Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


The Historie of King Lear.
This shame which here it suffers.
Lear. O how this mother swels vp toward my hart,
Historica passio downe thou climing sorrow,
1330Thy element's below, where is this daughter?
Kent. With the Earle sir within,
Lear. Follow me not, stay there?
Knight. Made you no more offẽce then what you speake of?
1335Kent. No, how chance the King comes with so small a traine?
Foole. And thou hadst beene set in the stockes for that questi-
on, thou ha'dst well deserued it.
Kent. Why foole?
1340Foole. Weele set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach thee ther's
no labouring in the winter, all that follow their noses, are led by
their eyes, but blind men, and ther's not a nose among a 100. but
can smell him thats stincking, let goe thy hold when a great
wheele runs downe a 1345hill, least it breake thy necke with follow-
ing it, but the great one that goes vp the hill, let him draw thee
after, when a wise man giues thee better councell, giue mee mine
againe, I would haue none but knaues follow it, since a foole
giues it.
1350That Sir that serues for gaine,
And followes but for forme:
Will packe when it begin to raine,
And leaue thee in the storme.
But I will tarie, the foole will stay,
1355And let the wise man flie :
The knaue turnes foole that runs away,
The foole no knaue perdy.
Kent. Where learnt you this foole?
1360Foole. Not in the stockes.
Enter Lear and Gloster.
Lear. Denie to speake with mee, th'are sicke, th'are
They traueled hard to night, meare Iustice,
I the Images of reuolt and flying off,
1365Fetch mee a better answere.
Glost. My deere Lord, you know the fierie qualitie of the
Duke, how vnremoueable and fixt he is in his owne Course.
1370Lear. Vengeance, death, plague, confusion, what fierie quality,
Why