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The heath.
Enter EDGAR.

Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,

Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,

The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,

Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:

The lamentable change is from the best;

The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,

Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!

The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst

Owes nothing to thy blasts. But who comes here? Enter GLOUCESTER, led by Old Man.

My father, poorly led? World, world, O world! (11)

But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,

Life would not yield to age.

Old Man.
O, my good lord, I have been
your tenant, and your father's tenant, these
fourscore years.

Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:

Thy comforts can do me no good at all;

Thee they may hurt.

Old Man.
Alack, sir, you cannot see your way. (20)

I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;

I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen,

Our means secure us, and our mere defects

Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,

The food of thy abused father's wrath!

Might I but live to see thee in my touch,

I'ld say I had eyes again!

Old Man.
How now! Who's there?

O gods! Who is't can say 'I
am at the worst;?

I am worse than e'er I was.

Old Man.
'Tis poor mad Tom.

And worse I may be yet: the
worst is not (30)

So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'

Old Man.
Fellow, where goest?

Is it a beggar-man?

Old Man.
Madman and beggar too.

He has some reason, else he could not beg.

I' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;

Which made me think a man a worm: my son

Came then into my mind; and yet my mind

Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard more since.

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods,

They kill us for their sport.

How should this be?

Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,

Angering itself and others.--Bless thee, master!

Is that the naked fellow?

Old Man.
Ay, my lord.

Then, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my sake,

Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,

I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;

And bring some covering for this naked soul,

Who I'll entreat to lead me.

Old Man.
Alack, sir, he is mad.

'Tis the times' plague, when mad-men lead the blind.

Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure; (50)

Above the rest, be gone.

Old Man.
I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,

Come on't what will. [Exit.

Sirrah, naked fellow,--

Poor Tom's a-cold. [Aside] I cannot daub it further.

Come hither, fellow.


And yet I must.--Bless thy
sweet eyes, they bleed.

Know'st thou the way to Dover?

Both stile and gate, horse-way and
foot-path. Poor Tom hath been scared out of
his good wits: bless thee, good man's son,
from the foul fiend! five fiends have been in
poor Tom at once; of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididance,
prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet,
of moping and mowing, who since possesses
chambermaids and waiting-women. So, bless
thee, master!

Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues

Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched

Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so still! (70)

Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,

That slaves your ordinance, that will not see

Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;

So distribution should undo excess,

And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

Ay, master.

There is a cliff, whose high and bending head

Looks fearfully in the confined deep:

Bring me but to the very brim of it,

And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear

With something rich about me: from that place

I shall no leading need. (81)

Give me thy arm:

Poor Tom shall lead thee. [Exeunt.


Before the Duke of Albany's palace.

Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband

Not met us on the way. Enter OSWALD.

Now, where's your master?

Madam, within; but never man so changed.

I told him of the army that was landed;

He smiled at it: I told him you were coming;

His answer was 'The worse:' of Gloucester's treachery,

And of the loyal service of his son,

When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot,

And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out: (10)

What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;

What like, offensive.

Then shall you go no further.

It is the cowish terror of his spirit,

That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs

Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way

May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;

Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:

I must change arms at home, and give the distaff

Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant

Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear, (20)

If you dare venture in your own behalf,

A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech; [Giving a favour.

Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,

Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:

Conceive, and fare thee well.

Yours in the ranks of death.

My most dear Gloucester! [Exit Edmund.

O, the difference of man and man!

To thee a woman's services are due:

My fool usurps my body.

Madam, here comes my lord. [Exit.

I have been worth the whistle.

O Goneril! (30)

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind

Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:

That nature, which contemns it origin,

Cannot be border'd certain in itself;

She that herself will sliver and disbranch

From her material sap, perforce must wither

And come to deadly use.

No more; the text is foolish.

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:

Filths savour but themselves. What have you done? (40)

Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?

A father, and a gracious aged man,

Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,

Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.

Could my good brother suffer you to do it?

A man, a prince, by him so benefited!

If that the heavens do not their visible spirits

Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,

It will come,

Humanity must perforce prey on itself,

Like monsters of the deep. (50)

Milk-liver'd man!

