King Lear

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Storme still. Enter Kent, and a Gentleman,
seuerally.

Kent.
Who's there besides foule weather?

Gen.
One minded like the weather, most vnquietly.

Kent.
I know you: Where's the King?

Gent.
Contending with the fretfull Elements;
Bids the winde blow the Earth into the Sea,
Or swell the curled Waters 'boue the Maine,
That things might change, or cease.

Kent.
But who is with him?

Gent.
None but the Foole, who labours to out-iest
His heart-strooke iniuries.

Kent.
Sir, I do know you,
And dare vpon the warrant of my note
Commend a deere thing to you. There is diuision
(Although as yet the face of it is couer'd
With mutuall cunning) 'twixt Albany, and Cornwall:
Who haue, as who haue not, that their great Starres
Thron'd and set high; Seruants, who seeme no lesse,
Which are to France the Spies and Speculations
Intelligent of our State. What hath bin seene,
Either in snuffes, and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard Reine which both of them hath borne
Against the old kinde King; or something deeper,
Whereof (perchance) these are but furnishings.

Gent.
I will talke further with you.

Kent.
No, do not:
For confirmation that I am much more
Then my out-wall; open this Purse, and take
What it containes. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As feare not but you shall) shew her this Ring,
And she will tell you who that Fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fye on this Storme,
I will go seeke the King.

Gent.
Giue me your hand, / Haue you no more to say?

Kent.
Few words, but to effect more then all yet;
That when we haue found the King, in which your pain
That way, Ile this: He that first lights on him,
Holla the other.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Storme still. Enter Lear, and Foole.

Lear.
Blow windes, & crack your cheeks; Rage, blow
You Cataracts, and Hyrricano's spout,
Till you haue drench'd our Steeples, drown the Cockes.
You Sulph'rous and Thought-executing Fires,
Vaunt-curriors of Oake-cleauing Thunder-bolts,
Sindge my white head. And thou all-shaking Thunder,
Strike flat the thicke Rotundity o'th'world,
Cracke Natures moulds, all germaines spill at once
That makes ingratefull Man.

Foole.
O Nunkle, Court holy-water in a dry house, is better
then this Rain-water out o' doore. Good Nunkle, in, aske thy
Daughters blessing, heere's a night pitties neither Wisemen,
nor Fooles.

Lear.
Rumble thy belly full: spit Fire, spowt Raine:
Nor Raine, Winde, Thunder, Fire are my Daughters;
I taxe not you, you Elements with vnkindnesse.
I neuer gaue you Kingdome, call'd you Children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Heere I stand your Slaue,
A poore, infirme, weake, and dispis'd old man:
But yet I call you Seruile Ministers,
Thar will with two pernicious Daughters ioyne
Your high-engender'd Battailes, 'gainst a head
So old, and white as this. O, ho! 'tis foule.

Foole.
He that has a house to put's head in, has a good
Head-peece:
The Codpiece that will house,
before the head has any;
The Head, and he shall Lowse:
so Beggers marry many.
The man yt makes his Toe,
what he his Hart shold make,
Shall of a Corne cry woe,
and turne his sleepe to wake.
For there was neuer yet faire woman, but shee made mouthes
in a glasse.
Enter Kent.

Lear.
No,I will be the patterne of all patience,
I will say nothing.

Kent.
Who's there?

Foole.
Marry here's Grace, and a Codpiece, that's a Wiseman,
and a Foole.

Kent.
Alas Sir are you here? Things that loue night,
Loue not such nights as these: The wrathfull Skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the darke
And make them keepe their Caues: Since I was man,
Such sheets of Fire, such bursts of horrid Thunder,
Such groanes of roaring Winde, and Raine, I neuer
Remember to haue heard. Mans Nature cannot carry
Th'affliction, nor the feare.

Lear.
Let the great Goddes
That keepe this dreadfull pudder o're our heads,
Finde out their enemies now. Tremble thou Wretch,
That hast within thee vndivulged Crimes
Vnwhipt of Iustice. Hide thee, thou Bloudy hand;
Thou Periur'd, and thou Simular of Vertue
That art Incestuous. Caytiffe, to peeces shake
That vnder couert, and conuenient seeming
Ha's practis'd on mans life. Close pent-vp guilts,
Riue your concealing Continents, and cry
These dreadfull Summoners grace. I am a man,
More sinn'd against, then sinning.

Kent.
Alacke, bare-headed?
Gracious my Lord, hard by heere is a Houell,
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the Tempest:
Repose you there, while I to this hard house,
(More harder then the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which euen but now, demanding after you,
Deny'd me to come in) returne, and force
Their scanted curtesie.

Lear.
My wits begin to turne.
Come on my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold my selfe. Where is this straw, my Fellow?
The Art of our Necessities is strange,
And can make vilde things precious. Come, your Houel;
Poore Foole, and Knaue, I haue one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.

Foole.

He that has and a little-tyne wit,
With heigh-ho, the Winde and the Raine,
Must make content with his Fortunes fit,
Though the Raine it raineth euery day.

Le.
True Boy: Come bring vs to this Houell.
Exit.

