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Corn.

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 should'st not be glad, I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb. Beloved Regan, Thy sister's naught: O 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, Of 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.

Lear. Say, how is that ?
Reg. I cannot think, my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance,
She have restraind the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.
· Lear. My curses on her!
Reg.

O, 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.
Lear.

Ask her forgiveness ?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house?
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old ;
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg,

(Kneeling That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.

Reg. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks :
Return you to my sister.
Lear.

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, with lameness !
Corn.

Fye, fye, fye!
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 and blast her pride!
Reg.

O the blest gods !

So will you wish on me, when the rash mood's 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: '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 endow'd.
Reg.

Good sir, to the purpose.

[Trumpets within Lear. Who put my man i' the stocks ? Corn.

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-borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows:-
Out, varlet, from my sight !
Corn.

What means your grace ?
Lear. Who stock’d my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know of ’t.—Who comes here? O, heavens,

Enter GONERIL.
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause : send down, and take my part !-
Art not asham'd to look upon this beard ?-

[To GONERZ O, Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand ?

Gon. Why not by the hand, sir ? How have I offended ?
All's not offence, that indiscretion finds,
And dotage terms so.
Lear.

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
Deserv'd much less advancement.
Lear.

You ! did you

?
Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
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 dismiss'd ?

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, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life t:-Return with her ?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom.

[Looking on the Steward Gon.

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,
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.
Reg.

Not altogether so, sir ;
I look'd 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.
Lear.

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 attendance,
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chanc'd 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

Reg.

And in good time you gave it.
Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be follow'd

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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 me.

Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well favor’d,
When others are more wicked ; not being the worst,
Stands in some rank of praise :-I'll go with thee; [To GONERIL
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Gon.

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 ?
Reg.

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, 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 !
O, let not woman'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 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 :-0, fool, I shall

go

mad!

[Exeunt LEAR, GLOSTER, KENT and Fool. 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 bestow'd.

Gon. 'Tis his own blame; he hath put
Himself from rest, and must needs taste his folly.

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.
Gon.

So am I purpos’d.
Where is my lord of Gloster ?

Re-enter GLOSTER.
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth :-he is return'd.
Glo. The king is in high rage.
Corn.

Whither is he going ?
Glo. He calls to horse ; but will I know not whither.
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 winds
Do sorely ruffle ; for many miles about
There's scarce a bush.
Reg:

0, 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 him to, being apt
To have his ear abus'd, wisdom bids fear.

Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord ; 'tis a wild niç
My Regan counsels well: come out o' the storm.

It

ACT III.

.

Lear, cast off by his pitiless daughters, wanders distracted through 2. sountry, accom panied by his faithful Fool. Kent is released, and immediately proc sds in search of him royal master.

SCENE.—A Heath. A storm is heard, with thunder and lightning.

Enter LEAR, and Fool.
Lear. Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage ! blow!
You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples !
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt couriers to oak-cleaving thunder-bolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germins* spill at once,
That make ingrateful man !

Fool. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters' blessing; here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools.

Lear. Rumble thy bellyfull! Spit, fire! spout, rain !
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters :
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness,
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription; why then let fall
Your horrible pleasure ; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis’d old man :-

* Seeds begun to sprout.

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