Imatges de pÓgina
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SC. II.]

Remember to have heard; man's nature cannot carry The affliction, nor the fear.


Lear. Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pother1 o'er our heads, Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch, That hast within thee undivulged crimes, Unwhipped of justice! Hide thee, thou bloody hand; Thou perjured, and thou simular 2 man of virtue, That art incestuous! Caitiff, to pieces shake, That under covert and convenient seeming, Hast practised on man's life!-Close pent-up guilts, Rive your concealing continents, and cry These dreadful summoners grace. 4 I am a man More sinned against than sinning.



Alack, bare-headed! 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 hard than is the stone whereof 'tis raised. Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in) return, and force Their scanted courtesy.


My wits begin to turn.—
Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself.-Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,

That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel ;
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.5

Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,

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With a heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,

Must make content with his fortunes fit ;


For the rain it raineth every day.

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5 The quartos read, "That sorrows yet for thee."

6 Part of the Clown's song at the end of Twelfth Night.

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1 Thus the folio and one of the quartos; the other quarto reads thundering.

2 1. e. counterfeit.

3 Continent for that which contains or incloses.

4 Summoners are officers that summon offenders before a proper trivunal.

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Lear. True, my good boy.--Come, bring us to this
[Exeunt LEAR and KENT.
Fool. 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' the field;

And bawds and whores do churches build ;-

Then shall the realm of Albion

Come to great confusion.o

Then comes the time, who lives to see't,

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That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his




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SCENE III. A Room in Gloster's Castle.

Enter GLOSTER and EDMund.

Glo. 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 their perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

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Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!

Glo. 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

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1 This speech is not in the quartos.

2 These lines are taken from what is commonly called Chaucer's Prophecy; but which is much older than his time in its original form. See the Works of Chaucer, in Whittingham's edit. vol. v. p. 179.

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SC. IV.]


injuries the king now bears will be revenged at home; there is part of a power already footed: we must incline to the king. I will seek 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 some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful. [Exit.


Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
Instantly know; and of that letter too.-
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses; no less than all :
The younger rises, when the old doth fall.


The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.

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SCENE IV. A Part of the Heath, with a Hovel.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool.

Kent. Here is the place, my lord; good my lord,


[Storm still.

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Let me alone.
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Wilt break my heart?
Kent. I'd rather break mine own. Good my lord,

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Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious


Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fixed,

The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,

Thou'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the

mind's free,

The body's delicate; the tempest in my mind

1 The quartos read landed.

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Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.-Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to't?-But I will punish home :-
No, I will weep no more.--In such a night
To shut me out!-Pour on; I will endure.1-
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!-
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave you all-
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

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Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. 'Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease;
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more.--But I'll go in.
In, boy go first.-[To the Fool.] You houseless 2



Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
[Fool goes in.

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Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the Heavens more just.

Edg. [Within.] Fathom and half, fathom and half! ·
Poor Tom!


[The Fool runs out from the hovel.
Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit.
Help me, help me!

Kent. Give me thy hand.--Who's there?
Fool. A spirit, a spirit; he says his name's poor


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1 This line is omitted in the quartos.

2 This and the next line are only in the folio.

3 Looped and windowed is full of holes and apertures.

4 This speech of Edgar's is omitted in the quartos. He gives the sign used by those who are sounding the depth at sea.

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SC. IV.]

Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i' the


Come forth.

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Enter EDGAR, disguised as a madman.


Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me :-
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.-
Humph! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?

Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over 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, and there again, and there.



[Storm continues.
Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this
pass ?

Couldst thou save nothing? Did'st thou give them all ?
Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been
all ashamed.

To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers

Lear. Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters!

Kent. He hath no daughters, sir.

Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued


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1 It has been before observed, that the wits seem to have been reckoned five by analogy to the five senses.

2 To take is to blast, or strike with malignant influence.



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