« PreviousContinue »
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting
If he distaste it, let him to my sister,
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for any thing;
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are I have years on my back forty-eight.
Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why? for taking one's part that's out of favour. Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou 'lt catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two on's daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will: if thou follow him thou must needs wear my coxcomb. How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters! 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 must be whipped out when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle:
Have inore than thou showest,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
Kent. This is nothing, fool.
The other found out there. Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy? Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born 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 on 't: and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself; they 'll be snatching. Nuncle, give me an egg, and I'll give thee two
Lear. What two crowns shall they be? Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back o'er the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so. Fools had ne'er less grace in a year; For wise men are grown foppish, And know not how their wits to wear, Their manners are so apish.
Fool. I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou 'lt have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing than a fool; and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing i' 140 the middle: here comes one o' the parings.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for 't. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. To KENT. Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.
Lear. A bitter fool! Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool? Lear. No, lad; teach me.
That lord that counsell'd thee To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me, Do thou for him stand:
From the fix'd place, drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Striking his head. 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.
It may be so, my lord. Hear, Nature, hear! dear goddess, hear! To make this creature fruitful! Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up in her the organs of increase, And from her derogate body never spring A babe to honour her! If she must teem, Create her child of spleen, that it may live And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her! Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth, With cadent tears fret channels in her checks, Turn all her mother's pains and benefits To laughter and contempt, that she may feel How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child! Away, away! Exit. Alb. Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.
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
Gon. You strike my people, and your dis- She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
Make servants of their betters.
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. Gon. Do you mark that, my lord? Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you, ——
Gon. Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho! To the Fool. You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear! tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter;
So the fool follows after.
Gon. This man hath had good counsel.
'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
How now, Oswald !
What! have you writ that letter to my sister?
Osw. Ay, madam.
Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse:
Inform her full of my particular fear;
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell :
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
Gon. Nay, then
SCENE I.-A Court within the Castle of the Earl of GLOUCESTER.
Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting.
Edm. Save thee, Curan.
Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father, and given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan 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?
But that I told him, the revenging gods
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Let him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night: 60
Glou. O madam, my old heart is crack'd, is crack'd..
Reg. What did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?
Glou. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid. Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?
Glou. 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 affected;
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
Nor I, assure thee, Regan. Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father A child-like office.