King Lear

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Bastard, and Curan, seuerally.

Bast.
Saue thee Curan.

Cur.
And your Sir, I haue bin / With your Father, and
giuen him notice / That the Duke of Cornwall, and Regan
his Duchesse / Will be here with him this night.

Bast.
How comes that?

Cur.
Nay I know not, you haue heard of the newes
abroad, I meane the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but
ear-kissing arguments.

Bast.
Not I: pray you what are they?

Cur.
Haue you heard of no likely Warres toward, / 'Twixt
the Dukes of Cornwall, and Albany?

Bast.
Not a word.

Cur.
You may do then in time, / Fare you well Sir.
Exit.

Bast.
The Duke be here to night? The better best,
This weaues it selfe perforce into my businesse,
My Father hath set guard to take my Brother,
And I haue one thing of a queazie question
Which I must act, Briefenesse, and Fortune worke.
Brother, a word, discend; Brother I say,
Enter Edgar.
My Father watches: O Sir, fly this place,
Intelligence is giuen where you are hid;
You haue now the good aduantage of the night,
Haue you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornewall?
Hee's comming hither, now i'th'night, i'th'haste,
And Regan with him, haue you nothing said
Vpon his partie 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Aduise your selfe.

Edg.
I am sure on't, not a word.

Bast.
I heare my Father comming, pardon me:
In cunning, I must draw my Sword vpon you:
Draw, seeme to defend your selfe, / Now quit you well.
Yeeld, come before my Father, light hoa, here,
Fly Brother, Torches, Torches, so farewell.
Exit Edgar.
Some blood drawne on me, would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeauour. I haue seene drunkards
Do more then this in sport;
Father, Father,
Stop, stop, no helpe?
Enter Gloster, and Seruants with Torches.

Glo.
Now Edmund, where's the villaine?

Bast.
Here stood he in the dark, his sharpe Sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charmes, coniuring the Moone
To stand auspicious Mistris.

Glo.
But where is he?

Bast.
Looke Sir, I bleed.

Glo.
Where is the villaine, Edmund?

Bast.
Fled this way Sir, when by no meanes he could.

Glo.
Pursue him, ho: go after.
By no meanes, what?

Bast.
Perswade me to the murther of your Lordship,
But that I told him the reuenging Gods,
'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend,
Spoke with how manifold, and strong a Bond
The Child was bound to'th'Father; Sir in fine,
Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
To his vnnaturall purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared Sword, he charges home
My vnprouided body, latch'd mine arme;
And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
Bold in the quarrels right, rouz'd to th'encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noyse I made,
Full sodainely he fled.

Glost.
Let him fly farre:
Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
And found; dispatch, the Noble Duke my Master,
My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night,
By his authoritie I will proclaime it,
That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
He that conceales him death.

Bast.
When I disswaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to doe it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied,
Thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposall
Ofany trust, vertue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No, what should I denie,
(As this I would, though thou didst produce
My very Character) I'ld turne it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
To make thee seeke it.

Glo.
O strange and fastned Villaine,
Would he deny his Letter, said he?
Tucket within.
Harke, the Dukes Trumpets, I know not wher he comes.;
All Ports Ile barre, the villaine shall not scape,
The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send farre and neere, that all the kingdome
May haue due note of him, and of my land,
(Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
To make thee capable.
Enter Cornewall, Regan, and Attendants.

Corn.
How now my Noble friend, since I came hither
(Which I can call but now,) I haue heard strangenesse.

Reg.
If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th'offender; how dost my Lord?

Glo.
O Madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd.

Reg.
What, did my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
He whom my Father nam'd, your Edgar?

Glo.
O Lady, Lady, shame would haue it hid.

Reg.
Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
That tended vpon my Father?

Glo.
I know not Madam, 'tis too bad, too bad.

Bast.
Yes Madam, he was of that consort.

Reg.
No maruaile then, though he were ill affected,
'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
To haue th'expence and wast of his Reuenues:
I haue this present euening from my Sister
Beene well inform'd of them, and with such cautions,
That if they come to soiourne at my house,
Ile not be there.

Cor.
Nor I, assure thee Regan;
Edmund, I heare that you haue shewne yout Father
A Child-like Office.

Bast.
It was my duty Sir.

Glo.
He did bewray his practise, and receiu'd
This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.

Cor.
Is he pursued?

Glo.
I my good Lord.

Cor.
If he be taken, he shall neuer more
Be fear'd of doing harme, make your owne purpose,
How in my strength you please: for you Edmund,
Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend it selfe, you shall be ours,
Nature's of such deepe trust, we shall much need:
You we first seize on.

Bast.
I shall serue you Sir
truely, how euer else.

Glo.
For him I thanke your Grace.

Cor.
You know not why we came to visit you?

Reg.
Thus out of season, thredding darke ey'd night,
Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
Our Father he hath writ, so hath our Sister,
Of differences, which I best though it fit
To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
From hence attend dispatch, our good old Friend,
Lay comforts to your bosome, and bestow
Your needfull counsaile to our businesses,
Which craues the instant vse.

Glo.
I serue you Madam,
Your Graces are right welcome.
Exeunt. Flourish.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Kent, aad Steward seuerally.

Stew.
Good dawning to thee Friend, art of this house?

Kent.
I.

Stew.
Where may we set our horses?

Kent.
I'th'myre.

Stew.
Prythee, if thou lou'st me, tell me.

Kent.
I loue thee not.

Ste.
Why then I care not for thee.

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

Ste.
Why do'st thou vse me thus? I know thee not.

Kent.
Fellow I know thee.

Ste.
What do'st thou know me for?

Kent.
A Knaue, a Rascall, an eater of broken meates, a base,
proud, shallow, beggerly, three-suited-hundred pound,
filthy woosted-stocking knaue, a Lilly-liuered, action-taking,
whoreson glasse-gazing super-seruiceable finicall
Rogue, one Trunke-inheriting slaue, one that would'st be a
Baud in way of good seruice, and art nothing but the
composition of a Knaue, Begger, Coward, Pandar, and
the Sonne and Heire of a Mungrill Bitch, one whom I will
beate into clamours whining, if thou deny'st the least
sillable of thy addition.

Stew.
Why, what a monstrous Fellow art thou, thus to raile
on one, that is neither knowne of thee, nor knowes thee?

Kent.
What a brazen-fac'd Varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest me? Is it two dayes since I tript vp thy heeles,
and beate thee before the King? Draw you rogue, for
though it be night, yet the Moone shines, Ile make a sop
oth'Moonshine of you, you whoreson Cullyenly
Barber-monger, draw.

Stew.
Away, I haue nothing to do with thee.

Kent.
Draw you Rascall, you come with Letters against the
King, and take Vanitie the puppets part, against the
Royaltie of her Father: draw you Rogue, or Ile so
carbonado your shanks, draw you Rascall, come your
waies.

Ste.
Helpe, ho, murther, helpe.

Kent.
Strike you slaue:

stand rogue, stand you neat slaue, strike.

Stew.
Helpe hoa, murther, murther.
Enter Bastard, Cornewall, Regan, Gloster,
Seruants.

Bast.
How now,what's the matter? Part.

Kent.
With you goodman Boy, if you please, come, / Ile
flesh ye, come on yong Master.

Glo.
Weapons? Armes? what's the matter here?

Cor.
Keepe peace vpon your liues,
he dies that strikes againe, what is the matter?

Reg.
The Messengers from our Sister, and the King?

Cor.
What is your difference, speake?

Stew.
I am scarce in breath my Lord.

Kent.
No Maruell, you haue so bestir'd your valour, you
cowardly Rascall, nature disclaimes in thee: a Taylor made
thee.

Cor.
Thou art a strange fellow, a Taylor make a
man?

Kent.
A Taylor Sir, a Stone-cutter, or a Painter, could not
haue made him so ill, though they had bin but two
yeares oth'trade.

Cor.
Speake yet, how grew your
quarrell?

Ste.
This ancient Ruffian Sir, whose life I haue
spar'd at sute of his gray-beard.

Kent.
Thou whoreson Zed, thou vnnecessary letter: my
Lord, if you will giue me leaue, I will tread this vnboulted
villaine into morter, and daube the wall of a Iakes with him.
Spare my gray-beard, you wagtaile?

Cor.
Peace sirrah,
You beastly knaue, know you no reuerence?

Kent.
Yes Sir, but anger hath a priuiledge.

Cor.
Why art thou angrie?

Kent.
That such a slaue as this should weare a Sword,
Who weares no honesty: such smiling rogues as these,
Like Rats oft bite the holy cords a twaine,
Which are t'intrince, t'vnloose: smooth euery passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebell,
Being oile to fire, snow to the colder moodes,
Reuenge, affirme, and turne their Halcion beakes
With euery gall, and varry of their Masters,
Knowing naught (like dogges) but following:
A plague vpon your Epilepticke visage,
Smoile you my speeches, as I were a Foole?
Goose, if I had you vpon Sarum Plaine,
I'ld driue ye cackling home to Camelot.

Corn.
What art thou mad old Fellow?

Glost.
How fell you out, say that?

Kent.
No contraries hold more antipathy,
Then I, and such a knaue.

Corn.
Why do'st thou call him Knaue? / What is his fault?

Kent.
His countenance likes me not.

Cor.
No more perchance do's mine, nor his, nor hers.

Kent.
Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plaine,
I haue seene better faces in my time,
Then stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me, at this instant.

