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stage directions:
dumb show
Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund.
Enter King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan,Cordelia, and Attendants.
He exits.
He is handed a map.
, aside
, pointing to the map
, aside
To Cordelia.
An Attendant exits.
To Cordelia.
To Goneril and Regan.
He exits.
Enter Gloucester with France, and Burgundy,and Attendants.
, to Lear
, to Lear
, to Cordelia
To Cordelia.
All but France, Cordelia,Goneril, and Regan exit.
France and Cordelia exit.
They exit.
Enter Edmund, the Bastard.
Enter Gloucester.
He puts apaper in his pocket.
Edmund gives him the paper.
He exits.
Enter Edgar.
Edgar exits.
He exits.
Enter Goneril and Oswald, her Steward.
They exit in different directions.
Enter Kent in disguise.
Horns within.
Enter Lear, Knights, and Attendants.
An Attendant exits.
An Attendant exits.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
He exits.
A Knight exits.
Enter Knight again.
AnAttendant exits.
Another exits.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
Lear strikes him.
, tripping him
, to Oswald
Oswald exits.
He gives Kent a purse.
Enter Fool.
To Kent.
He offers Kent his cap.
, to Kent
To Kent.
, to Kent
Enter Goneril.
To Goneril.
He points at Lear.
Some exit.
Enter Albany.
Some exit.
, to Goneril
He strikes his head.
Some exit.
Lear and the rest of his train exit.
Enter Lear and the Fool.
To Goneril.
He exits.
He exits.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
Oswald exits.
They exit.
Enter Lear, Kent in disguise, Gentleman, and Fool.
, to Kent
He exits.
Gentleman exits.
Enter Gentleman.
They exit.
Enter Edmund, the Bastard and Curan, severally.
He exits.
Enter Edgar.
They draw.
Aside to Edgar.
Edgar exits.
He wounds his arm.
Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches.
Servants exit.
Tucket within.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.
They exit.
Enter Kent in disguise and Oswald, the Steward,severally.
He drawshis sword.
He beats Oswald.
Enter Bastard Edmund, with his rapier drawn,Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.
, to Oswald
Stocks brought out.
Kent is put in the stocks.
All but Gloucester and Kent exit.
He exits.
He takes out a paper.
Enter Edgar.
He exits.
Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman.
, waking
, to Fool and Gentleman
He exits.
Enter Lear and Gloucester.
Noticing Kent again.
He exits.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.
Kent here set at liberty.
To Kent.
He kneels.
, rising
Tucket within.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
Enter Goneril.
To Goneril.
Regan takes Goneril’s hand.
He indicates Oswald.
To Goneril.
Storm and tempest.
Lear, Kent, and Fool exitwith Gloucester and the Gentleman.
Enter Gloucester.
, to Gloucester
They exit.
Storm still.
Enter Kent in disguise, and a Gentleman,severally.
Kent hands him a purse and a ring.
They exit separately.
Storm still.
Enter Lear and Fool.
Enter Kent in disguise.
Lear and Kent exit.
He exits.
Enter Gloucester and Edmund.
He exits.
He exits.
Enter Lear, Kent in disguise, and Fool.
Storm still.
Fool exits.
Enter Fool.
Enter Edgar in disguise.
Storm still.
Storm still.
Tearing off his clothes.
Enter Gloucester, with a torch.
To Edgar.
They talk aside.
, to Gloucester
Storm still.
To Edgar.
, to Edgar
, indicating Edgar
, to Gloucester
, to Kent
, to Edgar
They exit.
Enter Cornwall, and Edmund with a paper.
, aside
They exit.
Enter Kent in disguise, and Gloucester.
Gloucester exits.
Enter Lear, Edgar in disguise, and Fool.
To Edgar.
To Fool.
, to Lear
To Edgar.
To Fool.
To Kent.
, to Lear
, aside
To Edgar.
, lying down
Enter Gloucester.
, to Kent
To the Fool.
All but Edgar exit, carrying Lear.
He exits.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Edmund, the Bastard,and Servants.
, to Goneril
He gives her apaper.
Some Servants exit.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
Oswald exits.
Goneril and Edmund exit.
Some Servants exit.
Enter Gloucester and Servants.
Servants bind Gloucester.
Regan plucks Gloucester’s beard.
As Servants hold the chair, Cornwall forces outone of Gloucester’s eyes.
Draw and fight.
, to an Attendant
She takes a sword and runsat him behind; kills him.
He dies.
Forcing out Gloucester’s other eye.
Some Servants exit with Gloucester.
Cornwall and Regan exit.
They exit.
Enter Edgar in disguise.
Enter Gloucester and an old man.
, aside
, aside
, aside
He exits.
, aside
, giving him money
They exit.
Enter Goneril and Edmund, the Bastard.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
, to Edmund
She gives him a favor.
She kisses him.
He exits.
He exits.
Enter Albany.
Enter a Messenger.
Giving her a paper.
, aside
She exits.
They exit.
Enter Kent in disguise and a Gentleman.
They exit.
Enter with Drum and Colors, Cordelia, Doctor,Gentlemen, and Soldiers.
Soldiers exit.
Enter Messenger.
They exit.
Enter Regan and Oswald, the Steward.
They exit.
Enter Gloucester and Edgar dressed as a peasant.
He gives Edgar a purse.
, walking away
, aside
He kneels.
He falls.
He raises Gloucester.
Enter Lear.
, aside
, aside
Enter a Gentleman and Attendants.
, noticing Lear
To an Attendant.
The King exits running pursued by Attendants.
Gentleman exits.
He takes Gloucester’s hand.
Enter Oswald, the Steward.
, drawing his sword
Edgar steps between Gloucester and Oswald.
They fight.
, falling
He dies.
He opens a letter.
Reads the letter.
Drum afar off.
They exit.
Enter Cordelia, Kent in disguise, Doctor, andGentleman.
Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.
, kissing Lear
, weeping
They exit. Kent and Gentleman remain.
He exits.
He exits.
Enter, with Drum and Colors, Edmund, Regan,Gentlemen, and Soldiers.
, to a Gentleman
A Gentleman exits.
Enter, with Drum and Colors, Albany, Goneril, Soldiers.
, aside
, aside
They begin to exit.
Enter Edgar dressed as a peasant.
, to Albany
, to those exiting
Both the armies exit.
, giving him a paper
He exits.
Enter Edmund.
Giving him a paper.
He exits.
He exits.
Alarum within.
Enter, with Drum and Colors, Lear,Cordelia, and Soldiers, over the stage,
Enter Edgar and Gloucester.
Edgar exits.
Alarum and Retreat within.
Enter Edgar.
They exit.
Enter in conquest, with Drum and Colors, Edmund;Lear and Cordelia as prisoners; Soldiers, Captain.
, to Lear
Lear and Cordelia exit, with Soldiers.
Handing him a paper.
Captain exits.
Enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Soldiers and aCaptain.
, to Edmund
To Edmund.
, to Edmund
He throws down a glove.
, aside
He throws down a glove.
Regan is helped to exit.
Enter a Herald.
He hands the Herald a paper.
A trumpet sounds.
First trumpet sounds.
Second trumpet sounds.
Third trumpet sounds.
Trumpet answers within.
Enter Edgar armed.
, to Herald
He draws his sword.
He draws his sword. Alarums. Fights.
Edmund falls, wounded.
, to Edgar
She exits.
A Soldier exits.
, to Edgar
, to Edgar
Enter a Gentleman with a bloody knife.
, to Gentleman
Enter Kent.
, to the Gentleman
Gentleman exits.
To Kent.
Goneril and Regan’s bodies brought out.
To Edmund.
, to a Soldier
The Soldier exits with Edmund’s sword.
, to Albany
Edmund is carried off.
Enter Lear with Cordelia in his arms,followed by a Gentleman.
To Kent.
Enter a Messenger.
He dies.
To Lear.
To Edgar and Kent.
They exit with a dead march.
Lear’s eldest daughter

Sir, I love you more than word can wield the
Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty,
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor;
As much as child e’er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

Let your study
Be to content your lord, who hath received you
At Fortune’s alms. You have obedience scanted
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.

Sister, it is not little I have to say of what
most nearly appertains to us both. I think our
father will hence tonight.

You see how full of changes his age is; the
observation we have made of it hath not been
little. He always loved our sister most, and with
what poor judgment he hath now cast her off
appears too grossly.

The best and soundest of his time hath been
but rash. Then must we look from his age to
receive not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
that infirm and choleric years bring with

There is further compliment of leave-taking
between France and him. Pray you, let us sit
together. If our father carry authority with such
disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will
but offend us.

We must do something, and i’ th’ heat.

Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding
of his Fool?

By day and night he wrongs me. Every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other
That sets us all at odds. I’ll not endure it.
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him. Say I am sick.
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well. The fault of it I’ll answer.

Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows. I’d have it come to question.
If he distaste it, let him to my sister,
Whose mind and mine I know in that are one,
Not to be overruled. Idle old man
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away. Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again and must be used
With checks as flatteries, when they are seen
Remember what I have said.

And let his knights have colder looks among you.
What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so.
I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
That I may speak. I’ll write straight to my sister
To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner.

Not only, sir, this your all-licensed Fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endurèd riots. Sir,
I had thought by making this well known unto you
To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not ’scape censure, nor the redresses sleep
Which in the tender of a wholesome weal
Might in their working do you that offense,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

I would you would make use of your good wisdom,
Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away
These dispositions which of late transport you
From what you rightly are.

This admiration, sir, is much o’ th’ savor
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright.
As you are old and reverend, 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
Makes 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 remainders that shall still depend
To be such men as may besort your age,
Which know themselves and you.

You strike my people, and your disordered rabble
Make servants of their betters.

Never afflict yourself to know more of it,
But let his disposition have that scope
As dotage gives it.

Do you mark that?

Pray you, content.—What, Oswald, ho!—
You, sir, more knave than Fool, after your master.

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
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers
And hold our lives in mercy.—Oswald, I say!

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
When I have showed th’ unfitness—
How now, Oswald?
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

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. No, no, my
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more at task for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.

Nay, then—

Why not by th’ hand, sir? How have I offended?
All’s not offense that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.

At your choice, sir.

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

Hear me, my lord.
What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?

’Tis his own blame hath put himself from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.

So am I purposed. Where is my lord of Gloucester?

My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Pluck out his eyes.

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
Now, where’s your master?

Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake. He’ll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother.
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers.
I must change names at home and give the distaff
Into my husband’s hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us. Ere long you are like to
If you dare venture in your own behalf—
A mistress’s command. Wear this; spare speech.
Decline your head. This kiss, if it
durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.
Conceive, and fare thee well.

My most dear
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman’s services are due;
My fool usurps my body.

I have been worth the whistle.

No more. The text is foolish.

Milk-livered man,
That bear’st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honor from thy suffering; that not know’st
Fools do those villains pity who are punished
Ere they have done their mischief. Where’s thy
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land.
With plumèd helm thy state begins to threat
Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
Alack, why does he so?

O vain fool!

Marry, your manhood, mew—

One way I like this well.
But being widow and my Gloucester with her
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life. Another way
The news is not so tart.—I’ll read, and answer.

I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.

Combine together ’gainst the enemy,
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.


Oho, I know the riddle.—I will go.

Not so hot.
In his own grace he doth exalt himself
More than in your addition.

That were the most if he should husband you.

Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so looked but asquint.

Mean you to enjoy him?

An interlude!

If not, I’ll ne’er trust medicine.

This is practice, Gloucester.
By th’ law of war, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite. Thou art not vanquished,
But cozened and beguiled.

Say if I do; the laws are mine, not thine.
Who can arraign me for ’t?

Ask me not what I know.

Duke of Albany
her husband

Dear sir, forbear.

Pray, sir, be patient.

My lord, I am guiltless as I am ignorant
Of what hath moved you.

Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

What’s the matter, sir?

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you—

Well, you may fear too far.

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

Well, well, th’ event.

O Goneril,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition.
That nature which contemns its origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.
Filths savor but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?
A father, and a gracious agèd man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offenses,
It will come:
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.

See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity shows not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.

Thou changèd and self-covered thing, for shame
Bemonster not thy feature. Were ’t my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones. Howe’er thou art a fiend,
A woman’s shape doth shield thee.

What news?

Gloucester’s eyes?

This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge. But, O poor Gloucester,
Lost he his other eye?

Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

He is not here.

Knows he the wickedness?

Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show’d’st the King,
And to revenge thine eyes.—Come hither, friend.
Tell me what more thou know’st.

Our very loving sister, well bemet.—
Sir, this I heard: the King is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigor of our state
Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant. For this business,
It touches us as France invades our land,
Not bolds the King, with others whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

Let’s then determine
With th’ ancient of war on our proceeding.

I’ll overtake you.—Speak.

Stay till I have read the letter.

Why, fare thee well. I will o’erlook thy paper.

We will greet the time.

Sir, you have showed today your valiant strain,
And Fortune led you well. You have the captives
Who were the opposites of this day’s strife.
I do require them of you, so to use them
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.

Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.

The let-alone lies not in your goodwill.

Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Stay yet, hear reason.—Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
This gilded serpent.—For your claim, fair
I bar it in the interest of my wife.
’Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your banns.
If you will marry, make your loves to me.
My lady is bespoke.

Thou art armed, Gloucester. Let the trumpet sound.
If none appear to prove upon thy person
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge.
I’ll make it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaimed thee.

A herald, ho!

Trust to thy single virtue, for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.

She is not well. Convey her to my tent.
Come hither, herald. Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.

Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o’ th’ trumpet.

Which is that adversary?

Save him, save him!

Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stopple it.—Hold, sir.—
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil.
No tearing, lady. I perceive you know it.

Most monstrous! O!
Know’st thou this paper?

Go after her, she’s desperate. Govern her.

Methought thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness. I must embrace thee.
Let sorrow split my heart if ever I
Did hate thee or thy father!

Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?

If there be more, more woeful, hold it in,
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

But who was this?

Speak, man!

Who dead? Speak, man.

Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead.
This judgment of the heavens, that makes us
Touches us not with pity. O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
Which very manners urges.

Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where’s the King? And where’s
Seest thou this object, Kent?

Even so.—Cover their faces.

Run, run, O, run!

The gods defend her!—Bear him hence awhile.

Fall and cease.

He knows not what he says, and vain is it
That we present us to him.

That’s but a trifle here.—
You lords and noble friends, know our intent:
What comfort to this great decay may come
Shall be applied. For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old Majesty,
To him our absolute power; you to your rights,
With boot and such addition as your Honors
Have more than merited. All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings. O, see, see!

Bear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe. Friends of my
soul, you twain
Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.

her steward

Ay, madam.

He’s coming, madam. I hear him.

Well, madam.

So please you—

My lady’s father.

I am none of these, my lord, I beseech your

I’ll not be strucken, my lord.

Ay, madam.

Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this

Where may we set our horses?

Prithee, if thou lov’st me, tell me.

Why then, I care not for thee.

Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

What dost thou know me for?

Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou thus
to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor
knows thee!

Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

Help, ho! Murder! Help!

Help, ho! Murder, murder!

I am scarce in breath, my lord.

This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have
spared at suit of his gray beard—

I never gave him any.
It pleased the King his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripped me behind; being down, insulted, railed,
And put upon him such a deal of man
That worthied him, got praises of the King
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.

My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.
Some five- or six-and-thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who, with some other of the lord’s dependents,
Are gone with him toward Dover, where they boast
To have well-armèd friends.

Madam, within, but never man so changed.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it. I told him you were coming;
His answer was The worse. Of Gloucester’s
And of the loyal service of his son
When I informed him, then he called me sot
And told me I had turned the wrong side out.
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.

Madam, here comes my lord.

Ay, madam.

Madam, with much ado.
Your sister is the better soldier.

No, madam.

I know not, lady.

I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

I may not, madam.
My lady charged my duty in this business.

Madam, I had rather—

I, madam?

Would I could meet him, madam. I should show
What party I do follow.

A proclaimed prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember; the sword is out
That must destroy thee.

Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar’st thou support a published traitor? Hence,
Lest that th’ infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

Let go, slave, or thou diest!

Out, dunghill.

Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body,
And give the letters which thou find’st about me
To Edmund, Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out
Upon the English party. O, untimely death! Death!

Lear’s second daughter

I am made of that self mettle as my sister
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short, that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys
Which the most precious square of sense
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear Highness’ love.

Prescribe not us our duty.

That’s most certain, and with you; next month
with us.

’Tis the infirmity of his age. Yet he hath ever
but slenderly known himself.

Such unconstant starts are we like to have
from him as this of Kent’s banishment.

We shall further think of it.

If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th’ offender. How dost, my

What, did my father’s godson seek your life?
He whom my father named, your Edgar?

Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tended upon my father?

No marvel, then, though he were ill affected.
’Tis they have put him on the old man’s death,
To have th’ expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them, and with such cautions
That if they come to sojourn at my house
I’ll not be there.

Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night.
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home. The several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom and bestow
Your needful counsel to our businesses,
Which craves the instant use.

The messengers from our sister and the King.

Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night, too.

Sir, being his knave, I will.

My sister may receive it much more worse
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted
For following her affairs.—Put in his legs.

I am glad to see your Highness.

I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.

I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance
She have restrained the riots of your followers,
’Tis on such ground and to such wholesome end
As clears her from all blame.

O sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of his confine. You should be ruled and led
By some discretion that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you
That to our sister you do make return.
Say you have wronged her.

Good sir, no more. These are unsightly tricks.
Return you to my sister.

O, the blest gods! So will you wish on me
When the rash mood is on.

Good sir, to’ th’ purpose.

I know ’t—my sister’s. This approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.
Is your lady come?

I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If till the expiration of your month
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me.
I am now from home and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

Not altogether so.
I looked not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister,
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so—
But she knows what she does.

I dare avouch it, sir. What, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speak ’gainst so great a number? How in one house
Should many people under two commands
Hold amity? ’Tis hard, almost impossible.

Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack
We could control them. If you will come to me
(For now I spy a danger), I entreat you
To bring but five-and-twenty. To no more
Will I give place or notice.

And in good time you gave it.

And speak ’t again, my lord. No more with me.

What need one?

This house is little. The old man and ’s people
Cannot be well bestowed.

For his particular, I’ll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.

O sir, to willful men
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors.
He is attended with a desperate train,
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

Hang him instantly.

Ingrateful fox! ’Tis he.

Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

So white, and such a traitor?

Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.

To whose hands
You have sent the lunatic king. Speak.

And false.

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at

Wherefore to Dover?

One side will mock another. Th’ other too.

How now, you dog?

Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?

Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us,
Who is too good to pity thee.

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
How is ’t, my lord? How look you?

But are my brother’s powers set forth?

Himself in person there?

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

What might import my sister’s letter to him?

Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloucester’s eyes being out,
To let him live. Where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life; moreover to descry
The strength o’ th’ enemy.

Our troops set forth tomorrow. Stay with us.
The ways are dangerous.

Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Some things—I know not what. I’ll love thee much—
Let me unseal the letter.

I know your lady does not love her husband;
I am sure of that; and at her late being here,
She gave strange eliads and most speaking looks
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

I speak in understanding. Y’ are; I know ’t.
Therefore I do advise you take this note:
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked,
And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady’s. You may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you, give him this,
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

Fare thee well.

Our sister’s man is certainly miscarried.

Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you;
Tell me but truly, but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister?

But have you never found my brother’s way
To the forfended place?

I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosomed with her as far as we call hers.

I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.

Why is this reasoned?

Sister, you’ll go with us?

’Tis most convenient. Pray, go with us.

That’s as we list to grace him.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers,
Bore the commission of my place and person,
The which immediacy may well stand up
And call itself your brother.

In my rights,
By me invested, he compeers the best.

Jesters do oft prove prophets.

Lady, I am not well, else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach.
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony.
Dispose of them, of me; the walls is thine.
Witness the world that I create thee here
My lord and master.

Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

Sick, O, sick!

My sickness grows upon me.

Duke of Cornwall
her husband

Dear sir, forbear.

How now, my noble friend? Since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange

Nor I, assure thee, Regan.—
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A childlike office.

Is he pursued?

If he be taken, he shall never more
Be feared of doing harm. Make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please.—For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours.
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need.
You we first seize on.

You know not why we came to visit you—

Keep peace, upon your lives! He dies that
strikes again. What is the matter?

What is your difference? Speak.

Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a

Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

Why art thou angry?

What, art thou mad, old fellow?

Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

This is some fellow
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he.
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he’s plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this
Harbor more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.

What mean’st by this?

What was th’ offense you gave

Fetch forth the stocks.—
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
We’ll teach you.

Fetch forth the stocks.—As I have life and honor,
There shall he sit till noon.

This is a fellow of the selfsame color
Our sister speaks of.—Come, bring away the stocks.

I’ll answer that.

Come, my good lord, away.

Hail to your Grace.

Fie, sir, fie!

What trumpet’s that?

What means your Grace?

I set him there, sir, but his own disorders
Deserved much less advancement.

Let us withdraw. ’Twill be a storm.

Followed the old man forth.
He is returned.

Whither is he going?

’Tis best to give him way. He leads himself.

Shut up your doors, my lord. ’Tis a wild night.
My Regan counsels well. Come out o’ th’ storm.

I will have my revenge ere I depart his

I now perceive it was not altogether your
brother’s evil disposition made him seek his death,
but a provoking merit set awork by a reprovable
badness in himself.

Go with me to the Duchess.

True or false, it hath made thee Earl of
Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he
may be ready for our apprehension.

I will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt
find a dearer father in my love.

Post speedily to my lord your
husband. Show him this letter.
The army of France is landed.—Seek out
the traitor Gloucester.

Leave him to my displeasure.—Edmund,
keep you our sister company. The revenges we are
bound to take upon your traitorous father are not
fit for your beholding. Advise the Duke, where you
are going, to a most festinate preparation; we are
bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift and
intelligent betwixt us.—Farewell, dear sister.—
Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.
How now? Where’s the King?

Get horses for your mistress.

Edmund, farewell.
Go seek the traitor Gloucester.
Pinion him like a thief; bring him before us.
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a court’sy to our wrath, which men
May blame but not control.
Who’s there? The

Bind fast his corky arms.

Bind him, I say.

To this chair bind him.
Villain, thou shalt find—

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?


Where hast thou sent the King?

Wherefore to Dover? Let him answer that.

See ’t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.—
Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

If you see vengeance—

My villain?

Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy luster now?

I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.—
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.

Lear’s youngest daughter

What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.

Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so, since I am sure my love’s
More ponderous than my tongue.

Nothing, my lord.


Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less.

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me.
I return those duties back as are right fit:
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

Ay, my good lord.

So young, my lord, and true.

I yet beseech your Majesty—
If for I want that glib and oily art
To speak and purpose not, since what I well
I’ll do ’t before I speak—that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action or dishonored step
That hath deprived me of your grace and favor,
But even for want of that for which I am richer:
A still-soliciting eye and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.

Peace be with
Since that respect and fortunes are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

The jewels of our father, with washed eyes
Cordelia leaves you. I know you what you are,
And like a sister am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Love well our
To your professèd bosoms I commit him;
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides,
Who covers faults at last with shame derides.
Well may you prosper.

Alack, ’tis he! Why, he was met even now
As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud,
Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With hardocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckooflowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. A century send forth.
Search every acre in the high-grown field
And bring him to our eye.
What can man’s wisdom
In the restoring his bereavèd sense?
He that helps him take all my outward worth.

All blest secrets,
All you unpublished virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears. Be aidant and remediate
In the good man’s distress. Seek, seek for him,
Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

’Tis known before. Our preparation stands
In expectation of them.—O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about.
Therefore great France
My mourning and importuned tears hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our aged father’s right.
Soon may I hear and see him.

O, thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
And every measure fail me.

Be better suited.
These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
I prithee put them off.

Then be ’t so, my good lord.—How does the King?

O, you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abusèd nature!
Th’ untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up,
Of this child-changèd father!

Be governed by your knowledge, and proceed
I’ th’ sway of your own will. Is he arrayed?

Very well.

O, my dear father, restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made.

Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Did challenge pity of them. Was this a face
To be opposed against the jarring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder,
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross-lightning? To watch, poor perdu,
With this thin helm? Mine enemy’s dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire. And wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack,
’Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all.—He wakes. Speak to him.

How does my royal lord? How fares your Majesty?

Sir, do you know me?

Still, still, far wide.

O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hand in benediction o’er me.
No, sir, you must not kneel.

And so I am; I am.

No cause, no

Will ’t please your Highness walk?

We are not the first
Who with best meaning have incurred the worst.
For thee, oppressèd king, I am cast down.
Myself could else outfrown false Fortune’s frown.
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?

King of France
her suitor and then husband

This is most strange,
That she whom even but now was your best
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
The best, the dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous to dismantle
So many folds of favor. Sure her offense
Must be of such unnatural degree
That monsters it, or your forevouched affection
Fall into taint; which to believe of her
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should never plant in me.

Is it but this—a tardiness in nature
Which often leaves the history unspoke
That it intends to do?—My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love’s not love
When it is mingled with regards that stands
Aloof from th’ entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised,
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon,
Be it lawful I take up what’s cast away.
Gods, gods! ’Tis strange that from their cold’st
My love should kindle to enflamed respect.—
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France.
Not all the dukes of wat’rish Burgundy
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.—
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind.
Thou losest here a better where to find.

Bid farewell to your sisters.

Come, my fair Cordelia.

Duke of Burgundy
her suitor

Most royal Majesty,
I crave no more than hath your Highness offered,
Nor will you tender less.

I know no answer.

Pardon me, royal sir,
Election makes not up in such conditions.

Royal king,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.

Earl of Kent

I thought the King had more affected the Duke
of Albany than Cornwall.

Is not this your son, my lord?

I cannot conceive you.

I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it
being so proper.

I must love you and sue to know you better.

Good my liege—

Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honored as my king,
Loved as my father, as my master followed,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers—

Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart. Be Kent unmannerly
When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man?
Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s
When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state,
And in thy best consideration check
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds
Reverb no hollowness.

My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose
Thy safety being motive.

See better, Lear, and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.

Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear’st thy gods in vain.

Kill thy physician, and thy fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift,
Or whilst I can vent clamor from my throat,
I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.

Fare thee well, king. Sith thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
The gods to their dear shelter take
thee, maid,
That justly think’st and hast most rightly said.
And your large speeches
may your deeds approve,
That good effects may spring from words of love.—
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu.
He’ll shape his old course in a country new.

If but as well I other accents borrow
That can my speech diffuse, my good intent
May carry through itself to that full issue
For which I razed my likeness. Now, banished Kent,
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand
So may it come thy master, whom thou lov’st,
Shall find thee full of labors.

A man, sir.

I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve
him truly that will put me in trust, to love him that
is honest, to converse with him that is wise and says
little, to fear judgment, to fight when I cannot
choose, and to eat no fish.

A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the



No, sir, but you have that in your countenance
which I would fain call master.


I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a
curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message
bluntly. That which ordinary men are fit for I
am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.

Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing,
nor so old to dote on her for anything. I have years
on my back forty-eight.

Nor tripped neither, you base
football player?

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.

This is nothing, Fool.

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

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


I’ th’ mire.

I love thee not.

If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make
thee care for me.

Fellow, I know thee.

A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound,
filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered,
action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable,
finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting
slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good
service, and art nothing but the composition of a
knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir
of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into
clamorous whining if thou deny’st the least syllable
of thy addition.

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou to deny thou
knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up
thy heels and beat thee before the King?
Draw, you rogue, for though it be night,
yet the moon shines. I’ll make a sop o’ th’ moonshine
of you, you whoreson, cullionly barbermonger.

Draw, you rascal! You come with letters against
the King and take Vanity the puppet’s part against
the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I’ll so
carbonado your shanks! Draw, you rascal! Come
your ways.

Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat
slave! Strike!

With you, goodman boy, if you please. Come, I’ll
flesh you. Come on, young master.

No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor.
You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a
tailor made thee.

A tailor, sir. A stonecutter or a painter could not
have made him so ill, though they had been but two
years o’ th’ trade.

Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter!
—My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread
this unbolted villain into mortar and daub the wall
of a jakes with him.—Spare my gray beard, you

Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.

That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain
Which are too intrinse t’ unloose; smooth every
That in the natures of their lords rebel,
Being oil to fire, snow to the colder moods,
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing naught, like dogs, but following.—
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I’d drive you cackling home to Camelot.

No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

His countenance likes me not.

Sir, ’tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.

Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Under th’ allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flick’ring Phoebus’ front—

To go out of my dialect, which you discommend
so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that
beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave,
which for my part I will not be, though I should
win your displeasure to entreat me to ’t.

None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.

Sir, I am too old to learn.
Call not your stocks for me. I serve the King,
On whose employment I was sent to you.
You shall do small respect, show too bold
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

Why, madam, if I were your father’s dog,
You should not use me so.

Pray, do not, sir. I have watched and traveled hard.
Some time I shall sleep out; the rest I’ll whistle.
A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels.
Give you good morrow.

Good king, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven’s benediction com’st
To the warm sun.
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery. I know ’tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been informed
Of my obscurèd course, and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o’erwatched,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night. Smile once more; turn thy

Hail to thee, noble master.

No, my lord.

It is both he and she,
Your son and daughter.


I say yea.

By Juno, I swear ay.

My lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highness’ letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that showed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Delivered letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read; on whose contents
They summoned up their meiny, straight took
Commanded me to follow and attend
The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks;
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceived, had poisoned mine,
Being the very fellow which of late
Displayed so saucily against your Highness,
Having more man than wit about me, drew.
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

With the Earl, sir, here within.

How chance the King comes with so small a number?

Why, Fool?

Where learned you this, Fool?

Who’s there, besides foul weather?

I know you. Where’s the King?

But who is with him?

Sir, I do know you
And dare upon the warrant of my note
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
Although as yet the face of it is covered
With mutual cunning, ’twixt Albany and Cornwall,
Who have—as who have not, that their great stars
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 of the dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them hath borne
Against the old kind king, or something deeper,
Whereof perchance these are but furnishings—
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.

No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my outwall, 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 you who that fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the King.

Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet:
That when we have found the King—in which your
That way, I’ll this—he that first lights on him
Holla the other.

Who’s there?

Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night
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
Remember to have heard. Man’s nature cannot carry
Th’ affliction nor the fear.

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 harder than the stones whereof ’tis raised,
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in—return and force
Their scanted courtesy.

Here is the place, my lord. Good my lord, enter.
The tyranny of the open night’s too rough
For nature to endure.

Good my lord, enter here.

I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

Good my lord, enter here.

Give me thy hand. Who’s there?

What art thou that dost grumble there i’ th’
straw? Come forth.

He hath no daughters, sir.

How fares your Grace?

Who’s there? What is ’t you seek?

Good my lord, take his offer; go into th’ house.

Importune him once more to go, my lord.
His wits begin t’ unsettle.

This way, my lord.

Good my lord, soothe him. Let him take the fellow.

Sirrah, come on: go along with us.

All the power of his wits have given way to his
impatience. The gods reward your kindness!

How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed.
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?

Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

Here, sir, but trouble him not; his wits are gone.

Oppressèd nature sleeps.
This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure. Come, help to
bear thy master.
Thou must not stay behind.

Why the King of France is so suddenly gone
back know you no reason?

Who hath he left behind him general?

Did your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration
of grief?

O, then it moved her.

Made she no verbal question?

It is the stars.
The stars above us govern our conditions,
Else one self mate and make could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her

Was this before the King returned?

Well, sir, the poor distressèd Lear’s i’ th’ town,
Who sometime in his better tune remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.

A sovereign shame so elbows him—his own
That stripped her from his benediction, turned her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters—these things sting
His mind so venomously that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

Of Albany’s and Cornwall’s powers you heard not?

Well, sir, I’ll bring you to our master Lear
And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile.
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
Along with me.

To be acknowledged, madam, is o’erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more, nor clipped, but so.

Pardon, dear madam.
Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.

Kind and dear princess.

In your own kingdom, sir.

Most certain, sir.

As ’tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.

Report is changeable. ’Tis time to look about.
The powers of the kingdom approach apace.

My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well, or ill, as this day’s battle’s fought.

I am come
To bid my king and master aye goodnight.
Is he not here?

Alack, why thus?

Is this the promised end?

O, my good master—

If Fortune brag of two she loved and hated,
One of them we behold.

The same,
Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?

No, my good lord, I am the very man—

That from your first of difference and decay
Have followed your sad steps.

Nor no man else. All’s cheerless, dark, and deadly.
Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves,
And desperately are dead.

Break, heart, I prithee, break!

Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

The wonder is he hath endured so long.
He but usurped his life.

I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls me. I must not say no.


Let me hire him too. Here’s my

Sirrah, you were best take my

Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor.
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 on ’s
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.

If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs
myself. There’s mine. Beg another of thy

Truth’s a dog must to kennel; he must be
whipped out, when the Lady Brach may stand by th’
fire and stink.

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

Mark it, nuncle:Have more than thou showest.
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.

Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer.
You gave me nothing for ’t.—Can you make no use
of nothing, nuncle?

Prithee tell him, so much the rent of his
land comes to. He will not believe a Fool.

Dost know the difference, my boy, between a
bitter fool and a sweet one?

That lord that counseled thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me;
Do thou for him stand.
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear:
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.

All thy other titles thou hast given away. That
thou wast born with.

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 the fool
to myself; they’ll be snatching.—Nuncle, give me
an egg, and I’ll give thee two crowns.

Why, after I have cut the egg i’ th’ middle and eat
up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou
clovest thy crown i’ th’ middle and gav’st away
both parts, thou bor’st thine ass on thy back o’er
the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown
when thou gav’st thy golden one away. If I speak
like myself in this, let him be whipped that first
finds it so.Fools had ne’er less grace in a year,
For wise men are grown foppish
And know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.

I have used it, nuncle, e’er since thou mad’st thy
daughters thy mothers. For when thou gav’st them
the rod and put’st down thine own breeches,Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep
And go the fools among.

Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach
thy Fool to lie. I would fain learn to lie.

I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are.
They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou ’lt
have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am
whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any
kind o’ thing than a Fool. And yet I would not be
thee, nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides
and left nothing i’ th’ middle. Here comes one o’ the

Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no
need to care for her frowning. Now thou art an O
without a figure. I am better than thou art now. I
am a Fool. Thou art nothing. Yes,
forsooth, I will hold my tongue. So your face bids
me, though you say nothing.Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crumb,
Weary of all, shall want some.

That’s a shelled peascod.

For you know, nuncle,The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it’s had it head bit off by it young.

So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.

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

Lear’s shadow.

Which they will make an obedient father.

Nuncle Lear, Nuncle Lear, tarry. 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.

If a man’s brains were in ’s heels, were ’t not in
danger of kibes?

Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall not go

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

She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab.
Thou canst tell why one’s nose stands i’ th’ middle
on ’s face?

Why, to keep one’s eyes of either side ’s nose,
that what a man cannot smell out he may spy into.

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a

Why, to put ’s head in, not to give it away to his
daughters and leave his horns without a case.

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

Yes, indeed. Thou wouldst make a good Fool.

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

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst
been wise.

She that’s a maid now and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut

Ha, ha, he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied
by the heads, dogs and bears by th’ neck, monkeys
by th’ loins, and men by th’ legs. When a man’s
overlusty at legs, then he wears wooden

Winter’s not gone yet if the wild geese fly that
way.Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind,
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne’er turns the key to th’ poor.

But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolors for
thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

An thou hadst been set i’ th’ stocks for that
question, thou ’dst well deserved it.

We’ll set thee to school to an ant to teach thee
there’s no laboring i’ th’ winter. All that follow
their noses are led by their eyes but blind men, and
there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him
that’s stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel
runs down a hill lest it break thy neck with following;
but the great one that goes upward, let him
draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better
counsel, give me mine again. I would have none but
knaves follow it, since a Fool gives it.That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the Fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly.
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The Fool no knave, perdie.

Not i’ th’ stocks, fool.

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels
when she put ’em i’ th’ paste alive. She knapped
’em o’ th’ coxcombs with a stick and cried Down,wantons, down! ’Twas her brother that in pure
kindness to his horse buttered his hay.

O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is
better than this rainwater out o’ door. Good nuncle,
in. Ask thy daughters’ blessing. Here’s a night
pities neither wise men nor fools.

He that has a house to put ’s head in has a good
headpiece.The codpiece 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.

Marry, here’s grace and a codpiece; that’s a
wise man and a fool.

He that has and a little tiny wit,
With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day.

This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I’ll
speak a prophecy ere I go:When priests are more in word than matter,
When brewers mar their malt with water,
When nobles are their tailors’ tutors,
No heretics burned but wenches’ suitors,
When every case in law is right,
No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues,
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,
When usurers tell their gold i’ th’ field,
And bawds and whores do churches build,
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion;
Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,
That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before
his time.

Come not in here, nuncle; here’s a spirit. Help
me, help me!

A spirit, a spirit! He says his name’s Poor Tom.

Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all

This cold night will turn us all to fools and

Prithee, nuncle, be contented. ’Tis a naughty
night to swim in. Now, a little fire in a wild field
were like an old lecher’s heart—a small spark, all
the rest on ’s body cold.
Look, here comes a walking fire.

Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
gentleman or a yeoman.

No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his
son, for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a
gentleman before him.

He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
horse’s health, a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.

Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint stool.

And I’ll go to bed at noon.

Earl of Gloucester

It did always seem so to us, but now in
the division of the kingdom, it appears not which
of the dukes he values most, for equalities are so
weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice
of either’s moiety.

His breeding, sir, hath been at my
charge. I have so often blushed to acknowledge
him that now I am brazed to ’t.

Sir, this young fellow’s mother could,
whereupon she grew round-wombed and had indeed,
sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband
for her bed. Do you smell a fault?

But I have a son, sir, by order of law,
some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in
my account. Though this knave came something
saucily to the world before he was sent for, yet was
his mother fair, there was good sport at his making,
and the whoreson must be acknowledged.—Do you
know this noble gentleman, Edmund?

My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter
as my honorable friend.

He hath been out nine years, and away he
shall again. The King is coming.

I shall, my lord.

Here’s France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Kent banished thus? And France in choler parted?
And the King gone tonight, prescribed his power,
Confined to exhibition? All this done
Upon the gad?—Edmund, how now? What news?

Why so earnestly seek you to put up that

What paper were you reading?

No? What needed then that terrible dispatch
of it into your pocket? The quality of nothing
hath not such need to hide itself. Let’s see. Come, if
it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Give me the letter, sir.

Let’s see, let’s see.

This policy and reverence of age
makes the world bitter to the best of our times, keeps
our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish
them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the
oppression of aged tyranny, who sways not as it hath
power but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I
may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked
him, you should enjoy half his revenue forever and
live the beloved of your brother. Edgar.
Hum? Conspiracy? Sleep till I wake him, youshould enjoy half his revenue. My son Edgar! Had
he a hand to write this? A heart and brain to breed it
in?—When came you to this? Who brought it?

You know the character to be your

It is his.

Has he never before sounded you in this

O villain, villain! His very opinion in the
letter. Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish
villain! Worse than brutish!—Go, sirrah, seek
him. I’ll apprehend him.—Abominable villain!—
Where is he?

Think you so?

He cannot be such a monster.

To his father, that so tenderly and entirely
loves him! Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him
out; wind me into him, I pray you. Frame the
business after your own wisdom. I would unstate
myself to be in a due resolution.

These late eclipses in the sun and moon
portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of
nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds
itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities, mutinies;
in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and
the bond cracked ’twixt son and father. This villain
of mine comes under the prediction: there’s son
against father. The King falls from bias of nature:
there’s father against child. We have seen the best of
our time. Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and
all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our
graves.—Find out this villain, Edmund. It shall
lose thee nothing. Do it carefully.—And the noble
and true-hearted Kent banished! His offense, honesty!
’Tis strange.

Now, Edmund, where’s the

But where is he?

Where is the villain,

Pursue him, ho! Go after. By no
means what?

Let him fly far!
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught,
And found—dispatch. The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes tonight.
By his authority I will proclaim it
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.

O strange and fastened villain!
Would he deny his letter, said he?
I never got him.
Hark, the Duke’s trumpets. I know not why he
All ports I’ll bar. The villain shall not ’scape.
The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him. And of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means
To make thee capable.

O madam, my old heart is cracked; it’s cracked.

O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

I know not, madam. ’Tis too bad, too bad.

He did bewray his practice, and received
This hurt you see striving to apprehend him.

Ay, my good lord.

For him I thank your Grace.

I serve you, madam.
Your Graces are right welcome.

Weapons? Arms? What’s the matter here?

How fell you out? Say that.

Let me beseech your Grace not to do so.
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for ’t. Your purposed low correction
Is such as basest and contemned’st wretches
For pilf’rings and most common trespasses
Are punished with. The King must take it ill
That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrained.

I am sorry for thee, friend. ’Tis the Duke’s
Whose disposition all the world well knows
Will not be rubbed nor stopped. I’ll entreat for thee.

The Duke’s to blame in this. ’Twill be ill taken.

My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How unremovable and fixed he is
In his own course.

Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.

Ay, my good lord.

I would have all well betwixt you.

The King is in high rage.

He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.

Alack, the night comes on, and the high winds
Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about
There’s scarce a bush.

Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this
unnatural dealing. When I desired their leave that I
might pity him, they took from me the use of mine
own house, charged me on pain of perpetual
displeasure neither to speak of him, entreat for
him, or any way sustain him.

Go to; say you nothing. There is division
between the dukes, and a worse matter than that. I
have received a letter this night; ’tis dangerous to
be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet.
These injuries the King now bears will be revenged
home; there is part of a power already footed. We
must incline to the King. I will look him and privily
relieve him. Go you and maintain talk with the
Duke, that my charity be not of him perceived. If he
ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. If I die for it, as
no less is threatened me, the King my old master
must be relieved. There is strange things toward,
Edmund. Pray you, be careful.

What are you there? Your names?

What, hath your Grace no better company?

Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile
That it doth hate what gets it.

Go in with me. My duty cannot suffer
T’ obey in all your daughters’ hard commands.
Though their injunction be to bar my doors
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus, poor banished man.
Thou sayest the King grows mad; I’ll tell thee,
I am almost mad myself. I had a son,
Now outlawed from my blood. He sought my life
But lately, very late. I loved him, friend,
No father his son dearer. True to tell thee,
The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night’s this!
—I do beseech your Grace—

In fellow, there, into th’ hovel. Keep thee warm.

Take him you on.

No words, no words. Hush.

Here is better than the open air. Take it
thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can. I will not be long from you.

Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?

Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms.
I have o’erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready; lay him in ’t,
And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assurèd loss. Take up, take up,
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.

Come, come away.

What means your Graces? Good my friends,
You are my guests; do me no foul play, friends.

Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.

By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.

Naughty lady,
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host;
With robber’s hands my hospitable favors
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

I have a letter guessingly set down
Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.

To Dover.

I am tied to th’ stake, and I must stand the course.

Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up
And quenched the stellèd fires;
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said Good porter, turn thekey.
All cruels else subscribe. But I shall see
The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.

He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help!
O cruel! O you gods!

All dark and comfortless! Where’s my son
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.

O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him.

Away, get thee away. Good friend, begone.
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.

I have no way and therefore want no eyes.
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft ’tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abusèd father’s wrath,
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I’d say I had eyes again.

Is it a beggar-man?

He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I’ th’ last night’s storm, I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard
more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods;
They kill us for their sport.

Is that the naked fellow?

Then, prithee, get thee away. If for my sake
Thou wilt o’ertake us hence a mile or twain
I’ th’ way toward Dover, do it for ancient love,
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Which I’ll entreat to lead me.

’Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.
Above the rest, begone.

Sirrah, naked fellow—

Come hither, fellow.

Know’st thou the way to Dover?

Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens’
Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still:
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your power quickly.
So distribution should undo excess
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confinèd deep.
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me. From that place
I shall no leading need.

When shall I come to th’ top of that same hill?

Methinks the ground is even.

No, truly.

So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy voice is altered and thou speak’st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

Methinks you’re better spoken.

Set me where you stand.

Let go my hand.
Here, friend, ’s another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man’s taking. Fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee.
Go thou further off.
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

With all my heart.

O you mighty gods!
This world I do renounce, and in your sights
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathèd part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!—
Now, fellow, fare thee well.

Away, and let me die.

But have I fall’n or no?

Alack, I have no eyes.
Is wretchedness deprived that benefit
To end itself by death? ’Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant’s rage
And frustrate his proud will.

Too well, too well.

A poor unfortunate beggar.

I do remember now. Henceforth I’ll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
Enough, enough! and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man. Often ’twould say
The fiend, the fiend! He led me to that place.

I know that voice.

The trick of that voice I do well remember.
Is ’t not the King?

O, let me kiss that hand!

O ruined piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?

Were all thy letters suns, I could not see.

What, with the case of eyes?

I see it feelingly.

Ay, sir.

Alack, alack the day!

You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please.

Now, good sir, what are you?

Hearty thanks.
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot.

Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to ’t.

What, is he dead?

The King is mad. How stiff is my vile sense
That I stand up and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract.
So should my thoughts be severed from my griefs,
And woes, by wrong imaginations, lose
The knowledge of themselves.

Grace go with you, sir.

No further, sir. A man may rot even here.

And that’s true too.

his elder son

How now, brother Edmund, what serious contemplation
are you in?

Do you busy yourself with that?

How long have you been a sectary

The night gone by.

Ay, two hours together.

None at all.

Some villain hath done me wrong.

Armed, brother?

Shall I hear from you anon?

I am sure on ’t, not a word.

I heard myself proclaimed,
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free; no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may ’scape,
I will preserve myself, and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury in contempt of man
Brought near to beast. My face I’ll grime with filth,
Blanket my loins, elf all my hairs in knots,
And with presented nakedness outface
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars who with roaring voices
Strike in their numbed and mortifièd arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary,
And, with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheepcotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! Poor Tom!
That’s something yet. Edgar I nothing am.

Fathom and half, fathom and half!
Poor Tom!

Away. The foul fiend follows me. Through the
sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind. Hum! Go to
thy cold bed and warm thee.

Who gives anything to Poor Tom, whom the
foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame,
through ford and whirlpool, o’er bog and quagmire;
that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge,
made him proud of heart to ride on a bay trotting
horse over four-inched bridges to course his own
shadow for a traitor? Bless thy five wits! Tom’s
a-cold. O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do Poor Tom
some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes. There
could I have him now, and there—and there again
—and there.

Pillicock sat on Pillicock Hill. Alow, alow, loo,

Take heed o’ th’ foul fiend. Obey thy parents,
keep thy word’s justice, swear not, commit not with
man’s sworn spouse, set not thy sweet heart on
proud array. Tom’s a-cold.

A servingman, proud in heart and mind, that
curled my hair, wore gloves in my cap, served the
lust of my mistress’ heart and did the act of
darkness with her, swore as many oaths as I spake
words and broke them in the sweet face of heaven;
one that slept in the contriving of lust and waked to
do it. Wine loved I deeply, dice dearly, and in
woman out-paramoured the Turk. False of heart,
light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in
stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in
prey. Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling
of silks betray thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy
foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy
pen from lenders’ books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind;
says suum, mun, nonny. Dolphin my boy, boy, sessa!
Let him trot by.

This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet. He begins
at curfew and walks till the first cock. He
gives the web and the pin, squints the eye, and
makes the harelip, mildews the white wheat, and
hurts the poor creature of earth.Swithold footed thrice the ’old,
He met the nightmare and her ninefold,
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee.

Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the
toad, the tadpole, the wall newt, and the water;
that, in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend
rages, eats cow dung for sallets, swallows the old
rat and the ditch-dog, drinks the green mantle of
the standing pool; who is whipped from tithing to
tithing, and stocked, punished, and imprisoned;
who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to
his body,Horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
But mice and rats and such small deer
Have been Tom’s food for seven long year.

Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin! Peace, thou

The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. Modo
he’s called, and Mahu.

Poor Tom’s a-cold.

How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.

Tom’s a-cold.

Child Rowland to the dark tower came.
His word was still Fie, foh, and fum,I smell the blood of a British man.

Frateretto calls me and tells me Nero is an
angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and
beware the foul fiend.

The foul fiend bites my back.

Look where he stands and glares!—Want’st
thou eyes at trial, madam?Come o’er the burn, Bessy, to me—

The foul fiend haunts Poor Tom in the voice of
a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom’s belly for
two white herring.—Croak not, black angel. I have
no food for thee.

Let us deal justly.Sleepest or wakest, thou jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn.
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.

Purr the cat is gray.

Bless thy five wits!

My tears begin to take his part so much
They mar my counterfeiting.

Tom will throw his head at them.—Avaunt, you
curs!Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite,
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach, or lym,
Bobtail tike, or trundle-tail,
Tom will make him weep and wail;
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.

Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes
and fairs and market towns. Poor Tom, thy horn
is dry.

When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i’ th’ mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind.
But then the mind much sufferance doth o’erskip
When grief hath mates and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now
When that which makes me bend makes the King
He childed as I fathered. Tom, away.
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thoughts defile
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more tonight, safe ’scape the King!
Lurk, lurk.

Yet better thus, and known to be contemned,
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace.
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts. But who comes here?
My father, poorly led? World, world, O world,
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.

O gods, who is ’t can say I am at the worst?
I am worse than e’er I was.

And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say This is the worst.

How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Ang’ring itself and others.—Bless thee, master.

Poor Tom’s a-cold. I cannot daub it further.

And yet I must.—Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath.
Poor Tom hath been scared out of his good wits.
Bless thee, good man’s son, from the foul fiend.
Five fiends have been in Poor Tom at once: of lust,
as Obidicut; Hobbididance, prince of dumbness;
Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet,
of mopping and mowing, who since possesses
chambermaids and waiting women. So, bless
thee, master.

Ay, master.

Give me thy arm.
Poor Tom shall lead thee.

You do climb up it now. Look how we labor.

Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?

Why then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes’ anguish.

You’re much deceived; in nothing am I changed
But in my garments.

Come on, sir. Here’s the place. Stand still. How
And dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers samphire—dreadful trade;
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice, and yond tall anchoring bark
Diminished to her cock, her cock a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th’ unnumbered idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I’ll look no more
Lest my brain turn and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th’ extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.

Now fare you well, good sir.

Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.

Gone, sir. Farewell.—
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past. Alive or dead?—
Ho you, sir! Friend, hear you. Sir, speak.—
Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives.—
What are you, sir?

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fathom down precipitating,
Thou ’dst shivered like an egg; but thou dost
Hast heavy substance, bleed’st not, speak’st, art
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.

From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height. The shrill-gorged lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.

Give me your arm.
Up. So, how is ’t? Feel you your legs? You stand.

This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o’ th’ cliff, what thing was that
Which parted from you?

As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns whelked and waved like the enragèd sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them
Of men’s impossibilities, have preserved thee.

Bear free and patient thoughts.
But who comes here?
The safer sense will ne’er accommodate
His master thus.

O, thou side-piercing sight!

Sweet marjoram.

I would not take this from report. It is,
And my heart breaks at it.

O, matter and impertinency mixed,
Reason in madness!

Hail, gentle sir.

Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

But, by your favor,
How near’s the other army?

I thank you, sir. That’s all.

I thank you, sir.

Well pray you, father.

A most poor man, made tame to fortune’s blows,
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand;
I’ll lead you to some biding.

Chill not let go, zir, without vurther ’casion.

Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor
volk pass. An ’chud ha’ bin zwaggered out of my
life, ’twould not ha’ bin zo long as ’tis by a vortnight.
Nay, come not near th’ old man. Keep out,
che vor’ ye, or Ise try whether your costard or my
ballow be the harder. Chill be plain with you.

Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come, no matter vor
your foins.

I know thee well, a serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

Sit you down, father; rest you.
Let’s see these pockets. The letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He’s dead; I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman. Let us see.
Leave, gentle wax, and, manners, blame us not.
To know our enemies’ minds, we rip their hearts.
Their papers is more lawful.Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have
many opportunities to cut him off. If your will want
not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is
nothing done if he return the conqueror. Then am I
the prisoner, and his bed my jail, from the loathed
warmth whereof deliver me and supply the place for
your labor.Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant,
and, for you, her own for venture,Goneril.

O indistinguished space of woman’s will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband’s life,
And the exchange my brother.—Here, in the sands
Thee I’ll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practiced duke. For him ’tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

Give me your hand.
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I’ll bestow you with a friend.

If e’er your Grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.

Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it. Wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
What is avouchèd there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you.

I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry
And I’ll appear again.

Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host. Pray that the right may thrive.
If ever I return to you again,
I’ll bring you comfort.

Away, old man. Give me thy hand. Away.
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en.
Give me thy hand. Come on.

What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all. Come on.

Know my name is lost,
By treason’s tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit.
Yet am I noble as the adversary
I come to cope.

What’s he that speaks for Edmund, Earl of

Draw thy sword,
That if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice. Here is mine.
Behold, it is my privilege, the privilege of mine
My oath, and my profession. I protest,
Maugre thy strength, place, youth, and eminence,
Despite thy victor-sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valor, and thy heart, thou art a traitor,
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father,
Conspirant ’gainst this high illustrious prince,
And from th’ extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou no,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.

Let’s exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more th’ hast wronged me.
My name is Edgar and thy father’s son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.

Worthy prince, I know ’t.

By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale,
And when ’tis told, O, that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape
That followed me so near—O, our lives’ sweetness,
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!—taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags, t’ assume a semblance
That very dogs disdained, and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair.
Never—O fault!—revealed myself unto him
Until some half hour past, when I was armed.
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and from first to last
Told him our pilgrimage. But his flawed heart
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support)
’Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

This would have seemed a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more
And top extremity. Whilst I
Was big in clamor, came there in a man
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunned my abhorred society; but then, finding
Who ’twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck and bellowed out
As he’d burst heaven, threw him on my father,
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
That ever ear received, which, in recounting,
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranced.

Kent, sir, the banished Kent, who in disguise
Followed his enemy king and did him service
Improper for a slave.

What kind of help?

What means this bloody knife?

Here comes Kent.

To who, my lord? Who has the office?
Thy token of reprieve.

Haste thee for thy life.

Or image of that horror?

’Tis noble Kent, your friend.

Very bootless.

He faints. My lord,
my lord!

Look up, my lord.

He is gone indeed.

The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much nor live so long.

his younger and illegitimate son
gentleman of Gloucester’s household

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 this night.

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

Have you heard of no likely wars toward ’twixt
the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

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

Old Man
a tenant of Gloucester’s

O my good lord, I have been your tenant
And your father’s tenant these fourscore years.

You cannot see your way.

How now? Who’s there?

’Tis poor mad Tom.

Fellow, where goest?

Madman and beggar too.

Ay, my lord.

Alack, sir, he is mad.

I’ll bring him the best ’parel that I have,
Come on ’t what will.

serving Lear

He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner,
he would not.

My lord, I know not what the matter is, but to
my judgment your Highness is not entertained
with that ceremonious affection as you were wont.
There’s a great abatement of kindness appears as
well in the general dependents as in the Duke
himself also, and your daughter.

I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be
mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent when I think
your Highness wronged.

Since my young lady’s going into France, sir,
the Fool hath much pined away.


Ready, my lord.

As I learned,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.

Made you no more offense but what you speak of?

One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

Contending with the fretful elements;
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea
Or swell the curlèd 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
The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would
The lion and the belly-pinchèd wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs
And bids what will take all.

None but the Fool, who labors to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.

I will talk further with you.

Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?

Something he left imperfect in the state,
which since his coming forth is thought of, which
imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger
that his personal return was most required and

The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

Ay, sir, she took them, read them in my
And now and then an ample tear trilled down
Her delicate cheek. It seemed she was a queen
Over her passion, who, most rebel-like,
Fought to be king o’er her.

Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears
Were like a better way. Those happy smilets
That played on her ripe lip seemed not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved
If all could so become it.

Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of
Pantingly forth, as if it pressed her heart;
Cried Sisters, sisters, shame of ladies, sisters!Kent, father, sisters! What, i’ th’ storm, i’ th’ night?
Let pity not be believed!
There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamor moistened. Then away she started,
To deal with grief alone.


No, since.

Why, good sir?

Alack, poor gentleman!

’Tis so. They are afoot.

O, here he is. Lay hand upon
Your most dear daughter—

You shall have anything.

You are a royal one, and we obey you.

A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king. Thou hast a daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

Sir, speed you. What’s your will?

Most sure and vulgar. Everyone hears that,
Which can distinguish sound.

Near and on speedy foot. The main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

Though that the Queen on special cause is here,
Her army is moved on.

Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep,
We put fresh garments on him.

Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall
was so slain?

Who is conductor of his people?

They say Edgar, his banished son, is with
the Earl of Kent in Germany.

The arbitrament is like to be bloody. Fare
you well, sir.

Help, help, O, help!

’Tis hot, it smokes! It came even from the heart
Of—O, she’s dead!

Your lady, sir, your lady. And her sister
By her is poisoned. She confesses it.

’Tis true, my lords, he did.

Three Servants

Hold your hand,
my lord.
I have served you ever since I was a child,
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O!


I’ll never care what wickedness I do
If this man come to good.

Let’s follow the old earl and get the Bedlam
To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.


If she live long
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.

Go thou. I’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!


O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall’s dead,
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.

A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master, who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him and amongst them felled him dead,
But not without that harmful stroke which since
Hath plucked him after.

Both, both, my lord.—
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
’Tis from your sister.

Come with my lady hither.

No, my good lord. I met him back again.

Ay, my good lord. ’Twas he informed against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.

News, madam.
The British powers are marching hitherward.

Edmund is dead, my lord.


Madam, sleeps still.

So please your Majesty
That we may wake the King? He hath slept

Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.
I doubt not of his temperance.

Please you, draw near.—Louder the music there.

Madam, do you; ’tis fittest.

He’s scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.

Be comforted, good madam. The great rage,
You see, is killed in him, and yet it is danger
To make him even o’er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more
Till further settling.


I’ll do ’t, my lord.

I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats.
If it be man’s work, I’ll do ’t.


Sound, trumpet!


If any man of quality or degree, within the lists of the
army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed Earl of
Gloucester, that he is a manifold traitor, let him
appear by the third sound of the trumpet. He is bold in
his defense.



What are you?
Your name, your quality, and why you answer
This present summons?

Knights in Lear’s train, Servants, Officers, Soldiers, Attendants, Gentlemen


"To See or Not to See" is a web-based tool for the visualization and analysis of quantitative characteristics of Shakespeare plays.

We use resources from the Folger Digital Texts as input data for our tool. The Folger Shakespeare texts are annotated with structural markup from the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI).

Our tool interactively visualizes which character says what and how much at a particular point in time, allowing customized interpretations of Shakespeare plays on the basis of quantitative aspects, without having to care about technical hurdles such as markup or programming languages.

Please see our corresponding paper for more detailed information about the project.

Feel free to report errors to the author.


Wilhelm, T., Burghardt, M. & Wolff, C. (2013). "To See or Not to See" - An Interactive Tool for the Visualization and Analysis of Shakespeare Plays. In Franken-Wendelstorf, R., Lindinger, E. & Sieck J. (eds): Kultur und Informatik - Visual Worlds & Interactive Spaces, Berlin (pp. 175-185). Glückstadt: Verlag Werner Hülsbusch.