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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Kent [disguised] and Gloucester.
    Here is better than the open air. Take it thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what addition I 2000can. I will not be long from you.
    All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience. The gods reward your kindness.
    Exit [Gloucester].
    Enter Lear, Edgar [as Poor Tom], and Fool.
    Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an 2005angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
    Prithee nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman.
    A king, a king.
    No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son, for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
    To have a thousand with red burning spits
    Come hissing in upon 'em.
    Bless thy five wits.
    Oh, pity! Sir, where is the patience now
    That you so oft have boasted to retain?
    [Aside] My tears begin to take his part so much
    They mar my counterfeiting.
    The little dogs and all,
    Trey, Blanch, and Sweetheart--see, they bark at me.
    Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
    Be thy mouth or black or white,
    Tooth that poisons if it bite,
    2025Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
    Hound or spaniel, brach, or him,
    Or bobtail tyke or trundle-tail,
    Tom will make him weep and wail,
    For, with throwing thus my head
    2030Dogs leaped the hatch and all are fled.
    Do, de, de, de: sese. Come, march to wakes and fairs and market towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
    Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that 2035make these hard hearts? [To Edgar] You sir, I entertain for one of my hundred, only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You will say they are Persian, but let them be changed.
    Enter Gloucester(?).
    Now, good my lord, lie here, and rest awhile.
    Make no noise, make no noise, draw the curtains, so, so. We'll go to supper i'th'morning.
    [He sleeps.]
    And I'll go to bed at noon.
    Enter Gloucester(?).
    Come hither, friend. 2045Where is the King, my master?
    Here, sir, but trouble him not. His wits are gone.
    Good friend, I prithee take him in thy arms.
    I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.
    There is a litter ready. Lay him in't,
    2050And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
    Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
    If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
    With thine and all that offer to defend him,
    Stand in assurèd loss. Take up, take up,
    2055And follow me, that will to some provision
    Give thee quick conduct. Come, come, away.