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Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Pervez Rizvi
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King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

M. VVilliam [Shake]-speare,
True Chronicle History 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 Glocester, and
his sullen and assumed humour of TOM
of Bedlam.
As it was plaid before the Kings Maiesty at White-Hall, vp-
pon S. Stephens night, in Christmas Hollidaies.
By his Maiesties Seruants, playing vsually at the
Globe on the Banck-side.
Printed for Nathaniel Butter.
M. VVilliam Shake-speare
History, of King Lear.
Enter Kent, Glocester, and Bastard.
I Thought the King had more affected the Duke of
5Albeney then Cornewall.
Glost. It did alwaies 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 curiosity in neither, can make choise of ei-
10thers 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, whereupon she
grew round wombed, and had indeed Sir a sonne for her Cra-
dle, ere she had a husband for her bed, do you smell a fault?
20Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it being so
Glo. But I haue sir a sonne by order of Law, some yeare elder
then this, who yet is no deerer in my account, thogh this knaue
came something sawcely into the world before he was sent for,
25yet was his mother faire, there was good sport at his making, &
the whoreson must be acknowledged, do you know this noble
gentleman, Edmund?
Bast. No my Lord.
30Glo. My Lord of Kent, remember him heereafter as my ho-
nourable friend.
Bast. My seruices to your Lordship.
Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better.
Bast. Sir, I shall study deseruing.
35Glo. He hath beene out nine yeares, and away he shall again,
the King is comming.
Sound a Sennet, Enter one bearing a Coronet, then Lear, then the
Dukes of Albany and Cornwall, next Gonorill, Regan, Corde-
lia, 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 businesse of our state,
45Confirming them on younger yeares,
50The two great Princes, France and Burgundy,
Great Riuals in our youngest daughters loue,
Long in our Court haue made their amorous soiourne,
And here are to be answer'd; tell me my daughters,
Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most,
That we our largest bounty may extend,
Where merit doth most challenge it:
Gonorill our eldest borne, speake first.
60Gon. Sir, I do loue you more then words can wield the matter.
Dearer then eye-sight, space, or liberty,
Beyond what can be valued rich or rare,
No lesse then life; with grace, health, beauty, honour,
As much a childe ere loued, or father friend,
65A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnabl[e],
Beyond all manner of so much I loue you.
Cor. What shall Cordelia do, loue and be silent.
Lear. Of all these bounds, euen from this line to this,
With shady Forrests, and wide skirted Meads,
We make thee Lady, to thine and Albanies issue,
Be this perpetuall. What saies our second daughter?
Our deerest Regan, wife to Cornwall, speake.
Reg. Sir I am made of the selfe-same mettal that my sister is
75And prize me at her worth in my true heart,
I finde she names my very deed of loue, onely shee came short,
That I professe my selfe an enemy to all other ioyes,
Which the most precious square of sence possesses,
80And finde I am alone felicitate in your deere highnesse loue.
Cor. Then poore Cordelia, and yet not so, since I am sure
My loue's more richer then my tongue.
85Lear. To thee and thine hereditary 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.
Cor. Nothing my Lord.
Lear. How, nothing can come of nothing, speake againe.
Cor. Vnhappy that I am, I cannot heaue my heart into my
mouth, I loue your Maiesty according to my bond, nor more
nor lesse.
100Lear. Go too, go too, mend your speech a little,
Least it may marre 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,
Haply when I shall wed, that Lord whose hand
Must take my plight, shall carry halfe my loue with him,
Halfe my care and duty, sure I shall neuer
110Marry like my sisters, to loue my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Cor. I good my Lord.
Lear. So young and so vntender?
Cor. So young 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 Orbes,
From whom we do exsist and cease to be,
120Heere I dissclaime all my paternall care,
Propinquity and property of bloud,
And as a stranger to my heart and me,
Hold thee from this foreuer, the barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation
125Messes to gorge his appetite,
Shall be as well neighbour'd, pittied and releeued,
As thou my some-time daughter.
Kent. Good my Liege.
Lear. Peace Kent, come not betweene the Dragon and his
I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kinde nursery, hence and auoid my sight:
So be my graue my peace as heere I guie,
Her fathers heart from her; call France, who stirres?
135Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albany,
With my two daughters dower digest this third,
Let pride, which she cals plainnesse, marry her:
I do inuest you ioyntly in my power,
Preheminence, and all the large effects
140That troope with Maiesty, our selfe by monthly course
With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turnes, onely we still retaine
The name and all the additions to a King,
145The sway, reuenue, 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 Master followed,
As my great Patron thought on in my praiers.
Lear. The bow is bent and drawne, make from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather,
Though the forke inuade the region of my heart,
155Be Kent vnmannerly, when Lear is mad,
What wilt thou do old man, think'st thou that duty
Shall haue dread to speake, when power to flattery bowes,
To plainnesse honours bound, when Maiesty stoops to folly,
Reuerse thy doome, and in thy best consideration
Checke this hideous rashnesse, answer my life,
My iudgement, thy yongest daughter does not lo[u]e thee least,
Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sound
Reuerbs no hollownesse.
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 safety being the motiue.
Lear. Out of my sight.
170Kent. See better Lear, and let me still remaine
The true blanke of thine eie.
Lear. Now by Appollo ---------
Kent. Now by Appollo, King thou swear'st thy Gods in vaine.
175Lear. Vassall, recreant.
Kent. Do, kill thy Physition,
And the fee bestow vpon the foule disease,
Reuoke thy doome, or whilst I can vent clamour
180From my throat, ile tell thee thou dost euill.
Lear. Heare me, on thy alleigeance 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 power,
185Which, nor our nature, nor our place can beare,
Our potency make good, take thy reward,
Foure dayes we do 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 trunke 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 thou wilt appeare,
195Friendship liues hence, and banishment is here;
The Gods to their protecction take the maid,
That rightly thinkes, and hath most iustly said,
And your large speeches may your deeds approue,
That good effects may spring from words of loue:
200Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adew,
Hee'l shape his old course in a Country new.
Enter France and Burgundy with Glocester.
Glo. Heer's France and Burgundy, my noble Lord.
205Lear. My Lord or Burgundy, we first addresse 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. Roiall Maiesty, I craue no more then what
Your Highnesse offered, nor will you tender lesse?
Lear. Right noble Burgundy, when she was deare to vs,
215We did hold her so, but now her price is fallen;
Sir, there she stands, if ought within that little
Seeming substance, or all of it with our displeasure peec'st,
And nothing else may fitly like your Grace,
Shee's 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 oath,
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 power that made me,
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 whom Nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.
Fra. This is most strange, that she that euen but now
235Was 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 dismantle so many foulds of fauour,
Sure her offence must 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 plaint in me.
245Cord. I yet beseech your Maiesty,
If for I want that glib and oily Art,
To speake and purpose not, since what I well intend,
Ile do't before I speake, that you may know
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulenesse,
250No vncleane action or dishonoured 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.
Lear. Go to, goe to, better thou hadst not bene borne,
Then not to haue pleas'd me better.
Fran. Is it no more but this, a tardinesse in nature,
That often leaues the history vnspoke that it intends to do,
260My Lord of Burgundy, what say you to the Lady?
Loue is not loue when it is mingled with respects that stands
Aloofe from the entire point, will you haue her?
She is her selfe and dower.
265Burg. Royall Lear, giue but that portion
Which your selfe propos'd, and here I take
Cordelia by the hand, Dutchesse of Burgundy.
Lear. Nothing; I haue sworne.
270Burg. I am sorry then you haue so lost a father,
That you must lose a husband.
Cord. Peace be with Burgundy, 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 despis'd,
Thee and thy vertues heere I seize vpon,
Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
Gods, Gods! tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect,
280My loue should kindle to enflam'd respect,
Thy dowrelesse daughter King, throwne to thy chance,
Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
Not all the Dukes in watrish Burgundy,
Shall buy this vnpriz'd precious maid of me,
285Bid them farwell Cordelia, though vnkinde
Thou losest heere, a better where to finde.
Lear. Thou hast her France, let her be thine,
For we haue no such daughter, nor shall euer see
That face of hers againe, therefore be gone,
290Without our grace, our loue, our benizon: come noble Bur-
Exit Lear and Burgundy.
Fran. Bid farwell to your sisters.
Cord. The Iewels of our Father,
With washt eyes Cordelia leaues you, I know you what you are,
295And like a sister am most loth to call your faults
As they are named, vse well our Father,
To your professed bosomes I commit him,
But yet alasse, stood I within his grace,
I would preferre him to a better place;
300So farwell to you both.
Gonorill. Prescribe not vs our duties.
Regan. Let your study be to content your Lord,
Who hath receiu'd you at Fortunes almes,
You haue obedience scanted,
305And well are worth the worth that you haue wanted.
Cord. Time shall vnfold what pleated cunning hides,
Who couers faults, at last shame them derides:
Well may you prosper.
Fran. Come faire Cordelia.
Exit France and Cord.
310Gon. 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. That's most certaine, and with you, next month with vs.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the obseruation
315we haue made of it hath not beene little; he alwaies loued our
sister most, and with what poore iudgement hee hath now cast
her off, appeares too grosse.
Reg. Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he 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 frõ his age, not alone the imper-
fection of long ingrafted condition, but therwithal vnruly wai-
wardnes, that infirme and cholericke yeares bring with them.
325Reg. Such vnconstant stars are we like to haue from him, as
this of Kents banishment.
Gono. There is further complement of leaue taking between
France and him, pray lets hit together, if our Father cary autho-
rity with such dispositions as he beares, this last surrender of
330his will but offend vs.
Regan. We shall further thinke on't.
Gon. We must do something, and it'h heate.
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 curiosity of Nations to depriue me, for that I am
some 12. or 14. moone-shines lag of a brother: why bastard?
340wherefore base, when my dementions are as well compact, my
minde as generous, & my shape as true as honest madams issue,
why brand they vs with base, base bastardy? who in the lusty
345stealth of nature, take more composition and fierce quality, then
doth within a stale dull lie[d] bed, goe to the creating of a whole
tribe of fops got tweene sleepe and wake; well the legitimate
350Edgar, I must haue your land, our Fathers loue is to the bastard
Edmund, as to the legitimate: well my legitimate. if this letter
speed, and my inuention thriue, Edmund the base shall tooth'le-
355gitimate: I grow, I prosper, now Gods stand vp for Bastards.
Enter Glocester.
Glost. Kent banisht thus, and France in choller parted, and
the King gone to night, subscrib'd his power, confined to ex-
360hibition, all this done vpon the gad; Edmund, how now, what
Bast. So please y[ou]r Lordship, none.
Glost.. Why so earnestly seeke you to put vp that letter?
Bast. I know no newes, my Lord.
365Glo. What paper were you reading?
Bast. Nothing my Lord.
Glost. No, what needs then that terrible dispatch of it into
your pocket, the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide
it selfe, lets see, come if it be nothing I shal not need spectacles.
Bast. I beseech you sir pardon me, it is a Letter from my bro-
ther that I haue not all ore read, for so much as I haue perused,
I finde 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.
Glo. Lets see, Lets see.
380Bast. I hope for my brothers iustification, he wrote this but
as an essay, or taste of my vertue.
A Letter.
Glost. This policy of age makes the world bitter to the best
of our times, keepes our fortunes from vs till our oldnesse can-
not relish them, I begin to finde an idle and fond bondage in
385the oppression of aged tyranny, who swaies not as it hath pow-
er, but as it is suffered, come to mee, that of this I may speake
more; if our Father would sleepe till I wakt him, you should
enioy halfe his reuenew for euer, and liue the beloued of your
brother Edgar.