Corn.
This is some Fellow,
Who hauing beene prais'd for bluntnesse, doth affect
A saucy roughnes, and constraines the garb
Quite from his Nature. He cannot flatter he,
An honest mind and plaine, he must speake truth,
And they will take it so, if not, hee's plaine.
These kind of Knaues I know, which in this plainnesse
Harbour more craft, and more corrupter ends,
Then twenty silly-ducking obseruants,
That stretch their duties nicely.

Kent.
Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Vnder th'allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
On flicking Phoebus front.

Corn.
What mean'st by this?

Kent.
To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so
much; I know Sir, I am no flatterer, he that beguild
you in a plaine accent, was a plaine Knaue, which for my
part I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
to entreat me too't.

Corn.
What was th'offence you gaue him?

Ste.
I neuer gaue him any:
It pleas'd the King his Master very late
To strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
When he compact, and flattering his displeasure
Tript me behind: being downe, insulted, rail'd,
And put vpon him such a deale of Man,
That worthied him, got praises of the King,
For him attempting, who was selfe-subdued,
And in the fleshment of this dead exploit,
Drew on me here againe.

Kent.
None of these Rogues, and Cowards
But Aiax is there Foole.

Corn.
Fetch forth the Stocks?
You stubborne ancient Knaue, you reuerent Bragart,
Wee'l teach you.

Kent.
Sir, I am too old to learne:
Call not your Stocks for me, I serue the King.
On whose imployment I was sent to you,
You shall doe small respects, show too bold malice
Against the Grace, and Person of my Master,
Stocking his Messenger.

Corn.
Fetch forth the Stocks; / As I haue life and Honour,
there shall he sit till Noone.

Reg.
Till noone? till night my Lord, and all night too.

Kent.
Why Madam, if I were your Fathers dog,
You should not vse me so.

Reg.
Sir, being his Knaue, I will.

Cor.
This is a Fellow of the selfe same colour,
Our Sister speakes of. Come, bring away the Stocks.
Stocks brought out.

Glo.
Let me beseech your Grace, not to do so,
The King his Master, needs must take it ill
That he so slightly valued in his Messenger,
Should haue him thus restrained.

Cor.
Ile answere that.

Reg.
My Sister may recieue it much more worsse,
To haue her Gentleman abus'd, assaulted.
Corn.
Come my Lord, away.
Exit.

Glo.
I am sorry for thee friend, 'tis the Duke pleasure,
Whose disposition all the world well knowes
Will not be rub'd nor stopt, Ile entreat for thee.

Kent.
Pray do not Sir, I haue watch'd and trauail'd hard,
Some time I shall sleepe out, the rest Ile whistle:
A good mans fortune may grow out at heeles:
Giue you good morrow.

Glo.
The Duke's too blame in this,
'Twill be ill taken.
Exit.

Kent.
Good King, that must approue the common saw,
Thou out of Heauens benediction com'st
To the warme Sun.
Approach thou Beacon to this vnder Globe,
That by thy comfortable Beames I may
Peruse this Letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But miserie. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately beene inform'd

Of my obscured course. And shall finde time
From this enormous State, seeking to giue
Losses their remedies. All weary and o're-watch'd,
Take vantage heauie eyes, not to behold
This shamefnll lodging.
Fortune goodnight, / Smile once more, turne thy wheele.
Original text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Edgar.

Edg.
I heard my selfe proclaim'd,
And by the happy hollow of a Tree,
Escap'd the hunt. No Port is free, no place
That guard, and most vnusall vigilance
Do's not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
I will preserue myselfe: and am bethought
To take the basest, and most poorest shape
That euer penury in contempt of man,
Brought neere to beast; my face Ile grime with filth,
Blanket my loines, elfe all my haires in knots,
And with presented nakednesse out-face
The Windes, and persecutions of the skie;
The Country giues me proofe, and president
Of Bedlam beggers, who with roaring voices,
Strike in their num'd and mortified Armes.
Pins, Wodden-prickes, Nayles, Sprigs of Rosemarie:
And with this horrible obiect, from low Farmes,
Poore pelting Villages, Sheeps-Coates, and Milles,
Sometimes with Lunaticke bans, sometime with Praiers
Inforce their charitie: poore Turlygod poore Tom,
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
Exit.
Original text
Act II, Scene IV
Enter Lear, Foole, and Gentleman.

Lea.
'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send backe my Messengers.

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

Kent.
Haile to thee Noble Master.

Lear.
Ha?
Mak'st thou this shame ahy pastime?

Kent.
No my Lord.

Foole.
Hah, ha, he weares Cruell Garters Horses are tide by
the heads, Dogges and Beares by'th'necke, Monkies by'th'
loynes, and Men by'th'legs: when a man ouerlustie at
legs, then he weares wodden nether-stocks.

