King Lear

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Original text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Edgar.

Edg.
Yet better thus, and knowne to be contemn'd,
Then still contemn'd and flatter'd, to be worst:
The lowest, and most deiected thing of Fortune,
Stands still in esperance, liues not in feare:
The lamentable change is from the best,
The worst returnes to laughter. Welcome then,
Thou vnsubstantiall ayre that I embrace:
The Wretch that thou hast blowne vnto the worst,
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Enter Glouster, and an Old man.
But who comes heere?
My Father poorely led? / World, World, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make vs hate thee,
Life would not yeelde to age.

Oldm.
O my good Lord,
I haue bene your Tenant, / And your Fathers Tenant,
these fourescore yeares.

Glou.
Away, get thee away: good Friend be gone,
Thy comforts can do me no good at all,
Thee, they may hurt.

Oldm.
You cannot see your way.

Glou.
I haue no way, and therefore want no eyes:
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seene,
Our meanes secure vs, and our meere defects
Proue our Commodities. Oh deere Sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused Fathers wrath:
Might I but liue to see thee in my touch,
I'ld say I had eyes againe.

Oldm.
How now? who's there?

Edg.
O Gods! Who is't can say I am at the worst?
I am worse then ere I was.

Old.
'Tis poore mad Tom.

Edg.
And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,
So long as we can say this is the worst.

Oldm.
Fellow, where goest?

Glou.
Is it a Beggar-man?

Oldm.
Madman, and beggar too.

Glou.
He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I'th'last nights storme, I such a fellow saw;
Which made me thinke a Man, a Worme. My Sonne
Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
Was then scarse Friends with him. / I haue heard more since:
As Flies to wanton Boyes, are we to th'Gods,
They kill vs for their sport.

Edg.
How should this be?
Bad is the Trade that must play Foole to sorrow,
Ang'ring it selfe, and others. Blesse thee Master.

Glou.
Is that the naked Fellow?

Oldm.
I, my Lord.

Glou.
Get thee away: If for my sake
Thou wilt ore-take vs hence a mile or twaine
I'th'way toward Douer, do it for ancient loue,
And bring some couering for this naked Soule,
Which Ile intreate to leade me.

Old.
Alacke sir, he is mad.

Glou.
'Tis the times plague, / When Madmen leade the blinde:
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure:
Aboue the rest, be gone.

Oldm.
Ile bring him the best Parrell that I haue
Come on't, what will.
Exit

Glou.
Sirrah, naked fellow.

Edg.
Poore Tom's a cold. I cannot daub it further.

Glou.
Come hither fellow.

Edg.
And yet I must: Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleede.

Glou.
Know'st thou the way to Douer?

Edg.
Both style, and gate; Horseway, and foot-path: poore
Tom hath bin scarr'd out of his good wits. Blesse thee
good mans sonne, from the foule Fiend.

Glou.
Here take this purse, yu whom the heau'ns plagues
Haue humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: Heauens deale so still:
Let the superfluous, and Lust-dieted man,
That slaues your ordinance, that will not see
Because he do's not feele, feele your powre quickly:
So distribution should vndoo excesse,
And each man haue enough. Dost thou know Douer?

Edg.
I Master.

Glou.
There is a Cliffe, whose high and bending head
Lookes fearfully in the confined Deepe:
Bring me but to the very brimme of it,
And Ile repayre the misery thou do'st beare
With something rich about me: from that place,
I shall no leading neede.

Edg.
Giue me thy arme;
Poore Tom shall leade thee.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Gonerill, Bastard, and Steward.

Gon.
Welcome my Lord. I meruell our mild husband
Not met vs on the way.
Now, where's your Master?

Stew.
Madam within, but neuer man so chang'd:
I told him of the Army that was Landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
His answer was, the worse. Of Glosters Treachery,
And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me Sot,
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike, seemes pleasant to him;
What like, offensiue.

Gon.
Then shall you go no further.
It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother,
Hasten his Musters, and conduct his powres.
I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech,
Decline your head. This kisse, if it durst speake
Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
Conceiue, and fare thee well.

Bast.
Yours in the rankes of death.

Gon.
My most deere Gloster.
Exit.
Oh, the difference of man, and man,
To thee a Womans seruices are due,
My Foole vsurpes my body.

Stew.
Madam, here come's my Lord.
Enter Albany.

Gon.
I haue beene worth the whistle.

Alb.
Oh Gonerill,
You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
Blowes in your face.

Gon.
Milke-Liuer'd man,
That bear'st a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
Thine Honor, from thy suffering.

Alb.
See thy selfe diuell:
Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
So horrid as in woman.

Gon.
Oh vaine Foole.
Enter a Messenger.

Mes.
Oh my good Lord,the Duke of Cornwals dead,
Slaine by his Seruant, going to put out
The other eye of Glouster.

Alb.
Glousters eyes.

Mes.
A Seruant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
To his great Master, who, threat-enrag'd
Flew on him, and among'st them fell'd him dead,
But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
Hath pluckt him after.

Alb.
This shewes you are aboue
You Iustices, that these our neather crimes
So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
Lost he his other eye?

Mes.
Both, both, my Lord.
This Leter Madam, craues a speedy answer:
'Tis from your Sister.

Gon.
One way I like this well,
But being widdow, and my Glouster with her,
May all the building in my fancie plucke
Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
The Newes is not so tart. Ile read, and answer.


Alb.
Where was his Sonne, / When they did take his eyes?

Mes.
Come with my Lady hither.

Alb.
He is not heere.

Mes.
No my good Lord, I met him backe againe.

Alb.
Knowes he the wickednesse?

Mes.
I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might haue the freer course.

Alb.
Glouster, I liue
To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King,
And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend,
Tell me what more thou know'st.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene III
Original text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter with Drum and Colours, Cordelia, Gentlemen, and
Souldiours.

Cor.
Alacke, 'tis he: why he was met euen now
As mad as the vext Sea, singing alowd,
Crown'd with ranke Fenitar, and furrow weeds,
With Hardokes, Hemlocke, Nettles, Cuckoo flowres,
Darnell, and all the idle weedes that grow
In our sustaining Corne. A Centery send forth;
Search euery Acre in the high-growne field,
And bring him to our eye.


What can mans wisedome
In the restoring his bereaued Sense;
he that helpes him, / Take all my outward worth.

Gent.
There is meanes Madam:
Our foster Nurse of Nature, is repose,
The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
Are many Simples operatiue, whose power
Will close the eye of Anguish.

Cord.
All blest Secrets,
All you vnpublish'd Vertues of the earth
Spring with my teares; be aydant, and remediate
In the Goodmans desires: seeke, seeke for him,
Least his vngouern'd rage, dissolue the life
That wants the meanes to leade it.
Enter Messenger.

Mes.
Newes Madam,
The Brittish Powres are marching hitherward.

Cor.
'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O deere Father,
It is thy businesse that I go about:
Therfore great France
My mourning, and important teares hath pittied:
No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite,
But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd Fathers Rite:
Soone may I heare, and see him.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter Regan, and Steward.

Reg.
But are my Brothers Powres set forth?

Stew.
I Madam,

Reg.
Himselfe in person there?

Stew.
Madam with much ado:
Your Sister is the better Souldier.

Reg.
Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?

Stew.
No Madam.

Reg.
What night import my Sisters Letter to him?

Stew.
I know not, Lady.

Reg.
Faith he is poasted hence on serious matter:
It was great ignorance, Glousters eyes being out
To let him liue. Where he arriues, he moues
All hearts against vs: Edmund, I thinke is gone
In pitty of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
The strength o'th'Enemy.

Stew.
I must needs after him, Madam,with my Letter.

Reg.
Our troopes set forth to morrow, stay with vs:
The wayes are dangerous.

Stew.
I may not Madam:
My Lady charg'd my dutie in this busines.

Reg.
Why should she write to Edmund?
Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Some things, I know not what. Ile loue thee much
Let me vnseale the Letter.

Stew.
Madam, I had rather----

Reg.
I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband,
I am sure of that: and at her late being heere,
She gaue strange Eliads, and most speaking lookes
To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome.

Stew.
I, Madam?

Reg.
I speake in vnderstanding: Y'are: I know't,
Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
My Lord is dead: Edmond, and I haue talk'd,
And more conuenient is he for my hand
Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
If you do finde him, pray you giue him this;
And when your Mistris heares thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisedome to her.
So fare you well:
If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor,
Preferment fals on him, that cuts him off.

Stew.
Would I could meet Madam, I should shew
What party I do follow.

Reg.
Fare thee well.
Exeunt
Original text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Gloucester, and Edgar.

Glou.
When shall I come to th'top of that same hill?

Edg.
You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor.

Glou.
Me thinkes the ground is eeuen.

Edg.
Horrible steepe.
Hearke, do you heare the Sea?

Glou.
No truly.

Edg.
Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
By your eyes anguish.

Glou.
So may it be indeed.
Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase, and matter then thou did'st.

Edg.
Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
But in my Garments.

Glou.
Me thinkes y'are better spoken.

Edg.
Come on Sir, / Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
And dizie 'tis, to cast ones eyes so low,
The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
Shew scarse so grosse as Beetles. Halfe way downe
Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
The Fishermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
Diminish'd to her Cocke: her Cocke, a Buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
That on th'vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
Topple downe headlong.

Glou.
Set me where you stand.

Edg.
Giue me your hand:
You are now within a foote of th'extreme Verge:
For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright.

Glou.
Let go my hand:
Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.

Edg.
Now fare ye well, good Sir.

Glou.
With all my heart.

Edg.
Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
Is done to cure it.

Glou.
O you mighty Gods!
This world I do renounce,and in your sights
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
If I could beare it longer, and not fall
To quarrell with your great opposelesse willes,
My snuffe, and loathed part of Nature should
Burne it selfe out. If Edgar liue, O blesse him:
Now Fellow, fare thee well.

Edg.
Gone Sir, farewell:
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The Treasury of life, when life it selfe
Yeelds to the Theft. Had he bin where he thought,
By this had thought bin past. Aliue, or dead?
Hoa, you Sir: Friend, heare you Sir, speake:
Thus might he passe indeed: yet he reuiues.
What are you Sir?

Glou.
Away, and let me dye.

Edg.
Had'st thou beene ought / But Gozemore, Feathers, Ayre,
(So many fathome downe precipitating)
Thou'dst shiuer'd like an Egge: but thou do'st breath:
Hast heauy substance, bleed'st not, speak'st, art sound,
Ten Masts at each, make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell,
Thy life's a Myracle. Speake yet againe.

Glou.
But haue I falne, or no?

Edg.
From the dread Somnet of this Chalkie Bourne
Looke vp a height, the shrill-gorg'd Larke so farre
Cannot be seene, or heard: Do but looke vp.

Glou.
Alacke, I haue no eyes:
Is wretchednesse depriu'd that benefit
To end it selfe by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the Tyranrs rage,
And frustrate his proud will.

