Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Pervez Rizvi
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.
875Lear. Go you before to Glocester 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 let-
Foole. If a mans braines were in his heeles, wert not in danger
of kybes?
Lear. I boy.
885Foole. Then I prethee be merry, thy wit shall nere go slipshod.
Lear. Ha, ha, ha.
Foole. Shalt see thy other daughter will vse thee kindly, for
though she is as like this, as a crabbe is like an apple, yet I con,
890what I can tell.
Lear. Why what canst thou tell my boy?
Foole. Shee'l taste as like this, as a crab doth to a crab; thou
canst not tell why ones nose stands in the middle of his face?
895Lear. No.
Foole. Why to keep his eyes on either side his nose, that what
a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
Lear. I did her wrong!
Foole. Canst tell how an Oyster makes his shell.
900Lear. No.
Foole. Nor I neyther; but I can tell why a snayle has a house.
Lear. Why?
Foole. Why to put his head in, not to giue it away vnto his
905daughter, and leaue his hornes without a case.
Lear. I will forget my nature, so kinde a father; bee my horses
Foole. Thy Asses are gone about them; the reason why the se-
uen starres are no more then seuen, is a pretty reason.
910Lear. Because they are not eight.
Foole. Yes, thou wouldst make a good foole.
Lear. To tak't againe perforce; monster, ingratitude!
Foole. If thou wert my foole Nunckle, Ide haue thee beaten
for being olde before thy time.
915Lear. How's that?
Foole. Thou shouldst not haue beene olde, before thou hadst
beene wise.
Lear. O let me not be mad sweete heauen! I would not bee
mad, keepe me in temper, I would not bee mad; are the Horses
Seruant. Ready my Lord.
Lear. Come boy.
Foole. She that is a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be maid long, except things be cut shorter.