Page images

O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
Gon. Why not by the hand, sir?

I offended?

All's not offence that indiscretion finds

And dotage terms so.

How have

Lear. O sides, you are too tough; 200 Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the stocks? Corn. I set him there, sir: but his own disorders Deserved much less advancement.


You! did you?

Reg. 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.

Lear. Return to her, and fifty,men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o' the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,-
Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be
To this detested groom.


slave and sumpter
[Pointing at Oswald.

At your choice, sir.

Lear. I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:

I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
We'll no more meet, no more see one another :
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,

Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,

227. embossed, swollen.



In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it :
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure :
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,

I and my hundred knights.


Not altogether so:

I look'd 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.

Is this well spoken?
Reg. 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

Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive

From those that she calls servants or from mine?

Reg. Why not, my lord? If then they chanced

to slack you,

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.

Lear. I gave you all—


And in good time you gave it.

Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries,

But kept a reservation to be follow'd

With such a number. What, must I come to you

254. guardians, stewards, trustees.




With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?

Reg. And speak 't again, my lord; no more with me.

Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,

When others are more wicked; not being the


Stands in some rank of praise. [To Gon.] I'll go with thee:

Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,

And thou art twice her love.

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?


What need one?

Lear. O, reason not the need: our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous :

Allow not nature more than nature needs,


Man's life's as cheap as beast's: thou art a lady; 270

If only to go warm were gorgeous,

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.


But, for true

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I


You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall-I will do such things,—

268. superfluous, possessed of more than they need.


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep;
No, I'll not weep:

I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep.
O fool, I shall go mad!
[Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool.
Storm and tempest.

Corn. Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.
Reg. This house is little: the old man and

his people

Cannot be well bestow'd.

Gon. 'Tis his own blame; hath put himself

from rest,

And must needs taste his folly.

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,

But not one follower.


So am I purposed.

Where is my lord of Gloucester ?.

Corn. Follow'd the old man forth: he is re



Glou. The king is in high rage.


Whither is he going?

Glou. He calls to horse; but will I know not


Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads


Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. Glou. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds

Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about

There's scarce a bush.


288. flaws, shivers.

far as he is concerned.

295. For his particular, so

304. ruffle, bluster.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


O, sir, to wilful 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.

Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a
wild night:

My Regan counsels well: come out o' the storm.




Storm still.

SCENE I. A heath.

Enter KENT and a Gentleman,

Kent. Who's there, besides foul weather?

Gent. One minded like the weather, most un


Kent. I know you. Where's the king?

Gent. Contending with the fretful elements; Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,

Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,

That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,

Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn

The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.

This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,

7-15. tears.. take all. Omitted in Ff.


12. cub-drawn, with udders drawn dry, famished.

« PreviousContinue »