Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
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King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


M. William Shak-speare:
HIS
True Chronicle Historie of the life and
death of King LEAR and his three
Daughters.
With the vnfortunate life of Edgar, sonne
and heire to the Earle of Gloster, and his
sullen and assumed humor of
TOM of Bedlam:
As it was played before the King's Maiestie at Whitehall vpon
S.Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes.
By his Maiesties seruants playing vsually at the Gloabe
on the Bancke-side.
LONDON,
Printed for Nathaniel Butter, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls
Church-yard at the signe of the Pide Bull neere
St. Austins Gate. 1608.
M.William Shak-speare
HISHistorie, of King Lear.
Enter Kent, Gloster, and Bastard.
Kent.
I Thought the King had more affected the 5Duke of Al-
bany then Cornwell.
Glost. It did allwaies seeme so to vs, but now in the
diuision of the kingdomes, it appeares not which of
the Dukes he values most, for equalities are so weighed, that cu-
riositie in nei10ther, can make choise of eithers moytie.
Kent. Is not this your sonne my Lord?
Glost. His breeding sir hath beene at my charge, I haue so of-
ten blusht to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd to it.
15Kent. I cannot conceiue you.
Glost. Sir, this young fellowes mother Could, wherupon shee
grew round wombed, and had indeed Sir a sonne for her cradle,
ere she had a husband for her bed, doe you smell a fault?
20Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it being so
proper.
Glost. But I haue sir a sonne by order of Law, some yeare el-
der then this, who yet is no deerer in my account, though this
knaue came something sawcely into the 25world before hee was
sent for, yet was his mother faire, there was good sport at his
makeing, & the whoreson must be acknowledged, do you know
this noble gentleman Edmund?
Bast. No my Lord.
30Glost. My Lord of Kent, remember him hereafter as my ho-
norable friend.
Bast. My seruices to your Lordship.
Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better.
Bast. Sir I shall study deseruing.
35Glost. Hee hath beene out nine yeares, and away hee shall
againe, the King is comming.
Sound a Sennet, Enter one bearing a Coronet, then Lear, then the
Dukes of Albany, and Cornwell, next Gonorill, Regan, 38.1Cor-
delia, with followers.
Lear. Attend my Lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
40Glost. I shall my Leige.
Lear. Meane time we will expresse our darker purposes,
The map there; know we haue diuided
In three, our kingdome; and tis our first intent,
To shake all cares and busines of our state,
45Confirming them on yonger yeares,
50The two great Princes France and Burgundy,
Great ryuals in our youngest daughters loue,
Long in our Court haue made their amorous soiourne,
And here are to be answerd, tell me my daughters,
Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most,
That we our largest bountie may extend,
Where merit doth most challenge it,
Gonorill our eldest borne, speake first?
60Gon. Sir I do loue you more then words can weild the
Dearer then eye-sight, space or libertie,
Beyond what can be valued rich or rare,
No lesse then life; with grace, health, beautie, honour,
As much a child ere loued, or father friend,
65A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnable,
Beyond all manner of so much I loue you.
Cor. What shall Cordelia doe, loue and be silent.
Lear. Of al these bounds, euen from this line to this,
With shady forrests, and wide skirted meades,
We make thee Lady, to thine and Albaines issue,
Be this perpetuall, what saies our second daughter?
Our deerest Regan, wife to Cornwell, speake?
Reg. Sir I am made of the selfe same mettall that my sister is,
75And prize me at her worth in my true heart,
I find she names my very deed of loue, onely she came short,
That I professe my selfe an enemie to all other ioyes,
Which the most precious square of sence possesses,
80And find I am alone felicitate, in your deere highnes loue.
Cord. Then poore Cord. & yet not so, since I am sure
My loues more richer then my tongue.
85Lear. To thee and thine hereditarie euer
Remaine this ample third of our faire kingdome,
No lesse in space, validity, and pleasure,
Then that confirm'd on Gonorill, but now our ioy,
Although the last, not least in our deere loue,
What can you say to win a third, more opulent
Then your sisters.
Cord. Nothing my Lord.
Lear. How, nothing can come of nothing, speake
Cord. Vnhappie that I am, I cannot heaue my heart into my
mouth, I loue your Maiestie according to my bond, nor more nor
lesse.
100Lear. Goe to, goe to, mend your speech a little,
Least it may mar your fortunes.
Cord. Good my Lord,
You haue begot me, bred me, loued 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,
Happely when I shall wed, that Lord whose hand
Must take my plight, shall cary halfe my loue with him,
Halfe my care and duty, 110sure I shall neuer
Mary like my sisters, to loue my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Cord. I good my Lord.
Lear. So yong and so vntender.
Cord. So yong my Lord and true.
115Lear. Well let it be so, thy truth then be thy dower,
For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
The mistresse of Heccat, and the might,
By all the operation of the orbs,
From whome we doe exsist and cease to be
120Heere I disclaime all my paternall care,
Propinquitie and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hould thee from this for euer: the barbarous Scythyan,
Or he that makes his generation
Messes 125to gorge his appetite
Shall bee as well neighbour'd, pittyed and relieued
As thou my sometime daughter.
Kent. Good my Liege.
Lear. Peace Kent, 130come not between the Dragon &
I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nurcery, hence and auoide my sight?
So be my graue my peace as here I giue,
Her fathers heart from her, call France, who stirres?
135Call Burgundy, Cornwell, and Albany,
With my two daughters dower digest this third,
Let pride, which she cals plainnes, marrie her:
I doe inuest you iointly in my powre,
Preheminence, and all the large effects
140That troope with Maiestie, our selfe by monthly course
With reseruation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustayn'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turnes, onely we still retaine
The name and all the additions to a King,
The sway, 145reuenue, execution of the rest,
Beloued sonnes be yours, which to confirme,
This Coronet part betwixt you.
Kent. Royall Lear,
Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
150Loued as my Father, as my maister followed,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers.
Lear. The bow is bẽt & drawen make from the shafte.
Kent. Let it fall rather,
Though the forke inuade the region of my heart,
Be Kent vnmannerly 155when Lear is man,
What wilt thou doe ould man, think'st thou that dutie
Shall haue dread to speake, when power to flatterie bowes,
To plainnes honours bound when Maiesty stoops to folly,
Reuerse thy doome, 160and in thy best consideration
Checke this hideous rashnes, answere my life
My iudgement, thy yongest daughter does not loue thee least,
Nor are those empty harted whose low sound
Reuerbs no hollownes.
165Lear. Kent on thy life no more.
Kent. My life I neuer held but as a pawne
To wage against thy enemies, nor feare to lose it
Thy safty being the motiue.
Lear. Out of my sight.
170Kent. See better Lear and let me still remaine,
The true blanke of thine eye.
Lear. Now by Appollo,
Kent. Now by Appollo King thou swearest thy Gods
175Lear. Vassall, recreant.
Kent. Doe, kill thy Physicion,
And the fee bestow vpon the foule disease,
Reuoke thy doome, or whilst I can vent clamour
From my throat, 180ile tell thee thou dost euill.
Lear. Heare me, on thy allegeance heare me?
Since thou hast sought to make vs breake our vow,
Which we durst neuer yet; and with straied pride,
To come betweene our sentence and our powre,
185Which nor our nature nor our place can beare,
Our potency made good, take thy reward,
Foure dayes we doe allot thee for prouision,
To shield thee from diseases of the world,
And on the fift to turne thy hated backe
190Vpon our kingdome, if on the tenth day following,
Thy banisht truncke be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death, away, by Iupiter
This shall not be reuokt.
Kent. Why fare thee well king, since thus thou wilt
195Friendship liues hence, and banishment is here,
The Gods to their protection take the maide,
That rightly thinks, and hast most iustly said,
And your large speeches may your deedes approue,
That good effects may spring from wordes of loue:
200Thus Kent O Princes, bids you all adew,
Heele shape his old course in a countrie new.
Enter France and Burgundie with Gloster.
Glost. Heers France and Burgundie my noble Lord.
205Lear. My L. of Burgũdie, we first addres towards you,
Who with a King hath riuald for our daughter,
What in the least will you require in present
Dower with her, or cease your quest of loue?
210Burg. Royall maiesty, I craue no more then what
Your highnes offered, nor will you tender lesse?
Lear. Right noble Burgundie, when she was deere to
We did hold her so, 215but now her prise is fallen,
Sir there she stands, if ought within that little
Seeming substãce, or al of it with our displeasure peec'st,
And nothing else may fitly like your grace,
Shees there, and she is yours.
220Burg. I know no answer.
Lear. Sir will you with those infirmities she owes,
Vnfriended, new adopted to our hate,
Couered with our curse, and stranger'd with our oth,
Take her or leaue her.
225Burg. Pardon me royall sir, election makes not vp
On such conditions.
Lear. Then leaue her sir, for by the powre that made
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,
To auert your liking a more worthier way,
Then on a wretch whome nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.
Fra. This is most strange, 235that she, that euen but now
Was your best obiect, the argument of your praise,
Balme of your age, most best, most deerest,
Should in this trice of time commit a thing,
So monstrous to dismantell so many foulds of fauour,
Sure her offence 240must be of such vnnaturall degree,
That monsters it, or you for voucht affections
Falne into taint, which to beleeue of her
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could neuer plant in me.
245Cord. I yet beseech your Maiestie,
If for I want that glib and oyly Art,
To speake and purpose not, since what I well entend
Ile do't before I speake, that you may know
It is no vicious blot, murder or foulnes,
250No vncleane action or dishonord step
That hath depriu'd me of your grace and fauour,
But euen for want of that, for which I am rich,
A still soliciting eye, and such a tongue,
As I am glad I haue not, though not to haue it,
255Hath lost me in your liking.
Leir. Goe to, goe to, better thou hadst not bin borne,
Then not to haue pleas'd me better.
Fran. Is it no more but this, a tardines in nature,
That often leaues the historie vnspoke 260that it intends to
My Lord of Burgundie, what say you to the Lady?
Loue is not loue when it is mingled with respects that
Aloofe from the intire point wil you haue her?
She is her selfe and dowre.
265Burg. Royall Leir, giue but that portion
Which your selfe proposd, and here I take Cordelia
By the hand, Dutches of Burgundie,
Leir. Nothing, I haue sworne.
270Burg. I am sory then you haue so lost a father,
That you must loose a husband.
Cord. Peace be with Burgundie, since that respects
Of fortune are his loue, I shall not be his wife.
275Fran. Fairest Cordelia that art most rich being poore,
Most choise forsaken, and most loued despisd,
Thee and thy vertues here I ceaze vpon,
Be it lawfull I take vp whats cast away,
Gods, Gods! tis strãge, that from their couldst neglect,
280My loue should kindle to inflam'd respect,
Thy dowreles daughter King throwne to thy chance,
Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
Not all the Dukes in watrish Burgundie,
Shall buy this vnprizd precious maide of me,
285Bid them farewell Cordelia, though vnkind
Thou loosest here, a better where to find.
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
291.1
Exit Lear and Burgundie.
Fran. Bid farewell to your sisters?
Cord. The iewels of our father,
With washt eyes Cordelia leaues you, I know you what
295And like a sister am most loath to call your faults
As they are named, vse well our Father,
To your professed bosoms I commit him,
But yet alas stood I within his grace,
I would preferre him to a better place:
300So farewell to you both?
Gonorill. Prescribe not vs our duties?
Regan. Let your study be to content your Lord,
Who hath receaued you at Fortunes almes,
You haue obedience scanted,
305And well are worth the worth that you haue wanted.
Cord. Time shal vnfould what pleated cũning hides,
Who couers faults, at last shame them derides:
Well may you prosper.
Fran. Come faire Cordelia?
Exit France & Cord.
310Gonor. Sister, it is not a little I haue to say,
Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both,
I thinke our father will hence to night.
Reg. Thats most certaine, and with you, next moneth with vs.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is the ob315seruation we
haue made of it hath not bin little; hee alwaies loued our sister
most, and with what poore iudgement hee hath now cast her
off, appeares too grosse.
Reg. Tis the infirmitie of his age, yet hee hath euer but slen-
derly knowne himselfe.
320Gono. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but rash,
then must we looke to receiue from his age not alone the imper-
fection of long ingrafted condition, but therwithal vnruly way-
wardnes, that infirme and cholericke yeares bring with them.
325Rag. Such vnconstant starts are we like to haue from him, as
this of Kents banishment.
Gono. There is further complement of leaue taking betweene
France and him, pray lets hit together, if our Father cary autho-
rity with such dispositions as he beares, 330this last surrender of his,
will but offend vs,
Ragan. We shall further thinke on't.
Gon. We must doe something, and it'h heate.
Exeunt.
Enter Bastard Solus.
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 curiositie of nations to depriue me, for that I am
some twelue or 14. mooneshines 340lag of a brother, why bastard?
wherfore base, when my dementions are as well compact, my
mind as generous, and my shape as true as honest madams issue,
why brand they vs with base, base bastardie? 345who in the lusty
stealth of nature, take more composition and feirce quality, then
doth within a stale dull lyed bed, goe to the creating of a whole
tribe of fops got tweene a sleepe and wake; well the 350legitimate
Edgar, I must haue your land, our Fathers loue is to the bastard
Edmund, as to the legitimate, well my legitimate, if this letter
speede, and my inuention thriue, Edmund the base 355shall tooth'le-
gitimate: I grow, I prosper, now Gods stand vp for Bastards.
Enter Gloster.
Glost. Kent banisht thus, and France in choller parted, and
the King gone to night, subscribd his power, 360confined to exhi-
bition, all this donne vpon the gadde; Edmund how now
what newes?
Bast. So please your Lordship, none:
Glost. Why so earnestly seeke you to put vp that letter?
Bast. I know no newes my Lord.
365Glost. What paper were you reading?
Bast. Nothing my Lord,
Glost. No, what needes then that terribe dispatch of it into
>your pocket, the qualitie of nothing hath not such need to hide
it selfe, lets see, come if it bee no370thing I shall not neede specta-
cles.