390Hum, conspiracy, slept till I wakt him, you should enioy halfe
his reuenew: my sonne Edgar, had he a hand to write this, a hart
and braine to breed it in? when came this to you, who brought
Bast. It was not brought me my Lord, there's the cunning
395of it, I found it throwne in at the casement of my Closet.
Glost. You know the carracter 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 think it were not.
Glost. Is it his?
Bast. It is his hand my Lord, but I hope his heart is not in
the contents.
Glost. Hath he neuer heeretofore sounded you in this busi-
405Bast. Neuer my Lord, but I haue often heard him maintaine
it to be fit, that sonnes at parfit age, and fathers declining, his
father should be as Ward to the sonne, and the sonne mannage
the reuenew.
Glost. O villaine, villaine, his very opinion in the Letter, ab-
410horrid villaine, vnnaturall detested bruitish villaine, worse then
bruitish go sir seeke him; I, apprehend him, abhominable vil-
laine, where is he?
Bast. I do not well know my Lord, if it shall please you to
suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can de-
415riue from him better testimony of this intent, you shal runnne a
certaine course, where if you violently proceed against him, mi-
staking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your owne
honour, and shake in peeces the heart of his obedience, I dare
pawne downe my life for him, hee hath wrote this to feele my
420affection 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 aurigular assurance
425haue 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 entirely loues him:
heauen and earth! Edmund seeke him out, winde me into him, I
pray you frame your busines after your owne wisedome, I wold
vnstate my selfe ro 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 reason thus and
435thus, yet nature findes it selfe scourg'd by the sequent effects,
loue cooles, friendship fals off, brothers diuide, in Cities muti-
nies, in Countries discords, Pallaces treason, the bond crackt
betweene sonne and father; finde out this villaine, Edmund it
shall lose thee nothing, do it carefully; and the noble and true
hearted 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 surfet of our owne behauiour,
we make guilty of our disasters, the Sunne, the Moore, and the
450stars, as if we were villaines by necessity, fooles by heauenly
compulsion, knaues, theeues, and trecherers by spirituall predo-
minance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'st obedi-
ence of planitary influence, and all that we are euill in, by a di-
uine thrusting on, an admirable euasion of whore-master man,
to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of stars; my Father
compounded with my Mother vnder the Dragons taile, & my
natiuity was vnder Vrsa maior, so that it followes I am rough &
lecherous; Fut, I should haue beene that I am, had the maiden-
460lest starre of the Firmament twinckled on my bastardy; Edgar,
Enter Edgar.
& out he comes like the Catastrophe of the old Comedy, mine
is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like them of Bedlam; O
465these Ecclipses do 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 other
470day, what should follow these Ecclipses.
Edg. Doe you busie your selfe about that?
Bast. I promise you the effects he writ of, succeed vnhappily,
as of vnnaturalnesse betweene the childe and the parent, death,
473.1dearth, dissolutions of ancient armies, diuisions in state, mena-
ces and maledictions against King and Nobles, needlesse diffi-
dences, banishment of friends, dissipation of Cohorts, nuptiall
breaches, and I know not what.
473.5Edg. How long haue you bin a sectary Astronomicall?
Bast. Come, come, when saw you my father last?
475Edg. Why the night gone 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 entreaty, forbeare his presence, till some little
time hath qualified the heate of his displeasure, which at this
instant so rageth in him, that with the mischiefe of your person
485it would scarse allay.
Edg. Some villaine hath done me wrong.
Bast. That's my feare brother, I aduise you to the best, goe
arm'd, I am no honest man if there be any good meaning to-
wards you, I haue told you what I haue seen & heard, but faint-
495ly, nothing like the image and horror of it; pray you away.
Edg. Shall I heare from you anon?
Exit Edgar.
Bast. I do serue you in this businesse:
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 businesse,
Let me if not by birth, haue lands by wit,
All with me's meete, that I can fashion fit.
Enter Gonorill and a Gentleman.
Gon. Did my Farher strike my gentleman for chiding of his
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 endure it;
His knights grow riotous, and himselfe vpbraids vs
On euery trifle when he returnes from hunting,
515I will not speake with him, say I am sicke,
If you come slacke of former seruices,
You shall do well, the fault of it Ile answer.
Gent. Hee's comming Madam, I heare him.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, you and your
520fellow-seruants, Ide haue it come in question, if he dislike it, let
him to our sister, whose minde & mine I know in that are one,
522.1not to be ouer-rulde; idle olde man that still would manage
those authorities that he hath giuen away, now by my life olde
fooles are babes againe, and must be vsed with checkes as flat-
teries, when they are seene abus'd, remember what I tell you.
Gent. Very well, Madam.
525Gon. And let his Knights haue colder lookes among you,
what growes of it no matter, aduise your fellowes so, I would
526.1breed from hence occasions, and I shall, that I may speake, Ile
write straight to my sister to hold my very course; goe prepare
for dinner.
Enter Kent.
Ken. If but as well I other accents borrow, that can my speech
defuse, my good intent may carry through it selfe to that ful is-
sue for which I raizd my likenesse; now banisht Kent, if thou
535canst serue where thou dost stand condemn'd, thy master whom
thou louest, shall finde the full of labour.
Enter Lear.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, goe get it ready: how
540now, what art thou?
Kent. A man sir.
Lear. What dost thou professe? what wouldst thou with vs?
Kent. I doe professe to bee no lesse then I seeme to serue him
545truely that wil put me in trust, to loue him that is honest, to con-
uerse with him that is wise and saies little, to feare iudgement,
to fight when I cannot chuse, and to eate no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
550Kent. A very honest hearted fellow, and as poore as the King.
Lear. If thou be as poore for a subiect, as he is for a king, thou
art poore enough, what wouldst thou?
Kent. Seruice.
Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
Kent. You.
Lear. Dost thou know me fellow?
Kent. No sir, but you haue that in your countenance, which
I would faine call Master.
560Lear. What's that?
Kent. Authority.
Lear. What seruices canst thou do?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, marre a curious
tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message bluntly, that which
565ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified, and the best of me, is
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young to loue a woman for singing, nor so old to
dote on her for any thing, I haue yeares on my backe forty eight.
Lear. Follow me, thou shalt serue me, if I like thee no worse
after dinner, I will not part from thee yet; dinner ho, dinner,
where's my knaue my foole, goe you and call my foole hether,
you sirra, where's my daughter?
Enter Steward.
Steward. So please you -----
Lear. What saies the fellow there? call the clat-pole backe,
where's my foole? ho, I thinke the world's asleepe, how now,
where's that mungrell?
580Kent. He saies my Lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to me when I call'd him?
Seruant. Sir, he answered me in the roundest mannner, hee
585would not.
585Lear. He would not?
Seruant. My Lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my
iudgement, your Highnesse is not entertain'd with that ceremo-
nious affection as you were wont, there's a great abatement ap-
peares as well in the generall dependants, as in the Duke himselfe
590also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha, saist thou so?
Seruant. I beseech you pardon me my Lord, if I be mistaken,
for my duty cannot be silent, when I thinke your Highnesse is
Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne conception, I
haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late, which I haue rather
blamed as mine owne iealous curiosity, then as a very pretence
and purport of vnkindnes; I will look further into it, but wher's
600this foole? I haue not seene him this two daies.
Seruant. Since my young Ladies going into France sir, the
foole hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it, goe you and tell my
605daughter, I would speake with her, go you call hither my foole;
O you sir, you sir, come you hither, who am I sir?
Stew. My Ladies Father.
610Lear. My Ladies Father, my Lords knaue, you whoreson dog,
you slaue, you curre.
Stew. I am none of this my Lord, I beseech you pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy lookes with me you rascall?
615Stew. Ile not be strucke my Lord.
Kent. Nor tript neither, you base football plaier.
Lear. I thanke thee fellow, thou seru'st me, and ile loue thee.
Kent. Come sir, ile teach you differences, away, away, if you
620will measure your lubbers length againe, tarry, but away, you
haue wisedome.
Lear. Now friendly knaue I thanke thee, there's earnest of
thy seruice.
Enter Foole.
625Foole. Let me hire him too, here's my coxcombe.
Lear. How now my pretty knaue, how dost thou?
Foole. Sirra, you were best take my coxcombe.
Kent. Why Foole?
Foole. Why for taking ones part that's out of fauour, nay and
630thou canst not smile as the winde sits, thou't catch colde shortly,
there take my coxcombe; why this fellow hath banisht two of
his daughters, and done the third a blessing against his will, if
thou follow him, thou must needs weare my coxcombe, how
now nunckle, would I had two coxcombes, and two daughters.
Lear. Why my boy?
Foole. If I gaue them any liuing, ide keepe my coxcombe my
selfe, theres mine, beg another of thy daughters.
640Lear. Take heed sirra, the whip.
Foole. Truth is, a dog that must to kennell, he must bee whipt
out, when Lady oth'e brach may stand by the fire and stinke.
Lear. A pestilent g[u]ll to me.
645Foole. Sirra, ile teach thee a speech.
Lear. Do.
Foole. Marke it Vnckle; haue more then thou shewest, speake
lesse then thou knowest, lend lesse then thou owest, ride more
thou goest, learne more then thou trowest, set lesse then thou
throwest, leaue thy drinke and thy whore, and 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, you gaue me
660nothing for it; can you make no vse of nothing Vncle?
Lear. Why no boy, nothing can be made out of nothing.
Foole. Prethee tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to,
665he will not beleeue a foole.
Lear. A bitter foole.
Foole. Dost thou know the difference my boy, betweene a bit-
ter foole, and a sweete foole.
Lear. No lad, teach me.
669.1Foole. That Lord that counsaild thee to giue away thy Land,
Come place him heere by me, do thou for him stand,
The sweete and bitter foole will presently appeare,
The one in motley here, the other found out there.
669.5Lear. Dost thou call me foole boy?
Foole. Al 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
669.10a monopolie out, they would haue part on't, and lodes too, they
will not let me haue all foole to my selfe, thei'l be snatching; giue
670me an egge Nunckle, 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 thou clouest thy
675crowne in the middle, and gauest away both parts, thou borest
thy asse on thy back ore the dirt, thou hadst little wit in thy bald
crowne, when thou gauest thy golden one away; if I speak like
my selfe in this, let him be whipt that first findes it so.
680Fooles had nere lesse wit in a yeare,
For wise men are growne foppish,
They know not how their wits do weare,
Their manners are so apish.
Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs sirra?
685Foole. I haue vsed it Nuncle, euer since thou mad'st thy daugh-
ters thy mother, for when thou gauest them the rod, and putst
downe thine owne breeches, then they for sudden ioy did weep,
and I for sorrow sung, that such a King should play bo-peepe,
690and goe the fooles among: prethee Nunckle keepe a schoole-
master that can teach thy foole to lie, I would faine learne to lie.
Lear. If you lie, wee'l 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 ra-
ther be any kinde of thing then a foole, and yet I would not bee
thee Nunckle, thou hast pared thy wit a both sides, and left no-
700thing in the middle; heere comes one of the parings.
Enter Gonorill.
Lear. How now daughter, what makes that Frontlet on,
Me-thinkes you are too much alate it'h frowne.
705Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no neede to
care for her frowne, thou, 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 hold my tongue, so your face bids me, though you
say nothing.
710Mum, mum, he that keepes neither crust nor crum,
Weary 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
foorth in ranke and (not to be endured riots) Sir, I had thought
by making this well knowne vnto you, to haue found a safe re-
dresse, but now grow fearefull by what your selfe too late haue
spoke and done, that you protect this course, and put on by your
720allowance, which if you should, the fault would not scape cen-
sure, nor the redresse sleepe, which in the tender of a wholesome
weal, might in their working do you that offence, that else were
shame, that then necessity must call discreete proceedings.
Foole. For you trow Nunckle, 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?
Gonorill. 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
735Foole. May not an Asse know when the Cart drawes the horse,
whoop Iug I loue thee.
Lear. Doth any here know me? why this is not Lear; doth
740Lear walke thus? speake thus? where are his eies, either his no-
tion, weaknesse, or his discernings are lethergy, sleeping or wa-
king; 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 soue-
744.1raignty, knowledge, & reason, I should be false perswaded I had
Foole. Which they, will make an obedient Father.
745Le. Your name faire gentlewoman?
Gon. Come sir, this admiration is much of the fauour of other
your new prankes; I do beseech you vnderstand my purposes a-
right, as you are old and reuerend, you should be wise, heere doe
750you keepe one hundred Knights and Squires, men so disordered,
so deboyst and bold, that this our Court infected with their
manners, shewes like a riotous Inne, epicurisme and lust make
more like a Tauerne or Brothell, then a great Pallace, the shame
755it selfe doth speake for instant remedy, bee thou desired by her,
that else will take the thing she begs, a little to disquantity your
traine, and the remainder that shall still depend, to be such men
760as may besort your age, and know themselues and you.
Lear. Darknesse and Diuels! saddle my horses, call my traine
together, degenerate bastard, ile not trouble thee; yet haue I left
765a daughter.
Gon. You strike my people, and your disordered rabble, make
seruants of their betters.
Enter Duke.
Lear. We that too late repent's vs; O sir, are you come? Is it
770your will that we prepare any horses, ingratitude! thou marble-
hearted fiend, more hideous when thou shewest thee in a childe,
then the Sea-monster, detested kite, thou lessen my traine and
men of choise and rarest parts, that all particulars of duty know,
and in the most exact regard, support the worshippes of their
name, O most small fault, how vgly didst thou in Cordelia shew,
that like an engine wrencht my frame of nature from the fixt
place, drew from my heart all loue, & added to the gall; ô Lear,
Lear beate at this gate that let thy folly in, and thy deare iudg-
785ment out, goe, goe, my people?
Duke. My Lord, I am guiltlesse as I am ignorant.
Lear. It may be so my Lord, harke Nature, heare deere God-
desse, suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend to make this cre-
ture fruitefull, into her wombe conuey sterility, dry vp in her the
Organs of encrease, and from her derogate body neuer spring a
795babe to honor her; if she must teem, create her childe of spleen,
that it may liue and be a thourt disuetur'd torment to her, let it
stampe wrinckles in her brow of youth, with accent teares, fret
channels in her cheek[e]s, turne all her mothers paines and bene-
800fits to laughter and contempt, that shee may feele, how sharper
then a serpents tooth it is, to haue a thanklesse childe, goe, goe,
802.1my people?
Duke. Now Gods that we adore, whereof comes this!
Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know the cause, but let his dis-
position haue that scope that dotage giues it.
810Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap, within a fortnight?
Duke. What is the matter sir?
Lear. Ile tell thee, life and death! I am sham'd that thou hast
815power to shake my man-hood thus, that these hot teares that
breake from me perforce, should make the worst blasts and fogs
vpon the vntender woundings of a fathers curse, peruse euery
820sence about the olde fond eies, be-weepe this cause againe, ile
plucke you out, and you can cast with the waters that you make to
temper clay, yea, is it come to this? yet haue I left a daughter,
825whom I am sure is kinde and comfortable, when she shall heare
this of thee, with her nailes shee'l fley thy woluish visage, thou
shalt finde that ile resume the shape, which thou doest thinke I
haue cast off for euer, thou shalt I warrant thee.
830Gon. Do you marke that my Lord?
Duke. I cannot be so partiall Gonorill to the great loue I beare
Gon. Come sir, no more ; you, more knaue then foole, after your
835Foole. Nuncle Lear, Nuncle Lear, tarry and take the foole with
a fox when one has caught her, and such a daughter, should sure
to the slaughter, if my cap would buy a halter, so the foole fol-
lowes after.
Gon. What Oswald, ho.
848.1Oswald. Heere 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 adde such reasons of your
owne, as may compact it more, get you gone, and after your re-
turne -------- now my Lord, this mildie gentlenesse and course of
865yours though I dislike not, yet vnder pardon y'are much more a-
lapt want of wisedome, then praise for harmfull mildnesse.
Duke. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell,
870Striuing to better ought, we marre what's well.
Gon. Nay then -------
Duke. Well, well, the euent.
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.
Enter Bastard, and Curan meetes him.
Bast. Saue thee Curan.
Curan. And you sir, I haue beene with your father, and giuen
930him notice, that the Duke of Cornwall and his Dutchesse will be
here with him to night.
Bast. How comes that?
Curan. Nay I know not, you haue heard of the newes abroad,
935I meane the whisperd ones, for there are yet but eare-bussing ar-
Bast. Not, I pray you what are they?
Curan. You may then in time, fare you well sir.
Bast. The Duke be here to night! the better best, this weaues
it selfe perforce into my businesse, my father hath set guard to
945take my brother, & I haue one thing of a quesie question, which
Enter Edgar.
must aske breefenesse and fortune helpe; brother a word, dis-
cend brorher I say, my father watches, O flie this place, inte[l]li-
gence is giuen where you are hid, you haue now the good ad-
uantage of the night, haue you not spoken against the Duke of
Cornwall ought, hee's coming hether now in the night , it'h haste,
955and Regan with him, haue you nothing saide vpon his party a-
gainst the Duke of Albaney, aduise your --------
Edg. I am sure on't not a word.
Bastard. I heare my father comming, pardon me in crauing, I
960must draw my sword vpon you, seeme to defend your selfe, now
quit you well, yeeld, come before my father, light heere heere,
flie brother flie, torches, torches, so farwell; some bloud drawne
on me would beget opinion of my more fierce endeuor, I haue
seene drunkards do more then this in sport; father, father, stop,
stop, no helpe?
Enter Glocester.
Glost. Now Edmund, where's the villaine?
Bast. Heere stood he in the darke, his sharpe sword out, warb-
ling of wicked charmes, coniuring the Moone to stand his auspi-
cious Mistris.
975Glost. But 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 tolde 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, seeing how loth-
985ly opposite I stood to his vnnaturall purpose, with fell motion
with his prepared sword, he charges home my vnprouided bo-
dy, launcht mine arme; but when he saw my best alarumd spirits
990bold in the quarrels right, rouzd to the encounter, or whether
gasted by the noise I made, but sodainly he fled.
Glost. Let him flie farre, not in this Land shall he remaine vn-
caught and found; dispatch, the Noble Duke my master, my
worthy Arch and Patron comes to night, by his authority I will
proclaime it, that he which findes him shall deserue our thankes,
bringing the murderous caytiffe to the stake, he that conceales
1000him, death.
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent, and found him
pight to do it, with curst speech I threatned to discouer him; he
replied, Thou vnpossessing bastard, dost thou thinke, if I would
1005stand against thee, could the reposure of any trust, vertue, or
worth in thee make thy words faith'd? no: what I should deny,
as this I would, I, thogh thou didst produce my very character,
ide turne it all to 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 fastened villaine, would he deny 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 me that: besides, his picture I wil send far and neere,
1020that all the kingdome may haue note of him, and of my land,
(loyall and naturall boy) ile worke the meanes to make thee ca-
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 crakt, is crakt.
1030Reg. What, did my fathers godson seeke your life? he whom
my father named your Edgar
Glost. I Lady, Lady, 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 these ------- and waste of this 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, I heard that you haue
1045shewne your father a child-like office.
Bast. Twas my duty 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 owne purpose how in my strength you please;
for you Edmund, whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
so much commend it selfe, you shall be ours, natures of such deep
trust, we shall much need, you we first seize on.
Bast. I shall serue you truely, how euer else.
1060Glost. For him I thanke your Grace.
Duke. You know not why we came to visite you?
Regan. Thus out of season, threatning darke eide night,
Occasions noble Glocester of some prize,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduice,
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 your needfull counsell
1070To our businesse, which craues the instant vse.
Glo. I serue you Madam, your Graces are right welcome.
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
1105you 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.
Enter Edgar.
Edgar, I heare my selfe proclaim'd,
And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
Escapt the hunt, no Port is free, no place
1255That guard, and most vnusall 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 neere to beast; my face ile grime with filth,
Blanket my loines, else all my haire with knots,
And with presented nakednes out-face
The winde, and persecution of the skie,
The Country giues me proofe and president
1265Of Bedlam beggers, who with roring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare Armes,
Pins, wooden prickes, nailes, sprigs of rosemary,
And with this horrible obiect from low seruice,
Poore pelting villages, sheep-coates, and milles,
1270Sometime with lunaticke bans, sometime with praiers
Enforce their charity, poore Turlygod, poore Tom,
That's something yet, Edgar I nothing am.
Enter King, and a Knight.
Lear. Tis strange that they should so depart from hence,
1275And not send backe my messenger.
Knight. As I learn'd, the night before there was
No purpose of his remoue.
Kent. Haile to thee noble Master.
1280Lear. How, mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
Foole. Ha, ha, looke, he weares crewell garters,
Horses are tide by the heeles, dogs and beares
By the necke, munkies by the loines, and men
By the legs, when a man's ouer-lusty at legs,
1285[T]hen he weares wooden neather-stockes.
Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistooke to set
thee here?
Kent. It is both he and she, your sonne and daughter.
Lear. No.
Kent. Yes.
Lear. No I say.
Kent. I say yea.
1294.1Lear. No, no, they would not.
Kent. Yes they haue.
1295Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no, they durst not do it,
They would not, could not do it, tis worse then murder,
To do vpon respect such violent out-rage,
1300Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
Thou maist deserue, or they purpose this vsage,
Comming from vs.
Kent. My Lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them,
1305Ere I was risen from the place that shewed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking Poste,
Stewd in his haste, halfe breathlesse, panting forth
From Gonorill his Mistris, salutations,
Deliuered letters spite of intermission,
1310Which presently they read; on whose contents
They summoned vp their men, straight tooke horse,
Commanded me to follow, and attend the leisure
Of their answer, gaue me cold lookes,
And meeting heere the other Messenger,
1315Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poisoned mine,
Being the very fellow that of late
Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
Hauing more man then wit about me, drew;
He raised the house with loud and coward cries,
1320Your sonne and daughter found this trespasse worth
This shame which here it suffers.
Lear. O how this mother swels vp toward my heart,
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 offence then what you speake of?
1335Kent. No, how chance the King comes with so small a traine?
Foole. If thou hadst beene set in the stockes for that question,
thou hadst well deserued it.
Kent. Why foole?
1340Foole. Wee'l 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 blinde men, and there's not a nose among a hun-
dred, but can smell him that's stincking; let goe thy hold when
a great wheele runs downe a hill, least it breake thy necke with
1345following it, but the great one that goes vp the hil, let him draw
thee after, when a wise man giues thee better counsell, giue mee
mine againe, I would haue none but knaues follow it, since a
foole giues it.
That Sir that serues for gaine,
And followes but for forme;
Will packe when it begins to raine,
And leaue thee in the storme.
But I will tarry, the foole will stay,
1355And let the wise man flie:
The knaue turnes foole that runnes away,
The foole no knaue perdy.
Kent. Where learnt you this foole?
Foole. Not in the stockes.
Enter Lear and Glocester.
