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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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,
    with mans sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on
    proud array. Tom's a cold.
    Lear. What hast thou bin?
    1865Edg. A Seruingman? Proud in heart, and minde; that
    curl'd my haire, wore Gloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust
    of my Mistris heart, and did the acte of darkenesse with
    her. Swore as many Oathes, as I spake words, & broke
    them in the sweet face of Heauen. One, that slept in the
    1870contriuing of Lust, and wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I
    deerely, Dice deerely;and in Woman, out-Paramour'd
    the Turke. False of heart, light of eare, bloody of hand;
    Hog in sloth, Foxe in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog
    in madnes, Lyon in prey. Let not the creaking of shooes,
    1875Nor the rustling of Silkes, betray thy poore heart to wo-
    man. Keepe thy foote out of Brothels, thy hand out of
    Plackets, thy pen from Lenders Bookes, and defye the
    foule Fiend. Still through the Hauthorne blowes the
    cold winde: Sayes suum, mun, nonny, Dolphin my Boy,
    1880Boy Sesey: let him trot by.
    Storme still.
    Lear. Thou wert better in a Graue, then to answere
    with thy vncouer'd body, this extremitie of the Skies. Is
    man no more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st
    the Worme no Silke; the Beast, no Hide; the Sheepe, no
    1885Wooll; the Cat, no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are
    sophisticated. Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommo-
    dated man, is no more but such a poore, bare, forked A-
    nimall as thou art. Off, off you Lendings: Come, vn-
    button heere.
    Enter Gloucester, with a Torch.
    Foole. Prythee Nunckle be contented, 'tis a naughtie
    night to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field,
    were like an old Letchers heart, a small spark, all the rest
    on's body, cold: Looke, heere comes a walking fire.
    1895Edg. This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins at
    Curfew, and walkes at first Cocke : Hee giues the Web
    and the Pin, squints the eye, and makes the Hare-lippe;
    Mildewes the white Wheate, and hurts the poore Crea-
    ture of earth.
    Swithold footed thrice the old,
    He met the Night-Mare, and her nine-fold;
    Bid her a-light, and her troth-plight,
    And aroynt thee Witch, aroynt thee.
    Kent. How fares your Grace?
    1905Lear. What's he?
    Kent. Who's there? What is't you seeke?
    Glou. What are you there? Your Names?
    Edg. Poore Tom, that eates the swimming Frog, the
    Toad, the Tod-pole, the wall-Neut, and the water: that
    1910in the furie of his heart, when the foule Fiend rages, eats
    Cow-dung for Sallets; swallowes the old Rat, and the
    ditch-Dogge; drinkes the green Mantle of the standing
    Poole: who is whipt from Tything to Tything, and
    stockt, punish'd, and imprison'd: who hath three Suites
    1915to his backe, sixe shirts to his body:
    Horse to ride, and weapon to weare:
    But Mice, and Rats, and such small Deare,
    Haue bin Toms food, for seuen long yeare:
    Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkin, peace thou Fiend.
    1920Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
    Edg. The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo
    he's call'd, and Mahu.
    Glou. Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is growne so
    vilde, that it doth hate what gets it.
    1925Edg. Poore Tom's a cold.
    Glou. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
    T'obey in all your daughters hard commands:
    Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores,
    And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you,
    1930Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out,
    And bring you where both fire, and food is ready.
    Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher,
    What is the cause of Thunder?
    Kent. Good my Lord take his offer,
    1935Go into th'house.
    Lear. Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
    What 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 once more to go my Lord,
    His wits begin t' vnsettle.
    Glou. Canst thou blame him?
    Storm still
    His Daughters seeke his death: Ah, that good Kent,
    He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
    1945Thou sayest the King growes mad, Ile tell thee Friend
    I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne,
    Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
    But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
    No Father his Sonne deerern: true to tell thee
    1950The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
    I do beseech your grace.
    Lear. O cry you mercy, Sir:
    Noble Philosopher, your company.
    Edg. Tom's a cold.
    1955Glou. In fellow there, into th'Houel; keep thee warm.
    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.
    Glou. Take him you on.
    Kent. Sirra, come on: go along with vs.
    Lear. Come, good Athenian.
    1965Glou. No words, no words, hush.
    Edg. Childe Rowland to the darke Tower came,
    His word was still, fie, foh, and fumme,
    I smell the blood of a Brittish man.