Ba. I beseech you Sir pardon me, it is a letter from my brother,
that I haue not all ore read, for so much as I haue perused, I find it
not fit for your liking.
375Glost. 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.
Glost. Lets see, lets see?
380Bast. I hope for my brothers iustification, he wrot this but
as an essay, or tast of my vertue.
A Letter.
Glost. This policie of age makes the world bitter to the best
of our times, keepes our fortunes from vs till our oldnes cannot
relish them, I begin to find an idle 385and fond bondage in the op-
pression of aged tyranny, who swaies not as it hath power, but as
it is suffered, come to me, that of this I may speake more, if our
father would sleepe till I wakt him, you should inioy halfe his
reuenew for euer, and liue the beloued of your brother Ed-
gar.
390Hum, conspiracie, slept till I wakt him, you should enioy halfe
his reuenew, my sonne Edgar, had hee a hand to write this, a
hart, and braine to breed it in, when came this to you, who
brought it?
Bast. It was not brought me my Lord, ther's the 395cunning of
it, I found it throwne in at the casement of my closet.
Glost. You know the Caractar to be your brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good, my Lord I durst sweare it were
his but in respect, of that I would faine thinke it 400were not,
Glost. It is his?
Bast. It is his hand my Lord, but I hope his heart is not in
the contents.
Glost. Hath he neuer heretofore soũded you in this busines?
405Bast. Neuer my Lord, but I haue often heard him maintaine
it to be fit, that sons at perfit age, & fathers declining, his father
should be as ward to the sonne, and the sonne mannage the re-
uenew.
Glost. O villaine, villaine, his very opinion in the let410ter, ab-
horred villaine, vnnaturall detested brutish villaine, worse then
brutish, go sir seeke him, I apprehend him, abhominable villaine
where is he?
Bast. I doe not well know my Lord, if it shall please you to
suspend your indignation against my brother, til you can 415deriue
from him better testimony of this intent: you should run a cer-
taine course, where if you violently proceed against him, mi-
staking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your owne
honour, & shake in peeces the heart of his obediẽce, I dare pawn
downe my life for him, 420he hath wrote this to feele my affection
to your honour, and to no further pretence of danger.
Glost. Thinke you so?
Bast. If your honour iudge it meete, I will place you where
you shall heare vs conferre of this, and by an auri425gular assurance
haue your satisfaction, and that without any further delay then
this very euening.
Glost. He cannot be such a monster.
427.1Bast. Nor is not sure.
Glost. To his father, that so tenderly and intirely loues him,
heauen and earth! Edmund seeke him out, wind mee into him, I
pray you frame your busines after your own wisedome, I would
vnstate my 430selfe to be in a due resolution.
Bast. I shall seeke him sir presently, conuey the businesse as I
shall see meanes, and acquaint you withall.
Glost. These late eclipses in the Sunne and Moone portend
no good to vs, though the wisedome of nature can 435reason thus
and thus, yet nature finds it selfe scourg'd by the sequent effects,
loue cooles, friendship fals off, brothers diuide, in Citties mu-
tinies, in Countries discords, Pallaces treason, the bond crackt
betweene sonne and father; find out this villaine Edmund, it shal
loose 445thee nothing, doe it carefully, and the noble and true har-
ted Kent banisht, his offence honest, strange strange!
Bast. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when
we are sicke in Fortune, often the surfeit of our owne behauiour,
we make guiltie of our disasters, the Sunne, the 450Moone, and the
Starres, as if we were Villaines by necessitie, Fooles by heauen-
ly compulsion, Knaues, Theeues, and Trecherers by spirituall
predominance, Drunkards, Lyars, and Adulterers by an enforst
obedience of planitary influence, and all that wee are euill in,
by a diuine thru455sting on, an admirable euasion of whoremaster
man, to lay his gotish disposition to the charge of Starres: my
Father compounded with my Mother vnder the Dragons taile,
and my natiuitie was vnder Vrsa maior, so that it followes, I am
rough and lecherous, Fut, I should 460haue beene that I am, had the
maidenlest starre of the Firmament twinckled on my bastardy
Enter Edgar
Edgar; and out hee comes like the Catastrophe of the old Co-
medy, mine is villanous melancholy, with a sith like them of
465Bedlam; O these eclipses doe portend these diuisions.
Edgar. How now brother Edmund, what serious contempla-
tion are you in?
Bast. I am thinking brother of a prediction I read this 470other
day, what should follow these Eclipses.
Edg. Doe you busie your selfe about that?
Bast. I promise you the effects he writ of, succeed vnhappily,
as of vnnaturalnesse betweene the child and the parent, death,
473.1dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities, diuisions in state, mena-
ces and maledictions against King and nobles, needles diffiden-
ces, banishment of friẽds, dissipation of Cohorts, nuptial breach-
es, and I know not what.
.5Edg. How long haue you beene a sectary Astronomicall?
Bast. Come, come, when saw you my father last?
Edg. Why, 475the night gon by.
Bast. Spake you with him?
Edg. Two houres together.
Bast. Parted you in good tearmes? found you no displeasure
in him by word or countenance?
480Edg. None at all.
Bast. Bethinke your selfe wherein you may haue offended
him, and at my intreatie, forbeare his presence, till some little
time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure, which at this in-
stant so rageth in him, that with the mis485chiefe, of your parson it
would scarce allay.
Edg. Some villaine hath done me wrong.
Bast. Thats my feare brother, I aduise you to the best, goe
arm'd, I am no honest man if there bee any good meaning to-
wards you, I haue told 495you what I haue seene & heard, but faint-
ly, nothing like the image and horror of it; pray you away.
Edg. Shall I heare from you anon?
Bast. I doe serue you in this busines:
Exit Edgar
A credulous Father, and a brother noble,
500Whose nature is so farre from doing harmes,
That he suspects none, on whose foolish honesty
My practises ride easie, I see the busines,
Let me if not by birth, haue lands by wit,
All with me's meete, that I can fashion fit.
Exit.
Enter Gonorill and Gentleman.
Gon. Did my Father strike my gentleman for chiding of his
foole?
Gent. Yes Madam.
510Gon. By day and night he wrongs me,
Euery houre he flashes into one grosse crime or other
That sets vs all at ods, ile not indure it,
His Knights grow ryotous, and him selfe obrayds vs,
On euery trifell when he returnes from hunting,
515I will not speake with him, say I am sicke,
If you come slacke of former seruices,
You shall doe well, the fault of it ile answere.
Gent. Hee's coming Madam, I heare him.
Gon. Put on what wearie negligence you please, 520you and your
fellow seruants, i'de haue it come in question, if he dislike it, let
him to our sister, whose mind and mine I know in that are one,
522.1not to be ouerruld; idle old man that still would manage those
authorities that hee hath giuen away, now by my life old fooles
are babes again, & must be vs'd with checkes as flatteries, when
they are seene abusd,remember what I tell you.
Gent. Very well Madam.
525Gon. And let his Knights haue colder looks among you, what
growes of it no matter, aduise your fellowes so, I would breed
526.1from hence occasions, and I shall, that I may speake, ile write
straight to my sister to hould my very course, goe prepare for
dinner.
Exit.
530
Enter Kent.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, that can my speech
defuse, my good intent may carry through it selfe to that full is-
sue for which I raz'd my likenes, now banisht Kent, 535if thou canst
serue where thou dost stand condem'd, thy maister whom thou
louest shall find the full of labour.
Enter Lear.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, goe get it readie, 540how
now, what art thou?
Kent. A man Sir.
Lear. What dost thou professe? what would'st thou with vs?
Kent. I doe professe to be no lesse then I seeme, to serue 545him
truly that will put me in trust, to loue him that is honest, to con-
uerse with him that is wise, and sayes little, to feare iudgement,
to fight when I cannot chuse, and to eate no fishe.
Lear. What art thou?
550Kent. A very honest harted fellow, and as poore as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poore for a subiect, as he is for a King, thar't
poore enough, what would'st thou?
Kent. Seruice. Lear. 555Who would'st 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 Maister.
560Lear. Whats that? Kent. Authoritie.
Lear. What seruices canst doe?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message 565bluntly, that
which ordinarie men are fit for, I am qualified in, and the best
of me, is diligence.
Lear, How old art thou?
Kent. Not so yong to loue a woman for singing, nor so old to
dote on her for any thing, I haue yeares on 570my backe fortie
eight.
Lear. Follow mee, thou shalt serue mee, if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet, dinner, ho din-
ner, wher's my knaue, my foole, goe you and call my foole he-
ther, you sirra, whers my daughter?
575
Enter Steward.
Steward. So please you,
Lear. What say's the fellow there, call the clat-pole backe,
whers my foole, ho I thinke the world's asleepe, how now,
wher's that mungrel?
580Kent. He say's my Lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to mee when I cal'd
him?
seruant. Sir, hee answered mee in the roundest maner, hee
would not.
585 Lear. A would not?
seruant. My Lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my
iudgemẽt, your highnes is not ẽtertained with that ceremonious
affection as you were wont, ther's a great abatement, apeer's as
well in 590the generall dependants, as in the Duke himselfe also,
and your daughter.
Lear. Ha, say'st thou so?
seruant. I beseech you pardon mee my Lord, if I be mistaken,
for my dutie cannot bee silent, when I thinke 595your highnesse
wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine owne conception, I
haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late, which I haue rather
blamed as mine owne ielous curiositie, then as a very pretence &
purport of vnkindnesse, 600I will looke further into't, but wher's
this foole? I haue not seene him this two dayes.
seruant. Since my yong Ladies going into France sir, the foole
hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it, goe you 605and tell my
daughter, I would speake with her, goe you cal hither my foole,
O you sir, you sir, come you hither, who am I sir?
Steward. My Ladies Father.
610Lear. My Ladies father, my Lords knaue, you horeson dog,
you slaue, you cur.
Stew. I am none of this my Lord, I beseech you pardon me.
Lear. Doe you bandie lookes with me you rascall?
615Stew. Ile not be struck my Lord,
Kent. Nor tript neither, you base football player.
Lear. I thanke thee fellow, thou seru'st me, and ile loue thee.
Kent. Come sir ile teach you differences, 620away, away, if
you will measure your lubbers length againe, tarry, but away,
you haue wisedome.
Lear. Now friendly knaue I thanke thee, their's earnest of
thy seruice.
Enter Foole.
625Foole. Let me hire him too, heer's my coxcombe.
Lear. How now my prety knaue, how do'st thou?
Foole. Sirra, you were best take my coxcombe.
Kent. Why Foole?
Foole. Why for taking on's part, that's out of fauour, 630nay and
thou can'st not smile as the wind sits, thou't catch cold shortly,
there take my coxcombe; why this fellow hath banisht two
on's daughters, and done the third a blessing against his will, if
thou follow him, thou must needs weare my coxcombe, how
now nuncle, would 635I had two coxcombes, and two daughters.
Lear. Why my boy?
Foole. If I gaue them any liuing, id'e keepe my coxcombs
my selfe, ther's mine, beg another of thy daughters.
640Lear. Take heede sirra, the whip.
Foole. Truth is a dog that must to kenell, hee must bee whipt
out, when Ladie oth'e brach may stand by the fire and stincke.
Lear. A pestilent gull to mee.
645Foole. Sirra ile teach thee a speech. Lear. Doe.
Foole. Marke it vncle; haue more then thou shewest, 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
doore, and thou shalt haue more, then two tens to a score.
Lear. This is nothing foole.
Foole. Then like the breath of an vnfeed Lawyer, 660you gaue
me nothing for't, can you make no vse of nothing vncle?
Lear. Why no boy, nothing can be made out of nothing.
Foole. Preethe tell him so much the rent of his land 665comes to,
he will not beleeue a foole.
Lear. A bitter foole.
Foole. Doo'st know the difference my boy, betweene a bitter
foole, and a sweete foole.
Lear. No lad, teach mee.
Foole. That Lord that counsail'd thee to giue away thy land,
Come place him heere by mee, doe thou for him stand,
The sweet and bitter foole will presently appeare,
The one in motley here, the other found out there.
Lear. Do'st thou call mee foole boy?
Foole. All thy other Titles thou hast giuen away, that thou
wast borne with.
Kent. This is not altogether foole my Lord.
Foole. No faith, Lords and great men will not let me, if I had
a monopolie out, they would haue part an't, and Ladies too, they
will not let me haue all the foole to my selfe, they'l be snatching;
670giue me an egge Nuncle, and ile giue thee two crownes.
Lear. What two crownes shall they be?
Foole. Why, after I haue cut the egge in the middle and eate
vp the meate, the two crownes of the egge; when 675thou clouest
thy crowne it'h middle, and gauest away both parts, thou borest
thy asse at'h backe or'e the durt, thou had'st little wit in thy bald
crowne, when thou gauest thy golden one away, if I speake like
my selfe in this, let him be whipt that first finds it so.
680Fooles had nere lesse wit in a yeare,
For wise men are growne foppish,
They know not how their wits doe weare,
Their manners are so apish.
Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs sirra?
685Foole. I haue vs'd it nuncle, euer since thou mad'st thy daugh-
ters thy mother, for when thou gauest them the rod, and put'st
downe thine own breeches, then they for sudden ioy did weep,
and I for sorrow sung, 690that such a King should play bo-peepe,
and goe the fooles among: prethe Nunckle keepe a schoolema-
ster that can teach thy foole to lye, I would faine learneto lye.
Lear. And you lye, weele haue you whipt.
695Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are, they'l
haue me whipt for speaking true, thou wilt haue mee whipt for
lying, and sometime I am whipt for holding my peace, I had
rather be any kind of thing then a foole, and yet I would not bee
thee Nuncle, thou hast pared thy 700wit a both sides, & left nothing
in the middle, here comes one of the parings.
Enter Gonorill.
Lear. How now daughter, what makes that Frontlet on,
Me thinks you are too much alate it'h frowne.
705Foole. Thou wast a prettie fellow when no need
to care for her frowne, now thou art an O without a figure, I am
better then thou art now, I am a foole, thou art nothing, yes for-
sooth I will hould my tongue, so your face bids mee, though
you say nothing.
710Mum, mum, he that keepes neither crust nor crum,
Wearie of all, shall want some. That's a sheald pescod.
Gon. Not onely sir this, your all-licenc'd foole, but other of
your insolent retinue do hourely carpe and quarrell, breaking
forth in ranke & (not to be indured riots,) Sir I had thought by
making this well knowne vnto you, to haue found a safe redres,
but now grow fearefull by what your selfe too late haue spoke
and done, that you protect this course, and put on 720by your al-
lowance, which if you should, the fault would not scape censure,
nor the redresse, sleepe, which in the tender of a wholsome
weale, might in their working doe you that offence, that else
were shame, that then necessitie 725must call discreet proceedings.
Foole. For you trow nuncle, the hedge sparrow fed the Coo-
kow so long, that it had it head bit off beit young, so out went
the candle, and we were left darkling.
730Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come sir, I would you would make vse of that good
wisedome whereof I know you are fraught, and put away these
dispositions, that of late transforme you from what you rightly
are.
735Foole. May not an Asse know when the cart drawes the horse,
whoop Iug I loue thee.
Lear. Doth any here know mee? why this is not Lear, 740doth
Lear walke thus? speake thus? where are his eyes, either his no-
tion, weaknes, or his discernings are lethergie, sleeping, or wake-
ing; ha! sure tis not so, who is it that can tell me who I am? Lears
shadow? I would learne that, for by the markes of soueraintie,
744.1knowledge, and reason, I should bee false perswaded I had
daughters.
Foole. Which they, will make an obedient father.
745Lear. Your name faire gentlewoman?
Gon. Come sir, this admiration is much of the sauour of other
your new prankes, I doe beseech you vnderstand my purposes
aright, as you are old and reuerend, should be wise, 750here do you
keepe a 100. Knights and Squires, men so disordred, so deboyst
and bold, that this our court infected with their manners, showes
like a riotous Inne, epicurisme, and lust make more like a tauerne
or brothell, 755then a great pallace, the shame it selfe doth speake
for instant remedie, be thou desired by her, that else will take the
thing shee begs, a little to disquantitie your traine, and the re-
mainder that shall still depend, 760to bee such men as may besort
your age, that know themselues and you.
Lear. Darkenes, and Deuils! 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 disordred rabble, make
seruants of their betters.
Enter Duke.
Lear. We that too late repent's, O sir, are you come? 770is it your
will that wee prepare any horses, ingratitude! thou marble har-
ted fiend, more hideous when thou shewest thee in a child, then
the Sea-monster, 775detested kite, thou list my traine, and men of
choise and rarest parts, that all particulars of dutie knowe, and
in the most exact regard, support the worships of their name, O
most small fault, 780how vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shewe, that
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!
beat at this gate that let thy folly in, 785and thy deere iudgement
out, goe goe, my people?
Duke, My Lord, I am giltles as I am ignorant.
Leir. It may be so my Lord, harke Nature, heare deere God-
desse, 790suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend to make this
creature fruitful into her wombe, conuey sterility, drie vp in hir
the organs of increase, and from her derogate body neuer spring
795a babe to honour her, if shee must teeme, create her childe of
spleene, that it may liue and bee a thourt disuetur'd torment to
her, let it stampe wrinckles in her brow of youth, with accent
teares, fret channels in her cheeks, 800turne all her mothers paines
and benefits to laughter and contempt, that shee may feele, that
she may feele, how sharper then a serpents tooth it is, to haue a
thanklesse child, goe, goe, my people?
Duke. Now Gods that we adore, 805whereof comes this!
Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know the cause, but let his
disposition haue that scope that dotage giues it.
810Lear. What, fiftie of my followers at a clap, within a fortnight?
Duke. What is 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 that
breake from me perforce, should make the worst blasts and fogs
vpon the vntented woundings of a fathers cursse, 820pierce euery
sence about the old fond eyes, beweepe this cause againe, ile
pluck you out, & you cast with the waters that you make to tem-
per clay, yea, i'st come to this? yet haue I left a daughter, 825whom
I am sure is kind and comfortable, when shee shall heare this of
thee, with her nailes shee'l flea thy woluish visage, thou shalt
find that ile resume the shape, which thou dost thinke I haue cast
off for euer, thou shalt I warrant thee.
830Gon. Doe you marke that my Lord?
Duke. I cannot bee so partiall Gonorill to the great loue I
beare you,
Gon. Come sir no more, you, more knaue then foole, after
your master?
835Foole. Nunckle Lear, Nunckle Lear, tary and take the foole
with 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.
Gon. What Oswald, ho.Oswald. Here Madam,
Gon. What haue you writ this letter to my sister?
Osw. Yes Madam.
860Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse, informe
her full of my particular feares, and thereto add such reasons of
your owne, as may compact it more, get you gon, & after your
returne now my Lord, 865this mildie gentlenes and course of yours
though I dislike not, yet vnder pardon y'are much more alapt
want of wisedome, then praise for harmfull mildnes.
Duke. How farre your eyes may pearce I cannot tell, 870striuing
to better ought, we marre whats well.
Gon. Nay then. Duke. Well, well, the euent,
Exeunt
Enter Lear.
875Lear. Goe 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 diligence be not spee-
die, I shall be there before you.
880Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered your
letter.
Exit
Foole. If a mans braines where in his heeles, wert not in dan-
ger of kibes?
Lear. I boy.
885Foole. Then I prethe be mery, thy wit shal nere goe slipshod.
Lear. Ha ha ha.
Foole. Shalt see thy other daughter will vse thee kindly, for
though shees as like this, as a crab is like an 890apple, yet I con, what
I can tel.
Lear. Why what canst thou tell my boy?
Foole. Sheel tast as like this, as a crab doth to a crab, thou
canst not tell why ones nose stande in the middle of his face?
895Lear. No.
Foole. Why, to keep his eyes on either side's nose, that what
a man cannot smell out, a may spie into.
Lear. I did her wrong.
Foole. Canst tell how an Oyster makes his shell. 900Lear. No.
Foole. Nor I neither, but I can tell why a snayle has a house.
Lear. Why?
Foole. Why, to put his head in, not to giue it away to his
905daughter, and leaue his hornes without a case.
Lear. I will forget my nature, so kind a father; be my horses
readie?
Foole. Thy Asses are gone about them, the reason why the
seuen starres are no more then seuen, is a prettie reason.
910Lear. Because they are not eight.
Foole. Yes thou wouldst make a good foole.
Lear. To tak't againe perforce, Monster, ingratitude!
Fool. If thou wert my foole Nunckle, id'e haue thee beatẽ for
being old before thy time.
915Lear. Hows that?
Foole. Thou shouldst not haue beene old, before thou hadst
beene wise.
Lear. O let me not be mad sweet heauen! I would not be mad,
keepe me in temper, I would not be mad, are 920the horses readie?
Seruant. Readie my Lord. Lear. Come boy.
Exit.
Foole. Shee that is maide now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maide long, except things be cut shorter.
Exit
Enter Bast. and Curan meeting.
Bast. Saue thee Curan.
Curan. And you Sir, I haue beene 930with your father, and giuen
him notice, that the Duke of Cornwall and his Dutches will bee
here with him to night.
Bast. How comes that?
Curan. Nay, I know not, you haue heard of the newes 935abroad,
I meane the whisperd ones, for there are yet but eare-bussing ar-
guments.
Bast. Not, I pray you what are they?
Curan. Haue you heard of no likely warres towards, twixt
the two Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
940Bast. Not a word.
Curan. You may then in time, fare you well sir.
Bast. The Duke be here to night! the better best, this weaues
Enter Edgarit selfe perforce into my busines, 945my father hath set gard to take
my brother, and I haue one thing of a quesie question, which
must aske breefnes and fortune helpe; brother, a word, discend
brother I say, 950my father watches, O flie 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 Cornwall
ought, hee's coming hether now in the night, it'h hast, 955and Re-
gan with him, haue you nothing said vpon his partie against the
Duke of Albany, aduise your---
Edg. I am sure on't not a word.
Bast. I heare my father coming, pardon me 960in crauing, I must
draw my sword vpon you, seeme to defend your selfe, now quit
you well, yeeld, come before my father, light here, here, flie
brother flie, torches, torches, so farwell; some bloud drawne
on mee would beget opinion of my more fierce indeuour, I
haue seene drunckards doe more then this in sport, father, father,
stop, stop, no, helpe?
Enter Glost.
Glost. Now Edmund where is the villaine?
Bast. Here stood he in the darke, his sharpe sword out, warb-
ling of wicked charms, coniuring the Moone to stand's auspici-
ous Mistris.
Glost. 975But where is he?
Bast. Looke sir, I bleed.
Glost. Where is the villaine Edmund?
Bast. Fled this way sir, when by no meanes he could---
Glost. Pursue him, go after, by no meanes, what?
980Bast. Perswade me to the murder of your Lordship, but that
I told him the reuengiue Gods, gainst Paracides did all their
thunders bend, spoke with how many fould and strong a bond
the child was bound to the father, sir in a fine, 985seeing how loath-
ly opposite I stood, to his vnnaturall purpose, with fell motion
with his prepared sword, hee charges home my vnprouided bo-
dy, lancht mine arme, but when he saw my best alarumd spirits,
990bould in the quarrels, rights, rousd to the encounter, or whether
gasted by the noyse I made, but sodainly he fled.
Glost. Let him flie farre, not in this land shall hee remaine vn-
caught 995and found, dispatch, the noble Duke my maister, 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 caytife to the stake, 1000hee that conceals
him, death.
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent, and found him
pight to doe it, with curst speech I threatned to discouer him, he
replyed, thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke, 1005if I would
stand against thee, could the reposure of any trust, vertue, or
worth in thee make thy words fayth'd? no. what I should denie,
as this I would, I, though thou didst produce my very character,
id'e turne it all 1010to thy suggestion, plot, and damned pretence,
and thou must make a dullard of the world, if they not thought
the profits of my death, were very pregnant and potentiall
spurres to make thee seeke it.
1015Glost. Strong and fastned villaine, would he denie his letter,
I neuer got him, harke the Dukes trumpets, I know not why he
comes, all Ports ile barre, the villaine shall not scape, the Duke
must grant mee that, besides, his picture 1020I will send farre and
neere, that all the kingdome may haue note of him, and of my
land loyall and naturall boy, ile worke the meanes to make thee
capable.
Enter the Duke of Cornwall.
1025Corn. How now my noble friend, since I came hether, which
I can call but now, I haue heard strange newes.
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short which can
pursue the offender, how dost my Lord?
Glost. Madam my old heart is crackt, is crackt.
1030Reg. What, did my fathers godson seeke your life? he whom
my father named your Edgar?
Glost. I Ladie, Ladie, shame would haue it hid.
Reg. Was he not companion with the ryotous knights, that
tends vpon my father?
1035Glost. I know not Madam, tis too bad, too bad.
Bast. Yes Madam, he was.
Reg. No maruaile then though he were ill affected,
Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
To haue the wast and spoyle 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.
Duke. Nor I, assure thee Regan; Edmund, 1045I heard that you
haue shewen your father a child-like office.
Bast. Twas my dutie Sir.
Glost. He did betray his practise, and receiued
This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.
1050Duke. Is he pursued? Glost. I my good Lord.
Duke. If he be taken, he shall neuer more be feard of doing
harme, make your own purpose how in my strength you please,
for you Edmund, 1055whose vertue and obedience, doth this instant
so much commend it selfe, you shall bee ours, natures of such
deepe trust, wee shall much need you, we first seaze on.
Bast. I shall serue you truly, how euer else.
1060Glost. For him I thanke your grace.
Duke. You know not why we came to visit you?
Regan. Thus out of season, threatning darke ey'd night,
Ocasions noble Gloster of some prise,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise,
1065Our Father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of defences, which I best thought it fit,
To answer from our hand, the seuerall messengers
From hence attend dispatch, our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosome, & bestow 1070your needfull councell
To our busines, which craues the instant vse.
( Exeunt.
Glost. I serue you Madam, your Graces are right welcome.
1075
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,
strike?
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.
sleepes.
Enter Edgar.
Edg. I heare my selfe proclaim'd,
And by the happie hollow of a tree
Escapt the hunt, no Port is free, no place
1255That guard, and most vnusuall vigilence
Dost not attend my taking while I may scape,
I will preserue my selfe, and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape,
That euer penury in contempt of man,
1260Brought neare to beast, my face ile grime with filth,
Blanket my loynes, else all my haire with knots,
And with presented nakednes outface,
The wind, and persecution of the skie,
The Countrie giues me proofe and president
1265Of Bedlam beggers, who with roring voyces,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare armes,
Pins, wodden prickes, nayles, sprigs of rosemary,
And with this horrible obiect from low seruice,
Poore pelting villages, sheep-coates, and milles,
1270Sometime with lunaticke bans, sometime with prayers
Enforce their charitie, poore Turlygod, poore Tom,
That's something yet, Edgar I nothing am.
Exit
Enter King.
Lear. Tis strange that they should so depart from
1275And not send backe my messenger.
Knight. As I learn'd, the night before there was
No purpose of his remoue.
Kent. Hayle to thee noble maister.
1280Lear. How, mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
Foole. Ha ha, looke he weares crewell garters,
Horses are tide by the heeles, dogges and beares
Byt'h necke, munkies bit'h loynes, and men
Byt'h legges, when a mans 1285ouer lusty at legs,
Then he weares wooden neatherstockes.
Lear. Whats he, that hath so much thy place mistooke to set
thee here?
Kent. It is both he and shee, your sonne & daugter.
Lear. No. Kent. Yes.
Lear. No I say, Kent. I say yea.
Lear. No no, they would not.Kent. Yes they haue.
1295Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no, they durst not do't,
They would not, could not do't, tis worse then murder,
To doe vpon respect such violent outrage,
1300Resolue me with all modest hast, which way
Thou may'st deserue, or they purpose this vsage,
Coming from vs.
Kent. My Lord, when at their home
I did commend your highnes letters to them,
1305Ere I was risen from the place that shewed
My dutie kneeling, came there a reeking Post,
Stewd in his hast, halfe breathles, panting forth
From Gonerill his mistris, salutations,
Deliuered letters spite of intermission,
1310Which presently they read, on whose contents
They summond vp their men, straight tooke horse,
Commanded me to follow, and attend the leasure
Of their answere, gaue me cold lookes,
And meeting here the other messenger,
1315Whose welcome I perceau'd had poyson'd mine,
Being the very fellow that of late
Display'd so sawcily against your Highnes,
Hauing more man then wit, about me drew,
He raised the house with loud and coward cries,
1320Your sonne and daughter found this trespas worth
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 Gloster, Gloster, id'e speake with the Duke of Cornewall, and
his wife.
Glost. I my good Lord.
Lear. The King would speak with Cornewal, the deare father
Would with his daughter speake, commands her seruice,
1380Fierie Duke, tell the hot Duke that Lear,
No but not yet may be he is not well,
Infirmitie doth still neglect all office, where to our health
Is bo{u~}d, we are not our selues, when nature being oprest
Cõmand the mind 1385to suffer with the bodie, ile forbeare,
And am fallen out with my more hedier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit, for the sound man,
Death on my state, wherfore should he sit here?
This act perswades me, 1390that this remotion of the Duke,
Is practise, only giue me my seruant forth,
Tell the Duke and's wife, Ile speake with them
Now presently, bid them come forth and heare me,
Or at their chamber doore ile beat the drum,
1395Till it cry sleepe to death.
Glost. I would haue all well betwixt you.
Lear. O my heart, my heart.
Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cokney did to the eeles, when
she put vm it'h pâst aliue, she rapt vm 1400ath coxcombs with a stick,
and cryed downe wantons downe, twas her brother, that in pure
kindnes to his horse buttered his hay.
Enter Duke and Regan.
Lear. Good morrow to you both.
1405Duke. Hayle to your Grace.
Reg. I am glad to see your highnes.
Lear. Regan I thinke you are, I know what reason
I haue to thinke so, if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would diuorse me from thy mothers tombe
1410Sepulchring an adultresse, yea are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
Thy sister is naught, oh Regan she hath tyed,
Sharpe tooth'd vnkindnes, like a vulture heare,
I can scarce speake to thee, thout not beleeue,
1415Of how depriued a qualitie, O Regan.
Reg. I pray sir take patience, I haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert,
Then she to slacke her dutie.
1425Lear. My cursses on her.
Reg. O Sir you are old,
Nature on you standes on the very verge of her con-
You should be rul'd and led by some discretion,
That discernes your state 1430better thẽ you your selfe,
Therfore I pray that to our sister, you do make returne,
Say you haue wrong'd her Sir?
Lear. Aske her forgiuenes,
Doe you marke how this becomes the house,
1435Deare daughter, I confesse that I am old,
Age is vnnecessarie, on my knees I beg,
That you'l vouchsafe me rayment, bed and food.
Reg. Good sir no more, these are vnsightly tricks,
Returne you to my sister.
1440Lear. No Regan,
She hath abated me of halfe my traine,
Lookt blacke vpon me, strooke mee with her tongue
Most Serpent-like vpon the very heart,
All the stor'd vengeances of heauen fall 1445on her ingratful
Strike her yong bones, you taking ayrs with lamenes.
Duke. Fie fie sir.
Lear. You nimble lightnings dart your blinding flames,
Into her scornfull eyes, infect her beautie,
1450You Fen suckt fogs, drawne by the powrefull Sunne,
To fall and blast her pride.
Reg. O the blest Gods, so will you wish on me,
When the rash mood---
Lear. No Regan, thou shalt neuer haue my curse,
1455The tẽder hested nature shall not giue the or'e
To harshnes, her eies are fierce, but thine do cõfort & not
Tis not in thee to grudge my pleasures, to cut off my
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
1460And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in, thou better knowest,
The offices of nature, bond of child-hood,
Effects of curtesie, dues of gratitude,
Thy halfe of the kingdome, hast thou not forgot
1465Wherein I thee indow'd.
Reg. Good sir too'th purpose.
Lear. Who put my man i'th stockes?
Duke. What trumpets that?
Enter Steward.
1470Reg. I know't my sisters, this approues her letters,
That she would soone be here, is your Lady come?
Lear. This is a slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
Dwels in the fickle grace of her a followes,
Out varlet, from my sight.
1475Duke. What meanes your Grace?
Enter Gon.
Gon. Who struck my seruant, Regan I haue good hope
Thou didst not know ant.
Lear. Who comes here? O heauens!
1480If you doe loue old men, if you sweet sway allow
Obedience, if 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 wilt thou take her by the hand?
1485Gon. Why not by the hand sir, how haue I offended?
Als not offence that indiscretion finds,
And dotage tearmes so.
Lear. O sides you are too tough,
Will you yet hold? 1490how came my man it'h stockes?
Duke. 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 soiorne with my sister,
Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
I am now from home, and out of that prouision,
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
1500Lear. Returne to her, and fiftie men dismist,
No rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
To wage against the enmitie of the Ayre,
To be a Comrade with the Woolfe and owle,
Necessities sharpe pinch, returne with her,
1505Why the hot bloud in France, that dowerles
Tooke our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and Squire-like pension bag,
To keepe base life afoot, returne with her,
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumter
1510To this detested groome.
Gon. At your choise sir.
Lear. Now I prithee daughter do not make me mad,
I will not trouble thee my child, farewell,
Wee'le no more meete, no more see one another.
1515But yet thou art my flesh, my bloud, my daughter,
Or rather a disease that lies within my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine, thou art a bile,
A plague sore, an imbossed carbuncle in my
Corrupted bloud, but Ile not chide thee,
1520Let shame come when it will, I doe not call it,
I doe not bid the thunder bearer shoote,
Nor tell tailes of thee to high Iudging Ioue,
Mend when thou canst, be better at thy leasure,
I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
1525I and my hundred Knights.
Reg. Not altogether so sir, I looke 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 are old, and so,
But she knowes what shee does.
Lear. Is this well spoken now?
Reg. I dare auouch it sir, what fiftie followers,
Is it not well what should you need of more,
1535Yea or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speakes gainst so great a number, how in a house
Should many people vnder two commands
Hold amytie, tis hard, almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you my Lord receiue attendãce
1540From those that she cals seruants, or from mine?
Reg. Why not my Lord? if then they chanc'st to slacke you,
We could controwle them, if you will come to me,
For now I spie a danger, I intreat 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 twentie, Regan said you so?
Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.
Lea. Those wicked creatures yet do seem wel fauor'd
1555When others are more wicked, not being the worst
Stands in some ranke of prayse, Ile goe with thee,
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twentie,
And thou art twice her loue.
Gon. Heare me my Lord,
1560What need you fiue and twentie, tenne, or fiue,
To follow in a house, where twise so many
Haue a commaund to tend you.
Regan. What needes one?
Lear. O reason not the deed, our basest beggers,
1565Are in the poorest thing superfluous,
Allow not nature more then nature needes,
Mans life as cheape as beasts, thou art a Lady,
If onely to goe warme were gorgeous,
Why nature needes not, what thou gorgeous wearest
1570Which scarcely keepes thee warme, but for true need,
You heauens giue me that patience, patience I need,
You see me here (you Gods) a poore old fellow,
As full of greefe as age, wretched in both,
If it be you that stirres these daughters hearts
1575Against their Father, foole me not to much,
To beare it lamely, touch me with noble anger,
O let not womens weapons, water drops
Stayne my mans cheekes, no you vnnaturall hags,
I will haue such reuenges on you both,
1580That all the world shall, I will doe 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,
1585But this heart shall breake, in a 100. thousand flowes
Or ere ile weepe, O foole I shall goe mad.
Exeunt Lear, Leister, Kent, and Foole.
Duke. Let vs withdraw, twill be a storme.
Reg. This house is little the old man and his people,
Cannot be well bestowed.
1590Gon. Tis his own blame hath put himselfe from rest,
And must needs tast his folly.
Reg. For his particuler, ile receiue him gladly,
But not one follower.
Duke. So am I puspos'd, 1595where is my Lord of Gloster? Enter Glo.
Reg. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.
Glo. The King is in high rage, 1600& wil I know not whe-
Re. Tis good to giue him way, he leads himselfe.
Gon. My Lord, intreat him by no meanes to stay.
Glo. Alack the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Do sorely russel, for many miles about ther's not a bush.
Reg. O sir, to wilfull men
The iniuries that they themselues procure,
Must be their schoolemasters, shut vp your doores,
He is attended with a desperate traine,
1610And what they may incense him to, being apt,
To haue his eare abusd, wisedome bids feare.
Duke. Shut vp your doores my Lord, tis a wild night,
My Reg counsails well, come out at'h storme.
Exe{u~}t
1615
Enter Kent and a Gentleman at seuerall doores.
Kent. Whats here beside foule weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather most vnquietly.
Kent. I know you, whers the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull element,
1620Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters boue the maine
That things might change or cease, teares his white
1622.1Which the impetuous blasts with eyles rage
Catch in their furie, and make nothing of,
Striues in his little world of man to outscorne,
The too and fro conflicting wind and raine,
.5This night wherin the cub-drawne Beare would couch,
The Lyon, and the belly pinched Wolfe
Keepe their furre dry, vnbonneted he runnes,
And bids what will take all.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the foole, who labours to out-iest
1625His heart strooke iniuries.
Kent. Sir I doe know you,
And dare vpon the warrant of my Arte,
Commend a deare thing to you, there is diuision,
Although as yet the face of it be couer'd,
1630With mutuall cunning, twixt Albany and Cornwall
1630.1But true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdome, who alreadie wise in our
Haue secret feet in some of our best Ports,
.5And are at point to shew their open banner.
Now to you, if on my credit you dare build so farre,
To make your speed to Douer, you shall find
Some that will thanke you, making iust report
Of how vnnaturall and bemadding sorrow
.10The King hath cause to plaine,
I am a Gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance,
Offer this office to you.
Gent. I will talke farther with you.
1640Kent. No doe not,
For confirmation that I much more
Then my outwall, open this purse and take
VVhat it containes, if you shall see Cordelia,
As feare not but you shall, shew her this ring,
1645And she will tell you who your fellow is,
That yet you doe not know, fie on this storme,
I will goe 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,
Ile this way, you that, he that first lights
On him, hollow the other.
Exeunt.
1655
Enter Lear and Foole.
Lear. Blow wind & cracke your cheekes, rage, blow
You caterickes, & Hircanios spout til you haue drencht,
The steeples drown'd the cockes, you sulpherous and
Thought executing fires, 1660vaunt-currers to
Oke-cleauing thunderboults, singe my white head,
And thou all shaking thunder, smite flat
The thicke Rotunditie of the world, cracke natures
Mold, all Germains spill at once that make
Ingratefull man.
1665Foole. O Nunckle, Court holy water in a drie house
Is better then this raine water out a doore,
Good Nunckle in, and aske thy daughters blessing,
Heers a night pities nether wise man nor foole.
Lear. Rumble thy belly full, spit fire, spout raine,
1670Nor raine, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters,
I taske not you you elements with vnkindnes,
I neuer gaue you kingdome, cald you children,
You owe me no subscription, why then let fall your horrible
Here I stãd your slaue, 1675a poore infirme weak &
Despis'd ould man, but yet I call you seruile
Ministers, that haue with 2. pernitious daughters ioin'd
Your high engẽdred battel gainst a head so old & white
As this, O tis foule.
1680Foole. Hee that has a house to put his head in, has a good
headpeece, the Codpeece that will house before the head, has
any the head and hee shall lowse, so beggers mary many, the
man that makes his toe, what hee his heart should make, 1685shall
haue a corne cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake, for
there was neuer yet faire woman but shee made mouthes in a
glasse.
Lear. No I will be the patterne of all patience
Enter Kent.
1690I will say nothing.
Kent. Whose there?
Foole. Marry heers Grace, & a codpis, that's a wiseman and
a foole.
Kent. Alas sir, sit you here?
Things that loue night, 1695loue not such nights as these,
The wrathfull Skies gallow, the very wanderer of the
Darke, and makes them keepe their caues,
Since I was man, such sheets of fire,
Such bursts of horred thunder, such grones of
Roaring winde, and rayne, I ne're 1700remember
To haue heard, mans nature cannot cary
The affliction, nor the force.
Lear. Let the great Gods that keepe this dreadful
Powther ore our heades, find 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 man of vertue that art incestious,
Caytife in peeces shake, that vnder couert
And conuenient seeming, 1710hast practised on mans life,
Close pent vp guilts, riue your concealed centers,
And cry these dreadfull summoners grace,
I am a man more sind against their sinning.
Kent. Alacke bare headed, 1715gracious my Lord, hard by here is
a houell, some friendship will it lend you gainst the tempest, re-
pose you there, whilst I to this hard house, more hard then is
the stone whereof tis rais'd, which euen but now demaunding
after me, 1720denide me to come in, returne and force their scanted
curtesie.
Lear. My wit begins 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 that can,
Make vild things precious, come you houell poore,
Foole and knaue, I haue one part of my heart
That sorrowes yet for thee.
Foole. Hee that has a little tine witte, 1730with hey ho the wind
and the raine, must make content with his fortunes fit, for the
raine, it raineth euery day.
Lear. True my good boy, come bring vs to this houell?
Enter Gloster and the Bastard with lights.
Glost. Alacke alacke Edmund I like not this,
Vnnaturall dealing when I desir'd their leaue
That I might pitty him, 1755they tooke me from me
The vse of mine owne house, charg'd me on paine
Of their displeasure, neither to speake of him,
Intreat for him, nor any way sustaine him.
Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall.
Glost. Go toe say you nothing, ther's a diuisiõ be1760twixt
And a worse matter then that, I haue receiued
A letter this night, tis dangerous to be spoken,
I haue lockt the letter in my closet, these iniuries
The King now beares, will be reuenged home
Ther's part of a power already landed,
We must incline to the King, I 1765will seeke him, and
Priuily releeue him, goe you and maintaine talke
With the Duke, that my charity be not of him
Perceiued, if hee aske for me, I am ill, and gon
To bed, though I die for't, as no lesse is threatned me,
The King my old master must be releeued, there is
Some strãge thing 1770toward, Edmund pray you be careful.
Exit.
Bast. This curtesie forbid thee, shal the Duke instãly
And of that letter to, this seems a faire deseruing
And must draw me that which my father looses, no lesse
Then all, 1775then yonger rises when the old doe fall.
Exit.
Enter Lear, Kent, and foole.
Kent. Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter, the
tyrannie of the open nights too ruffe 1780for nature to indure.
Lear. Let me alone. Kent. Good my Lord enter.
Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
Kent. I had rather breake mine owne, 1785good my Lord enter.
Lear. Thou think'st tis much, that this tempestious storme
Inuades vs to the skin, so tis to thee,
But where the greater malady is fixt
The lesser is scarce felt, thoud'st shun a Beare,
1790But if thy flight lay toward the roring sea,
Thoud'st meet the beare it'h mouth, whẽ the mind's free
The bodies delicate, this tempest in my mind
Doth from my sences take all feeling else
Saue what beates their filiall ingratitude,
1795Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food to't, but I will punish sure,
No I will weepe no more, in such a night as this!
O Regan, Gonorill, 1800your old kind father
Whose franke heart gaue you all, O that way madnes
Let me shun that, no more of that.
Kent. Good my Lord enter.
Lear. Prethe goe in thy selfe, seeke thy one ease
1805This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me more, but ile goe in,
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
1810That bide the pelting of this pittiles night,
How shall your house-lesse heads, and vnfed sides,
Your loopt and windowed raggednes 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 mayst shake the superflux to them,
And shew the heauens more iust.
1820Foole. Come not in here Nunckle, her's a spirit, helpe me, helpe
mee.
Kent. Giue me thy hand, whose there.
Foole. A spirit, he sayes, his nam's poore Tom.
1825Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there in the straw,
come forth?
Edg. Away, the fowle fiend followes me, thorough the sharpe
hathorne blowes the cold wind, goe to thy cold bed and warme
thee.
1830Lear. Hast thou giuen all to thy two daughters, and art thou
come to this?
Edg. Who giues any thing to poore Tom, whome the foule
Fiende hath led, through fire, and through foord, and
whirli-poole, ore bog and quag1835mire, that has layd kniues vn-
der his pillow, and halters in his pue, set ratsbane by his pottage,
made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse ouer
foure incht bridges, to course his owne shadow for a traytor,
blesse thy fiue wits, Toms a cold, 1840blesse thee from whirle-winds,
starre-blusting, and taking, doe poore Tom some charitie, whom
the foule fiend vexes, there could I haue him now, and there, and
and there againe.
Lear. What, his daughters brought him to this passe,
1845Couldst thou saue nothing, didst thou giue them all?
Foole. Nay he reseru'd a blanket, else we had beene all sham'd.
Lear. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
Hang fated ore mens faults, fall on thy daughters.
1850Kent. He hath no daughters sir.
Lear. Death traytor, nothing could haue subdued nature
To such a lownes, 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. Pilicock sate on pelicocks hill, a lo lo lo.
Foole. This cold night will turne vs all to fooles & madmen.
1860Edg. Take heede at'h foule fiend, obay thy parents, keep thy
words iustly, sweare not, commit not with mans sworne spouse,
set not thy sweet heart on proud array, Toms a cold,
Lear. What hast thou beene?
1865Edg. A Seruingman, proud in heart and mind, that curld my
haire, wore gloues in my cap, serued the lust of my mistris heart,
and did the act of darkenes with her, swore as many oaths as I
spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heauen, one
that slept in the 1870contriuing of lust, and wakt to doe it, wine lo-
ued I deeply, dice deerely, and in woman out paromord the
Turke, false of heart, light of eare, bloudie of hand, Hog in sloth,
Fox in stealth, VVoolfe in greedines,, Dog in madnes, Lyon
in pray, let not the creeking of shooes, 1875nor the russngs of silkes
betray thy poore heart to women, keepe thy foote out of bro-
thell, thy hand out of placket, thy pen from lenders booke,
and defie the foule fiend, still through the hathorne blowes the
cold wind, hay no on ny, Dolphin my boy, my boy, ceaese
1880let him trot by.
Lear. Why thou wert better in thy graue, then to answere
with thy vncouered bodie this extremitie of the skies, is man no
more, but this cõsider him well, thou owest the worme no silke,
the beast no hide, the sheepe no 1885wooll, the cat no perfume, her's
three ons are sophisticated, thou art the thing it selfe, vnaccom-
odated man, is no more but such a poore bare forked Animall
as thou art, off off you lendings, come on
Foole. Prithe Nunckle be content, this is a naughty night to
swim in, now a little fire in a wild field, were like an old leachers
heart, a small sparke, all the rest in bodie cold, looke here comes
a walking fire.
Enter Gloster.
1895Edg. This is the foule fiend fliberdegibek, hee begins at cur-
phew, and walks till the first cocke, he giues the web, & the pin,
squemes the eye, and makes the hare lip, mildewes the white
wheate, and hurts the poore creature of earth, swithald 1900footed
thrice the old, he met the night mare and her nine fold bid her, O
light and her troth plight and arint thee, witch arint thee.
Kent. How fares your Grace?
1905Lear. Whats hee?
Kent. Whose there, what i'st you seeke?
Glost. What are you there? your names?
Edg. Poore Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the tode, the
tod pole, the wall-newt, and the water, that 1910in the furie of his
heart, when the foule fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets, swal-
lowes the old ratt, and the ditch dogge, drinkes the greene man-
tle of the standing poole, who is whipt from tithing to tithing,
and stock-punisht and imprisoned, who hath had three sutes 1915to
his backe, sixe shirts to his bodie, horse to ride, and weapon
to weare.
But mise and rats, and such small Deere,
Hath beene Toms foode for seuen long yeare-
Beware my follower, peace snulbug, peace thou fiend.
1920Glost. What hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of darkenes is a Gentleman, modo he's caled
and ma hu---
Glost. Our flesh and bloud is growne so vild my Lord, that it
doth hate what gets it.
1925Edg. Poore Toms a cold.
Glost. Go in with me, my dutie cãnot suffer to obay in all your
daughters hard commaunds, though their iniunction be to barre
my doores, and let this tyranous night take hold vpon you, 1930yet
haue I venter'd to come seeke you out, and bring you where
both food and fire is readie.
Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher,
What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. My good Lord take his offer, 1935goe into the house.
Lear. Ile talke a word with this most learned Theban, what is
your studie?
Edg. How to preuent the fiend, and to kill vermine.
Lear. Let me aske you one word in priuate.
1940Kent. Importune him to goe my Lord, his wits begin
Glost. Canst thou blame him,
His daughters seeke his death, O that good Kent,
He said it would be thus, poore banisht man,
1945Thou sayest the King growes mad, ile tell thee friend
I am almost mad my selfe, I had a sonne
Now out-lawed from my bloud, a sought my life
But lately, very late, I lou'd him friend
No father his sonne deerer, true to tell thee,
1950The greefe hath craz'd my wits,
What a nights this? I doe beseech your Grace.
Lear. O crie you mercie noble Philosopher, your com-
Edg. Toms a cold.
1955Glost. In fellow there, in't houell keepe thee warme.
Lear. Come lets in all.
Kent. This way my Lord.
Lear. With him I wil keep stil, with my Philosopher.
1960Ken. Good my Lord sooth him, let him take the fellow.
Glost. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirah come on, goe along with vs?
Lear. Come good Athenian.
1965Glost. No words, no words, hush.
Edg. Child Rowland, to the darke towne come,
His word was still fy fo and fum,
I smell the bloud of a British man.
1970
Enter Cornewell and Bastard.
Corn. I will haue my reuenge ere I depart the house.
Bast. How my Lord I may be censured, that nature thus giues
way to loyaltie, some thing feares me to 1975thinke of.
Corn. I now perceiue it was not altogether your brothers e-
uill disposition made him seeke his death, but a prouoking merit,
set a worke by a reproueable badnes in himselfe.
Bast. How malicious is my fortune, that I must re1980pent to bee
iust? this is the letter he spoke of, which approues him an intelli-
gent partie to the aduantages of France, O heauens that his trea-
son were, or not I the detecter.
Corn. Goe with me to the Dutches.
1985Bast. If the matter of this paper be certaine, you haue mighty
busines in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earle of Gloster, seeke
out where thy father is, that hee may bee readie for our appre-
hension.
1990Bast. If I find him comforting the King, it will stuffe his sus-
pition more fully, I will perseuere in my course of loyaltie,
though the conflict be sore betweene that and my bloud.
Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee, and thou shalt find 1995a dearer
father in my loue.
Exit.
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.
Enter Cornwall, and Regan, and Gonorill, and Bastard.
2060Corn. Post speedily to my Lord your husband shew him this
The army of France is landed, seeke out the vilaine Gloster.
Regan. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Plucke out his eyes.
2065Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure, Edmũd keep you our sister
The reuenge we are bound to take vpon your trayterous father,
Are not fit for your beholding, aduise the Duke where you are
To a most festuant preparatiõ we are bound to the like,
Our 2070post shall be swift and intelligence betwixt vs,
Farewell deere sister, farewell my Lord of Gloster,
How now whers the King?
Enter Steward.
Stew. My Lord of Gloster hath conueyd him hence,
2075Some fiue or sixe and thirtie of his Knights hot questrits after
him, met him at gate, who with some other of the Lords depen-
dants are gone with him towards Douer, where they boast to
haue well armed friends.
2080Corn. Get horses for your mistris.
Gon. Farewell sweet Lord and sister.
Exit Gon. and Bast.
.
Corn. Edmund farewell. goe seeke the traytor Gloster.
Pinion him like a theefe, bring him before vs,
Though we may not passe vpon his life
2085Without the forme of Iustice, yet our power
Shall doe a curtesie to our wrath, which men may blame
But not controule, whose there, the traytor?
Enter Gloster brought in by two or three,
2090Reg. Ingratfull Fox tis hee.
Corn. Bind fast his corkie armes.
Glost. What meanes your Graces, good my friends consider,
You are my gests, doe me no foule play friends.
2095Corn. Bind him I say,
Reg. Hard hard, O filthie traytor!
Glost. Vnmercifull Lady as you are, I am true.
Corn. To this chaire bind him, villaine thou shalt find---
2100Glost. By the kind Gods tis most ignobly done, to pluck me
by the beard.
Reg. So white and such a Traytor.
Glost. Naughty Ladie, these haires which thou dost rauish from
2105Will quicken and accuse thee, I am your host.
With robbers hands my hospitable fauours
You should not ruffell thus, what will you doe.
Corn. Come sir, what letters had you late from France?
2110Reg. Be simple answerer, for we know the truth.
Corn. And what confederacy haue you with the tratours late
footed in the kingdome?
Reg. To whose hands you haue sent the lunatick King speake?
2115Glost. I haue a letter gessingly set downe
Which came from one, that's of a neutrall heart,
And not from one oppos'd.
Corn. Cunning. Reg. And false.
2120 Corn. Where hast thou sent the King? Glost. To Douer.
Reg. Wherefore to Douer? wast thou not charg'd at perill---
Corn. Wherefore to Douer? let him first answere that.
2125Glost. I am tide tot'h stake, and I must stand the course.
Reg. Wherefore to Douer sir?
Glost. Because I would not see thy cruell nayles
Pluck out his poore old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
2130In his aurynted flesh rash borish phangs,
The Sea with such a storme of his lou'd head
In hell blacke night indur'd, would haue layd vp
And quencht the steeled fires, yet poore old heart,
Hee holpt the heauens to rage,
2135If wolues had at thy gate heard that dearne time
Thou shouldst haue said, good Porter turne the key,
All cruels else subscrib'd but I shall see
The winged vengeance ouertake such children.
Corn. Seet shalt thou neuer, fellowes hold the chaire,
2140Vpon those eyes of thine, Ile set my foote.
Glost. He that will thinke to liue till he be old
Giue me some helpe, O cruell, O ye Gods!
Reg. One side will mocke another, tother to.
Corn. If you see vengeance---
2145Seruant. Hold your hand my Lord
I haue seru'd euer since I was a child
But better seruice haue I neuer done you, thẽ now to bid
Reg. How now you dogge.
2150Seru. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin id'e shake it
on this quarrell, what doe you meane?
Corn. My villaine.
draw and fight.
Seru. Why then come on, and take the chance of anger.
Reg. Giue me thy sword, a pesant stand vp thus.
2155
Shee takes a sword and runs at him behind.
Seruant. Oh I am slaine my Lord, yet haue you one eye left to
see some mischiefe on him, oh!
Corn. Least it see more preuent it, out vild Ielly.
Where is thy luster now?
2160Glost. All darke and comfortles, wher's my sonne Edmund?
Edmund vnbridle all the sparks of nature, to quit this horred act.
Reg. Out villaine, 2165thou calst on him that hates thee, it was he
that made the ouerture of thy treasons to vs, who is too good to
pittie thee.
Glost. O my follies, then Edgar was abus'd,
Kind Gods forgiue me that, and prosper him.
2170Reg. Goe thrust him out at gates, and let him smell his way to
Douer, how ist my Lord? how looke you?
Corn. I haue receiu'd a hurt, follow me Ladie,
Turne out that eyles villaine, throw this slaue 2175vpon
The dungell Regan, I bleed apace, vntimely
Comes this hurt, giue me your arme.
Exit.
2176.1Seruant. Ile neuer care what wickednes I doe,
If this man come to good.
2 Seruant. If she liue long, & in the end meet the old course
of death, women will all turne monsters.
.51 Ser. Lets follow the old Earle, and get the bedlom
To lead him where he would, his rogish madnes
Allows it selfe to any thing.
2 Ser. Goe thou, ile fetch some flaxe and whites of egges to
apply to his bleeding face, now heauen helpe him.
Exit.
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.
Enter Gonorill and Bastard.
Gon. Welcome my Lord, I maruaile our mild husband
Not met vs on the way, now wher's your maister?
2269.1
Enter Steward.
2270Stew. Madame within, but neuer man so chang'd, I told him
of the army that was landed, he smild at it, I told him you were
coming, his answere was the worse, of Glosters treacherie, and of
the loyall seruice of his sonne 2275when I enform'd him, then hee
cald me sott, and told me I had turnd the wrong side out, what
hee should most desire seemes pleasant to him, what like offen-
siue.
Gon. Then shall you goe no further,
2280It is the cowish curre of his spirit
That dares not vndertake, hele not feele wrongs
Which tie him to an answere, our wishes on the way
May proue effects, backe Edgar to my brother,
Hasten his musters, and conduct his powers
2285I must change armes at home, and giue the distaffe
Into my husbands hands, this trusty seruant
Shall passe betweene vs, ere long you are like to heare
If you dare venture in your owne behalfe
A mistresses coward, weare this spare speech,
2290Decline your head: this kisse if it durst speake
Would stretch thy spirits vp into the ayre,
Conceaue and far you well.
Bast. Yours in the ranks of death.
Gon. My most deere Gloster, to thee womans seruices
My foote vsurps my body.
Stew. Madam here comes my Lord.
Exit Stew.
2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle.
Alb. O Gonoril, you are not worth the dust which the
Blowes in your face, I feare your disposition
2303.1That nature which contemnes it origin
Cannot be bordered certaine in it selfe,
She that her selfe will sliuer and disbranch
From her materiall sap, perforce must wither,
.5And come to deadly vse.
Gon. No more, the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisedome and goodnes, to the vild seeme vild,
Filths sauor but themselues, what haue you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what haue you perform'd?
.10A father, and a gracious aged man
Whose reuerence euen the head-lugd beare would lick.
Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded,
Could my good brother suffer you to doe it?
A man, a Prince, by him so beniflicted,
.15If that the heauens doe not their visible spirits
Send quickly downe to tame the vild offences, it will
Humanity must perforce pray on it self like monsters of
Gon. Milke liuerd man
2305That bearest a cheeke for bloes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye deseruing thine honour,
From thy suffering, that not know'st fools, do those vilains pitty
2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
Wher's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noystles land,
With plumed helme, thy slayer begin threats
Whil'st thou a morall foole sits still and cries
.5Alack why does he so?
Alb. See thy selfe deuill, proper deformity seemes not in the
fiend, 2310so horid as in woman.
Gon. O vaine foole!
2311.1Alb. Thou changed, and selfe-couerd thing for shame
Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnes
To let these hands obay my bloud,
They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
A womans shape doth shield thee.
Gon. Marry your manhood now---
Alb. What newes. Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. O my good Lord the Duke of Cornwals dead, slaine by
his seruant, going to put out 2315the other eye of Gloster.
Alb. Glosters eyes?
Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
To his great maister, who thereat inraged
2320Flew on him, and amongst them, feld 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 nether crimes 2325so speedely can venge.
But O poore Gloster lost he his other eye.
Gent. Both, both my Lord, this letter Madam craues a speedy
Tis from your sister.
Gon. One way I like this well,
But being widow and my Gloster with her,
May all the building on my fancie plucke,
Vpon my hatefull life, another way the newes is not so tooke,
Ile reade and answer.
Exit.
2335Alb. Where was his sonne when they did take his eyes.
Gent. Come with my Lady hither. Alb. He is not here.
Gent. No my good Lord I met him backe againe.
2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse.
Gent. I my good Lord twas he informd against him,
And quit the house on purpose that there punishment
Might haue the freer course.
Alb. Gloster I liue 2345to thanke thee for the loue thou shewedst the
And to reuenge thy eyes, come hither friend,
Tell me what more thou knowest.
Exit.
2347.1
Enter Kent and a Gentleman.
Kent. Why the King of Fraunce is so suddenly gone backe,
know you no reason.
Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his
.5comming forth is thought of, which imports to the Kingdome,
So much feare and danger that his personall returne was most re-
quired and necessarie.
Kent. Who hath he left behind him, General.
Gent. The Marshall of France Monsier la Far.
.10Kent. Did your letters pierce the queene to any demonstratiõ
Gent. I say she tooke them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample teare trild downe
Her delicate cheeke, it seemed she was a queene ouer her passion,
Who most rebell-like, sought to be King ore her.
.15Kent. O then it moued her.
Gent. Not to a rage, patience and sorow streme,
Who should expresse her goodliest you haue seene,
Sun shine and raine at once, her smiles and teares,
Were like a better way those happie smilets,
.20That playd on her ripe lip seeme not to know,
What guests were in her eyes which parted thence,
As pearles from diamonds dropt in briefe,
Sorow would be a raritie most beloued,
If all could so become it.
.25Kent. Made she no verball question.
Gent. Faith once or twice she heau'd the name of father,
Pantingly forth as if it prest her heart,
Cried sisters, sisters, shame of Ladies sisters:
Kent, father, sisters, what ith storme ith night,
.30Let pitie not be beleeft there she shooke,
The holy water from her heauenly eyes,
And clamour moystened her, then away she started,
To deale with griefe alone.
Kent. It is the stars, the stars aboue vs gouerne our conditions,
.35Else one selfe mate and make could not beget,
Such different issues, you spoke not with her since.
Gent. No.Kent. Was this before the King returnd.
Gent. No, since.
Kent. Well sir, the poore distressed Lear's ith towne,
.40Who some time in his better tune remembers,
What we are come about, and by no meanes will yeeld to see his
Gent. Why good sir?
Kent. A soueraigne shame so elbows him his own vnkindnes
That stript her from his benediction turnd her,
.45To forraine casualties gaue her deare rights,
To his dog-harted daughters, these things sting his mind,
So venomously that burning shame detaines him from Cordelia.
Gent. Alack poore Gentleman.
Kent. Of Albanies and Cornewals powers you heard not.
.50Gent. Tis so they are a foote.
Kent. Well sir, ile bring you to our maister Lear,
And leaue you to attend him some deere cause,
Will in concealement wrap me vp awhile,
When I am knowne aright you shall not greeue,
.55Lending me this acquaintance, I pray you go along with me.
Enter Cordelia, Doctor and others.
Exit.
Cor. Alack tis he, why he was met euen now,
As mad as the vent sea singing aloud,
Crownd with ranke femiter and furrow weedes,
With hor-docks, hemlocke, netles, cookow flowers,
2355Darnell and all the idle weedes that grow,
In our sustayning, corne, a centurie is sent forth,
Search euery acre in the hie growne field,
And bring him to our eye, what can mans wisdome
In the restoring his bereued sence, he that can helpe him
2360Take all my outward worth.
Doct. There is meanes Madame.
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 vnpublisht vertues of the earth,
Spring with my teares be aydant and remediat,
In the good mans distresse, seeke, seeke, for him,
2370Lest his vngouernd rage dissolue the life.
That wants the meanes to lead it.
Enter messenger.
Mes. News Madam, the Brittish powers are marching hither-
2375Cord. Tis knowne before, our preparation stands,
In expectation of them, ô deere father
It is thy busines that I go about, therfore great France
My mourning and important teares hath pitied,
No blowne ambition doth our armes in sight
2380But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd fathers right,
Soone may I heare and see him.
Exit.
Enter Regan and Steward.
Reg. But are my brothers powers set forth?
2385Stew. I Madam. Reg. Himselfe in person?
Stew. Madam with much ado, your sister is the better soldier.
Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lady at home.
2390Stew. No Madam.
Reg. What might import my sisters letters to him?
Stew. I know not Lady.
Reg. Faith he is posted hence on serious matter,
It was great ignorance, Glosters eyes being out
2395To let him liue, where he ariues he moues
All harts against vs, and now I thinke is gone
In pitie of his misery to dispatch his nighted life,
Moreouer to discrie the strength at'h army.
2400Stew. I must needs after him with my letters
Reg. Our troope sets forth to morrow stay with vs,
The wayes are dangerous.
Stew. I may not Madame, 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 thing, I know not what, ile loue thee much,
Let me vnseale the letter.
Stew. Madam I'de rather---
2410Reg. I know your Lady does not loue her husband
I am sure of that, and at her late being here
Shee gaue strange aliads, and most speaking lookes
To noble Edmund, I know you are of her bosome.
Stew. I Madam.
2415Reg. I speake in vnderstanding, for I know't,
Therefore I doe aduise you take this note,
My Lord is dead, Edmund and I haue talkt,
And more conuenient is he for my hand
Then for your Ladies, you may gather more
2420If you doe find 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 farewell,
If you doe chance to heare of that blind traytor,
2425Preferment fals on him that cuts him off.
Ste. Would I could meet him Madam, I would shew
What Lady I doe follow.
Reg. Fare thee well.
Exit.
2430
Enter Gloster and Edmund.
Glost. When shall we come toth' top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climbe it vp now, looke how we labour?
Glost. Me thinks the ground is euen.
Edg. Horrible steepe, 2435harke doe you heare the sea?
Glost. No truly.
Edg. Why then your other sences grow imperfect
By your eyes anguish.
Glost. So may it be indeed,
2440Me thinks thy voyce is altered, and thou speakest
With better phrase and matter then thou didst.
Edg. Y'ar much deceaued, in nothing am I chang'd
But in my garments.
Glost. Me thinks y'ar better spoken.
2445Edg. Come on sir, her's the place, stand still, how
And dizi tis to cast ones eyes so low
The crowes and choghes that wing the midway ayre
Shew scarce 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 walke vpon the beach
Appeare like mise, and yon tall anchoring barke
Diminisht to her cock, her cock a boui
2455Almost too small for sight, the murmuring surge
That on the vnnumbred idle peeble chaffes
Cannot be heard, its so hie ile looke no more,
Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong.
2460Glost. Set me where you stand?
Edg. Giue me your hand, you are now within a foot
Of th'extreame verge, for all beneath the Moone
Would I not leape vpright.
Glost. Let goe my hand,
2465Here friend's another pursse, in it a iewell,
Well worth a poore mans taking, Fairies and Gods
Prosper it with thee, goe thou farther off,
Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
Edg. Now fare you well good sir.
2470Glost. VVith all my heart.
Edg. Why I do trifell thus with his dispaire is done
Glost. O you mightie Gods,
He kneeles.
This world I doe renounce, and in your sights
2475Shake patiently my great affliction off,
If I could beare it longer and not fall
To quarel with your great opposles wils
My snurff and loathed part of nature should
Burne it selfe out, if Edgar liue, O blesse,
2480Now fellow fare thee well.
He fals.
Edg. Gon sir, farewell, and yet I know not how conceit my
robbe the treasurie of life, when life it selfe yealds to the theft,
had he beene where he thought 2485by this had thought beene past,
aliue or dead, ho you sir, heare you sir, speak, thus might he passe
indeed, yet he reuiues, what are you sir?
Glost. Away and let me die.
2490Edg. Hadst thou beene ought but gosmore feathers ayre,
So many fadome downe precipitating
Thou hadst shiuerd like an egge, but thou dost breath
Hast heauy substance, bleedst not, speakest, art sound,
2495Ten masts at each, make not the altitude,
VVhich thou hast perpendicularly fell,
Thy lifes a miracle, speake yet againe.
Glost. But haue I fallen or no l
Edg. From the dread sommons of this chalkie borne,
2500Looke vp a hight, the shrill gorg'd larke so farre
Cannot bee seene or heard, doe but looke vp?
Glost. Alack I haue no eyes
Is wretchednes depriu'd, that benefit
To end it selfe by death twas yet some comfort
2505When misery could beguile the tyrants rage
And frustrate his proud will.
Edg. Giue me your arme?
Vp, so, how feele you your legges, you stand.
Glost. Too well, too well.
2510Edg. This is aboue all strangenes
Vpon the crowne of the cliffe what thing was that
Which parted from you.
Glost. A poore vnfortunate bagger.
Edg. As I stood here below me thoughts his eyes
2515Were two full Moones, a had a thousand noses
Hornes, welk't and waued like the enridged sea,
It was some fiend, therefore thou happy father
Thinke that the cleerest Gods, who made their honours
Of mens impossibilities, haue preserued thee.
2520Glost. I doe remember now, henceforth ile beare
Affliction till it doe crie out it selfe
Enough, enough and die that thing you speake of,
I tooke it for a man, often would it say
The fiend the fiend, he led me to that place
2525Edg. Bare free & patient thoughts, but who comes here
The safer sence will neare accõmodate his maister thus.
Enter Lear mad.
2530Lear. No they cannot touch mee for coyning, I am the king
Edg. O thou side pearcing sight.
Lear. Nature is aboue Art in that respect, ther's your presse
money, that fellow handles his bow like a crow-2535keeper, draw me
a clothiers yard, looke, looke a mowse, peace, peace, this tosted
cheese will do it, ther's my gauntlet, ile proue it on a gyant, bring
vp the browne-billes, O well flowne bird in the ayre, hagh, giue
the word.?
2540 Edg. Sweet Margerum.
Lear. Passe. Glost. I know that voyce.
Lear. Ha Gonorill, ha Regan, they flattered mee like a dogge,
and tould me I had white haires in 2545my beard, ere the black ones
were there, to say I and no, to euery thing I saide, I and no toe,
was no good diuinitie, when the raine came to wet me once, and
the winde to make mee chatter, when the thunder would not
peace at my bidding, there I found them, there I smelt them 2550out,
goe toe, they are not men of their words, they told mee I was
euery thing, tis a lye, I am not argue-proofe.
Glost. The tricke of that voyce I doe well remember, ist not
the King?
Lear. I euer 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 die for adulterie, no the wren goes toot, and the
smal guilded flie doe letcher in my sight, let copulation thriue,
2560for Glosters bastard son was kinder to his father then my daugh-
ters got tweene the lawfull sheets, toot luxurie, pell, mell, for I
lacke souldiers, behold yon simpring dame whose face between
her forkes presageth snow, that minces vertue, and do shake 2565the
head heare of pleasures name to fichew nor the soyled horse
goes toot with a more riotous appetite, down frõ the wast tha're
centaures, though women all aboue, but to the girdle doe the
gods inherit, beneath is all the fiends, thers hell, thers dark2570nesse,
ther's the sulphury pit, burning, scalding, stench, consumation,
fie, fie, fie, pah, pah, Giue mee an ounce of Ciuet, good Apo-
thocarie,to sweeten my imagination, ther's money for thee.
Glost. O let me kisse that hand.
2575Lear. Here wipe it first, it smels of mortalitie.
Glost. O ruind peece of nature, this great world should so
weare out to naught, do you know me?
2580Lear. I remember thy eyes well inough, dost thou squiny on
me, no do thy worst blind Cupid, ile not loue, reade thou that
challenge, marke the penning oft.
Glost. Were all the letters sunnes I could not see one.
2585Edg. I would not take this from report, it is, and my heart
breakes at it.
Lear. Read. Glost. What! with the case of eyes
Lear. O ho, are you there with me, no eyes in your 2590head, nor
no mony in your purse, your eyes are in a heauie case, your purse
in a light, yet you see how this world goes.
Glost. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What art mad, a man may see how the world 2595goes with
no eyes, looke with thy eares, see how yon Iustice railes vpon
yon simple theefe, harke in thy eare handy, dandy, which is the
theefe, which is the Iustice, thou hast seene a farmers dogge barke
at a begger.
2600 Glost. I sir.
Lear. And the creature runne from the cur, there thou mightst
behold the great image of authoritie, a dogge, so bade in office,
thou rascall beadle hold thy bloudy hand, why dost thou lash
that whore, strip thine owne 2605backe, thy bloud hotly lusts to vse
her in that kind for which thou whipst her, the vsurer hangs the
cosioner, through tottered raggs, smal vices do appeare, robes &
furd-gownes hides all, get thee glasse eyes, and like a scuruy po-
lititian seeme to see the things thou doest not, no now pull off
my 2615bootes, harder, harder, so.
Edg. O matter and impertinencie mixt reason in madnesse.
Lear. If thou wilt weepe my fortune take my eyes, I knowe
thee well inough thy name is Gloster, 2620thou must be patient, we
came crying hither, thou knowest the first time that we smell the
aire, we wayl and cry, I will preach to thee marke me.
Gost. Alack alack the day.
Lear. VVhen we are borne, we crie that wee are come 2625to this
great stage of fooles, this a good blocke. It were a delicate stra-
tagem to shoot a troupe of horse with fell, & when I haue stole
vpon these sonne in lawes, then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
2630
Enter three Gentlemen.
Gent. O here he is, lay hands vpon him sirs, your most deere
Lear. No reskue, what a prisoner, I am eene the naturall foole
of Fortune, vse me well 2635you shall haue ransome, let mee haue a
churgion I am cut to the braines.
Gent. You shall haue any thing.
Lear. No seconds, all my selfe, why this would make a man
of salt
2639.1dust.
2640to vse his eyes for garden waterpots, I and laying Autums
Lear. I will die brauely like a bridegroome, what? I will be
Iouiall, come, come, I am a King my maisters, know you that.
Gent. You are a royall one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then theres life int, nay and 2645you get it you shall get it
with running.
Exit King running.
Gent. A sight most pitifull in the meanest wretch, past spea-
king of in a king: thou hast one daughter who redeemes nature
from the generall curse which twaine hath brought her to.
2650Edg. Haile gentle sir.
Gent. Sir speed you, whats your will.
Edg. Do you heare ought of a battell toward.
Gent. Most sure and vulgar euery one here's that
That can distinguish sence.
2655Edg. But by your fauour how neers the other army.
Gent. Neere and on speed fort the maine descryes,
Standst on the howerly thoughts.
Edg. I thanke you sir thats all.
2660Gent. Though that the Queene on speciall cause is here,
Hir army is moued on.
Edg. I thanke you sir.
Exit.
Glost. 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.
Glost. Now good sir what are you.
Edg. A most poore man made lame by Fortunes blowes,
Who by the Art of knowne and feeling sorrowes
2670Am pregnant to good pitty, giue me your hand
Ile leade you to some biding.
Glost. Hartie thankes, the bornet and beniz of heauen to
saue thee.
2675
Enter Steward.
Stew. A proclamed prize, most happy, that eyles head of thine
was framed flesh to rayse my fortunes, thou most vnhappy tray-
tor, briefly thy selfe remember, the sword is out 2680that must de-
stroy thee.
Glost. Now let thy friendly hand put strength enough to't.
Stew. VVherefore bould pesant durst thou support a publisht
traytor, hence 2685least the infection of his fortune take like hold on
thee, let goe his arme?
Edg. Chill not let goe sir without cagion.
Stew. Let goe slaue, or thou diest.
2690Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, let poore voke passe,
and chud haue beene swaggar'd out of my life, it would not haue
beene so long by a fortnight, nay come not neare the old man,
keepe out, cheuore ye, or ile trie whether your coster or my bat-
tero be the harder, 2695ile be plaine with you.
Stew. Out dunghill.
they fight.
Edg. Chill pick your teeth sir, come, no matter for your foyns.
Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me, villaine take my pursse,
2700If euer thou wilt thriue, burie my bodie,
And giue the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earle of Gloster, seeke him out vpon
The British partie, ô vntimely death! death.
He dies.
Edg. I know thee well, a seruiceable villaine,
2705As dutious to the vices of thy mistres, as badnes would
Glost. What is he dead?
Edg. Sit you down father, rest you lets see his pockets
These letters that he speakes of 2710may be my friends,
Hee's dead, I am only sorrow he had no other deaths
Let vs see, leaue gentle waxe, and manners blame vs not
To know our enemies minds wee'd rip their hearts,
Their papers is more lawfull.
Let your reciprocall vowes bee remembred, you haue many
opportunities to cut him off, if your will want not, time and place
will be fruitfully offered, there is nothing done, If he returne the
conquerour, then am I the prisoner, and his bed my 2720gayle, from
the lothed warmth whereof deliuer me, and supply the place for
your labour, your wife (so I would say) your affectionate seruant
and for you her owne for Venter, Gonorill.
Edg. O Indistinguisht space of womans wit,
2725A plot vpon her vertuous husbands life,
And the exchange my brother heere in the sands,
Thee ile rake vp, the post vnsanctified
Of murtherous leachers, and in the mature time,
With this vngratious paper strike the sight
2730Of the death practis'd Duke, for him tis well,
That of thy death and businesse I can tell.
Glost. The King is mad, how stiffe is my vild sence,
That I stand vp and haue ingenious feeling
2735Of my huge sorowes, better I were distract,
So should my thoughts be fenced from my griefes,
And woes by wrong imaginations loose
The knowledge of themselues.
A drum a farre off.
2740Edg. Giue me your hand far off me thinks I heare the beaten
Come father ile bestow you with a friend.
Exit.
Enter Cordelia, Kent and Doctor.
2745Cord. O thou good Kent how shall I liue and worke to match
My life will be too short and euery measure faile me.
2750Kent. To be acknowlegd madame is ore payd,
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more, nor clipt, but so.
Cor. Be better suited these weeds are memories of those
Worser howers, 2755I prithe put them off.
Kent. Pardon me deere madame,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it that you know me not,
Till time and I thinke meete.
2760Cord. Then beet so, my good Lord how does the king.
Doct. Madame sleepes still.
Cord. O you kind Gods cure this great breach in his abused
2765The vntund and hurrying sences, O wind vp
Of this child changed father.
Doct. So please your Maiestie that we may wake the king,
He hath slept long.
Cord. Be gouernd by your knowledge and proceed,
2770Ith sway of your owne will is he arayd,
Doct. I madam, in the heauinesse of his sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him,
Gent. Good madam be by, when we do awake him
2775I doubt not of his temperance.
2775.1Cord. Very well.
Doct. Please you draw neere, louder the musicke there,
Cor. O my deer father restoratiõ hang thy medicin on my lips,
And let this kis repaire those violent harmes that my two sisters
Haue in thy reuerence made.
2780Kent. Kind and deere Princesse,
Cord. Had you not bene their father these white flakes,
Had challengd pitie of them, was this a face
To be exposd against the warring winds,
2783.1To stand against the deepe dread bolted thunder,
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick crosse lightning to watch poore Per du,
With this thin helme mine iniurious dogge,
Though he had bit me, 2785should haue stood that night
Against my fire, and wast thou faine poore father,
To houill thee with swine and rogues forlorne,
In short and mustie straw, alack, alack,
Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
2790Had not concluded all, he wakes speake to him.
Doct. Madam do you, tis fittest.
Cord. How does my royall Lord, how fares your maiestie.
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out ath graue,
2795Thou art a soule in blisse, but I am bound
Vpon a wheele of fire, that mine owne teares
Do scald like molten lead.
Cord. Sir know me.
Lear. Yar a spirit I know, where did you dye.
2800Cord. Still, still, farre wide.
Doct. Hees scarce awake, let him alone a while.
Lear. Where haue I bene, where am I faire day light,
2805I am mightily abusd, I should ene dye with pitie,
To see another thus, I know not what to say,
I will not sweare these are my hands, lets see,
I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd of my condition.
2810Cord. O looke vpon me sir, and hold your hands in benedicti-
on or'e me, no sir you must not kneele.
Lear. Pray doe not mocke,
I am a very foolish fond old man,
2815Fourescore and vpward, and to deale plainly
I feare I am not in my perfect mind,
Mee thinks I should know you, and know this man;
2820Yet I am doubtfull, for I am mainly 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, doe not laugh at me,
For as I am a man, I thinke this Ladie
2825To be my child Cordelia.
Cord. And so I am.
Lear. Be your teares wet, yes faith, I pray weep not,
If you haue poyson for mee I will drinke it,
2830I know you doe not loue me, for your sisters
Haue as I doe remember, done me wrong,
You haue some cause, they haue not.
Cord. No cause, no cause. Lear. Am I in France?
2835Kent. In your owne kingdome sir.
Lear. Doe not abuse me?
Doct. Be comforted good Madame, the great rage you see is
cured in him, and yet it is danger to make him euen ore the time
hee has lost, desire him to goe in, trouble him no more till fur-
ther setling:
2840 Cord. Wilt please your highnes walke?
Lear. You must beare with me, pray now forget and forgiue,
I am old and foolish.
Exeunt.
Manet Kent and Gent.
2843.1Gent. Holds it true sir that the Duke of Cornwall was so slaine?
Kent. Most certaine sir.
Gent. Who is conductor of his people?
Kent. As tis said, the bastard sonne of Gloster.
.5Gent. They say Edgar his banisht sonne is with the Earle of
Kent in Germanie.
Kent. Report is changeable, tis time to looke about,
The powers of the kingdome approach apace.
Gent. The arbiterment is like to be bloudie, fare you well sir.
.10Kent. My poynt and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well, or ill, as this dayes battels fought.
Exit.
2845
Enter Edmund, Regan, and their powers.
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 abdication
2850And selfe reprouing, bring his constant pleasure.
Reg. Our sisters man is certainly miscaried,
Bast. Tis to be doubted Madam,
Reg. Now sweet Lord,
You know the goodnes I intend vpon you,
2855Tell me but truly, but then speak the truth,
Doe you not loue my sister?
Bast. I, honor'd loue.
Reg. But haue you neuer found my brothers way,
To the forfended place?
Bast. That thought abuses you.
2859.1Reg. I am doubtfull that you haue beene coniunct and bo-
som'd with hir, as far as we call hirs.
2860Bast. No by mine honour Madam.
Reg. I neuer shall indure hir, deere my Lord bee not familiar
Bast. Feare me not, shee and the Duke her husband.
Enter Albany and Gonorill with troupes.
2864.1Gono. I had rather loose the battaile, then that sister should
loosen him nd mee.
2865Alb. Our very louing sister well be-met
For this I heare the King is come to his daughter
With others, whome the rigour of our state
Forst to crie out, where I could not be honest
2868.1I neuer yet was valiant, for this busines
It touches vs, as France inuades our land
Not bolds the King, with others whome I feare,
Most iust and heauy causes make oppose.
Bast. Sir you speake nobly. Reg. Why is this reason'd?
2870Gono. Combine togither gainst the enemy,
For these domestique dore particulars
Are not to question here.
Alb. Let vs then determine with the auntient of warre on our
proceedings.
Bast. I shall attend you presently at your tent.
2875Reg. Sister you'l goe with vs? Gon. No.
Reg. Tis most conuenient, pray you goe with vs.
Gon. O ho, I know the riddle, I will goe. 2880
Enter Edgar
Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore,
Heare me one word.
Exeunt.
Alb. Ile ouertake you, speake.
Edg. Before you fight the battell ope this letter,
2885If you haue victory let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it, wretched though I seeme,
I can produce a champion that will proue
What is auowched there, if you miscary,
Your busines of the world hath so an end,
2890Fortune loue 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 fare thee well, I will ore-looke the paper.
Enter E dmund.
Bast. The enemies in vew, draw vp your powers
Hard is the quesse of their great strength and forces
By diligent discouery, but your hast 2900is now vrg'd on you.
Alb. Wee will greet the time. Exit.
Bast. To both these sister haue I sworne my loue,
Each iealous of the other as the sting are of the Adder,
Which of them shall I take, 2905both one or neither, neither can bee
If both remaine aliue, to take the widdow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Gonorill,
And hardly shall I cary out my side
Her husband being aliue, now then we'le vse
2910His countenadce for the battaile, which being done
Let her that would be rid of him deuise
His speedie taking off, as for his mercy
Which he entends 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.
Alarum. Enter the powers of France ouer the stage, Cordelia with
her father in her hand.
2920Enter Edgar and Gloster.
Edg. Here father, take the shaddow of this bush
For your good hoast, pray that the right may thriue
If euer I returne to you againe ile bring you comfort.
Exit.
2925Glost. Grace goe with you sir.
Alarum and retreat.
Edg. Away old man, giue me thy hand, away,
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter taine,
2930Giue me thy hand, come on.
Glost. No farther sir, a man may rot euen here.
Edg. What in ill thoughts againe men must indure,
Their going hence, euen as their coming hither,
2935Ripenes is all come on.
Enter Edmund, with Lear and Cordelia prisoners.
2940Bast, Some officers take them away, good guard
Vntill their greater pleasures best be knowne
That are to censure them.
Cor. We are not the first who with best meaning haue
The worst, 2945for thee oppressed King am I cast downe,
My selfe could else outfrowne false Fortunes frowne,
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, come lets away to prison
We two alone will sing like birds it'h cage,
2950When thou dost aske me blessing, ile kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenes, so weele liue
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales and laugh
At guilded butterflies, and heare poore rogues
Talke of Court newes, and weele talke with them to,
2955Who looses, and who wins, whose in, whose out,
And take vpon's the mistery of things
As if we were Gods spies, and weele weare out
In a wal'd prison, packs and sects of great ones
That ebbe and flow bith' Moone.
2960Bast. Take them away.
Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia,
The Gods thẽselues 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 shall deuoure em, fleach and fell
Ere they shall make vs weepe? wele see vm starue first,
Bast. Come hither Captaine, harke.
2970Take thou this note, goe follow them to prison,
And step, I haue aduanct thee, if thou dost
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
2975Does not become a sword, thy great imployment
Will not beare question, either say thout do't,
Or thriue by other meanes.
Cap. Ile do't my Lord.
Bast. About it, and write happy when thou hast don,
2980Marke I say instantly, and carie it so
As I haue set it downe.
2981.1Cap. I cannot draw a cart, nor eate dride oats,
If it bee mans worke ile do't.
Enter Duke, the two Ladies, and others.
Alb. Sir you haue shewed to day your valiant strain,
And Fortune led you well you haue the captiues
2985That were the opposites of this dayes strife,
We doe require then of you, so to vse them,
As we shall find their merits, and our safty
May equally determine.
Bast. Sir I thought it fit,
2990To saue the old and miserable King to some retention,
Whose age has charmes in it, whose title more
To pluck the coren bossom of his side,
And turne our imprest launces in our eyes
Which doe commaund them, with him I sent the queen
2995My reason, all the same and they are readie to morrow,
Or at further space, to appeare where you shall hold
Your session at this time, mee sweat and bleed,
2997.1The friend hath lost his friend, and the best quarrels
In the heat are curst, by those that feele their sharpes,
The question of Cordelia and her father
Requires a fitter place.
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,
Me thinkes our pleasure should haue beene demanded
Ere you had spoke so farre, he led our powers,
Bore the commission of my place and person,
3005The which imediate may well stand vp,
And call it selfe your brother.
Gono. Not so hot, in his owne grace hee doth exalt himselfe
more then in your aduancement.
3010Reg. In my right by me inuested he com-peers the best.
Gon. That were the most, if hee should husband you.
Reg. Iesters doe oft proue Prophets.
Gon. Hola, hola, 3015that eye that told you so, lookt but a squint.
Reg. Lady I am not well, els I should answere
From a full flowing stomack, Generall
Take thou my souldiers, prisoners, patrimonie,
3020Witnes the world that I create thee here
My Lord and maister.
Gon. Meane you to inioy him then?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
Bast. Nor in thine Lord.
3025Alb. Halfe blouded fellow, yes.
Bast. Let the drum strike, and proue my title good.
Alb. Stay yet, heare reason, Edmund I arrest thee
On capitall treason, and in thine attaint,
This gilded Serpent, for your claime faire sister
3030I bare it in the interest of my wife.
Tis she is subcontracted to this Lord
And I her husband contradict the banes,
If you will mary, make your loue to me,
My Lady is bespoke, thou art arm'd Gloster,
If none appeare to proue vpon thy head,
Thy hainous, manifest, and many treasons,
3040There is my pledge, ile proue it on thy heart
Ere I tast bread, thou art in nothing lesse
Then I haue here proclaimd thee.
Reg. Sicke, ô sicke.
Gon. If not, ile ne're trust poyson.
3045Bast. Ther's my exchange, what in the world he is,
That names me traytor, villain-like he lies,
Call by thy trumpet, he that dares approach,
On him, on you, who not, I will maintaine
My truth and honour firmely.
Alb. A Herald ho. Bast. A Herald ho, a Herald.
Alb. Trust to thy single vertue, for thy souldiers
All leuied in my name, haue in my name tooke their
3055Reg. This sicknes growes vpon me.
Alb. She is not well, conuey her to my tent,
Come hether Herald, let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
Cap. Sound trumpet?
3060Her. If any man of qualitie or degree, in the hoast of the
army, will maintaine vpon Edmund supposed Earle of Gloster,
that he's a manifold traitour, let him appeare at the third sound
of the trumpet, he is bold in his defence.
Bast. Sound? Againe?
Enter Edgar at the third sound, a trumpet before him.
Alb. Aske him his purposes why he appeares
Vpon this call oth' trumpet.
3070Her. What are you? your name and qualitie?
And why you answere this present summons.
Edg. O know my name is lost by treasons tooth.
Bare-gnawne and canker-bitte; 3075yet are I mou't
Where is the aduersarie I come to cope with all.
Alb. Which is that aduersarie?
Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of
Bast. Him selfe, what saiest thou to him?
3080Edg. Draw thy sword.
That if my speech offend a noble hart, thy arme
May do thee Iustice, here is mine.
Behold it is the priuiledge of my tongue,
3085My oath and my profession, I protest,
Maugure thy strength, youth, place and eminence,
Despight thy victor, sword and fire new fortun'd,
Thy valor and thy heart thou art a traytor.
False to thy Gods thy brother and thy Father,
3090Conspicuate gainst this high illustrious prince,
And from the'xtreamest vpward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traytor say thou no
This sword, this arme, and my best spirits,
As bent 3095to proue vpon thy heart whereto I speake thou liest,
Bast. In wisdome I sholud aske thy name,
But since thy outside lookes so faire and warlike,
And that thy being some say of breeding breathes,
By right of knighthood, I disdaine and spurne
Heere do I tosse those treasons to thy head.
With the hell hatedly, oreturnd thy heart,
Which for they yet glance by and scarcely bruse,
3105This sword of mine shall giue them instant way
Where they shall rest for euer, trumpets speake.
Alb. Saue him, saue him,
Gon. This is meere practise Gloster by the law of armes
Thou art not bound to answere 3110an vnknowne opposite,
Thou art not vanquisht, but cousned and beguild,
Alb. Stop your mouth dame, or with this paper shall I stople
it, thou worse then any thing, reade thine owne euill, nay 3115no
tearing Lady, I perceiue you know't.
Gon. Say if I do, the lawes are mine not thine, who shal arraine
Alb. Most monstrous know'st thou this paper?
Gon. Aske me not what I know. Exit Gonorill.
3120Alb. Go after her, shee's desperate, gouerne her.
Bast. What you haue chargd me with, that haue I don
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 bee'st noble
I do forgiue thee.
Edg. Let's exchange charity,
I am no lesse in bloud then thou art Edmond,
If more, the more thou hast wrongd me.
3130My name is Edgar, and thy fathers sonne,
The Gods are iust, and of our pleasant vertues.
Make instruments to scourge vs the darke and vitious
Place where thee he gotte, cost him his eies.
3135Bast. Thou hast spoken truth, the wheele is come
full circled I am heere.
Alb. Me thought thy very gate did prophecie,
A royall noblenesse I must embrace thee.
Let sorow split my heart if I 3140did euer 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 briefe tale, 3145and when tis told
3145.1O that my heart would burst the bloudy proclamation
To escape that followed me so neere,
O our liues sweetnes, that with the paine of death,
Would hourly die, rather then die at once.
Taught me to shift 3150into a mad-mans rags
To assume a semblance that very dogges disdain'd
And in this habit met I my father with his bleeding rings,
The precious stones new lost became his guide,
Led him, beg'd for him, sau'd him from dispaire,
3155Neuer (O Father) reueald my selfe vnto him,
Vntill some halfe houre past, when I was armed,
Not sure, though hoping of this good successe,
I askt his blessing, and from first to last,
Told him my pilgrimage, but his flawd heart,
3160Alacke too weake, the conflict to support,
Twixt two extreames of passion, ioy and griefe,
Burst smillingly.
Bast. This speech of yours hath moued 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,
3168.1Edg. This would haue seemd a periode to such
As loue not sorow, but another to amplifie too much,
Would make much more, and top extreamitie
Whil'st I was big in clamor, came there in a man,
.5Who hauing seene me in my worst estate,
Shund my abhord society, but then finding
Who twas that so indur'd with his strong armes
He fastened on my necke and bellowed out,
As hee'd burst heauen, threw me on my father,
.10Told the most pitious tale of Lear and him,
That euer eare receiued, which in recounting
His griefe grew puissant and the strings of life,
Began to cracke twice, then the trumpets sounded.
And there I left him traunst.
.15Alb. But who was this.
Ed. Kent sir, the banisht Kent, who in disguise,
Followed his enemie king and did him seruice
Improper for a slaue.
Enter one with a bloudie knife,
3170Gent. Helpe, helpe,
Alb. What kind of helpe, what meanes that bloudy
Gent. Its hot it smokes, it came euen from the heart 3175of -
Alb. Who man, speake?
Gent. Your Lady sir, your Lady, and her sister
By her is poysoned, she hath confest it.
Bast. I was contracted to them both, all three
3180Now marie in an instant.
Alb. Produce their bodies, be they aliue or dead,
3185This Iustice of the heauens that makes vs tremble,
Touches vs not with pity.
Edg. Here comes Kent sir.
Alb. O tis he, the time will not allow
Enter Kent
The complement that very manners vrges.
Kent. I am come 3190to bid my King and maister ay good night,
Is he not here?
Duke. Great thing of vs forgot,
Speake Edmund, whers the king, and whers Cordelia
Seest thou this obiect Kent.
The bodies of Gonorill and
3195Kent. Alack why thus.
Bast. Yet Edmund was beloued,
The one the other poysoned for my sake,
And after slue her selfe.
Duke. Euen so, couer their faces.
3200Bast. I pant for life, some good I meane to do,
Despight of my owne nature, quickly send,
Be briefe, int toth' castle for my writ,
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia,
Nay send in time.
3205 Duke. Runne, runne, O runne.
Edg. To who my Lord, who hath the office, send
Thy token of repreeue.
Bast. Well thought on, take my sword the Captaine,
Giue it the Captaine?
3210 Duke. 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 despaire,
That she fordid her selfe.
3215Duke. The Gods defend her, beare him hence a while.
Enter Lear with Cordelia in his armes.
Lear. Howle, howle, howle, howle, O you are men of stones,
Had I your tongues and eyes, I would vse them so,
That heauens vault should cracke, shees gone for euer,
3220I know when one is dead and when one liues,
Shees 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 promist end.
3225Edg. Or image of that horror. Duke. Fall and cease.
Lear. This feather stirs she liues, if it be so,
It is a chance which do's redeeme all sorowes
That euer I haue felt.
Kent. A my good maister.
Lear. Prethe away? Edg. Tis noble Kent your friend.
Lear. A plague vpon your murderous traytors all,
I might haue saued her, now shees gone for euer,
3235Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little, ha,
What ist thou sayest, her voyce was euer soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in women,
I kild the slaue that was a hanging thee.
Cap. Tis true my Lords, he did.
3240Lear. Did I not fellow? I haue seene the day,
With my good biting Fauchon I would
Haue made them skippe, I am old now,
And these same crosses spoyle me, who are you?
Mine eyes are not othe best, ile tell you straight.
3245Kent. If Fortune bragd of two she loued or hated,
One of them we behold.
Lear. Are not you Kent?
Kent. The same your seruant Kent, where is your seruant Caius,
3250Lear. Hees a good fellow, I can tell that,
Heele strike and quickly too, hees dead and rotten.
Kent. No my good Lord, I am the very man.
Lear. Ile see that straight.
Kent. That from your life of difference and decay,
3255Haue followed your sad steps.
Lear. You'r welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else, als chearles, darke and deadly,
Your eldest daughters haue foredoome themselues,
3260And desperatly are dead.
Lear. So thinke I to.
Duke. He knowes not what he sees, and vaine it is,
That we present vs to him.
3265 Edg. Very bootlesse.
Enter
Capt. Edmund is dead my Lord.
Duke. Thats but a trifle heere, you Lords and noble friends,
Know our intent, what comfort to this decay may come, 3270shall be
applied: for vs we wil resigne during the life of this old maiesty,
to him our absolute power, you to your rights with boote, and
such addition as your honor haue more then merited, all friends
shall 3275tast the wages of their vertue, and al foes the cup of their de-
seruings, O see, see.
Lear. And my poore foole is hangd, no, no life, why should a
dog, a horse, a rat of life and thou no breath at all, O thou wilt
come no more, 3280neuer, neuer, neuer, pray you vndo this button,
thanke you sir, O, o, o, o.
Edg. He faints my Lord, my Lord.
3285Lear. Breake hart, I prethe breake. Edgar. Look 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. O he is gone indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endured so long,
He but vsurpt his life.
Duke. Beare them from hence, our present busines
Is to generall woe, friends of my soule, you twaine
3295Rule in this kingdome, and the goard state sustaine.
Kent. I haue a iourney sir, shortly to go,
My maister cals, and I must not say no.
Duke. The waight of this sad time we must obey,
Speake what we feele, not what we ought to say,
3300The oldest haue borne most, we that are yong,
Shall neuer see so much, nor liue so long.
FINIS.