William Michael Rossetti William Shakespeare.

The complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography online

. (page 178 of 224)
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Lear, Bight noble Burgundy,

When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;
But now her price is fairn : Sir^ there she stands ;
If aught within that little, seeming sabstanoe,
Or all of it« with oar displeasure piec*d.
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
8he*B there, and she is yours.

Bvr, I know no answer.

Lear, Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower*d with our cune, and stranger*d with our

Take her, or leaTe her ?

Bur. Pardon me, royal sir,

Election makes not up in such conditions.

Lear, Then leave her, sir ; for by the power that
made me,
I td! you all her wealth.— For you, great king,

[Tb France.
I would not from your lore make such a stray,
To match yon where 1 hate ; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way.
Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.

/Wznce. This is most strange I

That she, who even but now was your best object.
The argument of your praise, balm of ;^our age.
The bnt, the dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
80 many folds of favour I Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree.
That monsters it, or your fore- vouched affection
Fall into taint : which to believe of her.
Must be a fiuth that reason without miracle
Should never plant in me.

Cor. I yet beseech your majesty

Jlf for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpoae not; since what I well

111 dot before I speak), that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murtber, or foulness.
No unchaste action or dishonoured step,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favour :
But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting ere, and such a tongue
That I am glad 1 have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.

Lear, Better thou

Hadst not been bom than not t' have pleased me

Framee. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature,
Which often leaves the history unspoke
rhat it intends to do?— Mv lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady ? Love*s not love.
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her ?
She is herself a dowry.

Bur, Roval king.

Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundv.

Lear, Nothing : I have sworn ; I am firm.

Bur. I am sorry, then, von have so lost a father
That you ointt ioae a husband.

Cor, Peace be with Burgundy t

Since that respeoti of fortune ar« his love,

LEAR. 77ft

•Fhnioe. Fahrest Cordelia, that art most rich,
being poor ;
Most choice, forsaken ; and most lov*d, desj^^d I
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon :
Be it lawful. I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods! tis strange, that from their coldest

My love should kingle to inflam*d respect. —
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my

Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France :
Not all the dukes of watYish Burgundv
Can buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me. —
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, thougli unkind :
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

j^eor. Thou hast her, France : lot her be thbsa,
for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again : — Therefore be gona,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flouriah, Exeunt Leab, Bub., Con,
Alb., Glo., and Attendants.

France. Bid farewell to yonr sisters.

Cor, The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And, like a sister, am most loth to call
Your &ults as they are nam*d. Love well our

To your professed bosoms I commit him :
But yet, alas 1 stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Reg. Prescribe not us our duties.

Gon, Let your study

Be, to content your lord ; who hath received you
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted.
And well are worth the want that you have

Cor, Time shall unfold what plighted eunnhag
Who covers faults at last with shame derides.
Well may you prosper I

France. Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt France and Cobdbua.

Oon. Sister, it is not little I have to say, of
what most nearly appertains to us both. I think
our father will hence to-night.

Beg. That's most certain, and with you; next
month with us.

Gon, You see how fbll of chanees his age is ;
the observation we have made of it hath been
little: he alwavs loved our sister most; and with
what poor judgment he hath now caht her off
appears too grossly.

Beg. Tis the infirmity of his age : yet he hath
ever out slenderly known himself.

Oon, The best and soundest of his time hath
been but rash : then mu&t we look f^om his ace to
receive not alone the imperfections of long>
engraffed condition, hot, therewithal, the unruly
waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring
with them.

Beg, Such unconstant starts are we like to have
ftom him, as thb of Kent^ banishment.

Oon. There Is further compliment of leave-
taking between France and him. Pray vou, let
us sit together : if our Cither earry authority with
such dispositions as he bears, this last f unender
of his will but offend us.

Beg. We shall further think of it.

apn. We must do somethmg, and4* th« h^.
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776 KING

SCENE 11.—^ Hda in the Earl of Gloster'B


Enter Edmund, with a letter.

Echo, ThoQf natare, art my goddess ; to thy law
^fy services are bound: Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom ; and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me.
For that I am some twelve or rourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base?
When mv dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my sliape as true,
ABhonestmadam'8 issue? Why orand they us
With base ? with baseness ? b&surdy ? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Uo to the oreatmg a whole tribe of fops,
Got *tween asleep and wake?— Well, then,
Legitimate Edgsjr, I must have your land :
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate: Fine woi d,— legitimate!
Well, mjjT legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow ; I proeper: —
Now, gods, stand up for bastards I

Enter GLOfiTBB.

Olo, Kont banished thus ! and Frtnoe in choler
parted 1
And the king gone to-night I prescribed his power I
Confined to exliibition! All this done

Upon the gad! Edmund 1 How now; what


Edm, So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the letter.

Oh, Why 10 earnestly seek you to put up that

Edm, 1 know no news, my lord.

Olo, What paper were vou reading ?

Edm, Nothmg, my lord.

Olo. No ? what needed then that terrible des-
patch of it into your pocket ? the quality of nothing
hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see :
Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Edm, I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a
letter from my brother, that I have not all o*er-
read : and for so much as I havu perused, I find it
not fit for your overlooking.

Olo, Give me the letter, sir.

Edm, 1 shall offend, either to detain or give it.
The contents, as in part I understand them, are to


(Jlo. YonknowtheoharactertobeyonrbrolherVi

Edm, If the matter were good, my lord, 1 durst
swear it were his ; but, in respect of that, I would
(ain think it were not.

Olo, It is his.

Edm, It is his hand, my lord ; but I hope hif
heart is not in the contents.

Oh, Has he never heretofore sounded you in
this business ?

Edm. Never, my lord : But I have heard him
oft maintain it to tie fit, that, sons at perfect age,
and fathers declined, the father should be as ward
to the son, and the son manage bis revenue.

Oh, villain, villain I— His very opinion in
the letter 1— Abhorred villain I Unnatural, detested,
brutish villain I worse than brutish ! — Go, sirrah,
seek him; 111 apprehend him: — Abominable vil-
lain 1~ Where is he ?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall
please you to suspend your indignation against m^
brother, till yon can derive from him better testi-
mony of his intent, you should run a certain course;
where, if you violently proceed against him, mhi-
taking his purpose, it would make a great gap in
your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart ot
bis obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him,
that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your
honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Oh, Think you so?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet I wHl plaoe
you where you shall hear us confer ot this, and by
an auricular assurance have vour satisfaction ; aiid
that without any further delay than this very

Oh, He cannot be such a monster.

Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Oh. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely
loves him. — Heaven and earth! — Edmund, seek
him out; wind me into him, I pray yon ; frame
the business after your own wisdom: I would
unstate myself to be in a due resolution.

Edm I will seek him, sir, presently; oonvej
the business as I shall find means, and acquaint
you withal.

Oh, These late eclipses in the sun and moon
portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of
nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds
itself scourged by the sequent effects : love cools,
friendship falls off^ brothers divide: in cities,
mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason;
and the bond cracked *twixt son and father. This
villain of mine comes under the prediction ; there^
son against father: the king nils firom bias ol

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dragon's tail; and mj nativity was under htm
mcgor: so that it follows, I am rough and leohe-
roufl.— I should have been that I am, liad the
maidenl'est star in the firroaroent twinliled on my
ht n t4ir d««^ng ,

^ Enter Edoab.
Fat: he comes like the catastrophe of the old
comedy I My cue is villaioous melancholy, with
a sigh like Tom o* Bedlam.— O, these eclipses do
portend these divisions 1 fa, sol, U, mi.

Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious
contemplation are you in?

Edm. 1 am thinking, brother, of a prfidiotion I
read this other day, what should follow these
JScb, Do you busy yourself with that ?
Him. I promise you the eflfects he writes of
sueeeed unhappily; as of nnnatnralness between
the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolu-
tions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces
and maledictions against king and nobles^ needless
diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of
cohorts, nuptial breaches, and 1 know not what

Etltj. How long have yon been a sectary astro-

jEdm, Come, come, when saw yon my &ther
Ech, The night gone by.
Earn, Spake yon with him?
Ecb, Ay, two hours together.
Eom. Parted you in good terms? Found yon
no displeasure in him, by word, or countenance?
E(h. None at all.

Juun. Bethink vourself wherein yon may have
offended him : and at my entreaty forbear his pre-
sence, till some little time has qualified the heat
of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth
in him, tnat with the mischief of your person it
would scarcely allay.
Eeb. Some viilam hath done me wrong.
Ecbn. That's my fear. I pray you have a con-
tinent forbearance, till the speed of liis rage goes
slower ; and, as I say, retire with me to my Indgmg,
from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord
sfwak : Pray yon, go ; there*s my key :~if you do
stir abroad go armed.
Edg* Armed, brother I

Eian, Brother, I advise you to the best I am no
honest man if there be any good meaning toward
vou : I have told you what I have seen and heard,
but iamtly ; nothmg like the image and horror of
It: Pray vou, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon ?
fian. I do serve you in this business. —

A erednlons fkther, and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms
That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
My practices ride easy I— I see the business.—
Let me. if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet that I can fiuhion fit [Exit

8GENB ni.-J Boom in the Duke of Albany *s


Elder Oomuol and Steward.

Qm, Did mr fifUher strike my gentleman for
chiding of hii fool?

Stem. Ay, madam.

Oph. By day and night he wrongs me; averf
He flashes into one ffroai crime or other,
That sets Of all at odds: lUootendnrait:

LEAR. 777

His knights mw riotous, and hraiself upbraids us
On every trifle:— When he returns fr^m hmiting
I will not speak with him ; say, I am siok :—
If you come slack of former services
Yon shall do weli; the fault of it 111 answer.

Stew. Ue^ coming, madam ; I hear him.


Ooiu Put on what weary negligence you please.
Ton and your fellows ; Td iiave it come to question:
If he distaste it, let him to my sister.
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are onct
Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man.
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! — Now, by my life,
Old fools are oabes again ; and must be us'd
With checks, as flatteries, — ^when they are seen

Remember what I have said.

Stew. Well, madam.

Oon. And let his knights have colder looks
among vou ; what grows of it no matter; advise
your fellows so : I would breed from hence occa-
sions, and 1 shall that I may speak :— 111 write
straight to my sister, to hold my course: — Pre-
pare for dinner. [J&etunL

SCENE IT.— J Eaainihe eame.

Enter Kbnt, diegtueed,

Kent If but as well I other accents borrow.
That can my speech diffuse, my good intent
May carry throogh itself to that full issue
For which I raa'd my likeness. — Now, banish'd

If thou canst serve where thou dost stand con-
So may it come thy master, whom thou lov'st.
Shall find thee full of Ubours.

^oms within. Enter Leas, Knights, and

Lear, Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get
it ready. [Exit an Attendant] How now, what
art thou?

Kent. A man, sir.

Lear. What dost thou profess? What wooldst
thou with us?

Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem ;
to serve him truly that will put me in trust ; to
love him that is honest ; to converse with him
that is wise and says little; to fear judgment ; to
fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.

Lear. What art thou?

Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor
as the king.

Lear. If thou be^M as poor for a subieet as he%
for a king, thoa art poor enough. What wouldst

Kent. Service.

Lear. Who wonldst thou serve?

Kent. Ton.

Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow ?

Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your comite*
nance which I would fain call master.

Lear. What*sthat?

Kent. Authority.

Lear. What service canst thou do?

Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, nm, mar
a eurious tale in telling it, and deliver a pUun
message bluntly; that which ordinary men are
fit for I am qualified in : and the best of me is

^Swr. How old art then? (^n,n,n\o

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^2 ., KING

^nt. Wot 80 Tomipr, rir, to love a woman for

Binging, nor so old to dote on her for anjthing:

I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follovr nie; thou shalt serre me; if I

like thee no worse after dinner, 1 will not part

fW>m thee yet— Dinner, hoa, dinner.— Where's

my knave ? my fool ? Go you, and call my fool


IBnter Steward.

Ton, yon, sirrah, whereas my danghter?

Stew. 8o please yoQ, — \&cU.

Lear. What savs the fellow there? Can the
dotnoll back.— Whereas my fool, hoa?— I think the
world*sas]eep.— How now? where'a that mongrel?

KnigkL He says, my lord, your daughter is not

Lear. Whv came the slare not back to me
when I oaird him?

Kmyht. 8ir, he answered me in the roondest
manner, he would not.

Lear. He would not I

KidylU. My lord, I know not what the matter
is ; but to my judgment, your highness is not
entertained with that ceremonious affection as yon
were wont ; there's a great abatement of kindness
appears, as well in the general dependants, as in
the duke himself also, and your daughter.

Lear. Hal say*st thou so?

Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if
I be mistaken : fur my duty cannot be silent when
1 tliink your highnes8 wronged.

LeoTi Thou but remeuiber'st me of mine own
oonoeption: I have perceived a most faint neglect
of late; which 1 have rather bLimed as mine own
jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and

Enrposeof uukindness: I will look further intot.
lut Where's my fool? I have not seen him this
two days.

Kitiyht. ^mc^ mv young lady^ going into
France, sir, the fool liath much pined away.

Leaf. No more of that; I have noted it
well.— Go you, and tell my daughter I would
speak with her,— Go yon, call hither my fool.

Be^eKUr Steward,

O, yon air, yon, come yon hither, sir; Who am I,

Stem. My lady'^ father.

Lear. MV hidy's father! my lord'k knave: you
whoreson dog I you slavel yon curl

SUw. I am none of these, my lord: I beseech
your pardon.

Lear. Do yon bandy looks with me, yon rascal?
[Striking him.

Stew. Ill not be stmcken, my lord.

£eiU. Nor tripped neither; yon base foot-ball
player. [Tnjpping tqt hit heeie.

Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thon serv^ me,
and 111 love thee.

ir«i<. Come, sir, arise, away; III teach yon


J^bol. Shrah, yon were best take my ooxeombii
J^ear. Why, niyboy?

FooL Why? For taking one^ part that's ont d
favour: Nay, an thou cimst not smile as the
wind sits, thoult catch cold shortly r There, take
my coxcomb : Why, this fellow has ^niah*d two
of his daughters, and did the third a blessing
against his will ; if thou follow him, thou most
needs wear my coxcomb.— How now, noncle?
'Would 1 had two coxcombs, and two daughteral
Lear. Why, my boy?

FooL If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my
coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of
thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah ; the whip.
FooL Truth's a dog must to kennel; he mnst be
whipp'd out, when the lady brach may etand by
the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me !
FooL Sirrah, 111 teach thee a speedL
Lear. Do.
Fxd. Mark it, nnnde :—

Have more than thon showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thon owest,
Ride more than thon goest.
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest ;
Leave thy drink and thy whorBy
And keep in-adoor.
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
Ketd. This is nothing, fool.
FooL Then 'tis like the breath of an nnfeeM
lawyer; you gave me notliing fort: Can you
make no use of nothing, n uncle?

Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out
of nothing.

FooL Prithee tell him, so much the rent of his
land comes to ; he will not believe a fooL

[7b Kbit.

Xear. A bitter fool I

FooL Dost thou know tiie difference, my boy,
between a bitter fool and a sweet one?

Lear. No, lad ; teach me.

JfboL That lord that counsell^ thee to give
awa^ thy land.
Come place him here by me, do thon for him stand :
The sweet and bitter fool will presently appear;
The one in motley here — the other found ont

Lear. Dost thon call me fool, boy?

FooL All thy other titles thon hast given away;
that thon wast bom with.

Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.

FooL No, faith, lords and great men will not let
me ; if I had a monopoly out, they would have
part ont: and ladies too, they will not let me have
all fool to myself; thevll be snatching.— N uncle,
give me an egg, and I'll give thee two crowns. -

T .^^.^ 1171... A l.-ll ^1 « . n

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Xeor. When were joa wont to be ao fall of

flongs, sirrah ?
tXtoL I have oaed it, noncle, e*er ilnoe thou

madest thy daughters thy mothers ; for when then

gaT*st them the rod, ena pattest down thine own


Then tbflv for ■Qddflolof did weopk \8mgmg.

And I for lorrow sanf,
That saab a king iboula plagr bo-peap,

And go the fool among.

Prithee, nande, keep a schoolmaster that can
teach thj fool to lie; 1 woald soon learn to lie.

Ltar, An yon Ue, sirrah, well have 70a

FhoL I manrel what kin thou and thy daughters
are: theyll have roe whipped for speakUig tme,
thonlt have me whipped for lying ; and sometimes
1 am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather
be any kind of thing than a fool : and yet I woald
not be thee, nonde ; thoo hast pared thv wit o'both
•idee, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes
one o' the parings.

J^iiter GovBSiL.

Lear, flow now, daughter? what makes that
frontlet on? Methinks, yon are too mach of late
i* the frown.

FboL Then wast a pretty fellow when then hadst
DO need to care for her frowning ; now thou art an

withont a figure : 1 am better than thou art now :

1 am a fool, thou art nothing. - Yes. forsooth, I
will hold my tongue; so ^our face [2o QoN.] bids
me, though you say nothing. Mum, mom,

He that keeps nor orust nor crom,
Weary of all, shall want some. —
That^ a sheal*d peasood. [Pointing to Lbab.

Am. Not only, sir, this your all-lioens*d fool.
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel ; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-beendnred riots. Kir,
I had thought, by making this well known onto

To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
Bt what yourself too late have »poke and done.
That you protect this course, and put it on
Bt your allowance ; which, if you should, the fault
Would not *8cape censure, nor the redresses sleep;
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal.
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, thiat then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

FooL For yon Imow, nnnde.
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long.
That it mul its head bit off by its young.
Bo, out went tlie candle, and we were left darkling.

Lear, Are you our daughter?

^011. I would yon would make use of your good
Whereof 1 know you are fraught; and put away
These dispositions, which of late transport you
From what you rightly are.

FooL May not an ass know when the cart draws
the horse?— Whoop, Jug ! I love thee.

Lear. Does any here know me? This is not Lear.
Does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are

Either hb notion weakens, his diseemings
Are leiharfried. Hal wakins ? tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?—

FooL Lear *s shadow.—

Z^eor. I would learn that ; fbr by the marks of
sovereignty, knowledge, and reason^ I iiioald be
fklae persuaded 1 had daaghtera— »

LEAR. 779

FooL Which they will make an obedient fkther.

Lear, Tour name, &ir g:entle woman?

Qon, This admiration, sir, is mnch o* the savour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:
As you are old and reverend, should be wise :
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires ;
Men so disordered, so debosh'd, and bold.
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn : epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel.
Than a grao*d palace. The shame itself dotli

For instant remedjr: Be then desir'd
By her that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to dis^uantitv your train ;
And the remainder, that shall still depend.
To be such men as may besort your age,
Which know thanselvei and yon.

Lear, Darkness and devilg t—

Saddle my horses; call my train together.—
Degenerate bastard! Ill not trouble thee;
Tet have I left a daughter.

Chm, Ton strike my people; and yoordisorder'd
Make servants of their betters.

Enter AiAunr.

Ltar, Woe, that too late repents,— O, ab, are

you come?
Is it your will ? [To Alb.] Speak, air.— Flepare

my horses.
Ingratitude I then marble-hearted fiend^
More hideous, when then show^st thee m a child,
Than the sea-monster I
AW, Pray, sir, be patient.

Lear. Detested kite ! thou liest : [To Gov.
My train are men of choice and rarest parti.
That all particulars of duty know:
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.— O most small Ciiilt
How ugly oidst thou in Cordelia showl
Which, like an engine, wrenched my frame of

From the fix*d plaoe; drew from my heart all

And added to the gall. Lear, Lear, Lear I
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in.

[Striking hie Iteed,
:! — Go, go my people.

And thy dear ju^;ment out!- . ., „ ^ ^..^

Alb, My lord, lam guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov*d you.

Lear, It mav be so. my lord,—
Hear, nature, hear ; dear goddess, hear 1
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend

Online LibraryWilliam Michael Rossetti William ShakespeareThe complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography → online text (page 178 of 224)