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Kent. Where learned 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?

Mere fetches:

They have travelled hard to-night?
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 fixed he is

In his own course.

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloster, Gloster, I'd speak with the duke of Cornwall, and his wife. Glo. Well, my good lord, I have informed them so. Lear. Informed them! Dost thou understand me,


Glo. Ay, my good lord.

Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father

Would with his daughter speak, commands her service.
Are they informed 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 oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit

For the sound man.

Death on my state! wherefore [Looking on KENT. Should he sit here? This act persuades me, That this remotion of the duke and her Is practice only. Give me my servant forth. Go, tell the duke and his 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.1

Glo. I'd have all well betwixt you.


Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart!-but, down. Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney 2 did to the eels, when she put them i'the paste alive; she rapped 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cried, Down, wantons, down. 'Twas 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. Reg. 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 adultress.-O, are you free?


Some other time for that.-Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught. O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.-
[Points to his heart.
I can scarce speak to thee; thou❜lt not believe,
Of how depraved 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.3

Say, how is that?
Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance,
She have restrained the riots of your

The meaning of this passage seems to be, "I'll beat the drum till it cries out-Let them awake no more; let their present sleep be their last.” Mason would read, "death to sleep," instead of "sleep to death."

2 A cockney and a ninny-hammer, or simpleton, were convertible terms. 3 This is somewhat inaccurately expressed. Shakspeare having, as on some other occasions, perplexed himself by the word less.

'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end, As clears her from all blame.

Lear. My curses on her!

O sir, you are old ;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine. You should be ruled, 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 wronged her, sir.1


Ask her forgiveness? Do you but mark how this becomes the house.2 Dear daughter, I confess that I am old; Age is unnecessary; 3 on my knees I beg, That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food. Reg. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks. Return you to my sister.



Never, Regan. She hath abated me of half my train; Looked black upon me; struck me with her tongue, Most serpent-like, upon the very heart.All the stored vengeances of Heaven fall On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones, You taking airs, with lameness!


Fie, fie, fie!

Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames

Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,

You fen-sucked fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,

To fall 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


1 "Say," &c. This line and the following speech is omitted in the quartos.

2 i. e. the order of families, duties of relation.

3 Unnecessary is here used in the sense of necessitous.

4 Fall seems here to be used as an active verb, signifying to humble or pull down.

5 Tender-hefted may mean moved, or heaving with tenderness. The

Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine
Do comfort, and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,'
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 endowed.


Good sir, to the purpose.
[Trumpets within.

Lear. Who put my man i'the stocks?

What trumpet's that?

Enter Steward.

Reg. I know't, my sister's; this approves her letter, That she would soon be here.-Is your lady come? Lear. This is a slave, whose easy-borrowed pride Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.Out, varlet, from my sight!


What means your grace ? Lear. Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope

Thou didst not know of't.-Who comes here?



If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow2 obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?—


O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

quartos read tender-hested, which may be right, and signify giving tender hests or commands.

1 A size is a portion or allotment of food. The word and its origin are explained in Minsheu's Guide to Tongues, 1617. The term sizer is still used at Cambridge for one of the lowest rank of students, living on a stated allowance.

2 To allow is to approve, in old phraseology.

Gon. Why not by the hand, sir? How have I of


All's not offence, that indiscretion finds,

And dotage terms so.


O sides, you are too tough! 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.1


You! did you?

Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.2
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 dismissed? 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, squirelike, pension beg To keep base life afoot.—Return with her? Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter To this detested groom. [Looking on the Steward. At your choice, sir.



Lear. I pr'ythee, 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,

1 By less advancement, Cornwall means that Kent's disorders had entitled him to a post of even less honor than the stocks.

2 Since you are weak, be content to think yourself weak.

3 See p. 14, note 6, ante.

4 Sumpter is generally united with horse or mule, to signify one that carried provisions or other necessaries; from sumptus (Lat.). In the present instance horse seems to be understood.

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