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That yet you
do not know. Fie on this storm . I will go seek the king.
Gent. Give me your hand; have you no more to
Kent. Few words, but to effect, more than all yet ; That when we have found the king, (in which your pain That way; I'll this ;) he that first lights on him, Holla the other.1
SCENE II. Another Part of the Heath.
Enter LEAR and Fool. Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage!
blow! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world ! Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once, That make ingrateful man!
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water* in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughter's blessing! Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.
Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit fire ! spout rain ! Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters. I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
The quartos read:
" That when we have found the King,
I'le this way, you that; he that first lights
On him, hollow the other.” Thought-executing, “ doing execution with celerity equal to thought." 3 Avant-couriers (Fr.). The phrase occurs in other writers of Shakspeare's time. It originally meant the foremost scouts of an army.
4 Court holy-water is fair words and flattering speeches. The French have their Eau benite de la cour in the same sense.
I never gave you kingdom, called you children;
poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.-
Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house,
So beggars marry many.
What he his heart should make,
And turn his sleep to wake. -for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.
Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece ;' that's a wise man, and a fool. Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love
Since I was man, Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
1 i. e. submission, obedience.
2 Meaning the king and himself. The king's grace was the usual expression in Shakspeare's time.
3 To gallow is to frighten, to scare.
Remember to have heard ; man's nature cannot carry
Let the great gods,
Alack, bare-headed! Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel ; Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest. Repose you there ; while I to this hard house (More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis raised; Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in) return, and force Their scanted courtesy. Lear.
My wits begin to turn.-
With a heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,-
For the rain it raineth every day.
1 Thus the folio and one of the quartos; the other quarto reads thundering.
2 1. e. counterfeit.
4 Summoners are officers that summon offenders before a proper tribunal.
5 The quartos read, “ That sorrows yet for thee.”
Lear. True, my good boy.—Come, bring us to this hovel.
[Exeunt LEAR and KENT. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtesan." I'll speak a prophecy ere I When priests are more in word than matter ; When brewers mar their malt with water; When nobles are their tailors' tutors; No heretics burned, but wenches' suitors; When every case in law is right; No squire in debt, nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues ; Nor cutpurses come not to throngs; When usurers tell their gold i' the field; And bawds and whores do churches build :Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion.” Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
That going shall be used with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.
SCENE III. A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND. Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing. When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
Edm. Most savage, and unnatural !
Glo. Go to; say you nothing. There is division between the dukes; and a worse matter than that. I have received a letter this night ;-'tis dangerous to be spoken.—I have locked the letter in my closet.
1 This speech is not in the quartos.
2 These lines are taken from what is commonly called Chaucer's Prophecy; but which is much older than his time in its original form. See the Works of Chaucer, in Whittingham's edit. vol. v. p. 179.
injuries the king now bears will be revenged at home; there is part of a power already footed:we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him ; go you, and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived. If he ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. If I die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.
[Exit. Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke Instantly know; and of that letter too.This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me That which my father loses; no less than all : The younger rises, when the old doth fall.
A Part of the Heath, with a Hovel.
Enter LEAR, Kent, and Fool. Kent. Here is the place, my lord ; good my lord,
enter. The tyranny of the open night's too rough For nature to endure.
[Storm still. Lear.
Let me alone. Kent. Good my lord, enter here. Lear.
Wilt break my heart ? Kent. I'd rather break mine own. Good my lord,
enter. Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious
storm Invades us to the skin : so 'tis to thee; But where the greater malady is fixed, The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear; But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea, Thou’dst meet the bear i’ the mouth. When the
mind's free, The body's delicate ; the tempest in my
1 The quartos read landed.