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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    1075Enter Kent, and Steward.
    Steward. Good euen to thee friend, art of the house?
    Kent. I.
    Steward. Where may we set our horses?
    Kent. In the mire.
    1080Stew. Prethee if thou loue me, tell me.
    Kent. I loue thee not.
    Stew. Why then I care not for thee.
    Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care
    for me.
    1085Stew. Why dost thou vse me thus? I know thee not.
    Kent. Fellow I know thee.
    Stew. What dost thou know me for?
    Kent. A knaue, a rascall, an eater of broken meates, a base,
    proud, shallow, beggerly, three shewted hundred pound, filthy
    1090worsted stocken knaue, a lilly liuer'd action taking knaue, a
    whoreson glasse-gazing superfinicall rogue, one trunke inheri-
    ting slaue, one that would'st be baud in way of good seruice, &
    art nothing but the composition of a knaue, begger, coward,
    1095pander, and the sonne and heire of a mungrell bitch, whom I will
    beate into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least sillable of
    the addition.
    Stew. What a monstrous fellow art thon, thus to raile on one
    that's neither knowne of thee, nor knowes thee.
    Kent. What a brazen fac'st varlet art thou, to deny thou know-
    est me, is it two daies agoe since I beate thee, and tript vp thy
    heeles before the King? draw you rogue, for though it be night
    1105the Moon shines, ile make a sop of the Moone-shine a'you, draw
    you whoreson cullyonly barber-munger, draw.
    Stew. Away, I haue nothing to do with thee.
    Kent. Draw you rascall, you bring Letters against the King, &
    take Vanity the puppets part, against the royalty of her father,
    1110draw you rogue, or ile so carbonado your shankes, draw you ras-
    call, come your wayes.
    Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
    Kent.
    The History of King Lear.
    Kent. Strike you slaue, stand rogue, stand you neate slaue,
    1115strike.
    Stew. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
    Enter Edmund with his Rapier drawne, Glocester, the
    Duke and Dutchesse.
    Bast. How now, what's the matter?
    Ken. With you goodman boy, and you please come, ile sleash
    1120you, come on yong master.
    Glost. Weapons, armes, what's the matter here?
    Duke. Keepe peace vpon your liues, he dies that strikes againe,
    what's the matter?
    Reg. The messengers from our sister, and the King.
    1125Duke. What's your difference, speake?
    Stew. I am scarse in breath my Lord.
    Kent. No maruaile you haue so bestir'd your valour, you co-
    wardly rascall, nature disclaimes in thee, a Taylor made thee.
    1130Duke. Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylour make a man.
    Kent. I, a taylour sir, a Stone-cutter, or a Painter could not
    haue made him so ill, though he had bene but two houres at the
    trade.
    Glost. Speake yet, how grew your quarrell?
    1135Stew. This ancient ruffian sir, whose life I haue spar'd at sute
    of his gray-beard.
    Kent. Thou whoreson Zed, thou vnnecessary letter, my Lord
    if you will giue me leaue, I will tread this vnboulted villaine in-
    to morter, and daube the wals of a Iaques with him; spare my
    1140gray-beard you wagtaile?
    Duke. Peace sir, you beastly knaue you haue no reuerence.
    Kent. Yes sir, but anger has a priuiledge.
    Duke. Why are thou angry?
    1145Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a sword,
    That weares no honesty, such smiling rogues as these,
    Like Rats oft bite those cordes in twaine,
    Which are to intrench, to inloose smooth euery passion
    That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
    D3Bring
    The History of King Lear.
    1150Bring oile to stir, snow to their colder moods,
    Reneag, affirme, and turne their halcion beakes
    With euery gale and vary of their masters,
    Knowing nought like daies but following,
    A plague vpon your Epilipticke visage,
    1155Smoile you my speeches, as I were a foole?
    Goose, if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
    Ide send you cackling home to Camulet.
    Duke. What art thou mad olde fellow?
    Glost. How fell you out, say that?
    1160Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy,
    Then I and such a knaue.
    Duke. Why dost thou call him knaue, what's his offence?
    Kent. His countenance likes me not.
    1165Duke. No more perchance doth mine, or his, or hers.
    Kent. Sir, tis my occupation to be plaine,
    I haue seene better faces in my time,
    Than stands on any shoulder that I see
    Before me at this instant.
