Imatges de pÓgina

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. While 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 filth;
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,2 nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans,3 sometime with pray-

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To do upon respect such violent outrage:
Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
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,6 straight took

(1) Hair thus knotted, was supposed to be the work of elves and fairies in the night. (3) Curses.

(2) Skewers.
(4) A quibble on crewel, worsted.

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.
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


Hysterica passio! down, thou climbing sorrow, Thy element's below!-Where is this daughter? Kent. With the earl, sir, here within.

Lear. Stay here.

Follow me not; [Exit.

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 labouring in 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 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,

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.

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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 :

Do you but mark how this becomes the house :5
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg,

That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.
Reg. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly
tricks :
Return you to my sister.

Never, Regan:

Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart :-
All the stor'd vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!


Are they inform'd of this?-My breath and blood!-
Fiery? the fiery duke?-Tell the hot duke, that-She hath abated me of half my train;
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
[Looking on Kent.
Should he sit here? This act persuades me,
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice2 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.

Fie, fie, fie!
Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding

Glo. I'd have all well betwixt you. [Exit. Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart!-but, down.

Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels, when she put them i'the pastes alive; she rapp'd 'em o'the coxcombs with a stick, and cry'd, Down, wantons, down: 'Twas her brother, that in pure kindness to his horse, butter'd the hay.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloster, and Servants.
Lear. Good morrow to you
Hail to your grace!
[Kent is set at liberty.
Reg. I am glad to see your highness.
Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what


I have to think so: if thou should'st not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepúlchring an adultress.-O, are you free?

[To Kent.

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,
Of how deprav'd a quality—O Regan!
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope,
You less know how to value her desert,
Than she to scant1 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,
ground, and to such wholesome end,

'Tis on s'

As clears her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her!
O, sir, you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be rul'd, and led
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.

Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blast her pride!

O the blest gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash mood's on
Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my


Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine
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
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.
[Trumpets within.

Lear. Who put my man i'the stocks?

What trumpet's that?

Enter Steward.

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Ask her forgiveness?

(3) Crust of a pye.

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(1) Removing from their own house. (2) Artifice.

(4) Be wanting in.


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 wagel 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 took 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. [Looking on the Steward. Gon. At your choice, sir. Lear. I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make me mad; 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 daughter; Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh, Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil, A plague-sore, an embossed2 carbuncle, In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee; 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. Reg. Not altogether so, sir; 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 soBut she knows what she does.

Is this well spoken now?
Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many? sith3 that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one

Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance

From those that she calls servants, or from mine? Reg. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd

to slack you,

We could control them: If you will come to me
(For now I spy a danger,) I entreat you
To bring but five and twenty; to no more
Will I give place or notice.
Lear. I gave you
And in good time you gave it.
Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be follow'd
With such a number: What, must I come to you
With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?
Reg. And speak it again, my lord; no more

with me.

Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look wellfavour'd, When others are more wicked; not being the worst, Stands in some rank of praise :-I'll go with thee; [To Goneril. Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty, And thou art twice her love.

Gon. Hear me, my lord; What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,

(1) War. (2) Swelling. (3) Since. (4) Instigate.

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 beggars 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,

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, Which scarcely keeps thee warm.--But, for true need,

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I
old man,

You see me here, you gods, a poor
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger!
O, let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks!-No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall-I will de 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!

[Exeunt Lear, Gloster, Kent, and Fool Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm. [Storm heard at a distance. This house


Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestow'd.

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Corn. Follow'd the old man forth :-he is re

Glo. The king is in high rage.

Whither is he going?
Glo. He calls to horse; but will I know not

Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.

Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds

Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.

O, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure,
Must be their schoolmasters: Shut up your doors;
He is attended with a desperate train;
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear.

Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild


My Regan counsels well come out o'the storm. [Exeunt


SCENE I-A heath. A storm is heard, with thunder and lightning. Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting.

Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather?

Gent. One minded like the weather, most un- You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout


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

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-conflicting wind and rain.


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

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

This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would nuncle, in and ask thy daughters' blessing: here's


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 out-jest||
His heart-struck injuries.


Sir, I do know you;
And dare, upon the warrant of my art,2
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?) servants, who seem no less;}
Which are to France the spies and speculations
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 ;4-
[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 fellow5 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 say?

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. [Exeunt severally. SCENE II.-Another part of the heath. Storm continues. Enter Lear and Fool.

Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage!


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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;9 why then, let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
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! Ŏ! 'tis foul!
Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, bes
a good head-piece.

The cod-piece that will house,
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse ;-
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make,
Shall of a corn cry wo,

And turn his sleep to wake.

-for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.

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Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow to 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

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 simular1? man of virtue,
That art incestuous: Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming13
Hast practis'd on man's life!-Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. 14-I am a man,

(6) Quick as thought. (7) Avant couriers, French. (8) A proverbial phrase for fair words. (9) Obedience. (10) Scare or frighten. (11) Blustering noise. (12) Counterfeit. (13) Appearance. (14) Favour.

More sinn'd against, than sinning.


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,
Denied me to come in,) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.

My wits begin to turn.-
Come on, my boy: How dost, 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, ho, the wind and the rain,Must make content with his fortunes fit; For the rain it raineth every day.2

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Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this conten-
tious storm

Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun 'a bear:
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i'the mouth. When the
mind's free,

The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.-Filial ingratitude!

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.-Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
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 heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors:
When every case in law is right;
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders 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;
Then shall the realm of Albion

Come to great confusion.

Then comes the time, who lives to see't,' That going shall be us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time. [Exit.

SCENE III.—A room in Gloster's castle. Enter

Gloster and Edmund.

For lifting food to't?-But I will punish home:
No, I will weep no more.-In such a night
To shut me out!-Pour on; I will endure :-
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!—
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that,-
Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own


This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more.-But I'll go in :
In, boy; go first.-[To the Fool.] you houseless

Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.[Fool goes in. Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this un-Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; natural dealing: When I desired their leave that I Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel; might pity him, they took from me the use of mine That thou may'st shake the superflux to them, own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual And show the heavens more just. displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!

Glo. Go to say you nothing: There is division between the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this night;--'tis dangerous to be spoken;-I have locked the letter in my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed :3 we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him go you, and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived: If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If I die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.

[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke|| Instantly know; and of that letter too :This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me 'That which my father loses; no less than all:

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Edg. [Within.] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

[The Fool runs out from the hovel. Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help me!

Kent. Give me thy hand.-Who's there?
Fool. A spirit, a spirit; he says his name's poor

Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there
i'the straw?

Come forth.

Enter Edgar, disguised as a madman.
Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me!-
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.—
Humph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?

Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow,

(3) A force already landed.

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