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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Quinta.
    Enter Lear, Kent, Gentleman, and Foole.
    875Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these Letters;
    acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you
    know, then comes from her demand out of the Letter,
    if your Dilligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore
    880Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered
    your Letter. Exit.
    Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeles, wert not in
    danger of kybes?
    Lear. I Boy.
    885Foole. Then I prythee be merry, thy wit shall not go
    Lear. Ha,ha,ha.
    Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kind-
    ly, for though she's as like this, as a Crabbe's like an
    890Apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
    Lear. What can'st tell Boy?
    Foole. She will taste as like this as, a Crabbe do's to a
    Crab: thou canst tell why ones nose stands i'th'middle
    on's face?
    895Lear. No.
    Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side's nose,
    that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
    Lear. I did her wrong.
    Foole. Can'st tell how an Oyster makes his shell?
    900Lear. No.
    Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's
    a house.
    Lear. Why?
    Foole. Why to put's head in, not to giue it away to his
    905daughters, and leaue his hornes without a case.
    Lear. I will forget my Nature, so kind a Father? Be
    my Horsses ready?
    Foole. Thy Asses are gone about 'em; the reason why
    the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen, is a pretty reason.
    910Lear. Because they are not eight.
    Foole. Yes indeed, thou would'st make a good Foole.
    Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Monster Ingratitude!
    Foole. If thou wert my Foole Nunckle, Il'd haue thee
    beaten for being old before thy time.
    915Lear. How's that?
    Foole. Thou shouldst not haue bin old, till thou hadst
    bin wise.
    Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad sweet Heauen:
    keepe me in temper, I would not be mad. How now are
    920the Horses ready?
    Gent. Ready my Lord.
    Lear. Come Boy.
    Fool. She that's a Maid now, & laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be a Maid long, vnlesse things be cut shorter.