Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

Darkness and devils!--
Saddle my horses; call my train together.--
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee:
Yet have I left a daughter.

You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
Make servants of their betters.

(Enter Albany.)

Woe that too late repents!--
(To Albany.) 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.

(to Goneril) 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!
Which, 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 judgment out!--Go, go, my people.

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov'd you.

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 disnatur'd 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!


Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

Never afflict yourself to know more of it;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.

(Re-enter Lear.)

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

What's the matter, sir?

I'll tell thee.--Life and death!--(To Goneril) I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them.--Blasts and fogs upon thee!
Th' untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee!--Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Ha!
Let it be so: I have another 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.

(Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants.)

Do you mark that?

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you,--

Pray you, content.--What, Oswald, ho!
(To the Fool) You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry,--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.


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 dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy.--Oswald, I say!--

Well, you may fear too far.

Safer than trust too far:
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 th' unfitness,--

(Re-enter Oswald.)

How now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

Ay, madam.

Take you some company, and away to horse:
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, no, my lord!
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.

How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell:
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

Nay then,--

Well, well; the event.


Scene V. Court before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

(Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.)

Go you before to Gloster with these letters: acquaint my
daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her
demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I
shall be there afore you.

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


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

Ay, boy.

Then I pr'ythee be merry; thy wit shall not go slipshod.

Ha, ha, ha!

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.

What canst tell, boy?

She'll 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?


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

I did her wrong,--

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?


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


Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and
leave his horns without a case.

I will forget my nature. So kind a father!--Be my horses ready?

Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are
no more than seven is a pretty reason.

Because they are not eight?

Yes indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.

To tak't again perforce!--Monster ingratitude!

If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being
old before thy time.

How's that?

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!--

(Enter Gentleman.)

How now? are the horses ready?

Ready, my lord.

Come, boy.

She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.



Scene I. A court within the Castle of the Earl of Gloster.

(Enter Edmund and Curan, meeting.)

Save thee, Curan.

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.

How comes that?

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

Not I: pray you, what are they?

Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the two dukes
of Cornwall and Albany?

Not a word.

You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.


The Duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act:--briefness and fortune work!--
Brother, a word!--descend:--brother, I say!

(Enter Edgar.)

My father watches:--sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night.--
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither; now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him: have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

I am sure on't, not a word.

I hear my father coming:--pardon me;
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you:--
Draw: seem to defend yourself: now quit you well.--
Yield:--come before my father.--Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother.--Torches, torches!--So farewell.

(Exit Edgar.)

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavour: (Wounds his arm.)
I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport.--Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?

(Enter Gloster, and Servants with torches.)

Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress,--

But where is he?

Look, sir, I bleed.

Where is the villain, Edmund?

Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could,--

Pursue him, ho!--Go after.

(Exeunt Servants.)

--By no means what?

Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
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,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm;
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encounter,
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'd.--The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
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.

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
As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character, I'd turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.

Strong and fast'ned villain!
Would he deny his letter?--I never got him.

(Trumpets within.)

Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.--
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.

(Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.)

How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,--
Which I can call but now,--I have heard strange news.

If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

O madam, my old heart is crack'd,--it's crack'd!

What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?

O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

I know not, madam:--
It is too bad, too bad.

Yes, madam, he was of that consort.

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 childlike office.

'Twas my duty, sir.

He did bewray his practice; and receiv'd
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

Is he pursu'd?

Ay, my good lord.

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, Edmund,
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.

You know not why we came to visit you,--

Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night:
Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:--
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.

I serve you, madam:
Your graces are right welcome.


Scene II. Before Gloster's Castle.

(Enter Kent and Oswald, severally.)

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


Where may we set our horses?

I' the mire.

Pr'ythee, if thou lov'st me, tell me.

I love thee not.

Why then, I care not for thee.

If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.

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

Fellow, I know thee.

What dost thou know me for?

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud,
shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy,
worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking, 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, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel
bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou
denyest the least syllable of thy addition.

Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that's
neither known of thee nor knows thee?

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is
it two days ago since I beat thee and tripped up thy heels 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 barbermonger, draw!

(Drawing his sword.)

Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

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!

Help, ho! murder! help!

Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike!

(Beating him.)

Help, ho! murder! murder!

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

How now! What's the matter?

With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh you; come
on, young master.

Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?


Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

Keep peace, upon your lives;
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?

The messengers from our sister and the king.

What is your difference? speak.

I am scarce in breath, my lord.

No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour. You cowardly
rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.

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

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

Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at suit of
his grey

Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter!--My lord, if you'll
give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar and
daub the walls of a jakes with him.--Spare my grey beard, you

Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

Why art thou angry?

That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
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 naught, like dogs, but following.--
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, an I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

What, art thou mad, old fellow?

How fell you out?
Say that.

No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

His countenance likes me not.

No more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.

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 prais'd for bluntness, doth affect
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 plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.

Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front,--

What mean'st by this?

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.

What was the offence you gave him?

I never gave him any:
It pleas'd the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, compact, 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-subdu'd;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.

None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.

Fetch forth the stocks!--
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
We'll teach you,--

Sir, I am too old to learn:
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

Fetch forth the stocks!--As I have life and honour,
there shall he sit till noon.

Till noon! Till night, my lord; and all night too!

Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.

Sir, being his knave, I will.

This is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of.--Come, bring away the stocks!

(Stocks brought out.)

Let me beseech your grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for't: your purpos'd low correction
Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses,
Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill
That he, so slightly valu'd in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.

I'll answer that.

My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abus'd, assaulted,
For following her affairs.--Put in his legs.--

(Kent is put in the stocks.)

Come, my good lord, away.

(Exeunt all but Gloster and Kent.)

I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd; I'll entreat for thee.

Pray do not, sir: I have watch'd, and travell'd hard;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
Give you good morrow!

The duke's to blame in this: 'twill be ill taken.


Good king, that must approve the common saw,--
Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter.--Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery:--I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
Of my obscured course; and shall find time
From this enormous state,--seeking to give
Losses their remedies,--All weary and o'erwatch'd,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more, turn thy wheel!

(He sleeps.)

Scene III. The open Country.

(Enter Edgar.)

I heard myself proclaim'd;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escap'd the hunt. No port is free; no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. While I may scape,
I will preserve myself: and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with filth;
Blanket my loins; elf all my hair in knots;
And with presented nakedness outface
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity.--Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!
That's something yet:--Edgar I nothing am.


Scene IV. Before Gloster's Castle; Kent in the stocks.

(Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman.)

'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send back my messenger.

As I learn'd,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.

Hail to thee, noble master!

Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?

No, my lord.

Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the
head; dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by the loins, and
men by the legs: when a man is over-lusty at legs, then he
wears wooden nether-stocks.

What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?

It is both he and she,
Your son and daughter.



No, I say.

I say, yea.

No, no; they would not.

Yes, they have.

By Jupiter, I swear no.

By Juno, I swear ay.

They durst not do't.
They would not, could not do't; 'tis worse than murder,
To do upon respect such violent outrage:
Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,
Coming from us.

My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read: on whose contents,
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse;
Commanded me to follow and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine,--
Being the very fellow which of late
Display'd so saucily against your highness,--
Having more man than wit about me, drew:
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.
  Fathers that wear rags
    Do make their children blind;
  But fathers that bear bags
    Shall see their children kind.
  Fortune, that arrant whore,
  Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.
But for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio,--down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element's below!--Where is this daughter?

With the earl, sir, here within.

Follow me not;
Stay here.


Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

How chance the king comes with so small a number?

An thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question,
thou hadst well deserved it.

Why, fool?

We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no
labouring in the winter. All that follow their noses are led by
their eyes but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty
but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great
wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following
it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee
When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
   That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
     And follows but for form,
   Will pack when it begins to rain,
     And leave thee in the storm.
   But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
     And let the wise man fly:
   The knave turns fool that runs away;
     The fool no knave, perdy.

Where learn'd you this, fool?

Not i' the stocks, fool.

(Re-enter Lear, with Gloster.)

Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches;
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke;
How unremovable and fix'd he is
In his own course.

Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!--
Fiery? What quality? why, Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.

Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?

Ay, my good lord.

The King would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:
Are they inform'd of this?--My breath and blood!--
Fiery? the fiery duke?--Tell the hot duke that--
No, but not yet: may be he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound: we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit
For the sound man.--Death on my state! Wherefore
(Looking on Kent.)
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and's wife I'd speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum
Till it cry 'Sleep to death.'

I would have all well betwixt you.


O me, my heart, my rising heart!--but down!

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she
put 'em i' the paste alive; she knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with
a stick and cried 'Down, wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother that,
in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

(Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloster, and Servants.)

Good-morrow to you both.

Hail to your grace!

(Kent is set at liberty.)

I am glad to see your highness.

Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress.--(To Kent) O, are you free?
Some other time for that.--Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here,--
(Points to his heart.)
I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe
With how deprav'd a quality--O Regan!

I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.

Say, how is that?

I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.

My curses on her!

O, sir, you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be rul'd and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wrong'd her, sir.

Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.'

Good sir, no more! These are unsightly tricks:
Return you to my sister.

(Rising.) Never, Regan:
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:--
All the stor'd vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!

Fie, sir, fie!

You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blast her pride!

O the blest gods!
So will you wish on me when the rash mood is on.


Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort, and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.

Good sir, to the purpose.

Who put my man i' the stocks?

(Tucket within.)

What trumpet's that?

I know't--my sister's: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.

(Enter Oswald.)

Is your lady come?

This is a slave, whose easy-borrowed pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.--
Out, varlet, from my sight!

What means your grace?

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 yourselves are old,
Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!--
(To Goneril.) Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?--
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

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?

I set him there, sir: but his own disorders
Deserv'd much less advancement.

You? did you?

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.

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.
(Pointing to Oswald.)

At your choice, sir.

I pr'ythee, 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, an 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?

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? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

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.

I gave you all,--

And in good time you gave it.

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?

And speak't again my lord; no more with me.

Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd
When others are more wicked; not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise.--
(To Goneril.) 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?

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 stirs 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.--O fool, I shall go mad!

(Exeunt Lear, Gloster, Kent, and Fool. Storm heard at a

Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.

This house is little: the old man and his people
Cannot be well bestow'd.

'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest
And must needs taste his folly.

For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.

So am I purpos'd.
Where is my lord of Gloster?

Followed the old man forth:--he is return'd.

(Re-enter Gloster.)

The king is in high rage.

Whither is he going?

He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.

'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.

My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Alack, the night comes on, and the high winds
Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.

O, sir, to wilful men
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors:
He is attended with a desperate train;
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear.

Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night:
My Regan counsels well: come out o' the storm.



Scene I. A Heath.

(A storm with thunder and lightning. Enter Kent and a Gentleman,

Who's there, besides foul weather?

One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

I know you. Where's the king?

Contending with the fretful elements;
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.

But who is with him?

None but the fool, who labours to out-jest
His heart-struck injuries.

Sir, I do know you;
And dare, upon the warrant of my note,
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
Although as yet the face of it be cover'd
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have,--as who have not, that their great stars
Throne and set high?--servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes;
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings;--
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner.--Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.

I will talk further with you.

No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,--
As fear not but you shall,--show her this ring;
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the king.

Give me your hand: have you no more to say?

Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet,--
That, when we have found the king,--in which your pain
That way, I'll this,--he that first lights on him
Holla the other.

(Exeunt severally.)

Scene II. Another part of the heath. Storm continues.

(Enter Lear and Fool.)

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this
rain water out o' door. Good nuncle, in; and ask thy daughters
blessing: here's a night pities nether wise men nor fools.

Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children;
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man:--
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That will with two pernicious daughters join
Your high-engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this! O! O! 'tis foul!

He that has a house to put 's head in has a good head-piece.
   The codpiece that will house
     Before the head has any,
   The head and he shall louse:
     So beggars marry many.
   The man that makes his toe
     What he his heart should make
   Shall of a corn cry woe,
     And turn his sleep to wake.
--for there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a

No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.

(Enter Kent.)

Who's there?

Marry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a fool.

Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves; since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
Th' affliction nor the fear.

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace.--I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.

Alack, bareheaded!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
Repose you there, whilst I to this hard house,--
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in,--return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.

My wits begin to turn.--
Come on, my boy. how dost, my boy? art cold?
I am cold myself.--Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.--
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.

   He that has and a little tiny wit--
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,--
   Must make content with his fortunes fit,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

True, boy.--Come, bring us to this hovel.

(Exeunt Lear and Kent.)

This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.--
I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:--
   When priests are more in word than matter;
   When brewers mar their malt with water;
   When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
   No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
   When every case in law is right;
   No squire in debt nor no poor knight;
   When slanders do not live in tongues;
   Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
   When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
   And bawds and whores do churches build;--
   Then shall the realm of Albion
   Come to great confusion:
   Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
   That going shall be us'd with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.


Scene III. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

(Enter Gloster and Edmund.)

Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing. When I
desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the
use of mine own house; charged me on pain of perpetual displeasure,
neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Most savage and unnatural!

Go to; say you nothing. There is division betwixt the dukes,
and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this
night;--'tis dangerous to be spoken;--I have locked the letter in
my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged
home; there's part of a power already footed: we must incline to
the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him: go you and
maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him
perceived: if he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If I
die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master
must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund;
pray you be careful.


This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
Instantly know; and of that letter too:--
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses,--no less than all:
The younger rises when the old doth fall.


Scene IV. A part of the Heath with a Hovel. Storm continues.

(Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.)

Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.

Let me alone.

Good my lord, enter here.

Wilt break my heart?

I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's free,
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there.--Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't?--But I will punish home:--
No, I will weep no more.--In such a night
To shut me out!--Pour on; I will endure:--
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!--
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,--
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

Good my lord, enter here.

Pr'ythee go in thyself; seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more.--But I'll go in.--
(To the Fool.) In, boy; go first.--You houseless poverty,--
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.--

(Fool goes in.)

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.

(Within.) Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

(The Fool runs out from the hovel.)

Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit.
Help me, help me!

Give me thy hand.--Who's there?

A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.

What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
Come forth.

(Enter Edgar, disguised as a madman.)

Away! the foul fiend follows me!--
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.--
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

Didst thou give all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?

Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor.--Bless thy five
wits!--Tom's a-cold.--O, do de, do de, do de.--Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes:--there could I have him now,--and
there,--and there again, and there.
(Storm continues.)

What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?--
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give 'em all?

Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all shamed.

Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!

He hath no daughters, sir.

Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.--
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:--
Halloo, halloo, loo loo!

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

Take heed o' th' foul fiend: obey thy parents; keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom's a-cold.

What hast thou been?

A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair;
wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of my mistress' heart, and
did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it: wine loved
I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd the Turk;
false of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox
in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray
thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand
out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul
fiend.--Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: says
suum, mun, nonny. Dolphin my boy, boy, sessa! let him trot by.