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Thy half oʻthe kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endowd.
Good sir, to the purpose.
[Trumpets within. Lear. Who put my man i the stocks ? Corn.
What trumpet 's that?
Reg. I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.—Is your lady come ?
Lear. This is a slave, whose easy-borrowd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows :-
Out, varlet, from my sight!
What means your grace?
Lear. Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on't.—Who comes here? O heavens,
Enter GONERIL. If you do love old men, if your sweet sway Allow obedience, if you yourselves are old, Make it your cause; send down, and take my part !Art not asham'd to look upon this beard ? — [To Gon. O, Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand ?
Gon. Why not by the hand, sir ? How have I offended ?
All 's not offence that indiscretion finds,
And dotage terms so.
O, sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold ?-How came my man i' the stocks ?
Corn. I set him there, sir : but his own disorders
Deserv'd much less advancement.
You ! did you ?
Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister.
Dismissing half your train, come then to me;
I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd ?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o' the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,
Necessity's sharp pinch !- Return with her ?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life afoot :-Return with her ?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom.
[Looking on the Steward Gon.
At your choice, sir. .
Lear. I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad;
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell :
We'll no more meet, no more see one another :-
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine; thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, or embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend, when thou canst; be better, at thy leisure :
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I, and my hundred knights.
Not altogether so;
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome : Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to think you old, and so
But she knows what she does.
Is this well spoken?
Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers ?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many? sith that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house.
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity ? 'T is hard; almost impossible.
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine ?
Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chanc'd to slack
you, We could control them: If you will come to me, (For now I spy a danger,) I entreat you To bring but five-and-twenty ; to no more Will I give place, or notice.
Lear. I gave you allReg.
And in good time you gave it, Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries; But kept a reservation to be follow'd
With such a number: What, must I come to you
With five-and-twenty, Regan? said you so ?
Reg. And speak 't again, my lord; no more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd! When others are more wicked, not being the worst Stands in some rank of praise :- I 'll go with thee;
Thy fifty yet doth 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 tend you?
What need one ?
Lear. O, reason not the need : our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous :
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's : thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need,
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need !
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger!
And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks !--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
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep:
No, I'll not weep-
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep:-0, fool, I shall go mad!
[Exeunt LEAR, GLOSTER, KENT, and Fool.
• Flaw. Douce conjectures that far might signify a fragment in Shakspere's time, as well as a crack.
ACT V.-SCENE III. Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR,
Officer, and others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl !-0, you are men of stones;
Had I your tongues and eyes I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack:-She's gone for ever!--
I know when one is dead, and when one lives ;
She is dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why then she lives.
Is this the promis'd end ? a
Edg. Or image of that horror ?
Fall and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs ; she lives; if it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
O my good master! [Kneeling.
Lear. Prithee, away.
"T is noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all !
I might have savd her; now she's gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha!
What is 't thou say'st ?-Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman :-
I kill'd the slave that was a hanging thee.
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.—Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o' the best :- I 'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.
Lear. This is a dull sight. Are you not Kent ?
The same Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius ?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that ;
He Öll strike, and quickly too: He's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;--
Lear. I 'll see that straight.
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay,
Have follow'd your sad steps.
You are welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else ; all's cheerless, dark, and dead-
Your eldest daughters have fore-done themselves,
And desperately are dead.
Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is
That we present us to him.
Enter an Officer. Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
That 's but a trifle here. You lords and noble friends, know our intent. What comfort to this great decay may come Shall be applied: For us, we will resign, During the life of this old majesty, To him our absolute power :-You, to your rights;
T: EDGAR and KENT.
With boot, and such addition as your honours
Have more than merited.—All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, anà ail foes
The cup of their deservings.—0, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life:
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou 'lt come no more.
Never, never, never, never, never !
Pray you undo this button : Thank you, sir.-
Do you see this ? Look on her,-look,-her lips, -
Look there, look there!
He faints! My lord, my lord,-
Kent. Break, heart; I prithee, break!
Look up, my lord. Kent. Vex not his ghost: 0, let him pass! he hates him That would upon the rack of this tough world Stretch him out longer.