Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed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.