Page images
[blocks in formation]

Fool. We'll fet 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 5 can fmell him that's ftinking. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, left it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wife man gives thee better counsel, give me mine ro again: I would have none but knaves follow it, fince a fool gives it.

They could not, would not do't; 'tis worse than
To do upon respect fuch violent outrage':
Refolve me, with all modest hafte which way
Thou might'st deserve, or they impofe, this ufage, 15
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 shew'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking poft,
Stewed in his hafte, half breathlefs, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress, falutations;
Deliver❜d letters, fpight of intermission 2,
Which presently they read: on whose contents,
They fummon'd up their meiny3,straight took horse, 25
Commanded me to follow, and attend

The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whofe welcome, I perceiv'd, had poifon'd mine,
(Being the very fellow which of late
Display'd fo faucily against your highness)
Having more man than wit about me, I drew;
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries:
Your fon and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it fuffers.

Feel. Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geefe fly that way 4.

Fathers, that wear rags,

Do make their children blind;

But fathers, that bear bags,

Shall fee their children kind.

Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to the poor.-

That, fir, which ferves and feeks for gain,
And follows but for form,

Will pack, when it begins to rain,

And leave thee in the ftorm.

But I will tarry: the fool will stay,

And let the wife 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 Glofter.

Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are fick they are weary?

They have travell'd hard to night? Mere fetches;
The images of revolt and flying off!
Fetch me a better answer.

Glo. My dear lord,

30 You know the fiery quality of the Duke;
How unremoveable and fixt he is
In his own course.

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confufion!
Fiery? what quality? Why, Glofter, Glofter,
35 I'd fpeak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife.
Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them
[man ?
Lear. Inform'd them! Doft thou understand me,
Glo. Ay, my good lord.


[blocks in formation]

Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall;
the dear father
Would with his daughter fpeak; commands her
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 ftill neglect all office,

Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourfelves
When nature, being opprefs'd, commands the mind
To fuffer with the body: I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indifpos'd and fickly fit

For the found man.-Death on my state! where-
[Looking on Kent.


Should he fit here? This act perfuades me,
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my fervant forth:
Go, tell the duke and his wife, I'd speak with


Now, prefently; bid them come forth and hear

3 i. e. people.

Spight of 4 The meaning

That is, to violate the public and venerable character of a messenger from the king. 2 intermiffion means without pause, ruithout fuffering time to intervene. is, If this be their behaviour, the king's troubles are not yet at an end. 5 A quibble is here intended between dolours and dollars. 6 The word twenty refers to the noses of the blind men, and not to the men in general.

7 Practice is here used in an ill fense for unlawful artifice.


Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum, "Till it cry, Sleep to death.

Glo. I would have all well betwixt you.

[Exit. Lear. O me, my heart, my rifing heart!-but 5 down.

[ocr errors]

Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels, when the put them i' the paste alive; fhe rapt 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cry'd,|

Down, wantons, down :' Twas her brother, 10 that, in pure kindness to his horfe, butter'd his hay.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Glofter, and Servants.
Lear. Good-morrow to you both.
Corn. Hail to your grace! [Kent is fet 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,
Sepulch'ring an adultress.O, are you free?
[To Kent.

[blocks in formation]

Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give [thine
Thee o'er to harfhnefs; her eyes are fierce, but
15 Do comfort, and not burn: 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hafty words, to scant my fizes?,
And, in conclufion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
20 The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesey, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom thou hast not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.

Some other time for that.-Beloved Regan,
Thy fifter's naught; O Regan, the hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here 2, 25
[Points to bis beart.

I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe,
Of how deprav'd a quality-O Regan!

Reg. I pray you, fir, take patience; I have hope,
You lefs know how to value her defert,

Than fhe to scant her duty.

Lear. Say? how is that?

Reg. I cannot think, my fifter in the leaft
Would fail her obligation; If, fir, perchance,
She have reftrain'd the riots of your followers,
"Tis on fuch ground, and to fuch wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

30 That fhe would foon be here.-Is your lady come?
Lear. This is a flave, whose easy borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows:
Out, varlet, from my fight!


Corn. What means your grace?

Lear. Who stock'd my fervant? Regan, I have

good hope

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

[blocks in formation]

[Kneeling. 50 That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food." Reg. Good fir, no more; thefe are unfightly

Return you to my fister.

Lear. Never, Regan:

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

All's not offence, that indifcretion finds,
And dotage terms fo.

Lear. O fides, you are too tough!

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


Corn. I fet him there, fir: but his own disorders Deferv'd much lefs advancement 10.



Lear. You did you?

She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me; ftruck me with her tongue
Moft ferpent-like, upon the very heart :---

Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, feem fo. If, 'till the expiration of your month,

[blocks in formation]

1 i. e. probably a cook or fcullion. the order of families, duties of relation. to pull down. Hefted, Mr. Steevens fays, feems to mean the fame as beaved. Tender-befted, i. e. whofe bofom is agitated by tender paffions. 7 i. e. to contract my allowances or proportions fettled. Sizes are certain portions of bread, beer, or other victuals, which in colleges are fet down to the account of particular persons. 9 To find means little more than to think. 10 By ids advancement is meant, a ftill wc. fe or more disgraceful fituation; e fituation not so reputable.

8 i. e. approve.



You will return and fojourn with my sister,
Difmiffing half your train, come then to me;
I am now from home, and out of that provifion
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 wage against the enmity o' the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,-
Neceffity's fharp 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, fquire-like, penfion beg
To keep bafe life afoot2;-Return with her?
Perfuade me rather to be flave and fumpter 3
To this detefted groom.` [Looking on the fteward.
Gon. At your choice, fir.
[me mad;

When others are more wicked; not being the worst,
Stands in fome rank of praife :-I'll go with thee;
[To Goneril.

Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
5 And thou art twice her love.
Gon. Hear me, my lord;



Lear. Now I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewel:
We'll no more meet, no more fee one another:-
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter; 20
Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a bile,
A plague-fore, an embossed + carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let fhame 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, fir;

I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome: Give ear, fir, to my fifter;
For thofe that mingle reason with your paffion,
Must be content to think you old, and fo
But she knows what she does.

Lear. Is this well spoken now?

Reg. I dare avouch it, fir: What, fifty followers?

Is it not well? What should you need of more?

What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a houfe, where twice fo many

Have a command to tend you?

Reg. What need one?

Lear. O, reafon not the need: our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing fuperfluous:

Allow not nature more than nature needs,

Man's life is cheap as beaft's: thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,

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


You heavens, give me that patience, patience I
You fee me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not fo much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger!
250, let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks !-No, you unnatural hags,
I will have fuch revenges on you both,
That all the world fhall,-I will do fuch things,
What they are, yet I know not; but they fhall be
30 The terrors of the earth. You think, I'll weep:
No, I'll not weep:-


I have full caufe 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, Glofter, Kent, and Fool.
Corn. Let us withdraw, 'twill be a storm.
[Storm and tempeft heard.
Reg. This houfe is little; the old man and his

Yea, or fo many? fith that both charge and danger 40 Cannot be well beftow'd.

Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one


[blocks in formation]

1i. e. to make war.

2 i. e. in a fervile state.


Gon.'Tis his own blame; he hath put himself from And muft needs tafte his folly.

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly, But not one follower.

Gon. So am I purpos'd.

Where is my lord of Glofter?

Re-enter Glofter.

[blocks in formation]

Glo. He calls to horfe; but will I know not
Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to itay.
Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak

Do forely ruffle; for many miles about
There's fcarce a bush.

Reg. O, fir, to wilful men,
The injuries, that they themselves procure,
Must be their fchool-mafters: Shut up your doors;
He is attended with a defperate train;

3 Sumpter is a horse that carries neceffaries on a journey, though fometimes used for the cafe to carry them in, 4 Embofed is fwelling, protuberant.

[blocks in formation]

And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear. [night;
Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; tis a wild

My Regan counfels well: come out o' the ftorm.

A Heath.


A Storm is beard, with thunder and lightning. Enter
Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting.

[blocks in formation]

HO's there, befide foul weather?
Gent. One minded like the wea-
ther, 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 fwell the curled waters 'bove the main ',
That things might' change, or ceafe: 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-fcorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain. [couch,
This night, wherein the cub-drawn 2 bear would
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.

Kent. But who is with him?

Gent. None but the fool; who labours to out-jeft

His heart-ftruck injuries.

Kent. Sir, I do know you;

And dare, upon the warrant of my note 3,
Commend a dear thing to you. There is divifion,
Although as yet the face of it be cover'd
With mutual cunning,'twixt Albany andCornwall;]
Who have (as who have not, that their great ftars
Throne and fet high?) fervants, who feem no less;
Which are to France the fpies and fpeculations
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in fnuffs and packings 4 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,
Wife in our negligence, have fecret fee
In fome of our best ports, and are at point
To fhew their open banner,-Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build fo far

To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding forrow
The king hath cause to plain.


[rofI am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from fome knowledge and affurance, offer
This office to you.

Gent. I will talk further with you.
Kent. No, do not.

15 For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains: If you fhall fee Cordelia,
(As fear not but you fhall) fhew her this ring;
And the will tell you who your fellow is

20 That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go feek the king.

[fay? Gent. Give me your hand: Have you no more to Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all


[your pain 25 That, when we have found the king, (in which That way; I'll this,) he that first lights on him, Holla the other. [Exeunt feverally


[blocks in formation]

You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout [cocks! 35 Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the You fulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers 7 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 fpill at once3, That make ingrateful man!



Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water 9 in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o' door. nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters bleffing; here's 45 a night pities neither wife men nor fools.


Lear. Rumble thy belly full! Spit, fire! fpout,


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 fubfcription 1°; why then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I ftand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and defpis'd old man :-
But yet I call you fervile ministers,
55 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"!

The main feems to fignify here the main land, the continent. 2 Cub-drawn means, whofe dugs art dravon dry by its young. 3 My obfervation of your character. 4 Snuffs are diflikes, and packings underhand contrivances. 5 i. e. colours, external pretences. 6 i. e. divided, unfettled. 7 Avant couriers, Fr. 8 That is, "Crack nature's mould, and spill (or deftroy) all the feeds of matter that are hoarded within it." 9 Court boly-water is a proverbial expreflion, meaning fair words. fcription for obedience. 11 i. e. fhameful, difhonourable.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece 2; that's a wife man, and a fool.

Kent. Alas, fir, are you here? things that love

Love not fuch nights as these; the wrathful fkies
Gallow 3 the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves: Since I was man,
Such fheets of fire, fuch 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.

Lear. Let the great gods,

[ocr errors]

Muft make content with bis fortunes fit;
For the rain it raineth every day.

Lear. True, my good boy.-Come, bring us to
this hovel.
Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.
I'll fpeak 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 7;

10 No heretics burn'd, but wenches' fuitors:
Then comes the time, who lives to fee't,
That going fhall be us'd with feet.-
When every cafe in law is right;
No fquire in debt, nor no poor knight;
15 When flanders do not live in tongues;
Nor cut-purfes come not to throngs;
When ufurers tell their gold i' the field;
And bawds, and whores, do churches build;
Then fhall the realm of Albion

20 Come to great confusion.


That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble,thou wretch, 30
That haft within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipt of justice: Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou fimular man of virtue
That art inceftucus: Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming 4
Haft practis'd on man's life!-Clofe pent up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents 5, and cry
Thefe dreadful fummoners 6 grace.-I am a man,
More finn'd against, than finning.

Kent. Alack, bare-headed!

Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempeft;
Repose you there: while I to this hard house,
(More hard than is the ftone whereof 'tis rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Deny'd me to come in) return, and force
Their fcanted courtesy.

This prophecy Merlin fhall make; for I live be
fore his time.

[blocks in formation]

An Apartment in Glofter's Caftle.

Enter Glofter, and Edmund.

Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing: When I defired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use perpetual difpleasure, neither to speak of him, enof mine own houfe; charg'd me, on pain of their treat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Edm. Moft favage, and unnatural!

Glo. Go to; fay you nothing: There is divifion between the dukes; and a worfe matter than that: 35 I have received a letter this night;-'tis dangerous to be spoken.I have lock'd the letter in my clofet: thefe injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king. I will feek 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 threaten'd me, the king my old mafter must be relieved. 451 There is fome strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful. [Exit.


[blocks in formation]

Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, fhall the duke
Instantly know; and of that letter too:-
This feems a fair deferving, and must draw me
That which my father lofes; no less than all:
The younger rifes, when the old doth fall.

A Part of the Heath, with a Hovel.


Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.
Kent. Here is the place, my lord; good my lord,


i. e. A beggar marries a wife and lice.
That there is no diferetion below the girdle.
frighten. 4 Convenient feeming is appearance
ment stands for that which contains or
before a proper tribunal. 7 i. e. invent fashions for them.
ers are particularly expofed, was called in Shakspeare's time the brønning or burning,

2 Alluding perhaps to the saying of a contemporary wit,
3 Gallow, a weft-country word, fignifies to scare or
fuch as may promote his purpose to deftroy.
5 Conti-
6 Summoners mean here the officers that fummon offenders
The difeafe to which wenches' fuit-

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »