Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)

The Tragedie of King Lear
Kent. I know you: Where's the King?
Gent. Contending with the fretfull Elements;
1620Bids the winde blow the Earth into the Sea,
Or swell the curled Waters 'boue the Maine,
That things might change, or cease.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the Foole, who labours to out-iest
1625His heart-strooke iniuries.
Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare vpon the warrant of my note
Commend a deere thing to you. There is diuision
(Although as yet the face of it is couer'd
1630With mutuall cunning) 'twixt Albany , and Cornwall:
Who haue, as who haue not, that their great Starres
Thron'd and set high; Seruants, who seeme no lesse,
Which are to France the Spies and Speculations
Intelligent of our State. What hath bin seene,
1635Either in snuffes, and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard Reine which both of them hath borne
Against the old kinde King; or something deeper,
Whereof (perchance) these are but furnishings.
Gent. I will talke further with you.
1640Kent. No, do not:
For confirmation that I am much more
Then my out-wall; open this Purse, and take
What it containes. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As feare not but you shall) shew her this Ring,
1645And she will tell you who that Fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fye on this Storme,
I will go seeke the King.
Gent. Giue me your hand,
Haue you no more to say?
1650Kent. Few words, but to effect more then all yet;
That when we haue found the King, in which your pain
That way, Ile this: He that first lights on him,
Holla the other. Exeunt.

Scena Secunda.

1655Storme still. Enter Lear, and Foole.
Lear. Blow windes, & crack your cheeks; Rage, blow
You Cataracts, and Hyrricano's spout,
Till you haue drench'd our Steeples, drown the Cockes.
You Sulph'rous and Thought-executing Fires,
1660Vaunt-curriors of Oake-cleauing Thunder-bolts,
Sindge my white head. And thou all-shaking Thunder,
Strike flat the thicke Rotundity o'th'world,
Cracke Natures moulds, all germaines spill at once
That makes ingratefull Man.
1665Foole. O Nunkle, Court holy-water in a dry house, is
better then this Rain-water out o' doore. Good Nunkle,
in, aske thy Daughters blessing, heere's a night pitties
neither Wisemen, nor Fooles.
Lear. Rumble thy belly full: spit Fire, spowt Raine:
1670Nor Raine, Winde, Thunder, Fire are my Daughters;
I taxe not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse.
I neuer gaue you Kingdome, call'd you Children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Heere I stand your Slaue,
1675A poore, infirme, weake, and dispis'd old man:
But yet I call you Seruile Ministers,
Thar will with two pernicious Daughters ioyne
Your high-engender'd Battailes, 'gainst a head
So old, and white as this. O, ho! 'tis foule.
1680Foole. He that has a house to put's head in, has a good
The Codpiece that will house, before the head has any;
The Head, and he shall Lowse: so Beggers marry many.
The man yt makes his Toe, what he his Hart shold make,
1685Shall of a Corne cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake.
For there was neuer yet faire woman, but shee made
mouthes in a glasse.
Enter Kent.
Lear. No, I will be the patterne of all patience,
1690I will say nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Foole. Marry here's Grace, and a Codpiece, that's a
Wiseman, and a Foole.
Kent. Alas Sir are you here? Things that loue night,
1695Loue not such nights as these: The wrathfull Skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the darke
And make them keepe their Caues: Since I was man,
Such sheets of Fire, such bursts of horrid Thunder,
Such groanes of roaring Winde, and Raine, I neuer
1700Remember to haue heard. Mans Nature cannot carry
Th'affliction, nor the feare.
Lear. Let the great Goddes
That keepe this dreadfull pudder o're our heads,
Finde out their enemies now. Tremble thou Wretch,
1705That hast within thee vndivulged Crimes
Vnwhipt of Iustice. Hide thee, thou Bloudy hand;
Thou Periur'd, and thou Simular of Vertue
That art Incestuous. Caytiffe, to peeces shake
That vnder couert, and conuenient seeming
1710Ha's practis'd on mans life. Close pent-vp guilts,
Riue your concealing Continents, and cry
These dreadfull Summoners grace. I am a man,
More sinn'd against, then sinning.
Kent. Alacke, bare-headed?
1715Gracious my Lord, hard by heere is a Houell,
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the Tempest:
Repose you there, while I to this hard house,
(More harder then the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which euen but now, demanding after you,
1720Deny'd me to come in) returne, and force
Their scanted curtesie.
Lear. My wits begin to turne.
Come on my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold my selfe. Where is this straw, my Fellow?
1725The Art of our Necessities is strange,
And can make vilde things precious. Come, your Houel;
Poore Foole, and Knaue,I haue one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.
He that has and a little-tyne wit,
1730 With heigh-ho, the Winde and the Raine,
Must make content with his Fortunes fit,
Though the Raine it raineth euery day.
Le. True Boy: Come bring vs to this Houell. Exit.
Foole. This is a braue night to coole a Curtizan:
1735Ile speake a Prophesie ere I go:
When Priests are more in word, then matter;
When Brewers marre their Malt with water;
When Nobles are their Taylors Tutors,
No Heretiques burn'd, but wenches Sutors;
1740When euery Case in Law, is right;
No Squire in debt, nor no poore Knight;
When Slanders do not liue in Tongues;
Nor Cut-purses come not to throngs;
When Vsurers tell their Gold i'th'Field,