Page images
PDF
EPUB

Re-enter Steward. O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, sir?

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 this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me. Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord.

Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player.

[Tripping up his Heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest 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

[Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service. [Giving KENT Money.

you wisdom? so.

Enter Fool.

Fool. Let me hire him too;~Here's my coxcomb.

[Giving 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 sits, thoul't catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his

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?

Fool. If I gave them all my living, 3 I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel? he must be whipp'd out, when Lady, the brach, 4 may stand by the fire, and stink.

Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Lear. Do.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle:-

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest, s
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. This is nothing, fool.

Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd law. yer; you gave me nothing for’t: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?

6

[ocr errors]

3 Estate or property. 4 Bitch hound.

6 Believest.

s Ownest, possesseth.

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, be. tween a bitter fool and a sweet fool?

Lear. No, lad; teach me.
Fool. That lord, that counsel'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.
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 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, muncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.

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 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.
Fools had ne'er less grace7 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 songs,

sirrah? Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother : for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down-thine own breeches, 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 whipp'd.

Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipp'd for speaking true, thoul't have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipp'd 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 o'the parings.

Enter GONERIL. Lear. How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet 8 on? Methinks, you are too much of late i’ the frown.

7 Favour. * Part of a woman's head dress to which Lear compares her

frowning brow.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou had'st no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an 09 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 [To Gon.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,

Weary of all, shall want some.That's a sheal'd peascod.' [Pointing to LEAR.

Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarre!; breaking forth In rank and not-to-be-endured 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 proiect 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,3 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;*

9 A cypher. 2 Approbation.

1 A mere husk which contains nothing.

3 Well governed state, 4 Stored.

« PreviousContinue »