Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Pervez Rizvi
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)


Enter Edgar.
Edg. Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemn'd,
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 poorely led, world, world, ô world!
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
Life would not yeeld to age.
Enter Gloster led by an olde man.
Old man. O my good Lord, I haue bene your tenant, & your
fathers tenant this fourescore -------
2195Glost. Away, get thee away, good friend be gone,
Thy comforts can do me no good at all,
Thee they may hurt.
Old man. Alacke sir, you cannot see your way.
Glost. I haue no way, and therefore want no eies,
2200I stumbled when I saw, full oft tis seene
Our meanes secure vs, and our meere defects
Prooue our commodities; ah deare sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused fathers wrath,
Might I but liue to see thee in my tuch,
2205Ide say I had eyes againe.
Old man. How now, who's 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 too.
2215Glost. He has some reason, else he could not beg,
In the last nights storme I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worme, my sonne
Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
Was then scarse friends with him, I haue heard more since,
As flyes are to'th wanton boyes, are we to'th Gods,
They bit vs for their sport.
Edg. How should this be? bad is the trade that must play the
foole to sorrow, angring it selfe and others; blesse thee master.
Glost. Is that the naked fellow?
Old man. I my Lord.
Glost. Then prethee get thee gone, if for my sake
Thou wilt ore-take vs here a mile or twaine
2230I'th way to Douer, do it for ancient loue,
And bring some couering for this naked soule,
Who ile entreate to lead me.
Old man. Alacke sir he is mad.
Glost. Tis the times plague, when madmen leade the blinde,
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure,
Aboue the rest, be gone.
Old man. Ile bring him the best parrell that I haue,
Come on't what will.
2240Glo. Sirra, naked fellow.
Edg. Poore Toms a cold, I cannot dance it farther.
Glo. Come hither fellow.
Edg. Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleed.
2245Glo. 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 dumbnesse,
Mahu of stealing, Modo of murder, Stiberdigebit of Mobing,
And Mohing who since possesses chambermaids
.5And waiting women, so, blesse thee master.
Glo. Here take this purse, thou whom the heauens plagues
2250Haue humbled to all strokes, that I am wretched, makes thee
The happier, heauens deale so still,
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man
That stands your ordinance, that will not see
Because he doth not feele, feele your power quickly,
2255So distribution should vnder excesse,
And each man haue enough: dost thou know Douer?
Edg. I master.
Glo. There is a cliffe, whose high and bending head
Lookes firmely in the confined deepe,
2260Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And ile repaire the misery thou dost beare,
With something rich about me,
From that place shall I no leading need.
Edg. Giue me thy arme, poore Tom shall lead thee.