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King Lear

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 4 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

 

 



King Lear Act 1, Scene 4



Albany’s palace, a hall

Enter KENT disguised

Enter KENT disguised

KENT

If but as well I other accents borrow,

That can my speech diffuse, my good intent

May carry through itself to that full issue

carry through itself=bring itself safely

For which I razed my likeness. Now, banished Kent,

If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned,

So may it come thy master, whom thou lovest,

Shall find thee full of labors.

 

KENT

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 condemned,

So may it come thy master, whom thou lovest,

Shall find thee full of labors.

 

Horns within Enter LEAR with attendant knights

Horns within Enter LEAR with attendant knights

LEAR

Let me not stay a jot (not delay even a bit) for dinner. Go get it ready.

 

LEAR

Let me not stay a jot for dinner. Go get it ready.

 

Exit attendant

Exit attendant

(to KENT) How now, what art thou (who are you)?

(to KENT) How now, what art thou?

KENT

A man, sir.

 

KENT

A man, sir.

 

LEAR

What dost thou profess (profession/line of work)? What wouldst thou with us?

 

LEAR

What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?

 

KENT

I do profess to be no less than I seem—to serve him truly that will put me in trust (trust me), 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.

 

KENT

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.

 

LEAR

What art thou?

 

LEAR

What art thou?

 

KENT

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

 

KENT

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

 

LEAR

If thou beest as poor for a subject as he’s for a king, thou'rt poor enough. What wouldst thou?

 

LEAR

If thou beest as poor for a subject as he’s for a king, thou'rt poor enough. What wouldst thou?

 


KENT

Service.

 

KENT

Service.

 

LEAR

Who wouldst thou serve?

 

LEAR

Who wouldst thou serve?

 

KENT

You.

 

KENT

You.

 

LEAR

Dost thou know me, fellow?

 

LEAR

Dost thou know me, fellow?

 

KENT

No, sir. But you have that in your countenance which I would fain (be glad to) call master.

 

KENT

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

 

LEAR

What’s that?

 

LEAR

What’s that?

 

KENT

Authority.

 

KENT

Authority.

 

LEAR

What services canst thou do?

 

LEAR

What services canst thou do?

 

KENT

I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious (elaborate) 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.

 

KENT

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.

 

LEAR

How old art thou?

 

LEAR

How old art thou?

 

KENT

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.

 

KENT

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.

 


LEAR

Follow me. Thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.—Dinner, ho, dinner! Where’s my knave, my fool?—Go you, and call my fool hither.

 

LEAR

Follow me. Thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.—Dinner, ho, dinner! Where’s my knave, my fool?—Go you, and call my fool hither.

 

Exit attendant

Exit attendant

Enter OSWALD the steward

Enter OSWALD the steward

You, you, sirrah, where’s my daughter?

You, you, sirrah, where’s my daughter?

OSWALD

So please you (excuse me)—

 

OSWALD

So please you—

 

Exit OSWALD

Exit OSWALD

LEAR

What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll (blockhead) back.

 

LEAR

What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.

 

Exit FIRST KNIGHT

Exit FIRST KNIGHT

Where’s my fool, ho? I think the world’s asleep.

Where’s my fool, ho? I think the world’s asleep.

Enter FIRST KNIGHT

Enter FIRST KNIGHT

How now? Where’s that mongrel?

How now? Where’s that mongrel?

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

LEAR

Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.

 

LEAR

Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

LEAR

He would not?

 

LEAR

He would not?

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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 (appearing) as well in the general dependants (subordinates) as in the Duke himself, also, and your daughter.

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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 dependants as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.

 

LEAR

Ha! Sayest thou so?

 

LEAR

Ha! Sayest thou so?

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

LEAR

Thou but rememberest (reminds) me of mine own conception (thought). I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity (suspicious fastidiousness) than as a very pretense and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into ’t. But where’s my fool? I have not seen him these two days.

 

LEAR

Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretense and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into ’t. But where’s my fool? I have not seen him this two days.

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

FIRST KNIGHT

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

 

LEAR

No more of that. I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her.

 

LEAR

No more of that. I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her.

 

Exit First Knight

Exit First Knight

Go you, call hither my fool.

Go you, call hither my fool.

Exit another attendant

Exit another attendant

Enter OSWALD

Enter OSWALD

O you sir, you, come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?

O you sir, you, come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?

OSWALD

My lady’s father.

 

OSWALD

My lady’s father.

 

LEAR

“My lady’s father”? My lord’s knave, your whoreson dog!

You slave, you cur!

 

LEAR

“My lady’s father”? My lord’s knave, your whoreson dog!

You slave, you cur!

 

OSWALD

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

 

OSWALD

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

 

LEAR

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

(he strikes OSWALD)

 

LEAR

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

(he strikes OSWALD)

 

OSWALD

I’ll not be strucken, my lord.

 

OSWALD

I’ll not be strucken, my lord.

 

KENT

(tripping OSWALD)

Nor tripped neither, you base football player.

 

KENT

(tripping OSWALD)

Nor tripped neither, you base football player.

 

LEAR

(to KENT) I thank thee, fellow. Thou servest me, and I’ll love thee.

 

LEAR

(to KENT) I thank thee, fellow. Thou servest me, and I’ll love thee.

 

KENT

(to OSWALD) Come, sir, arise, away! I’ll teach you differences (differences in rank). Away, away. If you will measure your lubber’s (clumsy dolt’s) length again (fall on the floor), tarry. But away, go to. Have you wisdom? So.

 

KENT

(to OSWALD) 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.

 

Exit OSWALD

Exit OSWALD

LEAR

Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee.

 

LEAR

Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee.

 

Enter FOOL

Enter FOOL

(gives KENT money) There’s earnest of thy service.

(gives KENT money) There’s earnest of thy service.

FOOL

Let me hire him too.—Here’s my coxcomb.

(offers KENT his cap)

 

FOOL

Let me hire him too.—Here’s my coxcomb.

(offers KENT his cap)

 

LEAR

How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?

 

LEAR

How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?

 

FOOL

(to KENT) Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

 

FOOL

(to KENT) Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

 

LEAR

Why, Fool?

 

LEAR

Why, Fool?

 

FOOL

Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor. Nay, an (if) thou canst not smile as the wind sits (flatter those in power), thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished (a fool’s joke – the two have been elevated) two on ’s (of his) daughters, and did the third (Cordelia) 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.

 

FOOL

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.

 

LEAR

Why, my boy?

 

LEAR

Why, my boy?

 

FOOL

If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs myself.

There’s mine. Beg another of thy daughters.

 

FOOL

If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs myself.

There’s mine. Beg another of thy daughters.

 

LEAR

Take heed, sirrah—the whip.

 

LEAR

Take heed, sirrah—the whip.

 

FOOL

Truth’s a dog that must [be confined] to kennel. He must be whipped out, when (while) Lady Brach (the bitch=falsehood) may stand by th' fire and stink.

 

FOOL

Truth’s a dog that must to kennel. He must be whipped out, when Lady Brach may stand by th' fire and stink.

 

LEAR

A pestilent gall (poisonous sore) to me!

 

LEAR

A pestilent gall to me!

 

FOOL

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

 

FOOL

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

 

LEAR

Do.

 

LEAR

Do.

 

FOOL

Mark it, nuncle.

Have more than thou showest,

Speak less than thou knowest,

Lend less than thou owest,

Ride more than thou goest (walk),

Learn more than thou trowest (believe),

Set (bet) less than thou throwest (one throw of the dice),

Leave thy drink and thy whore

And keep in-a-door,

And thou shalt have more

Than two tens to a score (i.e., 20).

 

FOOL

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.

 

KENT

This is nothing, Fool.

 

KENT

This is nothing, Fool.

 

FOOL

Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d (without a fee) lawyer. You gave me nothing for ’t.—Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?

 

FOOL

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

 

LEAR

Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.

 

LEAR

Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.

 

FOOL

(to KENT) Prithee, tell him so much (how much) the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool.

 

FOOL

(to KENT) Prithee, tell him so much the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool.

 

LEAR

A bitter fool.

 

LEAR

A bitter fool.

 

FOOL

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

 

FOOL

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

 

LEAR

No, lad. Teach me.

 

LEAR

No, lad. Teach me.

 

FOOL

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.

 

FOOL

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.

 

LEAR

Dost thou call me fool, boy?

