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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1608)

    The Hi storie of King Lear.
    880 Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered your
    letter. Exit
    Foole. If a mans braines where in his heeles, wert not in dan-
    ger of kibes? Lear. I boy.
    885 Foole. Then I prethe be mery, thy wit shal nere goe slip shod.
    Lear. Ha ha ha.
    Foole. Shalt see thy other daughter will vse thee kindly, for
    though shees as like this, as a crab is like an 890apple, yet I con, what
    I can tel.
    Lear. Why what can st thou tell my boy?
    Foole. Sheel ta st as like this, as a crab doth to a crab, thou
    can st not tell why ones nose stande in the middle of his face?
    895 Lear. No.
    Foole. Why, to keep his eyes on either side's nose, that what
    a man cannot smell out, a may spie 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 snayle has a house.
    Lear. Why ?
    Foole. Why, to put his head in, not to giue it away to his
    905 daughter, and leaue his hornes without a case.
    Lear. I will forget my nature, so kind a father; be my horses
    readie?
    Foole. Thy A s s es are gone about them, the reason why the
    seuen starres are no more then seuen, is a prettie reason.
    910 Lear. Because they are not eight.
    Foole. Yes thou would st make a good foole.
    Lear. To tak't againe perforce, Mon ster, ingratitude!
    Fool. If thou wert my foole Nunckle, id'e haue thee beatẽ for
    being old before thy time.
    915 Lear. Hows that?
    Foole. Thou should st not haue beene old, before thou had st
    beene wise.
    Lear. O let me not be mad sweet heauen! I would not be mad,
    keepe me in temper, I would not be mad, are 920the horses readie?
    Seruant. Readie my Lord. Lear. Come boy. Exit.
    Foole. Shee that is maide now, and laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be a maide long, except things be cut shorter. Exit
    Enter