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A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
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, sir;
I looked 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, now? 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 house, Should many people, under two commands, Hold amity ? 'Tis hard ; almost impossible.

Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attend


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 followed
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five-and-twenty, Regan ? said you so?

Reg. And speak it again, my lord; no more with


1 Embossed here means swelling, protuberant.

Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well favored, When others are more wicked; not being the worst, Stands in some rank of praise : _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 is cheap? as beast's. Thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.-But, for true need, -
You Heavens give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger!
0, 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,-
What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll

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

[Exeunt LEAR, GLOSTER, KENT, and Fool.

go mad!

1 i. e. to be not the worst deserves some praise. 2 As cheap here means as litlle worth.

3 Flaws anciently signified fragments, as well as mere cracks. Among the Saxons it certainly had that meaning. The word, as Bailey observes, was “ especially applied to the breaking off shivers or thin pieces from precious stones.”

Corn. Let us withdraw ; 'twill be a storm.

[Storm heard at a distance. Reg.

This house Is little; the old man and his people cannot Be well bestowed. 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


lord of Gloster ?

Re-enter GLOSTER.

Corn. Followed the old man forth ;—he is returned.
Glo. The king is in high rage.

Whither is he going? Glo. He calls to horse ; but will I know not

Corn. 'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
Glo. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak

Do sorely ruffle ;' for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.

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 2 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.


1 Thus the folio. The quartos read, “Do sorely russel," i. e. rustle. But ruffle is most probably the true reading.

2 To incense is here, as in other places, to instigate.



SCENE I. A Heath. A storm is heard, with thun

der and lightning

Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, meeting: Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather? Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly. Kent. I know you ; where's the king ?

Gent. Contending with the fretful element; 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




Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear * would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.5

But who is with him?
Gent. None but the fool ; who labors to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.

Sir, I do know you ; And dare, upon the warrant of my art, Commend a dear thing to you.

There is division,

| The main seems to signify here the main land, the continent.

2 The first folio ends this speech at “ change or cease," and begins again at Kent's speech,“ But who is with him?" 3 Steevens thinks that we should read “out-storm." 4 That is, a bear whose dugs are drawn dry by its young. 5 So in Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus says :

“ I'll strike, and cry, Take all." 6 i. e. on the strength of that art or skill which teaches us “ to find the mind's construction in the face.” The folio reads :

upon the warrant of my note ;” which Dr. Johnson explains,“ my observation of your character.”



Although as yet the face of it be covered
With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have (as who have not, that their great stars
Throned and set high ?) servants, who seem no less ;
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state ; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings 2 of the dukes;
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings :—3
[But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdom; who already
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner.--Now to you.
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to you.]

Gent. I will talk further with you. .

No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,
(As fear not but you shall,) show her this ring,
And she will tell you who your fellow ^ is,

1 This and the seven following lines are not in the quartos. The lines in crotchets lower down, from “ But, true it is,” &c. to the end of the speech, are not in the folio. So that if the speech be read with omission of the former, it will stand according to the first edition; and if the former lines are read, and the latter omitted, it will then stand according to the second. The second edition is generally best, and was probably nearest to Shakspeare's last copy ; but in this speech the first is preferable; for in the folio the messenger is sent, he knows not why, he knows not whither.

2 Snuffs are dislikes, and packings underhand contrivances. 3 A furnish anciently signified a sample. “To lend the world a furnish of wit, she lays her own out to pawn.”—Green's Groatsworth of Wit.

4 Companion.

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