Lear.
What's he, / That hath so much thy place mistooke
To set thee heere?

Kent.
It is both he and she,
Your Son, and Daughter.

Lear.
No.

Kent.
Yes.

Lear.
No I say.

Kent.
I say yea.

Lear.
By Iupiter I sweare no.

Kent.
By Iuno, I sweare I.

Lear.
They durst not do't:
They could not, would not do't: 'tis worse then murther,
To do vpon respect such violent outrage:
Resolue me with all modest haste, which way
Thou might'st deserue, or they impose this vsage,
Comming from vs.

Kent.
My Lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highnesse Letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place, that shewed
My dutie kneeling, came there a reeking Poste,
Stew'd in his haste, halfe breathlesse, painting forth
From Gonerill his Mistris, salutations;
Deliuer'd Letters spight of intermission,
Which presently they read; on those contents
They summon'd vp their meiney, straight tooke Horse,
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer, gaue me cold lookes,
And meeting heere the other Messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiu'd had poison'd mine,
Being the very fellow which of late
Displaid so sawcily against your Highnesse,
Hauing more man then wit about me, drew;
He rais'd the house, with loud and coward cries,
Your Sonne and Daughter found this trespasse worth
The shame which heere it suffers.

Foole.
Winters not gon yet, if the wil'd Geese fly that way,
Fathers that weare rags,
do make their Children blind,
But Fathers that beare bags,
shall see their children kind.
Fortune that arrant whore,
nere turns the key to th'poore.
But for all this thou shalt haue as many Dolors for thy
Daughters, as thou canst tell in a yeare.

Lear.
Oh how this Mother swels vp toward my heart!
Historica passio, downe thou climing sorrow,
Thy Elements below where is this Daughter?

Kent.
Wirh the Earle Sir, here within.

Lear.
Follow me not, stay here.
Exit.

Gen.
Made you no more offence, / But what you speake of?

Kent.
None:
How chance the the King comes with so small a number?

Foole.
And thou hadst beene set i'th'Stockes for that question,
thoud'st well deseru'd it.

Kent.
Why Foole?

Foole.
Wee'l set thee to schoole to an Ant, to teach thee
ther's no labouring i'th'winter. All that follow their
noses, are led by their eyes, but blinde men, and there's
not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's
stinking; let go thy hold, when a great wheele runs downe
a hill, least it breake thy necke with following. But the great
one that goes vpward, let him draw thee after: when a
wiseman giues thee better counsell giue me mine againe,
I would hause none but knaues follow it, since a Foole giues it.
That Sir, which serues and seekes for gaine,
And followes but for forme;
Will packe, when it begins to raine,
And leaue thee in the storme,
But I will tarry, the Foole will stay,
And let the wiseman flie:
The knaue turnes Foole that runnes away,
The Foole no knaue perdie.• Enter Lear, and Gloster:

Kent.
Where learn'd you this Foole?

Foole.
Not i'th'Stocks Foole.


Lear.
Deny to speake with me? / They are sicke, they are weary,
They haue trauail'd all the night? meere fetches,
The images of reuolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

Glo.
My deere Lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How vnremoueable and fixt he is
In his owne course.

Lear.
Vengeance, Plague, Death, Confusion:
Fiery? What quality? Why Gloster, Gloster,
I'ld speake with the Duke of Cornewall, and his wife.

Glo.
Well my good Lord, I haue inform'd them so.

Lear.
Inform'd them? Do'st thou vnderstand me man.

Glo.
I my good Lord.

Lear.
The King would speake with Cornwall, / The deere Father
Would with his Daughter speake, commands, tends, seruice,
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 our selues,
When Nature being opprest, commands the mind
To suffer with the body; Ile forbeare,
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
Should he sit heere? This act perswades me,
That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practise only. Giue me my Seruant forth;
Goe tell the Duke, and's wife, Il'd speake with them:
Now, presently: bid them come forth and heare me,
Or at their Chamber doore Ile beate the Drum,
Till it crie sleepe to death.

Glo.
I would haue all well betwixt you.
Exit.

Lear.
Oh me my heart! My rising heart! But downe.

Foole.
Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cockney did to the Eeles,
when she put 'em i'th'Paste aliue, she knapt 'em
o'th'coxcombs with a sticke, and cryed downe wantons,
downe; 'twas her Brother, that in pure kindnesse to his
Horse buttered his Hay.
Enter Cornewall, Regan, Gloster, Seruants.

Lear.
Good morrow to you both.

Corn.
Haile to your Grace.
Kent here set at liberty.

Reg.
I am glad to see your Highnesse.

