Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    rough tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare: Robes,
    and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Gold, and
    the strong Lance of Iustice, hurtlesse breakes: Arme it in
    2610ragges, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it. None do's offend,
    none, I say none, Ile able 'em; take that of me my Friend,
    who haue the power to seale th'accusers lips. Get thee
    glasse-eyes, and like a scuruy Politician, seeme to see the
    things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now. Pull off my
    2615Bootes: harder, harder, so.
    Edg. O matter, and impertinency mixt,
    Reason in Madnesse.
    Lear. If thou wilt weepe my Fortunes, take my eyes.
    I know thee well enough, thy name is Glouster:
    2620Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
    Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the Ayre
    We wawle, and cry. I will preach to thee: Marke.
    Glou. Alacke, alacke the day.
    Lear. When we are borne, we cry that we are come
    2625To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
    It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
    A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe,
    And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes,
    Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
    2630Enter a Gentleman.
    Gent. Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon him, Sir.
    Your most deere Daughter----
    Lear. No rescue? What, a Prisoner? I am euen
    The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well,
    2635You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons,
    I am cut to'th'Braines.
    Gent. You shall haue any thing.
    Lear. No Seconds? All my selfe?
    Why, this would make a man, a man of Salt
    2640To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots. I wil die brauely,
    Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
    Come, come, I am a King, Masters, know you that?
    Gent. You are a Royall one, and we obey you.
    Lear. Then there's life in't. Come, and you get it,
    2645You shall get it by running: Sa, sa, sa, sa. Exit.
    Gent. A sight most pittifull in the meanest wretch,
    Past speaking of in a King. Thou hast a Daughter
    Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
    Which twaine haue brought her to.
    2650Edg. Haile gentle Sir.
    Gent. Sir, speed you: what's your will?
    Edg. Do you heare ought (Sir) of a Battell toward.
    Gent. Most sure, and vulgar:
    Euery one heares that, which can distinguish sound.
    2655Edg. But by your fauour:
    How neere's the other Army?
    Gent. Neere, and on speedy foot: the maine descry
    Stands on the hourely thought.
    Edg. I thanke you Sir, that's all.
    2660Gent. Though that the Queen on special cause is here
    Her Army is mou'd on. Exit.
    Edg. I thanke you Sir.
    Glou. You euer gentle Gods, take my breath from me,
    Let not my worser Spirit tempt me againe
    2665To dye before you please.
    Edg. Well pray you Father.
    Glou. Now good sir, what are you?
    Edg. A most poore man, made tame to Fortunes blows
    Who, by the Art of knowne, and feeling sorrowes,
    2670Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand,
    Ile leade you to some biding.
    Glou. Heartie thankes:
    The bountie, and the benizon of Heauen
    To boot, and boot.
    2675Enter Steward.
    Stew. A proclaim'd prize: most happie
    That eyelesse head of thine, was first fram'd flesh
    To raise my fortunes. Thou old, vnhappy Traitor,
    Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
    2680That must destroy thee.
    Glou. Now let thy friendly hand
    Put strength enough too't.
    Stew. Wherefore, bold Pezant,
    Dar'st thou support a publish'd Traitor? Hence,
    2685Least that th'infection of his fortune take
    Like hold on thee. Let go his arme.
    Edg. Chill not let go Zir,
    Without vurther 'casion.
    Stew. Let go Slaue, or thou dy'st.
    2690Edg. Good Gentleman goe your gate, and let poore
    volke passe: and 'chud ha'bin zwaggerd out of my life,
    'twould not ha'bin zo long as 'tis, by a vortnight. Nay,
    come not neere th'old man: keepe out che vor'ye, or ice
    try whither your Costard, or my Ballow be the harder;
    2695chill be plaine with you.
    Stew. Out Dunghill.
    Edg. Chill picke your teeth Zir: come, no matter vor
    your foynes.
    Stew. Slaue thou hast slaine me: Villain, take my purse;
    2700If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my bodie,
    And giue the Letters which thou find'st about me,
    To Edmund Earle of Glouster: seeke him out
    Vpon the English party. Oh vntimely death, death.
    Edg. I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine,
    2705As duteous to the vices of thy Mistris,
    As badnesse would desire.
    Glou. What, is he dead?
    Edg. Sit you downe Father: rest you.
    Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
    2710May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
    He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
    Leaue gentle waxe, and manners: blame vs not
    To know our enemies mindes, we rip their hearts,
    Their Papers is more lawfull.
    2715Reads the Letter.
    LEt our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
    opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and
    place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
    returne the Conqueror,then am I the Prisoner, and his bed, my
    2720Gaole, from the loathed warmth whereof, deliuer me, and sup-
    ply the place for your Labour.
    Your (Wife, so I would say) affectio-
    nate Seruant. Gonerill.
    Oh indinguish'd space of Womans will,
    2725A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life,
    And the exchange my Brother: heere, in the sands
    Thee Ile rake vp, the poste vnsanctified
    Of murtherous Letchers: and in the mature time,
    With this vngracious paper strike the sight
    2730Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well,
    That of thy death, and businesse, I can tell.
    Glou. The King is mad:
    How stiffe is my vilde sense
    That I stand vp, and haue ingenious feeling
    2735Of my huge Sorrowes? Better I were distract,
    So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes,
    Drum afarre off.
    And woes, by wrong imaginations loose