Lear. Deny to speake with me? th'are sicke, th'are weary,
They traueld hard to night, meare Iustice,
I the images of reuolt and flying off,
1365Fetch me a better answer.
Glost. My deare Lord, you know the fiery quality of the Duke,
how vnremoueable and fixt he is in his owne course.
1370Lear. Veangeance, death, plague, confusion, what fiery quali-
ty; why Glocester,Glocester, ide speake with the Duke of Corne-
wall, and his wife.
1375Glost. I my good Lord.
Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall, the deare father
Would with his daughter speake, commands her seruice,
1380Fiery Duke, tell the hot Duke that Lear,
No but not yet, may be he is not well,
Infirmity doth still neglect all office, where to our health
Is bound, we are not our selues, when nature being opprest,
Commands the minde to suffer with the body; ile forbeare,
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit, for the sound man.
Death on my state, wherefore should he sit here?
This acte perswades me, that this remotion of the Duke & her
Is practice, onely giue me my seruant foorth;
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 beate 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 Cockney did to the Eeles,
when she put them vp i'th paste aliue, she rapt vm ath coxcombs
1400with a sticke, and cryed downe wantons, downe; twas her bro-
ther, that in pure kindnesse to his horse, butterd his hay.
Enter Duke and Regan.
Lear. Good morrow to you both.
1405Duke. Haile to your Grace.
Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse.
Lear. Regan, I thinke you are, I know what reason
I haue to thinke so; if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would diuorce me from thy mothers toombe,
1410Sepulchring an adulteresse, yea, are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
Thy sister is naught, ô Regan she hath tied
Sharpe tooth'd vnkindnesse, like a vulture heere.
I can scarse speake to thee, thou't not beleeue,
1415Of how depriued a quality, O Regan.
Reg. I pray sir take patience, I haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert,
Then she to slacke her duty.
1425Lear. My curses on her.
Reg. O sir, you are olde,
Nature on you stands on the very verge of her Confine,
You should be ruled and led by some discretion,
That discernes your state better then you your selfe,
1430Therefore I pray, that to our sister you do make returne,
Say you haue wrongd her sir.
Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse,
Do you marke how this becomes the house?
1435Deare daughter, I confesse that I am old,
Age is vnnecessary, 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 backe vpon me, stroke me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like vpon the very heart,
All the stor'd vengeances of heauen fall on her ingratefull top,
1445Strike her young bones, you taking aires with lamnesse.
Duke. Fie, fie sir.
Lear. You nimble lightnings dart your blinding flames
Into her scornfull eies, infect her beauty,
1450You Fen suckt fogs, drawne by the powerfull 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 tender hested nature shall not giue thee ore
To harshnes, her eies are fierce, but thine do comfort & not burn
Tis not in thee to grudge my pleasures, to cut off my traine,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
1460And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my comming 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 endowed.
Reg. Good sir to the 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 he followes,
Out varlet, from my sight.
1475Duke. What meanes your Grace?
Enter Gonorill.
Gon. Who strucke my seruant? Regan, I haue good hope
Thou didst not know ant.
Lear. Who comes here? O heauens!
1480If you do loue olde men, if you sweet sway alow
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?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
And dotage tearmes so.
Lear. O sides, you are too tough,
Will you yet hold? how came my man i'th stockes?
Duke. I set him there, 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 soiourne with my sister,
Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
I am now from home, and out of that prouision
Which shall be needfull for your entertainment.
1500Lear. Returne to her, and fifty men dismist?
No, rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
To wage against the enmity of the ayre,
To be a Comrade with the Wolfe and Owle,
Necessities sharpe pinch, returne with her:
1505Why the hot blood in France, that dowerles
Tooke our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
To knee his Throne, and Squire-like pension beg,
To keepe base life afoote; returne with her?
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
1510To this detested groome.
Gon. At your choise sir.
Lear. Now I prethee daughter do not make me mad,
I will not trouble thee my childe, farwell,
Wee'l 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 byle
A plague sore, an imbossed carbuncle in my
Corrupted bloud, but Ile not chide thee,
1520Let shame come when it will, I do not call it,
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoote,
Nor tell tales of thee to high iudging Ioue,
Mend when thou canst, be better at thy leisure,
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 to my sister, for those
That mingle r[ea]son with your passion,
1530Must be content to thinke you are old, and so,
But she knowes what she does.
Lear. Is this well spoken now?
Reg. I dare auouch it sir, what fifty 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 amity, tis hard, almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you my Lord receiue attendance
1540From those that she cals seruants, or from mine?
Reg. Why not my Lord? if then they chancst to slacke you,
We could controle them; if you will come to me,
(For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
1545To bring but fiue and twenty 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 twenty, Regan, said you so?
Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do seeme well-fauour'd
1555When others are more wicked, not being the worst,
Stands in some ranke of praise, Ile go with thee,
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
And thou art twice her loue.
Gon. Heare me my Lord;
1560What need you fiue and twenty, ten, or fiue,
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Haue a command to tend you?
Regan. What needs one?
Lear. O reason not the deed, our basest beggers
1565Are in the poorest thing superfluous,
Allow not nature more then nature needs,
Mans life's as cheap as beasts; thou art a Lady,
If onely to go warme were gorgious,
Why nature needs not what thou gorgious wearest,
1570Which scarsely keepes thee warme, but for true need,
You heauens giue me that patience, patience I need,
You see me heere (you Gods) a poore olde 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 too much,
To beare it lamely, touch me with noble anger,
O let not womens weapons, water drops
Staine my mans cheekes, no you vnnaturall hags,
I will haue such reuenges on you both,
1580That all the world shall -------- I will do such things,
What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be
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 thousand flowes
Ere ile weepe; ô foole, I shall go mad.
Exuent Lear, Glocester, 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 owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.
Reg. For his particular, ile receiue him gladly,
But not one follower.
Duke. So am I purposd, where is my Lord of Glocester
Enter Glocester.
Reg. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.
Glo. The King is in high rage, and will I know not whether.
Reg. Tis good to giue him way, he leads himselfe.
Gon. My Lord, entreate him by no meanes to stay.
Glo. Alacke, the night comes on, and the bleake windes
Do sorely ruffell, for many miles about there's not a bush.
Reg. O sir, to wilfull men,
The iniuries that they themselues procure,
Must be their schoole-masters, shut vp your doores,
He is attended with a desperate traine,
1610And what they may incense him too, being apt,
To haue his eare abused, wisedome bids feare.
Duke. Shut vp your doores my Lord, tis a wilde night,
My Regan counsels well, come out ath storme.
Exuent omnes.
Enter Kent and a Gentleman at seuerall doores.
Kent. What's heere beside foule weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most vnquietly.
Kent. I know you, where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull Element,
1620Bids the winde blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters boue the maine,
That things might change or cease, teares his white haire,
1622.1Which the impetuous blasts with eielesse rage
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of,
Striues in his little world of man to out-scorne,
The too and fro conflicting winde and raine,
1622.5This night wherein 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 do 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.
1638.1But true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatterd kingdom, who already wise in our negligence
Haue secret fee in some of our best Ports,
And are at point to shew their open banner,
1638.5Now to you, if on my credite you dare build so farre,
To make your speed to Douer, you shall finde
Some that will thanke you, making iust report
Of how vnnaturall and bemadding sorrow
The King hath cause to plaine;
1638.10I 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 do not,
For confirmation that I much more
Then my outwall, open this purse and take
What it containes, if you shall see Cordelia,
As doubt not but you shall, shew her this ring,
1645And she will tell you who your fellow is,
That yet you do 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.
Enter Lear and Foole.
Lear. Blow winde and cracke your cheekes, rage, blow
You carterickes, and Hircanios spout till you haue drencht
The steeples, drownd the cockes, you sulpherous and
Thought executing fires, vaunt-currers to
1660Oke-cleauing thunder-bolts, sing my white head,
And thou all shaking thunder, smite flat
The thicke rotundity of the world, cracke natures
Mold, all Germains spill at once that make
Ingratefull man.
1665Foole. O Nunckle, Court holy water in a dry house
Is better then this raine water out a doore,
Good Nunckle in, and aske thy daughters blessing,
Here's a night pitties neyther wise man nor foole.
Lear. Rumble thy belly full, spit fire, spout raine,
1670Nor raine, winde, thunder, fire, are my daughters,
I taske not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse,
I neuer gaue you kingdome, cald you children,
You owe me no subscription; why then let fall your horrible
Pleasure, here I stand your slaue, a poore, infirme, weake, and
1675Despised old man, but yet I call you seruile
Ministers, that haue with two pernitious daughters ioyn'd
Your high engendered battell gainst a head so old and white
As this, O tis foule.
1680Foole. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-
peece, the codpeece that will house before the head, has any the
head and he shall lowse, so beggers marry many, the man that
makes his toe, what he his heart should make, shall haue a corne
1685cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake, for there was neuer yet
faire woman, but she made mouthes in a glasse.
Lear. No, I will be the patterne of all patience,
1690I will say nothing.
Enter Kent.
Kent. Who's there?
Foole. Marry heere's grace and a codpis, that's a wiseman and
a foole.
Kent. Alasse sir, sit you heere?
Things that loue night, loue not such nights as these;
1695The wrathfull Skies gallow the very wanderer of the
Darke, and makes them keepe their caues,
Since I was man, such sheetes of fire,
Such bursts of horrid thunder, such grones of
Roring winde and raine, I nere remember
1700To haue heard, mans nature cannot carry
The affliction, nor the force.
Lear. Let the great Gods that keepe this dreadfull
Thundring ore our heads, finde out their enemies now,
Tremble thou wretch that hast within thee
1705Vndivulged crimes, vnwhipt of Iustice,
Hide thee thou bloudy hand, thou periur'd, and
Thou simular man of vertue that art incestious,
Caytiffe in peeces shake, that vnder couert
And conuenient seeming, hast practised on mans life,
1710Close 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, gracious my Lord, hard by here is
1715a houell, some friendship will it lend 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 demanding after
me, denide me to come in, returne and force their scanted curte-
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 vilde things precious, come you houell poore,
Foole and knaue, I haue one part of my heart
That sorrowes yet for thee.
Foole. He that has a little tine wit, with hey ho the winde and
1730the 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 Glocester, and the Bastard with lights.
Glost. Alacke, alacke, Edmund I like not this
Vnnaturall dealing, when I desired their leaue
That I might pitty him, they tooke from me
1755The vse of mine owne house, chargd me on paine
Of their displeasure, neither to speake of him,
Entreate for him, nor any way sustaine him.
Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall.
Glost. Go too, say you nothing, there's a diuision betwixt the
1760And 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;
There's part of a power already landed,
We must incline to the King, I will seeke him,
1765And priuily releeue him; go you and maintaine talke
With the Duke, that my charity be not of him
Perceiued; if he aske for me, I am ill, and gone
To bed, though I die for it, as no lesse is threatned me,
The King my old Master must be releeued, there is
Some strange thing toward, Edmund, pray you be carefull.
Bast. This courtesie forbid thee, shall the Duke instantly know,
And of that letter to, this seemes a faire deseruing,
And must draw to me that which my father loses, no lesse
Then all, then yonger rises when the old do fall.
Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.
Kent. Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter, the tir-
rany of the open night's too ruffe for nature to endure.
Lear. Let me alone.
Kent. Good my Lord enter.
Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
Kent. I had rather breake mine owne, good my Lord enter.
Lear. Thou thinkst tis much, that this crulentious storme
Inuades vs to the skin, so tis to thee,
But where the greater malady is fixt,
The lesser is scarse felt, thou wouldst shun a Beare,
1790But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thoud'st meete the beare it'h mouth, when the mind's free,
The bodies delicate, the tempest in my minde;
Doth from my sences take all feeling else,
Saue what beares their filiall ingratitude,
1795Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food to it? but I will punish sure;
No I will weepe no more; in such a night as this!
