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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)
  • Editor: Pervez Rizvi
  • 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: Pervez Rizvi
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

    1655Enter Lear and Foole.
    Lear. Blow winde and cracke your cheekes, rage, blow
    You carterickes, and Hircanios spout till you haue drencht
    The steeples, drownd the cockes, you sulpherous and
    Thought executing fires, vaunt-currers to
    1660Oke-cleauing thunder-bolts, sing my white head,
    And thou all shaking thunder, smite flat
    The thicke rotundity of the world, cracke natures
    Mold, all Germains spill at once that make
    Ingratefull man.
    1665Foole. O Nunckle, Court holy water in a dry house
    Is better then this raine water out a doore,
    Good Nunckle in, and aske thy daughters blessing,
    Here's a night pitties neyther wise man nor foole.
    Lear. Rumble thy belly full, spit fire, spout raine,
    1670Nor raine, winde, thunder, fire, are my daughters,
    I taske not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse,
    I neuer gaue you kingdome, cald you children,
    You owe me no subscription; why then let fall your horrible
    Pleasure, here I stand your slaue, a poore, infirme, weake, and
    1675Despised old man, but yet I call you seruile
    Ministers, that haue with two pernitious daughters ioyn'd
    Your high engendered battell gainst a head so old and white
    As this, O tis foule.
    1680Foole. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-
    peece, the codpeece that will house before the head, has any the
    head and he shall lowse, so beggers marry many, the man that
    makes his toe, what he his heart should make, shall haue a corne
    1685cry woe, and turne his sleepe to wake, for there was neuer yet
    faire woman, but she made mouthes in a glasse.
    Lear. No, I will be the patterne of all patience,
    1690I will say nothing.
    Enter Kent.
    Kent. Who's there?
    Foole. Marry heere's grace and a codpis, that's a wiseman and
    a foole.
    Kent. Alasse sir, sit you heere?
    Things that loue night, loue not such nights as these;
    1695The wrathfull Skies gallow the very wanderer of the
    Darke, and makes them keepe their caues,
    Since I was man, such sheetes of fire,
    Such bursts of horrid thunder, such grones of
    Roring winde and raine, I nere remember
    1700To haue heard, mans nature cannot carry
    The affliction, nor the force.
    Lear. Let the great Gods that keepe this dreadfull
    Thundring ore our heads, finde out their enemies now,
    Tremble thou wretch that hast within thee
    1705Vndivulged crimes, vnwhipt of Iustice,
    Hide thee thou bloudy hand, thou periur'd, and
    Thou simular man of vertue that art incestious,
    Caytiffe in peeces shake, that vnder couert
    And conuenient seeming, hast practised on mans life,
    1710Close 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, gracious my Lord, hard by here is
    1715a houell, some friendship will it lend 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 demanding after
    me, denide me to come in, returne and force their scanted curte-
    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 vilde things precious, come you houell poore,
    Foole and knaue, I haue one part of my heart
    That sorrowes yet for thee.
    Foole. He that has a little tine wit, with hey ho the winde and
    1730the 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.