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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earle of Glou-
    cester: seeke out where thy Father is, that hee may bee
    ready for our apprehension.
    1990Bast. If I finde him comforting the King, it will stuffe
    his suspition more fully. I will perseuer in my course of
    Loyalty, though the conflict be sore betweene that, and
    my blood.
    Corn. I will lay trust vpon thee: and thou shalt finde
    1995a deere Father in my loue. Exeunt.

    Scena Sexta.

    Enter Kent, and Gloucester.
    Glou. Heere is better then the open ayre, take it thank-
    fully: I will peece out the comfort with what addition I
    2000can: I will not be long from you. Exit
    Kent. All the powre of his wits, haue giuen way to his
    impatience: the Gods reward your kindnesse.

    Enter Lear, Edgar, and Foole.
    Edg. Fraterretto cals me, and tells me Nero is an Ang-
    2005ler in the Lake of Darknesse: pray Innocent, and beware
    the foule Fiend.
    Foole. Prythee Nunkle tell me, whether a madman be
    a Gentleman, or a Yeoman.
    Lear. A King, a King.
    2010Foole. No, he's a Yeoman, that ha's a Gentleman to
    his Sonne: for hee's a mad Yeoman that sees his Sonne a
    Gentleman before him.
    Lear. To haue a thousand with red burning spits
    Come hizzing in vpon 'em.
    2015Edg. Blesse thy fiue wits.
    Kent. O pitty: Sir, where is the patience now
    That you so oft haue boasted to retaine?
    Edg. My teares begin to take his part so much,
    They marre my counterfetting.
    2020Lear. The little dogges, and all;
    Trey, Blanch, and Sweet-heart: see, they barke at me.
    Edg. Tom, will throw his head at them: Auaunt you
    Curres, be thy mouth or blacke or white:
    Tooth that poysons if it bite:
    2025Mastiffe, Grey-hound, Mongrill, Grim,
    Hound or Spaniell, Brache, or Hym:
    Or Bobtaile tight, or Troudle taile,
    Tom will make him weepe and waile,
    For with throwing thus my head;
    2030Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.
    Do, de, de, de: sese: Come, march to Wakes and Fayres,
    And Market Townes: poore Tom thy horne is dry,
    Lear. Then let them Anatomize Regan: See what
    breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in Nature that
    2035make these hard-hearts. You sir, I entertaine for one of
    my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your gar-
    ments. You will say they are Persian; but let them bee
    Enter Gloster.
    2040Kent. Now good my Lord, lye heere, and rest awhile.
    Lear. Make no noise, make no noise, draw the Cur-
    taines: so, so, wee'l go to Supper i'th'morning.
    Foole. And Ile go to bed at noone.
    Glou. Come hither Friend:
    2045Where is the King my Master?
    Kent. Here Sir, but trouble him not, his wits are gon.
    Glou. Good friend, I prythee take him in thy armes;
    I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him:
    There is a Litter ready, lay him in't,
    2050And driue toward Douer friend, where thou shalt meete
    Both welcome, and protection. Take vp thy Master,
    If thou should'st dally halfe an houre, his life
    With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
    Stand in assured losse. Take vp, take vp,
    2055And follow me, that will to some prouision
    Giue thee quicke conduct. Come, come, away. Exeunt

    Scena Septima.

    Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Bastard,
    and Seruants.
    2060Corn. Poste speedily to my Lord your husband, shew
    him this Letter, the Army of France is landed: seeke out
    the Traitor Glouster.
    Reg. Hang him instantly.
    Gon. Plucke out his eyes.
    2065Corn. Leaue him to my displeasure. Edmond, keepe
    you our Sister company: the reuenges wee are bound to
    take vppon your Traitorous Father, are not fit for your
    beholding. Aduice the Duke where you are going, to a
    most festiuate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our
    2070Postes shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt vs. Fare-
    well deere Sister, farewell my Lord of Glouster.
    Enter Steward.
    How now? Where's the King?
    Stew. My Lord of Glouster hath conuey'd him hence
    2075Some fiue or six and thirty of his Knights
    Hot Questrists after him, met him at gate,
    Who, with some other of the Lords, dependants,
    Are gone with him toward Douer; where they boast
    To haue well armed Friends.
    2080Corn. Get horses for your Mistris.
    Gon. Farewell sweet Lord, and Sister. Exit
    Corn. Edmund farewell: go seek the Traitor Gloster,
    Pinnion him like a Theefe, bring him before vs:
    Though well we may not passe vpon his life
    2085Without the forme of Iustice: yet our power
    Shall do a curt'sie to our wrath, which men
    May blame, but not comptroll.
    Enter Gloucester, and Seruants.
    Who's there? the Traitor?
    2090Reg. Ingratefull Fox, 'tis he.
    Corn. Binde fast his corky armes.
    Glou. What meanes your Graces?
    Good my Friends consider you are my Ghests:
    Do me no foule play, Friends.
    2095Corn. Binde him I say.
    Reg. Hard, hard: O filthy Traitor.
    Glou. Vnmercifull Lady, as you are, I'me none.
    Corn. To this Chaire binde him,
    Villaine, thou shalt finde.
    2100Glou. By the kinde Gods, 'tis most ignobly done
    To plucke me by the Beard.
    Reg. So white, and such a Traitor?
    Glou. Naughty Ladie,
    These haires which thou dost rauish from my chin
    2105Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your Host,
    With Robbers hands, my hospitable fauours