O Regan, Gonorill, your old kinde father
1800Whose franke heart gaue you all, O that way madnesse lies,
Let me shunne that, no more of that.
Kent. Good my lord enter.
Lear. Prethee go in thy selfe, seeke thy owne ease,
1805This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me more, but Ile go in,
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
1810That bide the pelting of this pittilesse night,
How shall your house-lesse heads, and vnfed sides,
Your loopt and windowed raggednesse 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 maist shake the superflux to them,
And shew the heauens more iust.
1820Foole. Come not in here Nunckle, here's a spirit, helpe me, help
Kent. Giue me thy hand, who's there?
Foole. A spirit, he sayes his name is poore Tom.
1825Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there in the straw?
come foorth.
Edg. Away, the foule fiend followes me, through the sharpe
hathorne blowes the cold winde, goe to thy cold bed & warme
1830Lear. Hast thou giuen all to thy two daughters, and art thou
come to this?
Edg. Who giues any thing to poore Tom, whom the foule
fiend hath led through fire, and throgh foord, and whirli-poole,
ore bog and quagmire, that has laide kniues vnder his pillow, &
1835halters in his pue, set ratsbane by his pottage, made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse ouer foure incht bridg-
es, to course his owne shadow for a traitor, blesse thy fiue wits,
Toms a cold, blesse thee from whirl-windes, starre-blusting, &
1840taking, do poore Tom some charity, whom the foule fiend vexes,
there could I haue him now, and there, and there againe.
Lear. What, his daughters brought him to this passe,
1845Couldst thou saue nothing? didst thou giue them all?
Foole. Nay he reserued a blanket, else wee had beene all sha-
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 traitor, nothing could haue subdued nature
To such a lownesse, but his vnkinde 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 heed of the foule fiend, obey thy parents, keepe 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 seruing man, proud in heart and minde, that curlde my
haire, wore gloues in my cap, serued the lust of my mistris heart,
and did the acte of darknesse with her, swore as many oaths as I
spake words, and broke them in the sweete face of heauen, one
that slept in the contriuing of lust, and wak't to do it, wine lo-
1870ued I deepely, dice dearely, and in woman, out paramord the
Turke, false of heart, light of eare, bloudy of hand, hog in sloth,
Fox in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog in madnesse, Lyon in
prey, let not the creeking of shooes, nor the ruslings of silkes
1875betray 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 colde
winde, hay no on ny, Dolphin my boy, my boy, cease let him trot
Lear. Why thou wert better in thy graue, then to answer with
thy vncouered body this extremity of the skies; is man no more
but this? consider him well, thou owest the worme no silke, the
beast no hide, the sheep no wooll, the cat no perfume, he'rs three
1885ones are sophisticated, thou art the thing it selfe, vnaccomoda-
ted man is no more but such a poore bare forked Animal as thou
art, off, off you leadings, come on be true.
Foole. Prithee Nunckle be content, this is a naughty night to
swim in, now a little fire in a wilde field, were like an old lechers
heart, a small sparke, all the rest in body colde, looke here comes
a walking fire.
Enter Glocester.
1895Edg. This is the foule fiend Sirberdegibit, he begins at curfue,
and walks till the first cocke, he gins the web, the pinqueuer the
eye, and makes the hart lip, mildewes the white wheate, & hurts
the poore creature of earth, swithald footed thrice the olde anel-
thu night Moore and her nine fold bid her, O light and her troth
plight and arint thee, with arint thee.
Kent. How fares your Grace?
1905Lear. What's he?
Kent. Whose there? what ist you seeke?
Glost. What are you there? your names.
Edg. Poore Tom, that eates the swimming frog, the toade, the
toade pold, the wall-wort, and the water, that in the fruite of his
1910heart, when the foule fiend rages,
1910Eates cowdung for sallets, swallowes the old rat, and the ditch-
dog, drinkes the greene mantle of the standing poole, who is
whipt from tything to tything, and stock-punisht and impriso-
ned, who hath had three sutes to his backe, fixe shirts to his bo-
dy, horse to ride, and weapon to weare.
But Mice and Rats, and such small Deere,
Hath beene Toms food for seuen long yeare.
Beware my follower, peace snulbug, peace thou fiend.
1920Glost, What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The Prince of darknes is a Gentleman, modo hee's called,
and ma hu --------
Glost. Our flesh and bloud is growne so vilde my Lord, that it
doth hate what gets it.
1925Edg. Poore Toms a colde.
Glost. Go in with me, my duty cannot suffer to obey in al your
daughters hard commands, though their iniunction be to barre
my doores, and let this tyranous night take hold vpon you, yet
1930haue I venter'd to come seeke you out, and bring you where
both food and fire is ready.
Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher;
What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. My good Lord take his offer, go into the house.
Lear. Ile talke a word with this most learned Theban; wha[t]
is your study?
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 to vn-
Glost. Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seeke his death. O that good Kent,
He said it would be thus, poore banisht man,
1945Thou saist the King growes mad, ile tell thee friend,
I am almost mad my selfe; I had a sonne
Now out-lawed from my bloud, he sought my life
But lately, very late, I lou'd him friend,
No father his sonne dearer, truth to tell thee,
1950The greefe has craz'd my wits.
What a night's this? I do beseech your Grace.
Lear. O cry you mercy noble Philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's a cold.
1955Glost. In fellow there, into th'houell, keepe thee warme.
Lear. Come, let's in all.
Kent. This way my Lord.
Lear. With him I will keepe still, with my Philosopher.
1960Kent. Good my Lord sooth him, let him take the fellow.
Glost. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirra come on, go along with vs.
Lear. Come good Athenian.
1965Glost. No words, no words, hush.
Edg. Childe Rowland, to the darke towne come,
His word was still fye, fo, and fum,
I smell the bloud of a British man.
Enter Cornwall 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 loyalty, some-thing feares me to thinke of.
1975Corn. I now preceiue it was not altogether your brothers euil
disposition made him seeke his death, but a prouoking merit, set
a worke by a reproueable badnesse in himselfe.
Bast. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to bee
1980iust? this is the Letter he spoke off, which approues him an in-
telligent partie to the aduantages of France, O heauens, that his
treason were, or not I the detecter.
Corn. Go with me to the Dutches.
1985Bast. If the matter of this paper be certaine, you haue mighty
businesse in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earle of Glocester, seeke
out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehen-
1990Bast. If I finde him comforting the King, it will stuffe his sus-
pition more fully, I will perseuere in my course of loyalty, thogh
the conflict be sore betweene that and my bloud.
Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee, and thou shalt finde a dearer
1995father in my loue.
Enter Glocester, 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 can, I will not
2000be long from you.
Kent. All the power of his wits haue giuen way to impatience,
the Gods deserue your kindnesse.
Edg. Fretereto cals me, and tels me Nero is an angler in the lake
2005of darknesse, pray innocent beware the foule fiend.
Foole. Prethee Nunckle tell me, whether a mad man may bee a
Gentleman or a Yeoman.
Lear. A King, a King, to haue a thousand with red burning
spits come hissing in vpon them.
2014.1Edg. The foule fiend bites my backe.
Foole. Hee's mad that trusts in the tamenesse of a Wolfe, a
horses health, a boyes loue, or a whores oath.
Lear. It shall be done, I will arraigne them straight,
2014.5Come sit thou heere most learned Iustice,
Thou sapient sir, sit heere now you shee Foxes ---------
Edg. Looke where he stands and glars, wantst thou eies at tri-
all madam, come ore the broome Bessy to me.
Foole. Her boat hath a leake, and she must not speak,
2014.10Why she dares not come ouer to thee.
Edg. The foule fiend haunts poore Tom in the voyce of a night-
ingale, Hoppedance cried in Toms belly for two white herring,
Croke not blacke Angell, I haue no food for thee.
Kent. How do you sir? stand you not so amaz'd, will you lie
2014.15downe and rest vpon the Cushions?
Lear. Ile see their triall first, bring in their euidence, thou rob-
bed man of iustice take thy place, & thou his yoke-fellow of e-
quity, bench by his side, you are o'th commission, sit you too.
Ed. Let vs deale iustly, sleepest or wakest thou iolly shepheard,
2014.20Thy 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. Arraignne her first, tis Gonorill, I here take my oath before
this honourable assembly she kickt the poore King her father.
Foole. Come hither Mistresse, is your name Gonorill.
2014.25Lear. She cannot deny it.
Foole. Cry you mercy, I tooke you for a ioynt stoole.
Lear. And heres another whose warpt lookes proclaime
What store her heart is made an, stop her there,
Armes, armes, sword, fire, corruption in the place,
2014.30False Iusticer, why hast thou let her scape?
2015Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits.
Kent. O pitty sir, where is the patience now,
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine.
Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much,
They'l marre my counterfeting.
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 poisons if it bite,
2025Mastiue, Gray-hound, Mungrel, Grim-hound, or Spaniell, Brach
or Him, Bobtailetike, or Trundle-taile, Tom will make them
weepe and waile. For with throwing thus my head, dogs leape
2030the 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 makes this hardnesse;
2035You sir, I entertaine you for one of my hundred,
Onely I do not like the fashion of your garment; you'l say
They are Persian attire, but let them be changed.
2040Kent. Now my good my Lord lie here a while.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise, draw the Curtaines, so,
so, so, wee'l go to supper in the morning, so, so, so.
Enter Glocester.
Glost. Come hither friend, where is the King my master?
Kent. Here sir, but trouble him not, his wits are gone.
Glost. Good friend, I prethee take him in thy armes,
I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him,
There is a Litter ready, lay him in it, and driue towards Douer,
2050Where thou shalt meete both welcome and protection; take vp
thy master,
If thou shouldst dally halfe an houre, his life with thine,
And all that offer to defend him, stand in assured losse,
Take vp to keepe, and follow me that will to some prouisio[n]
Giue thee quicke conduct.
2056.1Kent. Oppressed nature sleepes,
This rest might yet haue balmed thy broken sinewes,
Which if conuenience will not allow, stand in hard cure,
Come helpe to beare thy Master, thou must not stay behinde.
2056.5Glost. Come, come, away.
Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarsely thinke our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers, most i'th minde,
Leauing free things and happy showes behinde,
2056.10But then the minde much sufferance doth ore-skip,
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 fatherd, Tom away,
2056.15Marke the high noises, 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, Regan, Gonorill, and Bastard.
2060Corn. Poste speedily to my Lord your husband, shew him this
The army of France is landed, seeke out the villaine Glocester.
Reg. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Plucke out his eyes.
2065Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure, Edmund keepe you our si-
ster company. The reuenge we are bound to take vpon your trai-
terous father, are not fit for your beholding, aduise the Duke
where you are going to a most festuant preparation, wee are
bound to the like.
Our poste shall be swift and intelligence betwixt vs;
2070Farwell deare sister, farwell my Lord of Glocester.
How now, wheres the King?
Enter Steward.
Stew. My Lord of Glocester hath conueyed him hence,
2075Some fiue or sixe and thirty 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 misttris.
Gon. Farwell sweet Lord and sister.
Exit Gon. and Bast.
Corn. Edmund farwell: go seeke the traitor Glocester,
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 do a curtesie to our wrath, which men may blame
But not controle; who's there, the traitor?
Enter Glocester, brought in by two or three.
2090Reg. Ingratefull Fox tis he.
Corn. Binde fast his corky armes.
