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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 .
    Glou. 'Tis the times plague,
    2235When Madmen leade the blinde:
    Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure:
    Aboue the rest, be gone.
    Oldm. Ile bring him the best Parrell that I haue
    Come on't, what will. Exit
    2240Glou. Sirrah, naked fellow.
    Edg. Poore Tom's a cold. I cannot daub it further.
    Glou. Come hither fellow.
    Edg. And yet I must:
    Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleede.
    2245Glou. Know'st thou the way to Douer?
    Edg. Both style, and gate; Horseway, and foot-path:
    poore Tom hath bin scarr'd out of his good wits. Blesse
    thee good mans sonne, from the foule Fiend.
    Glou. Here take this purse, yu whom the heau'ns plagues
    2250Haue humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
    Makes thee the happier: Heauens deale so still:
    Let the superfluous, and Lust-dieted man,
    That slaues your ordinance, that will not see
    Because he do's not feele, feele your powre quickly:
    2255So distribution should vndoo excesse,
    And each man haue enough. Dost thou know Douer?
    Edg. I Master.
    Glou. There is a Cliffe, whose high and bending head
    Lookes fearfully in the confined Deepe:
    2260Bring me but to the very brimme of it,
    And Ile repayre the misery thou do'st beare
    With something rich about me: from that place,
    I shall no leading neede.
    Edg. Giue me thy arme;
    2265Poore Tom shall leade thee. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Gonerill, Bastard, and Steward.
    Gon. Welcome my Lord. I meruell our mild husband
    Not met vs on the way. Now, where's your Master?
    2270Stew. Madam within, but neuer man so chang'd:
    I told him of the Army that was Landed:
    He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
    His answer was, the worse. Of Glosters Treachery,
    And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
    2275When I inform'd him, then he call'd me Sot,
    And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
    What most he should dislike, seemes pleasant to him;
    What like, offensiue.
    Gon. Then shall you go no further.
    2280It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
    That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
    Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
    May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother,
    Hasten his Musters, and conduct his powres.
    2285I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
    Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
    Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
    (If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
    A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech,
    2290Decline your head. This kisse, if it durst speake
    Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
    Conceiue, and fare thee well.
    Bast. Yours in the rankes of death. Exit.
    Gon. My most deere Gloster.
    2295Oh, the difference of man, and man,
    To thee a Womans seruices are due,
    My Foole vsurpes my body.
    Stew. Madam, here come's my Lord.
    Enter Albany.
    2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle.
    Alb. Oh Gonerill,
    You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
    Blowes in your face.
    Gon. Milke-Liuer'd man,
    2305That bear'st a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
    Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
    Thine Honor, from thy suffering.
    Alb. See thy selfe diuell:
    Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
    2310So horrid as in woman.
    Gon. Oh vaine Foole.
    Enter a Messenger.
    Mes. Oh my good Lord, the Duke of Cornwals dead,
    Slaine by his Seruant, going to put out
    2315The other eye of Glouster.
    Alb. Glousters eyes.
    Mes. A Seruant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
    Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
    To his great Master, who, threat-enrag'd
    2320Flew on him, and among'st them fell'd him dead,
    But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
    Hath pluckt him after.
    Alb. This shewes you are aboue
    You Iustices, that these our neather crimes
    2325So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
    Lost he his other eye?
    Mes. Both, both, my Lord.
    This Leter Madam, craues a speedy answer:
    'Tis from your Sister.
    2330Gon. One way I like this well,
    But being widdow, and my Glouster with her,
    May all the building in my fancie plucke
    Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
    The Newes is not so tart. Ile read, and answer.
    2335Alb. Where was his Sonne,
    When they did take his eyes?
    Mes. Come with my Lady hither.
    Alb. He is not heere.
    Mes. No my good Lord, I met him backe againe.
    2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse?
    Mes. I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
    And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
    Might haue the freer course.
    Alb. Glouster, I liue
    2345To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King,
    And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend,
    Tell me what more thou know'st. Exeunt.

    Scena Tertia.

    Enter with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Gentlemen,
    2350and Souldiours.
    Cor. Alacke, 'tis he: why he was met euen now
    As mad as the vext Sea, singing alowd,
    Crown'd with ranke Fenitar, and furrow weeds,
    With Hardokes, Hemlocke, Nettles, Cuckoo flowres,