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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Quarta.
    530Enter Kent.
    Kent. If but as will I other accents borrow,
    That can my speech defuse, my good intent
    May carry through it selfe to that full issue
    For which I raiz'd my likenesse. Now banisht Kent,
    535If thou canst serue where thou dost stand condemn'd,
    So may it come, thy Master whom thou lou'st,
    Shall find thee full of labours.
    Hornes within. Enter Lear and Attendants.
    Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, go get it rea-
    540dy: how now, what art thou?
    Kent. A man Sir.
    Lear. What dost thou professe? What would'st thou
    with vs?
    Kent. I do professe to be no lesse then I seeme; to serue
    545him truely that will put me in trust, to loue him that is
    honest, to conuerse with him that is wise and saies little, to
    feare iudgement, to fight when I cannot choose, and to
    eate no fish.
    Lear. What art thou?
    550Kent. A very honest hearted Fellow, and as poore as
    the King.
    Lear. If thou be'st as poore for a subiect,as hee's for a
    King, thou art poore enough. What wouldst thou?
    Kent. Seruice.
    555Lear. Who wouldst thou serue?
    Kent. You.
    Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
    Kent. No Sir, but you haue that in your countenance,
    which I would faine call Master.
    560Lear. What's that?
    Kent. Authority.
    Lear. What seruices canst thou do?
    Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, marre a
    curious tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message
    565bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qual-
    lified in, and the best of me, is Dilligence.
    Lear. How old art thou?
    Kent. Not so young Sir to loue a woman for singing,
    nor so old to dote on her for any thing. I haue yeares on
    570my backe forty eight.
    Lear. Follow me, thou shalt serue me, if I like thee no
    worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner
    ho, dinner, where's my knaue? my Foole? Go you and call
    my Foole hither. You you Sirrah, where's my Daughter?
    575Enter Steward.
    Ste. So please you---- Exit.
    Lear. What saies the Fellow there? Call the Clot-
    pole backe: wher's my Foole? Ho, I thinke the world's
    asleepe, how now? Where's that Mungrell?
    580Knigh. He saies my Lord, your Daughters is not well.
    Lear. Why came not the slaue backe to me when I
    call'd him?
    Knigh. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he
    would not.
    585Lear. He would not ?
    Knight. My Lord, I know not what the matter is,
    but to my iudgement your Highnesse is not entertain'd
    with that Ceremonious affection as you were wont,
    theres a great abatement of kindnesse appeares as well in
    590the generall dependants, as in the Duke himselfe also, and
    your Daughter.
    Lear. Ha? Saist thou so?
    Knigh. I beseech you pardon me my Lord, if I bee
    mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent, when I thinke
    595your Highnesse wrong'd.
    Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne Con-
    ception, I haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late,
    which I haue rather blamed as mine owne iealous curio-
    sitie, then as a very pretence and purpose of vnkindnesse;
    600I will looke further intoo't: but where's my Foole? I
    haue not seene him this two daies.
    Knight. Since my young Ladies going into France
    Sir, the Foole hath much pined away.
    Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it well, goe you
    605and tell my Daughter, I would speake with her. Goe you
    call hither my Foole; Oh you Sir, you, come you hither
    Sir, who am I Sir?
    Enter Steward.
    Ste. My Ladies Father.
    610Lear. My Ladies Father? my Lords knaue, you whor-
    son dog, you slaue, you curre.
    Ste. I am none of these my Lord,
    I beseech your pardon.
    Lear. Do you bandy lookes with me, you Rascall?
    615Ste. Ile not be strucken my Lord.
    Kent. Nor tript neither, you base Foot-ball plaier.
    Lear. I thanke thee fellow.
    Thou seru'st me, and Ile loue thee.
    Kent. Come sir, arise, away, Ile teach you differences:
    620away, away, if you will measure your lubbers length a-
    gaine, tarry, but away, goe too, haue you wisedome, so.
    Lear. Now my friendly knaue I thanke thee, there's
    earnest of thy seruice.
    Enter Foole.
    625Foole. Let me hire him too, here's my Coxcombe.
    Lear. How now my pretty knaue, how dost thou?
    Foole. Sirrah, you were best take my Coxcombe.
    Lear. Why my Boy?
    Foole. Why? for taking ones part that's out of fauour,
    630nay, & thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch
    colde shortly, there take my Coxcombe; why this fellow
    ha's banish'd two on's Daughters, and did the third a
    blessing against his will, if thou follow him, thou must
    needs weare my Coxcombe. How now Nunckle? would
    635I had two Coxcombes and two Daughters.
    Lear. Why my Boy?
    Fool. If I gaue them all my liuing, I'ld keepe my Cox-
    combes my selfe, there's mine, beg another of thy
    640Lear. Take heed Sirrah, the whip.
    Foole. Truth's a dog must to kennell, hee must bee
    whipt out, when the Lady Brach may stand by'th'fire
    and stinke.
    Lear. A pestilent gall to me.
    645Foole. Sirha, Ile teach thee a speech.
    Lear. Do.
    Foole. Marke it Nuncle;
    Haue more then thou showest,
    Speake lesse then thou knowest,
    650Lend lesse then thou owest,
    Ride more then thou goest,
    Learne more then thou trowest,
    Set lesse then thou throwest;
    Leaue thy drinke and thy whore,
    655And keepe in a dore,
    And thou shalt haue more,
    Then two tens to a score.
    Kent. This is nothing Foole.
    Foole. Then 'tis like the breath of an vnfeed Lawyer,
    660you gaue me nothing for't, can you make no vse of no-
    thing Nuncle ?
    Lear. Why no Boy,
    Nothing can be made out of nothing.
    Foole. Prythee tell him, so much the rent of his land
    665comes to, he will not beleeue a Foole.
    Lear. A bitter Foole.
    Foole. Do'st thou know the difference my Boy, be-
    tweene a bitter Foole, and a sweet one.
    Lear. No Lad, reach me.
    670Foole. Nunckle, giue me an egge, and Ile giue thee
    two Crownes.
    Lear. What two Crownes shall they be?
    Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge i'th'middle and
    eate vp the meate, the two Crownes of the egge : when
    675thou clouest thy Crownes i'th'middle, and gau'st away
    both parts, thou boar'st thine Asse on thy backe o're the
    durt, thou had'st little wit in thy bald crowne, when thou
    gau'st thy golden one away ; if I speake like my selfe in
    this, let him be whipt that first findes it so.
    680Fooles had nere lesse grace in a yeere,
    For wisemen are growne foppish,
    And know not how their wits to weare,
    Their manners are so apish.
    Le. When were you wont to be so full of Songs sirrah?
    685Foole. I haue vsed it Nunckle, ere since thou mad'st
    thy Daughters thy Mothers, for when thou gau'st them
    the rod, and put'st downe thine owne breeches, then they
    For sodaine ioy did weepe,
    And I for sorrow sung,
    690That such a King should play bo-peepe,
    And goe the Foole among.
    Pry'thy Nunckle keepe a Schoolemaster that can teach
    thy Foole to lie, I would faine learne to lie.
    Lear. And you lie sirrah, wee'l haue you whipt.
    695Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are,
    they'l haue me whipt for speaking true: thou'lt haue me
    whipt for lying, and sometimes I am whipt for holding
    my peace. I had rather be any kind o'thing then a foole,
    and yet I would not be thee Nunckle, thou hast pared thy
    700wit o'both sides, and left nothing i'th'middle; heere
    comes one o'the parings.
    Enter Gonerill.
    Lear. How now Daughter? what makes that Frontlet
    on? You are too much of late i'th'frowne.
    705Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no
    need to care for her frowning, now thou art an O with-
    out a figure, I am better then thou art now, I am a Foole,
    thou art nothing. Yes forsooth I will hold my tongue, so
    your face bids me, though you say nothing.
    710Mum, mum, he that keepes nor crust, not crum,
    Weary of all, shall want some. That's a sheal'd Pescod.
    Gon. Not only Sir this, your all-lycenc'd Foole,
    But other of your insolent retinue
    Do hourely Carpe and is Quarrell, breaking forth
    715In ranke, and (not to be endur'd) riots Sir.
    I had thought by making this well knowne vnto you,
    To haue found a safe redresse, but now grow fearefull
    By what your selfe too late haue spoke and done,
    That you protect this course, and put it on
    720By your allowance, which if you should, the fault
    Would not scape censure, nor the redresses sleepe,
    Which in the tender of a wholesome weale,
    Might in their working do you that offence,
    Which else were shame, that then necessitie
    725Will call discreet proceeding.
    Foole. For you know Nunckle, the Hedge-Sparrow
    fed the Cuckoo so long, that it's had it head bit off by it
    young, so out went the Candle, and we were left dark-
    730Lear. Are you our Daughter?
    Gon. I would you would make vse of your good wise- (dome
    (Whereof I know you are fraught), and put away
    These dispositions, which of late transport you
    From what you rightly are.
    735Foole. May not an Asse know, when the Cart drawes
    the Horse ?
    Whoop Iugge I loue thee.
    Lear. Do's any heere know me ?
    This is not Lear:
    740Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies?
    Either his Notion weakens, his Discernings
    Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so?
    Who is it that can tell me who I am?
    Foole. Lears shadow.
    745Lear. Your name, faire Gentlewoman?
    Gon. This admiration Sir, is much o'th'sauour
    Of other your new prankes. I do beseech you
    To vnderstand my purposes aright:
    As you are Old, and Reuerend, should be Wise.
    750Heere do you keepe a hundred Knights and Squires,
    Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd, and bold,
    That this our Court infected with their manners,
    Shewes like a riotous Inne; Epicurisme and Lust
    Makes it more like a Tauerne, or a Brothell,
    755Then a grac'd Pallace. The shame it selfe doth speake
    For instant remedy. Be then desir'd
    By her, that else will take the thing she begges,
    A little to disquantity your Traine,
    And the remainders that shall still depend,
    760To be such men as may besort your Age,
    Which know themselues, and you.
    Lear. Darknesse, and Diuels.
    Saddle my horses: call my Traine together.
    Degenerate Bastard, Ile not trouble thee;
    765Yet haue I left a daughter.
    Gon. You strike my people, and your disorder'd rable,
    make Seruants of their Betters.
    Enter Albany.
    Lear. Woe, that too late repents:
    770Is it your will, speake Sir? Prepare my Horses.
    Ingratitude! thou Marble-hearted Fiend,
    More hideous when thou shew'st thee in a Child,
    Then the Sea-monster.
    Alb. Pray Sir be patient.
    775Lear. Detested Kite, thou lyest.
    My Traine are men of choice, and rarest parts,
    That all particulars of dutie know,
    And in the most exact regard, support
    The worships of their name. O most small fault,
    780How vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shew?
    Which like an Engine, wrencht my frame of Nature
    From the fixt place: drew from my heart all loue,
    And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
    Beate at this gate that let thy Folly in,
    785And thy deere Iudgement out. Go, go, my people.
    Alb. My Lord, I am guiltlesse, as I am ignorant
    Of what hath moued you.
    Lear. It may be so, my Lord.
    Heare Nature, heare deere Goddesse, heare:
    790Suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend
    To make this Creature fruitfull:
    Into her Wombe conuey stirrility,
    Drie vp in her the Organs of increase,
    And from her derogate body, neuer spring
    795A Babe to honor her. If she must teeme,
    Create her childe of Spleene, that it may liue
    And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
    Let it stampe wrinkles in her brow of youth,
    With cadent Teares fret Channels in her cheekes,
    800Turne all her Mothers paines, and benefits
    To laughter, and contempt: That she may feele,
    How sharper then a Serpents tooth it is,
    To haue a thanklesse Childe. Away, away. Exit.
    Alb. Now Gods that we adore,
    805Whereof comes this?
    Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know more of it:
    But let his disposition haue that scope
    As dotage giues it.
    Enter Lear.
    810Lear. What fiftie of my Followers at a clap?
    Within a fortnight?
    Alb. What's the matter, Sir?
    Lear. Ile tell thee:
    Life and death, I am asham'd
    815That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
    That these hot teares, which breake from me perforce
    Should make thee worth them.
    Blastes and Fogges vpon thee:
    Th'vntented woundings of a Fathers curse
    820Pierce euerie sense about thee. Old fond eyes,
    Beweepe this cause againe, Ile plucke ye out,
    And cast you with the waters that you loose
    To temper Clay. Ha? Let it be so.
    I haue another daughter,
    825Who I am sure is kinde and comfortable:
    When she shall heare this of thee, with her nailes
    Shee'l flea thy Woluish visage. Thou shalt finde,
    That Ile resume the shape which thou dost thinke
    I haue cast off for euer. Exit
    830Gon. Do you marke that?
    Alb. I cannot be so partiall Gonerill,
    To the great loue I beare you.
    Gon. Pray you content. What Oswald, hoa?
    You Sir, more Knaue then Foole, after your Master.
    835Foole. Nunkle Lear, Nunkle Lear,
    Tarry, take the Foole with thee:
    A Fox, when one has caught her,
    And such a Daughter,
    Should sure to the Slaughter,
    840If my Cap would buy a Halter,
    So the Foole followes after. Exit
    Gon. This man hath had good Counsell,
    A hundred Knights?
    'Tis politike, and safe to let him keepe
    845At point a hundred Knights: yes, that on euerie dreame,
    Each buz, each fancie, each complaint, dislike,
    He may enguard his dotage with their powres,
    And hold our liues in mercy. Oswald, I say.
    Alb. Well, you may feare too farre.
    850Gon. Safer then trust too farre;
    Let me still take away the harmes I feare,
    Not feare still to be taken. I know his heart,
    What he hath vtter'd I haue writ my Sister:
    If she sustaine him, and his hundred Knights
    855When I haue shew'd th'vnfitnesse.
    Enter Steward.
    How now Oswald?
    What haue you writ that Letter to my Sister?
    Stew. I Madam.
    860Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse,
    Informe her full of my particular feare,
    And thereto adde such reasons of your owne,
    As may compact it more. Get you gone,
    And hasten your returne; no, no, my Lord,
    865This milky gentlenesse, and course of yours
    Though I condemne not, yet vnder pardon
    Your are much more at task for want of wisedome,
    Then prai'sd for harmefull mildnesse.
    Alb. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell;
    870Striuing to better, oft we marre what's well.
    Gon. Nay then----
    Alb. Well, well, th'euent. Exeunt