Foole.
This is a braue night to coole a Curtizan: Ile speake
a Prophesie ere I go:
When Priests are more in word, then matter;
When Brewers marre their Malt with water;
When Nobles are their Taylors Tutors,
No Heretiques burn'd, but wenches Sutors;
Then shal the Realme of Albion,
come to great confusion:
When euery Case in Law, is right;
No Squire in debt, nor no poore Knight;
When Slanders do not liue in Tongues;
Nor Cut-purses come not to throngs;
When Vsurers tell their Gold i'th'Field,
And Baudes, and whores, do Churches build,
Then comes the time, who liues to see't,
That going shalbe vs'd with feet.
This prophecie Merlin shall make, for I liue before his
time.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Gloster, and Edmund.

Glo.
Alacke, alacke Edmund, I like not this vnnaturall
dealing; when I desired their leaue that I might
pity him, they tooke from me the vse of mine owne house,
charg'd me on paine of perpetuall displeasure, neither to
speake of him, entreat for him, or any way sustaine him.

Bast.
Most sauage and vnnaturall.

Glo.
Go too; say you nothing. There is diuision
betweene the Dukes, and a worsse matter then that: I
haue receiued a Letter this night, 'tis dangerous to be
spoken, I haue lock'd the Letter in my Closset, these iniuries
the King now beares, will be reuenged home; ther
is part of a Power already footed, we must incline to the
King, I will looke him, and priuily relieue him; goe you
and maintaine talke with the Duke, that my charity be not
of him perceiued; If he aske for me, I am ill, and gone to
bed, if I die for it, (as no lesse is threatned me) the King
my old Master must be relieued. There is strange things
toward Edmund,pray you be carefull.
Exit.

Bast.
This Curtesie forbid thee,shall the Duke
Instantly know, and of that Letter too;
This seemes a faire deseruing, and must draw me
That which my Father looses: no lesse then all,
The yonger rises, when the old doth fall.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene IV
Enter Lear, Kent, and Foole.

Kent.
Here is the place my Lord, good my Lord enter,
The tirrany of the open night's too rough
For Nature to endure.
Storme still

Lear.
Let me alone.

Kent.
Good my Lord enter heere.

Lear.
Wilt breake my heart?

Kent.
I had rather breake mine owne, / Good my Lord enter.

Lear.
Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storme
Inuades vs to the skin so: 'tis to thee,
But where the greater malady is fixt,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a Beare,
But if they flight lay toward the roaring Sea,
Thou'dst meete the Beare i'th'mouth, when the mind's free,
The bodies delicate: the tempest in my mind,
Doth from my sences take all feeling else,
Saue what beates there, Filliall ingratitude,
Is it not as this mouth should teare this hand
For lifting food too't? But I will punish home;
No, I will weepe no more; in such a night,
To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure:
In such a night as this? O Regan, Gonerill,
Your old kind Father, whose franke heart gaue all,
O that way madnesse lies, let me shun that:
No more of that.

Kent.
Good my Lord enter here.

Lear.
Prythee go in thy selfe, seeke thine owne ease,
This tempest will not giue me leaue to ponder
On things would hurt me more, but Ile goe in,
In Boy, go first. You houselesse pouertie,
Nay get thee in; Ile pray, and then Ile sleepe.
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you are
That bide the pelting of this pittilesse storme,
How shall your House-lesse heads, and vnfed sides,
Your lop'd, and window'd raggednesse defend you
From seasons such as these? O I haue tane
Too little care of this: Take Physicke, Pompe,
Expose thy selfe to feele what wretches feele,
That thou maist shake the superflux to them,
And shew the Heauens more iust. Enter Edgar, and Foole.

Edg.
Fathom, and halfe, Fathom and halfe; poore Tom.

Foole.
Come not in heere Nuncle, here's a spirit, helpe me,
helpe me.

Kent.
Giue me thy hand, who's there?

Foole.
A spirite, a spirite, he sayes his name's poore Tom.

Kent.
What art thou that dost grumble there i'th'straw?
Come forth.



Edg.
Away, the foule Fiend followes me,
through the sharpe Hauthorne blow the windes.
Humh, goe to thy bed and warme thee.

Lear.
Did'st thou giue all to thy Daughters? And art thou
come to this?

Edgar.
Who giues any thing to poore Tom? Whom the foule
fiend hath led though Fire, and through Flame, through
Sword, and Whirle-Poole, o're Bog, and Quagmire, that hath
laid Kniues vnder his Pillow, and Halters in his Pue, set
Rats-bane by his Porredge, made him Proud of heart, to
ride on a Bay trotting Horse, ouer foure incht Bridges, to
course his owne shadow for a Traitor. Blisse thy fiue Wits,
Toms a cold. O do, de, do, de, do de, blisse thee from
Whirle-Windes, Starre-blasting, and taking, do poore Tom
some charitie, whom the foule Fiend vexes. There could I
haue him now, and there, and there againe, and there.
Storme still.

Lear.
Ha's his Daughters brought him to this passe?
Could'st thou saue nothing? Would'st thou giue 'em all?

Foole.
Nay, he reseru'd a Blanket, else we had bin all
sham'd.

Lea.
Now all the plagues that in the pendulous ayre
Hang fated o're mens faults, light on thy Daughters.

Kent.
He hath no Daughters Sir.