That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs:

Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning

Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st

Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd

Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?

France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,

With plumed helm thy state begins threats;

Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest

'Alack, why does he so?'

See thyself, devil! (60)

Proper deformity seems not in the fiend

So horrid as in woman.

O vain fool!

Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame,

Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness

To let these hands obey my blood,

They are apt enough to dislocate and tear

Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,

A woman's shape doth shield thee.

Marry, your manhood now-- Enter a Messenger.

What news?

O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead;

Slain by his servant, going to put out

The other eye of Gloucester.

Gloucester's eyes!

A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,

Opposed against the act, bending his sword

To his great master; who, thereat enraged,

Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;

But not without that harmful stroke, which since

Hath pluck'd him after.

This shows you are above,

You justicers, that these our nether crimes

So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester

Lost he his other eye? (81)

Both, both, my lord.

This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;

'Tis from your sister.

One way I like this well;

But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,

May all the building in my fancy pluck

Upon my hateful life: another way,

The news is not so tart.--I'll read, and answer. [Exit.

Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

Come with my lady hither. (90)

He is not here.

No, my good lord; I met him back again.

Knows he the wickedness?

Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against him;

And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment

Might have the freer course.

Gloucester, I live

To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,

And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:

Tell me what more thou know'st. [Exeunt.


The French camp near Dover.
Enter KENT and a Gentleman.

Why the King of France is so suddenly
gone back know you the reason?

Something he left imperfect in the
state, which since his coming forth is thought
of; which imports to the kingdom so much
fear and danger, that his personal return was
most required and necessary.

Who hath he left behind him general?

The Marshal of France, Monsieur (10)

La Far.

Did your letters pierce the queen to
any demonstration of grief?

Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;

And now and then an ample tear trill'd down

Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a queen

Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,

Sought to be king o'er her.

O, then it moved her.

Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove

Who should express her goodliest. You have seen (20)

Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears

Were like a better way: those happy smilets,

That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know

What guests were in her eyes: which parted thence,

As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,

Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved,

If all could so become it.

Made she no verbal question?

'Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of 'father'

Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart:

Cried 'Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies! sisters! (30)

Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i' the night?

Let pity not be believed!' There she shook

The holy water from her heavenly eyes,

And clamour moisten'd: then away she started

To deal with grief alone.

It is the stars.

The stars above us, govern our conditions;

Else one self mate and mate could not beget

Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?


Was this before the king return'd?

No, since. (40)

Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the town;

Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers

What we are come about, and by no means

Will yield to see his daughter.

Why, good sir?

A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,

That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her

To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights

To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting

His mind so venomously, that burning shame

Detains him from Cordelia.

Alack, poor gentleman

Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers (50)
you heard not?

'Tis so, they are afoot.

Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear,

And leave you to attend him: some dear cause

Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;

When I am known aright, you shall not grieve

Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go

Along with me. [Exeunt.


The same. A tent.
Enter, with drum and colours, CORDELIA, Doctor, and Soldiers.

Alack, 'tis he: why, he was met even now

As mad as the vex'd sea; singing aloud;

Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,

With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo- flowers,

Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow

In our sustaining corn. A century send forth;

Search every acre in the high-grown field,

And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer.]
What can man's wisdom

In the restoring his bereaved sense?

He that helps him take all my outward worth. (11)

There is means, madam:

Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,

The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,

Are many simples operative, whose power

Will close the eye of anguish.

All blest secrets,

All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,

Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate

In the good man's distress! Seek, seek for him;

Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life

That wants the means to lead it. Enter a Messenger.

News, madam;

The British powers are marching hitherward.

'Tis known before; our preparation stands

In expectation of them. O dear father,

It is thy business that I go about;

Therefore great France

My mourning and important tears hath pitied.

No blown ambition doth our arms incite,

But love, dear love and our aged father's right:

Soon may I hear and see him! [Exeunt.


Gloucester's castle.

But are my brother's powers set forth?

Ay, madam.

Himself in person there?

Madam, with much ado:

Your sister is the better soldier.

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

No, madam.

What might import my sister's letter to him?

I know not, lady.

'Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.

It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out, (10)

To let him live: where he arrives he moves

All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone,

In pity of his misery, to dispatch

His nighted life; moreover, to descry

The strength o' the enemy.

I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

Our troops set forth to-morrow: stay with us;

The ways are dangerous.

I may not, madam:

My lady charged my duty in this business.

Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you (20)

Transport her purposes by word? Belike,

Something--I know not what: I'll love thee much,

Let me unseal the letter.

Madam, I had rather--

I know your lady does not love her husband;

I am sure of that: and at her late being here

She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks

To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

I, madam?

I speak in understanding; you are, I know 't:

Therefore I do advise you, take this note:

My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd; (31)

And more convenient is he for my hand

Than for your lady's: you may gather more.

If you do find him, pray you, give him this;

And when your mistress hears thus much from you,

I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.

So, fare you well.

If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,

Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

Would I could meet him, madam! I should show

What party I do follow. (40)

Fare thee well. [Exeunt.


Fields near Dover.
Enter GLOUCESTER, and EDGAR dressed like a peasant.

When shall we come to the top of that same hill?

You do climb up it now: look, how we labour.

Methinks the ground is even.

Horrible steep.

Hark, do you hear the sea?

No, truly.

Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect

By your eyes' anguish.

So may it be, indeed:

Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st

In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

You're much deceived: in nothing am I changed

But in my garments. (10)

Methinks you're better spoken.

Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How fearful

And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!

The crows and choughs that wing the midway air

Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down

Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!

Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:

The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,

Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,

Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy (20)

Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge,

That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,

Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more;

Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight

Topple down headlong.

Set me where you stand.

Give me your hand: you are now within a foot

Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the moon

Would I not leap upright.

Let go my hand.

Here, friend, 's another purse; in it a jewel

Well worth a poor man's taking: fairies and gods (30)

Prosper it with thee Go thou farther off;

Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

Now fare you well, good sir.

With all my heart.

Why I do trifle thus with his despair

Is done to cure it.

O, you mighty gods!

This world I do renounce, and in your sights,

Shake patiently my great affliction off:

If I could bear it longer, and not fall

To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, (39)

My snuff and loathed part of nature should

Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!

Now, fellow, fare thee well. [He falls forward.

Gone, sir: farewell.

And yet I know not how conceit may rob

The treasury of life, when life itself

Yields to the theft: had he been where he thought,

By this, had thought been past. Alive or dead?

Ho, you sir! friend! Hear you, sir! speak!

Thus might he pass indeed: yet he revives.

What are you, sir?

Away, and let me die.

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air, (50)

So many fathom down precipitating,

Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg: but thou dost breathe;

Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.

Ten masts at each make not the altitude

Which thou hast perpendicularly fell:

Thy life's a miracle. Speak yet again.

But have I fall'n, or no?

From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.

Look up a-height; the shrill-gorged lark so far

Cannot be seen or heard: do but look up. (60)

Alack, I have no eyes.

Is wretchedness deprived that benefit,

To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,

When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage,

And frustrate his proud will.

Give me your arm:

Up: so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.

Too well, too well.

This is above all strangeness.

Upon the crown o' the cliff, what thing was that

Which parted from you?

A poor unfortunate beggar.

As I stood here below, methought his eyes (70)

Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,

Horns whelk'd and waved like the enridged sea:

It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father,

Think that the clearest gods, who make them honors

Of men's impossibilities, have preserved thee.

I do remember now: henceforth I'll bear

Affliction till it do cry out itself

'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,

I took it for a man; often 'twould say

'The fiend, the fiend:' he led me to that place.

Bear free and patient thoughts. But (80)
who comes here? Enter LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild flowers.
The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.

No, they cannot touch me for coining;

I am the king himself.

O thou side-piercing sight!

Nature's above art in that respect.
There's your press-money. That fellow handles
his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me
a clothier's yard. Look, look, a mouse! Peace,
peace; this piece of toasted cheese will do't.
There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant.
Bring up the brown bills. O, well flown, bird!
i' the clout, i' the clout: hewgh! Give the

Sweet marjoram.


I know that voice.

Ha! Goneril, with a white beard!
They flattered me like a dog; and told me I
had white hairs in my beard ere the black
ones were there. To say 'ay' and 'no' to
every thing that I said!--'Ay' and 'no' too
was no good divinity. When the rain came to
wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter;
when the thunder would not peace at my
bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em
out. Go to, they are not men o' their words:
they told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie, I
am not ague-proof.

The trick of that voice I do well remember:

Is't not the king?

Ay, every inch a king:

When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.

I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause?


Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:

The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly

Does lecher in my sight.

Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son

Was kinder to his father than my daughters

Got 'tween the lawful sheets.

To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers. (120)

Behold yond simpering dame,

Whose face between her forks presages snow;

That minces virtue, and does shake the head

To hear of pleasure's name;

The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't

With a more riotous appetite.

Down from the waist they are Centaurs,

Though women all above:

But to the girdle do the gods inherit,

Beneath is all the fiends'; (130)

There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit,

Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination:
there's money for thee.

O, let me kiss that hand!

Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world

Shall so wear out to nought. Dost thou know me?

I remember thine eyes well enough.
Dost thou squint at me? No, do thy worst,
blind Cupid; I'll not love. Read thou this
challenge; mark but the penning of it.

Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

I would not take this from report; it is,

And my heart breaks at it.


What, with the case of eyes?

O, ho, are you there with me? No
eyes in your head, nor no money in your
purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your
purse in a light: yet you see how this world (151)

I see it feelingly.

What, art mad? A man may see
how this world goes with no eyes. Look with
thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon
yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change
places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice,
which is the thief? Thou hast seen a
farmer's dog bark at a beggar? (160)

Ay, sir.

And the creature run from the cur?
There thou mightst behold the great image of
authority: a dog 's obeyed in office.

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!

Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;

Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind

For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.

Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; (169)

Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,

And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;

Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.

None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:

Take that of me, my friend, who have the power

To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;

And, like a scurvy politician, seem

To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:

Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.

O, matter and impertinency mix'd!

Reason in madness! (180)

If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.

I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:

Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:

Thou know'st the first time that we smell the air,

We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee: mark.

Alack, alack the day!

When we are born, we cry that we are come

To this great stage of fools: this' a good block;

It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe

A troop of horse with felt: I'll put't in proof;

And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law, (191)

Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill! Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants.

O, here he is: lay hand upon him. Sir,

Your most dear daughter--

No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even

The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;

You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;

I am cut to the brains.

You shall have any thing.

No seconds? all myself?

Why, this would make a man a man of salt, (200)

To use his eyes for garden water-pots,

Ay, and laying autumn's dust.

Good sir,--

I will die bravely, like a bridegroom.

I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,

My masters, know you that.

You are a royal one, and we obey you.

Then there's life in 't. Nay, if you
get it, you shall get it with running. Sa, sa,
sa, sa. [Exit running; Attendants follow.

A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,

Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter,

Who redeems nature from the general curse (211)

Which twain have brought her to.

Hail, gentle sir.

Sir, speed you: what's your will?

Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Most sure and vulgar: every one hears that,

Which can distinguish sound.

But, by your favour,

How near's the other army?

Near and on speedy foot; the main descry

Stands on the hourly thought.

I thank you, sir: that's all.

Though that the queen on special cause is here,

Her army is moved on. (220)

I thank you, sir. [Exit Gent.

You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;

Let not my worser spirit tempt me again

To die before you please!

Well pray you, father.

Now, good sir, what are you?

A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows;

Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,

Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,

I'll lead you to some biding.

Hearty thanks:

The bounty and the benison of heaven

To boot, and boot! Enter OSWALD.

A proclaim'd prize! Most happy! (231)

That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh

To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,

Briefly thyself remember: the sword is out

That must destroy thee.

Now let thy friendly hand

Put strength enough to't. [Edgar interposes.

Wherefore, bold peasant,

Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;

Lest that the infection of his fortune take

Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

Chill not let go, zir, without vurther (240)

Let go, slave, or thou diest!

Good gentleman, go your gait, and
let poor volk pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered
out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as
'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near th' old
man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether
your costard or my ballow be the harder:
chill be plain with you.

Out, dunghill!

Chill pick your teeth, zir: come; no (251)
matter vor your foins. [They fight, and Edgar knocks him down.

Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:

If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;

And give the letters which thou find'st about me

To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out

Upon the British party: O, untimely death! [Dies.

I know thee well: a serviceable villain;

As duteous to the vices of thy mistress

As badness would desire.

What, is he dead? (260)

Sit you down, father; rest you

Let's see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of

May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry

He had no other death's-man. Let us see:

Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:

To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;

Their papers, is more lawful. [Reads]

'Let our reciprocal vows be remembered.
You have many opportunities to cut
him off: if your will want not, time and place
will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing
done, if he return the conqueror: then am I
the prisoner, and his bed my gaol; from the
loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply
the place for your labour. 'Your--wife, so I would say--
'Affectionate servant,

O undistinguished space of woman's will!

A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;

And the exchange my brother! Here, in the sands, (281)

Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified

Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time

With this ungracious paper strike the sight

Of the death-practised duke: for him 'tis well

That of thy death and business I can tell.

The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,

That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling

Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:

So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs, (290)

And woes by wrong imaginations lose

The knowledge of themselves.

Give me your hand: [Drum afar off.

Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum:

Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend. [Exeunt.


A tent in the French camp.
LEAR on a bed asleep, soft music playing;
Gentleman, and others attending.

Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Doctor.

O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,

To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,

And every measure fail me.

To be acknowledged, madam, is o'er-paid.

All my reports go with the modest truth;

Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.

Be better suited:

These weeds are memories of those worser hours:

I prithee, put them off.

Pardon me, dear madam;

Yet to be known shortens my made intent: (10)

My boon I make it, that you know me not

Till time and I think meet.

Then be't so, my good lord. [To the Doctor]
How does the king?

Madam, sleeps still.

O you kind gods,

Cure this great breach in his abused nature!

The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up

Of this child-changed father!

So please your majesty

That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.

Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed

I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his (21)

We put fresh garments on him.

Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;

I doubt not of his temperance.

Very well.

Please you, draw near. Louder the music there!

O my dear father! Restoration hang

Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss

Repair those violent harms that my two sisters

Have in thy reverence made!

Kind and dear princess! (30)

Had you not been their father, these white flakes

Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face

To be opposed against the warring winds?

To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?

In the most terrible and nimble stroke

Of quick, cross lightning? to watch--poor perdu!--

With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,

Though he had bit me, should have stood that night

Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,

To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn, (40)

In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!

'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once

Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him.

Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.

How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:

Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound

Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears

Do scald like molten lead.

Sir, do you know me?

You are a spirit, I know: when did you die? (50)

Still, still, far wide!

He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?

I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,

To see another thus. I know not what to say.

I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;

I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured

Of my condition!

O, look upon me, sir,

And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:

No, sir, you must not kneel.

Pray, do not mock me: (60)

I am a very foolish fond old man,

Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;

And, to deal plainly,

I fear I am not in my perfect mind.

Methinks I should know you, and know this man;

Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant

What place this is; and all the skill I have

Remembers not these garments; nor I know not

Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;

For, as I am a man, I think this lady

To be my child Cordelia. (70)

And so am I, I am.

Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:

If you have poison for me, I will drink it.

I know you do not love me; for your sisters

Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:

You have some cause, they have not.

No cause, no cause.

Am I in France?

In your own kingdom, sir.

Do not abuse me.

Be comforted, good madam: the great rage,

You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger

To make him even o'er the time he has lost. (81)

Desire him to go in; trouble him not more

Till further settling.

Will't please your highness walk?

You must bear with me:

Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish. [Exeunt all but Kent and Gentleman.

Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of

Cornwall was so slain?

Most certain, sir.

Who is conductor of his people?

As 'tis said, the bastard son of (90)


They say Edgar, his banished son, is
with the Earl of Kent in Germany.

Report is changeable. 'Tis time to
look about; the powers of the kingdom approach

The arbitrement is like to be bloody.

Fare you well, sir. [Exit.

My point and period will be thoroughly wrought, (99)

Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought. [Exit.

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