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Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah? Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother.


Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,

And go the fools among.

Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie ; I would fain learn to lie.

Lear. If you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd.

Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipp'd for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing in the middle : Here comes one o' the parings.

Enter GONEril.

Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet on? Mo thinks, you are too much of late i' the frown.

Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue

Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir,

I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress: but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which, if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape 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, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

Lear. Are you our daughter?

Gon. Come, sir, I would you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.

Lear. Does any here know me?—Why this is not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied.-Sleeping or waking?-Ha! sure 'tis not so.- -Who is it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow? I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.-Your name, fair gentlewoman?

Gon. Come, sir:

This admiration is much o' the favor

Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:

As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debauch'd and bold,

That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn more

Than a grac'd palace: The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: Be then desir'd

By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.

Darkness and devils !—
Saddle my horses; call my train together.--
Degenerate viper! I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.

Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
Make servants of their betters.


Lear. Woe, that too late repents,-O, sir, are you come ?
Is it your will?-[To ALB.]-Speak, sir.-Prepare my horses?
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,

More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster!


Pray, sir, be patient. Lear. Detested kite! thou liest:

My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know;
And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name.-O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!

Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov'd you.

Lear. What! fifty of my followers, at a clap,
Within a fortnight?

Alb. What's the matter, sir?


[Striking his head.

Lear. I'll tell thee;-Life and death! I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus:
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee !-Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out;


And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay :-Ha! is it come to this?
Let it be so-Yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable;
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolfish visage. Thou shalt find,
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever; thou shalt, I warrant thee.
[Exeunt LEAR, KENT, and Attendants.


Lear dispatches Kent to the court of the Duke of Cornwall, to announce his intention of taking up his residence with his daughter Regan. The Duke and his wife are at the Castle of Gloster, where they are found by Kent. The sturdy old man chastises the insolence of a servitor of Goneril's, and is placed in the stocks, by the order of Regan. Lear, not finding Regan at her own castle, seeks her at the Duke of Gloster's.

SCENE-Before Gloster's Castle.

Enter LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman.

Lear. 'Tis strange, that they should so depart from home, And not send back my messenger.


As I learn'd,

The night before there was no purpose in them

Of this remove.

Hail to thee, noble master!

Lear. How!
Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime ?


No, my lord.

Fool. Ha, ha; look! 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.

Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy place mistook

To set thee here?

Your son and daughter.
Lear. No.

Kent. Yes.

Lear. No, I say.
Kent. I say, yea.

It is both he and she,

Lear. No, no; they would not.
Kent. Yes they have.

Lear. By Jupiter, I swear, no.
Kent. By Juno, I swear, ay.

Lear. They durst not do't;

They could not, would not do't; 'tis worse than murder,

To do upon respect such violent outrage:

Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way

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Thou might'st deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.
My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress, salutations;

Deliver❜d letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read: on whose contents
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse
Commanded me to follow, and attend


The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceiv'd, 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 rais'd 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.

But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolors for thy daughters, as thou canst tell in a year.

Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Down, thou climbing sorrow, thy element's below!
Where is this daughter?

Kent. With the earl, sir, here within.
Stay here.

Follow me not;

Gent. Made you no more offence than what you speak of?
Kent. None.


How chance the king comes with so small a train ?

Fool. An thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it.

Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no laboring in the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes, but blind men. 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 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,

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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 learn'd you this, fool?
Fool. Not i' the stocks, fool.

Re-enter LEAR, with GLOSTER.

Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary! They have travell'd hard to-night? Mere fetches

The images of revolt and flying off!

Fetch me a better answer.


My dear lord, You know the fiery quality of the duke; How unremovable and fix'd he is

In his own course.

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion !-
Fiery? what quality? why, Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife.

Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
Lear. Inform'd 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 service :
Are they inform'd of this ?- -My breath and blood !—
Fiery? the fiery duke ?—Tell the hot duke, that—-
No, but not yet:—may be, he is not well :
Infirmity doth still neglect all office,

Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves,
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;

And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit

For the sound man.-Death on my state! wherefore

Should he sit here? This act persuades me,
That this remotion of the duke and her

[Looking on KENT

Is practice only. Give me my servant forth:
Go, tell the duke and his wife, I'd speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum,

Till it cry-Sleep to death.

Glo. I'd have all well betwixt you.

Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart!—but, down. Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants. Good morrow to you both.


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