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Upon the gad! Edmund! How now? what the letter!


Edm. So please your lordship, none.
[Putting up the letter.
Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that 5

Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No? What needed then that terrible dis-10 patch 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.

Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; 15 and for so much as I have perus'd, I find it not fit for your overlooking.

Glo. Give me the letter, sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are 20

to blame.

Glo. Let's see, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an assay or taste of my virtue.

Glo. [reads.] "This policy, and reverence of 25 66 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 ty66 ranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but 30 " as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep 'till I "wak'd him, you should enjoy half his revenue


for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, "Edgar."---Hum!---Conspiracy!" Sleep, 'till 135 "wak'd him!-you shall enjoy half his reve"nue!"-My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in?-When came this to you? Who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your brother's?

-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, de

tested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!--Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable yillain!-Where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, 'till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you so?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evenGlo. He cannot be such a monster.- [ing. Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. 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 *.

Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey' the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo 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 scourg'd by the frequent effects'; love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of na40ture; 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: 45-And the noble and true-hearted Kent banish'd! his offence, honesty!-Strange ! strange! [Exit.

Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains, by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, lyars, and adulterers, by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.


Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but I hope, his heart is not in the contents. [this business? Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue. Glo. O villain, villain!-Iis very opinion in


4 The

To do upon the gad, is, to act by the sudden stimulation of caprice, as cattle run madding when they are stung by the gad-fly. 2 i. e. weak and foolish. Pretence is design, purpose. Ineaning is, according to Dr. Johnson, Do you frame the business, who can act with less emotion; I could unstate myself; it would in me be a departure from the paternal character, to be in a due resoLution, to be settled and composed on such an occasion.Mr. Steevens comments on this passage thus: " Edgar has been represented as wishing to possess his father's fortune, i. e. to unstate him; and therefore his father says, he would unstate himself to be sufficiently resolved to punish him.”—To enstate is to confer a fortune. To convey, here means to manage artfully. That is, though natural philosophy can give account of eclipses, yet we feel their consequences. master



master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the
charge of a star! My father compounded with
my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nati-
vity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I
am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been 5
that I am, had the madienliest star in the firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar-
Enter Edgar.

That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
My practices ride easy!--I see the business-
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit. [Exit.

and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy. My cue is villainous melancholy, with a 10 sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O,these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi

Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?


Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between 20 the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities, divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father last?

Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.
Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no
displeasure in him, by word or countenance ?

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The Duke of Albany's Palace.
Enter Goneril, and Steward.

Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

Stew. Ay, madam.


Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every
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.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.
[Horns within.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows; I'd have it come to ques
If he dislike it, let him to my sister, [tion:
25 Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Not to be over-rul'd. 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 us'd
30 With checks as flatteries when they are seen ab-
Remember what I have said.

Stew. Very well, madam.

Gen. And let his knights have colder looks among you; [so; 35 What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak:—I'll write straight to my

Edg. None at all.

Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him: and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, until some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it 40 would scarcely allay.

Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong. Edm. That's my fear. I pray you have a continent forbearance, 'till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lod-|45| ging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my ford speak: Pray you, go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go arm'd.

Edg. Arm'd, brother!

Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go50 arm'd; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away. Edg. Shall I hear from you anon? Edm. I do serve you in this business.[Exit Edgar. A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms,



To hold my very course:-Prepare for dinner.


An open Place before the Palace.
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
For which I raz'd my likeness.-Now, banish'd
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand con-
(So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st,
Shall find thee full of labours.

Horns within. Enter Lear, Knights, and Attend


Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get
it ready.
How now, what art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.

'The sense, according to Dr. Johnson, is this: "Old men must be treated with checks, when as they are seen to be deceived with flatteries: or, when they are weak enough to be seen abused by flatteries, they are then weak enough to be used with checks. There is a play on the words used and abused.—To abuse is, in our author, very requently the same as to deceive. 2 Thát is, If I can change my speech as well as I have changed my dress.-To diffuse speech, signifies to disorder it, and so to disguise it.


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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 5 wise, and says little; to fear judgement; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish'.

Lear. What art thou?

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

Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou?

Kent. Service.

Lear. Whom would'st thou serve?

Kent. You.

Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?

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

ear. What's that?

Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?

Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be sient, when I think your highness is wrong'd.

Lear. Thou but remember'st me of nine own conception: I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blained as mine own 10 jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence 'and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into 't.But where 's my fool? I have not seen hin these two days.


Knight. Since my young lady's going into 15 France, sir, the fool hath much pin'd away.

Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.-
Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak
with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.-
Re-enter Steward.

Kent. Authority.

Lear. What services canst thou do?
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 25
for, I am qualify'd in; and the best of me is dili-

200, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I,
Stew. My lady's father.

Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!

Stew. I am none of these, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.

Lear. How old art thou?

Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing:30 I have years on my back forty-eight.

Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me, if | 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 33 hither:

appears, as well in the general dependents, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.

Enter Steward.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
Stew. So please you,


Lear. What says the fellow there?-Call the 40 clotpole back. Where's my fool, ho?-I think the world's asleep.-How now? where's that mungrel?

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


Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call'd him?

Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.

Lear. He would not!

Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgement, your highness is not en-| tertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness

Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal? [Striking him.

Stery. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tript neither; you base foot-ball player. [Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee.

Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to: Have you wisdom? so.

[Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's carnest of thy service.[Giving Kent money. Enter Fool. Fool. Let me hire him too;-Here's my coxcomb. [Giring Kent his cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou?

Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. Why, for taking one's part that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind its, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my oxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; it thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-——How now, puncle è 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!


1To converse signifies immediately and properly to keep company, not to discourse or talk. -- His meaning is, that he chooses for his companions men of reserve and caution; men who are no tattlers nor tale-bearers, 2 In Queen Elizabeth's time, the Papists were esteemed, and with good reason, enemies to the government.-Hence the proverbial phrase of He's an honest man, and eats no fish; to signify he is a friend to the government, and a Protestant; the eating fish, on a religious account, being then esteemed such a badge of popery, that when it was enjoin'd for a season by act of parliament, for the encouragement of the fish-towns, it was thought necessary to declare the reason; hence it was called Cecil's fast. 3 Pretence for design. * Meaning his cap, called so because on the top of the fool's or jester's cap was sewed a piece of red cloth, resembling the comb of a cock.-The word, afterwards, was used to denote a vain, conceited, meddling fellow. Two toolscaps, intended, as it seems, to mark double folly in the man that gives all to his daughters.,



Lear. Why, my boy? Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool. Mark it, nuncle :

Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipp'd out, when the lady brach ' may stand by the fire and stink,

Lear. A pestilent gall to me!

Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech. [To Kent,[10]
Lear. Do.

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.

Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' the
middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of
the egg.
When thou clovest thy crown i' the
5 middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest
thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Thou had'st
little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy
golden one away. If I speak like myself in this,
let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.

Fool's ne'er had less grace in a year; [Singing.
For wise men are grown foppish;
And know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.

Lear. When were you wont to be so full of 15 songs, sirrah?

Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mothers: for when thou gav'st them the rod, and putt'st down thine own breeches,

lawyer; you gave me nothing for 't:

make no use of nothing, nuncle?

Kent. This is nothing, fool.

Fool. Then it is like the breath of an unfee'd

Can you 25

Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.

Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool. [To Kent.

Lear. A bitter fool!

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

Lear. No, lad, teach me.

Fool. That lord, that counsell'd thee
To give away thy land,.
Come, place him here by me,-

Or do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool

Will presently appear;
The one in motley here,

The other found out there.

Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing,
And I for sorrow sung,

That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.

Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can
teach thy fool to lie; I would fain learn to lie.

Lear. If you lie, sirrah, we 'll have you whipt. Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipt for speaking true, thou 'lt have me whipt for lying; and, sometimes, 301 am whipt for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one of the parings.

Enter Goneril.
Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that



frontlet' on?

Methinks, you are too much of late i' the frown, Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou 40 had'st 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; [to Goneril.] so your face bids me, though you say nothing. 45 Mum, mum,

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.-
That's a sheal'd peascod'.

Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?

Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away ;| that thou wast born with.

Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord. Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly on't, they would have 50 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


[Pointing to Lear.
Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir, [you,
I had thought, by making this well known unto
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,

1 Brach is a bitch of the hunting-kind. * That is, do not lend all that thou hast.-To owe, in old English, is to possess. To trow, is an old word which signifies to believe. A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time; and the corruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee.-Monopolies were, in Shakspeare's time, the common objects of satire. "The meaning is, There never was a time when fools were less in favour; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place. Both the quarto editions read-less wit for less grace. Lear alludes to the frontlet, which was anciently part of a woman's dress. i.e now a mere husk, which contains nothing.


By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on1
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 offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity.
Will call discreet proceeding.

Fool. For you trow, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it had its head bit off by its young.
So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
Lear. Are you our daughter?

Gon. Come, sir,

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

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

Lear. Does any here know me?-Why, this is not Lear: [eyes?] Does Lear walk thus? speak thus?-Where are his Either his notion weakens, or his discernings Are lethargy'd-Ha! waking?-'Tis not so.Who is it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow?

I would learn that; for by the marks

Of sov'reignty, of knowledge, and of reason,
I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Your name, fair

Gon. Come, sir,

-This admiration is much o' the favour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debauch'd and bold,
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shews like a riotous inn; epicurisin and lust
Make it more like a tavern, or a brothel, [speak
Than a grac'd palace'. The shame itself doth
For instant remedy: Be then desir'd
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,
And 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.

Is it your will? speak, sir.-Prepare my horses.— 110 Albany Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou shew'st thee in a child 5 Than the sea-monster'!

Alb. Pray, sir, be patient.

Lear. Detested kite! thou liest: [To Goneril.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know;
10 And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.-O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia shew! [nature
Which, like an engine, wrench'd by frame of
From the fixt place, drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,


[Striking his head. And thy dear judgement out!-Go, go, my people. Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant 20 Of what hath mov'd you.

Lear. It may be so, my lord.

Hear, nature! hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
25 Into her womb convey sterility;

Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate' body never spring
babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
30 And be a thwart disnatur'd 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
35 How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!—Away, away! [Exit.
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes


Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd Make servants of their betters.

Enter Albany. Lear. Woe, that too late repents,-O, sir, are you come?

Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; 40 But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.

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2 Mr. Steevens has been informed, that this is a quotation from the burthen of an old song, A palace grac'd by the presence of a sovereign.

i. e. promote, push it forward.




Depend, for continue in service. Mr. Upton observes, that the sea-monster is the Hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude.—Sandys, in his Travels, says "that he killeth his sire, and ravisheth his own dam.” By an engine is meant the rack. Derogate here means degraded, blasted. * Disnatur'd is wanting in natural affection. 'i. e. falling tears. tented wounds, means wounds in their worst state, not having a tent in them to digest them.



10 Un



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