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ACT II


SCENE I

The Earl of Gloucester's Castle.
Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him.

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? (10)

Edm.
Not I: pray you, what are they?

Cur.
Have you heard of no likely wars toward,

'twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Edm.
Not a word.

Cur.
You may do, then, in time. Fare you
well, sir. [Exit.

Edm.
The duke be here to-night? The better! best!

This weaves itself perforce into my business.

My father hath set guard to take my brother;

And I have one thing, of a queasy question, (20)

Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!

Brother, a word; descend, brother, I say! Enter EDGAR.


My father watches: O sir, fly this place;

Intelligence is given where you are hid;

You have now the good advantage of the night:

Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?

He's coming hither; now, i' the night, i' the haste,

And Regan with him: have you nothing said

Upon his part 'gainst the Duke of Albany?

Advise yourself.

Edg.
I am sure on't, not a word.

Edm.
I hear my father coming: pardon me;

In cunning I must draw my sword upon you:

Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.

Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!

Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell. [Exit Edgar.


Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion [Wounds his arm.


Of my more fierce endeavor; I have seen drunkards

Do more than this in sport. Father, father!

Stop, stop! No help? Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants, with torches.


Glou.
Now, Edmund, where's the villain? (40)

Edm.
Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,

Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon

To stand auspicious mistress,--

Glou.
But where is he?

Edm.
Look, sir, I bleed.

Glou.
Where is the villain, Edmund?

Edm.
Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could--

Glou.
Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants.]
By no means what?

Edm.
Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;

But I told him, the revenging gods

'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;

Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond

The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine, (51)

Seeing how loathly opposite I stood

To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,

With his prepared sword, he charges home

My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:

But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,

Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the en-
counter,

Or whether gasted by the noise I made,

Full suddenly he fled.

Glou.
Let him fly far:

Not in this land shall he remain uncaught; (60)

And found--dispatch. The noble duke my master,

My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:

By his authority I will proclaim it,

That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,

Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;

He that conceals him, death.

Edm.
When I dissuaded him from his intent,

And found him pight to do it, with curst speech

I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,

'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,

If i would stand against thee, would the reposal (71)

Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee

Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--

As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce

My very character,--I'ld turn it all

To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:

And thou must make a dullard of the world,

If they not thought the profits of my death

Were very pregnant and potential spurs

To make thee seek it.'

Glou.
Strong and fasten'd villain!

Would he deny his letter? I never got him. [Tucket within.


Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.

All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;

The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture

I will send far and near, that all the kingdom

May have due note of him; and of my land,

Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means

To make thee capable. Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.


Corn.
How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,

Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news, (90)

Reg.
If it be true, all vengeance comes too short

Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

Glou.
O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!

Reg.
What, did my father's godson seek your life?

He whom my father named? 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. (100)

Reg.
No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:

'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,

To have the expense and waste of his revenues.

I have this present evening from my sister

Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,

That if they come to sojourn at my house,

I'll not be there,

Corn.
Nor I, I assure thee, Regan.

Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father

A child-like office.

Edm.
'Twas my duty, sir.

Glou.
He did bewray his practice; and received

This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

Corn.
Is he pursued?

Glou.
Ay, my good lord.

Corn.
If he be taken, he shall never more

Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,

How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,

Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant

So much commend itself, you shall be ours:

Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;

You we first seize on.

Edm.
I shall serve you, sir,

Truly, however else.

Glou.
For him I thank your grace. (120)

Corn.
You know not why we came to visit you,--

Reg.
Thus out of season, threading dark-
eyed night:

Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,

Wherein we must have use of your advice:

Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,

Of differences, which I least thought it fit

To answer from our home; the several mes-
sengers

From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,

Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow

Your needful counsel to our business,

Which craves the instant use. (130)

Glou.
I serve you, madam:

Your graces are right welcome. [Exeunt.


SCENE II

Before Gloucester's castle.
Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally.

Osw.
Good dawning to thee, friend: art of
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 (10)
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,
three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy,
worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking
knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable,
finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting
slave; one that wouldst 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 (29)
of thee nor knows thee!

Kent.
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou,
to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago
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: draw, you
whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw. [Drawing his sword.

Osw.
Away! I have nothing to do with
thee.

Kent.
Draw, you rascal: you come with
letters against the king; and take vanity the
puppet's part against the royalty of her father:
draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado
your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your
ways.

Osw.
Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent.
Strike, you slave; stand, rogue,
stand; you neat slave, strike. [Beating him.

Osw.
Help, ho! murder! murder! Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants.

Edm.
How now! What's the matter?

Kent.
With you, goodman boy, an you
please: come, I'll flesh ye: come on, young
master.

Glou.
Weapons! arms! What's the matter (51)
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 (60)
in thee: a tailor made thee.

Corn.
Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?

Kent.
Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a
painter could not have made him so ill,
though he had been but two hours at the trade.

Corn.
Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

Osw.
This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I
have spared at suit of his gray 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 walls of a jakes with
him. Spare my gray 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 smelling rogues as these, (80)

Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain

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, (90)

I'ld 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 a knave?
What's his offence?

Kent.
His countenance likes me not.

Corn.
No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

Kent.
Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:

I have seen better faces in my time (100)

Than stands on any shoulder that I see

Before me at this instant.

Corn.
This is some fellow,

Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect

A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb

Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,

An honest mind and plain, he must speak
truth!

An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain:

These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness

Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends

Than twenty silly ducking observants (110)

That stretch their duties nicely.

Kent.
Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,

Under the allowance of your great aspect,

Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire

On flickering Phoebus' front,--

Corn.
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.

Corn.
What was the offence you gave him?

Osw.
I never gave him any:

It pleased the king his master very late

To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;

When he, conjunct, and flattering his dis-
pleasure,

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-subdued; (130)

And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,

Drew on me here again.

Kent.
None of these rogues and cowards

But Ajax is their fool.

Corn.
Fetch forth the stocks!

You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,

We'll teach you--

Kent.
Sir, I am too old to learn:

Call not for your stocks for me: I serve the king;

On whose employment I was sent to you:

You shall do small respect, show too bold malice

Against the grace and person of my master,

Stocking his messenger. (140)

Corn.
Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honor,

There shall he sit till noon.

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 color

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 (149)

Will check him for't: your purposed low correction

Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches

For pilferings and most common trespasses

Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill,

That he's so slightly valued in his messenger.

Should have him thus restrain'd.

Corn.
I'll answer that.

Reg.
My sister may receive it much more worse,

To have her gentleman abused, 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, (161)

Will not be rubb'd nor stopped: I'll entreat for thee.

Kent.
Pray do not, sir: I have watched 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. [Exit.


Kent.
Good king, that must approve the common saw,

That out of heaven's benediction comest

To the warm sun!

Approach, thou beacon to this under globe, (171)

That by thy comfortable beams I may

Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles

But misery: I know 'tis from Cordelia,

Who hath most fortunately been inform'd

Of my obscured course; and shall find time

From this enormous state, seeking to give

Losses their remedies. All weary and o'er-
watch'd,

Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold (179)

This shameful lodging.

Fortune, good night: smile once more; turn thy wheel! [Sleeps.


SCENE III

A wood.
Enter EDGAR.

Edg.
I heard myself proclaim'd;

And by the happy hollow of a tree

Escaped 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 filth;

Blanket my loins; elf all my hair in knots; (11)

And with presented nakedness out-face

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 prayers, (20)

Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!

That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am. [Exit.


SCENE IV

Before Gloucester's castle. Kent in the stocks.
Enter LEAR, Fool and Gentleman.

Lear.
'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,

And not send back my messenger.

Gent.
As I learn'd,

The night before there was no purpose in them

Of this remove.

Kent.
Hail to thee, noble master!

Lear.
Ha!

Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

Kent.
No, my lord.

Fool.
Ha, ha! 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: when a man's over-lusty at legs, (11)
then he wears wooden nether-stocks.

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

To set thee here?

Kent.
It is both he and she;

Your son and daughter.

Lear.
No.

Kent.
Yes.

Lear.
No, I say.

Kent.
I say, yea.

Lear.
No, no, they would not. (20)

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

Thou might'st deserve, or they impose, this usage,

Coming from us.

Kent.
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, (31)

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 perceived, had poison'd mine,-- (40)

Being the very fellow that of late

Display'd so saucily against your highness,--

Having more man than wit about me, drew:

He raised 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; (50)
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 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.

Gent.
Made you no more offence but 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 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 thee better counsel, give me mine
again: I would have none but knaves follow
it, since a fool gives it.

That which serves and seeks for gain, (80)

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? Mere fetches; (91)

The images of revolt and flying off.

Fetch me a better answer.

Glou.
My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke;

How unremoveable and fix'd he is

In his own course.

Lear.
Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!

Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,

I'll speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Glou.
Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.

Lear.
Inform'd them! Dost thou under- (100)
stand me, man?

Glou.
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 (110)

To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;

And am fall'n out with my more headier will,

To take the indisposed 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 practice only. Give me my servant forth.

Go tell the duke and 's wife I'ld speak with them,

Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,

Or at their chamber-door I'll beat the drum (120)

Till it cry sleep to death.

Glou.
I would have all well betwixt you. [Exit.


Lear.
O me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!

Fool.
Cry to it, uncle, as the cockney did
to the eels when she put 'em i' the paste alive;
she knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick,
and cried 'Down, wantons, down!' 'Twas her
brother that, in pure kindness to his horse,
buttered his hay. Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants.

Lear.
Good morrow to you both.

Corn.
Hail to your grace. [Kent is set at liberty.
(130)

Reg.
I am glad to see your highness.

Lear.
Regan, I think you are; I know what reason

I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,

I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,

Sepulchring an adultress. [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 depraved a quality--O Regan! (140)

Reg.
I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope

You less know how to value her desert

Than she to scant her duty.

Lear.
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; (149)

Nature in you stands on the very verge

Of her confine: you should be ruled and led

By some discretion, that discerns your state

Better than yourself. Therefore, I pray you,

That to our sister you do make return;

Say you have wrong'd her, sir.

Lear.
Ask her forgiveness?

Do you but mark how this becomes the house:

'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old; [Kneeling.


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. (160)

Lear.
[Rising]
Never, Regan:

She hath abated me of half my train;

Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,

Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:

All the stored vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,

You taking airs, with lameness!

Corn.
Fie, sir, fie!

Lear.
You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames

Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,

You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun, (170)

To fall and blast her pride!

Reg.
O the blest gods! so will you wish on me,

When the rash mood is on.

Lear.
No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:

Thy tender-defted 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 (181)

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.

Reg.
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. Enter OSWALD.


Is your lady come?

Lear.
This is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd pride

Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.

Out, varlet, from my sight!

Corn.
What means your grace? (191)

Lear.
Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope

Thou didst not know on't. Who comes here? O heavens, Enter GONERIL.


If you do love old men, if your sweet sway

Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!

[To Gon.]
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?

O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

Gon.
Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?

All's not offence that indiscretion finds

And dotage terms so.

Lear.
O sides, you are too tough; (201)

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

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

Deserved much less advancement.

Lear.
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 to your entertainment. (210)

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 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. [Pointing at Oswald.


Gon.
At your choice, sir. (221)

Lear.
I prithee, 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 embossed carbuncle,

In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;

Let shame come when it will, I do not call it: (230)

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:

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? (240)

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,

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 chanced to slack you,

We could control them. If you will come to me,-- (250)

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 all--

Reg.
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't again, my lord; no more with me.

Lear.
Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd, (260)

When others are more wicked; not being the worst

Stands in some rank of praise. [To Gon.]
I'll go with thee:

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,

To follow in a house where twice so many

Have a command to tend you?

Reg.
What need one?

Lear.
O, reason not the need: our basest beggars

Are in the poorest things superfluous:

Allow not nature more than nature needs, (270)

Man's life's as 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 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, (281)

Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,

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! [Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool.
Storm and tempest.


Corn.
Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm. (291)

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 this particular, I'll receive him gladly,

But not one follower.

Gon.
So am I purposed.

Where is my lord of Gloucester?

Corn.
Follow'd the old man forth: he is return'd. Re-enter GLOUCESTER.


Glou.
The king is in high rage.

Corn.
Whither is he going?

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

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

Gon.
My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Glou.
Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds

Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about

There's scarce a bush.

Reg.
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 (310)

To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

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

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

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