 

LEAR

Dost thou call me fool, boy?

 

FOOL

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

 

FOOL

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

 

KENT

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

 

KENT

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

 

FOOL

No, faith, lords and great men will not let me (let me be a total fool). If I had a monopoly out (on being a total fool), they would have part on ’t. And ladies too— they will not let me have all fool to myself; they’ll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.

 

FOOL

No, faith, lords and great men will not let me. If I had a monopoly out, they would have part on ’t. And ladies too— they will not let me have all fool to myself; they’ll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.

 

LEAR

What two crowns shall they be?

 

LEAR

What two crowns shall they be?

 

FOOL

Why—after I have cut the egg i' th' middle and eat up the meat (white part)—the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' th' middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass (donkey) o' th' (thy) back o'er the dirt (a fable – Lear was carrying the donkey instead of the other way around). Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown (head) when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself (foolishly) in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so (finds what he says to be foolish instead of wise).

(sings)

Fools had ne'er less wit in a year,

For wise men are grown foppish (wise men have taken over the foolishness).

They know not how their wits to wear,

wear=use

Their manners are so apish.

apish=ape-like (imitative)

 

FOOL

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 gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass o' th' back o'er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so.

(sings)

Fools had ne'er less wit in a year,

For wise men are grown foppish.

They know not how their wits to wear,

Their manners are so apish.

 

LEAR

When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

 

LEAR

When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

 

FOOL

I have used it (made it a habit), nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mothers, for when thou gavest them the rod (for beating the backside), and put’st (pulled) down thine own breeches,

(sings)

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 (employ) a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie. I would fain (gladly) learn to lie.

 

FOOL

I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mothers, for when thou gavest them the rod, and put’st down thine own breeches,

(sings)

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.

 

LEAR

An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped.

 

LEAR

An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped.

 

FOOL

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 parings.

 

FOOL

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 parings.

 

Enter GONERIL

Enter GONERIL

LEAR

How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet (headband to remove wrinkles=a frown) on?

Methinks you are too much of late i' th' frown.

 

LEAR

How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on?

Methinks you are too much of late i' th' frown.

 

FOOL

(to LEAR) Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for (about) her frowning. Now thou art an O without a figure (zero without an accompanying digit). I am better than thou art now. I am a fool. Thou art nothing.

(to GONERIL) Yes, forsooth (truly), 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 (having given it away), shall want some.

(indicates LEAR) That’s a shelled peascod (empty peapod).

 

FOOL

(to LEAR) 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.

(to GONERIL) 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.

(indicates LEAR) That’s a shelled peascod.

 

GONERIL

(to LEAR) Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool,

But others 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

redress=remedy

By what yourself too late have spoke and done

That you protect this course and put it on

put it on=encourage it

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

tender of=concern for

wholesome weal=general good

Might in their working do you that offense,

their=censures and redresses

do you that offense=cure you by my being on the offensive

Which else were shame, that then necessity

Will call discreet proceeding.

 

GONERIL

(to LEAR) 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.

 

 

FOOL

For you know, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,

That it’s had its head bit off by its young.

(the cuckoo chick becomes bigger than a hedge-sparrow)

So out went the candle and we were left darkling.

 

FOOL

For you know, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,

That it’s had its head bit off by its young.

So out went the candle and we were left darkling.

 

LEAR

Are you our daughter?

 

LEAR

Are you our daughter?

 

GONERIL

Come, sir,

I would you would make use of that good wisdom

Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away

fraught=supplied

These dispositions that of late transform you

From what you rightly are.

 

GONERIL

Come, sir,

I would you would make use of that good wisdom

Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away

These dispositions that of late transform you

From what you rightly are.

 

FOOL

May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?

Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

 

FOOL

May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?

Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

 

LEAR

Does any here know me? Why, this is not Lear.

Doth Lear walk thus? Speak thus? Where are his eyes?

Either his notion weakens, or his discernings

notion=mind

Are lethargied. Ha, sleeping or waking?

Sure, ’tis not so.

Who is it that can tell me who I am?

 

LEAR

Does any here know me? Why, this is not Lear.

Doth Lear walk thus? Speak thus? Where are his eyes?

Either his notion weakens, or his discernings

Are lethargied. Ha, sleeping or waking?

Sure, ’tis not so.

Who is it that can tell me who I am?

 

FOOL

Lear’s shadow.

 

FOOL

Lear’s shadow.

 

LEAR

I would learn that. For by the marks

Of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,

I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

 

LEAR

I would learn that. For by the marks

Of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,

I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

 

FOOL

Which they will make an obedient father.

 

FOOL

Which they will make an obedient father.

 

LEAR

(to GONERIL) Your name, fair gentlewoman?

 

LEAR

(to GONERIL) Your name, fair gentlewoman?

 

GONERIL

This admiration, sir, is much o' th' savor

admiration=astonishment

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

Make it more like a tavern or a brothel

Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak

For instant remedy. Be then desired

By her that else will take the thing she begs,

A little to disquantity your train,

And the remainder that shall still depend

To be such men as may besort your age,

besort=befit

Which know themselves and you.

 

GONERIL

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

Make it more like a tavern or a brothel

Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak

For instant remedy. Be then desired

By her that else will take the thing she begs,

A little to disquantity your train,

And the remainder that shall still depend

To be such men as may besort your age,

Which know themselves and you.

 

LEAR

Darkness and devils!

Saddle my horses. Call my train together.—

Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee.

Yet have I left a daughter.

 

LEAR

Darkness and devils!

Saddle my horses. Call my train together.—

Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee.

Yet have I left a daughter.

 

GONERIL

You strike my people, and your disordered rabble

Make servants of their betters.

 

GONERIL

You strike my people, and your disordered rabble

Make servants of their betters.

 

Enter ALBANY

Enter ALBANY

LEAR

Woe that too late repents! (Lear repents)—

(to ALBANY)     O sir, are you come?

Is it your will? Speak, sir.—Prepare my horses.

 

LEAR

Woe that too late repents!—

(to ALBANY)     O sir, are you come?

Is it your will? Speak, sir.—Prepare my horses.

 

Exit attendant

Exit attendant

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,

More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child

Than the sea monster.

 

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,

More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child

Than the sea monster.

 

ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.

 

ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.

 

LEAR

(to GONERIL)   Detested kite (bird of prey), thou liest!

My train are men of choice and rarest parts

That all particulars of duty know

And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name. O most small fault,

worships=honor

How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show,

Which like an engine wrenched my frame of nature

engine=mechanical contrivance

frame of nature=natural disposition

From the fixed place, drew from heart all love,

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

(strikes his head)

Beat at this gate that let thy folly in

And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people.

 

LEAR

(to GONERIL)   Detested kite, thou liest!

My train are men of choice and rarest parts

That all particulars of duty know

And in the most exact regard support

The worships of their name. O most small fault,

How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show,

Which like an engine wrenched my frame of nature

From the fixed place, drew from heart all love,

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

(strikes his head)

Beat at this gate that let thy folly in

And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people.

 

ALBANY

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant,

Of what hath moved you.

 

ALBANY

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant,

Of what hath moved you.

 


LEAR

It (that) may be so, my lord.

Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!

Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend

To make this creature fruitful.

Into her womb convey sterility.

Dry up in her the organs of increase,

And from her derogate body never spring

derogate=debased

A babe to honor her. If she must teem,

teem=bring forth

Create her child of spleen, that it may live

spleen=bad temper

And be a thwart disnatured torment to her.

thwart disnatured=perverse

Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,

With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,

cadent=dripping

fret channels=rub furrows

Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits

To laughter and contempt, that she may feel—

That she may feel

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is

To have a thankless child.—Away, away!

 

 

LEAR

It may be so, my lord.

Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!

Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend

To make this creature fruitful.

Into her womb convey sterility.

Dry up in her the organs of increase,

And from her derogate body never spring

A babe to honor her. If she must teem,

Create her child of spleen, that it may live

And be a thwart disnatured torment to her.

Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,

With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,

Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits

To laughter and contempt, that she may feel—

That she may feel

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is

To have a thankless child.—Away, away!

 

Exeunt LEAR, FOOL, KENT, FIRST KNIGHT and the other attendants

Exeunt LEAR, FOOL, KENT, FIRST KNIGHT and the other attendants

ALBANY

Now gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

 

ALBANY

Now gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

 

GONERIL

Never afflict yourself to know more of it,

But let his disposition have that scope

That dotage gives it.

 

GONERIL

Never afflict yourself to know more of it,

But let his disposition have that scope

That dotage gives it.

 

Enter LEAR and FOOL

Enter LEAR and FOOL

LEAR

What, fifty of my followers at a clap?

Within a fortnight (two weeks)?

 

LEAR

What, fifty of my followers at a clap?

Within a fortnight?

 

ALBANY

What’s the matter, sir?

 

ALBANY

What’s the matter, sir?

 


LEAR

I’ll tell thee.

(to GONERIL) Life and death! I am ashamed

That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,

That these hot tears which break from me perforce

perforce=by compulsion

Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!

Th' untented woundings of a father’s curse

untented woundings=exposed wounds

Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,

Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out

beweep=if you beweep

And cast you, with the waters that you loose,

To temper clay. Yea, is ’t come to this?

Ha? Let it be so. I have another daughter,

Who I am sure is kind and comfortable.

When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails

She’ll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find

flay=strip the skin from

That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think

I have cast off forever. Thou shalt, I warrant thee.

warrant thee=promise you

 

LEAR

I’ll tell thee.

(to GONERIL) Life and death! I am ashamed

That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,

That these hot tears which break from me perforce

Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!

Th' untented woundings of a father’s curse

Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,

Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out

And cast you, with the waters that you loose,

To temper clay. Yea, is ’t come to this?

Ha? Let it be so. I have another daughter,

Who I am sure is kind and comfortable.

When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails

She’ll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find

That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think

I have cast off forever. Thou shalt, I warrant thee.

 

 

Exit LEAR

Exit LEAR

GONERIL

Do you mark that, my lord?

 

GONERIL

Do you mark that, my lord?

 

ALBANY

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,

To the great love I bear you—

(influenced by the great love I bear you)

 

ALBANY

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,

To the great love I bear you—

 

GONERIL

     Pray you, content (be content).

Come, sire, no more.—What, Oswald, ho!

(to FOOL) You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

 

GONERIL

     Pray you, content.

Come, sire, no more.—What, Oswald, ho!

(to FOOL) You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

 

FOOL

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool with thee.

A fox when one has caught her

And such a daughter

Should sure to the slaughter,

If my cap would buy a halter.

So the fool follows after.

 

FOOL

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool with thee.

A fox when one has caught her

And such a daughter

Should sure to the slaughter,

If my cap would buy a halter.

So the fool follows after.

 

Exit FOOL

Exit FOOL

GONERIL

This man hath had good counsel—a hundred knights!

This man=Lear

'Tis politic and safe to let him keep

At point a hundred knights, yes, that on every dream,

at point=armed

that on every dream=so that . . .

Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,

He may enguard his dotage with their powers

And hold our lives in mercy?—Oswald, I say!

 

GONERIL

This man hath had good counsel—a hundred knights!

'Tis politic and safe to let him keep

At point a hundred knights, yes, that on every dream,

Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,

He may enguard his dotage with their powers

And hold our lives in mercy?—Oswald, I say!

 

ALBANY

Well, you may fear too far.

too far=excessively

ALBANY

Well, you may fear too far.

 

GONERIL

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—

 

GONERIL

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—

 

Enter OSWALD the steward

Enter OSWALD the steward

OSWALD

Here, madam.

 

OSWALD

Here, madam.

 

GONERIL

How now, Oswald?

What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

 

GONERIL

How now, Oswald?

What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

 

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

 

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

 

GONERIL

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.

 

GONERIL

Take you some company, and away to horse.

Inform her full of my particular fear,

And thereto add such reasons of your own

As may compact it more. Get you gone

And hasten your return.

 

Exit OSWALD

Exit OSWALD

No, no, my lord,

Though I condemn not, yet under pardon

under pardon=if you’ll excuse my saying so

You are much more attasked for want of wisdom

attasked=blamed

Than praised for harmful mildness.

 

No, no, my lord,

Though I condemn not, yet under pardon

You are much more attasked for want of wisdom

Than praised for harmful mildness.

 

ALBANY

How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.

 

ALBANY

How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.

 

GONERIL

Nay, then—

 

GONERIL

Nay, then—

 

ALBANY

Well, well, th' event.

 

ALBANY

Well, well, th' event.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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