Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)

Enter Kent, and Steward.
Steward. Good euen to thee friend, art of the house?
Kent. I.Stew. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. It'h mire.Stew. 1080Prethee if thou loue me, tell me.
Kent. I loue thee not. Stew. Why then I care not for thee.
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsburie pinfold, I would make thee
care for mee.
1085Stew. Why dost thou vse me thus? I know thee not.
Kent. Fellow I know thee.
Stew, What dost thou know me for?
Kent. A knaue, a rascall, an eater of broken meates, a base,
proud, shallow, beggerly, three shewted hundred 1090pound, filthy
worsted-stocken knaue, a lilly lyuer'd action taking knaue, a
whorson glassegazing superfinicall rogue, one truncke inher{i-}
ting slaue, one that would'st bee a baud in way of good seruice,
and art nothing but the composition of a knaue, begger, cow-
ard, 1095pander, and the sonne and heire of a mungrell bitch, whom
I will beat into clamorous whyning, if thou denie the least silla-
ble of the addition.
Stew. What a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to raile on one,
that's neither 1100knowne of thee, nor knowes thee.
Kent. What a brazen fac't varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest mee, is it two dayes agoe since I beat thee, and tript vp
thy heeles before the King? draw you rogue, for though it be
night the Moone shines, ile make a 1105sop of the moone-shine a'you,
draw you whorson cullyonly barber-munger, draw?
Stew. Away, I haue nothing to doe with thee.
Kent. Draw you rascall, you bring letters against the King,
and take Vanitie the puppets part, 1110against the royaltie of her
father, draw you rogue or ile so carbonado your shankes, draw
you rascall, come your wayes.
Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
Kent. Strike you slaue, stand rogue, stand you neate 1115slaue,
Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
Enter Edmund with his rapier drawne, Gloster the Duke
and Dutchesse.
Bast. How now, whats the matter?
Kent. With you goodman boy, and you please come, 1120ile
fleash you, come on yong maister.
Glost. Weapons, armes, whats the matter here?
Duke. Keepe peace vpon your liues, hee dies that strikes a-
gaine, what's the matter?
Reg. The messengers from our sister, and the King.
1125Duke. Whats your difference, speake?
Stew. I am scarse in breath my Lord.
Kent. No maruaile you haue so bestir'd your valour, you
cowardly rascall, nature disclaimes in thee, a Tayler made thee.
1130Duke. Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylor make a man.
Kent. I, a Tayler sir; a Stone-cutter, or a Painter could not
haue made him so ill, though hee had beene but two houres at
the trade.
Glost. Speake yet, how grew your quarrell?
1135Stew. This ancient ruffen sir, whose life I haue spar'd at sute
of his gray-beard.
Kent. Thou whorson Zedd, thou vnnecessarie letter, my
Lord if you'l giue mee leaue, I will tread this vnboulted villaine
into morter, and daube the walles of a 1140iaques with him, spare
my gray beard you wagtayle.
Duke. Peace sir, you beastly Knaue you haue no reuerence.
Kent. Yes sir, but anger has a priuiledge.
Duke. Why art thou angry?
1145Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a sword,
That weares no honesty, such smiling roges as these,
Like Rats oft bite those cordes in twaine,
Which are to intrench, to inloose smooth euery passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
1150Bring oyle to stir, snow to their colder-moods,
Reneag, affirme, and turne their halcion beakes
With euery gale and varie of their maisters,
Knowing nought like dayes but following, a plague vpon your
Visage, 1155smoyle you my speeches, as I were a foole?
Goose and I had you vpon Sarum plaine,
Id'e send you cackling home to Camulet.,
Duke. 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.
Duke. Why dost thou call him knaue, what's his offence.
Kent. His countenance likes me not.
1165Duke. No more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.
Kent. Sir tis my occupation to be plaine,
I haue seene better faces in my time
That stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
1170Duke. This is a fellow who hauing beene praysd
For bluntnes doth affect a sawcy ruffines,
And constraines the garb quite from his nature,
He cannot flatter he, he must be plaine,
He must speake truth, 1175and they will tak't so,
If not he's plaine, these kind of knaues I know
Which in this plainnes harbour more craft,
And more corrupter ends, then twentie silly ducking
Obseruants, that stretch their duties nisely.
1180Kent. Sir in good sooth, or in sincere veritie,
Vnder the allowance of your graund aspect.
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
In flitkering Phoebus front.
Duke. What mean'st thou by this?
1185Kent. To goe out of my dialogue which you discommend so
much, I know sir, I am no flatterer, he that beguild you in a plain
accent, was a plaine knaue, which for my part I will not bee,
though I should win your displeasure, to intreat mee too't.
1190Duke. What's the offence you gaue him?
Stew. I neuer gaue him any, it pleas'd the King his maister
Very late to strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
When he coniunct and flattering his displeasure
1195Tript me behind, being downe, insulted, rayld,
And put vpon him such a deale of man, that,
That worthied him, got prayses of the King,
For him attempting who was selfe subdued,
And in the flechuent of this dread exploit,
1200Drew on me here againe.
Kent. None of these roges & cowards but AIax is their foole.
Duke. Bring forth the stockes ho?
You stubburne miscreant knaue, you reuerent bragart,
1205Weele teach you.
Kent. I am too old to learne, call not your stockes for me,
I serue the King, on whose imployments I was sent to you,
You should doe small respect, shew too bold malice
1210Against the Grace and person of my maister,
Stopping his messenger.
Duke. Fetch forth the stockes? 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 dogge, you could
not vse me so.
Reg. Sir being his knaue, I will.
Duke. This is a fellow of the selfe same nature,
Our sister speake of, come bring away the stockes?
1220Glost. Let me beseech your Grace not to doe so,
His fault is much, and the good King his maister
1221.1VVill check him for't, your purpost low correction
Is such, as basest and temnest wretches for pilfrings
And most common trespasses are punisht with,
The King must take it ill, that hee's so slightly valued
In his messenger, should haue him thus restrained.
Duke. Ile answer that.
1225Reg. My sister may receiue it much more worse,
To haue her Gentlemen abus'd, assalted
1226.1For following her affaires, put in his legges,
Come my good Lord away?
Glost. I am sory for thee friend, tis the Dukes pleasure,
VVhose disposition all the world well knowes
1230VVill not be rubd nor stopt, ile intreat for thee.
Kent. Pray you doe not sir, I haue watcht and trauaild
Sometime I shal sleepe ont, the rest ile whistle,
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles,
Giue you good morrow.
1235Glost. The Dukes to blame in this, twill be ill tooke.
Kent. Good King that must approue the cõmon saw,
Thou out of heauens benediction comest
To the warme Sunne.
1240Approach thou beacon to this vnder gloabe,
That by thy comfortable beames I may
Peruse this letter, nothing almost sees my wracke
But miserie, I know tis from Cordelia,
VVho hath most fortunately bin informed
1245Of my obscured course, and shall find time
From this enormious state, seeking to giue
Losses their remedies, all wearie and ouerwatch
Take vantage heauie eyes not to behold
This shamefull lodging, Fortune goodnight,
1250Smile, once more turne thy wheele.