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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 .
    You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
    Corn. Come Sir.
    What Letters had you late from France?
    2110 Reg. Be simple answer'd, for we know the truth.
    Corn. And what confederacie haue you with the Trai-
    tors, late footed in the Kingdome?
    Reg. To whose hands
    You haue sent the Lunaticke King: Speake.
    2115 Glou. I haue a Letter gue s singly set downe
    Which came from one that's of a newtrall heart,
    And not from one oppos'd.
    Corn. Cunning.
    Reg. And false.
    2120 Corn. Where ha st thou sent the King?
    Glou. To Douer.
    Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
    Was't thou not charg'd at perill.
    Corn. Wherefore to Douer? Let him answer that.
    2125 Glou. I am tyed to'th'Stake,
    And I mu st stand the Course.
    Reg. Wherefore to Douer?
    Glou. Because I would not see thy cruell Nailes
    Plucke out his poore old eyes: nor thy fierce Si ster,
    2130In his Annointed fle sh, sticke boari sh phangs.
    The Sea, with such a storme as his bare head,
    In Hell-blacke-night indur'd, would haue buoy'd vp
    And quench'd the Stelled fires:
    Yet poore old heart, he holpe the Heauens to raine.
    2135If Wolues had at thy Gate howl'd that sterne time,
    Thou should' st haue said, good Porter turne the Key:
    All Cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
    The winged Vengeance ouertake such Children.
    Corn. See't shalt thou neuer. Fellowes hold ye Chaire,
    2140Vpon these eyes of thine, Ile set my foote.
    Glou. He that will thinke to liue, till he be old,
    Giue me some helpe. ---- O cruell! O you Gods.
    Reg. One side will mocke another: Th'other too.
    Corn. If you see vengeance.
    2145 Seru. 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 hold.
    Reg. How now, you dogge?
    2150 Ser. If you did weare a beard vpon your chin,
    I'ld shake it on this quarrell. What do you meane?
    Corn. My Villaine?
    Seru. Nay then come on, and take the chance of anger.
    Reg. Giue me thy Sword. A pezant stand vp thus?
    2155 Killes him.
    Ser. Oh I am slaine: my Lord,you haue one eye left
    To see some mischefe on him. Oh.
    Corn. Le st it see more, preuent it; Out vilde gelly:
    Where is thy lu ster now?
    2160 Glou. All datke and comfortle s s e?
    Where's my Sonne Edmund ?
    Edmund, enkindle all the sparkes of Nature
    To quit this horrid acte.
    Reg. Out treacherous Villaine,
    2165Thou call' st on him, that hates thee. It was he
    That made the ouerture of thy Treasons to vs:
    Who is too good to pitty thee.
    Glou. O my Follies! then Edgar was abus'd,
    Kinde Gods, forgiue me that,and prosper him.
    2170 Reg. Go thru st him out at gates, and let him smell
    His way to Douer. Exit with Glou ster.
    How is't my Lord? How looke you?
    Corn. I haue receiu'd a hurt: Follow me Lady;
    Turne out that eyele s s e Villaine: throw this Slaue
    2175Vpon the Dunghill: Regan , I bleed apace,
    Vntimely comes this hurt. Giue me your arme. Exeunt,

    Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.

    Enter Edgar.
    Edg. Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemn'd,
    2180Then still contemn'd and flatter'd, to be wor st :
    The lowe st, and mo st deiected thing of Fortune,
    Stands still in esperance, liues not in feare:
    The lamentable change is from the be st,
    The wor st returnes to laughter. Welcome then,
    2185Thou vnsub stantiall ayre that I embrace:
    The Wretch that thou ha st blowne vnto the wor st,
    Owes nothing to thy bla sts.
    Enter Glou ster, and an Old man.
    But who comes heere? My Father poorely led?
    2190World, World, O world!
    But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
    Life would not yeelde to age.
    Oldm. O my good Lord, I haue bene your Tenant,
    And your Fathers Tenant, these fourescore yeares.
    2195 Glou. Away, get thee away: good Friend be gone,
    Thy comforts can do me no good at all,
    Thee, they may hurt.
    Oldm. You cannot see your way.
    Glou. I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes:
    2200I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seene,
    Our meanes secure vs, and our meere defects
    Proue our Commodities. Oh deere Sonne Edgar,
    The food of thy abused Fathers wrath:
    Might I but liue to see thee in my touch,
    2205I'ld say I had eyes againe.
    Oldm. How now? who's there?
    Edg. O Gods! Who is't can say I am at the wor st ?
    I am worse then ere I was.
    Old. 'Tis poore mad Tom.
    2210 Edg. And worse I may be yet: the wor st is not,
    So long as we can say this is the wor st.
    Oldm. Fellow, where goe st ?
    Glou. Is it a Beggar-man?
    Oldm. Madman, and beggar too.
    2215 Glou. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
    I'th'la st nights storme, I such a fellow saw;
    Which made me thinke a Man, a Worme. My Sonne
    Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
    Was then scarse Friends with him.
    2220I haue heard more since:
    As Flies to wanton Boyes, are we to th'Gods,
    They kill vs for their sport.
    Edg. How should this be?
    Bad is the Trade that mu st play Foole to sorrow,
    2225Ang'ring it selfe, and others. Ble s s e thee Ma ster.
    Glou. Is that the naked Fellow?
    Oldm. I, my Lord.
    Glou. Get thee away: If for my sake
    Thou wilt ore-take vs hence a mile or twaine
    2230I'th'way toward Douer, do it for ancient loue,
    And bring some couering for this naked Soule,
    Which Ile intreate to leade me.
    Old. Alacke sir, he is mad.