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That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, Should make thee worth them.-Blasts and fogs upon thee!

The untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee!-Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out;
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay.-Ha! is it come to this?
Let it be so:-Yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable;
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolfish visage. Thou shalt find,
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever: thou shalt, I warrant thee.
[Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants.

Gon. Do you mark that, my lord?

Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,

To the great love I bear you,

Gon. Pray you, content.-What, Oswald, ho!

You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

[To the Fool. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.

A fox, when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,

Should sure to the slaughter,

If my cap would buy a halter;
So the fool follows after.


Gon. This man hath had good counsel:-A hundred


"Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep

At point, a hundred knights. Yes, that on every dream,
Each buz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy.-Oswald, I say!—
Alb. Well, you may fear too far.


Safer than trust:

Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart:
What he hath utter'd, I have writ my sister;

If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
When I have show'd the unfitness.-How now,


What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
Stew. Ay, madam.


Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse: Inform her full of my particular fear:

And thereto add such

reasons of your own, As may compact it more." Get you gone;

And hasten your return. [Exit Stew.] No, no, my lord,
This milky gentleness, and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom,
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.

Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot tell; Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

Gon. Nay, then

Alb. Well, well; the event.

SCENE V. Court before the same.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool.


Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these letters: acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter: If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you.

Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.

[Exit. Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, were't not in danger of kibes?

Lear. Ay, boy.

Fool. Then, I pr'ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slip-shod.

Lear. Ha, ha, ha!

Fool. Shalt see, thy other daughter will use thee kindly: for though she's as like this as a crab is like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

Lear. Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

Fool. She will taste as like this, as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell, why one's nose stands i'the middle of his face?

Lear. No.

Fool. Why, to keep his eyes on either side his nose; that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into. Lear. I did her wrong:

Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
Lear. No.

Fool. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

Lear. Why?

Fool. Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns without a case. Lear. I will forget my nature.-So kind a father!— Be my horses ready?

Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em.. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven, is a pretty


Lear. Because they are not eight?

Fool. Yes, indeed: Thou wouldst make a good fool. Lear. To take it again perforce!-Monster ingratitude!

Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

Lear. How's that?

Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old, before thou hadst been wise.

Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!

Enter Gentleman.

How now! Are the horses ready?

Gent. Ready, my lord.

Lear. Come, boy.

Fool. She that is maid now, and laughs at my de


Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.


[graphic][merged small]

A Court within the Castle of the EARL of GLOSTER.

Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting.

Edm. Save thee, Curan.

Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father; and given him notice, that the duke of Cornwall, and Regan his duchess, will be here with him to-night. Edm. How comes that?

Cur. Nay, I know not: You have heard of the news abroad; I mean, the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?

Edm. Not I; 'Pray you, what are they?

Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Edm. Not a word.

Cur. You may then, in time. Fare you well, sir.


Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better! Best!

This weaves itself perforce into my business!

My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queazy question,
Which I must act:-Briefness, and fortune, work!-
Brother, a word; descend :-Brother, I say;
Enter EDGAR.

My father watches:-O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;

You have now the good advantage of the night:-
Have you not spoken 'gainst the duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither; now, i'the night, i'the haste,
And Regan with him; have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.


I am sure on't, not a word. Edm. I hear my father coming,-Pardon me :In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you:Draw: Seem to defend yourself: Now quit you well. Yield:-come before my father;-Light, ho, here!Fly, brother;-Torches! torches!-So, farewell.— [Exit Edgar. Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion

[Wounds his Arm.
Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport.-Father! Father!
Stop, stop! No help?

Enter GLOSTER, and Servants with Torches.
Glo. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand his auspicious mistress :-


Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.


But where is he?

Where is the villain, Edmund? Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no means he couldGlo. Pursue him, ho!-Go after.-[Exit Servant] By no means,-what?

Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lordship; But that I told him, the revenging gods

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