Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)
  • Editor: Pervez Rizvi
  • 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: Pervez Rizvi
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

    The History of King Lear.
    can st not tell why ones nose stands in the middle of his face?
    895 Lear. No.
    Foole. Why to keep his eyes on either side his 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 neyther; but I can tell why a snayle has a house.
    Lear. Why?
    Foole. Why to put his head in, not to giue it away vnto his
    905 daughter, and leaue his hornes without a case.
    Lear. I will forget my nature, so kinde a father; bee my horses
    Foole. Thy A s s es are gone about them; the reason why the se-
    uen starres are no more then seuen, is a pretty 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!
    Foole. If thou wert my foole Nunckle, Ide haue thee beaten
    for being olde before thy time.
    915 Lear. How's that?
    Foole. Thou should st not haue beene olde, before thou had st
    beene wise.
    Lear. O let me not be mad sweete heauen! I would not bee
    mad, keepe me in temper, I would not bee mad; are the Horses
    920 ready?
    Seruant. Ready my Lord.
    Lear. Come boy. Exit.
    Foole. She that is a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be maid long, except things be cut shorter.
    925 Exit.
    Enter Bastard, and Curan meetes him.
    Ba st . Saue thee Curan.
    Curan. And you sir, I haue beene with your father, and giuen
    930 him notice, that the Duke of Cornwall and his Dutche s s e will be
    here with him to night.
    Bast . How comes that?