Page images

How in my strength you please. For you, | against the king, and take vanity the puppet's Edmund,

[blocks in formation]

part against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

[ocr errors]

Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand;
you neat slave, strike.
Beats him.

Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder!
Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn.
Edm. How now! What's the matter?

Parting them Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master. Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants.

Glou. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?

Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives: He dies that strikes again. What is the matter! Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.

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 tailer make a man?

Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a

Osw. Good dawning to thee, friend: art of painter could not have made him so ill, though this house?

Kent. Ay.

Osw. Where may we set our horses?

Kent. I' the mire.

Osw. 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 thee not.

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, threesuited, 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 would'st 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 bitch: 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! 29

Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days 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'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you. Drawing his sword. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee. Kent. Draw, you rascal; you come with letters

they had been but two hours o' the 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 wall 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 sword,

Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rognes as these,

Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion

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'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What! art thou mad, old fellow?
Glou. 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 nor hers.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

On flickering Phoebus' front,-

What mean'st by this? Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend 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. 121

Corn. What was the offence you gave him?
Osw. I never gave him any:

It pleas'd the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdu'd ;
And, in the fleshment of this dread explore,
Drew on me here again.



None of these rogues and cowards But Ajax is their fool.

[blocks in formation]

Reg. Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.

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. Glou. 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 purpos'd low correction

Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches 150 For pilferings and most common trespasses

[blocks in formation]

To have her gentleman abus'd, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
KENT is put in the stocks.

Come, my good lord, away.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER and KENT. Glou. I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,

Whose disposition, all the world well knows, 160 Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee.

Kent. Pray, do not, sir. I have watch'd and travell'd hard;

Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle. A good man's fortune may grow out at heels: Give you good morrow!

Glou. The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.


Kent. Good king, that must approve the

[blocks in formation]

SCENE III.-A Part of the Heath.
Enter EDGAR.

Edg. I heard myself proclaim'd;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escap'd 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'll grime with


Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots,
And with presented nakedness outface
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 Turlygood! poor

That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.



[blocks in formation]

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, 30
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting

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

Commanded me to follow, and attend

Fortune, that arrant whore, Ne'er turns the key to the poor. But for all this thou shalt have as many dolours for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year. Lear. O how this mother swells up toward my heart!

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. a

Gent. Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

Kent. None.

How chance the king comes with so small a number?

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 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 a wise man gives the 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 travell'd all the night!

The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

[blocks in formation]


Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion! The leisure of their answer; gave me cold Fiery! what quality? Why, Gloucester, Glotlooks:

[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]

Glou. Ay, my good lord.

Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall: the dear father

Fool. Winter's not gone yet, if the wild-geese Would with his daughter speak, commands her

fly that way.

Fathers that wear rags

Do make their children blind, But fathers that bear bags

Shall see their children kind.


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I have to think so: if thou should'st not be glad,

I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, Sepulchring an adult'ress. To KENT. O! are you free?

Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
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 'lt not believe
With how deprav'd a quality-O Regan!
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience. I have

You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.



Say, how is that? Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance She have restrain'd 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. O, sir! you are old; Nature in you stands on the very verge Of her confine: you should be rul'd and led 150 By some discretion that discerns your state Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you That to our sister you do make return; Say you have wrong'd her, sir.


Ask her forgiveness? Do you but mark how this becomes the house:

[blocks in formation]

Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce, but

Do comfort and not burn. "Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st 180
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.


Good sir, to the purpose. Lear. Who put my man i' the stocks?

Tucket within. Corn. What trumpet's that? Reg. I know 't, my sister's: this approves her letter,

That she would soon be here.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the stocks?

Corn. I set him there, sir; but his own disorders

Deserv'd much less advancement.


You! did you? Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so. If, till the expiration of your month, You will return and sojourn with my sister, Dismissing half your train, come then to me: I am now from home, and out of that provision Which shall be needful for your entertainment. Lear. Return to her? and fifty men dismiss'd? No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose To wage against the enmity o' the air; To be a comrade with the wolf and owl, Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her! Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless



Our youngest born, I could as well be brought To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg

To keep base life afoot. Return with her!
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom. Pointing at OSWALD.
At your choice, sir. 220
Lear. I prithee, daughter, do not make me

I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell.
We'll no more meet, no more see one another;
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my

Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide


Let shame come when it will, I do not call it :
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.

Not altogether so :
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so-
But she knows what she does.

Lear. Is this well spoken? Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: what! fifty followers! Is it not well? What should you need of more? Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Stands in some rank of praise. TO GONERIL
I'll go with thee:

Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Hear me, my lord.
What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?

What need one!
Lear. O reason not the need; our basest

Are in the poorest thing superfluous :
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,

[ocr errors]

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous ! wear'st,

Which scarcely keeps thee warm. need,

But, for true You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger.
And let not women's weapons, water-drops, s
Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural

I will have such revenges on you both

That all the world shall-I will do such things,
What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep;
No, I'll not weep:

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws

Or ere I'll weep. O fool! I shall go mad.

and Fool. Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm. Storm heard at a distance. Reg. This house is little: the old man and his people

Cannot be well bestow'd.

Gon. 'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,

And must needs taste his folly.

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly, But not one follower.

[blocks in formation]



He is

Whither is he going!

Glou. He calls to horse; but will I know not whither,

« PreviousContinue »