Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Nahum Tate
Editor: Lynne Bradley
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King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)

475Gloster's house.
Enter Bastard.
The duke comes here tonight, I'll take advantage
Of his arrival to complete my project.
Brother, a word. Come forth; 'tis I, your friend,
480Enter Edgar.
My father watches for you, fly this place.
Intelligence is given where you are hid.
Take the advantage of the night. Bethink ye,
Have you not spoke against the Duke of Cornwall
485Something might show you a favorer of
Duke Albany's party?
Nothing, why ask you?
Because he's coming here tonight in haste
And Regan with him -- Hark! The guards, away.
Let 'em come on, I'll stay and clear myself.
Your innocence at leisure may be heard,
But Gloster's storming rage as yet is deaf,
And you may perish ere allowed the hearing.
Exit Edgar.
495Gloster comes yonder. Now to my feigned scuffle
Yield, come before my father! Lights here, lights!
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Stabs his arm.
500Of our more fierce encounter -- I have seen
Drunkards do more than this in sport.
Enter Gloster and servants.
Now, Edmund, where's the traitor?
That name, sir,
505Strikes horror through me, but my brother, sir,
Stood here in the dark.
Thou bleed'st. Pursue the villain
And bring him piecemeal to me.
Sir, he's fled.
Let him fly far, this kingdom shall not hide him.
The noble duke, my patron, comes tonight.
By his authority I will proclaim
Rewards for him that brings him to the stake,
And death for the concealer.
515Then of my lands, loyal and natural boy,
I'll work the means to make thee capable.
Enter Kent (disguised still) and Gonerill's Gentleman, severally.
Good morrow friend, belong'st thou to this house?
Ask them will answer thee.
Where may we set our horses?
In the mire.
I am in haste, prithee an thou lov'st me, tell me.
I love thee not.
Why then I care not for thee.
An I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I'd make thee care for
What dost thou mean? I know thee not.
But, minion, I know thee.
What dost thou know me for?
For a base, proud, beggarly, white-livered, glass-gazing,
superserviceable finical rogue; one that would be a pimp in way
of good service, and art nothing but a composition of knave,
beggar, coward, pander --.
What a monstrous fellow art thou to rail at one that is neither
known of thee nor knows thee?
Impudent slave, not know me, who but two days since tripped up thy
heels before the king! Draw, miscreant, or I'll make the moon
shine through thee.
What means the fellow? Why prithee, prithee; I tell thee
I have nothing to do with thee.
I know your rogueship's office. You come with letters against the
king, taking my young Lady Vanity's part against her royal
father. Draw rascal.
Murder, murder, help ho!
Dost thou scream, peacock? Strike, puppet. Stand, dapper slave.
Help here! Murder, help.
Exit. Kent after him.
Flourish. Enter Duke of Cornwall, Regan, attended. To them, Gloster, Bastard.
All welcome to your graces, you do me honor.
Gloster, we've heard with sorrow that your life
Has been attempted by your impious son,
But Edmund here has paid you strictest duty.
He did betray his practice, and received
555The hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Is he pursued?
He is, my lord.
Use our authority to apprehend
The traitor and do justice on his head.
560For you, Edmund, that have so signalized
Your virtue, you from henceforth shall be ours.
Natures of such firm trust we much shall need.
A charming youth and worth my further thought.
Lay comforts, noble Gloster, to your breast,
As we to ours. This night be spent in revels.
We choose you, Gloster, for our host tonight,
A troublesome expression of our love.
On, to the sports before us -- Who are these?
570Enter the Gentleman pursued by Kent
Now, what's the matter?
Keep peace upon your lives, he dies that strikes.
Whence and what are ye?
Sir, they are messengers, the one from your sister
575The other from the king.
Your difference? Speak.
I'm scarce in breath, my lord.
No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor.
Nature disclaims the dastard, a tailor made him.
Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
Sir this old ruffian here, whose life I spared
In pity to his beard --
Thou essence bottle!
In pity to my beard? Your leave, my lord,
585And I will tread the muss-cat into mortar.
Know'st thou our presence?
Yes, sir, but anger has a privilege.
Why art thou angry?
That such a slave as this should wear a sword
590And have no courage, office and no honesty.
Not frost and fire hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
Why dost thou call him knave?
His countenance likes me not.
No more perhaps does mine, nor his or hers.
Plain-dealing is my trade, and to be plain, sir,
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulders now before me.
This is some fellow that having once been praised
600For bluntness, since affects a saucy rudeness.
But I have known one of these surly knaves
That in his plainness harbored more design
Than twenty cringing complementing minions.
What's the offence you gave him?
Never any, sir.
It pleased the king his master lately
To strike me on a slender misconstruction;
Whilst watching his advantage, this old lurcher
Tripped me behind, for which the king extolled him;
610And, flushed with the honor of this bold exploit,
Drew on me here again.
Bring forth the stocks. We'll teach you.
Sir, I'm too old to learn.
Call not the stocks for me, I serve the king,
615On whose employment I was sent to you.
You'll show too small respect, and too bold malice
Against the person of my royal master,
Stocking his messenger.
Bring forth the stocks, as I have life and honor,
620There shall he sit till noon.
Till noon, my lord? Till night, and all night too.
Why, madam, if I were your father's dog
You would not use me so.
Sir, being his knave, I will.
Let me beseech your graces to forbear him.
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for it, but needs must take it ill
To be thus slighted in his messenger.
We'll answer that;
630Our sister may receive it worse to have
Her gentleman assaulted. To our business lead.
Exeunt all but Gloster and Kent.
I am sorry for thee, friend. 'Tis the duke's pleasure
Whose disposition will not be controlled.
635But I'll entreat for thee.
Pray do not, sir.
I have watched and traveled hard.
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
Farewell t'ye, sir.
640Exit Gloster
All weary and o'er-watched,
I feel the drowsy guest steal on me. Take
Advantage, heavy eyes, of this kind slumber,
Not to behold this vile and shameful lodging.
Enter Edgar
I heard myself proclaimed,
And by the friendly hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free, no place
650Where guards and most unusual vigilance
Do not attend to take me. How easy now
'Twere to defeat the malice of my trail,
And leave my griefs on my sword's reeking point.
But love detains me from death's peaceful cell,
655Still whispering me Cordelia's in distress.
Unkind as she is I cannot see her wretched,
But must be near to wait upon her fortune.
Who knows but the white minute yet may come
When Edgar may do service to Cordelia.
660That charming hope still ties me to the oar
Of painful life, and makes me, too, submit
To the humblest shifts to keep that life afoot.
My face I will besmear and knit my locks.
The country gives me proof and precedent
665Of bedlam beggars, who with roaring voices
Strike in their numbed and mortified bare arms
Pins, iron spikes, thorns, sprigs of rosemary;
And thus from sheep-cotes, villages and mills,
Sometimes with prayers, sometimes with lunatic bans
670Enforce their charity. Poor Tyrligod, poor Tom!
That's something yet; Edgar I am no more.
Kent in the stocks still. Enter Lear
'Tis strange that they should so depart from home
And not send back our messenger.
Hail, noble master.
How? Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?
What's he that has so much mistook thy place
680To set thee here?
It is both he and she, sir, your son and daughter.
No, I say.
I say, yea.
By Jupiter, I swear no.
By Juno I swear, I swear aye.
They durst not do it,
They could not, would not do it; 'tis worse then murder
690To do upon respect such violent outrage.
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
Thou mayst deserve, or they impose this usage?
My Lord, when at their home
I did commend Your Highness' letters to them,
695Ere I was risen, arrived another post
Steered in his haste, breathless and panting forth
From Gonerill, his mistress, salutations.
Whose message being delivered, they took horse,
Commanding me to follow and attend
700The leisure of their answer, which I did.
But meeting that other messenger
Whose welcome I perceived had poisoned mine,
Being the very fellow that of late
Had shown such rudeness to Your Highness, I
705Having more man than wit about me, drew,
On which he raised the house with coward cries.
This was the trespass which your son and daughter
Thought worth the shame you see it suffer here.
Oh! How this spleen swells upward to my heart
710And heaves for passage. Down thou climbing rage,
Thy element's below. Where is this daughter?
Within, sir, at a masque.
Enter Gloster.
Now Gloster? -- Ha!
715Deny to speak with me? They're sick, they're weary,
They have traveled hard tonight -- mere fetches!
Bring me a better answer.
My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke --
Vengeance! Death, plague, confusion!
Fiery? What quality? Why Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
I have informed them so.
Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?
725I tell thee, Gloster --
Ay, my good lord.
The king would speak with Cornwall, the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service.
Are they informed of this? My breath and blood!
730Fiery! The fiery duke! Tell the hot duke --
No, but not yet, maybe he is not well:
Infirmity does still neglect all office.
I beg his pardon, and I'll chide my rashness
That took the indisposed and sickly fit
735For the sound man. But wherefore sits he there?
Death on my state, this act convinces me
That this retiredness of the duke and her
Is plain contempt. Give me my servant forth,
Go tell the duke and his wife I'd speak with them.
740Now, instantly, bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death --
Enter Cornwall and Regan.
Oh! Are ye come?
Health to the king.
I am glad to see Your Highness.
Regan, I think you are, I know what cause
I have to think so; shouldst thou not be glad
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb.
750Beloved Regan, thou wilt shake to hear
What I shall utter: thou couldst never have thought it.
Thy sister's naught, O Regan. She has tied
Ingratitude, like a keen vulture, here.
Kent here set at liberty.
755I scarce can speak to thee.
I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope
That you know less to value her desert,
Then she to slack her duty.
Ha! How's that?
I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail in her respects, but if perchance
She has restrained the riots of your followers
'Tis on such grounds and to such wholesome ends
As clears her from all blame.
My curses on her.
O sir, you are old
And should content you to be ruled and led
By some discretion that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, sir,
770Return to our sister, and say you have wronged her.
Ha! Ask her forgiveness?
No, no, 'twas my mistake; thou didst not mean so.
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary. But thou art good,
775And wilt dispense with my infirmity.
Good sir, no more of these unsightly passions,
Return back to our sister.
Never, Regan.
She has abated me of half of my train,
780Looked black upon me, stabbed me with her tongue.
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful head! Strike her young bones,
Ye taking airs, with lameness.
O the blest gods! Thus will you wish on me
785When the rash mood --
No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse,
Thy tender nature cannot give thee over
To such impiety. Thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
790And dues of gratitude. Thou bear'st in mind
The half of the kingdom which our love conferred
On thee and thine.
Good sir, to the purpose.
Who put my man in the stocks?
What trumpet's that?
I know it, my sister's, this confirms her letters.
Sir, is your lady come?
Enter Gonerill's Gentleman.
More torture still?
800This is a slave whose easy-borrowed pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows;
A fashion-fop that spends the day in dressing,
And all to bear his lady's flattering message;
That can deliver with a grace her lie,
805And with as bold a face bring back a greater.
Out, varlet, from my sight.
What means your grace?
Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have hope
Thou didst not know it.
810Enter Gonerill.
Who comes here? Oh heavens!
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause, send down and take my part.
815Why, gorgon, dost thou come to haunt me here?
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
Darkness upon my eyes, they play me false.
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
Why not by the hand, sir, how have I offended?
820All's not offence that indiscretion finds,
And dotage terms so.
Heart thou art too tough.
I pray you, sir, being old, confess you are so.
If till the expiration of your month
825You will return and sojourn with our sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me.
I am now from home, and out of that provision
That shall be needful for your entertainment.
Return with her and fifty knights dismissed?
830No, rather I'll forswear all roofs, and choose
To be companion to the midnight wolf,
My naked head exposed to the merciless air,
Then have my smallest wants supplied by her.
At your choice, sir.
Now I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad.
I will not trouble thee, my child. Farewell.
We'll meet no more, no more see one another.
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it.
I do not bid the thunder-bearer strike,
840Nor tell tales of thee to avenging heaven.
Mend when thou canst, be better at thy leisure,
I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
I, and my hundred knights.
Your pardon, sir.
845I looked not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome.
Is this well spoken now?
My sister treats you fair; what, fifty followers!
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those whom she calls servants, or from mine?
Why not, my lord? If then they chance to slack you
We could control them. If you come to me,
For now I see the danger, I entreat you
855To bring but five and twenty; to no more
Will I give place.
Hold now my temper, stand this bolt unmoved
And I am thunder-proof.
The wicked when compared with the more wicked
860Seem beautiful, and not to be the worst
Stands in some rank of praise. Now, Gonerill,
Thou art innocent again, I'll go with thee.
Thy fifty yet does double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Hear me, my lord,
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to attend you?
What need one?
Blood, fire! Hear -- leprosies and bluest plagues!
Room, room for hell to belch her horrors up
And drench the Circes in a stream of fire!
Hark how the infernals echo to my rage
Their whips and snakes --
How lewd a thing is passion!
So old and stomachful.
Lightning and thunder.
Heavens, drop your patience down.
You see me here, ye gods, a poor old man
880As full of griefs as age, wretched in both --
I'll bear no more! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall -- I will do such things
What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
885The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep.
Thunder again.
This heart shall break into a thousand pieces
Before I'll weep -- O gods! I shall go mad.
Exit, followed by Kent.
'Tis a wild night, come out of the storm.