Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of King Lear
    for though it be night, yet the Moone shines, Ile make a
    1105sop oth'Moonshine of you, you whoreson Cullyenly
    Barber-monger, draw.
    Stew. Away, I haue nothing to do with thee.
    Kent. Draw you Rascall, you come with Letters a-
    gainst the King, and take Vanitie the puppets part, a-
    1110gainst the Royaltie of her Father: draw you Rogue, or
    Ile so carbonado your shanks, draw you Rascall, come
    your waies.
    Ste. Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.
    Kent. Strike you slaue: stand rogue, stand you neat
    1115slaue, strike.
    Stew. Helpe hoa, murther, murther.

    Enter Bastard, Cornewall, Regan, Gloster, Seruants.

    Bast. How now, what's the matter? Part.
    Kent. With you goodman Boy, if you please, come,
    1120Ile flesh ye, come on yong Master.
    Glo. Weapons? Armes? what's the matter here?
    Cor. Keepe peace vpon your liues, he dies that strikes
    againe, what is the matter?
    Reg. The Messengers from our Sister, and the King?
    1125Cor. What is your difference, speake?
    Stew. I am scarce in breath my Lord.
    Kent. No Maruell, you haue so bestir'd your valour,
    you cowardly Rascall, nature disclaimes in thee: a Taylor
    made thee.
    1130Cor. Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylor make a man?
    Kent. A Taylor Sir, a Stone-cutter, or a Painter, could
    not haue made him so ill, though they had bin but two
    yeares oth'trade.
    Cor. Speake yet, how grew your quarrell?
    1135Ste. 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 vn-
    boulted villaine into morter, and daube the wall of a
    1140Iakes with him. Spare my gray-beard, you wagtaile?
    Cor. Peace sirrah,
    You beastly knaue, know you no reuerence?
    Kent. Yes Sir, but anger hath a priuiledge.
    Cor. Why art thou angrie?
    1145Kent. That such a slaue as this should weare a Sword,
    Who weares no honesty: such smiling rogues as these,
    Like Rats oft bite the holy cords a twaine,
    Which are t'intrince, t'vnloose: smooth euery passion
    That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
    1150Being oile to fire, snow to the colder moodes,
    Reuenge, affirme, and turne their Halcion beakes
    With euery gall, and varry of their Masters,
    Knowing naught (like dogges) but following:
    A plague vpon your Epilepticke visage,
    1155Smoile you my speeches, as I were a Foole?
    Goose, if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
    I'ld driue ye cackling home to Camelot.
    Corn. What art thou mad old Fellow?
    Glost. How fell you out, say that?
    1160Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy,
    Then I, and such a knaue.
    Corn. Why do'st thou call him Knaue?
    What is his fault?
    Kent. His countenance likes me not.
    1165Cor. No more perchance do's mine, nor his, nor hers.
    Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plaine,
    I haue seene better faces in my time,
    Then stands on any shoulder that I see
    Before me, at this instant.
    1170Corn. This is some Fellow,
    Who hauing beene prais'd for bluntnesse, doth affect
    A saucy roughnes, and constraines the garb
    Quite from his Nature. He cannot flatter he,
    An honest mind and plaine, he must speake truth,
    1175And they will take it so, if not, hee's plaine.
    These kind 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 faith, in sincere verity,
    Vnder th'allowance of your great aspect,
    Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
    On flicking Phoebus front.
    Corn. What mean'st by this?
    1185Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discom-
    mend so much; I know Sir, I am no flatterer, he that be-
    guild you in a plaine accent, was a plaine Knaue, which
    for my part I will not be, though I should win your
    displeasure to entreat me too't.
    1190Corn. What was th'offence you gaue him?
    Ste. I neuer gaue him any:
    It pleas'd the King his Master very late
    To strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
    When he compact, and flattering his displeasure
    1195Tript me behind: being downe, insulted, rail'd,
    And put vpon him such a deale of Man,
    That worthied him, got praises of the King,
    For him attempting, who was selfe-subdued,
    And in the fleshment of this dead exploit,
    1200Drew on me here againe.
    Kent. None of these Rogues, and Cowards
    But Aiax is there Foole.
    Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks?
    You stubborne ancient Knaue, you reuerent Bragart,
    1205Wee'l teach you.
    Kent. Sir, I am too old to learne:
    Call not your Stocks for me, I serue the King.
    On whose imployment I was sent to you,
    You shall doe small respects, show too bold malice
    1210Against the Grace, and Person of my Master,
    Stocking his Messenger.
    Corn. Fetch forth the Stocks;
    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 should not vse me so.
    Reg. Sir, being his Knaue, I will. Stocks brought out.
    Cor. This is a Fellow of the selfe same colour,
    Our Sister speakes of. Come, bring away the Stocks.
    1220Glo. Let me beseech your Grace, not to do so,
    The King his Master, needs must take it ill
    That he so slightly valued in his Messenger,
    Should haue him thus restrained.
    Cor. Ile answere that.
    1225Reg. My Sister may recieue it much more worsse,
    To haue her Gentleman abus'd, assaulted.
    Corn. Come my Lord, away. Exit.
    Glo. I am sorry for thee friend, 'tis the Duke pleasure,
    Whose disposition all the world well knowes
    1230Will not be rub'd nor stopt, Ile entreat for thee .
    Kent. Pray do not Sir, I haue watch'd and trauail'd hard,
    Some time I shall sleepe out, the rest Ile whistle:
    A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles: