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About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of King Lear.
    1745And Baudes, and whores, do Churches build,
    Then shal the Realme of Albion, come to great confusion:
    Then comes the time, who liues to see't,
    That going shal be vs'd with feet.
    This prophecie Merlin shall make, for I liue before his

    Scæna Tertia.

    Enter Gloster, and Edmund.

    Glo. Alacke, alacke Edmund, I like not this vnnaturall
    dealing; when I desired their leaue that I might pity him,
    1755they tooke from me the vse of mine owne house, charg'd
    me on paine of perpetuall displeasure, neither to speake
    of him, entreat for him, or any way sustaine him.
    Bast. Most sauage and vnnaturall.
    Glo. Go too; say you nothing. There is diuision be-
    1760tweene the Dukes, and a worsse matter then that: I haue
    receiued a Letter this night, 'tis dangerous to be spoken,
    I haue lock'd the Letter in my Closset, these iniuries the
    King now beares, will be reuenged home; ther is part of
    a Power already footed, we must incline to the King, I
    1765will looke him, and priuily relieue him; goe 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, if I die for it, (as no lesse is threatned me) the King
    my old Master must be relieued. There is strange things
    1770toward Edmund, pray you be carefull.
    Bast. This Curtesie forbid thee, shall the Duke
    Instantly know, and of that Letter too;
    This seemes a faire deseruing, and must draw me
    That which my Father looses: no lesse then all,
    1775The yonger rises, when the old doth fall.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.

    Kent. Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter,
    The tirrany of the open night's too rough
    1780For Nature to endure.
    Storme still
    Lear. Let me alone.
    Kent. Good my Lord enter heere.
    Lear. Wilt breake my heart?
    Kent. I had rather breake mine owne,
    1785Good my Lord enter.
    Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious
    Inuades vs to the skinso: 'tis to thee,
    But where the greater malady is fixt,
    The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a Beare,
    1790But if they flight lay toward the roaring Sea,
    Thou'dst meete the Beare i'th'mouth, when the mind's
    The bodies delicate: the tempest in my mind,
    Doth from my sences take all feeling else,
    Saue what beates there, Filliall ingratitude,
    1795Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
    For lifting food too't? But I will punish home;
    No, I will weepe no more; in such a night,
    To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure:
    In such a night as this? O Regan, Gonerill,
    1800Your old kind Father, whose franke heart gaue all,
    O that way madnesse lies, let me shun that:
    No more of that.
    Kent. Good my Lord enter here.
    Lear. Prythee go in thy selfe, seeke thine owne ease,
    1805This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
    On things would hurt me more, but Ile goe in,
    In Boy, go first. You houselesse pouertie,
    Nay get thee in; Ile pray, and then Ile sleepe.
    Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
    1810That bide the pelting of this pittilesse storme,
    How shall your House-lesse heads, and vnfed sides,
    Your lop'd, and window'd 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.

    Enter Edgar, and Foole.

    Edg. Fathom, and halfe, Fathom and halfe; poore Tom.
    1820Foole. Come not in heere Nuncle, here's a spirit, helpe
    me, helpe me.
    Kent. Giue me thy hand, who's there?
    Foole. A spirite, a spirite, he sayes his name's poore
    1825Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i'th'
    straw? Come forth.
    Edg. Away, the foule Fiend followes me, through the
    sharpe Hauthorne blow the windes. Humh, goe to thy
    bed and warme thee.
    1830Lear. Did'st thou giue all to thy Daughters? And art
    thou come to this?
    Edgar. Who giues any thing to poore Tom? Whom
    the foule fiend hath led though Fire, and through Flame,
    through Sword, and Whirle-Poole, o're Bog, and Quag-
    1835mire, that hath laid Kniues vnder his Pillow, and Halters
    in his Pue, set Rats-bane by his Porredge, made him
    Proud of heart, to ride on a Bay trotting Horse, ouer foure
    incht Bridges, to course his owne shadow for a Traitor.
    Blisse thy fiue Wits, Toms a cold. O do, de, do, de, do de,
    1840blisse thee from Whirle-Windes, Starre-blasting, and ta-
    king, do poore Tom some charitie, whom the foule Fiend
    vexes. There could I haue him now, and there, and there
    againe, and there.
    Storme still.
    Lear. Ha's his Daughters brought him to this passe?
    1845Could'st thou saue nothing? Would'st thou giue 'em all?
    Foole. Nay, he reseru'd a Blanket, else we had bin all
    Lea. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
    Hang fated o're mens faults, light on thy Daughters.
    1850Kent. He hath no Daughters Sir.
    Lear. Death Traitor, nothing could haue subdu'd
    To such a lownesse, but his vnkind Daughters.
    Is it the fashion, that discarded Fathers,
    Should haue thus little mercy on their flesh:
    1855Iudicious punishment, 'twas this flesh begot
    Those Pelicane Daughters.
    Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock hill, alow: alow, loo, loo.
    Foole. This cold night will turne vs all to Fooles,and
    1860Edgar. Take heed o'th'foule Fiend, obey thy Pa-
    rents, keepe thy words Iustice, sweare not, commit not,