What do you like about the ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this 10-minute survey!

Start Survey

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

Toolbox




Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Edgar.
    Edg. Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemnd,
    2180Then still contemn'd and flattered to be worst,
    The lowest and most deiected thing of Fortune
    Stands still in experience, liues not in feare,
    The lamentable change is from the best,
    The worst returnes to laughter,
    Who's here, my father parti, eyd, 2190world, world, O world!
    But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
    Life would not yeeld to age. Enter Glost. led by an old man.
    Old man O my good Lord, I haue beene your tenant, & your
    fathers
    The Historie of King Lear.
    fathers tenant this forescore---
    2195Glost. Away, get thee away, good friend be gon,
    Thy comforts can doe me no good at all,
    Thee they may hurt.
    Old man. Alack sir, you cannot see your way.
    Glost. I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes,
    2200I stumbled when I saw, full oft tis seene
    Our meanes secure vs, and our meare defects
    Proue our comodities, ah deere sonne Edgar,
    The food of thy abused fathers wrath,
    Might I but liue to see thee in my tuch,
    2205Id'e say I had eyes againe.
    Old man. How now whose there?
    Edg. O Gods, who ist can say I am at the worst,
    I am worse then ere I was.
    Old man. Tis poore mad Tom.
    2210Edg. And worse I may be yet, the worst is not.
    As long as we can say, this is the worst.
    Old man. Fellow where goest?
    Glost. Is it a begger man?
    Old man. Mad man, and begger to.
    2215Glost. A has some reason, else he could not beg,
    In the last nights storme I such a fellow saw,
    Which made me thinke a man a worme, my sonne
    Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
    Was then scarce friendes with him, 2220I haue heard more(since,
    As flies are toth' wanton boyes, are we toth' Gods,
    They bitt vs for their sport.
    Edg. How should this be, bad is the trade that must play the
    foole to sorrow 2225angring it selfe and others, blesse thee maister.
    Glost. Is that the naked fellow?
    Old man. I my Lord.
    Glost. Then prethee get thee gon, if for my sake
    Thou wilt oretake vs here a mile or twaine
    2230Ith' way toward Douer, doe it for ancient loue
    And bring some couering for this naked soule
    Who Ile intreate to leade me.
    Old man. Alack sir he is mad.
    Glost.
    The Historie of King Lear.
    Glost. Tis the times plague, 2235when madmen lead the(blind,
    Doe as I bid thee, or rather doe thy pleasure,
    Aboue the rest, be gon.
    Old man. Ile bring him the best parrell that I haue
    Come on't what will.
    2240Glost. Sirrah naked fellow.
    Edg. Poore Toms a cold, I cannot dance it farther.
    Glost. Come hither fellow.
    Edg. Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleed.
    2245Glost. Knowst thou the way to Douer?
    Edg. Both stile and gate, horse-way, and foot-path,
    Poore Tom hath beene scard out of his good wits,
    Blesse the good man from the foule fiend,
    2248.1Fiue fiends haue beene in poore Tom at once,
    Of lust, as Obidicut, Hobbididence Prince of dumbnes,
    Mahu of stealing, Modo of murder, Stiberdigebit of
    Mobing, & Mobing who since possesses chambermaids
    2248.5And waiting women, so, blesse thee maister.
    Glost. Here take this purse, thou whome the heauens(plagues.
    2250Haue humbled to all strokes, that I am wretched, makes(thee
    The happier, heauens deale so still,
    Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man
    That stands your ordinance, that will not see
    Because he does not feele, feele your power quickly,
    2255So distribution should vnder excesse,
    And each man haue enough, dost thou know Douer?
    Edg. I master.
    Glost. There is a cliffe whose high & bending head
    Lookes firmely in the confined deepe,
    2260Bring me but to the very brimme of it
    And ile repaire the misery thou dost beare
    With something rich about me,
    From that place I shal no leading need.
    Edg. Giue me thy arme, 2265poore Tom shall lead thee.