Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

(Storm still continues.)

Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy
uncovered body this extremity of the skies.--Is man no more than
this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast
no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume.--Ha! here's three
on's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked
animal as thou art.--Off, off, you lendings!--Come, unbutton
(Tears off his clothes.)

Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim
in.--Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's
heart,--a small spark, all the rest on's body cold.--Look, here
comes a walking fire.

This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew,
and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin,
squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat,
and hurts the poor creature of earth.
   Swithold footed thrice the old;
   He met the nightmare, and her nine-fold;
     Bid her alight
     And her troth plight,
   And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

How fares your grace?

(Enter Gloster with a torch.)

What's he?

Who's there? What is't you seek?

What are you there? Your names?

Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole, the
wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when the
foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat
and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool;
who is whipped from tithing to tithing, and stocked, punished,
and imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts
to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to wear;--
   But mice and rats, and such small deer,
   Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower.--Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!

What, hath your grace no better company?

The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.

Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile
That it doth hate what gets it.

Poor Tom's a-cold.

Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters' hard commands;
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

First let me talk with this philosopher.--
What is the cause of thunder?

Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.

I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.--
What is your study?

How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.

Let me ask you one word in private.

Importune him once more to go, my lord;
His wits begin to unsettle.

Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death:--ah, that good Kent!--
He said it would be thus,--poor banish'd man!--
Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life
But lately, very late: I lov'd him, friend,--
No father his son dearer: true to tell thee,
(Storm continues.)
The grief hath craz'd my wits.--What a night's this!--
I do beseech your grace,--

O, cry you mercy, sir.--
Noble philosopher, your company.

Tom's a-cold.

In, fellow, there, into the hovel; keep thee warm.

Come, let's in all.

This way, my lord.

With him;
I will keep still with my philosopher.

Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.

Take him you on.

Sirrah, come on; go along with us.

Come, good Athenian.

No words, no words: hush.

   Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
   His word was still--Fie, foh, and fum,
   I smell the blood of a British man.


Scene V. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

(Enter Cornwall and Edmund.)

I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.

How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to
loyalty, something fears me to think of.

I now perceive it was not altogether your brother's evil
disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set
a-work by a reproveable badness in himself.

How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just! This
is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent
party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that this treason
were not--or not I the detector!

Go with me to the duchess.

If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business
in hand.

True or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloster. Seek out
where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.

(Aside.) If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff his
suspicion more fully.--I will persever in my course of loyalty,
though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.

I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer father
in my love.


Scene VI. A Chamber in a Farmhouse adjoining the Castle.

(Enter Gloster, Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar.)

Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully. I will
piece out the comfort with what addition I can: I will not be
long from you.

All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience:--
the gods reward your kindness!

(Exit Gloster.)

Frateretto calls me; and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake
of darkness.--Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

Pr'ythee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a

A king, a king!

No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a mad
yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.

To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon 'em,--

The foul fiend bites my back.

He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health,
a boy's love, or a whore's oath.

It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.--
(To Edgar.) Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer--
(To the Fool.) Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes!--

Look, where he stands and glares!--Want'st thou eyes at trial,
  Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me,--

   Her boat hath a leak,
   And she must not speak
   Why she dares not come over to thee.

The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale.
Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak not,
black angel; I have no food for thee.

How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd;
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

I'll see their trial first.--Bring in their evidence.
(To Edgar.) Thou, robed man of justice, take thy place;--
(To the Fool.) And thou, his yokefellow of equity,
Bench by his side:--(To Kent.) you are o' the commission,
Sit you too.

   Let us deal justly.
   Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
     Thy sheep be in the corn;
   And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
     Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Purr! the cat is gray.

Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my oath before
this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor king her father.

Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

She cannot deny it.

Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on.--Stop her there!
Arms, arms! sword! fire!--Corruption in the place!--
False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?

Bless thy five wits!

O pity!--Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?

(Aside.) My tears begin to take his part so much
They'll mar my counterfeiting.

The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.

Tom will throw his head at them.--Avaunt, you curs!
   Be thy mouth or black or white,
   Tooth that poisons if it bite;
   Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
   Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
   Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,--
   Tom will make them weep and wail;
   For, with throwing thus my head,
   Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market-
towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds about her
heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard
hearts?--(To Edgar.) You, sir, I entertain you for one of my
hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your garments: you'll
say they are Persian; but let them be changed.

Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains:
So, so. We'll go to supper i' the morning.

And I'll go to bed at noon.

(Re-enter Gloster.)

Come hither, friend: where is the king my master?

Here, sir; but trouble him not,--his wits are gone.

Good friend, I pr'ythee, take him in thy arms;
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him;
There is a litter ready; lay him in't
And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master;
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss: take up, take up;
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.

Oppressed nature sleeps:--
This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken sinews,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure.--Come, help to bear thy master;
(To the Fool.) Thou must not stay behind.

Come, come, away!

(Exeunt Kent, Gloster, and the Fool, bearing off Lear.)

When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind:
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the king bow;
He childed as I fathered!--Tom, away!
Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the king!
Lurk, lurk.


Scene VII. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

(Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Edmund, and Servants.)

Post speedily to my lord your husband, show him this letter:--
the army of France is landed.--Seek out the traitor Gloster.

(Exeunt some of the Servants.)

Hang him instantly.

Pluck out his eyes.

Leave him to my displeasure.--Edmund, keep you our sister
company: the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous
father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke where you
are going, to a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.
Farewell, dear sister:--farewell, my lord of Gloster.

(Enter Oswald.)

How now! Where's the king?

My lord of Gloster hath convey'd him hence:
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover: where they boast
To have well-armed friends.

Get horses for your mistress.

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

Edmund, farewell.

(Exeunt Goneril, Edmund, and Oswald.)

Go seek the traitor Gloster,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

(Exeunt other Servants.)

Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not control.--Who's there? the traitor?

(Re-enter servants, with Gloster.)

Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

Bind fast his corky arms.

What mean your graces?--Good my friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

Bind him, I say.

(Servants bind him.)

Hard, hard.--O filthy traitor!

Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

To this chair bind him.--Villain, thou shalt find,--

(Regan plucks his beard.)

By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.

So white, and such a traitor!

Naughty lady,
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
With robber's hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.

And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?

To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?

I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one oppos'd.


And false.

Where hast thou sent the king?

To Dover.

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at peril,--

Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

Wherefore to Dover, sir?

Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up,
And quench'd the stelled fires; yet, poor old heart,
He holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said, 'Good porter, turn the key.'
All cruels else subscrib'd:--but I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.

See't shalt thou never.--Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.

(Gloster is held down in his chair, while Cornwall plucks out one
of his eyes and sets his foot on it.)

He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help!--O cruel!--O ye gods!

One side will mock another; the other too!

If you see vengeance,--

First Serv.
Hold your hand, my lord:
I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

How now, you dog!

First Serv.
If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I'd shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

My villain!

(Draws, and runs at him.)

First Serv.
Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

(Draws. They fight. Cornwall is wounded.)

Give me thy sword (to another servant.)--A peasant stand up thus?

(Snatches a sword, comes behind, and stabs him.)

First Serv.
O, I am slain!--My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on thim. O!


Lest it see more, prevent it.--Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

(Tears out Gloster's other eye and throws it on the ground.)

All dark and comfortless.--Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.

Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.

O my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd.--
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.--How is't, my lord? How look you?

I have receiv'd a hurt:--follow me, lady.--
Turn out that eyeless villain;--throw this slave
Upon the dunghill.--Regan, I bleed apace:
Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.

(Exit Cornwall, led by Regan; Servants unbind Gloster and lead
him out.)

Second Serv.
I'll never care what wickedness I do,
If this man come to good.

Third Serv.
If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.

Second Serv.
Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.

Third Serv.
Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!

(Exeunt severally.)


Scene I. The heath.

(Enter Edgar.)

Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.--But who comes here?

(Enter Gloster, led by an Old Man.)

My father, poorly led?--World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.

Old Man.
O my good lord,
I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant,
These fourscore years.

Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.

Old Man.
You cannot see your way.

I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities.--O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'd say I had eyes again!

Old Man.
How now! Who's there?

(Aside.) O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at the worst'?
I am worse than e'er I was.


Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

Old Man.
'Tis poor mad Tom.

(Aside.) And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'

Old Man.
Fellow, where goest?

Is it a beggar-man?

Old Man.
Madman and beggar too.

He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;
Which made me think a man a worm: my son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,--
They kill us for their sport.

(Aside.) How should this be?--
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Angering itself and others.--Bless thee, master!

Is that the naked fellow?

Old Man.
Ay, my lord.

Then pr'ythee get thee gone: if for my sake
Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Which I'll entreat to lead me.

Old Man.
Alack, sir, he is mad.

'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
Above the rest, be gone.

Old Man.
I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
Come on't what will.


Sirrah naked fellow,--

Poor Tom's a-cold.
(Aside.) I cannot daub it further.

Come hither, fellow.

(Aside.) And yet I must.--Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

Know'st thou the way to Dover?

Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath. Poor Tom hath been
scared out of his good wits:--bless thee, good man's son, from
the foul fiend! Five fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of
lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and
mowing,--who since possesses chambermaids and waiting women. So,
bless thee, master!

Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier;--heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your power quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough.--Dost thou know Dover?

Ay, master.

There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading need.

Give me thy arm:
Poor Tom shall lead thee.


Scene II. Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

(Enter Goneril and Edmund; Oswald meeting them.)

Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.--Now, where's your master?

Madam, within; but never man so chang'd.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smil'd at it: I told him you were coming;
His answer was, 'The worse': Of Gloster's treachery
And of the loyal service of his son
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:--
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.

(To Edmund.) Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us; ere long you are like to hear,
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. (Giving a favour.)
Wear this; spare speech;
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:--
Conceive, and fare thee well.

Yours in the ranks of death!

(Exit Edmund.)

My most dear Gloster.
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.

Madam, here comes my lord.


(Enter Albany.)

I have been worth the whistle.

O Goneril!
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face! I fear your disposition:
That nature which contemns it origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

No more; the text is foolish.

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.

Milk-liver'd man!
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sitt'st still, and criest
'Alack, why does he so?'

See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.

O vain fool!

Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame!
Be-monster not thy feature! Were't my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood.
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones:--howe'er thou art a fiend,
A woman's shape doth shield thee.

Marry, your manhood now!

(Enter a Messenger.)

What news?

O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead;
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloster.

Gloster's eyes!

A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enrag'd,
Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke which since
Hath pluck'd him after.

This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge!--But, O poor Gloster!
Lost he his other eye?

Both, both, my lord.--
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
'Tis from your sister.

(Aside.) One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloster with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: another way
The news is not so tart.--I'll read, and answer.


Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

Come with my lady hither.

He is not here.

No, my good lord; I met him back again.

Knows he the wickedness?

Ay, my good lord. 'Twas he inform'd against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.

Gloster, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
And to revenge thine eyes.--Come hither, friend:
Tell me what more thou know'st.


Scene III. The French camp near Dover.

(Enter Kent and a Gentleman.)

Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back know you the

Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his coming
forth is thought of, which imports to the kingdom so much fear
and danger that his personal return was most required and

Who hath he left behind him general?

The Mareschal of France, Monsieur La Far.

Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief?

Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a queen
Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.

O, then it mov'd her.

Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like, a better day: those happy smilets
That play'd on her ripe lip seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd.--In brief, sorrow
Would be a rarity most belov'd, if all
Could so become it.

Made she no verbal question?

Faith, once or twice she heav'd the name of 'father'
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Cried 'Sisters, sisters!--Shame of ladies! sisters!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i' the night?
Let pity not be believ'd!'--There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
To deal with grief alone.

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?


Was this before the king return'd?

No, since.

Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the town;
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.

Why, good sir?

A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters,--these things sting
His mind so venomously that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

Alack, poor gentleman!

Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?

'Tis so; they are a-foot.

Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear
And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you go
Along with me.


Scene IV. The French camp. A Tent.

(Enter Cordelia, Physician, and Soldiers.)

Alack, 'tis he: why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex'd sea; singing aloud;
Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow weeds,
With harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.--A century send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye. (Exit an Officer.)
What can man's wisdom
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He that helps him take all my outward worth.

There is means, madam:
Our foster nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

All bless'd secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
In the good man's distress!--Seek, seek for him;
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

(Enter a Messenger.)

News, madam;
The British powers are marching hitherward.

'Tis known before; our preparation stands
In expectation of them.--O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about;
Therefore great France
My mourning and important tears hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right:
Soon may I hear and see him!


Scene V. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

(Enter Regan and Oswald.)

But are my brother's powers set forth?

Ay, madam.

Himself in person there?

Madam, with much ado.
Your sister is the better soldier.

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

No, madam.

What might import my sister's letter to him?

I know not, lady.

Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloster's eyes being out,
To let him live: where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to despatch
His nighted life; moreover, to descry
The strength o' the enemy.

I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

Our troops set forth to-morrow: stay with us;
The ways are dangerous.

I may not, madam:
My lady charg'd my duty in this business.

Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something,--I know not what:--I'll love thee much--
Let me unseal the letter.

Madam, I had rather,--

I know your lady does not love her husband;
I am sure of that: and at her late being here
She gave strange eyeliads and most speaking looks
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

I, madam?

I speak in understanding; you are, I know't:
Therefore I do advise you, take this note:
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd;
And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady's.--You may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you give him this;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisdom to her
So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
What party I do follow.

Fare thee well.


Scene VI. The country near Dover.

(Enter Gloster, and Edgar dressed like a peasant.)

When shall I come to the top of that same hill?

You do climb up it now: look, how we labour.

Methinks the ground is even.

Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?

No, truly.

Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.

So may it be indeed:
Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

You are much deceiv'd: in nothing am I chang'd
But in my garments.

Methinks you're better spoken.

Come on, sir; here's the place:--stand still.--How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire--dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock a buoy
Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge
That on the unnumber'd idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high.--I'll look no more;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

Set me where you stand.

Give me your hand:--you are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge: for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.

Let go my hand.
Here, friend, 's another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking: fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

Now fare ye well, good sir.

(Seems to go.)

With all my heart.

(Aside.) Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.

O you mighty gods!
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!--
Now, fellow, fare thee well.

Gone, sir:--farewell.--

(Gloster leaps, and falls along.)

And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life when life itself
Yields to the theft: had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past.--Alive or dead?
Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir?--speak!--
Thus might he pass indeed:--yet he revives.--
What are you, sir?

Away, and let me die.

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fathom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg: but thou dost breathe;
Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell:
Thy life is a miracle.--Speak yet again.

But have I fall'n, or no?

From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height;--the shrill-gorg'd lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard: do but look up.

Alack, I have no eyes.--
Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage
And frustrate his proud will.

Give me your arm:
Up:--so.--How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.

Too well, too well.

This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o' the cliff what thing was that
Which parted from you?

A poor unfortunate beggar.

As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea:
It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.

I do remember now: henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself,
'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man; often 'twould say,
'The fiend, the fiend':--he led me to that place.

Bear free and patient thoughts.--But who comes here?

(Enter Lear, fantastically dressed up with flowers.)

The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.

No, they cannot touch me for coining;
I am the king himself.

O thou side-piercing sight!

Nature 's above art in that respect.--There's your press money.
That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a
clothier's yard.--Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace;--this piece
of toasted cheese will do't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it
on a giant.--Bring up the brown bills. O, well flown, bird!--i'
the clout, i' the clout: hewgh!--Give the word.

Sweet marjoram.


I know that voice.

Ha! Goneril with a white beard!--They flattered me like a dog;
and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were
there. To say 'ay' and 'no' to everything I said!--'Ay' and 'no',
too, was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and
the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at
my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they
are not men o' their words: they told me I was everything; 'tis a
lie--I am not ague-proof.

The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is't not the king?

Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life.--What was thy cause?--
Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloster's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.--
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name;--
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's; there's hell, there's darkness,
There is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench,
consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my
imagination: there's money for thee.

O, let me kiss that hand!

Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught.--Dost thou know me?

I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind Cupid; I'll not love.--Read thou this
challenge; mark but the penning of it.

Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

I would not take this from report;--it is,
And my heart breaks at it.


What, with the case of eyes?

O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money
in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a
light: yet you see how this world goes.

I see it feelingly.

What, art mad? A man may see how the world goes with no eyes.
Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yond simple
thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief?--Thou hast seen a farmer's
dog bark at a beggar?

Ay, sir.

And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold
the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office.--
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pygmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none.--I say none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.--Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder:--so.


Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

O, matter and impertinency mix'd!
Reason, in madness!

If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloster:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry.--I will preach to thee: mark.

Alack, alack the day!

When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools--This' a good block:--
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt: I'll put't in proof,;
And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

(Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants).

O, here he is: lay hand upon him.--Sir,
Your most dear daughter,--

No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune.--Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.

You shall have anything.

No seconds? all myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and for laying Autumn's dust.

Good sir,--

I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom. What!
I will be jovial: come, come, I am a king,
My masters, know you that.

You are a royal one, and we obey you.

Then there's life in't. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it
by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa!

(Exit running. Attendants follow.)

A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king!--Thou hast one daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

Hail, gentle sir.

Sir, speed you. What's your will?

Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Most sure and vulgar: every one hears that
Which can distinguish sound.

But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?

Near and on speedy foot; the main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

I thank you sir: that's all.

Though that the queen on special cause is here,
Her army is mov'd on.

I thank you, sir.

(Exit Gentleman.)

You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!

Well pray you, father.

Now, good sir, what are you?

A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows;
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.

Hearty thanks:
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!

(Enter Oswald.)

A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes.--Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember:--the sword is out
That must destroy thee.

Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to it.

(Edgar interposes.)

Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.

Let go, slave, or thou diest!

Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor voke pass. An chud
ha' bin zwaggered out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as
'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out,
che vore ye, or ise try whether your costard or my bat be the
harder: chill be plain with you.

Out, dunghill!

Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come! No matter vor your foins.

(They fight, and Edgar knocks him down.)

Slave, thou hast slain me:--villain, take my purse:
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earl of Gloster; seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!

I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

What, is he dead?

Sit you down, father; rest you.--
Let's see these pockets; the letters that he speaks of
May be my friends.--He's dead; I am only sorry
He had no other death's-man. Let us see:--
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts;
Their papers is more lawful.
(Reads.) 'Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done if he
return the conqueror: then am I the prisoner, and his bed my
gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the
place for your labour.
'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant,
O indistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
And the exchange my brother!--Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd duke: for him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

(Exit Edgar, dragging out the body.)

The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.

Give me your hand:
(A drum afar off.)
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum:
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.


Scene VII. A Tent in the French Camp. Lear on a bed, asleep, soft
music playing; Physician, Gentleman, and others attending.

(Enter Cordelia, and Kent.)

O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short
And every measure fail me.

To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth;
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.

Be better suited:
These weeds are memories of those worser hours:
I pr'ythee, put them off.

Pardon, dear madam;
Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.

Then be't so, my good lord. (To the Physician.) How, does the

Madam, sleeps still.

O you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up
Of this child-changed father!

So please your majesty
That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.

Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep
We put fresh garments on him.

Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;
I doubt not of his temperance.

Very well.

Please you draw near.--Louder the music there!

O my dear father! Restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!

Kind and dear princess!

Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? to watch--,poor perdu!--
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all.--He wakes; speak to him.

Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.

How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:--
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.

Sir, do you know me?

You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?

Still, still, far wide!

He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

Where have I been? Where am I?--Fair daylight,--
I am mightily abus'd.--I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus.--I know not what to say.--
I will not swear these are my hands:--let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assur'd
Of my condition!

O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.--
No, sir, you must not kneel.

Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.

And so I am. I am.

Be your tears wet? yes, faith. I pray, weep not:
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.

No cause, no cause.

Am I in France?

In your own kingdom, sir.

Do not abuse me.

Be comforted, good madam: the great rage,
You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further settling.

Will't please your highness walk?

You must bear with me:
Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.

(Exeunt Lear, Cordelia, Physician, and Attendants.)

Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?

Most certain, sir.

Who is conductor of his people?

As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloster.

They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl of Kent
in Germany.

Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of
the kingdom approach apace.

The arbitrement is like to be bloody.
Fare you well, sir.


My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.



Scene I. The Camp of the British Forces near Dover.

(Enter, with drum and colours, Edmund, Regan, Officers, Soldiers,
and others.)

Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is advis'd by aught
To change the course: he's full of alteration
And self-reproving:--bring his constant pleasure.

(To an Officer, who goes out.)

Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.

Tis to be doubted, madam.

Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you:
Tell me,--but truly,--but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister?

In honour'd love.

But have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?

That thought abuses you.

I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.

No, by mine honour, madam.

I never shall endure her: dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.

Fear me not:--
She and the duke her husband!

(Enter, with drum and colours, Albany, Goneril, and Soldiers.)

(Aside.) I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.

Our very loving sister, well be-met.--
Sir, this I heard,--the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigour of our state
Forc'd to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
Not bolds the king, with others whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

Sir, you speak nobly.

Why is this reason'd?

Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.

Let's, then, determine
With the ancient of war on our proceeding.

I shall attend you presently at your tent.

Sister, you'll go with us?


'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.

(Aside.) O, ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.

(As they are going out, enter Edgar disguised.)

If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.

I'll overtake you.--Speak.

(Exeunt Edmund, Regan, Goneril, Officers, Soldiers, and