Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


Enter Gloster and Lear, Kent, Foole, and Tom.
Glost. Here is better then the open ayre, take it thankfully, I
will peece out the comfort with what addition I 2000can, I will not be
long from you.
Ken. All the power of his wits haue giuen way to impatience,
the Gods deserue your kindnes.
Edg. Fretereto cals me, and tels me Nero is an ang2005ler in the
lake of darknes, pray innocent beware the foule fiend.
Foole. Prithe Nunckle tell me, whether a mad man be a Gen-
tleman or a Yeoman.
Lear. A King, a King, to haue a thousand with red burning
spits come hiszing in vpon them.
2014.1Edg. The foule fiend bites my backe,
Foole. He's mad, that trusts in the tamenes of a Wolfe, a hor-
ses health, a boyes loue, or a whores oath.
Lear. It shalbe done, I wil arraigne them straight,
.5Come sit thou here most learned Iustice
Thou sapient sir sit here, no you shee Foxes--
Edg. Looke where he stands and glars, wanst thou eyes, at
tral madam come ore the broome Bessy to mee.
Foole. Her boat hath a leake, and she must not speake,
.10Why she dares not come, ouer to thee.
Edg. The foule fiend haũts poore Tom in the voyce of a nigh-
Hoppedance cries in Toms belly for two white herring,
Croke not blacke Angell, I haue no foode for thee.
Kent. How doe you sir? stand you not so amazd, will you
.15lie downe and rest vpon the cushings?
Lear. Ile see their triall first, bring in their euidence, thou
robbed man of Iustice take thy place, & thou his yokefellow of
equity, bench by his side, you are ot'h commission, sit you too.
Ed. Let vs deale iustly sleepest or wakest thou iolly shepheard,
.20Thy sheepe bee in the corne, and for one blast of thy minikin
mouth, thy sheepe shall take no harme, Pur the cat is gray.
Lear. Arraigne her first tis Gonoril, I here take my oath before
this honorable assembly kickt the poore king her father.
Foole. Come hither mistrisse is your name Gonorill.
.25Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy I tooke you for a ioyne stoole.
Lear. And heres another whose warpt lookes proclaime,
What store her hart is made an, stop her there;
Armes, armes, sword, fire, corruption in the place,
.30False Iusticer why hast thou let her scape.
2015Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits.
Kent. O pity sir, where is the patience now,
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine.
Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much,
Theile marre my counterfeiting.
2020Lear. The little dogs and all
Trey, Blanch, and Sweet hart, see they barke at me.
Edg. Tom will throw his head at them, auant you curs,
Be thy mouth, or blacke, or white, tooth that poysons if it bite,
2025Mastife, grayhoũd, mungril, grim-hoũd or spaniel, brach or him,
Bobtaile tike, or trũdletaile, Tom will make them weep & waile,
For with throwing thus my head, 2030dogs leape the hatch and all
are fled, loudla doodla come march to wakes, and faires, and
market townes, poore Tom thy horne is dry.
Lear. Then let them anotomize Regan, see what breeds about
Hart is there any cause in nature that 2035makes this hardnes,
You sir, I entertaine you for one of my hundred,
Only I do not like the fashion of your garments youle say,
They are Persian attire, but let them be chang'd.
2040Kent. Now good my Lord lie here awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise, draw the curtains, so, so, so,
Weele go to supper it'h morning, so, so, so,
Enter Gloster.
Glost. Come hither friend, 2045where is the King my maister.
Kent. Here sir, but trouble him not his wits are gon.
Glost. Good friend I prithy take him in thy armes,
I haue or'e heard a plot of death vpon him,
Ther is a Litter ready lay him in't, 2050& driue towards Douer frend,
Where thou shalt meet both welcome & protection, take vp thy
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 the King 2055and followe me, that will to some prouision
Giue thee quicke conduct.
2056.1Kent. Oppressed nature sleepes,
This rest might yet haue balmed thy broken sinewes,
Which if conuenience will not alow stand in hard cure,
Come helpe to beare thy maister, thou must not stay behind.
.5Glost. Come, come away. Exit.
Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes: we scarcely
thinke, our miseries, our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers, most it'h mind,
Leauing free things and happy showes behind,
.10But then the mind much sufferance doth or'e scip,
When griefe hath mates, and bearing fellowship:
How light and portable my paine seemes now,
When that which makes me bend, makes the King bow.
He childed as I fathered, Tom away,
.15Marke the high noyses and thy selfe bewray,
When false opinion whose wrong thoughts defile thee,
In thy iust proofe repeals and reconciles thee,
What will hap more to night, safe scape the King,
Lurke, lurke.