Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Modern, Quarto)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern, Quarto)

    [Scene 5]
    Enter Lear [with Kent, disguised as Caius, and the 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 before you.
    I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.
    If a man's brains were in his heels, were't not in danger of kibes?
    Ay, boy.
    Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slipshod.
    Ha ha ha.
    Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly, for though she's as like this as a crab is like an 890apple, yet I con what I can tell.
    Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?
    She'll taste as like this as a crab doth to a crab. Thou canst not tell why one's nose stands in the middle of his face?
    Why, to keep his eyes on either side 's nose, that what a man cannot smell out 'a 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 his head in, not to give it away to his 905daughter, 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 them. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
    Because they are not eight?
    Yes. 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 before thou hadst been wise.
    O let me not be mad, sweet heaven! I would not be mad. Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.
    [Enter a servant.]
    Are 920the horses ready?
    Ready, my lord.
    Come, boy.
    Exeunt [all but the Fool].
    She that is maid now, and laughs at my departure,
    Shall not be a maid long, except things be cut shorter.