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Lear. Ha! sayest thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wronged.
Lear. Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence2 and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't.But where's my fool? I have not seen him these two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.Go you, and tell my daughter, I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.
O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I,
Stew. My lady's father.
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball [Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away: I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so. [Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.
(1) Punctilious jealousy.
[Giving Kent money.
Fool. Let me hire him too;-Here's my coxcomb. [Giving Kent his cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou?
Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banished two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How now, nuncle? 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipped out, when Lady, the brach,2 may stand by the fire, and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle :
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
(1) Estate or property. (3) Ownest, possessest.
(2) Bitch hound. (4) Believest.
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
Lear. This is nothing, fool.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool. [To Kent. Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool? Lear. No, lad; teach me.
Fool. That lord, that counsel'd thee
Come place him here by me,-
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching.-Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i'the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.
Fools had ne'er less gracel in a year; [Singing.
And know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.
Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother: for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing.
That such a king should play bo-peep,
Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach thy fool to lie; I would fain learn to lie.
Lear. If you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd. Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are they'll have me whipp'd for speaking true, thou❜lt have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o'both sides, and left nothing i'the middle: Here comes one o'the parings.
Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet2 on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an 03 without a figure : I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.-Yes, forsooth, I will
(2) Part of a woman's head-dress, to which Lear compares her frowning brow.
(3) A cypher.
hold my tongue; so your face [To Gon.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crumb,
That's a sheal'd peascod.
[Pointing to Lear Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had its head bit off by his young. So out went the candle, and we were left darkling. Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; 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?-Lear's shadow? I would learn that;
(1) A mere husk which contains nothing. (2) Approbation. (3) Well governed state. (4) Stored.