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Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking, post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril, his mistress, salutations;
Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,2
Which presently : they read: on whose contents,
They summon'd up their meiny,4 straight took horse ;
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceiv'd, had poison'd mine,
(Being the very fellow which of late
Display'd so saucily against your highness)
Having more man than wit about me, drew:
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

Fool. Winter 's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly

that way.

Fathers, that wear rags,

Do make their children blind;
But fathers, that bear bags,

Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to the poor. But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours 5 for thy daughters, as thou canst tell 6 in a year.

Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!?
Hysterica passio! down, thou climbing sorrow!
Thy element 's below. – Where is this daughter?

Kent. With the earl, Sir; here, within.

Follow me not; Stay here.


1. There came a messenger,

smok- 5. Dolours, a quibble between dolours ing and sweating with the haste he and dollars. had made.

6. To tell, to count. 2. i. e. without pause, without suffer- 7. Lear here affects to pass off the ing time to intervene.

swelling of his heart, ready to burst 3. Presently, instantly.

with grief and indignation, for the 4. Meiny, retinue; from the old disease called the Mother, or Hysterica French word mes nie, a family, a house- passio, which was anciently not thought hold of servants.

peculiar to women only.

Made you



more offence than what you speak of?

Kent. None.
How chance 1 the king comes with so small a train ?

Fool. An thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it.

Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. We 'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there is no labouring i the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes, but blind men; and there 's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great' one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.

That Sir, which serves and seeks for gain,

And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,

And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,

And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away,

The fool no knave, perdy.?
Kent. Where learn'd you this, fool?
Fool. Not i' the stocks, fool.


Re-enter LEAR, with GLOSTER.
Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they

are weary?
They have travell’d hard to-night? Mere fetches,3
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke;
How unremovable and fix'd he is
In his own course.

1. i. €. How does it chance? how does it happen?

2. Perdy, verily, in truth. Dr. Johnson thought the sense would be mended if we read,

“The fool turns knave that runs away;
The knave no fool, perdy.”
3. Fetch, a trick, an artifice.

Lear. . Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Gloster. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.
Lear. Inform'd them! Dost thou understand me, man?
Glos. Ay, my good lord.
Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear

Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:
Are they inform'd of this ? My breath and blood!
Fiery? the fiery duke? – Tell the hot duke, that
No, but not yet; — may be, he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office,
Whereto our health is bound;' we are not ourselves,
When nature, being oppress’d, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I 'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos’d and sickly fit
For the sound man.2 Death on my state! wherefore

[Looking on KENT. Should he sit here? This act persuades me, That this remotion 3 of the duke and her Is practice * only. Give me my servant forth. Go, tell the duke and 's wife, I 'd speak with them, Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me, Or at their chamber door I 'll beat the drum, Till it cry – "Sleep to death." 5 Glos. I would have all well betwixt you.

Exit. Lear. 'O me! my heart, my rising heart! -- but, down.

Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney 6 did to the eels, when she put them i' the paste 7 alive; she rapp'd 'em o' the coxcombs 8 with a stick, and cried, "Down, wantons,

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1. In sickness, we always treat with stroys, or is the death of, sleep; or, neglect services, which, when in good Till it cry out “Awake no more. health we accept with thankful ac- 6. Cockney formerly bore several knowledgement.

significations : it meant an effeminate, 2. And am vexed at my own head- ignorant fellow; a cook. or scullion, strong will, which treats the man in which sense it is here used; and is when suffering from illness as if he now applied by way of contempt to a were in possession of good health. native of London.

3. Remotion, removal. Not in use. 7. The paste, or crust of a pie, in

4. Practice, artifice, conspiracy. See Shakspeare's time, was called a coffin. note 1, page 33.

8. Coxcomb, corrupted from cock's5. Till the clamour of the drum de- ! comb, the top of the head.

down:” 't was her brother, that in pure kindness to his horse buttered his hay.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants.
Lear. Good morrow to

you both.

Hail to your grace!

KENT is set at liberty. Regan. I am glad to see your highness.

Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what reason I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad, I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, Sepulchring an adult ress. - 0! are you free? [To KENT. Some other time for that. – Beloved Regan, Thy sister 's naught: 0 Regan! she hath tied Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here.

(Points to his heart. I can scarce speak to thee: thou ’lt not believe, With how deprav'd a quality - O Regan!

Reg. I pray you, Sir, take patience. I have hope,
You less know how to value her desert,
Than she to scant her duty.1

Say, how is that?
Reg. I cannot think, my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, Sir, perchance,
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
’T is on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.

Lear. My curses on her!

0, Sir! you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be ruld and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return:
Say, you have wrong’d her, Sir.

Ask her forgiveness ?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house :3
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old ;

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1. i. e. to be deficient in her duty. 3. The house is probably here used

2. The chief persons of your state in its genealogical sense, for the paare better able to judge of this than ternal line, or, as the heraldic expresyou are yourself.

sion was, the first house.

Age is unnecessary:' on my knees I beg, [Kneeling. That you 'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food."

Regan. Good Sir, no more: these are unsightly tricks.
Return you to my sister.

Never, Regan.
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart.
All the stor'd vengeances of heaven fall
On her ungrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, 2 with lameness!

Fie, Sir, fie!
Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall 3 and blast her pride!

O the blest gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash mood is on.

Lear. No, Regan; thou shalt never have my curse:
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort; and not burn. "T is not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes, 5
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects, of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.

Good Sir, to the purpose.
Lear. Who put my man i the stocks? [Tucket within. .

What trumpet's that?

1. This may mean, old age has few therefore, tender-hefted may mean, wants, or, old people are useless. whose bosom is agitated by tender

2. To take, in old language, signified passions. Some editors substitute, “tento blast, or infect with baneful in-der-hearted." fluence.

5. i. e. to contract my allowances. 3. To fall, as a verb active, to Sizes are allowances of provision: the make fall, to diminish.

word is still used in colleges. 4. Hefted is the same as heaved ;

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