Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Pervez Rizvi
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

Enter Kent, and Steward.
Steward. Good euen to thee friend, art of the house?
Kent. I.
Steward. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. In the mire.
1080Stew. Prethee 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 Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care
for me.
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 pound, filthy
1090worsted stocken knaue, a lilly liuer'd action taking knaue, a
whoreson glasse-gazing superfinicall rogue, one trunke inheri-
ting slaue, one that would'st be baud in way of good seruice, &
art nothing but the composition of a knaue, begger, coward,
1095pander, and the sonne and heire of a mungrell bitch, whom I will
beate into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least sillable of
the addition.
Stew. What a monstrous fellow art thon, thus to raile on one
that's neither knowne of thee, nor knowes thee.
Kent. What a brazen fac'st varlet art thou, to deny thou know-
est me, is it two daies agoe since I beate thee, and tript vp thy
heeles before the King? draw you rogue, for though it be night
1105the Moon shines, ile make a sop of the Moone-shine a'you, draw
you whoreson cullyonly barber-munger, draw.
Stew. Away, I haue nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw you rascall, you bring Letters against the King, &
take Vanity the puppets part, against the royalty of her father,
1110draw you rogue, or ile so carbonado your shankes, draw you ras-
call, come your wayes.
Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
Kent. Strike you slaue, stand rogue, stand you neate slaue,
Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
Enter Edmund with his Rapier drawne, Glocester, the
Duke and Dutchesse.
Bast. How now, what's the matter?
Ken. With you goodman boy, and you please come, ile sleash
1120you, come on yong master.
Glost. Weapons, armes, what's the matter here?
Duke. Keepe peace vpon your liues, he dies that strikes againe,
what's the matter?
Reg. The messengers from our sister, and the King.
1125Duke. What's your difference, speake?
Stew. I am scarse in breath my Lord.
Kent. No maruaile you haue so bestir'd your valour, you co-
wardly rascall, nature disclaimes in thee, a Taylor made thee.
1130Duke. Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylour make a man.
Kent. I, a taylour sir, a Stone-cutter, or a Painter could not
haue made him so ill, though he had bene but two houres at the
Glost. Speake yet, how grew your quarrell?
1135Stew. This ancient ruffian sir, whose life I haue spar'd at sute
of his gray-beard.
Kent. Thou whoreson Zed, thou vnnecessary letter, my Lord
if you will giue me leaue, I will tread this vnboulted villaine in-
to morter, and daube the wals of a Iaques with him; spare my
1140gray-beard you wagtaile?
Duke. Peace sir, you beastly knaue you haue no reuerence.
Kent. Yes sir, but anger has a priuiledge.
Duke. Why are thou angry?
1145Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a sword,
That weares no honesty, such smiling rogues 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 oile to stir, snow to their colder moods,
Reneag, affirme, and turne their halcion beakes
With euery gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought like daies but following,
A plague vpon your Epilipticke visage,
1155Smoile you my speeches, as I were a foole?
Goose, if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
Ide send you cackling home to Camulet.
Duke. What art thou mad olde 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 doth mine, or his, or hers.
Kent. Sir, tis my occupation to be plaine,
I haue seene better faces in my time,
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
1170Duke. This is a fellow, who hauing beene praisd
For bluntnesse, doth affect a saucie ruffines,
And constraines the garb quite from his nature,
He cannot flatter he, he must be plaine,
He must speake truth, and they will take it so,
1175If not hee's plaine, these kinde of knaues I know,
Which in this plainnesse harbour more craft,
And more corrupter ends, then twenty silly ducking,
Obseruants, that stretch their duties nicely.
1180Kent. Sir in good sooth, or in sincere verity,
Vnder the allowance of your grand aspect.
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
In flitkering Phœbus front.
Duke. What meanst thou by this?
1185Kent. To go 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 wil not be, thogh
I should win your displeasure to entreate me to it.
1190Duke. What's the offence you gaue him?
Stew. I neuer gaue him any, it pleasd the King his master
Very late to strike at me vpon his missconstruction,
When he coniunct and flattering his displeasure
1195Tript me behinde, being downe, insulted, raild,
And put vpon his such a deale of man, that
That worthied him, got praises of the King,
For him attempting who was selfe subdued,
And in the flechuent of this dread exploit,
1200Drew on me heere againe.
Kent. None of these roges & cowards but A'Iax is their foole.
Duke. Bring foorth the stockes ho?
You stubborne miscreant knaue, you vnreuerent bragart,
1205Wee'l teach you.
Kent. I am too olde to learne, call not your stockes for me,
I serue the King, on whose imploiments I was sent to you,
You should do small respect, shew too bold malice
1210Against the grace and person of my master,
Stopping his Messenger.
Duke. Fetch foorth 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 dog you could not
vse me so.
Reg. Sir, being his knaue, I will.
Duke. This is a fellow of the same nature,
Our sister speakes off, come, bring away the stockes.
1220Glost. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so,
His fault is much, and the good King his Master
1221.1Will checke him for't; your purposd 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 gentleman abused, assaulted
1226.1For following her affaires, put in his legs,
Come my Lord, away.
Glost. I am sorry for thee friend, tis the Dukes pleasure,
Whose disposition all the world well knowes
1230Will not be rubd nor stopt, Ile intreate for thee.
Kent. Pray you do not sir I haue watcht and trauaild hard,
Some time I shall sleepe out, the rest Ile whistle,
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles,
Giue you good morrow.
1235Glost. The Duke's too blame in this, twill be ill tooke.
Kent. Good King, that must approue the common saw,
Thou out of heauens benediction comest
To the warme Sunne.
1240Approach thou beacon to this vnder-globe,
That by thy comfortable beames I may
Peruse this letter, nothing almost sees my wracke
But misery, I know tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately bene informed
1245Of my obscured course, and shall finde time
From this enormious state, seeking to giue
Losses their remedies, all weary and ouer-watcht,
Take vantage heauy eies not to behold
This shamefull lodging; Fortune goodnight,
1250Smile, once more turne thy wheele.
He sleepes.