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'A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning. Enter Kent,
and a Gentlemen meeting.
Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather ?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you; Where's the king?
Gent. Contending with the fretful element:
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change, or cease: tears his white hair;
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of:
Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro-conflitting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.
But who is with him?
Gent. None but the fool; who labours to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.
Sir, I do know
you; And dare, upon the warrant of
my art, Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall; Who have (as who have not, that their great stars Thron'd and set high?) fervants, who seem no less; Which are to France the fpies and speculations 9
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes;
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings;-
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner.-Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And, from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to you.
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not,
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains: If you shall see Cordelia,
(As fear not but you shall,) show her this ring;
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the king.
Gent. Give me your hand: Have you no more to lay?
Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet; That, when we have found the king, in which your
pain That way; I'll this ;) he that first lights on him, Holla the other.
Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues,
Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt couriers to oak-cleaving thunder-bolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world! Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once, That make ingrateful man!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy.water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing; here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.
Lear. Rumble thy bellyfull! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters :
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness,
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription; why then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your llave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high-engender'd battles, 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece.
The cod-piece that will bouse,
Before the bead has any,
The bead and he shall louse ;
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What be bis heart should make,
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his feep to wake. --for there was never yet fair woman, but the made mouths in a glass.
Enter KENT. Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will fay nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece; that's a wise man, and a fool.
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here ? things that love night,
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves : Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard : man's nature cannot carry
The affliction, nor the fear.
Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp'd of justice : Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur’d, and thou fimular man of virtue
That art incestuous : Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hait practisd on man's life !-Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace.-I am a man,
More finn'd against, than finning,
Alack, bare-headed !
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel ;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest;
Repose you there: while I to this hard house,
(More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Deny'd me to come in,) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
My wits begin to turn.-
Come on, my boy: How doft, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself.- Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel,
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.
Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,-
With heigh, bo, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit;
For the rain it raineth every day. Lear. True, my good boy.-Come, bring us to this hovel.
[Exeunt Lear and Kent. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan. I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
No hereticks burn'd, but wenches' suitors:
case in law is right;
No squire in debt, 'nor no poor knight;
When Nanders do not live in tongues ;
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
And bawds and whores do churches build ;-