Lear.
Regan, I thinke your are. I know what reason
I haue to thinke so, if thou should'st not be glad,
I would diuorce me from thy Mother Tombe,
Sepulchring an Adultresse. O are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloued Regan,
Thy Sisters naught: oh Regan, she hath tied
Sharpe-tooth'd vnkindnesse, like a vulture heere,
I can scarce speake to thee, thou'lt not beleeue
With how deprau'd a quality. Oh Regan.

Reg.
I pray you Sir, take patience, I haue hope
You lesse know how to value her desert,
Then she to scant her dutie.

Lear.
Say? How is that?

Reg
I cannot thinke my Sister in the least
Would faile her Obligation. If Sir perchance
She haue restrained the Riots of your Followres,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As cleeres her from all blame.

Lear.
My curses on her.

Reg.
O Sir, you are old,
Nature in you stands on the very Verge
Of his confine: you should be rul'd, and led
By some discretion, that discernes your state
Better then you your selfe: therefore I pray you,
That to our Sister, you do make returne,
Say you haue wrong'd her.

Lear.
Aske her forgiuenesse?
Do you but marke how this becomes the house?
Deere daughter, I confesse that I am old;
Age is vnnecessary: on my knees I begge,
That you'l vouchsafe me Rayment, Bed, and Food.

Reg.
Good Sir, no more: these are vnsightly trickes:
Returne you to my Sister.

Lear.
Neuer Regan:
She hath abated me of halfe my Traine;
Look'd blacke vpon me, strooke me with her Tongue
Most Serpent-like, vpon the very Heart.
All the stor'd Vengeances of Heauen, fall
On her ingratefull top: strike her yong bones
You taking Ayres, with Lamenesse.

Corn.
Fye sir, fie.

Le.
You nimble Lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornfull eyes: Infect her Beauty,
You Fen-suck'd Fogges, drawne by the powrfull Sunne,
To fall, and blister.

Reg.
O the blest Gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash moode is on.

Lear.
No Regan, thou shalt neuer haue my curse:
Thy tender-hefted Nature shall not giue
Thee o're to harshnesse: Her eyes are fierce, but thine
Do comfort, and not burne. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my Traine,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my comming in. Thou better know'st
The Offices of Nature, bond of Childhood,
Effects of Curtesie, dues of Gratitude:
Thy halfe o'th'Kingdome hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.

Reg.
Good Sir, to'th'purpose.

Lear.
Who put my man i'th'Stockes?
Tucket within.

Corn.
What Trumpet's that?

Reg.
I know't, my Sisters: this approues her Letter,
That she would soone be heere.
Enter Steward.
Is your Lady come?

Lear.
This is a Slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
Dwels in the sickly grace of her he followes.
Out Varlet, from my sight.

Corn.
What meanes your Grace?

Lear.
Who stockt my Seruant? Regan, I haue good hope
Thou did'st not know on't.
Enter Gonerill.
Who comes here? O Heauens!
If you do loue old men; if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if you your selues are old,
Make it your cause: Send downe, and take my part.
Art not asham'd to looke vpon this Beard?
O Regan, will you take her by the hand?

Gon.
Why not by'th'hand Sir? How haue I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
And dotage termes so.

Lear.
O sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold? / How came my man i'th'Stockes?

Corn.
I set him there, Sir: but his owne Disorders
Deseru'd much lesse aduancement.

Lear.
You? Did you?

Reg.
I pray you Father being weake, seeme so.
If till the expiration of your Moneth
You will returne and soiourne with my Sister,
Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
I am now from home, and out of that prouision
Which shall be needfull for your entertainement.

Lear.
Returne to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
To wage against the enmity oth'ayre,
To be a Comrade with the Wolfe, and Owle,
Necessities sharpe pinch. Returne with her?
Why the hot-bloodied France, that dowerlesse tooke
Our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
To knee his Throne, and Squire-like pension beg,
To keepe base life a foote; returne with her?
Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
To this detested groome.

Gon.
At your choice Sir.

Lear.
I prythee Daughter do not make me mad,
I will not trouble thee my Child; farewell:
Wee'l no more meete, 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 Byle,
A plague sore, or imbossed Carbuncle
In my corrupted blood. But Ile not chide thee,
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it,
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoote,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-iudging Ioue,
Mend when thou can'st, be better at thy leisure,
I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred Knights.

Reg.
Not altogether so,
I look'd not for you yet, nor am prouided
For your fit welcome, giue eare Sir to my Sister,
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to thinke you old, and so,
But she knowes what she doe's.

Lear.
Is this well spoken?

Reg.
I dare auouch 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,
Speake 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many people, vnder two commands
Hold amity? 'Tis hard, almost impossible.

Gon.
Why might not you my Lord, receiue attendance
From those that she cals Seruants, or from mine?

Reg.
Why not my Lord? / If then they chanc'd to slacke ye,
We could comptroll them; if you will come to me,
(For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
To bring but fiue and twentie, to no more
Will I giue place or notice.

