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Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit.
Kent. Give me thy hand.-Who's there?
Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there
Enter EDGAR, disguised as a Madman.
Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me!Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.Humph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters? And art thou come to this?
Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor:-Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold,-0, do de, do de, do de.-Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: There could I have him now,-and there, -and there, and there again, and there. [Storm continues. Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
spark, all the rest of his body cold.-Look, here comes a walking fire.
Edg. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin,2 squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Withold footed thrice the wold;4
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
Enter GLOSTER, with a Torch.
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?
But mice, and rats, and such small deer,
Glo. What, hath your grace no better company?
Lear. Now, all the plagues that in the pendu-That it doth hate what gets it.
Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile,
Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters!
Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have sub-
To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.-
Edg. Pillicock sat on pillicock's hill;—
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents; keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud array: Tom's a-cold.
Lear. What hast thou been?
Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of my mistress's heart, and did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one, that slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it: Wine loved I deeply; dice dearly; and in woman, out-paramoured the Turk: False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand: Hog in sloth, fox in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let not the creaking of shoes, nor the rustling of silks, betray thy poor heart to women: Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend. -Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: Says suum, mun, ha no nonny, dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa; let him trot by.
[Storm still continues. Lear. Why, thou wert better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.-Is man no more than this? Consider him well: Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume-Ha! here three of us are sophisticated!Thou art the thing itself: unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.-Off, off, you lendings:-Come; unbutton here. [Tearing off his Clothes.
Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; this is a naughty night to swim in.-Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's heart: a small
To take is to blast, or strike with malignant influence. It was the custom to wear gloves in the hat, as the favor of a mistress.
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer;
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned
What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill ver-
Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.
The grief hath craz'd my wits.
[Storm continues. What a night's this!
O, cry you mercy:
Noble philosopher, your company.
Glo. In, fellow, there, to the hovel: keep thee
No words, no words:
Sit you too.
Edg. Let us deal justly.
Glo. Hush! Edg. Child' Rowland to the dark tower came, His word was still,-Fie, foh, and fum, I smell the blood of a British man.
SCENE V.-A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND.
Corn. I will have my revenge, ere I depart his house.
Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that this treason were not, or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the duchess.
Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
Corn. True, or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloster. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
Edm. [Aside.] If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff his suspicion more fully.-I will persevere in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love. [Exeunt.
SCENE VI.-A Chamber in a Farm-House,
Enter GLOSTER, LEAR, KENT, Fool, and EDGAR. Glo. Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully; I will piece out the comfort with what addition I can: I will not be long from you.
Kent. All the power of his wits has given way to his impatience:-The gods reward your kindness! [Exit GLOSTER. Edg. Frateretto calls me; and tells me, Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, inno
cent, and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, tell me, whether a madman be a gentleman, or a yeoman?
Lear. A king, a king!
Fool. No; he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits Come hissing in upon them:
Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.
Fool. He's mad, that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
Lear. It shall be done, I will arraign them straight:
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer;[To EDGAR. Thou, sapient sir, sit here. [To the Fool.]-Now, you she-foxes!
Edg. Look, where he stands and glares!Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
Come o'er the bourn,3 Bessy, to me:Fool. Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dare not come over to thee. Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hop lance cries in Tom's belly for two white herrings. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee.
Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd:
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions? Lear. I'll see their trial first:-Bring in the evidence.
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;
Bench by his side:-You are of the commission,
What store her heart is made of.-Stop her there!
Kent. O pity!-Sir, where is the patience now, That you so oft have boasted to retain?
Edg. My tears begin to take his part so much, They'll mar my counterfeiting. [Aside.
Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Do de, do de. Sessa. Come, march to wakes and fairs, and market towns:-Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her heart: Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts!-You, sir, I entertain you for one of my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your garments: you will say, they are Persian attire; but let them be changed. [To EDGAR.
Kent. Now,good my lord, he here,and rest awhile. Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains: So, so, so: We go to supper i' the morning: So, so, so.
Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
Oppress'd nature sleeps:This rest might yet have ɓalm'd thy broken senses, Which, if convenience will not allow, Stand in hard cure.-Come, help to bear thy master; Thou must not stay behind. [To the Fool. Glo. Come, come, away. [Exeunt KENT, GLOSTER, and the Fool, bearing off the King." Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers, suffers most i' the mind; Leaving free things, and happy shows, behind. But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship. How light and portable my pain seems now,
• A bloodhound.
When that which makes me bend, makes the king bow;
He childed, as I father'd!-Tom, away:
In thy just proof, repeals, and reconciles thee.
SCENE VII-A Room in Gloster's Castle. Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, EDMUND, and Servants.
Corn. Post speedily to my lord, your husband; show him this letter:-the army of France is landed. Seek out the villain Gloster.
[Exeunt some of the Servants. Reg. Hang him instantly. Gon. Pluck out his eyes.
Corn. Leave him to my displeasure.-Edmund, keep you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift, and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister;farewell, my lord of Gloster.6
Re-enter Servants, with GLOSTER.
Reg. Ingrateful fox! Stis he.
Corn. Bind fast his corky? arms.
Glo. What mean your graces friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.
Reg. So white, and such a traitor!
Reg. Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth. Corn. And what confederacy have you with the
Late footed in the kingdom?
Reg. Wherefore to Dover?
Glo. Because I would not see thy cruel nails Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs. The sea, with such a storm as his bare head In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up, And quench'd the stelled3 fires; yet, poor old heart,
He holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
[GLOSTER is held down in his Chair, while
Glo. He, that will think to live till he be old, Give me some help:-O cruel! O ye gods! Reg. One side will mock another; the other too. Corn. If you see vengeance,
Hold your hand, my lord:
I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;
Reg. How now, you dog?
Serv. If you did wear a beard upon your chin, I'd shake it on this quarrel: What do you mean? Corn. My villain! [Draws and runs at him. Serv. Nay, then come on, and take the chance of anger.
[Draws. They fight. CORNWALL is wounded, Reg. Give me thy sword.-[To another Servant.] A peasant stand up thus!
[Snatches a sword, comes behind, and stabs him. Serv. O, I am slain!--My lord, you have one eye left [Dies.
To see some mischief on him:-0!
Corn. Lest it see more, prevent it:-Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?
[Tears out GLOSTER'S other Eye, and throws it on
Glo. All dark and comfortless.-Where's my son
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
O my follies!
Then Edgar was abused.-
Corn. I have received a hurt:- Follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
[Exit CORNWALL, led by REGAN;-Servants unbind GLOSTER, and lead him out. If this man comes to good. 1 Serv. I'll never care what wickedness I do, If she live long, And, in the end, meet the old course of death,
Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatic Women will all turn monsters. king?
Glo. I have a letter guessingly set down, Which came from one that's of a neutral heart, And not from one oppos'd.
Corn. Where hast thou sent the king? Glo.
1 Serv. Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam7
To lead him where he would; his roguish madness Allows itself to any thing.
2 Serv. Go thou; I'll fetch some flax, and whites of eggs,
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!
Yielded, submitted to the necessity of the occasion. • Laid open. Bedlamite, madman.
SCENE I.-The Heath.
Edg. 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 GLOSTER, led by an Old Man. My father, poorly led?-World, world, O world! 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. Glo. Away, get thee away; good friend, begone: Thy comforts can do me no good at all, Thee they may hurt.
Old Man. Alack, sir, you cannot see your way. Glo. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes; I stumbled when I saw: Full oft 'tis seen, Our mean secures us; and our mere defects Prove our commodities.-Ah, dear son Edgar, The food of thy abused father's wrath! Might I but live to see thee in my touch, I'd say, I had my eyes again! Old Man.
How now? Who's there? Edg. [Aside.] O gods! Who is't can say, I am at
I am worse than e'er I was.
'Tis poor mad Tom. Edg. [Aside.] And worse I may be yet: The
worst is not,
So long as we can say, This is the worst.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;
Glo. Is that the naked fellow?
Ay, my lord.
Glo. Then, pr'ythee, get thee gone: If, for my sake,
Alack sir, he's mad.
Glo. 'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
Old Man. I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
Glo. Sirrah, naked fellow.
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold: I cannot daub9 it further.
Glo. Come hither, fellow.
Glo. Know'st thou the way to Dover?
SCENE II.-Before the Duke of Albany's Palace. Enter GONERIL and EDMUND; Steward meeting them.
Gon. Welcome, my lord: I marvel, our mild husband
Not met us on the way:-Now, where's your master?
Stew. Madam, within; but never man so changed:
When I inforin'd him, then he call'd me sot;
What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to him;
Then shall you go no further.
must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Edm. Yours in the ranks of death.
Gon. I have been worth the whistle.2
Gon. No more; the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile: Filths savor but themselves. What have you done? Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd? A father, and a gracious aged man, Whose reverence 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 1i. e. Our wishes on the road may be completed. Tear off. Worth calling for.
Mess. A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
Gon. [Aside.] One way I like this well;
Alb. Where was his son, when they did take his eyes?
Mess. Come with my lady hither.
He is not here.
And quit the house on purpose, that their punish
Might have the freer course.
Gloster, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
SCENE III.-The French Camp near Dover.
Kent. Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back, know you the reason?
Gent. 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 requir'd, And necessary.
Kent. Who hath he left behind him general? Gent. The Mareschal of France, Monsieur le Fer. Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief!
Gent. Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Sought to be king o'er her.
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Let pity not be believed!5-There she shook
It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Kent. Was this before the king return'd?
No, since. Kent. Well, sir; the poor distress'd Lear is i' the town:
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
Gent. 'Tis so; they are afoot.
Kent. 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.
SCENE IV.-The same. A Tent.
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
All bless'd secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
My mourning, and important tears, hath pitied. No blown' ambition doth our arms incite,