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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Quinta.
    2430 Enter Glouce ster, and Edgar.
    Glou. When shall I come to th'top of that same hill?
    Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor.
    Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen.
    Edg. Horrible steepe.
    2435Hearke, do you heare the Sea?
    Glou. No truly.
    Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
    By your eyes angui sh.
    Glou. So may it be indeed.
    2440Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak' st
    In better phrase, and matter then thou did' st.
    Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
    But in my Garments.
    Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken.
    2445 Edg. Come on Sir,
    Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
    And dizie 'tis, to ca st ones eyes so low,
    The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
    Shew scarse so gro s s e as Beetles. Halfe way downe
    2450Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
    Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
    The Fi shermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
    Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
    Dimini sh'd to her Cocke: her Cocke, a Buoy
    2455Almo st too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
    That on th'vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
    Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
    Lea st my braine turne, and the deficient sight
    Topple downe headlong.
    2460 Glou. Set me where you stand.
    Edg. Giue me your hand :
    You are now within a foote of th'extreme Verge:
    For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright.
    Glou. Let go my hand:
    2465Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
    Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
    Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
    Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
    Edg. Now fare ye well, good Sir.
    2470 Glou. With all my heart.
    Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
    Is done to cure it.
    Glou. O you mighty Gods!
    This world I do renounce, and in your sights
    2475Shake patiently my great affliction off :
    If I could beare it longer, and not fall
    To quarrell with your great opposele s s e willes,
    My snuffe, and loathed part of Nature should
    Burne it selfe out. If Edgar liue, O ble s s e him:
    2480Now Fellow, fare thee well.
    Edg. Gone Sir, farewell:
    And yet I know not how conceit may rob
    The Treasury of life, when life it selfe
    Yeelds to the Theft. Had he bin where he thought,
    2485By this had thought bin pa st. Aliue, or dead?
    Hoa, you Sir: Friend, heare you Sir, speake:
    Thus might he pa s s e indeed: yet he reuiues.
    What are you Sir?
    Glou. Away, and let me dye.
    2490 Edg. Had' st thou beene ought
    But Gozemore, Feathers, Ayre,
    (So many fathome downe precipitating)
    Thou'd st shiuer'd like an Egge: but thou do' st breath:
    Ha st heauy sub stance, bleed' st not, speak' st, art sound,
    2495Ten Ma sts at each, make not the altitude
    Which thou ha st perpendicularly fell,
    Thy life's a Myracle. Speake yet againe.
    Glou. But haue I falne, or no?
    Edg. From the dread Somnet of this Chalkie Bourne
    2500Looke vp a height, the shrill-gorg'd Larke so farre
    Cannot be seene, or heard: Do but looke vp.
    Glou. Alacke, I haue no eyes:
    Is wretchedne s s e depriu'd that benefit
    To end it selfe by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
    2505When misery could beguile the Tyranrs rage,
    And fru strate his proud will.
    Edg. Giue me your arme.
    Vp, so: How is't ? Feele you your Legges? You stand.
    Glou. Too well, too well.
    2510 Edg. This is aboue all strangene s s e,
    Vpon the crowne o'th'Cliffe. What thing was that
    Which parted from you?
    Glou. A poore vnfortunate Beggar.
    Edg. As I stood heere below, me thought his eyes
    2515Were two full Moones: he had a thousand Noses,
    Hornes wealk'd, and waued like the enraged Sea:
    It was some Fiend: Therefore thou happy Father,
    Thinke that the cleere st Gods, who make them Honors
    Of mens Impo s sibilities, haue preserued thee.
    2520 Glou. I do remember now: henceforth Ile beare
    Affliction, till it do cry out it selfe
    Enough, enough, and dye. That thing you speake of,
    I tooke it for a man: often 'twould say
    The Fiend, the Fiend, he led me to that place.
    2525 Edgar. Beare free and patient thoughts.
    Enter Lear.
    But who comes heere?
    The safer sense will ne're accommodate
    His Ma ster thus.
    2530 Lear. No, they cannot touch me for crying. I am the
    King himselfe.
    Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
    Lear. Nature's aboue Art, in that respect. Ther's your
    Pre s s e-money. That fellow handles his bow, like a Crow-
    2535keeper: draw mee a Cloathiers yard. Looke, looke, a
    Mouse: peace, peace, this peece of toa sted Cheese will
    doo't. There's my Gauntlet, Ile proue it on a Gyant.
    Bring vp the browne Billes. O well flowne Bird: i'th'
    clout, i'th'clout: Hewgh. Giue the word.
    2540 Edg. Sweet Mariorum.
    Lear. Pa s s e.
    Glou. I know that voice.
    Lear. Ha! Gonerill with a white beard? They flatter'd
    me like a Dogge, and told mee I had the white hayres in
    2545my Beard, ere the blacke ones were there. To say I, and
    no, to euery thing that I said: I, and no too, was no good
    Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me once, and the
    winde to make me chatter: when the Thunder would not
    peace at my bidding, there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em
    2550out. Go too, they are not men o'their words; they told
    me, I was euery thing: 'Tis a Lye, I am not Agu-proofe.
    Glou. The tricke of that voyce, I do well remember:
    Is't not the King?
    Lear. I, euery inch a King.
    2555When I do stare, see how the Subiect quakes.
    I pardon that mans life. What was thy cause?
    Adultery? thou shalt not dye: dye for Adultery?
    No, the Wren goes too't, and the small gilded Fly
    Do's letcher in my sight. Let Copulation thriue:
    2560For Glou sters ba stard Son was kinder to his Father,
    Then my Daughters got 'tweene the lawfull sheets.
    Too't Luxury pell-mell, for I lacke Souldiers.
    Behold yond simpring Dame, whose face betweene her
    Forkes presages Snow; that minces Vertue, & do's shake
    2565the head to heare of pleasures name. The Fitchew, nor
    the soyled Horse goes too't with a more riotous appe-
    tite: Downe from the wa ste they are Centaures, though
    Women all aboue: but to the Girdle do the Gods inhe-
    rit, beneath is all the Fiends. There's hell, there's darke-
    2570nes, there is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench,
    consumption: Fye, fie, fie; pah, pah: Giue me an Ounce
    of Ciuet; good Apothecary sweeten my immagination:
    There's money for thee.
    Glou. O let me ki s s e that hand.
    2575 Lear. Let me wipe it fir st,
    It smelles of Mortality.
    Glou. O ruin'd peece of Nature, this great world
    Shall so weare out to naught.
    Do' st thou know me?
    2580 Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough: do st thou
    squiny at me? No, doe thy wor st blinde Cupid, Ile not
    loue. Reade thou this challenge, marke but the penning
    of it.
    Glou. Were all thy Letters Sunnes, I could not see.
    2585 Edg. I would not take this from report,
    It is, and my heart breakes at it.
    Lear. Read.
    Glou. What with the Case of eyes?
    Lear. Oh ho, are you there with me? No eies in your
    2590head, nor no mony in your purse? Your eyes are in a hea-
    uy case, your purse in a light, yet you see how this world
    goes.
    Glou. I see it feelingly.
    Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how this world
    2595goes, with no eyes. Looke with thine eares: See how
    yond Iu stice railes vpon yond simple theefe. Hearke in
    thine eare: Change places, and handy-dandy, which is
    the Iu stice, which is the theefe: Thou ha st seene a Far-
    mers dogge barke at a Beggar?
    2600 Glou. I Sir.
    Lear. And the Creature run from the Cur: there thou
    might' st behold the great image of Authoritie, a Dogg's
    obey'd in Office. Thou, Rascall Beadle, hold thy bloody
    hand: why do st thou la sh that Whore? Strip thy owne
    2605backe, thou hotly lu sts to vse her in that kind, for which
    thou whip' st her. The Vsurer hangs the Cozener. Tho-
    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
    The knowledge of themselues.
    2740 Edg. Giue me your hand :
    Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
    Come Father, Ile be stow you with a Friend. Exeunt.