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and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

Lear. Does any here know me?-Why, this is not Lear; does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied.-Sleeping or waking?-Ha! sure 'tis not so.-Who is it that can tell me who I am?1 Fool. Lear's shadow,

Lear. [I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.] Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?

Gon. Come, sir;

This admiration is much o'the favor 2

Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright;

As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires,
Men so disordered, so debauched, and bold,
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn; epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel,

Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy. Be then desired

By her that else will take the thing she begs,

A little to disquantity your train ;

And the remainder, that shall still depend,3
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.


Darkness and devils!-Saddle my horses; call my train together.

1 This passage has been erroneously printed in all the late editions. "Who is it can tell me who I am?" says Lear. In the folio, the reply, "Lear's shadow," is rightly given to the fool. It is remarkable that the continuation of Lear's speech, and the continuation of the fool's comment, is omitted in the folio copy.

2 i. e. of the complexion.
3 i. e. continue in service.

Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee;

Yet have I left a daughter.

Gon. You strike my people; and your disordered


Make servants of their betters.


Lear. Woe, that too late repents,'-O sir, are you come?

Is it your will? [To ALB.] Speak, sir.-Prepare my horses.

Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,

More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster! 2


'Pray, sir, be patient.


Lear. Detested kite! thou liest.

My train are men of choice and rarest parts,

That all particulars of duty know;

And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name.-O most small fault,

How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!

Which, like an engine,3 wrenched my frame of nature From the fixed place; drew from my heart all love,

And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!

Beat at this gate that let thy folly in,

[Striking his head. And thy dear judgment out.-Go, go, my people. Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant

Of what hath moved you.

Lear. It may be so, my lord.-Hear, nature, hear; Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if Thou didst intend to make this creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility!

Dry up in her the organs of increase;

1 One of the quarto copies reads, “We that too late repents us." The others, "We that too late repents."

2 The sea-monster is the hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude.

3 By an engine the rack is here intended.

And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honor her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart 2 disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,3
To laughter and contempt; that she may
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!-Away! away!



Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this? Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope

That dotage gives it.

Re-enter LEAR.

Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap! Within a fortnight?


What's the matter, sir?

Lear. I'll tell thee ;-Life and death! I am ashamed That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;

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


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,

1 Derogate here means degenerate, degraded.

2 Thwart as a noun adjective is not frequent in our language. It is to be found, however, in Promos and Cassandra, 1578 :—

"Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care." Disnatured is wanting natural affection.

3 "Pains and benefits," in this place, signify maternal cares and good offices.

4 The untented woundings are the rankling or never-healing wounds inflicted by a parental malediction. Tents are well-known dressings inserted into wounds as a preparative to healing them.

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 forever; 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 knights!

'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep

At point,3 a hundred knights! Yes, that on every dream,
Each buzz, 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 too far;
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart;
What he hath uttered, I have writ my sister;
If she sustain him and his hundred knights,

This speech is gleaned partly from the folios, and partly from the quartos. The omissions in the one and the other are not of sufficient importance to trouble the reader with a separate notice of each.

2 All within brackets is omitted in the quartos.

3 At point probably means completely armed.

When I have showed the unfitness,-How now, Os


Enter Steward.

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 attasked for want of wisdom,
Than praised 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.2

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

1 The word task is frequently used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries in the sense of tax.

2 The word there, in this speech, shows that when the king says, "Go you before to Gloster," he means the town of Gloster, which Shakspeare chose to make the residence of the duke of Cornwall, to increase the probability of their setting out late from thence on a visit to the earl of Gloster. Our old English earls usually resided in the counties whence they took their titles. Lear, not finding his son-in-law and his wife at home, follows them to the earl of Gloster's castle.

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