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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1608)

    1655Enter Lear and Foole.
    Lear. Blow wind & cracke your cheekes, rage, blow
    You caterickes, & Hircanios spout til you haue drencht,
    The steeples drown'd the cockes, you sulpherous and
    Thought executing fires, 1660vaunt-currers to
    Oke-cleauing thunderboults, singe my white head,
    And thou all shaking thunder, smite flat
    The thicke Rotunditie of the world, cracke natures
    Mold, all Germains spill at once that make
    Ingratefull man.
    1665Foole. O Nunckle, Court holy water in a drie house
    Is better then this raine water out a doore,
    Good Nunckle in, and aske thy daughters blessing,
    Heers a night pities nether wise man nor foole.
    Lear. Rumble thy belly full, spit fire, spout raine,
    1670Nor raine, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters,
    I taske not you you elements with vnkindnes,
    I neuer gaue you kingdome, cald you children,
    You owe me no subscription, why then let fall your horrible (plesure
    Here I stãd your slaue, 1675a poore infirme weak &
    Despis'd ould man, but yet I call you seruile
    Ministers, that haue with 2. pernitious daughters ioin'd
    Your high engẽdred battel gainst a head so old & white As this, O tis foule.
    1680Foole. Hee that has a house to put his head in, has a good
    headpeece, the Codpeece that will house before the head, has
    any the head and hee shall lowse, so beggers mary many, the
    man that makes his toe, what hee his heart should make, 1685shall
    haue a corne cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake, for
    there was neuer yet faire woman but shee made mouthes in a
    Lear. No I will be the patterne of all patience En.ter Kent.
    1690I will say nothing.
    Kent. Whose there?
    Foole. Marry heers Grace, & a codpis, that's a wiseman anda foole.
    Kent. Alas sir, sit you here?
    Things that loue night, 1695loue not such nights as these,
    The wrathfull Skies gallow, the very wanderer of the
    Darke, and makes them keepe their caues,
    Since I was man, such sheets of fire,
    Such bursts of horred thunder, such grones of
    Roaring winde, and rayne, I ne're 1700remember
    To haue heard, mans nature cannot cary
    The affliction, nor the force.
    Lear. Let the great Gods that keepe this dreadful
    Powther ore our heades, find out their enemies now,
    Tremble thou wretch 1705that hast within thee
    Vndivulged crimes, vnwhipt of Iustice,
    Hide thee thou bloudyhand, thou periur'd, and
    Thou simular man of vertue that art incestious,
    Caytife in peeces shake, that vnder couert
    And conuenient seeming, 1710hast practised on mans life,
    Close pent vp guilts, riue your concealed centers,
    And cry these dreadfull summoners grace,
    I am a man more sind against their sinning.
    Kent. Alacke bare headed, 1715gracious my Lord, hard by here is
    a houell, some friendship will it lend you gainst the tempest, re-
    pose you there, whilst I to this hard house, more hard then is
    the stone whereof tis rais'd, which euen but now demaunding
    after me, 1720denide me to come in, returne and force their scantedcurtesie.
    Lear. My wit begins to turne,
    Come on my boy, how dost my boy, art cold?
    I am cold my selfe, where is this straw my fellow,
    1725The art of our necessities is strange that can,
    Make vild things precious, come you houell poore,
    Foole and knaue, I haue one part of my heart
    That sorrowes yet for thee.
    Foole. Hee that has a little tine witte, 1730with hey ho the wind
    and the raine, must make content with his fortunes fit, for the
    raine, it raineth euery day.
    Lear. True my good boy, come bring vs to this houell?