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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Quinta.
    Enter Lear, Kent, Gentleman, and Foole.
    875 Lear. Go you before to Glo ster with these Letters;
    acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you
    know, then comes from her demand out of the Letter,
    if your Dilligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore
    you.
    880 Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered
    your Letter. Exit.
    Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeles, wert not in
    danger of kybes?
    Lear. I Boy.
    885 Foole. Then I prythee be merry, thy wit shall not go
    slip- shod.
    Lear. Ha,ha,ha.
    Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kind-
    ly, for though she's as like this, as a Crabbe's like an
    890Apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
    Lear. What can' st tell Boy?
    Foole. She will ta ste as like this as, a Crabbe do's to a
    Crab: thou can st tell why ones nose stands i'th'middle
    on's face?
    895 Lear. No.
    Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side's nose,
    that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
    Lear. I did her wrong.
    Foole. Can' st tell how an Oy ster makes his shell?
    900 Lear. No.
    Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's
    a house.
    Lear. Why?
    Foole. Why to put's head in, not to giue it away to his
    905daughters, and leaue his hornes without a case.
    Lear. I will forget my Nature, so kind a Father? Be
    my Hor s s es ready?
    Foole. Thy A s s es are gone about 'em; the reason why
    the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen, is a pretty reason.
    910 Lear. Because they are not eight.
    Foole. Yes indeed, thou would' st make a good Foole.
    Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Mon ster Ingratitude!
    Foole. If thou wert my Foole Nunckle, Il'd haue thee
    beaten for being old before thy time.
    915 Lear. How's that?
    Foole. Thou should st not haue bin old, till thou had st
    bin wise.
    Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad sweet Heauen:
    keepe me in temper, I would not be mad. How now are
    920the Horses ready?
    Gent. Ready my Lord.
    Lear. Come Boy.
    Fool. She that's a Maid now, & laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be a Maid long, vnle s s e things be cut shorter.
    925 Exeunt.