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    Not Peer Reviewed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 9]
    1655[Storm still.] Enter Lear and Fool.
    Blow wind and crack your cheeks. Rage, blow.
    You cataracts, and hurricanoes spout
    'Til you have drenched the steeples, drowned the cocks.
    You sulfurous and thought-executing fires,
    1660Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
    Singe my white head, and thou, all-shaking thunder,
    Smite flat the thick rotundity of the world,
    Crack nature's mold; all germens spill at once
    That make ingrateful man.
    O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rainwater out o'door. Good nuncle in, and ask thy daughters' blessing. Here's a night pities neither wise man nor fool.
    Rumble thy bellyful. Spit fire, spout rain.
    1670Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters.
    I task not you, you elements, with unkindness.
    I never gave you kingdom, called you children.
    You owe me no subscription. Why, then, let fall
    Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand your slave,
    1675A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
    But yet I call you servile ministers,
    That have with two pernicious daughters joined
    Your high-engendered battle 'gainst a head
    So old and white as this. Oh, 'tis foul.
    He that has a house to put his head in, has a good headpiece.
    The codpiece that will house
    Before the head has any,
    The head and he shall louse,
    So beggars marry many.
    The man that makes his toe
    What he his heart should make,
    1685Shall have a corn cry woe,
    And turn his sleep to wake.
    For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.
    No, I will be the pattern of all patience.
    [He sits.]
    Enter Kent [disguised].
    1690I will say nothing.
    Who's there?
    Marry here's grace, and a codpiece, that's a wise man and a fool.
    Alas, sir, sit you here? Things that love night
    1695Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies
    Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
    And makes them keep their caves. Since I was man,
    Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
    Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I ne'er
    1700Remember to have heard. Man's nature cannot carry
    The affliction, nor the force.
    Let the great gods
    That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads
    Find out their enemies now. Tremble thou wretch,
    1705That hast within thee undivulgèd crimes,
    Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand,
    Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
    That art incestuous; caitiff, in pieces
    Shake, that under covert and convenient
    Seeming 1710hast practised on man's life;
    Close pent-up guilts, rive your concealèd centers,
    And cry these dreadful summoners grace.
    I am a man more sinned against than sinning.
    Alack, bare-headed?
    1715Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel.
    Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.
    Repose you there whilst I to this hard house--
    More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis raised--
    Which even but now, demanding after you,
    1720Denied me to come in, return and force
    Their scanted courtesy.
    My wit begins to turn.
    [To the Fool] Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
    I am cold myself. [To Kent] Where is this straw, my fellow?
    1725The art of our necessities is strange that can
    Make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.Poor
    Fool and knave, I have one part of my heart
    That sorrows yet for thee.
    He that has a little tiny wit,
    1730 With hey, ho. the wind and the rain,
    Must make content with his fortunes fit,
    For the rain, it raineth every day.
    True, my good boy. [To Kent] Come bring us to this hovel.