    1170Duke. This is a fellow, who hauing beene praisd
    For bluntnesse, doth affect a saucie ruffines,
    And constraines the garb quite from his nature,
    He cannot flatter he, he must be plaine,
    He must speake truth, and they will take it so,
    1175If not hee's plaine, these kinde of knaues I know,
    Which in this plainnesse harbour more craft,
    And more corrupter ends, then twenty silly ducking,
    Obseruants, that stretch their duties nicely.
    1180Kent. Sir in good sooth, or in sincere verity,
    Vnder the allowance of your grand aspect.
    Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
    In flitkering Phoebus front.
    Duke. What meanst thou by this?
    1185Kent. To go out of my dialogue which you discommend so
    much; I know sir, I am no flatterer, he that beguild you in a plain
    accent, was a plaine knaue, which for my part I wil not be, thogh
    I should win your displeasure to entreate me to it.
    Duke.
    The History of King Lear.
    1190Duke. What's the offence you gaue him?
    Stew. I neuer gaue him any, it pleasd the King his master
    Very late to strike at me vpon his missconstruction,
    When he coniunct and flattering his displeasure
    1195Tript me behinde, being downe, insulted, raild,
    And put vpon his such a deale of man, that
    That worthied him, got praises of the King,
    For him attempting who was selfe subdued,
    And in the flechuent of this dread exploit,
    1200Drew on me heere againe.
    Kent. None of these roges & cowards but A'Iax is their foole.
    Duke. Bring foorth the stockes ho?
    You stubborne miscreant knaue, you vnreuerent bragart,
    1205Wee'l teach you.
    Kent. I am too olde to learne, call not your stockes for me,
    I serue the King, on whose imploiments I was sent to you,
    You should do small respect, shew too bold malice
    1210Against the grace and person of my master,
    Stopping his Messenger.
    Duke. Fetch foorth the stockes; as I haue life and honour,
    There shall he sit till noone.
    Reg. Till noone, till night my Lord, and all night too.
    1215Kent. Why Madam, if I were your fathers dog you could not
    vse me so.
    Reg. Sir, being his knaue, I will.
    Duke. This is a fellow of the same nature,
    Our sister speakes off, come, bring away the stockes.
    1220Glost. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so,
    His fault is much, and the good King his Master
    1221.1Will checke him for't; your purposd low correction
    Is such, as basest and temnest wretches for pilfrings
    And most common trespasses are punisht with,
    The King must take it ill, that hee's so slightly valued
    In his Messenger, should haue him thus restrained.
    Duke. Ile answer that.
    1225Reg. My sister may receiue it much more worse,
    To haue her gentleman abused, assaulted
    For
    The History of King Lear.
    1226.1For following her affaires, put in his legs,
    Come my Lord, away.Exit.
    Glost. I am sorry for thee friend, tis the Dukes pleasure,
    Whose disposition all the world well knowes
    1230Will not be rubd nor stopt, Ile intreate for thee.
    Kent. Pray you do not sir I haue watcht and trauaild hard,
    Some time I shall sleepe out, the rest Ile whistle,
    A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles,
    Giue you good morrow.
    1235Glost. The Duke's too blame in this, twill be ill tooke.
    Exit.
    Kent. Good King, that must approue the common saw,
    Thou out of heauens benediction comest
    To the warme Sunne.
    1240Approach thou beacon to this vnder-globe,
    That by thy comfortable beames I may
    Peruse this letter, nothing almost sees my wracke
    But misery, I know tis from Cordelia,
    Who hath most fortunately bene informed
    1245Of my obscured course, and shall finde time
    From this enormious state, seeking to giue
    Losses their remedies, all weary and ouer-watcht,
    Take vantage heauy eies not to behold
    This shamefull lodging; Fortune goodnight,
    1250Smile, once more turne thy wheele.He sleepes.
    Enter Edgar.
    Edgar, I heare my selfe proclaim'd,
    And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
    Escapt the hunt, no Port is free, no place
    1255That guard, and most vnusall vigilence
    Dost not attend my taking while I may scape,
    I will preserue my selfe, and am bethought
    To take the basest and most poorest shape,
    That euer penury in contempt of man,
    1260Brought neere to beast; my face ile grime with filth,
    Blanket my loines, else all my haire with knots,
    And
    The History of King Lear.
    And with presented nakednes out-face
    The winde, and persecution of the skie,
    The Country giues me proofe and president
    1265Of Bedlam beggers, who with roring voices,
    Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare Armes,
    Pins, wooden prickes, nailes, sprigs of rosemary,
    And with this horrible obiect from low seruice,
    Poore pelting villages, sheep-coates, and milles,
    1270Sometime with lunaticke bans, sometime with praiers
    Enforce their charity, poore Turlygod, poore Tom,
    That's something yet, Edgar I nothing am.Exit.
