Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


When I have showed the unfitness,-How now, Os

wald ?


Gon. Nay, then,

Alb. Well, well; the event.

Enter Steward.

What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

Stew. Ay, madam.

Gon. 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 Stew.] No, no, my


This milky gentleness, and course of
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attasked for want of wisdom,
Than praised for harmful mildness.


Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot tell ; Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

SCENE V. Court before the same.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and Fool.

Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these letters; acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you.?

Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


1 The word task is frequently used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries in the sense of tax.

2 The word there, in this speech, shows that when the king says, “Go you before to Gloster," he means the town of Gloster, which Shakspeare chose to make the residence of the duke of Cornwall, to increase the probability of their setting out late from thence on a visit to the earl of Gloster. Our old English earls usually resided in the counties whence they took their titles. Lear, not finding his son-in-law and his wife at home, follows them to the earl of Gloster's castle.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

[ACT 1.

Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, were't

not in danger of kibes?

Lear. Ay, boy.

Fool. Then, I pr'ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slip-shod.

[ocr errors]

Lear. Ha, ha, ha!


Fool. Shalt see, thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though she's as like this as a crab is like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

Lear. Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

Fool. She will taste as like this, as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell, why one's nose stands i' the middle of his face?

Lear. No.

Fool. Why, to keep his eyes on either side his nose; that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into. Lear. I did her wrong.2

[ocr errors]

Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell ?
Lear. No.

Fool. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

Lear. Why?

Fool. Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns without a case. Lear. I will forget my nature.-So kind a father! -Be my horses ready?

Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven, is a pretty


Lear. Because they are not eight?

Fool. Yes, indeed; thou wouldest make a good fool.


Lear. To take it again perforce ! 3-Monster ingratitude!

1 The fool quibbles, using the word in two senses; as it means affectionately, and like the rest of her kind, or after their nature.

2 He is musing on Cordelia.

3 The subject of Lear's meditation is the resumption of that moiety of the kingdom he had bestowed on Goneril. This was what Albany apprehended, when he replied to the upbraidings of his wife:-6


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

SC. I.]

Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee

beaten for being old before thy time.

Lear. How's that?

Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old, before thou
hadst been wise.

Lear. O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet Heaven!
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!-

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Enter Gentleman.

How now! are the horses ready?

Gent. Ready, my lord.

Lear. Come, boy.

Fool. She that is maid now, and laughs at my de


Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting.


SCENE I. A Court within the Castle of the Earl
of Gloster.

Edm. Save thee, Curan.

Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father,
and given him notice, that the duke of Cornwall, and
Regan his duchess, will be here with him to-night.
Edm. How comes that?

well: the event." What Lear himself projected when he left Goneril to
go to Regan:


Thou shalt find

That I'll resume the shape, which thou dost think

I have cast off forever; thou shalt, I warrant thee."

And what Curan afterwards refers to, when he asks Edmund :-" Have
you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the dukes of Cornwall and
Albany ? "



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



Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad; I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?1


Edm. Not I; 'pray you, what are they?

Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward,2 'twixt the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Edm. Not a word.


Cur. You may then, in time. Fare you well, sir.

| Exit.

Edm. The duke be here to-night? The bette

This weaves itself perforce into my business!
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy 3 question,
Which I must act.-Briefness, and fortune, work-
Brother, a word; descend.-Brother, I s2›

Enter EDGAR.

My father watches.-O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night
Have you not spoken 'gainst the duke of Cornwa!
He's coming hither; now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany ?4
Advise 5 yourself.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Kalau berad

I am sure on't, not a word.
Edm. I hear my father coming.-Pardon me ;
In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you.-
Draw seem to defend yourself: now quit you well
Yield;come before my father;-light, ho, here!
Fly, brother:-Torches! torches !--So farewell.

[Exit EDGAR.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1 Ear-kissing arguments means that they are yet in reality only whispered ones.

2 This and the following speech are omitted in the quarto B.

3 Queasy appears to mean here delicate, unsettled.

4 Have you said nothing upon the party formed by him against the duke of Albany?

5 i. e. consider, recollect yourself.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

SC. I.]

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion

[Wounds his arm.
Of my more fierce endeavor; I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport.-Father! father!
Stop, stop! No help?


Enter GLOSTER, and Servants, with torches.

Glo. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand his auspicious mistress.

But where is he?


Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Edm. Fled this way, sir.


Glo. Pursue him, ho!--Go after.-[Exit Serv.] By
no means,-what?

Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father;-sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarumed spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted' by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.

Where is the villain, Edmund ?
When by no means he

Let him fly far.
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found-Despatch.2-The noble duke, my master,

1 That is, aghasted, frighted.

2 "And found-Despatch.-The noble duke," &c.-The sense is interrupted. He shall be caught--and found, he shall be punished. Despatch.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »