King Lear

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Kent and Gloucester


Here is better than the open air. Take it

thankfully; I will piece out the comfort with what
piece out (v.) 1 augment, increase, supplement

addition I can. I will not be long from you.


All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)

The gods reward your kindness!

Exit Gloucester

Enter Lear, Edgar, and the Fool


Fraterretto calls me and tells me Nero is an angler

in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the

foul fiend.


Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a

gentleman or a yeoman.
yeoman (n.) 1 man who owns property but is not a gentleman; land-holding farmer


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.
arraign (v.) 2 put on trial, indict
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

(To Edgar)

Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.

(To the Fool)
sapient (adj.) wise, learned, erudite

Thou sapient sir, sit here. No, you she-foxes –


Look where he stands and glares! Want'st thou
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

eyes at trial, madam?


Come o'er the burn, 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
croak (v.) rumble, growl
white (adj.) 2 fresh, unsmoked



How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed.
amazed (adj.) dumbfounded, stunned, thunderstruck, overwhelmed

Will you lie down and rest upon the cushings?
cushing (n.) cushion


I'll see their trial first; bring in their evidence.
evidence (n.) 2 evidence against someone, witnesses for the prosecution

(To Edgar)

Thou robed man of justice, take thy place.

(To the Fool)
equity (n.) 1 justice, impartiality, fairness
yoke-fellow (n.) fellow-worker, comrade, partner

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
minikin (adj.) shrill; or: dainty, tiny

Thy sheep shall take no harm.

Pur, the cat is gray.


Arraign her first. 'Tis Gonerill! I here take my oath
arraign (v.) 2 put on trial, indict

before this honourable assembly she kicked the poor

King her father.


Come hither, mistress. Is your name Gonerill?


She cannot deny it.


Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
joint-stool, join-stool, joined-stool (n.) well-made stool [by a joiner] [also used in phrases of ridicule]


And here's another whose warped looks proclaim
warped (adj.) twisted, distorted

What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
make on (v.) 1 make of, compose, form
store (n.) 1 abundance, plenty, surplus, quantity

Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!

False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count


Bless thy five wits!
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)


O pity! Sir, where is the patience now

That you so oft have boasted to retain?
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count



My tears begin to take his part so much

They mar my counterfeiting.


The little dogs and all –

Trey, Blanch, and Sweetheart – see, they bark at me.


Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you
avaunt (int.) begone, go away, be off See Topics: Frequency count


Be thy mouth or black or white,

Tooth that poisons if it bite,

Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,

Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
brach (n.) hound [which hunts by scent], bitch
lym (n.) [doubtful reading] bloodhound

Or bobtail tike, or trundle-tail,
bobtail (adj.) with a docked tail
tike (n.) cur, mongrel
trundle-tail (n.) dog with a trailing tail, curly-tailed dog

Tom will make him weep and wail;

For, with throwing thus my head,

Dogs leapt the hatch and all are fled.
hatch (n.) 2 lower part of a door, half-door, gate

Do de, de, de. Sese! Come, march to wakes and fairs
sessa, sesey, sese (int.) [cry of encouragement used in hunting, fencing] be off, off you go See Topics: Sounds
wake (n.) 1 festival, revel, fete

and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
horn (n.) 4 drinking-horn


Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds
anatomize, annothanize (v.) dissect, reveal, lay open

about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes
nature (n.) 3 human nature

these hard hearts? You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred.
entertain (v.) 5 hire, employ, maintain, take into service

Only I do not like the fashion of your garments.

You will 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 to supper i'the morning.


And I'll go to bed at noon.

Enter Gloucester


Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?


Here, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)


Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms;

I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.

There is a litter ready; lay him in't
litter (n.) 1 [transportable] bed, couch

And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
drive (v.) 2 hasten, fly, move off quickly

Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master;

If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
dally (v.) 4 delay, linger, loiter

With thine and all that offer to defend him,

Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up,
assured (adj.) 1 certain, definite, sure
loss (n.) 1 perdition, destruction
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put

And follow me, that will to some provision
provision (n.) 1 supply of necessities

Give thee quick conduct.
conduct (n.) 2 guidance, direction


                         Oppressed nature sleeps.

This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews
balm (v.) 1 soothe, relieve, heal
sinew (n.) 2 nerve

Which, if convenience will not allow,
convenience (n.) 1 opportunity, occasion, suitable moment

Stand in hard cure. (To the Fool) Come, help to bear thy master.

Thou must not stay behind.


                         Come, come, away!

Exeunt Kent, Gloucester, and the Fool,

bearing off the King


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;
free (adj.) 4 free of worry, untroubled, carefree
show (n.) 2 spectacle, display, ceremony

But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
overskip (v.) pass over without noticing, jump lightly over
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship

When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
bearing (n.) carrying of hardships, enduring of woes
mate (n.) 1 companion, associate, comrade

How light and portable my pain seems now,
portable (adj.) bearable, supportable, endurable

When that which makes me bend makes the King bow –

He childed as I fathered. Tom, away!
child (v.) be dealt with by children
father (v.) 2 be dealt with by a father

Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
bewray (v.) 2 show, unmask, make known
high (adj.) 2 important, major, special
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
noise (n.) 1 report, rumour, news

When false opinion, whose wrong thoughts defile thee,
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken
opinion (n.) 1 public opinion, popular judgement

In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
proof (n.) 5 making good, showing to be loyal
repeal (v.) recall, call back [from exile]

What will hap more tonight, safe 'scape the King!
hap (v.) happen, take place, come to pass
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

Lurk, lurk!
lurk (v.) 1 keep hidden, stay out of sight


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