Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


Enter Edgar.
Edg. Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemnd,
2180Then still contemn'd and flattered to be worst,
The lowest and most deiected thing of Fortune
Stands still in experience, liues not in feare,
The lamentable change is from the best,
The worst returnes to laughter,
Who's here, my father poorlie, leed, 2190world, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
Life would not yeeld to age.
Enter Glost. led by an old man.
Old man O my good Lord, I haue beene your tenant, & your
fathers tenant this forescore---
2195Glost. Away, get thee away, good friend be gon,
Thy comforts can doe me no good at all,
Thee they may hurt.
Old man. Alack sir, you cannot see your way.
Glost. I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes,
2200I stumbled when I saw, full oft tis seene
Our meanes secure vs, and our meare defects
Proue our comodities, ah deere sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused fathers wrath,
Might I but liue to see thee in my tuch,
2205Id'e say I had eyes againe.
Old man. How now whose there?
Edg. O Gods, who ist can say I am at the worst,
I am worse then ere I was.
Old man. Tis poore mad Tom.
2210Edg. And worse I may be yet, the worst is not.
As long as we can say, this is the worst.
Old man. Fellow where goest?
Glost. Is it a begger man?
Old man. Mad man, and begger to.
2215Glost. A has some reason, else he could not beg,
In the last nights storme I such a fellow saw,
Which made me thinke a man a worme, my sonne
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friendes with him, 2220I haue heard more
As flies are toth' wanton boyes, are we toth' Gods,
They bitt vs for their sport.
Edg. How should this be, bad is the trade that must play the
foole to sorrow 2225angring it selfe and others, blesse thee maister.
Glost. Is that the naked fellow?
Old man. I my Lord.
Glost. Then prethee get thee gon, if for my sake
Thou wilt oretake vs here a mile or twaine
2230Ith' way toward Douer, doe it for ancient loue
And bring some couering for this naked soule
Who Ile intreate to leade me.
Old man. Alack sir he is mad.
Glost. Tis the times plague, 2235when madmen lead the
Doe as I bid thee, or rather doe thy pleasure,
Aboue the rest, be gon.
Old man. Ile bring him the best parrell that I haue
Come on't what will.
2240Glost. Sirrah naked fellow.
Edg. Poore Toms a cold, I cannot dance it farther.
Glost. Come hither fellow.
Edg. Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleed.
2245Glost. Knowst thou the way to Douer?
Edg. Both stile and gate, horse-way, and foot-path,
Poore Tom hath beene scard out of his good wits,
Blesse the good man from the foule fiend,
2248.1Fiue fiends haue beene in poore Tom at once,
Of lust, as Obidicut, Hobbididence Prince of dumbnes,
Mahu of stealing, Modo of murder, Stiberdigebit of
Mobing, & Mobing who since possesses chambermaids
.5And waiting women, so, blesse thee maister.
Glost. Here take this purse, thou whome the heauens
2250Haue humbled to all strokes, that I am wretched, makes
The happier, heauens deale so still,
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man
That stands your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feele, feele your power quickly,
2255So distribution should vnder excesse,
And each man haue enough, dost thou know Douer?
Edg. I master.
Glost. There is a cliffe whose high & bending head
Lookes firmely in the confined deepe,
2260Bring me but to the very brimme of it
And ile repaire the misery thou dost beare
With something rich about me,
From that place I shal no leading need.
Edg. Giue me thy arme, 2265poore Tom shall lead thee.