How now, Oswald !
What, have you writ that letter to my sister ?
Osw. Ay, madam.
Gon. Take you some company, and away to
Inform her full of my particular fear,
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone ;
And hasten your return. [Exit Oswald^} No,
no, my lord,
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more at task for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce I cannot
Striving to better, oft we mar what 's well.
Gon. Nay, then
Alb. Well, well; the event. Exeunt.
Scene V. Court before the Duke of Albany's
Enter Lear, Kent and Fool.
Lear. Go you before to Gloucester with these
letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with
any thing you know than comes from her demand
out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy,
I shall be there afore you.
Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have
delivered your letter. Exit.
Fool. If a man's brains were in 's heels, were 't
not in danger of kibes ?
Lear. Ay, boy.
Fool. Then, I prithee, be merry ; thy wit shall
not go slip-shod.
Lear. Ha, ha, ha !
Fool. Shalt see thy other daughter will use
thee kindly; for though she's as like this as a
crab 's like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
Lear. What canst tell, boy ?
Fool. She will taste as like this as a crab does
to a crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands
i' the middle on 's face ?
ACT II., Sc. 1.
Fool. Whv. to keen on^
nose, that what a man cannot smell out he may
Lear. I did her wrong
Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
Fool. Nor I neither ; but I can tell why a snail
has a house.
Fool. Why, to put his head in ; not to give it
away to his daughters, and leave his horns with-
out a case.
Lear. I will forget my nature. So kind a
father ! Be my horses ready ?
Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em. The
reason why the seven stars are no moe than
seven is a pretty reason.
Lear. Because they are not eight ?
Fool. Yes, indeed : thou wouldst make a good
Lear. To take 't again perforce ! Monster in-
Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I 'Id have
thee beaten for being old before thy time.
Lear. How's that?
Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old till thou
hadst been wise.
Lear. O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet
Keep me in temper : I would not be mad !
How now ! are the horses ready ?
Gen. Eeady, my lord.
Lear. Come, boy.
Fool. She that 's a maid now, and laughs at
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut
Enter Edmund and Curan, meeting.
Edm. Save thee, Curaii.
Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your
father, and given him notice that the Duke of
Cornwall and Began, his duchess, will be here
with him this night.
Edm. How comes that ?
Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the
news abroad ; I mean the whispered ones, for
they are yet but ear-kissing arguments ?
Edm. Not I : pray you, what are they ?
Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward,
'twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
Edm. Not a word.
Cur. You may do, then, in time. Fare you
well, sir. Exit.
Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother ;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act. Briefness and fortune, work !
Brother, a word ; descend. Brother, I say !
My father watches : O sir, fly this place ;
Intelligence is given where you are hid ;
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Corn-
He 'scorning hither; now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him : have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany ?
Edg. I am sure on 't, not a word.
Edm. I hear my father coming : pardon me ;
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you :
Draw ; seem to defend yourself ; now quit you
Yield : comebefore my father. Light, ho, here !
Fly, brother. Torches, torches ! So, farewell.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Wounds his arm.
Of my more fierce endeavour ; I have seen
Do more than this in sport. Father, father !
Stop, stop ! No help ?
Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches.
Glo. Now, Edmund, where 's the villain ?
Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress,
Glo. But where is he ?
Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Glo. Where is the villain, Edmund ?
Edm. Fled this way, sir,. when by no means he
Glo. Pursue him, ho ! Go after. By no means
Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lord-
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend ;
Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to th' father ; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm :
But when he saw my best alarum' d spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to th' encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.
Glo. Let him fly far :
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught ;
And found dispatch. The noble duke, my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night :
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake ;
He that conceals him, death.
Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to dp it, with curst speech
I threaten' d to discover him : he replied,
Thou unpossessing bastard ! dost thou think,
If I ivould stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd ? No : ivhat I should
.4s this I would ; ay, though thou, didst produce
ACT II., Sc. 2.
M y very character, I 'Id turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot and damned practice :
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.
Glo. O strange and fasten'd villain !
Would he deny his letter ? I never got him.
Hark, the duke's trumpets ! I know not why he
All ports I '11 bar ; the villain shall not 'scape ;
The duke must grant me that. Besides, his
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him ; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I '11 work the means
To make thee capable.
Enter Cornwall, Regan and Attendants.
Corn. How now, my noble friend! since I
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my
Glo. O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it 's
crack' d !
Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your
He whom my father named ? your Edgar ?
Glo. O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid !
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous
That tend upon my father ?
Glo. I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad.
Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
Reg. No marvel then, though he were ill af-
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have th' expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them ; and with such cau-
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I '11 not be there.
Corn. Nor I, assure thee, Eegan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
Edm. 'Twas my duty, sir.
Glo. He did bewray his practice, and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Corn. Is he pursued ?
Glo. Ay, my good lord.
Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm. Make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Ed-
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours :
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need ;
You we first seize on.
Edm. I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
Glo. For him I thank your grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you ?
Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice :
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home ; the several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom ; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
Glo. I serve you, madam.
Your graces are right welcome.
Scene IL Before Gloucester's Castle.
Enter Kent and Oswald, severally.
Osw. Good dawning to thee, friend : art of this
Osw. Where may we set our horses?
Kent. I' the mire.
Ostu. Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.
Kent. I love thee not.
Osw. Why then, I care not for thee.
Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I
would make thee care for me.
Osw. Why dost thou use me thus ? I know
Kent. Fellow, I know thee.
Osw. What dost thou know me for ?
Kent. A knave ; a rascal ; an eater of broken
meats ; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-
suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking
knave ; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a
whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical
rogue ; one-trunk-inheriting slave ; one that
wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and
art nothing but the composition of a knave,
beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of
a mongrel dog: one whom I will beat into
clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least
syllable of thy addition.
Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou,
thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee
nor knows thee !
Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to
deny thou knowest me ! Is it two days ago since
I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee before the
king ? Draw, you rogue : for though it be night,
yet the moon shines ; I '11 make a sop o' the
moonshine of you : draw, you whoreson cullionly
Osw. Away ! I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal. You come with letters
against the king, and take vanity the puppet's
part against the royalty of her father. Draw, you
rogue, or I '11 so carbonado your shanks. Draw,
you rascal ; come your ways.
Osw. Help, ho ! murder ! help !
Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand;
you neat slave, strike.
Osw. Help, ho ! murder ! murder !
Enter Edmund, with his rapier drawn.
Edm. How now! What's the matter? Part.
Kent. With you, goodman boy, if you please :
come, I '11 flesh ye ; come on, young master.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester 8f Servants.
Glo. Weapons ! arms ! What 's the matter here ?
ACT II., Sc. 2.
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives :
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter ?
Reg. The messengers from our sister and the
Corn. What is your difference ? speak.
Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord.
Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your
valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims
in thee : a tailor made thee.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow : a tailor make
a man ?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a
painter could not have made him so ill, though he
had been but two hours o' th' trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel ?
Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have
spared at suit of his grey beard,
Kent. Thou whoreson zed ! thou unnecessary
letter ! My lord, if you will give me leave, I will
tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub
the walls of a jakes with him. Spare my grey
beard, you wagtail ?
Corn. Peace, sirrah !
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
Kent. Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.
Corn. Why art thou angry ?
Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose ; smooth every
That in the natures of their lords rebel ;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods ;
Renege, affirm and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage !
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool ?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I 'Id drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow ?
Glo. How fell you out ? say that.
Kent . No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
Corn. Why dost thou call him knave ? What
is his fault ?
Kent. His countenance likes me not.
Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his,
Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain :
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
Com. This is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature : he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth !
An they will take it, so ; if not, he 's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
Kent. Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front,
Corn. What mean'st by this ?
Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discom-
mend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer :
he that beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain
knave ; which for my part I will not be, though
I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't.
Corn. What was th' offence you gave him ?
Osw. I never gave him any :
It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction ;
When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind ; being down, insulted, railed,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self -subdued ;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
Kent. None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.
Corn. Fetch forth the stocks !
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend brag-
We '11 teach you
Kent. Sir, I am too old to learn :
Call not your stocks for me. I serve the king ;
On whose employment I was sent to you :
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.
Corn. Fetch forth the stocks ! As I have life
There shall he sit till noon.
Reg. Till noon ! till night, my lord ; and all
Kent. Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.
Reg. Sir, being his knave, I will.
Corn. This is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the
stocks ! Stocks brought out.
Glo. Let me beseech your grace not to do so :
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for't: your purposed low cor-
Is such as basest and contemned' st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punished with : the king must take it ill,
That he so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.
Corn. I '11 answer that.
Reg. My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
Come, my good lord, away.
Exeunt all but Gloucester and Kent.
Glo. I am sorry for thee, friend ; 'tis the duke's
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubbed nor stopped. I'll entreat
Kent. Pray, do not, sir. I have watched and
travelled hard ;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I '11 whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels :
Give you good morrow !
