King Lear

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Storm still. Enter Lear and the Fool
crack (v.) 2 split asunder, snap


Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
hurricano (n.) water-spout

Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
cock (n.) 1 weathercock

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
thought-executing (adj.) acting as fast as thought; or: thought-destroying

Vaunt-curriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
vaunt-currier (n.) forerunner, announcer, herald

Singe my white head! And thou all-shaking thunder,

Smite flat the thick rotundity o'the world,

Crack Nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
germen (n.) seed, life-forming elements
spill (v.) destroy, overthrow

That makes ingrateful man!
ingrateful (adj.) 1 ungrateful, unappreciative


O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better
court holy-water gracious but empty promises, courtly flattery

than this rain-water out o'door. Good nuncle, in; ask thy

daughters' blessing. Here's a night pities neither 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;
element (n.) 3 (plural) forces of nature, atmospheric powers
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage
unkindness (n.) 2 ingratitude, unthankfulness, lack of appreciation

I never gave you kingdom, called you children.

You owe me no subscription; then let fall
subscription (n.) obedience, allegiance; or: approval, support

Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand, your slave,

A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.

But yet I call you servile ministers,
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant
servile (adj.) 2 befitting a slave, slavish, cringing

That will with two pernicious daughters join

Your high-engendered battles 'gainst a head
battle (n.) 1 army, fighting force, battalion
high-engendered (adj.) coming from the heavens, brought into being from above

So old and white as this. O, ho! 'Tis foul!


He that has a house to put's head in has a good
headpiece (n.) 1 head-covering


The cod-piece that will house

Before the head has any,

The head and he shall louse;
louse (v.) become lice-infested

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.
wake (n.) 2 state of wakefulness

For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths

in a glass.
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Kent
pattern (n.) 1 picture, model, specimen, example


No, I will be the pattern of all patience.

I will say nothing.


Who's there?


Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece – that's a wise
codpiece, cod-piece (n.) 1 cloth case or pocket worn by a man at the front of breeches or hose; also: what it contains See Topics: Clothing

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
gallow (v.) frighten, scare, startle

And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
keep (v.) 2 stay within, remain inside

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
carry (v.) 4 endure, put up with
nature (n.) 3 human nature

Th' affliction nor the fear.


                         Let the great gods

That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads
pudder (n.) hubbub, din, uproar

Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch

That hast within thee undivulged crimes

Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand,

Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue
simular (n.) pretender, hypocrite, false claimant
virtue (n.) 9 chastity, sexual purity

That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake,
caitiff (n.) [sympathetic or contemptuous] miserable wretch, wretched creature

That under covert and convenient seeming
convenient (adj.) fitting, suitable, appropriate
seeming (n.) 3 demeanour, outward behaviour

Hast practised on man's life. Close pent-up guilts,
close (adj.) 1 secret, concealed, hidden

Rive your concealing continents, and cry
continent (n.) 2 container, receptacle, enclosure
cry (v.) 4 beg, entreat, implore See Topics: Politeness
rive (v.) 2 open up, burst from, break out of

These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
grace (n.) 5 favour, good will
summoner (n.) court-officer who ensures attendance

More sinned against than sinning.


                         Alack, bare-headed?

Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
hard (adv.) 1 close, near

Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.
friendship (n.) friendly act, favour, act of kindness

Repose you there while I to this hard house –
hard (adj.) 4 unpleasant, harsh, cruel

More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;

Which even but now, demanding after you,
demand (v.) 1 request to tell, question, ask [about]

Denied me to come in – return and force
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]

Their scanted courtesy.
scanted (adj.) withheld, stinted, limited
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)


                         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

And can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.
vile, vild (adj.) 1 degrading, ignominious, worthless

Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow

That's sorry yet for thee.

FOOL (sings)

wit (n.) 5 mind, brain, thoughts

He that has and a little tiny wit,

With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain,

Must make content with his fortunes fit,
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

Though 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 courtesan. I'll speak
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count
courtesan, courtezan (n.) prostitute, strumpet

a prophecy ere I go:

When priests are more in word than matter,
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance

When brewers mar their malt with water,

When nobles are their tailors' tutors,

No heretics burned but wenches' suitors –
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

Then shall the realm of Albion

Come to great confusion.

When every case in law is right,

No squire in debt nor no poor knight,
squire (n.) 1 gentleman below a knight in rank, attendant on a knight or nobleman

When slanders do not live in tongues,

Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,
cutpurse (n.) pickpocket, thief, robber

When usurers tell their gold i'the field,
tell (v.) 1 count out, number, itemize
usurer (n.) money-lender, one who charges excessive interest

And bawds and whores do churches build –
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

Then comes the time, who lives to see't,

That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his



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