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SCENE I. A Heath. A storm is heard, with thunder and lightning.

Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, meeting.

Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather? Gent. One minded like the weather, 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 swell the curled waters 'bove the main,'

That things might change, or cease; tears his white


Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn 3

The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.


This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch, The lion and the belly-pinched wolf

Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,

And bids what will take all.5


But who is with him?

Gent. None but the fool; who labors to outjest

His heart-struck injuries.


Sir, I do know you;

And dare, upon the warrant of my art,"

Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,

1 The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent.

2 The first folio ends this speech at "change or cease," and begins again at Kent's speech," But who is with him?"

3 Steevens thinks that we should read "out-storm."

4 That is, a bear whose dugs are drawn dry by its young.

5 So in Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus says:

"I'll strike, and cry, Take all."

6 i. e. on the strength of that art or skill which teaches us "to find the mind's construction in the face." The folio reads:

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which Dr. Johnson explains, " my observation of your character."

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Although as yet the face of it be covered
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have (as who have not, that their great stars1
Throned and set high?) servants, who seem no less;
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings 2 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:-3
[But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdom; who already
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner.-Now to you.
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.

I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to you.]

Gent. I will talk further with you.

No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As fear not but you shall,) show her this ring,
And she will tell
who your
fellow is,


1 This and the seven following lines are not in the quartos. The lines in crotchets lower down, from "But, true it is," &c. to the end of the speech, are not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition; and if the former lines are read, and the latter omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy; but in this speech the first is preferable; for in the folio the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither. 2 Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances.

3 A furnish anciently signified a sample. "To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own out to pawn."-Green's Groatsworth of Wit. 4 Companion.

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

Gent. Give me your hand; have you no more to say?

Kent. Few words, but to effect, more than all yet; That when we have found the king, (in which your pain That way; I'll this ;) he that first lights on him, Holla the other.1

[Exeunt severally.

SCENE II. Another Part of the Heath. Storm continues.

Enter LEAR and Fool.

Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!

You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout

Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,


Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!

Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughter's blessing! Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.

Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit fire! spout rain! Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters. I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;

1 The quartos read:

"That when we have found the King,

I'le this way, you that; he that first lights
On him, hollow the other."

2 Thought-executing," doing execution with celerity equal to thought." 3 Avant-couriers (Fr.). The phrase occurs in other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army.

4 Court holy-water is fair words and flattering speeches. The French have their Eau benite de la cour in the same sense.

I never gave you kingdom, called you children;
You owe me no subscription; why, then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.-
But yet I call you servile ministers,

That have with two pernicious daughters joined
Your high-engendered battles, 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! tis foul!

Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece.

The cod-piece that will house,
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse ;-
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe

What he his heart should make,

Shall of a corn cry woe,

And turn his sleep to wake.

—for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.

Enter KENT.

Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience,

I will say nothing.

Kent. Who's there?


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

Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love


Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,

And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never

1 i. e. submission, obedience.

2 Meaning the king and himself. The king's grace was the usual expression in Shakspeare's time.

3 To gallow is to frighten, to scare.

Remember to have heard; man's nature cannot carry The affliction, nor the fear.


Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pother1 o'er our heads,

Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,

Unwhipped of justice! Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjured, and thou simular 2 man of virtue,
That art incestuous! Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming,
Hast practised on man's life!-Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents,3 and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinned against than sinning.


Kent. Alack, bare-headed! Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;

Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest. Repose you there; while I to this hard house

(More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis raised; Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in) return, and force

Their scanted courtesy.


My wits begin to turn.

Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold? I am cold myself.-Where is this straw, my fellow? The art of our necessities is strange,

That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel; Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart That's sorry yet for thee.5

Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,—

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With a heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,-
Must make content with his fortunes fit ;
For the rain it raineth every day.

1 Thus the folio and one of the quartos; the other quarto reads


21. e. counterfeit.

3 Continent for that which contains or incloses.

4 Summoners are officers that summon offenders before a proper triJunal.

5 The quartos read, "That sorrows yet for thee."

6 Part of the Clown's song at the end of Twelfth Night.

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