Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    rough tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare: Robes,
    and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Gold, and
    the strong Lance of Iu stice, hurtle s s e breakes: Arme it in
    2610ragges, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it. None do's offend,
    none, I say none, Ile able 'em; take that of me my Friend,
    who haue the power to seale th'accusers lips. Get thee
    gla s s e-eyes, and like a scuruy Politician, seeme to see the
    things thou do st not. Now, now, now, now. Pull off my
    2615Bootes: harder, harder, so.
    Edg. O matter, and impertinency mixt,
    Reason in Madne s s e.
    Lear. If thou wilt weepe my Fortunes, take my eyes.
    I know thee well enough, thy name is Glou ster:
    2620Thou mu st be patient; we came crying hither:
    Thou know' st, the fir st time that we smell the Ayre
    We wawle, and cry. I will preach to thee: Marke.
    Glou. Alacke, alacke the day.
    Lear. When we are borne, we cry that we are come
    2625To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
    It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
    A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe,
    And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes,
    Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
    2630 Enter a Gentleman.
    Gent. Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon him, Sir.
    Your mo st deere Daughter----
    Lear. No rescue? What, a Prisoner? I am euen
    The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well,
    2635You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons,
    I am cut to'th'Braines.
    Gent. You shall haue any thing.
    Lear. No Seconds? All my selfe?
    Why, this would make a man, a man of Salt
    2640To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots. I wil die brauely,
    Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
    Come, come, I am a King, Ma sters, know you that?
    Gent. You are a Royall one, and we obey you.
    Lear. Then there's life in't. Come, and you get it,
    2645You shall get it by running: Sa, sa, sa, sa. Exit.
    Gent. A sight mo st pittifull in the meane st wretch,
    Pa st speaking of in a King. Thou ha st a Daughter
    Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
    Which twaine haue brought her to.
    2650 Edg. Haile gentle Sir.
    Gent. Sir, speed you: what's your will?
    Edg. Do you heare ought (Sir) of a Battell toward.
    Gent. Mo st sure, and vulgar:
    Euery one heares that, which can di stingui sh sound.
    2655 Edg. But by your fauour:
    How neere's the other Army?
    Gent. Neere, and on speedy foot: the maine descry
    Stands on the hourely thought.
    Edg. I thanke you Sir, that's all.
    2660 Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here
    Her Army is mou'd on. Exit.
    Edg. I thanke you Sir.
    Glou. 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.
    Glou. Now good sir, what are you?
    Edg. A mo st poore man, made tame to Fortunes blows
    Who, by the Art of knowne, and feeling sorrowes,
    2670Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand,
    Ile leade you to some biding.
    Glou. Heartie thankes:
    The bountie, and the benizon of Heauen
    To boot, and boot.
    2675 Enter Steward.
    Stew. A proclaim'd prize: mo st happie
    That eyele s s e head of thine, was fir st fram'd fle sh
    To raise my fortunes. Thou old, vnhappy Traitor,
    Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
    2680That mu st de stroy thee.
    Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
    Put strength enough too't.
    Stew. Wherefore, bold Pezant,
    Dar' st thou support a publi sh'd Traitor? Hence,
    2685Lea st that th'infection of his fortune take
    Like hold on thee. Let go his arme.
    Edg. Chill not let go Zir,
    Without vurther 'ca sion.
    Stew. Let go Slaue, or thou dy' st.
    2690 Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, and let poore
    volke pa s s e: and 'chud ha'bin zwaggerd out of my life,
    'twould not ha'bin zo long as 'tis, by a vortnight. Nay,
    come not neere th'old man: keepe out che vor'ye, or ice
    try whither your Co stard, or my Ballow be the harder;
    2695chill be plaine with you.
    Stew. Out Dunghill.
    Edg. Chill picke your teeth Zir: come, no matter vor
    your foynes.
    Stew. Slaue thou ha st slaine me: Villain, take my purse;
    2700If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my bodie,
    And giue the Letters which thou find' st about me,
    To Edmund Earle of Glou ster: seeke him out
    Vpon the Engli sh party. Oh vntimely death, death.
    Edg. I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine,
    2705As duteous to the vices of thy Mi stris,
    As badne s s e would de sire.
    Glou. What, is he dead?
    Edg. Sit you downe Father: re st you.
    Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
    2710May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
    He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
    Leaue gentle waxe, and manners: blame vs not
    To know our enemies mindes, we rip their hearts,
    Their Papers is more lawfull.
    2715 Reads the Letter.
    LEt our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
    opportunities to cut him off : if your will want not , time and
    place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
    returne the Conqueror,then am I the Prisoner, and his bed, my
    2720 Gaole , from the loathed warmth whereof, deliuer me, and sup -
    ply the place for your Labour.
    Your (Wife, so I would say) affectio -
    nate Seruant . Gonerill.
    Oh indingui sh'd space of Womans will,
    2725A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life,
    And the exchange my Brother: heere, in the sands
    Thee Ile rake vp, the po ste vnsanctified
    Of murtherous Letchers : and in the mature time,
    With this vngracious paper strike the sight
    2730Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well,
    That of thy death, and bu sine s s e, I can tell.
    Glou. 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 di stract,
    So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes,
    Drum afarre off .
    And woes, by wrong imaginations loose