King Lear

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Doctor


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.
measure (n.) 6 course of action, means


To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.

All my reports go with the modest truth,
modest (adj.) 2 moderate, uninflated, free from exaggeration

Nor more nor clipped, but so.
clip (v.) 3 cut short, abbreviate, curtail
suit (v.) 1 dress, clothe, equip


                         Be better suited.

These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
memory (n.) 3 reminder, memento
weed (n.) 1 (plural) garments, dress, clothes

I prithee put them off.


                         Pardon, dear madam,

Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count
made (adj.) 1 resolved, framed, decided
shorten (v.) 2 make ineffective, undermine, subvert

My boon I make it that you know me not
boon (n.) petition, entreaty, request

Till time and I think meet.
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count


Then be't so, my good lord.

(To Doctor)

                         How does the King?


Madam, sleeps still.


O you kind gods,

Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
abused (adj.) 2 maltreated, wronged, violated
nature (n.) 2 natural powers, normal state [of mind and body]

Th' untuned and jarring senses O wind up
untuned (adj.) 1 out-of-tune, disordered, disturbed
wind up (v.) 3 put in tune, put in order, harmonize

Of this child-changed father!
child-changed (adj.) changed by his children; or: changed into a child


                         So please your majesty,

That we may wake the King. He hath slept long.


Be governed by your knowledge and proceed

I'the sway of your own will. Is he arrayed?
array (v.) clothe, dress, attire
sway (n.) 2 controlling influence, guiding power, direction
will (n.) 1 desire, wish, liking, inclination


Ay, madam; in the heaviness of sleep

We put fresh garments on him.

Enter Gentleman ushering Lear in a chair carried by

servants. All fall to their knees


Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;

I doubt not of his temperance.
temperance (n.) 1 self-control, calm behaviour, moderation


                         Very well.

Music sounds off stage


Please you draw near. – Louder the music there!


(kneeling by the chair and kissing his hand)

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.
reverence (n.) 1 respected state, venerable condition


                         Kind and dear princess!


Had you not been their father, these white flakes
flake (n.) lock of hair

Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
challenge (v.) 1 demand as a right, claim, call for, insist on

To be opposed against the jarring winds?

To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder,
dread-bolted (adj.) with frightening thunderbolts

In the most terrible and nimble stroke
nimble (adj.) sudden, swift, rapid

Of quick cross lightning? To watch, poor perdu,
cross (adj.) 2 forked, zigzag
perdu (n.) sentinel exposed to danger, sentry placed in a hazardous position
watch (v.) 1 stay awake, keep vigil

With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
helm (n.) 3 covering of hair

Though he had bit me, should have stood that night

Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
fain (adj.) 2 satisfied, well pleased, glad

To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn
forlorn (adj.) 1 wretched, abandoned, destitute
hovel (v.) find poor shelter [as in a hovel]
rogue (n.) vagrant, vagabond, beggar

In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!

'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)

Had not concluded all. – He wakes! Speak to him.
conclude (v.) 5 end, finish, close


Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.


How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


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. Where did you die?


Still, still, far wide!
wide (adj.) 4 confused, disoriented


He's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.


Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?

I am mightily abused. I should even die with pity
abuse (v.) 2 misuse, maltreat, treat badly, wrong

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 assured
assured (adj.) 1 certain, definite, sure

Of my condition!


                         O look upon me, sir,

And hold your hand in benediction o'er me.
benediction (n.) 1 blessing, spiritual gift

(Lear falls to his knees)

No, sir, you must not kneel.


                         Pray do not mock me.

I am a very foolish fond old man,
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad

Four score and upward, not an hour more nor less,

And, to deal plainly,
deal (v.) 2 express oneself, speak
plainly (adv.) 2 bluntly, frankly, candidly

I fear I am not in my perfect mind.

Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
mainly (adv.) 2 entirely, completely, totally

What place this is; and all the skill I have
skill (n.) 2 discernment, discrimination, capacity to perceive

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.
cause (n.) 1 reason, motive, ground
cause (n.) 1 reason, motive, ground


                         No cause, no cause.


Am I in France?


                         In your own kingdom, sir.


Do not abuse me.
abuse (v.) 1 deceive, mislead, fool, cheat


Be comforted, good madam. The great rage,
rage (n.) 4 madness, insanity, derangement

You see, is killed in him; and yet it is danger

To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
even over (v.) make sense of, straighten out

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 all but Kent and Gentleman


Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on

was so slain?


Most certain, sir.


Who is conductor of his people?
conductor (n.) leader, commander, chief


As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.


They say Edgar, his banished son, is with

the Earl of Kent in Germany.


Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about. The
look about (v.) be on the look-out, be wary

powers of the kingdom approach apace.
apace (adv.) quickly, speedily, at a great rate See Topics: Frequency count
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count


The arbitrament is like to be bloody. Fare
arbitrament, arbitrement (n.) 1 deciding of a dispute, determination, settlement
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

you well, sir.



My point and period will be throughly wrought,
period (n.) 4 end, purpose, goal
point (n.) 6 aim, purpose, culmination
work (v.), past form wrought 1 bring about, arrange, effect

Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count


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