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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Cordelia, Kent [disguised], and a gentleman.
    O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
    To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
    And every measure fail me.
    To be acknowledged, madam, is o'er-paid.
    All my reports go with the modest truth,
    Nor more, nor clipped, but so.
    Be better suited.
    These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
    2755I prithee put them off.
    Pardon, dear madam;
    Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
    My boon I make it that you know me not
    Till time and I think meet.
    Then be't so, my good lord. [To the Gentleman] How does the King?
    Madam, sleeps still.
    O you kind gods,
    Cure this great breach in his abusèd nature;
    2765Th'untuned and jarring senses, O wind up,
    Of this child-changed father.
    So please your majesty
    That we may wake the King. He hath slept long.
    Be governed by your knowledge and proceed
    2770I'th'sway of your own will. Is he arrayed?
    Enter Lear in a chair carried by servants.
    Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep
    We put fresh garments on him.
    Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.
    2775I doubt of his temperance.
    O my dear father, restoration hang
    Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
    Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
    Have in thy reverence made.
    Kind and dear princess.
    Had you not been their father, these white flakes
    Did challenge pity of them. Was this a face
    To be opposed against the jarring winds?
    Mine enemy's dog, though he had bit me,
    2785Should have stood that night against my fire;
    And wast thou fain, poor father,
    To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn
    In short and musty straw? Alack, alack,
    'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
    2790Had not concluded all. He wakes. [To the Gentleman] Speak to him.
    Madam do you. 'Tis fittest.
    How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?
    You do me wrong to take me out o'th'grave.
    2795Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound
    Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
    Do scald like molten lead.
    Sir, do you know me?
    You are a spirit, I know. Where did you die?
    Still, still, far wide.
    He's scarce awake. Let him alone a while.
    Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
    2805I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity
    To see another thus. I know not what to say.
    I will not swear these are my hands. Let's see--
    I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
    Of my condition.
    [Kneeling] O look upon me, sir,
    And hold your hand in benediction o'er me.
    [Lear attempts to kneel.]
    You must not kneel.
    Pray do not mock me.
    I am a very foolish, fond old man,
    2815Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less,
    And, to deal plainly,
    I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
    Methinks I should know you, and know this man,
    2820Yet I am doubtful, for I am mainly ignorant
    What place this is; and all the skill I have
    Remembers not these garments, nor I know not
    Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me,
    For, as I am a man, I think this lady
    2825To be my child, Cordelia.
    And so I am, I am.
    Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray weep not.
    If you have poison for me I will drink it.
    2830I know you do not love me, for your sisters
    Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
    You have some cause; they have not.
    No cause, no cause.
    Am I in France?
    In your own kingdom, sir.
    Do not abuse me.
    Be comforted, good madam. The great rage
    You see is killed in him. Desire him to go in.
    Trouble him no more till further settling.
    Will't please your highness walk?
    You must bear with me.
    Pray you now, forget and forgive.
    I am old and foolish.