Lear.
Death Traitor, nothing could haue subdu'd Nature
To such a lownesse, but his vnkind Daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded Fathers,
Should haue thus little mercy on their flesh:
Iudicious punishment, 'twas this flesh begot
Those Pelicane Daughters.

Edg.
Pillicock sat on Pillicock hill,
alow: alow, loo, loo.

Foole.
This cold night will turne vs all to Fooles, and
Madmen.

Edgar.
Take heed o'th'foule Fiend, obey thy Parents, keepe
thy words Iustice, sweare not, commit not, with mans
sworne Spouse: set not thy Sweet-heart on proud array.
Tom's a cold.

Lear.
What hast thou bin?

Edg.
A Seruingman? Proud in heart, and minde; that
curl'd my haire, wore Gloues in my cap; seru'd the Lust of
my Mistris heart, and did the acte of darkenesse with her.
Swore as many Oathes, as I spake words, & broke them in
the sweet face of Heauen. One, that slept in the contriuing
of Lust, and wak'd to doe it. Wine lou'd I deerely, Dice
deerely; and in Woman, out-Paramour'd the Turke. False
of heart, light of eare, bloody of hand; Hog in sloth, Foxe in
stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog in madnes, Lyon in prey.
Let not the creaking of shooes, Nor the rustling of Silkes,
betray thy poore heart to woman. Keepe thy foote out of
Brothels, thy hand out of Plackets, thy pen from Lenders
Bookes, and defye the foule Fiend.
Still through the Hauthorne blowes the cold winde:
Sayes suum, mun, nonny,
Dolphin my Boy, Boy Sesey: let him trot by.
Storme still.

Lear.
Thou wert better in a Graue, then to answere with thy
vncouer'd body, this extremitie of the Skies. Is man no
more then this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the
Worme no Silke; the Beast, no Hide; the Sheepe, no Wooll; the
Cat, no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's are sophisticated.
Thou art the thing it selfe; vnaccommodated man, is no
more but such a poore, bare, forked Animall as thou art.
Off, off you Lendings: Come, vnbutton heere.


Foole.
Prythee Nunckle be contented, 'tis a naughtie night
to swimme in. Now a little fire in a wilde Field, were like an
old Letchers heart, a small spark, all the rest on's body,
cold: Looke, heere comes a walking fire.
Enter Gloucester, with a Torch.

Edg.
This is the foule Flibbertigibbet; hee begins
at Curfew, and walkes at first Cocke: Hee giues the Web
and the Pin, squints the eye, and makes the Hare-lippe;
Mildewes the white Wheate, and hurts the poore Creature of
earth.
Swithold footed thrice the old,
He met the Night-Mare,and her nine-fold;
Bid her a-light, and her troth-plight,
And aroynt thee Witch, aroynt thee.

Kent.
How fares your Grace?

Lear.
What's he?

Kent.
Who's there? What is't you seeke?

Glou.
What are you there? Your Names?

Edg.
Poore Tom, that eates the swimming Frog, the Toad,
the Tod-pole, the wall-Neut, and the water: that in the
furie of his heart, when the foule Fiend rages, eats Cow-dung
for Sallets; swallowes the old Rat, and the ditch-Dogge;
drinkes the green Mantle of the standing Poole: who is
whipt from Tything to Tything, and stockt, punish'd, and
imprison'd: who hath three Suites to his backe, sixe
shirts to his body:
Horse to ride, and weapon to weare:
But Mice, and Rats, and such small Deare,
Haue bin Toms food, for seuen long yeare:
Beware my Follower. Peace Smulkin, peace thou Fiend.

Glou.
What, hath your Grace no better company?

Edg.
The Prince of Darkenesse is a Gentleman. Modo he's
call'd, and Mahu.

Glou.
Our flesh and blood, my Lord, is growne so vilde,
that it doth hate what gets it.

Edg.
Poore Tom's a cold.

Glou.
Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
T'obey in all your daughters hard commands:
Though their Iniunction be to barre my doores,
And let this Tyrannous night take hold vpon you,
Yet haue I ventured to come seeke you out,
And bring you where both fire, and food is ready.

Lear.
First let me talke with this Philosopher,
What is the cause of Thunder?

Kent.
Good my Lord
take his offer, / Go into th'house.

Lear.
Ile talke a word with this same lerned Theban:
What is your study?

Edg.
How to preuent the Fiend, and to kill Vermine.

Lear.
Let me aske you one word in priuate.


Kent.
Importune him once more to go my Lord,
His wits begin t' vnsettle.

Glou.
Canst thou blame him?
Storm still
His Daughters seeke his death: Ah, that good Kent,
He said it would be thus: poore banish'd man:
Thou sayest the King growes mad, Ile tell thee Friend
I am almost mad my selfe. I had a Sonne,
Now out-law'd from my blood: he sought my life
But lately: very late: I lou'd him (Friend)
No Father his Sonne deerern: true to tell thee
The greefe hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this?
I do beseech your grace.

Lear.
O cry you mercy, Sir:

Noble Philosopher, your company.

Edg.
Tom's a cold.

Glou.
In fellow there, into th'Houel; keep thee
warm.

Lear.
Come, let's in all.

Kent.
This way, my Lord.

Lear.
With him;
I will keepe still with my Philosopher.

Kent.
Good my Lord, sooth him: / Let him take the Fellow.

Glou.
Take him you on.

Kent.
Sirra, come on: go along with vs.

Lear.
Come, good Athenian.

Glou.
No words, no words, hush.

Edg.
Rowland to the darke Tower came,
His word was still, fie, foh, and fumme,
I smell the blood of a Brittish man.
Exeunt
Original text
Act III, Scene V
Enter Cornwall, and Edmund.

Corn.
I will haue my reuenge, ere I depart his house.

Bast.
How my Lord, I may be censured, that Nature
thus giues way to Loyaltie, something feares mee to thinke of.

Cornw.
I now perceiue, it was not altogether your
Brothers euill disposition made him seeke his death: but
a prouoking merit set a-worke by a reprouable badnesse in
himselfe.

Bast.
How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent
to be iust? This is the Letter which hee spoake of; which approues
him an intelligent partie to the aduantages of France. O
Heauens! that this Treason were not; or not I the
detector.

Corn.
Go with me to the Dutchesse.

Bast.
If the matter of this Paper be certain, you haue
mighty businesse in hand.

Corn.
True or false, it hath made thee Earle of
Gloucester: seeke out where thy Father is, that hee may bee
ready for our apprehension.

Bast.

If I finde him comforting the King, it will
stuffe his suspition more fully. I will perseuer in
my course of Loyalty, though the conflict be sore betweene
that, and my blood.

Corn.
I will lay trust vpon thee: and thou shalt finde
a deere Father in my loue.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene VI
Enter Kent, and Gloucester.

Glou.
Heere is better then the open ayre,t ake it
thankfully: I will peece out the comfort with what
addition I can: I will not be long from you.

Kent.
All the powre of his wits, haue giuen way to his impatience:
the Gods reward your kindnesse.
Exit
Enter Lear, Edgar, and Foole.

Edg.
Fraterretto cals me, and tells me Nero is an Angler
in the Lake of Darknesse: pray Innocent, and beware the
foule Fiend.

Foole.
Prythee Nunkle tell me, whether a madman be a
Gentleman, or a Yeoman.

Lear.
A King, a King.

Foole.
No, he's a Yeoman, that ha's a Gentleman to his Sonne:
for hee's a mad Yeoman that sees his Sonne a Gentleman
before him.

Lear.
To haue a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in vpon 'em.






Edg.
Blesse thy fiue wits.

Kent.
O pitty: Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft haue boasted to retaine?

Edg.
My teares begin to take his part so much,
They marre my counterfetting.

Lear.
The little dogges, and all;
Trey, Blanch, and Sweet-heart: see, they barke at me.

Edg.
Tom, will throw his head at them: Auaunt you
Curres,
be thy mouth or blacke or white:
Tooth that poysons if it bite:
Mastiffe, Grey-hound, Mongrill, Grim,
Hound or Spaniell, Brache, or Hym:
Or Bobtaile tight, or Troudle taile,
Tom will make him weepe and waile,
For with throwing thus my head;
Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.
Do, de, de, de: sese: Come, march to Wakes and Fayres,
And Market Townes: poore Tom thy horne is dry,

Lear.
Then let them Anatomize Regan: See what breeds
about her heart. Is there any cause in Nature that make
these hard-hearts. You sir, I entertaine for one of my hundred;
only, I do not like the fashion of your garments.
You will say they are Persian; but let them bee chang'd.

Kent.
Now good my Lord, lye heere, and rest awhile.

Lear.
Make no noise, make no noise, draw the Curtaines:
so, so, wee'l go to Supper i'th'morning.

Foole.
And Ile go to bed at noone.
Enter Gloster.

Glou.
Come hither Friend: / Where is the King my Master?

Kent.
Here Sir, but trouble him not, his wits are gon.

Glou.
Good friend, I prythee take him in thy armes;
I haue ore-heard a plot of death vpon him:
There is a Litter ready, lay him in't,
And driue toward Douer friend, where thou shalt meete
Both welcome, and protection. Take vp thy Master,
If thou should'st dally halfe an houre, his life
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured losse. Take vp, take vp,
And follow me, that will to some prouision
Giue thee quicke conduct. Come, come, away.

Exeunt
Original text
Act III, Scene VII
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Bastard, and
Seruants.

Corn.

Poste speedily to my Lord your
husband, shew him this Letter, the Army of France is
landed: seeke out the Traitor Glouster.

Reg.
Hang him instantly.

Gon.
Plucke out his eyes.

Corn.
Leaue him to my displeasure. Edmond, keepe
you our Sister company: the reuenges wee are bound to
take vppon your Traitorous Father, are not fit for your beholding.
Aduice the Duke where you are going, to a most
festiuate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our
Postes shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt vs. Farewell
deere Sister, farewell my Lord of Glouster.
Enter Steward.
How now? Where's the King?

Stew.
My Lord of Glouster hath conuey'd him hence
Some fiue or six and thirty of his Knights
Hot Questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who, with some other of the Lords, dependants,
Are gone with him toward Douer; where they boast
To haue well armed Friends.

Corn.
Get horses for your Mistris.
Exit

Gon.
Farewell sweet Lord, and Sister.

Corn.
Edmund farewell:
go seek the Traitor Gloster,
Pinnion him like a Theefe, bring him before vs:
Though well we may not passe vpon his life
Without the forme of Iustice: yet our power
Shall do a curt'sie to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not comptroll.
Enter Gloucester, and Seruants.
Who's there? the Traitor?

Reg.
Ingratefull Fox, 'tis he.

Corn.
Binde fast his corky armes.

Glou.
What meanes your Graces? / Good my Friends consider
you are my Ghests: / Do me no foule play, Friends.

Corn.
Binde him I say.

Reg.
Hard, hard: O filthy Traitor.

Glou.
Vnmercifull Lady, as you are, I'me none.

Corn.
To this Chaire binde him, / Villaine, thou shalt finde.


Glou.
By the kinde Gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To plucke me by the Beard.

Reg.
So white, and such a Traitor?

Glou.
Naughty Ladie,
These haires which thou dost rauish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your Host,
With Robbers hands, my hospitable fauours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

Corn.
Come Sir. / What Letters had you late from France?

Reg.
Be simple answer'd, for we know the truth.

Corn.
And what confederacie haue you with the Traitors,
late footed in the Kingdome?

Reg.
To whose hands/ You haue sent the Lunaticke King: Speake.

Glou.
I haue a Letter guessingly set downe
Which came from one that's of a newtrall heart,
And not from one oppos'd.

Corn.
Cunning.

Reg.
And false.

Corn.
Where hast thou sent the King?

Glou.
To Douer.

Reg.
Wherefore to Douer? Was't thou not charg'd at perill.

Corn.
Wherefore to Douer? Let him answer that.

Glou.
I am tyed to'th'Stake, / And I must stand the Course.

Reg.
Wherefore to Douer?

Glou.
Because I would not see thy cruell Nailes
Plucke out his poore old eyes: nor thy fierce Sister,
In his Annointed flesh, sticke boarish phangs.
The Sea, with such a storme as his bare head,
In Hell-blacke-night indur'd, would haue buoy'd vp
And quench'd the Stelled fires:
Yet poore old heart, he holpe the Heauens to raine.
If Wolues had at thy Gate howl'd that sterne time,
Thou should'st haue said, good Porter turne the Key:
All Cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
The winged Vengeance ouertake such Children.

Corn.
See't shalt thou neuer. Fellowes hold ye Chaire,
Vpon these eyes of thine, Ile set my foote.

Glou.
He that will thinke to liue, till he be old,
Giue me some helpe.----O cruell! O you Gods.

Reg.
One side will mocke another: Th'other too.

Corn.
If you see vengeance.

Seru.
Hold your hand, my Lord:
I haue seru'd you euer since I was a Childe:
But better seruice haue I neuer done you,
Then now to bid you hold.

Reg.
How now, you dogge?

Ser.
If you did weare a beard vpon your chin,
I'ld shake it on this quarrell.
What do you meane?

Corn.
My Villaine?


Seru.

Nay then come on, and take the chance of anger.


Reg.
Giue me thy Sword. A pezant stand vp thus?
Killes him.

Ser.
Oh I am slaine: my Lord, you haue one eye left
To see some mischefe on him. Oh.

Corn.
Lest it see more, preuent it; Out vilde gelly:
Where is thy luster now?

Glou.
All datke and comfortlesse? / Where's my Sonne Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparkes of Nature
To quit this horrid acte.

Reg.
Out treacherous Villaine,
Thou call'st on him, that hates thee. It was he
That made the ouerture of thy Treasons to vs:
Who is too good to pitty thee.

Glou.
O my Follies! then Edgar was abus'd,
Kinde Gods, forgiue me that, and prosper him.

Reg.
Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Douer.
Exit with Glouster.
How is't my Lord? How looke you?

Corn.
I haue receiu'd a hurt: Follow me Lady;
Turne out that eyelesse Villaine: throw this Slaue
Vpon the Dunghill: Regan, I bleed apace,
Vntimely comes this hurt. Giue me your arme.
Exeunt,
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Storm still. Enter Kent and a Gentleman by opposite
doors

KENT
Who's there besides foul weather?

GENTLEMAN
One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

KENT
I know you. Where's the King?

GENTLEMAN
Contending with the fretful elements:
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts with eyeless rage
Catch in their fury and make nothing of:
Strives in his little world of man to out-storm
The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs
And bids what will take all.

KENT
But who is with him?

GENTLEMAN
None but the Fool, who labours to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.

KENT
Sir, I do know you,
And dare upon the warrant of my note
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division –
Although as yet the face of it is covered
With mutual cunning – 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have – as who have not that their great stars
Throned and set high – servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state. What hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the Dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind King, or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings –
But true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdom, who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The King hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.

GENTLEMAN
I will talk further with you.

KENT
No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia –
As fear not but you shall – show her this ring,
And she will tell you who that fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the King.

GENTLEMAN
Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?

KENT
Few words, but to effect more than all yet:
That when we have found the King – in which your pain
That way, I'll this – he that first lights on him
Holla the other.
Exeunt by opposite doors
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Storm still. Enter Lear and the Fool

LEAR
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-curriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o'the world,
Crack Nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
That makes ingrateful man!

FOOL
O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better
than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in; ask thy
daughters' blessing. Here's a night pities neither wise
men nor fools.

LEAR
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters.
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, called you children.
You owe me no subscription; then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That will with two pernicious daughters join
Your high-engendered battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O, ho! 'Tis foul!

FOOL
He that has a house to put's head in has a good
headpiece.
The codpiece that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse;
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make,
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.
For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths
in a glass.
Enter Kent

LEAR
No, I will be the pattern of all patience.
I will say nothing.

KENT
Who's there?

FOOL
Marry, here's grace and a codpiece – that's a wise
man and a fool.

KENT
Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night
Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark
And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never
Remember to have heard. Man's nature cannot carry
Th' affliction nor the fear.

LEAR
Let the great gods
That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand,
Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue
That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practised on man's life. Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinned against than sinning.

KENT
Alack, bare-headed?
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.
Repose you there while I to this hard house –
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in – return and force
Their scanted courtesy.

LEAR
My wits begin to turn.
Come on, my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange
And can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.

FOOL
(sings)
He that has and a little tiny wit,
With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day.

LEAR
True, boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.
Exeunt Lear and Kent

FOOL
This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I'll speak
a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter,
When brewers mar their malt with water,
When nobles are their tailors' tutors,
No heretics burned but wenches' suitors –
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
When every case in law is right,
No squire in debt nor no poor knight,
When slanders do not live in tongues,
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,
When usurers tell their gold i'the field,
And bawds and whores do churches build –
Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
That going shall be used with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his
time.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Gloucester and Edmund with lights

GLOUCESTER
Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural
dealing. When I desired their leave that I might
pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house,
charged me on pain of perpetual displeasure neither to
speak of him, entreat for him, or any way sustain him.

EDMUND
Most savage and unnatural!

GLOUCESTER
Go to. Say you nothing. There is division
between the Dukes; and a worse matter than that. I
have received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to be
spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet. These injuries
the King now bears will be revenged home. There
is part of a power already footed. We must incline to the
King. I will look him and privily relieve him. Go you
and maintain talk with the Duke, that my charity be not
of him perceived. If he ask for me, I am ill and gone to
bed. If I die for it, as no less is threatened me, the King
my old master must be relieved. There is strange things
toward, Edmund. Pray you, be careful.
Exit

EDMUND
This courtesy forbid thee shall the Duke
Instantly know, and of that letter too.
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses – no less than all.
The younger rises when the old doth fall.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene IV
Enter Lear, Kent, and the Fool

KENT
Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter.
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.
Storm still

LEAR
Let me alone.

KENT
Good my lord, enter here.

LEAR
Wilt break my heart?

KENT
I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

LEAR
Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin; so 'tis to thee.
But where the greater malady is fixed,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the roaring sea
Thou'dst meet the bear i'the mouth. When the mind's free
The body's delicate; this tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. – Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? But I will punish home.
No, I will weep no more! In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Gonerill!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all!
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that!

KENT
Good my lord, enter here.

LEAR
Prithee go in thyself: seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more; but I'll go in.
(To the Fool)
In, boy, go first. – You houseless poverty –
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray and then I'll sleep.
Exit the Fool
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.

EDGAR
(within)
Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!
Enter the Fool from the hovel

FOOL
Come not in here, nuncle; here's a spirit. Help me,
help me!

KENT
Give me thy hand. Who's there?

FOOL
A spirit, a spirit! He says his name's Poor Tom.

KENT
What art thou that dost grumble there i'the straw?
Come forth.
Enter Edgar disguised as Poor Tom

EDGAR
Away! The foul fiend follows me.
Through the sharp hawthorn blow the cold winds.
Humh! Go to thy bed and warm thee.

LEAR
Didst thou give all to thy daughters? And art thou
come to this?

EDGAR
Who gives anything to Poor Tom? whom the foul
fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through
ford and whirlpool, o'er bog and quagmire, that hath
laid knives under his pillow and halters in his pew, set
ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of heart, to
ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched bridges to
course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five wits!
Tom's a-cold. O do, de, do de, do, de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do Poor Tom
some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I
have him now, and there, and there again, and there.
Storm still

LEAR
What, has his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Wouldst thou give 'em all?

FOOL
Nay, he reserved a blanket; else we had been all
shamed.

LEAR
Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!

KENT
He hath no daughters, sir.

LEAR
Death, traitor! Nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'Twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

EDGAR
Pillicock sat on Pillicock Hill.
Alow, alow, loo, loo!

FOOL
This cold night will turn us all to fools and
madmen.

EDGAR
Take heed o'the foul fiend, obey thy parents, keep
thy word's justice, swear not, commit not with man's
sworn spouse, set not thy sweet heart on proud array.
Tom's a-cold.

LEAR
What hast thou been?

EDGAR
A servingman, proud in heart and mind, that
curled my hair, wore gloves in my cap, served the lust of
my mistress' heart and did the act of darkness with her,
swore as many oaths as I spake words and broke them in
the sweet face of heaven; one that slept in the contriving
of lust and waked to do it. Wine loved I deeply, dice
dearly, and in woman outparamoured the Turk – false
of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in
stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks
betray thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of
brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders'
books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind,
Says suum, mun, nonny.
Dolphin, my boy, boy, sesey! Let him trot by.
Storm still

LEAR
Thou wert better in a grave than to answer with thy
uncovered body this extremity of the skies. Is man no
more than this? Consider him well. Thou owest the
worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the
cat no perfume. Ha! Here's three on's are sophisticated.
Thou art the thing itself! Unaccommodated man is no
more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.
Off, off, you lendings! Come, unbutton here.
He tears off his clothes

FOOL
Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were like an
old lecher's heart – a small spark, all the rest on's body
cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.
Enter Gloucester with a torch

EDGAR
This is the foul fiend Flibberdigibbet. He begins
at curfew and walks till the first cock. He gives the web
and the pin, squenies the eye and makes the harelip,
mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of
earth.
S'Withold footed thrice the 'old;
He met the nightmare and her ninefold,
Bid her alight and her troth plight –
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

KENT
How fares your grace?

LEAR
What's he?

KENT
(to Gloucester)
Who's there? What is't you seek?

GLOUCESTER
What are you there? Your names?

EDGAR
Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad,
the todpole, the wall-newt and the water; that in the
fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung
for sallets, swallows the old rat and the ditch-dog,
drinks the green mantle of the standing pool; who is
whipped from tithing to tithing and stock-punished and
imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six
shirts to his body,
Horse to ride and weapon to wear –
But mice and rats and such small deer
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower! Peace, Smulkin. Peace, thou fiend!

GLOUCESTER
What, hath your grace no better company?

EDGAR
The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Modo he's
called and Mahu.

GLOUCESTER
Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile
That it doth hate what gets it.

EDGAR
Poor Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER
Go in with me. My duty cannot suffer
T' obey in all your daughters' hard commands;
Though their injunction be to bar my doors
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

LEAR
First let me talk with this philosopher.
(To Edgar)
What is the cause of thunder?

KENT
Good my lord,
Take his offer, go into the house.

LEAR
I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
(To Edgar)
What is your study?

EDGAR
How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.

LEAR
Let me ask you one word in private.
Lear and Edgar talk apart

KENT
Importune him once more to go, my lord.
His wits begin t' unsettle.

GLOUCESTER
Canst thou blame him? –
(storm still)
His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent,
He said it would be thus, poor banished man!
Thou sayest the King grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself. I had a son,
Now outlawed from my blood; he sought my life
But lately, very late. I loved him, friend,
No father his son dearer. True to tell thee,
The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night's this! –
I do beseech your grace –

LEAR
O, cry you mercy, sir.
(To Edgar)
Noble philosopher, your company.

EDGAR
Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER
In, fellow, there, into th' hovel; keep thee
warm.

LEAR
Come, let's in all.

KENT
This way, my lord.

LEAR
With him!
I will keep still with my philosopher.

KENT
Good my lord, soothe him: let him take the fellow.

GLOUCESTER
Take him you on.

KENT
Sirrah, come on. Go along with us.

LEAR
Come, good Athenian.

GLOUCESTER
No words, no words! Hush!

EDGAR
Child Roland to the dark tower came;
His word was still ‘ Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.’
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene V
Enter Cornwall and Edmund

CORNWALL
I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.

EDMUND
How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature
thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.

CORNWALL
I now perceive it was not altogether your
brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but
a provoking merit set a-work by a reprovable badness in
himself.

EDMUND
How malicious is my fortune that I must repent
to be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves
him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O
heavens! that this treason were not, or not I the
detector.

CORNWALL
Go with me to the Duchess.

EDMUND
If the matter of this paper be certain, you have
mighty business in hand.

CORNWALL
True or false, it hath made thee Earl of
Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be
ready for our apprehension.

EDMUND
(aside)
If I find him comforting the King it will
stuff his suspicion more fully. (Aloud) I will persever in
my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between
that and my blood.

CORNWALL
I will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt find
a dearer father in my love.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene VI
Enter Kent and Gloucester

GLOUCESTER
Here is better than the open air. Take it
thankfully; I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can. I will not be long from you.

KENT
All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
The gods reward your kindness!
Exit Gloucester
Enter Lear, Edgar, and the Fool

EDGAR
Fraterretto calls me and tells me Nero is an angler
in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the
foul fiend.

FOOL
Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
gentleman or a yeoman.

LEAR
A king, a king!

FOOL
No! He's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son;
for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman
before him.

LEAR
To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon 'em!

EDGAR
The foul fiend bites my back.

FOOL
He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.

LEAR
It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.
(To Edgar)
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.
(To the Fool)
Thou sapient sir, sit here. No, you she-foxes –

EDGAR
Look where he stands and glares! Want'st thou
eyes at trial, madam?
(sings)
Come o'er the burn, Bessy, to me.

FOOL
(sings)
Her boat hath a leak
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

EDGAR
The foul fiend haunts Poor Tom in the voice of a
nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two
white herring. Croak not, black angel! I have no food for
thee.

KENT
How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed.
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushings?

LEAR
I'll see their trial first; bring in their evidence.
(To Edgar)
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place.
(To the Fool)
And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
Bench by his side. (To Kent) You are o'the commission;
Sit you too.

EDGAR
Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn,
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Pur, the cat is grey.

LEAR
Arraign her first. 'Tis Gonerill! I here take my oath
before this honourable assembly she kicked the poor
King her father.

FOOL
Come hither, mistress. Is your name Gonerill?

LEAR
She cannot deny it.

FOOL
Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

LEAR
And here's another whose warped looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?

EDGAR
Bless thy five wits!

KENT
O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?

EDGAR
(aside)
My tears begin to take his part so much
They mar my counterfeiting.

LEAR
The little dogs and all –
Trey, Blanch, and Sweetheart – see, they bark at me.

EDGAR
Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you
curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite,
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Or bobtail tike, or trundle-tail,
Tom will make him weep and wail;
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leapt the hatch and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sese! Come, march to wakes and fairs
and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

LEAR
Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds
about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes
these hard hearts? You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred.
Only I do not like the fashion of your garments.
You will say they are Persian; but let them be changed.

KENT
Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

LEAR
Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains.
So, so. We'll to supper i'the morning.

FOOL
And I'll go to bed at noon.
Enter Gloucester

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

KENT
Here, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.

GLOUCESTER
Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms;
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready; lay him in't
And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master;
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up,
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.

KENT
Oppressed nature sleeps.
This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure. (To the Fool) Come, help to bear thy master.
Thou must not stay behind.

GLOUCESTER
Come, come, away!
Exeunt Kent, Gloucester, and the Fool,
bearing off the King

EDGAR
When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers, suffers most i'the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind;
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the King bow –
He childed as I fathered. Tom, away!
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thoughts defile thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more tonight, safe 'scape the King!
Lurk, lurk!
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene VII
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Edmund, and
servants

CORNWALL
(to Gonerill)
Post speedily to my lord your
husband, show him this letter. The army of France is
landed. – Seek out the traitor Gloucester.
Exeunt some servants

REGAN
Hang him instantly!

GONERILL
Pluck out his eyes!

CORNWALL
Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep
you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to
take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding.
Advise the Duke where you are going to a most
festinate preparation; we are bound to the like. Our
posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell,
dear sister. Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.
Enter Oswald
How now? Where's the King?

OSWALD
My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.
Some five- or six-and-thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who with some other of the lord's dependants
Are gone with him toward Dover, where they boast
To have well-armed friends.

CORNWALL
Get horses for your mistress.
Exit Oswald

GONERILL
Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

CORNWALL
Edmund, farewell.
Exeunt Gonerill and Edmund
Go seek the traitor Gloucester.
Pinion him like a thief; bring him before us.
Exeunt servants
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a curtsy to our wrath, which men
May blame but not control.
Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three servants
Who's there? The traitor?

REGAN
Ingrateful fox, 'tis he!

CORNWALL
Bind fast his corky arms.

GLOUCESTER
What means your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.

CORNWALL
Bind him, I say.
Servants tie his hands

REGAN
Hard, hard! O filthy traitor!

GLOUCESTER
Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

CORNWALL
To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find –
Regan plucks his beard

GLOUCESTER
By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.

REGAN
So white, and such a traitor!

GLOUCESTER
Naughty lady,
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host;
With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

CORNWALL
Come, sir; what letters had you late from France?

REGAN
Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.

CORNWALL
And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom –

REGAN
To whose hands you have sent the lunatic King? Speak!

GLOUCESTER
I have a letter guessingly set down
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart
And not from one opposed.

CORNWALL
Cunning.

REGAN
And false.

CORNWALL
Where hast thou sent the King?

GLOUCESTER
To Dover.

REGAN
Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril –

CORNWALL
Wherefore to Dover? Let him answer that.

GLOUCESTER
I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

REGAN
Wherefore to Dover?

GLOUCESTER
Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh rash boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up
And quenched the stelled fires;
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howled that dern time
Thou shouldst have said, ‘ Good porter, turn the key;
All cruels else subscribe.’ But I shall see
The winged Vengeance overtake such children.

CORNWALL
See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.

GLOUCESTER
He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help! – O, cruel! O, you gods!

REGAN
One side will mock another. Th' other too!

CORNWALL
If you see Vengeance –

FIRST SERVANT
Hold your hand, my lord!
I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

REGAN
How now, you dog!

FIRST SERVANT
If you did wear a beard upon your chin
I'd shake it on this quarrel.
(Cornwall draws his sword)
What do you mean?

CORNWALL
My villain!
He lunges at him

FIRST SERVANT
(drawing his sword)
Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
He wounds Cornwall

REGAN
Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!
She takes a sword and runs at him behind

FIRST SERVANT
O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O!
He dies

CORNWALL
Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

GLOUCESTER
All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.

REGAN
Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.

GLOUCESTER
O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.
Kind gods, forgive me that and prosper him.

REGAN
Go thrust him out at gates and let him smell
His way to Dover.
Exit a servant with Gloucester
How is't, my lord? How look you?

CORNWALL
I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
Exit Cornwall, supported by Regan

SECOND SERVANT
I'll never care what wickedness I do
If this man come to good.

THIRD SERVANT
If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.

SECOND SERVANT
Let's follow the old Earl, and get the Bedlam
To lead him where he would; his roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.

THIRD SERVANT
Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!
Exeunt by opposite doors
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL