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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.
    875Lear. Go you before to Glocester with these Letters, acquaint
    my daughter no further with any thing you know, then comes
    from her demand out of the Letter, if your diligence be not spee-
    die, I shall be there before you.
    880Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered your let-
    9603+36ter. Exit.
    Foole. If a mans braines were in his heeles, wert not in danger
    of kybes?Lear. I boy.
    885Foole. Then I prethee be merry, thy wit shall nere go slipshod.
    Lear. Ha, ha, ha.
    Foole. Shalt see thy other daughter will vse thee kindly, for
    though she is as like this, as a crabbe is like an apple, yet I con,
    890what I can tell.
    Lear. Why what canst thou tell my boy?
    Foole. Shee'l taste as like this, as a crab doth to a crab; thou
    canst
    The History of King Lear.
    canst not tell why ones nose stands in the middle of his face?
    895Lear. 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. Canst tell how an Oyster makes his shell.
    900Lear. 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
    905daughter, and leaue his hornes without a case.
    Lear. I will forget my nature, so kinde a father; bee my horses
    ready?
    Foole. Thy Asses are gone about them; the reason why the se-
    uen starres are no more then seuen, is a pretty reason.
    910Lear. Because they are not eight.
    Foole. Yes, thou wouldst make a good foole.
    Lear. To tak't againe perforce; monster, ingratitude!
    Foole. If thou wert my foole Nunckle, Ide haue thee beaten
    for being olde before thy time.
    915Lear. How's that?
    Foole. Thou shouldst not haue beene olde, before thou hadst
    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
    920ready?
    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.
    925Exit.