Glost. What meanes your Graces, good my friends consider,
You are my guests, do me no foule play friends.
2095Corn. Binde him I say.
Reg. Hard, hard, O filthy traitor!
Glost. Vnmercifull Lady as you are, I am true.
Corn. To this chaire binde him, villaine thou shalt find -----
2100Glost. By the kinde Gods tis mosst ignobly done, to plucke me
by the beard.
Reg. So white, and such a Traitor.
Glost. Naughty Lady, these haires which thou dost rauish frõ
2105Will quicken and accuse thee, I am your host:
With robbers hands, my hospitable fauours
You should not ruffell thus, what will you do?
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 traitors lately
footed in the kingdome?
Reg. To whose hands haue you sent the lunaticke king, speak?
2115Glost. I haue a letter guessingly set downe,
Which came from one that's of a neutrall heart,
And not from one opposed.
Corn. Cunning.
Reg. And false.
2120Corn. 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 answer 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
Plucke 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 endur'd, would haue laid vp
And quencht the steeled fires, yet poore old heart,
He 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. See't shalt thou neuer, fellowes hold the chaire,
2140Vpon those eies of thine, lle set my foote.
Glost. He that will thinke to liue till he be old -----
Giue me some helpe, ô cruell, ô 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 you euer since I was a childe,
But better seruice haue I neuer done you, then now to bid you
Reg. How now you dog.
2150Ser. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin, ide shake it on
this quarrell, what do you meane?
Corn. My villaine.
Draw and fight.
Ser. Why then come on, and take the chance of anger.
Reg. Giue me thy sword, a pesant stand vp thus.
She takes a sword, and runs at him behinde.
Seruant. Oh I am slaine my Lord, yet haue you one eye left to
see some mischiefe on him, oh!
He dies.
Corn. Least it see more, preuent it, out vilde Ielly,
Where is thy luster now?
2160Glost. All darke and comfortles, wheres my sonne Edmund?
Edmund vnbridle all the sparkes of nature, to quit this horrid
Reg. Out villaine, thou calst on him that hates thee, it was hee
that made the ouerture of thy treasons to vs, who is too good to
pitty thee.
Glost. O my follies, then Edgar was abused,
Kinde 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 receiued a hurt, follow me Lady,
Turne out that eyelesse villaine, throw this slaue vpon
2175The dunghill, Regan I bleed apace, vntimely
Comes this hurt, giue me your arme.
2176.1Seruant. Ile neuer care what wickednesse I do,
If this man come to good.
2.Seruant. If she liue long, and in the end meet the old course
of death, women will all turne monsters.
2177.51.Ser. Let's follow the old Earle, and get the bedlam
To lead him where he would, his rogish madnesse
Allowes 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.
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
2248.5And 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.
Enter Gonorill and Bastard.
Gon. Welcome my Lord, I maruaile our milde husband
Not met vs on the way: now, where's your Master?
Enter Steward.
2270Stew. Madame within, but neuer man so chang'd; I tolde him
of the Army that was landed, he smiled at it, I told him you were
coming, his answer was, the worse; of Glosters treachery, and of
2275the loyall seruice of his sonne, when I enformd him, then he cald
2275me sot, and told me I had turnd the wrong side out, what hee
should most desire, seemes pleasant to him, what like offensiue.
Gon. Then shall you go no further.
2280It is the cowish curre of his spirit
That dares not vndertake, heel not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer, our wishes on the way
May proue effects, backe Edmund 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 venter in your owne behalfe
A mistresses coward, weare this spare speech,
2290Decline your head: this kisse if it durst speake,
Would strech thy spirits vp into the ayre;
Conceiue, and faryewell.
Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.
Gon. My most deare Gloster, to thee womans seruices are due,
My foote vsurpes my head.
Stew. Madame, heere comes my Lord.
Exit Steward.
2300Gon. I haue bene worth the whistle.
Enter the Duke of Albeney.
Alb. O Gonorill, you are not worth the dust which the winde
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,
2303.5And come to deadly vse.
Gon. No more, the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisedome and goodnesse to the vilde seeme vilde,
Filths sauour but themselues, what haue you done?
Tygers, not daughters, what haue you perform'd?
2303.10A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reuerence the head-lugd Beare would licke;
Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded;
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a Prince, by him so beneflicted,
2303.15If that the heauens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly downe to tame the vilde offences, it will come
Humanly must perforce prey on it selfe, like monsters of the
Gon. Milke liuer'd man,
2305That bearest a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eie deseruing thine honour,
From thy suffering, that not know'st fooles, do these villains pity
2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
Where's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noiselesse
Land, with plumed helme thy slaier begins threats,
Whiles thou a morall foole, sits still and cries
2307.5Alacke, why does he so?
Alb. See thy selfe diuell, proper deformiry seemes not in the
fiend, so horrid as in woman.
Gon. O vaine foole.
2311.1Alb. Thou chang'd and selfe-couerd thing, for shame
Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnesse
To let these hands obey my bloud,
They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
2311.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
A womans shape doth shield thee.
Gon. Marry your man-hood now -------
Enter a Gentleman.
Alb. What newes?
Gent. O my good Lord, the Duke of Cornwalls dead, slaine by
his seruant, going to put out the other eie of Gloster.
Alb. Glosters eyes?
Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
Oppos'd against the acte, bending his sword
To his great master, who thereat enraged,
2320Flew on him, and amongst them feld him dead,
But not without that harmfull stroke,
Which since hath pluckt him after.
Alb. This shewes you are aboue your Iustices,
That these our neather crimes so speedily can venge.
2325But oh poore Glocester, lost he his other eye?
Gent. Both, both my Lord, this letter Madam, craues a speedy
Answer, tis from your sister.
2330Gon. One way I like this well,
But being widow, and my Glocester with her,
May all the building on my fancy plucke,
Vpon my hatefull life, another way the newes is not so tooke,
Ile reade and answer.
2335Alb. Where was his sonne when they did take his eies?
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 inform'd against him,
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might haue the freer course.
Alb. Glocester, I liue to thanke thee for the loue
2345Thou shewedst the King, and to reuenge thy eyes;
Come hether friend, tell me what more thou knowest.
Enter Kent and a Gentleman.
Kent. Why the King of France is so suddenly gone backe,
Know you the reason?
Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his
2347.5comming foorth is thought of, which imports to the Kingdom,
so much feare and danger that his personall returne was most re-
quired and necessary.
Kent. Who hath he left behinde him, Generall?
Gent. The Marshall of France, Mounsieur la Far.
2347.10Kent. Did your letters pierce the Queene to any demonstrati-
on of griefe?
Gent. I say she tooke them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample teare trild downe
Her delicate cheeke, it seemd she was a Queene ore her passion,
Who most rebell-like, sought to be King ore her.
2347.15Kent. O then it moued her.
Gent. Not to a rage, patience and sorrow 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 happy smilets
2347.20That plaid on her ripe lip, seeme not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearles from Diamonds dropt; in briefe,
Sorrow would be a rarity most beloued,
If all could so become it.
2347.25Kent. Made she no verball question?
Gent. Faith once or twice she heau'd the name of father
Pantingly foorth, as if it prest her heart,
Cried sisters, sisters, shame of Ladies sisters;
Kent. Father, sisters, what ith-storme ith night?
2347.30Let pitty not be beleeu'd, there she shooke
The holy water from her heauenly eyes,
And clamour moistened her, then away she started,
To deale with griefe alone.
Kent, It is the stars, the stars aboue vs gouern our conditions,
2347.35Else one selfe mate and mate 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,
2347.40Who sometime 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 elbowes him, his own vnkindnes
That stript her from his benediction, turnd her
2347.45To forraine casualties, gaue her deare rights
To his dog-hearted daughters; these things sting his minde
So venomously, that burning shame detaines him from Cordelia.
Gent. Alacke poore Gentleman.
Kent. Of Albanies and Cornwals powers you heard not?
2347.50Gent. Tis so they are afoote.
Kent. Well sir, ile bring you to our master Lear,
And leaue you to attend him, some deare cause
VVill in concealement wrap me vp a while,
VVhen I am knowne aright you shall not greeue,
2347.55Lending me this acquaintance, I pray you go along with me.
Enter Cordelia, Doctor, and others.
Cor. Alacke tis he, why he was euen now,
As mad as the vent sea, singing aloud,
Crownd with ranke femiter and furrow weeds,
VVith hor-docks, hemlocke, nettles, coockow-flowers,
2355Darnell and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining, Corne, a century is sent foorth,
Search euery acre in the high growne field,
And bring him to our eye, what can mans wisedome do
In the restoring his bereaued 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 aidant and remediat
In the good mans distresse, seeke, seeke for him,
2370Least his vngouernd rage dissolue the life,
That wants the meanes to leade it.
Enter a Messenger.
Messen. Newes Madam, the British powers are marching he-
2375Cord. Tis knowne before, our preparation stands
In expectation of them, ô deare Father,
It is thy businesse that I go about, therefore great France,
My mourning and important teares hath pittied,
No blowne ambition doth our armes insite,
2380But loue, deare loue, and our aged fathers right,
Soone may I heare and see him.
Enter Regan and Steward.
Reg. But are my brothers powers set foorth?
2385Stew. I Madam.
Reg. Himselfe in person?
Stew. Madam with much ado, your sister's the better Soldier.
Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lady at home?
2390Stew. No Madam.
Reg. What might import my sisters letter to him?
Stew. I know not Lady.
Reg. Faith he is posted hence on a serious matter,
It was great ignorance, Glocesters eies being out,
2395To let him liue, where he arriues he moues
All hearts against vs, and now I thinke is gone,
In pitty of his misery to dispatch his nighted life,
Moreouer to descrie the strength of the Army.
2400Stew. I must needs after him with my Letters.
Reg. Our troope sets foorth to morrow, stay with vs,
The wayes are dangerous.
Stew. I may not Madam, my Lady charg'd my dutie in this
2405Reg. Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word, belike
Something, I know not what, Ile loue thee much,
Let me vnseale the Letter.
Stew. Madam ide rather -------
2410Reg. I know your Lady does not loue her husband,
I am sure of that: and at her late being heere
She 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 do aduise you to 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 do finde 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 farewll,
If you do chance to heare of that blinde traitor,
2425Preferment fals on him that cuts him off.
Stew. Would I could meet him Madam, I would shew
What Lady I do follow.
Reg. Fare thee well.
Enter Gloster and Edmund.
Glo. When shall we come to'th top of that same hill?
Edg. You do climbe it vp now, looke how we labour?
Glo. Me thinkes the ground is euen.
Edg. Horrible steepe: hearke, do you heare the sea?
Glo. No truly.
Edg. Why then your other senses grow imperfect
By your eies anguish.
Glo. So may it be indeed,
2440Methinkes thy voice is altered, and thou speakst
With better phrase and matter then thou didst.
Edg. Y'are much deceiued, in nothing am I changd,
But in my garments.
Glo. Me thinkes y'are better spoken.
2445Edg. Come on sir, here's the place, stand still, how fearfull
And dizy tis to cast ones eye so low:
The Crowes and Choughes that wing the midway ayre
Shew scarse 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 beake
Appeare like Mice; and yon tall Anchoring barke
Diminisht to her cocke; her cocke aboue
2455Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge,
That on the vnnumbred idle peebles chafe,
Cannot be heard: it is so hie Ile looke no more
Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong.
2460Glo. Set me where you stand.
Edg. Giue me your hand: you are now within a foot
Of the extreme verge; for all beneath the Moone
Would I not leape vpright.
Glo. Let go my hand:
2465Heere friend's another purse, in it a Iewell
Well worth a poore mans taking. Fairies and Gods
Prosper it with thee: go thou farther off,
Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
Edg. Now fare you well good sir.
2470Glo. With all my heart.
Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire, tis done to cure it.
Glo. O you mighty Gods,
He kneels
This world I do renounce, and in your sights
2475Shake patiently my great affliction off,
If I could beare it longer, and not fall
To quarrell with your great opposelesse wils,
My snuffe and loathed part of nature should
Burne it selfe out: if Edgar liue, O blesse,
2480Now fellow fare thee well.
He falles
Edg. Gon sir, farewell, and yet I know not how conceite may
rob the treasury of life, when life it selfe yeelds to the theft: had
he bene where he thought, by this thought had been past: Aliue
2485or dead? Ho you sir, heare you sir, speake, thus might hee passe
indeed, yet he reuiues, what are you sir?
Glo. Away, and let me dye.
2490Edg. Hadst thou bene 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, speakst, art sound:
2495Ten Masts at each make not the altitude,
That thou hast perpendicularly fell,
Thy lifes a mircale, speake yet againe.
Glo. But haue I fallen or no?
Edg. From the dread summons of this chalkie borne.
2500Looke vp a hight; the shrill gorg'd Larke so farre
Cannot be seene or heard, do but looke vp.
Glo. Alacke, I haue no eyes:
Is wretchednesse depriu'd that benefite
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.
Glo. Too well, too well.
2510Edg. This is aboue all strangenesse:
Vpon the crowne of the cliffe, what thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glo. A poore vnfortunate begger.
Edg. As I stood heere below, methought his eyes
2515Were two full Moones; a had a thousand noses,
Hornes, welkt and waued like the enridged sea.
It was some fiend, therefore thou happy Father
Thinke that the cleerest Gods, who made their honors
Of mens impossibilities, haue preserued thee.
2520Glo. I do remember now, henceforth Ile beare
Affliction till it do cry out it selfe
Enough, enough, and dye: that thing you speake of,
I tooke it for a man: often would he say
The fiend, the fiend, he led me to that place.
2525Edg. Bare, free, and patient thoughts : but who comes heere,
The safer sense will nere accommodate his maister thus.
Enter Lear mad.
2530Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coyning, I am the King
Edg. O thou side piercing sight.
Lear. Nature is aboue Art in that respect, ther's your presse-
money. That fellow handles his bow like a Crow-keeper, draw
2535me a clothiers yard. Looke, looke, a Mouse; peace, peace, this
tosted cheese will do it. Ther's my gantlet, Ile proue it on a Gy-
ant, bring vp the browne bils. O well flowne birde in the ayre.
Hagh, giue the word.
2540Edg. Sweet Margerum.
Lear. Passe,
Glo. I know that voice.
Lear. Ha Gonorill, ha Regan, they flatter'd me like a dogge, and
told me I had white haires in my beard, ere the black ones were
2545there; to say I and no to all I saide : I and no too was no good
Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me once, and the wind to
make me chatter, when the thunder would not peace at my bid-
ding, there I found them, there I smelt them out : goe too, they
2550are 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, euery inch a King: when I do stare see how the subiect
2555quakes: I pardon that mans life, what was thy cause, Adulterie?
thou shalt not dye for adultery: no, the wren goes toot, and the
small guilded flye do 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 Luxury, pell mell, for I
want souldiers. Behold yon simpring dame, whose face between
her forkes presageth snow, that minces vertue, and do shake the
2565head, heare of pleasures name to fichew, nor the soyled Horsse
goes toot with a more riotous appetite: downe from the waste
they are Centaures, though women all aboue, but to the girdle
do the gods inherit, beneath is all the fiends, theres Hell, theres
darknesse, fie, fie, fie, pah, pah: Giue mee an ounce of Ciuet,
good Apothecary, to sweeten my imagination, ther's money for
Glo. O let me kisse that hand.
2575Lear. Here wipe it first, it smels of mortality.
Glo. O ruin'd peece of nature, this great world shold so weare
out to nought, do you know me?
2580Lear. I remember thy eyes well enough, dost thou squiny on
me: no, do thy worst blinde Cupid, Ile not loue: Read thou that
challenge, marke the penning on't.
Glo. Were all the letters suns I could not see one.
2585Edg. I would not take this from report, it is, & my hart breaks
at it.
Lear. Read.
Glo. What, with the case of eyes.
Lear. O ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head nor
2590money in your purse? your eyes are in a heauy case, your pursse
in a light; yet you see how this world goes?
Glo. I see it feelingly.
Lea. What art mad? A man may see how the world goes with
2595no eyes. Looke with thy eares, see how yon Iustice railes vppon
yon simple theefe: hearke in thy eare, handy dandy, which is the
theefe, which is the Iustice. Thou hast seene a farmers dog barke
at a begger.
2600Glo. I sir.
Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst
behold the great image of Authoritie, a dogge, so bad in office.
Thou Rascall Beadle hold thy bloody hand; why dost thou lash
that whore? strip thine owne backe, thy blood hotly lusts to vse
2605her in that kind for which thou whipst her. The vsurer hangs the
cozener, through tattered ragges small vices do appeare, Robes
and furd-gownes hides all. Get thee glasse eyes, and like a scur-
uy politician, seeme to see the things thou doest not; No, now
pull off my boots, harder, harder, so.
Edg. O matter and impertinency, mixt reason in madnesse.
Lear. If thou wilt weepe my fortune, take my eyes; I know
thee well enough, thy name is Gloster, thou must be patient, we
2620came crying hither: thou knowst the first time that we smel the
aire, we waile and cry. I will preach to thee, marke me.
Glo. Alack, alack, the day.
Lear. When we are borne, we crie that wee are come to this
2625great stage of fooles: this a good blocke. It were a delicate stra-
tagem to shoot a troope of horse with fell, and when I haue stole
vpon these sonnes in law, then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
Enter three Gentlemen.
Gent. O here he is, lay hands vpon him sirs.
Lear. No rescue, what a prisoner? I am eene the naturall foole
of Fortune : vse me well, you shall haue a ransom. Let me haue
2635a Chirurgeon, I am cut to'th braines.
Gent. You shall haue any thing.
Lear. No seconds, all my selfe: why this would make a man
of salt 2640to vse his eyes for garden water-pottes, I and laying Au-
2640.1tumnes dust.
Gent. Good Sir.
Lear. I will dye brauely like a Bridegroome. What, I will bee
iouiall: Come, come, I am a King my masters, know you that?
Gent. You are a royall one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then theres life int, nay if you get it you shall get it
2645with running.
Exit King running.
Gent. A sight most pittifull 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, what's your will?
Edg. Do you heare ought of a battell toward?
Gent. Most sure and vulgar, euery ones heares
That can distinguish sense.
2655Edg. But by your fauour, how neeres the other army?
Gent. Neere and on the speed for't, the maine descries,
Stands on the hourely thoughts.
Edg. I thanke you sir, thats all.
2660Gent. Though that the Queene on speciall cause is heere,
His army is mou'd on.
Edg. I thanke you sir.
Glo. 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.
Glo. 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 lead you to some biding.
Glost. Hearty thankes, the bounty and benizon of heauen
to boot, to boot.
Enter Steward.
Stew. A proclaim'd prize, most happy; that eyles head of thine
was first framed flesh to raise my fortunes. Thou most vnhappy
Traitor, briefely thy selfe remember, the sword is out that must
2680destroy thee.
Glo. Now let thy friendly hand put strength enough to't.
Stew. Wherefore bolde pezant darst thou support a publisht
traytor, hence least the infection of his fortune take like hold on
thee, let go his arme.
Edg. Chill not let go sir without cagion.
Stew. Let go slaue, or thou diest.
2690Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, let poore volke passe:
and chud haue been zwaggar'd out of my life, it would not haue
bene zo long by a vortnight: nay come not neere the olde man,
keepe out cheuore ye, or ile try whether your costard or my bat
be the harder, chill be plaine with you.
Stew. Out dunghill.
They fight.
Edg. Chil pick your teeth zir, come no matter for your foines.
Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me, Villaine take my purse:
2700If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my body,
And giue the Letters which thou findst about me
To Edmund Earle of Gloster, seeke him out, vpon
The British party: ô vntimely death! death.
He dyes.
Edg. I know thee well, a seruiceable villaine,
2705As dutious to the vices of thy Mistris,
As badnesse would desire.
Glo. What is he dead?
Edg, Sit you downe father, rest you, lets see his pockets,
These Letters that he speakes of may be my friends,
2710Hee's dead, I am onely sorry he had no other deathsman.
Let vs see, leaue gentle wax, and manners blame vs not,
To know our enemies minds wee'd rip their hearts,
Their papers is more lawfull.
A Letter.
Let your reciprocall vowes be 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 Conqueror,
Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my Iayle,
2720From the loath'd warmth whereof deliuer me,
2720And supply the place for your labour.
Your wife (so I would say) & your affectionate seruant,
Edg. O vndistinguisht 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 letchers, and in the mature time
With this vngracious paper strike the sight
2730Of the death practisd Duke, for him tis well,
That of his death and businesse I can tell.
Glo. The King is mad, how stiffe is my vilde sense,
That I stand vp, and haue ingenious feeling
2735Of my huge sorrowes, better I were distract,
So should my thoughts be senced from my greefes,
And woes by wrong imaginations, lose
The knowledge of themselues.
A Drumme afarre off.
2740Edg. Giue me your hand:
Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten drum.
Come Father Ile bestow you with a friend.
Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Doctor.
2745Cor. O thou good Kent,
How shall I liue and worke to match thy goodnesse,
My life will be too short, and euery measure faile me.
2750Kent. To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-paid,
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 houres,
2755I prethee put them off.
Kent. Pardon me deere Madam,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it that you know me not,
Till time and I thinke meet.
2760Cor. Then be it so: my Lord how does the king.
Doct. Madam sleepes still.
Cor. O you kinde Gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature,
2765The vntun'd and hurrying senses, O winde vp,
Of this childe-changed Father.
Doct. So please your Maiesty, we may wake the King
He hath slept long.
Cor. Be gouern'd by your knowledge, and proceede
2770Ith sway of your owne will: is he array'd?
Doct. I Madam, in the heauinesse of his sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him.
Kent. Good Madam be by when we do awake him,
2775I doubt not of his temperance.
2775.1Cor. Very well.
Doct. Please you draw neere: louder the musicke there.
Cor. O my deere father,
Restoration hang thy medicine on my lippes,
And let this kisse repaire those violent harmes
That my two sisters haue in thy reuerence made.
2780Kent. Kinde and deere Princesse.
Cor. Had you not bin their father, these white flakes
Had challeng'd pitty of them. Was this a face
To be exposd against the warring windes,
2783.1To stand against the deepe dread bolted thunder,
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quicke crosse lightning, to watch poore Per du,
With this thin helme? Mine iniurious dogge,
2785Though he had bit me, should haue stood that night
Against my fire, and wast thou faine (poore father)
To houill thee with swine and rogues forlorne,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alacke,
Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once,
2790Had not concluded all. He wakes, speake to him.
Doct, Madam do you, tis fittest.
C. How does my royal lord? how fares your maiesty
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out a'th 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.
Cor. Sir, know ye me?
Lear. Y'are a spirit I know, when did you dye?
2800Cor. Still, still, farre wide.
Doct. He's scarse awake, let hlm alone awhile.
Lea. Where haue I bin? where am I? faire day light!
2805I am mightily abusd; I should ene dye with pity
To see another thus. I know not what to say:
I will not sweare these are my hands, let's see,
I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd of my con-
2810Cor. O looke vpon me sir,
And hold your hands in benediction ore me,
No sir, you must not kneele.
Lear. Pray do not mocke me:
I am a very foolish fond olde man,
2815Fourescore and vpward, and to deale plainly,
I feare I am not perfect in my minde.
Me thinkes 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. Do no laugh at me,
For (as I am a man) I thinke this Lady
2825To be my childe Cordelia.
Cor. And so I am.
Lear. Be your teares wet? Yes faith: I pray weepe not,
If you haue poison for me I will drinke it:
2830I know you do not loue me, for your sisters
Haue (as I do remember) done me wrong.
You haue some cause, they haue not.
Cor. No cause, [u]o cause.
Lear. Am I in France?
2835Kent. In your owne kingdome sir.
Lear. Do 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.
2840Cor. Wilt please your Highnesse walke?
Lear. You must beare with me:
Pray now forget and forgiue,
I am olde and foolish.
Manet Kent and Gentleman.
Gen. Holds it true sir that the Duke of Cornwall was so slaine?
Kent. Most certaine sir.
Gent. Who is conductor of his people?
2843.5Kent. As tis said, the bastard sonne of Gloster.
Gent. They say Edgar his banisht sonne, is with the Earle of
Kent in Germany.
Kent. Report is changeable, tis time to looke about,
The powers of the kingdome approch apace.
2843.10Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody, fare you well sir.
Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well, or ill, as this dayes battels fought.
Enter Edmund, Regan, and their powers.
Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose holde,
Or whether since he is aduisd by ought
To change the course , he is full of alteration
2850And selfe-reprouing, bring his constant pleasure.
Reg. Our sisters man is certainly miscarried.
Bast. Tis to be doubted Madam.
Reg. Now sweet Lord,
You know the goodnesse I intend vpon you:
2855Tell me truly, but then speake the truth,
Do you not loue my sister?
Bast. I honor'd loue.
Reg. But haue you neuer found my brothers way,
To the forefended place?
2859.1Bast. That thought abuses you.
Reg. I am doubtfull that you haue beene coniunct
And bosom'd with her, as farre as we call hers.
2860Bast. No by mine honor Madam.
Reg. I neuer shall endure her,
Deere my Lord be not familiar with her.
Bast. Feare me not, she and the Duke her husband.
Enter Albany and Gonorill with troopes.
2864.1Gon. I had rather loose the battell
Then that sister should loosen him and me.
2865Alb. Our very louing sister well be-met,
2865For this I heare the King is come to his daughter
With others, whom the rigour of our State
Forc'd to cry out. 2868.1Where I could not be honest
I neuer yet was valiant: for this businesse
It toucheth vs, as France inuades our land
Not bolds the king, with others whom I feare,
2868.5Most iust and heauy causes make oppose.
Bast. Sir you speake nobly.
Reg. Why is this reason'd.
2870Gon. Combine together gainst the enemy,
For these domesticke doore particulars,
Are not to question heere.
Alb. Let vs then determine
With the Ancient of warre on our proceedings.
2874.1Bast. I shall attend you presently at your Tent.
2875Reg. Sister youle go with vs?
Gon. No.
Reg. Tis most conuenient, pray you go with vs.
Gon. O ho, I know the Riddle, I will go.
Enter Edgar.
Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with one so poore,
Heare me one word.
Alb. Ile ouertake you, speake.
Edg. Before you fight the battell, ope this Letter,
2885If you haue victory let the trumpet sounde
For him that brought it, wretched though I seeme,
I can produce a Champion, that will prooue
What is auouched there. If you miscarry,
Your businesse 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.
2895Alb. Why fare thee well, I will looke ore the paper.
Enter Edmund.
Bast. The enemy's in view, draw vp your powers,
Hard is the guesse of their great strength and forces
By diligẽt discouery, but your hast is now vrgd on you
Alb. We will greet the time.
Bast. To both these sisters haue I sworne my loue,
Each iealous of the other, as the sting are of the Adder,
Which of them shall I take, both one
2905Or neither; neither can be enioy'd
If both remaine aliue: to take the Widdow,
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Gonorill,
And hardly shall I carry out my side
Her husband being aliue. Now then wee'l vse
2910His countenance for the battell, which being done
Let her that would be rid of him deuise
His speedy taking off: as for his mercie
Which he extends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battell done, and they within our power,
2915Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.
Alarum. Enter the powers of France ouer the stage, Cordelia
with her Father in her hand.
Enter Edgar and Gloster.
Edg. Heere Father, take the shadow of this bush
For your good hoast: pray that the right may thriue.
If euer I returne to you againe,
Ile bring you comfort.
2925Glo. Grace go with you sir.
Alarum and retreat.
Enter Edgar.
Edg. Away olde man, giue me thy hand, away,
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter tane:
2930Giue me thy hand, come on.
Glo. No farther sir, a man may rot euen heere.
Edg. What in ill thoughts agen? Men must endure,
Their going hence, euen as their comming hither,
2935Ripenesse 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 incurr'd the worst:
2945For thee oppressed King am I cast downe,
My selfe could else out-frowne false fortunes frowne.
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, come let's away to prison,
We two alone will sing like birds i'th cage:
2950When thou dost aske me blessing, Ile kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenesse: so weell liue,
And pray, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded Butterflies, and heare poore Rogues
Talke of Court newes, and weel talke with them too,
2955Who looses, and who wins; whose in, whose out;
And take vpon's the mystery of things,
As if we were Gods spies: and weel weare out
In a walld prison, packes and sects of great ones,
That ebbe and flow by the Moone.
2960Bast. Take them away.
Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia
The gods themselues 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? Weele see em starue first.
Bast. Come hither Captaine, hearke.
Take thou this note, go follow them to prison,
One step I haue aduancst 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 does not become a sword,
2975Thy great employment will not beare question,
Either say thout do't, or thriue by other meanes.
Cap. Ile doot my Lord.
Bast. About it, and write happy when thou hast done,
2980Marke I say instantly, and carry it so
As I haue set it downe.
2981.1Cap. I cannot draw a Cart, nor eate dryed oates,
It it be mans worke, Ile doo't.
Enter the Duke, the two Ladies, and others.
Alb. Sir you haue shewne to day your valiant straine,
And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
2985That were the opposites of this dayes strife:
We do require then of you so to vse them,
As we shall finde their merits, and our safety
May equally determine.
Bast. Sir I thought it fit,
2990To send the olde and miserable King
2990To some retention, and appointed guard,
Whose age has charmes in it, whose Title more,
To plucke the common blossomes of his side,
And turne our imprest Launces in our eyes
Which do commend them. With him I sent the Queene:
2995My reason all the same, and they are ready to morrow,
Or at a further space, to appeare where you shall hold
Your Session at this time: we sweate and bleed,
2997.1The friend hath lost his friend, and the best quarrels
In the heate are curst by those that feele their sharpenesse.
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, not as a brother.
Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Methinkes 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 immediate may well stand vp,
And call it selfe your brother.
Gon. Not so hot: in his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe,
More then in your aduancement.
3010Reg. In my right by me inuested, he compeers the best.
Gon. That were the most, if he should husband you.
Reg. Iesters do oft proue Prophets.
Gon. Hola, hola, that eye that told you so, lookt but a squint.
Reg. Lady I am not well, else I should answer
From a full flowing stomacke. Generall,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony,
3020Witnesse the world, that I create thee heere
My Lord and master.
Gon. Meane you to enioy him then?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
Bast. Nor in thine Lord.
3025Alb. Halfe blooded 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 interestof my wife,
Tis she is subcontracted to her Lord,
And I her husband contradict the banes,
If you will marry, 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 heere proclaim'd thee.
Reg. Sicke, ô sicke.
Gon. If not, Ile nere trust poyson.
3045Bast. Ther's my exchange, what in the world he is,
That names me traitor, villain-like he lyes,
Call by thy Trumpet, he that dares approach
On him, on you, who not, I will maintaine
My truth and honor firmely.
Alb. A Herald ho.
3051.1Bast. A herald ho, a herald.
Alb. Trust to thy single vertue, for thy soldiers
All leuied in my name, haue in my name tooke their discharge.
3055Reg. This sicknesse growes vpon me.
Alb. She is not well, conuey her to my tent,
Come hither Herald, let the Trumpet sound, and read our this.
3057.1Cap. Sound Trumpet.
3060Her. If any man of quality or degree, in the hoast of the Ar-
my, will maintaine vpon Edmund, supposed Earle of Glocester,
that he's a manifold traitor, let him appeare at the thirde sound
of the Trumpet: he is bold in his defence.
Bast. Sound.
Enter Edgar at the third sound, with a trumpet before him.
Alb. Aske him his purposes, why he appeares
Vpon this call o'th trumpet?
3070Her. What are you? your name and quality?
And why you answer this present summons?
Edg. O know my name is lost by Treasons tooth:
Bare-gnawne and canker-bit,
3075Where is the aduersary I come to cope withall?
Alb. What is that aduersary?
Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of Gloster?
Bast. Himselfe, what sayst thou to him?
3080Edg. Draw thy sword,
That if my speech offend a noble heart, thy arme
May do thee iustice, heere is mine:
Behold it is the priuiledge of my tongue,
3085My oath and profession. I protest,
Maugre thy strength, youth, place and eminence,
Despight thy victor, sword, and fire new fortun'd,
Thy valor, and thy heart, thou art a traitor:
False to the gods, thy brother, and thy father,
3090Conspicuate gainst this high illustrious Prince,
And from th'extremest vpward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor: say thou no;
This sword, this arme, and my best spirits,
Is bent to proue vpon thy heart, whereto I speake thou lyest.
Bast. In wisedome I should aske thy name,
But since thy outside lookes so faire and warlike,
And that thy being some say of breeding breathes,
By right of knight-hood I disdaine and spurne,
With the hell hatedly ore-turn'd thy heart,
Which for they yet glance by, and scarsely bruise,
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 practice Gloster, by the law of Armes
Thou art not bound to offer an vnknowne opposite,
3110Thou art not vanquisht, but cousned and beguild.
Alb. Stop your mouth Dame, or with this paper shall I stop
it: thou worse then any thing, reade thine owne euill. Nay, no
3115tearing Lady, I perceiue you know't.
Gon. Say if do, the lawes are mine not thine, who shal araign
me for it.
Alb. Monster, knowst thou this paper?
Gon. Aske me not what I know.
Exit Gonorill.
3120Alb. Go after her, she's desperate, gouerne her.
Bast. What you haue charg'd me with, that haue I done,
And more, much more, the time will bring it out.
Tis past, and so am I: but what art thou that hast this fortune on
3125me? If thou beest noble, I do forgiue thee.
Edg. Let's exchange charity,
I am no lesse in blood then thou art Edmund,
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 he thee got, cost him his eyes.
3135Bast. Thou hast spoken truth,
The wheele is come full circkled, I am heere.
Alb. Me thought thy very gate did prophesie
A royall noblenesse, I must embrace thee,
Let sorow split my heart if I did euer hate thee or thy father.
Edg. Worthy Prince I know it.
Alb. Where haue you hid your selfe?
How haue you knowne the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them my Lord,
3145List a breefe tale, and when tis told,
3145.1O that my heart would burst. The bloody proclamation
To escape that followed me so neere,
(O our liues sweetnesse, that with the paine of death
VVould hourely dye, rather then dye at once)
Taught me to shift into a mad-mans rags,
3150To 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, begd for him, sau'd him from dispaire.
3155Neuer (O Father) reueald my selfe vnto him,
Vntill some halfe houre past when I was arm'd,
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 extremes of passion, ioy and greefe,
Burst smilingly.