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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    with mans sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on
    proud array. Tom's a cold.
    Lear. What hast thou bin?
    1865Edg. A Seruingman? Proud in heart, and minde; that
    curl'd my haire, wore Gloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust
    of my Mistris heart, and did the acte of darkenesse with
    her. Swore as many Oathes, as I spake words, & broke
    them in the sweet face of Heauen. One, that slept in the
    1870contriuing of Lust, and wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I
    deerely, Dice deerely;and in Woman, out-Paramour'd
    the Turke. False of heart, light of eare, bloody of hand;
    Hog in sloth, Foxe in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog
    in madnes, Lyon in prey. Let not the creaking of shooes,
    1875Nor the rustling of Silkes, betray thy poore heart to wo-
    man. Keepe thy foote out of Brothels, thy hand out of
    Plackets, thy pen from Lenders Bookes, and defye the
    foule Fiend. Still through the Hauthorne blowes the
    cold winde: Sayes suum, mun, nonny, Dolphin my Boy,
    1880Boy Sesey: let him trot by. Storme still.
    Lear. Thou wert better in a Graue, then to answere
    with thy vncouer'd body, this extremitie of the Skies. Is
    man no more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st
    the Worme no Silke; the Beast, no Hide; the Sheepe, no
    1885Wooll; the Cat, no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are
    sophisticated. Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommo-
    dated man, is no more but such a poore, bare, forked A-
    nimall as thou art. Off, off you Lendings: Come, vn-
    button heere.

    1890Enter Gloucester, with a Torch.
    Foole. Prythee Nunckle be contented, 'tis a naughtie
    night to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field,
    were like an old Letchers heart, a small spark, all the rest
    on's body, cold: Looke, heere comes a walking fire.
    1895Edg. This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins at
    Curfew, and walkes at first Cocke : Hee giues the Web
    and the Pin, squints the eye, and makes the Hare-lippe;
    Mildewes the white Wheate, and hurts the poore Crea-
    ture of earth.
    Swithold footed thrice the old,
    He met the Night-Mare, and her nine-fold;
    Bid her a-light, and her troth-plight,
    And aroynt thee Witch, aroynt thee.
    Kent. How fares your Grace?
    1905Lear. What's he?
    Kent. Who's there? What is't you seeke?
    Glou. What are you there? Your Names?
    Edg. Poore Tom, that eates the swimming Frog, the
    Toad, the Tod-pole, the wall-Neut, and the water: that
    1910in the furie of his heart, when the foule Fiend rages, eats
    Cow-dung for Sallets; swallowes the old Rat, and the
    ditch-Dogge; drinkes the green Mantle of the standing
    Poole: who is whipt from Tything to Tything, and
    stockt, punish'd, and imprison'd: who hath three Suites
    1915to his backe, sixe shirts to his body:
    Horse to ride, and weapon to weare:
    But Mice, and Rats, and such small Deare,
    Haue bin Toms food, for seuen long yeare:
    Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkin, peace thou Fiend.
    1920Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
    Edg. The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo
    he's call'd, and Mahu.
    Glou. Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is growne so
    vilde, that it doth hate what gets it.
    1925Edg. Poore Tom's a cold.
    Glou. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
    T'obey in all your daughters hard commands:
    Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores,
    And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you,
    1930Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out,
    And bring you where both fire, and food is ready.
    Lear. First let me talke with this Philosopher,
    What is the cause of Thunder?
    Kent. Good my Lord take his offer,
    1935Go into th'house.
    Lear. Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
    What is your study?
    Edg. How to preuent the Fiend, and to kill Vermine.
    Lear. Let me aske you one word in priuate.
    1940Kent. Importune him once more to go my Lord,
    His wits begin t' vnsettle.
    Glou. Canst thou blame him? Storm still
    His Daughters seeke his death: Ah, that good Kent,
    He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
    1945Thou sayest the King growes mad, Ile tell thee Friend
    I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne,
    Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
    But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
    No Father his Sonne deerer: true to tell thee
    1950The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
    I do beseech your grace.
    Lear. O cry you mercy, Sir:
    Noble Philosopher, your company.
    Edg. Tom's a cold.
    1955Glou. In fellow there, into th'Houel; keep thee warm.
    Lear. Come, let's in all.
    Kent. This way, my Lord.
    Lear. With him;
    I will keepe still with my Philosopher.
    1960Kent. Good my Lord, sooth him:
    Let him take the Fellow.
    Glou. Take him you on.
    Kent. Sirra, come on: go along with vs.
    Lear. Come, good Athenian.
    1965Glou. No words, no words, hush.
    Edg. Childe Rowland to the darke Tower came,
    His word was still, fie, foh, and fumme,
    I smell the blood of a Brittish man. Exeunt

    Scena Quinta.

    1970Enter Cornwall, and Edmund.
    Corn. I will haue my reuenge, ere I depart his house.
    Bast. How my Lord, I may be censured, that Nature
    thus giues way to Loyaltie, something feares mee to
    thinke of.
    1975Cornw. I now perceiue, it was not altogether your
    Brothers euill disposition made him seeke his death: but
    a prouoking merit set a-worke by a reprouable badnesse
    in himselfe.
    Bast. How malicious is my fortune, that I must re-
    1980pent to be iust? This is the Letter which hee spoake of;
    which approues him an intelligent partie to the aduanta-
    ges of France. O Heauens! that this Treason were not;
    or not I the detector.
    Corn. Go with me to the Dutchesse.
    1985Bast. If the matter of this Paper be certain, you haue
    mighty businesse in hand.