Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Modern, Folio)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Research assistants: Quinn MacDonald, Michelle Spelay
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern, Folio)

    Enter Lear, Kent [disguised as Caius], Gentleman, and Fool.
    [To Kent] Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.
    I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.
    If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of kibes?
    Ay, boy.
    Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall not go slipshod.
    Ha ha ha.
    Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly, for though she's as like this as a crab's like an 890apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
    What can'st tell, boy?
    She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i'th'middle on's face?
    Why to keep one's eyes of either side 's nose, that what a man cannot smell out he may spy into.
    I did her wrong.
    Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
    Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
    Why to put 's head in, not to give it away to his 905daughters and leave his horns without a case.
    I will forget my nature. So kind a father. Be my horses ready?
    Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
    Because they are not eight?
    Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.
    To tak't again perforce. Monster ingratitude!
    If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.
    How's that?
    Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
    O let me not be mad; not mad, sweet heaven. Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.
    [Enter a Gentleman.]
    How now, are 920the horses ready?
    Ready, my lord.
    Come, boy.
    She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.