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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 .
    Giue you good morrow.
    1235Glo. The Duke's too blame in this,
    'Twill be ill taken. Exit.
    Kent. Good King, that must approue the common saw,
    Thou out of Heauens benediction com'st
    To the warme Sun.
    1240Approach thou Beacon to this vnder Globe,
    That by thy comfortable Beames I may
    Peruse this Letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
    But miserie. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
    Who hath most fortunately beene inform'd
    1245Of my obscured course. And shall finde time
    From this enormous State, seeking to giue
    Losses their remedies. All weary and o're-watch'd,
    Take vantage heauie eyes, not to behold
    This shamefnll lodging. Fortune goodnight,
    1250Smile once more, turne thy wheele.

    Enter Edgar.

    Edg. I heard my selfe proclaim'd,
    And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
    Escap'd the hunt. No Port is free, no place
    1255That guard, and most vnusall vigilance
    Do's not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
    I will preserue myselfe: 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, elfe all my haires in knots,
    And with presented nakednesse out-face
    The Windes, and persecutions of the skie;
    The Country giues me proofe, and president
    1265Of Bedlam beggers, who with roaring voices,
    Strike in their num'd and mortified Armes.
    Pins, Wodden-prickes, Nayles, Sprigs of Rosemarie:
    And with this horrible obiect, from low Farmes,
    Poore pelting Villages, Sheeps-Coates, and Milles,
    1270Sometimes with Lunaticke bans, sometime with Praiers
    Inforce their charitie: poore Turlygod poore Tom,
    That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am. Exit.

    Enter Lear, Foole, and Gentleman.

    Lea. 'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
    1275And not send backe my Messengers.
    Gent. As I learn'd,
    The night before, there was no purpose in them
    Of this remoue.
    Kent. Haile to thee Noble Master.
    1280Lear. Ha? Mak'st thou this shame ahy pastime ?
    Kent. No my Lord.
    Foole. Hah, ha, he weares Cruell Garters Horses are
    tide by the heads, Dogges and Beares by'th'necke,
    Monkies by'th'loynes, and Men by'th'legs: when a man
    1285ouerlustie at legs, then he weares wodden nether-stocks.
    Lear. What's he,
    That hath so much thy place mistooke
    To set thee heere?
    Kent. It is both he and she,
    1290Your Son, and Daughter.
    Lear. No.
    Kent. Yes.
    Lear. No I say.
    Kent. I say yea.
    1295Lear. By Iupiter I sweare no.
    Kent. By Iuno, I sweare I.
    Lear. They durst not do't:
    They could not, would not do't: 'tis worse then murther,
    To do vpon respect such violent outrage:
    1300Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
    Thou might'st deserue, or they impose 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 dutie kneeling, came there a reeking Poste,
    Stew'd in his haste, halfe breathlesse, painting forth
    From Gonerill his Mistris, salutations;
    Deliuer'd Letters spight of intermission,
    1310Which presently they read; on those contents
    They summon'd vp their meiney, 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 poison'd mine,
    Being the very fellow which of late
    Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
    Hauing more man then wit about me, drew;
    He rais'd the house, with loud and coward cries,
    1320Your Sonne and Daughter found this trespasse worth
    The shame which heere it suffers.
    Foole. Winters not gon yet, if the wil'd Geese fly that (way,
    Fathers that weare rags, do make their Children blind,
    But Fathers that beare bags, shall see their children kind.
    1325Fortune that arrant whore, nere turns the key to th'poore.
    But for all this thou shalt haue as many Dolors for thy
    Daughters, as thou canst tell in a yeare.
    Lear. Oh how this Mother swels vp toward my heart!
    Historica passio, downe thou climing sorrow,
    1330Thy Elements below where is this Daughter?
    Kent. Wirh the Earle Sir, here within.
    Lear. Follow me not, stay here. Exit.
    Gen. Made you no more offence,
    But what you speake of?
    1335Kent. None:
    How chance the the King comes with so small a number?
    Foole. And thou hadst beene set i'th'Stockes for that
    question, thoud'st well deseru'd it.
    Kent. Why Foole?
    1340Foole. Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach
    thee ther's no labouring i'th'winter. All that follow their
    noses, are led by their eyes, but blinde men, and there's
    not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's stink-
    ing; let go thy hold, when a great wheele runs downe a
    1345hill, least it breake thy necke with following. But the
    great one that goes vpward, let him draw thee after:
    when a wiseman giues thee better counsell giue me mine
    againe, I would hause none but knaues follow it, since a
    Foole giues it.
    1350That Sir, which serues and seekes 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 wiseman flie:
    The knaue turnes Foole that runnes away,
    The Foole noknaue perdie.

    Enter Lear, and Gloster:
    Kent. Where learn'd you this Foole ?
    1360Foole. Not i'th'Stocks Foole.