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for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daugh


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

Gon. Come, sir;

This admiration is much o'the favour!

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 disorder'd, so debauch'd, 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 grac'd 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,2
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.


Darkness and devils!

Saddle my horses; call my train together.-
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.

Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd


Make servants of their betters.

Enter Albany.

Lear. Wo, 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!

(1) Complexion.

(2) Continue in service.


[To Goneril.

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, wrench'd my frame of


From the fix'd 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 Df what hath mov'd 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;
And from her derogate? body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent3 tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child!-Away, away! [Exit.
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes


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!

(1) The rack. (2) Degraded.

(3) Falling.

What's the matter, sir!

Within a fortnight?


Lear. I'll tell thee;-Life and death! I am


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 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.
[Ereunt 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 hun


dred knights!

'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep

(1) Undressed.

At point, a hundred knights.


Yes, that on every

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.

Gon. 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, Oswald?

Enter Steward.

What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

Stew. Ay, madam.

Gon. Take you some company,


Inform her full of my particular fear;

and away to

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

This milky gentleness, and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd2 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 (2) Liable to reprehension.

(1) Arined.

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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.


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 reason.

Lear. Because they are not eight?

Fool. Yes, indeed: Thou would'st make a good fool.

Lear. To take it again perforce!—-Monster ingratitude!



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