    Enter King, and a Knight.
    Lear. Tis strange that they should so depart from hence,
    1275And not send backe my messenger.
    Knight. As I learn'd, the night before there was
    No purpose of his remoue.
    Kent. Haile to thee noble Master.
    1280Lear. How, mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
    Foole. Ha, ha, looke, he weares crewell garters,
    Horses are tide by the heeles, dogs and beares
    By the necke, munkies by the loines, and men
    By the legs, when a man's ouer-lusty at legs,
    1285[T]hen he weares wooden neather-stockes.
    Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistooke to set
    thee here?
    Kent. It is both he and she, your sonne and daughter.
    Lear. No.
    Kent. Yes.
    Lear. No I say.
    Kent. I say yea.
    1294.1Lear. No, no, they would not.
    Kent. Yes they haue.
    1295Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no, they durst not do it,
    They would not, could not do it, tis worse then murder,
    To do vpon respect such violent out-rage,
    1300Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
    EThou
    The History of King Lear.
    Thou maist deserue, or they purpose this vsage,
    Comming from vs.
    Kent. My Lord, when at their home
    I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them,
    1305Ere I was risen from the place that shewed
    My duty kneeling, came there a reeking Poste,
    Stewd in his haste, halfe breathlesse, panting forth
    From Gonorill his Mistris, salutations,
    Deliuered letters spite of intermission,
    1310Which presently they read; on whose contents
    They summoned vp their men, straight tooke horse,
    Commanded me to follow, and attend the leisure
    Of their answer, gaue me cold lookes,
    And meeting heere the other Messenger,
    1315Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poisoned mine,
    Being the very fellow that of late
    Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
    Hauing more man then wit about me, drew;
    He raised the house with loud and coward cries,
    1320Your sonne and daughter found this trespasse worth
    This shame which here it suffers.
    Lear. O how this mother swels vp toward my heart,
    Historica passio downe thou climing sorrow,
    1330Thy element's below, where is this daughter?
    Kent. With the Earle sir within.
    Lear. Follow me not, stay there.
    Knight. Made you no more offence then what you speake of?
    1335Kent. No, how chance the King comes with so small a traine?
    Foole. If thou hadst beene set in the stockes for that question,
    thou hadst well deserued it.
    Kent. Why foole?
    1340Foole. Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach thee ther's
    no labouring in the winter, all that follow their noses, are led by
    their eyes, but blinde men, and there's not a nose among a hun-
    dred, but can smell him that's stincking; let goe thy hold when
    a great wheele runs downe a hill, least it breake thy necke with
    1345following it, but the great one that goes vp the hil, let him draw
    thee
    The History of King Lear.
    thee after, when a wise man giues thee better counsell, giue mee
    mine againe, I would haue none but knaues follow it, since a
    foole giues it.
    1350 That Sir that serues for gaine,
    And followes but for forme;
    Will packe when it begins to raine,
    And leaue thee in the storme.
    But I will tarry, the foole will stay,
    1355And let the wise man flie:
    The knaue turnes foole that runnes away,
    The foole no knaue perdy.
    Kent. Where learnt you this foole?
    Foole. Not in the stockes.
    1360Enter Lear and Glocester.
    Lear. Deny to speake with me? th'are sicke, th'are weary,
    They traueld hard to night, meare Iustice,
    I the images of reuolt and flying off,
    1365Fetch me a better answer.
    Glost. My deare Lord, you know the fiery quality of the Duke,
    how vnremoueable and fixt he is in his owne course.
    1370Lear. Veangeance, death, plague, confusion, what fiery quali-
    ty; why Glocester,Glocester, ide speake with the Duke of Corne-
    wall, and his wife.
    1375Glost. I my good Lord.
    Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall, the deare father
    Would with his daughter speake, commands her seruice,
    1380Fiery Duke, tell the hot Duke that Lear,
    No but not yet, may be he is not well,
    Infirmity doth still neglect all office, where to our health
    Is bound, we are not our selues, when nature being opprest,
    Commands the minde to suffer with the body; ile forbeare,
    And am fallen out with my more headier will,
    To take the indisposed and sickly fit, for the sound man.
    Death on my state, wherefore should he sit here?
    This acte perswades me, that this remotion of the Duke & her
    E2Is
    The History of King Lear.
    Is practice, onely giue me my seruant foorth;
    Tell the Duke and's wife, Ile speake with them
    Now presently, bid them come forth and heare me,
    Or at their chamber doore Ile beate the drum,
    1395Till it cry sleepe to death.
