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teach thee there's no labouring i' the winter.
All that follow their noses are led by their eyes 70
but blind men; and there's not a nose among
twenty but can smell him that's stinking. Let
go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill,
lest it break thy neck with following it; but the
great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee
after. When a wise man gives thee better coun-
sel, give me mine again: I would have none but
knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.

That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,

Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly :

The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.

Kent. Where learned you this, fool?

Fool. Not i' the stocks, fool.

Re-enter LEAR, with GLOUCESTER.

Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick?

they are weary ?


They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches; 90 The images of revolt and flying off.

Fetch me a better answer.


My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke ;
How unremoveable and fix'd he is

In his own course.

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion! Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester, I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

90. fetches, subterfuges.

Glou. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.

Lear. Inform'd them! Dost thou understand

me, man?

Glou. Ay, my good lord.

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

Would with his daughter speak, commands her service :

Are they inform'd 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 oppress'd commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;

And am fall'n out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit

For the sound man.


Should he sit here?

Death on my state! where[Looking on Kent.

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 's wife I'ld 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.

Glou. I would have all well betwixt you. [Exit. Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!

Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' the paste alive; she

107. office, duty

112. To take, for taking.
115. remotion, removal.
123. cockney; perhaps here a

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cook or cook's assistant; but there is clearly a reference to the common sense of a pampered simpleton.

knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick, and
cried 'Down, wantons, down!' 'Twas her brother
that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his


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


I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress. [To Kent] O, are you


Some other time for that.

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

With how depraved a quality-O Regan!

Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope 140 You less know how to value her desert

Than she to scant her duty.


Say, how is that?

Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
She have restrain'd 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!


O, sir, you are old;

Nature in you stands on the very verge

141, 142. You less know how, etc., you rather fail, etc.

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 wrong'd her, sir.




Ask her forgiveness?

but mark how this becomes the house: 'Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;

Age is unnecessary: 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.


[Rising] 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 stored vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!


Fie, sir, fie!

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 is on.

Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my

curse :

Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give

155. becomes the house, suits the family relationship (of father to daughter).

165. young bones, i.e. unborn child.




170. blast her pride; so Qq. Ff 'blister.'

174. tender-hefted, delicately framed.

Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but


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.


Good sir, to the purpose.

Lear. Who put my man i' the stocks?


[Tucket within.

What trumpet's that?

Reg. I know 't, my sister's: this approves her


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!


What means your grace? 190

Lear. Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope

Thou didst not know on 't. Who comes here?


O heavens,

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! [To Gon.] Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?

178. sizes, allowances.

194. Allow, approve of.

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