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Pardon me, royal sir;
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,
This is most strange!
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favor:
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.-
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, Cornwall, Albany, GLOSTER, and Attendants.
France. Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults as they are nam'd. Use well our father:
But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Come, my fair Cordelia.
[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA.
Confining ourselves to the main incidents connected with the story of Lear,-his wrongs and sufferings,-we are necessarily compelled to omit much of the under plot of this Play, in which Shakspeare introduces, as a counterpart to Lear suffering under the ingratitude of his children, Edgar, the son of Gloster, as a pattern of filial piety and love, unjustly persecuted by his father. Gloster is persuaded by the machinations of Edmund, to believe that Edgar seeks his life.
The next scene we extract, introduces Kent in the disguise of a Peasant, under the name of Caius, seeking to engage himself in the service of the King, whom he fears will be improperly treated Regan and Goneril.
SCENE IV.—A Hall in the Duke of Albany's Palace.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants. Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready.-[Exit an Attendant.]-How now, what art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What would'st thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Lear. What art thou ?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou ?
Lear. Who would'st thou serve?
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow ?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly; that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in: and the best of me is diligence. Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; If I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner.Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither; Enter Steward.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter ?
Stew. So please you,―
Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clodpoll back.Where's my fool, ho?—I think the world's asleep.-How now? where's that mongrel ?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me when I called him? Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken: for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness: I will further into't.—But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.-Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my
O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, sir?
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.
Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee. Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so. [Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service. [Giving KENT money.
Fool. Let me hire him too ;--Here's my coxcomb.
[Giving KENT his cap.
Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou ?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favor: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou fol
low him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How now, nuncle ? 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipp'd out, when Lady, the brach, may stand by the fire. Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Lear. This is nothing, fool.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for 't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe thee.
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one?
Lear. No, lad; teach me.
Fool. That lord, that counsell'd thee
To give away thy land,
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
Lear. Dost thou call me a fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.
Fools had ne'er less grace in a year;