    Glost. I would haue all well betwixt you.
    Lear. O my heart! my heart.
    Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cockney did to the Eeles,
    when she put them vp i'th paste aliue, she rapt vm ath coxcombs
    1400with a sticke, and cryed downe wantons, downe; twas her bro-
    ther, that in pure kindnesse to his horse, butterd his hay.
    Enter Duke and Regan.
    Lear. Good morrow to you both.
    1405Duke. Haile to your Grace.
    Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse.
    Lear. Regan, I thinke you are, I know what reason
    I haue to thinke so; if thou shouldst not be glad,
    I would diuorce me from thy mothers toombe,
    1410Sepulchring an adulteresse, yea, are you free?
    Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
    Thy sister is naught, ô Regan she hath tied
    Sharpe tooth'd vnkindnesse, like a vulture heere.
    I can scarse speake to thee, thou't not beleeue,
    1415Of how depriued a quality, O Regan.
    Reg. I pray sir take patience, I haue hope
    You lesse know how to value her desert,
    Then she to slacke her duty.
    1425Lear. My curses on her.
    Reg. O sir, you are olde,
    Nature on you stands on the very verge of her Confine,
    You should be ruled and led by some discretion,
    That discernes your state better then you your selfe,
    1430Therefore I pray, that to our sister you do make returne,
    Say you haue wrongd her sir.
    Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse,
    Do you marke how this becomes the house?
    Deare
    The History of King Lear.
    1435Deare daughter, I confesse that I am old,
    Age is vnnecessary, on my knees I beg,
    That you'l vouchsafe me rayment, bed and food.
    Reg. Good sir no more, these are vnsightly tricks,
    Returne you to my sister.
    1440Lear. No Regan,
    She hath abated me of halfe my traine,
    Lookt backe vpon me, stroke me with her tongue,
    Most serpent-like vpon the very heart,
    All the stor'd vengeances of heauen fall on her ingratefull top,
    1445Strike her young bones, you taking aires with lamnesse.
    Duke. Fie, fie sir.
    Lear. You nimble lightnings dart your blinding flames
    Into her scornfull eies, infect her beauty,
    1450You Fen suckt fogs, drawne by the powerfull Sunne,
    To fall and blast her pride.
    Reg. O the blest Gods, so will you wish on me,
    When the rash mood --------
    Lear. No Regan, thou shalt neuer haue my curse,
    1455The tender hested nature shall not giue thee ore
    To harshnes, her eies are fierce, but thine do comfort & not burn
    Tis not in thee to grudge my pleasures, to cut off my traine,
    To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
    1460And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
    Against my comming in, thou better knowest
    The offices of nature, bond of child-hood,
    Effects of curtesie, dues of gratitude,
    Thy halfe of the kingdome, hast thou not forgot
    1465Wherein I thee endowed.
    Reg. Good sir to the purpose.
    Lear. Who put my man i'th stockes?
    Duke. What trumpets that?
    Enter Steward.
    1470Reg. I know't my sisters, this approues her letters,
    That she would soone be here, is your Lady come?
    Lear. This is a slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
    E3Dwels
    The History of King Lear.
    Dwels in the fickle grace of her he followes,
    Out varlet, from my sight.
    1475Duke. What meanes your Grace?
    Enter Gonorill.
    Gon. Who strucke my seruant? Regan, I haue good hope
    Thou didst not know ant.
    Lear. Who comes here? O heauens!
    1480If you do loue olde men, if you sweet sway alow
    Obedience, if your selues are old, make it your cause,
    Send downe and take my part;
    Art not asham'd to looke vpon this beard?
    O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
    1485Gon. Why not by the hand sir, how haue I offended?
    All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
    And dotage tearmes so.
    Lear. O sides, you are too tough,
    Will you yet hold? how came my man i'th stockes?
    Duke. I set him there, but his owne disorders
    Deseru'd much lesse aduancement.
    Lear. You; did you?
    Reg. I pray you father being weake, seeme so,
    1495If till the expiration of your moneth,
    You will returne and soiourne with my sister,
    Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
    I am now from home, and out of that prouision
    Which shall be needfull for your entertainment.
    1500Lear. Returne to her, and fifty men dismist?
    No, rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
    To wage against the enmity of the ayre,
    To be a Comrade with the Wolfe and Owle,
    Necessities sharpe pinch, returne with her:
    1505Why the hot blood in France, that dowerles
    Tooke our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
    To knee his Throne, and Squire-like pension beg,
    To keepe base life afoote; returne with her?
    Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
    To
    The History of King Lear.
    1510To this detested groome.
    Gon. At your choise sir.
    Lear. Now I prethee daughter do not make me mad,
    I will not trouble thee my childe, farwell,
    Wee'l no more meete, no more see one another.
    1515But yet thou art my flesh, my bloud, my daughter,
    Or rather a disease that lies within my flesh,
    Which I must needs call mine, thou art a byle
    A plague sore, an imbossed carbuncle in my
    Corrupted bloud, but Ile not chide thee,
    1520Let shame come when it will, I do not call it,
    I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoote,
    Nor tell tales of thee to high iudging Ioue,
    Mend when thou canst, be better at thy leisure,
    I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
    1525I and my hundred Knights.
    Reg. Not altogether so sir, I looke not for you yet,
    Nor am prouided for your fit welcome,
    Giue eare to my sister, for those
    That mingle r[ea]son with your passion,
    1530Must be content to thinke you are old, and so,
    But she knowes what she does.
    Lear. Is this well spoken now?
    Reg. I dare auouch it sir, what fifty followers,
    Is it not well? what should you need of more,
    1535Yea or so many, sith that both charge and danger
    Speakes gainst so great a number, how in a house
    Should many people vnder two commands
    Hold amity, tis hard, almost impossible.
    Gon. Why might not you my Lord receiue attendance
    1540From those that she cals seruants, or from mine?
    Reg. Why not my Lord? if then they chancst to slacke you,
    We could controle them; if you will come to me,
    (For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
    1545To bring but fiue and twenty to no more
    Will I giue place or notice.
    Lear. I gaue you all.
    Reg.
    The History of King Lear.
    Reg. And in good time you gaue it.
    Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries,
    1550But kept a reseruation to be followed
    With such a number, what, must I come to you
    With fiue and twenty, Regan, said you so?
    Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.
    Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do seeme well-fauour'd
    1555When others are more wicked, not being the worst,
    Stands in some ranke of praise, Ile go with thee,
    Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
    And thou art twice her loue.
    Gon. Heare me my Lord;
    1560What need you fiue and twenty, ten, or fiue,
    To follow in a house, where twice so many
    Haue a command to tend you?
    Regan. What needs one?
    Lear. O reason not the deed, our basest beggers
    1565Are in the poorest thing superfluous,
    Allow not nature more then nature needs,
    Mans life's as cheap as beasts; thou art a Lady,
    If onely to go warme were gorgious,
    Why nature needs not what thou gorgious wearest,
    1570Which scarsely keepes thee warme, but for true need,
    You heauens giue me that patience, patience I need,
    You see me heere (you Gods) a poore olde fellow,
    As full of greefe as age, wretched in both,
    If it be you that stirres these daughters hearts
    1575Against their Father, foole me not too much,
    To beare it lamely, touch me with noble anger,
    O let not womens weapons, water drops
    Staine my mans cheekes, no you vnnaturall hags,
    I will haue such reuenges on you both,
    1580That all the world shall -------- I will do such things,
    What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be
    The terrors of the earth; you thinke ile weepe,
    No, ile not weepe, I haue full cause of weeping,
    1585But this heart shall breake in a thousand flowes
    Ere
    The History of King Lear.
    Ere ile weepe; ô foole, I shall go mad.
    Exuent Lear, Glocester, Kent, and Foole
    Duke. Let vs withdraw, twill be a storme.
    Reg. This house is little, the old man and his people,
    Cannot be well bestowed.
    1590Gon. Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
    And must needs taste his folly.
    Reg. For his particular, ile receiue him gladly,
    But not one follower.
    Duke. So am I purposd, where is my Lord of Glocester
    Enter Glocester.
    Reg. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.
    Glo. The King is in high rage, and will I know not whether.
    Reg. Tis good to giue him way, he leads himselfe.
    Gon. My Lord, entreate him by no meanes to stay.
    Glo. Alacke, the night comes on, and the bleake windes
    Do sorely ruffell, for many miles about there's not a bush.
    Reg. O sir, to wilfull men,
    The iniuries that they themselues procure,
    Must be their schoole-masters, shut vp your doores,
    He is attended with a desperate traine,
    1610And what they may incense him too, being apt,
    To haue his eare abused, wisedome bids feare.
    Duke. Shut vp your doores my Lord, tis a wilde night,
    My Regan counsels well, come out ath storme.
    Exuent omnes.