Glo. The duke 's to blame in this ; 'twill be ill
Kent. Good king, that must approve the com-
Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
To the warm sun !
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter ! Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been informed
Of my obscured course, and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o'er-
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night ; smile once more ; turn thy
wheel ! Sleeps.
Scene IILA Wood.
Edg. I heard myself proclaimed ;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free ; no place,
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may 'scape,
I will preserve myself : and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast : my face I '11 grime with
Blanket my loins ; elf all my hair in knots ;
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who with roaring voices
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary ;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod ! poor
That 's something yet ; Edgar I nothing am.
Scene IV. Before Gloucester's Castle. Kent
in the stoc.Jcs.
Enter Lear, Fool and Gentleman.
Lear. 'Tis strange that they should so depart
And not send back my messenger.
Gen. As I learned,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.
Kent. Hail to thee, noble master !
Makest thou this shame thy pastime ?
Kent. No, my lord.
Fool. Ha, ha ! he wears cruel garters. Horses
are tied by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck,
monkeys by the loins, and men by the legs : when
a man's over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden
Lear. What's he that hath so much thy place
To set thee here ?
Kent. It is both he and she ;
Your son and daughter.
Lear. No, I say.
Kent. I say, yea.
Lear. No, no, they would not.
Kent. Yes, they have.
Lear. By Jupiter, I swear, no.
Kent. By Juno, I swear, ay.
Lear. They durst not do 't ;
They could not, would not do 't ; 'tis worse than
To do upon respect such violent outrage :
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.
Kent. My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that showed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations ;
Delivered letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read : on whose contents,
They summoned up their meiny, straight took
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer ; gave me cold looks :
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceived, had poison'd mine,
Being the very fellow that of late
Display 'd so saucily against your highness,
Having more man than wit about me, drew :
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.
Fool. Winter 's not gone yet, if the wild-geese
fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind ;
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to the poor.
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolourg
for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.
Lear. 0, how this mother swells up toward my
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element's below ! Where is this daughter ?
Kent. With the earl, sir, here within.
Lear. Follow me not : stay here. Exit .
Gen. Made you no more offence but what you
speak of ?
How chance the king comes with so small a
Fool. An thou hadst been set i* the stocks for
that question, thou hadst well deserved it.
Kent. Why, Fool ?
Fool. We '11 set thee to school to an ant, to teach
thee there 's no labouring i' the winter. All that
follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind
men, and there 's not a nose among twenty but
can smell him that 's stinking. Let go thy hold
when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break
thy neck with following it : but the great one that
goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When
ALT II., Ou. 4. HlJfg
a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine
again : I would have none but knaves follow it,
since a Fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry ; the Fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly :
The knave turns fool that runs away ;
The Fool no knave, perdy.
Kent. Where learned you this, Fool ?
Fool. Not i' the stocks, fool !
Re-enter Lear, with Gloucester.
Lear. Deny to speak with me ? They are sick ?
they are weary ?
They have travelled all the night ? Mere fetches ;
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.
Glo. My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke ;
How unremovable and fixed he is
In his own course.
Lear. Vengeance ! plague ! death ! confusion !
Fiery ? what quality ? Why, Gloucester, Glou-
I 'Id speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them
Lear. Informed them ! Dost thou understand
me, man ?
Glo. Ay, my good lord.
Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall ;
the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her
Are they informed of this ? My breath and blood !
Fiery ? the fiery duke ? Tell the hot duke that
No, but not yet : may be he is not well :
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound ; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body : I '11 forbear ;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man. Death on my state ! where-
fore Looking on Kent.
Should he sit here ? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and 's wife I 'Id speak with them,
Now, presently : bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber-door I '11 beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death.
Glo. I would have all well betwixt you. Exit.
Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart ! But,
Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to
the eels when she put 'em i' th' paste alive ; she
knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick, and
cried Down, wantons, down ! 'Twas her brother
that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his
Re-enter Gloucester, with Cornwall, Regan
Lear. Good morrow to you both.
Corn. Hail to your grace !
Kent is set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your highness.
Lear. Regan, I think you are ; I know what
I have to think so : if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress. [To Kent.] O, are you
Some other time for that. Beloved Eegan,
Thy sister 's naught : O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here :
Points to his heart.
I can scarce speak to thee ; thou 'It not believe
With how depraved a quality Regan !
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience : I have hope
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.
Lear. Say, how is that ?
Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance
She have restrained the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her !
Reg. 0, sir, you are old ;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine. You should be ruled and led