Edg.
Giue me your arme.
Vp, so: How is't? Feele you your Legges? You stand.

Glou.
Too well, too well.

Edg.
This is aboue all strangenesse,
Vpon the crowne o'th'Cliffe. What thing was that
Which parted from you?

Glou.
A poore vnfortunate Beggar.

Edg.
As I stood heere below, me thought his eyes
Were two full Moones: he had a thousand Noses,
Hornes wealk'd, and waued like the enraged Sea:
It was some Fiend: Therefore thou happy Father,
Thinke that the cleerest Gods, who make them Honors
Of mens Impossibilities, haue preserued thee.

Glou.
I do remember now: henceforth Ile beare
Affliction, till it do cry out it selfe
Enough, enough, and dye. That thing you speake of,
I tooke it for a man: often 'twould say
The Fiend, the Fiend, he led me to that place.

Edgar.
Beare free and patient thoughts.
Enter Lear.
But who comes heere?
The safer sense will ne're accommodate
His Master thus.

Lear.
No, they cannot touch me for crying. I am the
King himselfe.

Edg.
O thou side-piercing sight!

Lear.
Nature's aboue Art, in that respect. Ther's your
Presse-money. That fellow handles his bow, like a
Crow-keeper: draw mee a Cloathiers yard. Looke, looke, a
Mouse: peace, peace, this peece of toasted Cheese will
doo't. There's my Gauntlet, Ile proue it on a Gyant.
Bring vp the browne Billes. O well flowne Bird: i'th'
clout, i'th'clout: Hewgh. Giue the word.

Edg.
Sweet Mariorum.

Lear.
Passe.

Glou.
I know that voice.

Lear.
Ha! Gonerill with a white beard? They flatter'd me
like a Dogge, and told mee I had the white hayres in my Beard,
ere the blacke ones were there. To say I, and no, to
euery thing that I said: I, and no too, was no good
Diuinity. When the raine came to wet me once, and the
winde to make me chatter: when the Thunder would not
peace at my bidding, there I found 'em, there I smelt
'em out. Go too, they are not men o'their words; they
told me, I was euery thing: 'Tis a Lye, I am not
Agu-proofe.

Glou.
The tricke of that voyce, I do well remember:
Is't not the King?

Lear.
I, euery inch a King.
When I do stare, see how the Subiect quakes.
I pardon that mans life. What was thy cause?
Adultery?
thou shalt not dye: dye for Adultery? No,
the Wren goes too't, and the small gilded Fly
Do's letcher in my sight.
Let Copulation thriue: / For Glousters bastard Son
was kinder to his Father, / Then my Daughters
got 'tweene the lawfull sheets.
Too't Luxury pell-mell, for I lacke Souldiers.
Behold yond simpring Dame,
whose face betweene her Forkes presages Snow;
that minces Vertue, & do's shake the head
to heare of pleasures name.
The Fitchew, nor the soyled Horse goes too't
a more riotous appetite:
Downe from the waste they are Centaures,
though Women all aboue:
but to the Girdle do the Gods inherit,
beneath is all the Fiends.
There's hell, there's darkenes,there is the sulphurous
pit; burning, scalding, stench, consumption: Fye, fie,
fie; pah, pah: Giue me an Ounce of Ciuet; good Apothecary
sweeten my immagination: There's money for
thee.

Glou.
O let me kisse that hand.

Lear.
Let me wipe it first, / It smelles of Mortality.

Glou.
O ruin'd peece of Nature, this great world
Shall so weare out to naught. / Do'st thou know me?

Lear.
I remember thine eyes well enough: dost thou
squiny at me? No, doe thy worst blinde Cupid, Ile not
loue. Reade thou this challenge, marke but the penning
of it.

Glou.
Were all thy Letters Sunnes, I could not see.

Edg.
I would not take this from report, / It is,
and my heart breakes at it.

Lear.
Read.

Glou.
What with the Case of eyes?

Lear.
Oh ho, are you there with me? No eies in your head,
nor no mony in your purse? Your eyes are in a heauy
case, your purse in a light, yet you see how this world
goes.

Glou.
I see it feelingly.

Lear.
What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes,
with no eyes. Looke with thine eares: See how yond Iustice
railes vpon yond simple theefe. Hearke in thine eare: Change
places, and handy-dandy, which is the Iustice, which is
the theefe: Thou hast seene a Farmers dogge barke at a
Beggar?

Glou.
I Sir.

Lear.
And the Creature run from the Cur: there thou
might'st behold the great image of Authoritie, a Dogg's
obey'd in Office.
Thou, Rascall Beadle, hold thy bloody hand:
why dost thou lash that Whore? Strip thy owne backe,
thou hotly lusts to vse her in that kind,
for which thou whip'st her. The Vsurer hangs the Cozener.
Thorough tatter'd cloathes great Vices do appeare:
Robes, and Furr'd gownes hide all. Place sinnes with Gold,
and the strong Lance of Iustice, hurtlesse breakes:
Arme it in ragges, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it.
None do's offend, none, I say none, Ile able 'em;
take that of me my Friend, who haue the power
to seale th'accusers lips. Get thee glasse-eyes,
and like a scuruy Politician, seeme
to see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now.
Pull off my Bootes: harder, harder, so.

Edg.
O matter, and impertinency mixt,
Reason in Madnesse.

Lear.
If thou wilt weepe my Fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough, thy name is Glouster:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the Ayre
We wawle, and cry. I will preach to thee: Marke.


Glou.
Alacke, alacke the day.

Lear.
When we are borne, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of Fooles. This a good blocke:
It were a delicate stratagem to shoo
A Troope of Horse with Felt: Ile put't in proofe,
And when I haue stolne vpon these Son in Lawes,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.
Enter a Gentleman.

Gent.
Oh heere he is: lay hand vpon him, Sir.
Your most deere Daughter----

Lear.
No rescue? What, a Prisoner? I am euen
The Naturall Foole of Fortune. Vse me well,
You shall haue ransome. Let me haue Surgeons,
I am cut to'th'Braines.

Gent.
You shall haue any thing.

Lear.
No Seconds? All my selfe?
Why, this would make a man, a man of Salt
To vse his eyes for Garden water-pots.
I wil die brauely,
Like a smugge Bridegroome. What? I will be Iouiall:
Come, come, I am a King, Masters, know you that?

Gent.
You are a Royall one, and we obey you.

Lear.
Then there's life in't. Come, and you get it, / You shall
get it by running: Sa, sa, sa, sa.
Exit.

Gent.
A sight most pittifull in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking ofin a King. Thou hast a Daughter
Who redeemes Nature from the generall curse
Which twaine haue brought her to.

Edg.
Haile gentle Sir.

Gent.
Sir, speed you: what's your will?

Edg.
Do you heare ought (Sir) of a Battell toward.

Gent.
Most sure, and vulgar: / Euery one heares that,
which can distinguish sound.

Edg.
But by your fauour:
How neere's the other Army?

Gent.
Neere, and on speedy foot: the maine descry
Stands on the hourely thought.

Edg.
I thanke you Sir, that's all.

Gent.
Though that the Queen on special cause is here
Her Army is mou'd on.

Edg.
I thanke you Sir.
Exit.

Glou.
You euer gentle Gods, take my breath from me,
Let not my worser Spirit tempt me againe
To dye before you please.

Edg.
Well pray you Father.

Glou.
Now good sir, what are you?

Edg.
A most poore man, made tame to Fortunes blows
Who, by the Art of knowne, and feeling sorrowes,
Am pregnant to good pitty. Giue me your hand,
Ile leade you to some biding.

Glou.
Heartie thankes:
The bountie, and the benizon of Heauen
To boot, and boot.
Enter Steward.

Stew.
A proclaim'd prize: most happie
That eyelesse head of thine, was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old, vnhappy Traitor,
Breefely thy selfe remember: the Sword is out
That must destroy thee.

Glou.
Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough too't.

Stew.
Wherefore, bold Pezant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd Traitor? Hence,
Least that th'infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arme.

Edg.
Chill not let go Zir, / Without vurther 'casion.

Stew.
Let go Slaue, or thou dy'st.

Edg.
Good Gentleman goe your gate, and let poore volke
passe: and 'chud ha'bin zwaggerd out of my life,
'twould not ha'bin zo long as 'tis, by a vortnight. Nay,
come not neere th'old man: keepe out che vor'ye, or ice
try whither your Costard, or my Ballow be the harder;
chill be plaine with you.

Stew.
Out Dunghill.

Edg.
Chill picke your teeth Zir: come, no matter vor
your foynes.

Stew.
Slaue thou hast slaine me: Villain, take my purse;
If euer thou wilt thriue, bury my bodie,
And giue the Letters which thou find'st about me,
To Edmund Earle of Glouster: seeke him out
Vpon the English party. Oh vntimely
death, death.

Edg.
I know thee well. A seruiceable Villaine,
As duteous to the vices of thy Mistris,
As badnesse would desire.

Glou.
What, is he dead?

Edg.
Sit you downe Father: rest you.
Let's see these Pockets; the Letters that he speakes of
May be my Friends: hee's dead; I am onely sorry
He had no other Deathsman. Let vs see:
Leaue gentle waxe, and manners: blame vs not
To know our enemies mindes, we rip their hearts,
Their Papers is more lawfull.
Reads the Letter.
LEt our reciprocall vowes be remembred. You haue manie
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done. If hee
returne the Conqueror, then am I the Prisoner, and his bed,
my Gaole, from the loathed warmth whereof, deliuer me, and
supply the place for your Labour.
Your (Wife, so I would say) affectionate Seruant.
Gonerill.
Oh indinguish'd space of Womans will,
A plot vpon her vertuous Husbands life,
And the exchange my Brother: heere, in the sands
Thee Ile rake vp, the poste vnsanctified
Of murtherous Letchers: and in the mature time,
With this vngracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke: for him 'tis well,
That of thy death, and businesse, I can tell.

Glou.
The King is mad: / How stiffe is my vilde sense
That I stand vp, and haue ingenious feeling
Of my huge Sorrowes? Better I were distract,
So should my thoughts be seuer'd from my greefes,
And woes, by wrong imaginations loose
The knowledge of themselues.
Drum afarre off.

Edg.
Giue me your hand:
Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
Come Father, Ile bestow you with a Friend.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene VII
Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Gentleman.

Cor.
O thou good Kent, / How shall I liue and worke
To match thy goodnesse? / My life will be too short,
And euery measure faile me.

Kent.
To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-pai'd,
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more, nor clipt, but so.

Cor.
Be better suited,
These weedes are memories of those worser houres:
I prythee put them off.

Kent.
Pardon deere Madam,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it, that you know me not,
Till time and I, thinke meet.

Cor.
Then be't so my good Lord:
How do's the King?

Gent.
Madam sleepes still.

Cor.
O you kind Gods!
Cure this great breach in his abused Nature,
Th'vntun'd and iarring senses, O winde vp,
Of this childe-changed Father.

Gent.
So please your Maiesty,
That we may wake the King, he hath slept long?

Cor.
Be gouern'd by your knowledge, and proceede
I'th'sway of your owne will: is he array'd?

Gent.
I Madam: in the heauinesse of sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him.
Enter Lear in a chaire carried by Seruants
Be by good Madam when we do awake him,
I doubt of his Temperance.

Cor.
O my deere Father, restauratian hang
Thy medicine on my lippes, and let this kisse
Repaire those violent harmes, that my two Sisters
Haue in thy Reuerence made.

Kent.
Kind and deere Princesse.

Cor.
Had you not bin their Father, these white flakes
Did challenge pitty of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the iarring windes?
Mine Enemies dogge,
though he had bit me, / Should haue stood that night
against my fire, / And was't thou faine (poore Father)
To houell thee with Swine and Rogues forlorne,
In short, and musty straw? Alacke, alacke,
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits, at once
Had not concluded all. He wakes, speake to him.

Gen.
Madam do you, 'tis fittest.

Cor.
How does my Royall Lord? / How fares your Maiesty?

Lear.
You do me wrong to take me out o'th'graue,
Thou art a Soule in blisse, but I am bound
Vpon a wheele of fire, that mine owne teares
Do scal'd, like molten Lead.

Cor.
Sir, do you know me?

Lear.
You are a spirit I know, where did you dye?

Cor.
Still, still, farre wide.

Gen.
He's scarse awake, / Let him alone a while.

Lear.
Where haue I bin? / Where am I? Faire day light?
I am mightily abus'd; I should eu'n dye with pitty
To see another thus. I know not what to say:
I will not sweare these are my hands: let's see,
I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd
Of my condition.

Cor.
O looke vpon me Sir,
And hold your hand in benediction o're me,
You must not kneele.

Lear.
Pray do not mocke me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourescore and vpward, / Not an houre more, nor lesse:
And to deale plainely,
I feare I am not in my perfect mind.
Me thinkes I should know you, and know this man,
Yet I am doubtfull: For I am mainely ignorant
What place this is: and all the skill I haue
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 thinke this Lady
To be my childe Cordelia.

Cor.
And so I am: I am.

Lear.
Be your teares wet? / Yes faith: I pray weepe not,
If you haue poyson for me, I will drinke it:
I know you do not loue me, for your Sisters
Haue (as I do remember) done me wrong.
You haue some cause, they haue not.

Cor.
No cause, no cause.

Lear.
Am I in France?

Kent.
In your owne kingdome Sir.

Lear.
Do not abuse me.

Gent.
Be comforted good Madam, the great rage
You see is kill'd in him:
desire him to go in, / Trouble him no more
till further setling.

Cor.
Wilt please your Highnesse walke?

Lear.
You must beare with me: / Pray you now forget,
and forgiue, / I am old and foolish.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Edgar

EDGAR
Yet better thus, and known to be contemned,
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
Enter Gloucester, led by an Old Man
But who comes here?
My father, parti-eyed! World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee
Life would not yield to age.

OLD MAN
O my good lord,
I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant
These fourscore years!

GLOUCESTER
Away! Get thee away! Good friend, be gone.
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.

OLD MAN
You cannot see your way.

GLOUCESTER
I have no way and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch
I'd say I had eyes again.

OLD MAN
How now? Who's there?

EDGAR
(aside)
O gods! Who is't can say ‘ I am at the worst ’?
I am worse than e'er I was.

OLD MAN
'Tis poor mad Tom.

EDGAR
(aside)
And worse I may be yet. The worst is not,
So long as we can say ‘ This is the worst.’

OLD MAN
Fellow, where goest?

GLOUCESTER
Is it a beggar-man?

OLD MAN
Madman and beggar too.

GLOUCESTER
He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I'the last night's storm I such a fellow saw
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.

EDGAR
(aside)
How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Angering itself and others. (Aloud) Bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER
Is that the naked fellow?

OLD MAN
Ay, my lord.

GLOUCESTER
Then prithee get thee away. If for my sake
Thou wilt o'ertake us hence a mile or twain,
I'the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love,
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Who I'll entreat to lead me.

OLD MAN
Alack, sir, he is mad.

GLOUCESTER
'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.
Above the rest, begone.

OLD MAN
I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have.
Come on't what will.
Exit

GLOUCESTER
Sirrah naked fellow!

EDGAR
Poor Tom's a-cold. (Aside) I cannot daub it further.

GLOUCESTER
Come hither, fellow.

EDGAR
(aside)
And yet I must. (Aloud) Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

GLOUCESTER
Knowest thou the way to Dover?

EDGAR
Both stile and gate, horse-way and footpath, Poor
Tom hath been scared out of his good wits. Bless thee,
good man's son, from the foul fiend. Five fiends have
been in Poor Tom at once: of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence,
prince of dumbness; Mahu, of stealing;
Modo, of murder; Flibberdigibbet, of mopping and
mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and
waiting-women. So bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER
Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Have humbled to all strokes:. That I am wretched
Makes thee the happier. Heavens deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your power quickly!
So distribution should undo excess
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

EDGAR
Ay, master.

GLOUCESTER
There is a cliff whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep;
Bring me but to the very brim of it
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me. From that place
I shall no leading need.

EDGAR
Give me thy arm;
Poor Tom shall lead thee.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Gonerill and Edmund

GONERILL
Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
Enter Oswald
Now, where's your master'?

OSWALD
Madam, within; but never man so changed.
I told him of the army that was landed.
He smiled at it. I told him you were coming.
His answer was ‘The worse.' Of Gloucester's treachery
And of the loyal service of his son
When I informed him, then he called me sot
And told me I had turned the wrong side out.
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.

GONERILL
(to Edmund)
Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not undertake. He'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother!
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us; ere long you are like to hear,
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. Wear this; (giving a favour) spare speech.
Decline your head; this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.
Conceive; and fare thee well.

EDMUND
Yours in the ranks of death.

GONERILL
My most dear Gloucester!
Exit Edmund
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due;
A fool usurps my bed.

OSWALD
Madam, here comes my lord.
Exit
Enter Albany

GONERILL
I have been worth the whistling.

ALBANY
O Gonerill,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
That nature which contemns its origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

GONERILL
No more; the text is foolish.

ALBANY
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile;
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done,
Tigers not daughters, what have you performed?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited?
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come –
Humanity must perforce prey on itself
Like monsters of the deep.

GONERILL
Milk-livered man!
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs!
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering, that not knowest
Fools do those villains pity who are punished
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,
With plumed helm thy state begins to threat,
Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
‘ Alack, why does he so?’

ALBANY
See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity shows not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.

GONERILL
O vain fool!

ALBANY
Thou changed and self-covered thing, for shame,
Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones. Howe'er thou art a fiend,
A woman's shape doth shield thee.

GONERILL
Marry, your manhood! Mew!
Enter a Messenger

ALBANY
What news?

MESSENGER
O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead,
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.

ALBANY
Gloucester's eyes?

MESSENGER
A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him and amongst them felled him dead,
But not without that harmful stroke which since
Hath plucked him after.

ALBANY
This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge! But, O, poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other eye?

MESSENGER
Both, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
'Tis from your sister.

GONERILL
(aside)
One way I like this well.
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life. Another way
The news is not so tart. – (Aloud) I'll read and answer.
Exit

ALBANY
Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

MESSENGER
Come with my lady hither.

ALBANY
He is not here.

MESSENGER
No, my good lord; I met him back again.

ALBANY
Knows he the wickedness?

MESSENGER
Ay, my good lord. 'Twas he informed against him,
And quit the house on purpose that their punishment
Might have the freer course.

ALBANY
Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the King
And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend;
Tell me what more thou knowest.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene III
Enter Kent and a Gentleman

KENT
Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back
know you no reason?

GENTLEMAN
Something he left imperfect in the state,
which since his coming forth is thought of, which imports
to the kingdom so much fear and danger that his
personal return was most required and necessary.

KENT
Who hath he left behind him general?

GENTLEMAN
The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

KENT
Did your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration
of grief?

GENTLEMAN
Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample tear trilled down
Her delicate cheek. It seemed she was a queen
Over her passion who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.

KENT
O, then it moved her?

GENTLEMAN
Not to a rage; patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears
Were like a better way; those happy smilets
That played on her ripe lip seemed not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved
If all could so become it.

KENT
Made she no verbal question?

GENTLEMAN
Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of father
Pantingly forth, as if it pressed her heart,
Cried ‘ Sisters! Sisters! Shame of ladies! Sisters!
Kent! Father! Sisters! – What, i'the storm? i'the night?
Let pity not be believed!’ There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moistened; then away she started
To deal with grief alone.

KENT
It is the stars,
The stars above us govern our conditions.
Else one self mate and make could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

GENTLEMAN
No.

KENT
Was this before the King returned?

GENTLEMAN
No, since.

KENT
Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i'the town,
Who sometime in his better tune remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.

GENTLEMAN
Why, good sir?

KENT
A sovereign shame so elbows him; his own unkindness
That stripped her from his benediction, turned her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters – these things sting
His mind so venomously that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

GENTLEMAN
Alack, poor gentleman!

KENT
Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?

GENTLEMAN
'Tis so. They are afoot.

KENT
Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear
And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile.
When I am known aright you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you
Go along with me.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter, with drum and colours, Cordelia, Doctor, and
soldiers

CORDELIA
Alack, 'tis he! Why, he was met even now
As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud,
Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With hardokes, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. (To soldiers) A century send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field
And bring him to our eye.
Exeunt soldiers
(To Doctor)
What can man's wisdom
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He that helps him, take all my outward worth.

DOCTOR
There is means, madam.
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

CORDELIA
All blest secrets,
All you unpublished virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! Be aidant and remediate
In the good man's distress. Seek, seek for him,
Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.
Enter a Messenger

MESSENGER
News, madam:
The British powers are marching hitherward.

CORDELIA
'Tis known before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about.
Therefore great France
My mourning and importuned tears hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite
But love, dear love, and our aged father's right.
Soon may I hear and see him!
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter Regan and Oswald

REGAN
But are my brother's powers set forth?

OSWALD
Ay, madam.

REGAN
Himself in person there?

OSWALD
Madam, with much ado.
Your sister is the better soldier.

REGAN
Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

OSWALD
No, madam.

REGAN
What might import my sister's letter to him?

OSWALD
I know not, lady.

REGAN
Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out,
To let him live. Where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life – moreover to descry
The strength o'th' enemy.

OSWALD
I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

REGAN
Our troops set forth tomorrow; stay with us.
The ways are dangerous.

OSWALD
I may not, madam.
My lady charged my duty in this business.

REGAN
Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike –
Some things – I know not what – I'll love thee much –
Let me unseal the letter.

OSWALD
Madam, I had rather –

REGAN
I know your lady does not love her husband –
I am sure of that – and at her late being here
She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

OSWALD
I, madam?

REGAN
I speak in understanding. Y'are; I know't.
Therefore I do advise you take this note:
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked,
And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady's. You may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you give him this;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray desire her call her wisdom to her.
So fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

OSWALD
Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
What party I do follow.

REGAN
Fare thee well.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Gloucester and Edgar in peasant's clothes

GLOUCESTER
When shall I come to the top of that same hill?

EDGAR
You do climb up it now. Look how we labour.

GLOUCESTER
Methinks the ground is even.

EDGAR
Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?

GLOUCESTER
No, truly.

EDGAR
Why then your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.

GLOUCESTER
So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy voice is altered, and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

EDGAR
Y'are much deceived. In nothing am I changed
But in my garments.

GLOUCESTER
Methinks y'are better spoken.

EDGAR
Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still! How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers sampire – dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice, and yon tall anchoring bark,
Diminished to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumbered idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

GLOUCESTER
Set me where you stand.

EDGAR
Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.

GLOUCESTER
Let go my hand.
Here, friend, 's another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off.
Bid me farewell; and let me hear thee going.

EDGAR
Now fare ye well, good sir.

GLOUCESTER
With all my heart.

EDGAR
(aside)
Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.

GLOUCESTER
(kneeling)
O you mighty gods!
This world I do renounce, and in your sights
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
Now, fellow, fare thee well.

EDGAR
Gone, sir. Farewell.
Gloucester throws himself forward
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past. – Alive or dead?
Ho, you, sir! Friend! Hear you, sir? Speak! –
Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives –
What are you, sir?

GLOUCESTER
Away, and let me die.

EDGAR
Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fathom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shivered like an egg; but thou dost breathe,
Hast heavy substance, bleed'st not, speak'st, art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
Thy life's a miracle. Speak yet again.

GLOUCESTER
But have I fallen or no?

EDGAR
From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height. The shrill-gorged lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.

GLOUCESTER
Alack, I have no eyes.
Is wretchedness deprived that benefit
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage
And frustrate his proud will.

EDGAR
Give me your arm.
Up – so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.

GLOUCESTER
Too well, too well.

EDGAR
This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o'the cliff what thing was that
Which parted from you?

GLOUCESTER
A poor unfortunate beggar.

EDGAR
As I stood here below methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns welked and waved like the enridged sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibilities, have preserved thee.

GLOUCESTER
I do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
‘ Enough, enough,’ and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man; often 'twould say
‘ The fiend, the fiend;’ he led me to that place.

EDGAR
Bear free and patient thoughts.
Enter Lear fantastically dressed with wild flowers
But who comes here?
The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.

LEAR
No, they cannot touch me for coining.; I am the
King himself.

EDGAR
O thou side-piercing sight!

LEAR
Nature's above art in that respect. There's your
press-money. – That fellow handles his bow like a
crow-keeper. – Draw me a clothier's yard. – Look, look, a
mouse! – Peace, peace! this piece of toasted cheese will
do't. – There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant. –
Bring up the brown bills. – O, well flown, bird! I'the
clout, i' the clout! Hewgh! – Give the word.

EDGAR
Sweet marjoram.

LEAR
Pass.

GLOUCESTER
I know that voice.
He falls to his knees

LEAR
Ha! Gonerill with a white beard! They flattered me
like a dog and told me I had the white hairs in my beard.
ere the black ones were there. To say ‘ ay ’ and ‘ no ’ to
everything that I said! ‘Ay' and ‘no' too was no good
divinity. When the rain came to wet me once and the
wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not
peace at my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt
'em out. Go to, they are not men o' their words. They
told me I was everything. 'Tis a lie: I am not
ague-proof.

GLOUCESTER
The trick of that voice I do well remember.
Is't not the King?

LEAR
Ay, every inch a king.
When I do stare see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause?
Adultery?
Thou shalt not die. Die for adultery? No.
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers.
Behold yon simpering dame
Whose face between her forks presages snow,
That minces virtue and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name –
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
Though women all above;
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends' –
There's hell, there's darkness, there is the sulphurous
pit – burning, scalding, stench, consumption! Fie, fie,
fie! Pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary,
sweeten my imagination. There's money for
thee.
He gives flowers

GLOUCESTER
O, let me kiss that hand!

LEAR
Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

GLOUCESTER
O ruined piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?

LEAR
I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou
squiny at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid; I'll not
love. Read thou this challenge; mark but the penning
of it.

GLOUCESTER
Were all the letters suns, I could not see.

EDGAR
(aside)
I would not take this from report. It is;
And my heart breaks at it.

LEAR
Read.

GLOUCESTER
What, with the case of eyes?

LEAR
O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head,
nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy
case, your purse in a light; yet you see how this world
goes.

GLOUCESTER
I see it feelingly.

LEAR
What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes
with no eyes. Look with thine ears. See how yon justice
rails upon yon simple thief. Hark in thine ear – change
places and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is
the thief? Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a
beggar?

GLOUCESTER
Ay, sir.

LEAR
And the creature run from the cur? There thou
mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog's
obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand.
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thy own back.
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Thorough tattered clothes great vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sins with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em.
Take that of me, my friend, (giving flowers) who have the power
To seal th' accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes,
And like a scurvy politician seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now!
Pull off my boots. Harder, harder – so.

EDGAR
O matter and impertinency mixed,
Reason in madness!

LEAR
If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester.
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither.
Thou knowest the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee – Mark!
He takes off his coronet of flowers

GLOUCESTER
Alack, alack the day!

LEAR
When we are born we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools. – This's a good block.
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt. I'll put 't in proof;
And when I have stolen upon these son-in-laws,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
He throws down his flowers and stamps on them
Enter a Gentleman and two attendants. Gloucester
and Edgar draw back

GENTLEMAN
O, here he is. Lay hand upon him. – Sir,
Your most dear daughter –

LEAR
No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.

GENTLEMAN
You shall have anything.

LEAR
No seconds? All myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and laying autumn's dust. I will die bravely,
Like a smug bridegroom. What! I will be jovial.
Come, come, I am a king; masters, know you that?

GENTLEMAN
You are a royal one, and we obey you.

LEAR
Then there's life in't. Nay, and you get it you shall
get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.
Exit running, followed by attendants

GENTLEMAN
A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king. – Thou hast one daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

EDGAR
(coming forward)
Hail, gentle sir.

GENTLEMAN
Sir, speed you; what's your will?

EDGAR
Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

GENTLEMAN
Most sure and vulgar. Everyone hears that
Which can distinguish sound.

EDGAR
But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?

GENTLEMAN
Near, and on speedy foot. The main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

EDGAR
I thank you, sir; that's all.

GENTLEMAN
Though that the Queen on special cause is here,
Her army is moved on.

EDGAR
I thank you, sir.
Exit Gentleman

GLOUCESTER
(coming forward)
You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me.
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please.

EDGAR
Well pray you, father.

GLOUCESTER
Now, good sir, what are you?

EDGAR
A most poor man made tame to fortune's blows,
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.

GLOUCESTER
Hearty thanks;
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!
Enter Oswald

OSWALD
A proclaimed prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember; the sword is out
That must destroy thee.

GLOUCESTER
Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to't.
Edgar intervenes

OSWALD
Wherefore, bold peasant,
Darest thou support a published traitor? Hence,
Lest that th' infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm!

EDGAR
Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'cagion.

OSWALD
Let go, slave, or thou diest!

EDGAR
Good gentleman, go your gait and let poor volk
pass. And 'choud ha' bin zwaggered out of my life,
'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay,
come not near th' old man; keep out, che vor' ye, or I'ce
try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder.
'Chill be plain with you.

OSWALD
Out, dunghill!

EDGAR
'Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come; no matter vor
your foins.
They fight

OSWALD
Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund, Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out
Upon the English party. O, untimely
Death! – Death –
He dies

EDGAR
I know thee well: a serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

GLOUCESTER
What, is he dead?

EDGAR
Sit you down, father; rest you. –
Let's see these pockets. The letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead. I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman. Let us see.
Leave, gentle wax; and manners blame us not;
To know our enemies' minds we rip their hearts;
Their papers is more lawful.
(He reads the letter)
Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many
opportunities to cut him off; if your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done if he
return the conqueror. Then am I the prisoner, and his bed
my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me and
supply the place for your labour.
Your – wife, so I would say – affectionate servant,
Gonerill.
O indistinguished space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life,
And the exchange, my brother! Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practised Duke. For him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

GLOUCESTER
The King is mad; how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract;
So should my thoughts be severed from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.
Drum afar off

EDGAR
Give me your hand.
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene VII
Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Doctor

CORDELIA
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.

KENT
To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more nor clipped, but so.

CORDELIA
Be better suited.
These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
I prithee put them off.

KENT
Pardon, dear madam,
Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.

CORDELIA
Then be't so, my good lord.
(To Doctor)
How does the King?

DOCTOR
Madam, sleeps still.

CORDELIA
O you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
Th' untuned and jarring senses O wind up
Of this child-changed father!

DOCTOR
So please your majesty,
That we may wake the King. He hath slept long.

CORDELIA
Be governed by your knowledge and proceed
I'the sway of your own will. Is he arrayed?

GENTLEMAN
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

DOCTOR
Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;
I doubt not of his temperance.

CORDELIA
Very well.
Music sounds off stage

DOCTOR
Please you draw near. – Louder the music there!

CORDELIA
(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.

KENT
Kind and dear princess!

CORDELIA
Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
To be opposed against the jarring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder,
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? To watch, poor perdu,
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all. – He wakes! Speak to him.

DOCTOR
Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.

CORDELIA
How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

LEAR
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.

CORDELIA
Sir, do you know me?

LEAR
You are a spirit, I know. Where did you die?

CORDELIA
Still, still, far wide!

DOCTOR
He's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.

LEAR
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused. I should even die with pity
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
Of my condition!

CORDELIA
O look upon me, sir,
And hold your hand in benediction o'er me.
(Lear falls to his knees)
No, sir, you must not kneel.

LEAR
Pray do not mock me.
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Four score and upward, not an hour more nor less,
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
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.

CORDELIA
(weeping)
And so I am, I am.

LEAR
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.

CORDELIA
No cause, no cause.

LEAR
Am I in France?

KENT
In your own kingdom, sir.

LEAR
Do not abuse me.

DOCTOR
Be comforted, good madam. The great rage,
You see, is killed in him; and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further settling.

CORDELIA
Will't please your highness walk?

LEAR
You must bear with me. Pray you now, forget and
forgive. I am old and foolish.
Exeunt all but Kent and Gentleman

GENTLEMAN
Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall
was so slain?

KENT
Most certain, sir.

GENTLEMAN
Who is conductor of his people?

KENT
As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.

GENTLEMAN
They say Edgar, his banished son, is with
the Earl of Kent in Germany.

KENT
Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about. The
powers of the kingdom approach apace.

GENTLEMAN
The arbitrament is like to be bloody. Fare
you well, sir.
Exit

KENT
My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL