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Lear. If thou be as poore for a subiect, as he is for a king, thou art poore enough, what would thou?

Kent. Seruice.
Lear. Who wouldst thou ferue?
Kent. You.
Lear. Dost thou know me fellow ?

Kent. No sir, but you haue that in your countenance, which I would faine call master.

Lear. What's that?
Kent. Authority.
Lear. What feruices canst thou do?

Kent. I can keepe honest counfaile, ride, run, marre a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plaine 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 to loue a woman for singing, oor so old to dote on her for any thing, I haue yeares on my backe forty eight.

Lear. Follow me, thou shalt serue me, if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet; dinner ho, dinner, where's my knaue my foole, goe you and call my foole hether, you sirra, where's my daughter ?

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Steward. So please you.

Lear. What faies the fellow there ? call the clat-pole backe, where's my foole? ho, I thinke the world's alleepe, how now, where's that mungrell ?

Kent. He faies my lord, your daughter is not well.

Lear. Why came not the Laue backe to me when I calid him?


Seruant. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, hee would not.

Lear. He would not ?

Seruant. My lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my iudgement, your highnesse is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont, there's a great abate ment appeares as well in the generall dependants, as in the duke himselfe also, and your daughter.

Lear. Ha, faist thou so?

Seruant. I beseech you pardon me my lord, if I be mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent, when I thinke your highnesse is wrong'd.

Lear. Thou but remembrest me of mine owne conception, I haue perceiued a most faint neglect of late, which I haue rather blamed as mine owne iealous curiosity, then as a very pretence and purport of vnkindnes; I will look further into it, but wher's this foole ? I haue not seene him this two daies.

Seruant. Since my young ladies going into France sir, the foole hath much pined away.

Lear. No more of that, I haue noted it, goe you and tell my daughter, I would speake with her, go you call hither my foole; O you fir, you fir, come you hither, who am I sir ?

Stew. My ladies father.

Lear. My ladies father, my lords knaue, you whoreson dog, you slaue, you curre.

Stew. I am none of this my lord, I besecch you pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy lookes with me you rascall ?
Stew. Ile not be strucke my

Kent. Nor tript neither, you base football plaier.

Lear. I thanke thee fellow, thou seru'st me, and ile loue thee.


Kent. Come fir, ile teach you differences, away, away, if you will measure your lubbers length againe, tarry, but away, you haue wifedome.

Lear. Now friendly knaue I thanke thee, there's earnest of thy feruice,

Enter Foole.

Foole. Let me hire him too, here's my coxcombe.
Lear. How now my pretty knaue, how dost thou ?
Foole. Sirra, you were best take my coxcombe.
Kent, Why foole ?

Foole. Why for taking ones part that's out of fauour, nay and thou canst not smile as the winde fits, thou't catch colde fhortly, there take my coxcombe; why this fellow hath banisht two of his daughters, and done the third a blessing against his will, if thou follow him, thou must needs weare my coxcombe, how now nunckle, would I had two coxcombes, and two daughters.

Lear. Why my boy?

Foole. If I gaue them any living, ide keepe my coxcombe my selfe, theres mine, beg another of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed firra, the whip.

Foole. Truth is, a dog that must to kennell, he must bec whipt out, when lady oth'e brach may stand by the fire and stinke.

Lear. A pestilent gull to me.
Foole. Sirra, ile teach thee a speech,
Lear. Do.

Foole. Marke it vnckle; haue more then thou shewest, speake lese then thou knowelt, lend lesse then thou owest, ride more then thou goest, learne more then thou trowest, fet lesse then thou throwest, leaue thy drink and thy whore,


and keepe in a doore, and thou shalt haue more, then two tens to a score.

Lear. This is nothing foole.

Foole. Then like the breath of an vnfeed lawyer, you gaue me nothing for it; can you make no vse of nothing vocle?

Lear. Why no boy, nothing can be made out of nothing.

Foole. Prethee tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to, he will not beleeue a foole.

Lear. A bitter foole.

Foole. Dost thou know the difference my boy, betweene a bitter foole, and a sweete foole.

Lear. No lad, teach me.

Foole. That lord that counfaild thee to giue away thy land, Come place him heere by me, do thou for him stand, The sweete and bitter foole will presently appeare, The one in motley here, the other found out there.

Lear. Doft thou call me foole boy?

Foole. Al thy other titles thou hast giuen away, that thou wast borne with.

Kent. This is not altogether foole my lord.

Foole. No faith, lords and great men will not let me, if I had a monopolie out, they would haue part on't, and lodes too, they will not let me haue all foole to my selfe, thei'l be snatching; giue me an egge nunckle, and ile giue thee two crownes.

Lear. What two crownes shall they be?

Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge in the middle and eate vp


meate, the two crownes of the egge: when thou clouest thy crowne in the middle, and gauest away both parts, thou borest thy asse on thy back ore the dirt, thou hadīt little wit in thy bald crowne, when thou gauest thy golden one away; if I speak like my felfe in this, let him be whipt that first findes it fo.


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Fooles had nere lesse wit in a yeare,
For wise men are growne foppith,
They know not how their wits do weare,
Their manners are so apish.

Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs sirra ?

Foole. I haue vsed it nuncle, euer since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mother, for when thou gauest them the rod, and putst downe thine owne breeches, then they for sudden ioy did weep, and I for sorrow sung, that such a king should play bo peepe, and goe the fooles among : prethee nunckle keepe a schoole-master that can teach thy foole to lie, I would faine learne to lie.

Lear. If you lie, wee'l haue you whipt.

Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are, they'l haue me whipt for speaking true, thou wilt haue mee whipt for lying, and sometime I am whipt for holding my peace, I had rather be any kinde of thinge then a foole, and yet I would not bee thee nunckle, thou hast pared thy wit a both sides, and left nothing in the middle; heere comes one of the parings.

Enter Gonorill.
Lear. How now daughter, what makes that frontlet on,
Me-thinkes you are too much alate i’th frowne.

Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no neede
to care for her frowne, thou, thou art an O without a figure,
I am better then thou art now, I am a foole, thou art no-
thing; yes forsooth I will hold my tongue, so your face bids
me, though you say nothing.
Mum, mum, he that keeps neither crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some. That's a sheald pescod.

Gon. Not onely fir this, your all-licenc'd foole, but other of your infolent retinue do hourely carpe and quarrell,


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