Lear.
I gaue you all.

Reg.
And in good time you gaue it.

Lear.
Made you my Guardians, my Depositaries,
But kept a reseruation to be followed
With such a number? What, must I come to you
With fiue and twenty? Regan, said you so?

Reg.
And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.

Lea.
Those wicked Creatures yet do look wel fauor'd
When others are more wicked, not being the worst
Stands in some ranke of praise, Ile go with thee,
Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
And thou art twice her Loue.

Gon.
Heare me my Lord;
What need you fiue and twenty? Ten? Or fiue?
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Haue a command to tend you?

Reg.
What need one?

Lear.
O reason not the need: our basest Beggers
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not Nature, more then Nature needs:
Mans life is cheape as Beastes. Thou art a Lady;
If onely to go warme were gorgeous,
Why Nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keepes thee warme, but for true need:
You Heauens, giue me that patience, patience I need,
You see me heere (you Gods) a poore old man,
As full of griefe as age, wretched in both,
If it be you that stirres these Daughters hearts
Against their Father, foole me not so much,
To beare it tamely: touch me with Noble anger,
And let not womens weapons, water drops,
Staine my mans cheekes. No you vnnaturall Hags,
I will haue such reuenges on you both,
That all the world shall---I will do such things,
What they are yet, I know not, but they shalbe
The terrors of the earth? you thinke Ile weepe,
No, Ile not weepe,
I haue full cause of weeping.
Storme and Tempest.
But this heart
shal break into a hundred thousand flawes
Or ere Ile weepe; O Foole, I shall go mad.
Exeunt.

Corn.
Let vs withdraw, 'twill be a Storme.

Reg.
This house is little, the old man an'ds people,
Cannot be well bestow'd.

Gon.
'Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.

Reg.
For his particular, Ile receiue him gladly,
But not one follower.

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

Corn.
Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.
Enter Gloster.

Glo.
The King is in high rage.

Corn.
Whether is he going?

Glo.
He cals to Horse, but will I know not whether.

Corn.
'Tis best to giue him way, he leads himselfe.

Gon.
My Lord, entreate him by no meanes to stay.

Glo.
Alacke the night comes on, and the high windes
Do sorely ruffle, for many Miles about
There's scarce a Bush.

Reg.
O Sir, to wilfull men,
The iniuries that they themselues procure,
Must be their Schoole-Masters: shut vp your doores,
He is attended with a desperate traine,
And what they may incense him too, being apt,
To haue his eare abus'd, wisedome bids feare.

Cor.
Shut vp your doores my Lord, 'tis a wil'd night,
My Regan counsels well: come out oth'storme.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Edmund and Curan by opposite doors

EDMUND
Save thee, Curan.

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.

EDMUND
How comes that?

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

EDMUND
Not I. Pray you what are they?

CURAN
Have you heard of no likely wars toward 'twixt
the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

EDMUND
Not a word.

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

EDMUND
The Duke be here tonight! 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. O, 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'th' haste,
And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

EDGAR
I am sure on't, not a word.

EDMUND
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.
(Aloud)
Yield! Come before my father! Light, ho, here!
(Aside) Fly, brother! (Aloud) Torches, torches! (Aside) So farewell.
Exit Edgar
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavour. I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport.
He wounds himself in the arm
(Aloud)
Father, father! –
Stop, stop! – No help?
Enter Gloucester and servants with torches

GLOUCESTER
Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

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

GLOUCESTER
But where is he?

EDMUND
Look, sir, I bleed.

GLOUCESTER
Where is the villain, Edmund?

EDMUND
Fled this way, sir, when by no means he could –

GLOUCESTER
Pursue him, ho! Go after.
Exeunt some servants
‘ By no means ’ what?

EDMUND
Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all the thunder 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, latched mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarumed spirits
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to th' encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.

GLOUCESTER
Let him fly far,
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found – dispatch. The noble Duke, my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes tonight.
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.

EDMUND
When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threatened 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 faithed? 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.’

GLOUCESTER
O strange and fastened villain!
Would he deny his letter, said he? I never got him.
Tucket 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

CORNWALL
How now, my noble friend? Since I came hither –
Which I can call but now – I have heard strange news.

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

GLOUCESTER
O madam, my old heart is cracked; it's cracked.

REGAN
What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?

GLOUCESTER
O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

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

GLOUCESTER
I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad!

EDMUND
Yes, madam, he was of that consort.

REGAN
No marvel then though he were ill affected.
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have th' expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them, and with such cautions
That if they come to sojourn at my house
I'll not be there.

CORNWALL
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.

EDMUND
It was my duty, sir.

GLOUCESTER
He did bewray his practice, and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

CORNWALL
Is he pursued?

GLOUCESTER
Ay, my good lord.

CORNWALL
If he be taken he shall never more
Be feared 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.

EDMUND
I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.

GLOUCESTER
For him I thank your grace.

CORNWALL
You know not why we came to visit you –

REGAN
Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night –
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some price,
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 dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow
Your needful counsel to our businesses,
Which craves the instant use.

GLOUCESTER
I serve you, madam.
Your graces are right welcome.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Kent and Oswald by opposite doors

OSWALD
Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this house?

KENT
Ay.

OSWALD
Where may we set our horses?

KENT
I'the mire.

OSWALD
Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

KENT
I love thee not.

OSWALD
Why then, I care not for thee.

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

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

KENT
Fellow, I know thee.

OSWALD
What dost thou know me for?

KENT
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 super-serviceable 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 deniest the least
syllable of thy addition.

OSWALD
Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou thus to rail
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!

KENT
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest me! Is it two days since I tripped up thy heels
and beat thee 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, you whoreson cullionly
barber-monger! Draw!
He brandishes his sword

OSWALD
Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

KENT
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!

OSWALD
Help, ho! Murder! Help!

KENT
Strike, you slave!
Oswald tries to escape
Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat slave! Strike!
He beats him

OSWALD
Help, ho! Murder! Murder!
Enter Edmund, Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, and
servants

EDMUND
How now! What's the matter? Part!

KENT
With you, goodman boy, and you please! Come, I'll
flesh ye; come on, young master.

GLOUCESTER
Weapons? Arms? What's the matter here?

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

REGAN
The messengers from our sister and the King –

CORNWALL
What is your difference? Speak.

OSWALD
I am scarce in breath, my lord.

KENT
No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made
thee.

CORNWALL
Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a
man?

KENT
Ay tailor, sir. A stone-cutter or a painter could not
have made him so ill, though they had been but two
years o'the trade.

CORNWALL
(to Oswald)
Speak yet, how grew your
quarrel?

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

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

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

KENT
Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

CORNWALL
Why art thou angry?

KENT
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 atwain,
Which are t' 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, if I had you upon Sarum Plain,
I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

CORNWALL
What, art thou mad, old fellow?

GLOUCESTER
How fell you out? Say that.

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

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

KENT
His countenance likes me not.

CORNWALL
No more perchance does mine, nor his, nor hers.

KENT
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.

CORNWALL
This is some fellow
Who, having been praised 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!
And 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.

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

CORNWALL
What mean'st by this?

KENT
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.

CORNWALL
What was th' offence you gave him?

OSWALD
I never gave him any.
It pleased the King his master very late
To strike at me upon his misconstruction,
When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripped me behind; being down, insulted, railed,
And put upon him such a deal of man
That worthied him, got praises of the King
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And in the fleshment of this dread exploit
Drew on me here again.

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

CORNWALL
Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you –

KENT
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.

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

REGAN
Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night too.

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

REGAN
Sir, being his knave, I will.

CORNWALL
This is a fellow of the selfsame colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks.
Stocks brought out

GLOUCESTER
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 purposed low correction
Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punished with. The King must take it ill
That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrained.

CORNWALL
I'll answer that.

REGAN
My sister may receive it much more worse
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. – Put in his legs.
Kent is put in the stocks
Come, my lord, away.
Exeunt all but Gloucester and Kent

GLOUCESTER
I am sorry for thee, friend. 'Tis the Duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition all the world well knows
Will not be rubbed nor stopped. I'll entreat for thee.

KENT
Pray do not, sir. I have watched and travelled 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!

GLOUCESTER
The Duke's to blame in this.
'Twill be ill taken.
Exit

KENT
Good King, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of Heaven's benediction comest
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 informed
(reading)
Of my obscured course, and ‘ shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies.’ All weary and o'erwatched,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more; turn thy wheel.
He sleeps
Modern text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Edgar

EDGAR
I heard myself proclaimed,
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free, no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles 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 numbed and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheepcotes, and mills
Sometimes with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity: ‘ Poor Turlygod! Poor Tom!’
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.
Exit
Modern text
Act II, Scene IV
Kent still in the stocks
Enter Lear, the Fool, and a Gentleman

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

GENTLEMAN
As I learned,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.

KENT
Hail to thee, noble master!

LEAR
Ha!
Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

KENT
No, my lord.

FOOL
Ha, ha! He wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by
the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by the
loins, and men by the legs. When a man's over-lusty at
legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks.

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

KENT
It is both he and she;
Your son and daughter.

LEAR
No.

KENT
Yes.

LEAR
No, I say.

KENT
I say yea.

LEAR
No, no, they would not.

KENT
Yes, they have.

LEAR
By Jupiter, I swear no!

KENT
By Juno, I swear ay!

LEAR
They durst not do't;
They could not, would 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.

