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But yet I call you servile ministers,

That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high engender'd battles, 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!--

No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing

Enter KENT.

Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night,
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,

And make them keep their caves: Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
The affliction, nor the fear.

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,

Unwhipp'd of justice: Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue⚫
Caitiff, to pieces shake,

That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd on man's life!-Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace.—I am a man,
More sinn'd against, than sinning.

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 rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in,) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.


My wits begin to turn.Come on, my boy: How dost, my boy? Art cold? • I am cold myself.-Where is this straw, my fellow?

The art of our necessities is strange,

That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel,
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart.
That's sorry yet for thee.

Fool. He that has a little tiny wit,

With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,—
Must make content with his fortune fit;
For the rain it raineth every day.

Lear. True, my good boy.-Come, bring us to this hovel.

[Exeunt LEAR, KENT, and Fool.


Edgar escapes from the pursuit of his Father, and assumes the disguise of a Tom of Bedlam," or madman. He finds shelter on the deserted Heath, to which Lear has wandered. He encounters the King. The assumption of madness by Edgar contrasts very strikingly with the real insanity of Lear, in the two following scenes.

SCENE.—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.

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 fix'd,

The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear:

[Storm still.

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 mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.-Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to't ?-But I will punish home :—
No, I will weep no more.-In such a night
To shut me out!-Pour on; I will endure :-
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!—
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that,—


Good my lord, enter here.

Lear. Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease;
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more.—But I'll go in :

In, boy; go first.-[ To the Fool.]-You houseless poverty,-
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.—-
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou may'st shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

[Fool goes in


Edgar.-[Within.]—Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor

[The Fool runs out of the hovel.

Fool. Come not in here, uncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help


Kent. Give me thy hand.-Who's there?

Fool. A spirit, a spirit; he says his name's poor Tom. Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw? Come forth.

Enter EDGAR, disguised as a madman. Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me !Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.Humph! go to thy cold bed and warm thee.

Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters? And art thou come to this?

Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inch bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor :-Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold.—Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: There could 1 have him now, and there,—and there, and there again, and there. [Storm continues.

Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?Could'st thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?

Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had all been ashamed. Lear. Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy daughters!

Kent. He hath no daughters, sir.

Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.—
It is the fashion, that discarded fathers

Should have this little mercy on their flesh!
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

Edg. Take heed o' the foul fiend: Obey thy parents; keep thy word justly; swear not; set not thy sweet heart on proud array: Tom's a-cold.

Lear. What hast thou been?

Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair; wore gloves in my cap; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven.

[Storm still continues.

Lear. Why, thou wert better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extremity of the skies.-Is man no more than this? Consider him well: Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume :-Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated!-Thou art the thing itself unaccom

modated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.-Off, off, you lendings:-Come; unbutton here.—

[Tearing off his clothes. Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; this is a naughty night to swim in.-Look, here comes a walking fire.

Gloster is moved to pity the wrongs inflicted on his royal master. He incurs the displeasure of Cornwall and Regan, is dispossessed of his Castle, and follows in pursuit of Lear.

Enter GLOSTER, with a torch.

Lear. What's he?

Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?

Glo. What are you there? Your names?

Eg. Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt, and the water; who is whipped from tything to tything, and stocked, punished, and imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and

weapon to


But mice, and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.

Beware my follower :-Peace, Smolkin; peace, thou fiend!
Glo. What, hath your grace no better company?

Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman;
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.

Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile, That it doth hate what gets it.

Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.

Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer
To obey all your daughters' hard commands:
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you;
Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out,
And bring you where both fire and wood is ready.

Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher :-
What is the cause of thunder?

Kent. Good my lord, take his offer;

Go into the house.

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Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban :What is your study?

Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.

Lear. Let me ask you one word in private. Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord, His wits begin to unsettle.


Canst thou blame him?

His daughters seek his death :-Ah, that good Kent !—
He said it would be thus:-Poor banish'd man!-
Thou say'st the king grows mad: I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son.

Now outlaw'd from my blood: he sought my life,
But lately, very late; I lov'd him, friend,—
No father his son dearer: true to tell thee,
The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night's this!
I do beseech your grace.
Noble philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's a-cold.

O, cry you mercy,

Glo. In, fellow, there to the hovel: keep thee warm.
Lear. Come, let's in all.


This way, my lord.



[Storm continues.

With him;

I will keep still with my philosopher.

Kent. Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
Glo. Take you him on.

Kent. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.

Lear. Come, good Athenian.


No words, no words:

Edg. Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still,-Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.



A Chamber in a Farm-House, adjoining the Castle.

Enter GLOSTER, Lear, Kent, Fool, and EDGAR.

Glo. Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully: I will piece out the comfort with what addition can: I will not be long from you.

Kent. All the power of his wits has given way to his impatience: -The gods reward your kindness! [Exit GLOSTER.

Edg. Frateretto calls me; and tells me, Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

Fool. Pr'ythee, nuncle, tell me, whether a madman be a gentleinan, or a yeoman?

Lear. A king, a king!

Fool. No: he's a yeoman, that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a mad yeoman, that sees his son a gentleman before him. Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits

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Come hizzing in upon them :

Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.

Lear. It shall be done, I will arraign them straight :-
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer;-
Thou, sapient sir, sit here.-[To the Fool.]-Now, you she foxes!—


Edg. Look, where he stands and glares !— Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?

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