and flow by th'Moone.
2960Bast. Take them away.
Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia,
The Gods themselues throw Incense.
Haue I caught thee?
He that parts vs, shall bring a Brand from Heauen,
2965And fire vs hence,like Foxes:wipe thine eyes,
The good yeares shall deuoure them,flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make vs weepe?
Weele see e'm staru'd first: come.
Exit.
Bast. Come hither Captaine,hearke.
2970Take thou this note,go follow them to prison,
One step I haue aduanc'd thee,if thou do'st
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
2975Do's not become a Sword,thy great imployment
Will not beare question:either say thou'lt do't,
Or thriue by other meanes.
Capt. Ile do't my Lord.
Bast. About it,and write happy, when th'hast done,
2980Marke I say instantly, and carry it so
As I haue set it downe.
Exit Captaine.
Flourish. Enter Albany, Gonerill, Regan,Soldiers.
Alb. Sir,you haue shew'd to day your valiant straine
And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
2985Who were the opposites of this dayes strife:
I do require them of you so to vse them,
As we shall find their merites, and our safety
May equally determine.
Bast. Sir, I thought it fit,
2990To send the old and miserable King to some retention,
Whose age had Charmes in it,whose Title more,
To plucke the common bosome on his side,
And turne our imprest Launces in our eies
Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen:
2995My reason all the same,and they are ready
To morrow,or at further space,t' appeare
Where you shall hold your Session.
Alb. Sir,by your patience,
I hold you but a subiect of this Warre,
3000Not as a Brother.
Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Methinkes our pleasure might haue bin demanded
Ere you had spoke so farre. He led our Powers,
Bore the Commission of my place and person,
3005The which immediacie may well stand vp,
And call it selfe your Brother.
Gon. Not so hot:
In his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe,
More then in your addition.
3010Reg. In my rights,
By me inuested,he compeeres the best.
Alb. That were the most, if he should husband you.
Reg. Iesters do oft proue Prophets.
Gon. Hola,hola,
3015That eye that told you so,look'd but a squint.
Rega. Lady I am not well, else I should answere
From a full flowing stomack. Generall,
Take thou my Souldiers,prisoners,patrimony,
Dispose of them, of me,the walls is thine:
3020Witnesse the world,that I create thee heere
My Lord,and Master.
Gon. Meane you to enioy him?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
Bast. Nor in thine Lord.
3025Alb. Halfe-blooded fellow,yes.
Reg. Let the Drum strike, and proue my title thine.
Alb. Stay yet,heare reason: Edmund,I arrest thee
On capitall Treason;and in thy arrest,
This guilded Serpent: for your claime faire Sisters,
3030I bare it in the interest of my wife,
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord,
And I her husband contradict your Banes.
If you will marry,make your loues to me,
My Lady is bespoke.
3035Gon. An enterlude.
Alb. Thou art armed Gloster,
Let the Trmpet sound:
If none appeare to proue vpon thy person,
Thy heynous,manifest, and many Treasons,
3040There is my pledge: Ile make it on thy heart
Ere I taste bread,thou art in nothing lesse
Then I haue heere proclaim'd thee.
Reg. Sicke,O sicke.
Gon. If not, Ile nere trust medicine.
3045Bast. There's my exchange,what in the world hes
That names me Traitor, villain-like he lies,
Call by the Trumpet: he that dares approach;
On him,on you, who not, I will maintaine
My truth and honor firmely.
3050
Enter a Herald.
Alb. A Herald,ho.
Trust to thy single vertue,for thy Souldiers
All leuied in my name,haue in my name
Tooke their discharge.
3055Regan. My sicknesse growes vpon me.
Alb. She is not well,conuey her to my Tent.
Come hither Herald,let the Trumper sound,
And read out this.
A Tumpet sounds.
Herald reads.
3060 If any man of qualitie or degree,within the lists of the Ar-
my,will maintaine vpon Edmund, supposed Earle of Gloster,
that he is a manifold Traitor, let him appeare by the third
sound of the Trumpet: he is bold in his defence.
1 Trumpet.
Her. Againe.
2 Trumpet.
3065Her. Againe.
3 Trumpet.
Trumpet answers within.
Enter Edgar armed.
Alb. Aske him his purposes,why he appeares
Vpon this Call o'th'Trumpet.
3070Her. What are you?
Your name, your quality,and why you answer
This present Summons?
Edg. Know my name is lost
By Treasons tooth: bare-gnawne,and Canker-bit,
3075Yet am I Noble as the Aduersary
I come to cope.
Alb. Which is that Aduersary?
Edg. What's he that speakes for EdmundEarle of Glo-
Bast. Himselfe,what saist thou to him?
3080Edg. Draw thy Sword,
That if my speech offend a Noble heart,
Thy arme may do thee Iustice,heere is mine:
Behold it is my priuiledge,
The priuiledge of mine Honours,
3085My oath,and my profession. I protest,
Maugre thy strength,place,youth,and eminence,
Despise thy victor-Sword,and fire new Fortune,
Thy valor,and thy heart,thou art a Traitor:
False to thy Gods,thy Brother,and thy Father,
3090Conspirant 'gainst this high illustirous Prince,
And from th'extremest vpward of thy head,
To the discent and dust below thy foote,
A most Toad-spotted Traitor. Say thou no,
This Sword,this arme,and my best spirits are bent
3095To proue vpon thy heart,whereto I speake,
Thou lyest.
Bast. In wisedome I should aske thy name,
But since thy out-side lookes so faire and Warlike,
And that thy tongue(some say) of breeding breathes,
3100What safe,and nicely I might well delay,
By rule of Knight-hood,I disdaine and spurne:
Backe do I tosse these Treasons to thy head,
With the hell-hated Lye,ore-whelme thy heart,
Which for they yet glance by,and scarely bruise,
3105This Sword of mine shall giue them instant way,
Where they shall rest for euer. Trumpets speake.
Alb. Saue him,saue him.
Alarums. Fights.
Gon. This is practise Gloster,
By th'law of Warre,thou wast not bound to answer
3110An vnknowne opposite: thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozend,and beguild.
Alb. Shut your mouth Dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it: hold Sir,
Thou worse then any name,reade thine owne euill:
3115No tearing Lady,I perceiue you know it.
Gon. Say if I do,the Lawes are mine not thine,
Who can araigne me for't?
Exit.
Alb. Most monstrous! O, know'st thou this paper?
Bast. Aske me not what I know.
3120Alb. Go after her,she's desperate,gouerne her.
Bast. What you haue charg'd me with,
That haue I done,
And more,much more,the time will bring it out.
'Tis past,and so am I: But what art thou
3125That hast this Fortune on me? If thou'rt Noble,
I do forgiue thee.
Edg. Let's exchange charity:
I am no lesse in blood then thou art Edmond,
If more, the more th'hast wrong'd me.
3130My name is Edgar and thy Fathers Sonne,
The Gods are iust,and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague vs:
The darke and vitious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
3135Bast. Th'hast spoken right,'tis true,
The Wheele is come full circle,I am heere.
Alb. Me thought thy very gate did prophesie
A Royall Noblenesse: I must embrace thee,
Let sorrow split my heart,if euer I
3140Did hate thee,or thy father.
Edg. Worthy Prince I know't.
Alb. Where haue you hid your selfe?
How haue you knowne the miseries of your Father?
Edg. By nursing them my Lord. List a breefe tale,
3145And when 'tis told,O that my heart would burst.
The bloody proclamation to escape
That follow'd me so neere,(O our liues sweetnesse,
That we the paine of death would hourely dye,
Rather then die at once)taught me to shift
3150Into a mad-mans rags,t'assume a semblance
That very Dogges 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,sau'd him from dispaire.
3155Neuer(O fault)reueal'd my selfe vnto him,
Vntill some halfe houre past when I was arm'd,
Not sure,though hoping of this good successe,
I ask'd his blessing,and from first to last
Told him our pilgrimage. But his flaw'd heart
3160(Alacke too weake the conflict to support)
Twixt two extremes of passion,ioy and greefe,
Burst smilingly.
Bast. This speech of yours hath mou'd me,
And shall perchance do good,but speake you on,
3165You looke as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more,more wofull,hold it in,
For I am almost ready to dissolue,
Hearing of this.
Enter a Gentleman.
3170Gen. Helpe,helpe: O helpe.
Edg. What kinde of helpe?
Alb. Speake man.
Edg. What meanes this bloody Knife?
Gen. 'Tis hot,it smoakes, it came euen from the heart
3175of----O she's dead.
Alb. Who dead? Speake man.
Gen. Your Lady Sir,your Lady; and her Sister
By her is poyson'd: she confesses it.
Bast. I was contracted to them both,all three
3180Now marry in an instant.
Edg. Here comes Kent.
Enter Kent.
Alb. Produce the bodies,be they aliue or dead;
Gonerill and Regans bodiesbrought out.
3185This iudgement of the Heauens that makes vs tremble.
Touches vs not with pitty: O,is this he?
The time will not allow the complement
Which very manners vrges.
Kent. I am come
3190To bid my King and Master aye good night.
Is he not here?
Alb. Great thing of vs forgot,
Speake Edmund, where's the King?and where's Cordelia?
Seest thou this obiect Kent?
3195Kent. Alacke,why thus?
Bast. Yet Edmund was belou'd:
The one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew herselfe.
Alb. Euen so: couer their faces.
3200Bast. Ipant for life: some good I meane to do
Despight of mine owne Nature. Quickly send,
(Be briefe in it) to'th'Castle,for my Writ
Is on the life of Lear,and on Cordelia:
Nay,send in time.
3205Alb. Run, run,O run.
Edg. To who my Lord? Who ha's the Office?
Send thy token of repreeue.
Bast. Well thought on,take my Sword,
Giue it the Captaine.
3210Edg. Hast thee for thy life.
Bast. He hath Commission from thy Wife and me,
To hang Cordelia in the prison,and
To lay the blame vpon her owne dispaire,
That she for-did her selfe.
3215Alb. The Gods defend her,beare him hence awhile.
Enter Lear with Cordelia in his armes.
Lear.Howle,howle,howle: O your are men of stones,
Had I your tongues and eyes,Il'd vse them so,
That Heauens vault should crack: she's gone for euer.
3220I know when one is dead,and when one liues,
She's dead as earth: Lend me a Looking-glasse,
If that her breath will mist or staine the stone,
Why then she liues.
Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
3225Edg. Or image of that horror.
Alb. Fall and cease.
Lear. This feather stirs, she liues: if it be so,
It is a chance which do's redeeme all sorrowes
That euer I haue felt.
3230Kent. O my good Master.
Lear. Prythee away.
Edg. 'Tis Noble Kent your Friend.
Lear. A plague vpon you Murderors, Traitors all,
I might haue sau'd her,now she's gone for euer:
3235Cordelia,Cordelia,stay a little. Ha:
What is't thou saist? Her voice was euer soft,
Gentle,and low,an excellent thing in woman.
I kill'd the Slaue that was a hanging thee.
Gent. 'Tis true (my Lords)he did.
3240Lear. Did I not fellow?
I haue seene the day, with my good biting Faulchion
I would haue made him skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoile me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o'th'best,Ile tell you straight.
3245Kent. If Fortune brag of two,she lou'd and hated,
One of them we behold.
Lear. This is a dull sight,are you not Kent?
Kent. The same: your Seruant Kent,
Where is your Seruant Caius?
3250Lear. He's a good fellow,I can tell you that,
He'le strike and quickly too,he's dead and rotten.
Kent. No my good Lord,I am the very man.
Lear. Ile see that straight.
Kent. That from your first of difference and decay,
3255Haue follow'd your sad steps.
Lear. Your are welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else:
All's cheerlesse,darke,and deadly,
Your eldest Daughters haue fore-done themselues,
3260And desperately are dead
Lear. I so I thinke.
Alb. He knowes not what he saies,and vaine is it
That we present vs to him.
Enter a Messenger.
3265Edg. Very bootlesse.
Mess. Edmund is dead my Lord.
Alb. That's but a trifle heere:
You Lords and Noble Friends,know our intent,
What comfort to this great decay may come,
3270Shall be appli'd. For vs we will resigne,
During the life of this old Maiesty
To him our absolute power, you to your rights,
With boote,and such addition as your Honours
Haue more then merited. All Friends shall
3275Taste the wages of their vertue,and all Foes
The cup of their deseruings: O see,see.
Lear. And my poore Foole is hang'd: no,no,no life?
Why should a Dog,a Horse,a Rat haue life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
3280Neuer,neuer,neuer,neuer,neuer.
Pray you vndo this Button. Thanke you Sir,
Do you see this? Looke on her? Looke her lips,
Looke there,looke there.
He dies.
Edg. He faints,my Lord,my Lord.
3285Kent. Breake heart,I prythee breake.
Edg. Looke vp my Lord.
Kent. Vex not his ghost,O let him passe,he hates him,
That would vpon the wracke of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
3290Edg. He is gon indeed.
Kent. The wonder is,he hath endur'd so long,
He but vsurpt his life.
Alb. Beare them from hence,our present businesse
Is generall woe: Friends of my soule, you twaine,
3295Rule in this Realme,and the gor'd state sustaine.
Kent. I haue a iourney Sir,shortly to go,
My Master calls me,I must not say no.
Edg. The waight of this sad time we must obey,
Speake what we feele,not what we ought to say:
3300The oldest hath borne most,we that are yong,
Shall neuer see so much, nor liue so long.
Exeunt with a dead March.
FINIS.