KENT
My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that showed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Gonerill his mistress salutations;
Delivered letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read; on whose contents
They summoned 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 perceived had poisoned mine –
Being the very fellow which of late
Displayed so saucily against your highness –
Having more man than wit about me, drew.
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

FOOL
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 the poor.
But for all this thou shalt have as many dolours for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

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

KENT
With the Earl, sir, here within.

LEAR
Follow me not; stay here.
Exit

GENTLEMAN
Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

KENT
None.
How chance the King comes with so small a number?

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

KENT
Why, Fool?

FOOL
We'll set thee to school to an ant to teach thee
there's no labouring i'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. But the great
one that goes upward, let him draw thee after. When a
wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again;
I would ha' none but knaves use 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.

KENT
Where learned you this, Fool?

FOOL
Not i'the stocks, fool.
Enter Lear and Gloucester

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

GLOUCESTER
My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How unremovable and fixed he is
In his own course.

LEAR
Vengeance, plague, death, confusion!
‘ Fiery ’? What ‘ quality ’? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'd speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

GLOUCESTER
Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.

LEAR
‘ Informed them ’! Dost thou understand me, man?

GLOUCESTER
Ay, my good lord.

LEAR
The King would speak with Cornwall, the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands, tends, service.
Are they ‘ informed ’ of this? My breath and blood!
‘ Fiery ’? The ‘ fiery ’ Duke? Tell the hot Duke that –
No, but not yet! Maybe he is not well.
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man. – Death on my state! wherefore
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.

GLOUCESTER
I would have all well betwixt you.
Exit

LEAR
O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down!

FOOL
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, Gloucester, and servants

LEAR
Good morrow to you both.

CORNWALL
Hail to your grace.
Kent is here set at liberty

REGAN
I am glad to see your highness.

LEAR
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 adult'ress. (To Kent) O, are you free?
Some other time for that. – Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught. O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-toothed unkindness like a vulture here –
(laying his hand on his heart)
I can scarce speak to thee – thou'lt not believe
With how depraved a quality – O Regan!

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

LEAR
Say? How is that?

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

LEAR
My curses on her.

REGAN
O sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of his confine. You should be ruled 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 wronged her.

LEAR
Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
(he kneels)
‘ 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.’

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

LEAR
(rising)
Never, Regan.
She hath abated me of half my train,
Looked black upon me, struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart.
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!

CORNWALL
Fie, sir, fie!

LEAR
You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-sucked fogs drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blister.

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

LEAR
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 knowest
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 endowed.

REGAN
Good sir, to the purpose.

LEAR
Who put my man i'the stocks?
Tucket within

CORNWALL
What trumpet's that?

REGAN
I know't – my sister's. This approves her letter
That she would soon be here.
Enter Oswald
Is your lady come?

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

CORNWALL
What means your grace?

LEAR
Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on't.
Enter Gonerill
Who comes here? O heavens!
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if you yourselves are old,
Make it your cause! Send down and take my part!
(To Gonerill)
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
O Regan, will you take her by the hand?

GONERILL
Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.

LEAR
O sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold? – How came my man i'the stocks?

CORNWALL
I set him there, sir; but his own disorders
Deserved much less advancement.

LEAR
You? Did you?

REGAN
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.

LEAR
Return to her, and fifty men dismissed!
No, rather I abjure all roofs and choose
To wage against the enmity o'th' 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.
He points to Oswald

GONERILL
At your choice, sir.

LEAR
I prithee, 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.

REGAN
Not altogether so.
I looked 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.

LEAR
Is this well spoken?

REGAN
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.

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

REGAN
Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack ye,
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.

LEAR
I gave you all –

REGAN
And in good time you gave it.

LEAR
Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be followed
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five-and-twenty – Regan, said you so?

REGAN
And speak't again, my lord. No more with me.

LEAR
Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favoured
When others are more wicked. Not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise. (To Gonerill) I'll go with thee.
Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
And thou art twice her love.

GONERILL
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?

REGAN
What need one?

LEAR
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;
(storm and tempest)
but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
Or ere I'll weep. O Fool, I shall go mad!
Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, the Fool, and Gentleman

CORNWALL
Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.

REGAN
This house is little; the old man and's people
Cannot be well bestowed.

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

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

GONERILL
So am I purposed.
Where is my lord of Gloucester?

CORNWALL
Followed the old man forth. He is returned.
Enter Gloucester

GLOUCESTER
The King is in high rage.

CORNWALL
Whither is he going?

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

CORNWALL
'Tis best to give him way. He leads himself.

GONERILL
My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

GLOUCESTER
Alack, the night comes on and the bleak winds
Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about
There's scarce a bush.

REGAN
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 abused, wisdom bids fear.

CORNWALL
Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night.
My Regan counsels well. Come out o'the storm.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL