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Lear. A pestilent gall to me!

Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech. Lear. Do.


Mark it, nuncle:

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,

And thou shalt have more

Than two tens to a score.


Kent. This is nothing, fool.

Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?


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Lear. What two crowns shall they be? Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back o'er the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so. 180 [Singing] Fools had ne'er less wit in a year; For wise men are grown foppish,

They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.

Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother: for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,


[Singing] Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,

That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.

Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie: I would fain learn to lie. Lear. An you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipped.

Fool. I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing i' the middle: here comes one o' the parings.

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I had thought, by making this well known unto you, To have found a safe redress; but now grow


By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.


Fool. For, you know, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had it head bit off by it young. So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling. Lear. Are you our daughter? Gon. Come, sir,

239 I would you would make use of that good wisdom, Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away These dispositions, that of late transform you From what you rightly are.

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee. Lear. Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:


Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?

Either his notion weakens, his discernings Are lethargied-Ha! waking? 'tis not so. Who is it that can tell me who I am?


Fool. Lear's shadow.

Lear. I would learn that; for, by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

Fool. father.

Which they will make an obedient

Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Gon. This admiration, sir, is much o' the sa-

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Lear. Woe, that too late repents,-[To Alb.]
O, sir, are you come?

Is it your will? Speak, sir. Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!


Pray, sir, be patient.

Lear. [To Gon.] Detested kite! thou liest:
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know,
And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show! 289
That, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
[Striking his head.
And thy dear judgement out! Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath moved you.

Lear. It may be so, my lord. Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend To make this creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up in her the organs of increase; And from her derogate body never spring A babe to honour her! If she must teem, Create her child of spleen; that it may live,

And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away! [Exit.
Alb. Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes



Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.

Re-enter LEAR.

Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap! Within a fortnight!


What's the matter, sir? Lear. I'll tell thee: [To Gon.] Life and death! I am ashamed

That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus ; That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, 320

Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!

The untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Yea, is it come to this?
Let it be so: yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever: thou shalt, I warrant thee.
[Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants.
Gon. Do you mark that, my lord?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you,-


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Gon. Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho! [To the Fool] You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool with thee.


A fox, when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Should sure to the slaughter,

If my cap would buy a halter:

So the fool follows after.


Gon. This man hath had good counsel :-a hundred knights!

'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every

Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I say!
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.
Safer than trust too far: 351
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister:
If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
When I have show'd the unfitness,-

Re-enter Oswald.

How now, Oswald! What, have you writ that letter to my sister? Osw. Yes, madam.

Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse:


Enter Gentleman.

Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
And hasten your return. [Exit Oswald.] No, How now! are the horses ready?
Gent. Ready, my lord.
Lear. Come, boy.

no, my lord,

This milky gentleness and course of yours
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.

Alb. How far your eyes may pierce I cannot

Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

Gon. Nay, then

Alb. Well, well; the event.

370 [Exeunt.

SCENE V. Court before the same. Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool. Lear. Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.

Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter. [Exit.

Fool. If a man's brains were in's heels, were 't not in danger of kibes?

Lear. Ay, boy.


Fool. Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod.

Lear. Ha, ha, ha!

Fool. Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell. Lear. Why, what canst thou tell, my boy? Fool. She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i' the middle on's face?


Lear. No.

Fool. Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose; that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.



Fool. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house. 30

Lear. Why?

Fool. Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns with

Lear. O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!


Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!

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Fool. She that's a maid now, and laughs at
my departure,

Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut


SCENE I. The Earl of Gloucester's castle.
Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him.

Edm. Save thee, Curan.
Cur. And you, sir.
I have been with your
father, and given him notice that the Duke of
Cornwall and Regan his duchess will be here
with him this night.

Edm. How comes that?

Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad; I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments? Edm. Not I pray you, what are they?


Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany? Edm. Not a word.

Cur. You may do, then, in time.
well, sir.

Edm. The duke be here to-night?
ter! best!

Fare you [Exit. The bet

Enter EDGAR.

My father watches: O sir, fly this place; Intelligence is given where you are hid; You have now the good advantage of the night: Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornshell? wall?

Lear. I did her wrong

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He's coming hither; now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him: have you nothing said
his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

I am sure on't, not a word.

Edm. I hear my father coming: pardon me; In cunning I must draw my sword upon you: 31 Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you


Yield: come before my father.
Fly, brother. Torches, torches!

Light, ho, here! So, farewell. [Exit Edgar. Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion [Wounds his arm. Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards

Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?

Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches.
Glou. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?


Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out, Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon To stand auspicious mistress,—_ Glou.

But where is he?

Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Where is the villain, Edmund?
Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no means

he could

Glou. Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt
some Servants.] By no means what?
Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your

But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine, 50
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the en-


Or whether gasted by the noise I made, Full suddenly he fled.


Let him fly far: Not in this land shall he remain uncaught; And found-dispatch. The noble duke my master, My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night: 61 By his authority I will proclaim it, That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks, Bringing the murderous coward to the stake; He that conceals him, death.

Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent, And found him pight to do it, with curst speech I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,

Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think, If I would stand against thee, would the reposal Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,


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How dost, my

Which can pursue the offender. lord? Glou. O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, is crack'd!

Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short


Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life? Fun

He whom my father named? your Edgar?
Glou. O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous

That tend upon my father?
Glou. I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too

Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort. Reg. No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:


'Tis they have put him on the old man's death, To have the expense and waste of his revenues. I have this present evening from my sister Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,

That if they come to sojourn at my house, I'll not be there.


Nor I, assure thee, Regan. Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father A child-like office. Edm.

'Twas my duty, sir..

Glou. He did bewray his practice; and received

This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him. 110
Corn. Is he pursued?
Ay, my good lord.
Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Ed-


Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.

I shall serve you, sir,

Truly, however else.


For him I thank your grace.

Corn. You know not why we came to visit



Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:

Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messen-
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.


Glou. I serve you, madam: 130 Your graces are right welcome." [Exeunt. SCENE II. Before Gloucester's castle. Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally.

Osw. Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?

Kent. Ay.

Osw. Where may we set our horses? Kent. I' the mire.


Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

Kent. I love thee not.

Why, then, I care not for thee. Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.


Osw. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

Kent. Fellow, I know thee.

What dost thou know me for? Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, threesuited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.

Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!


Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you: draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw. [Drawing his sword. Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee. Kent. Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike. [Beating him. Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder! Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants. Edm. How now! What's the matter? Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master. Glou. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?


Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives: He dies that strikes again. What is the matter? Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.

Corn. What is your difference? speak. Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord. Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee a tailor made thee.


Corn. Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?

Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a painter could not have made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.

the walls of a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?

Corn. Peace, sirrah!

You beastly knave, know you no reverence? Kent. Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege. Corn. Why art thou angry?

Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a sword,

Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain 80
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every

That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage !
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow?
Glou. How fell you out? say that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What's his offence?

Kent. His countenance likes me not.

Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel? Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at suit of his gray beard,

Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub


Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.

This is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth

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A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain..
These kind of knaves I know, which in this

Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.


Kent. Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity, Under the allowance of your great aspect, Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire On flickering Phœbus' front,— What mean'st by this? Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave; which for my part I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't.



Corn. What was the offence you gave him? Osw. I never gave him any: It pleased the king his master very late To strike at me, upon his misconstruction; When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure, Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd, And put upon him such a deal of man, That worthied him, got praises of the king For him attempting who was self-subdued; And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit, Drew on me here again.


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