Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there 's earnest1 of thy service. . [Giving Kent money.

Enter Fool.

Fool. Let me hire him too: — here 's my coxcomb.

[Giving Kent his cap.
Lear. How now, my pretty knave! how dost thou?
Fool. Sirrah, you were best tak'e my coxcomb.
Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. Why, for taking one's part that 's out of favour. — Nay, an2 thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou 'It catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two on's3 daughtersand did the third a blessing against his will: if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb. — How now,.nuncle!4 Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!

Lear. Why, my boy?

Fool. If I gave them all my living,5 I 'd keep my coxcombs myself. There 's mine; beg another of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool. Truth 's a dog must to kennel: he must be whip? ped out, when the lady brach6 may stand by the fire and stink.

Lear. A pestilent gall to me.

Fool. Sirrah, I 'll teach thee a speech.

Lear. Do.

Fool. Mark it, nuncle. —

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,7
Set8 less than thou throwest;

1. Earnest, money given for the purpose of confirming a contract.

2. An, contraction of and if, or for if alone.

3. On's, for of his. On is still frequently used for of in low language.

4. Nuncle, a corruption of mine uncle, as the fool familiarly addresses Lear.

5. Living .formerly signified estate, or property. In this sense the benefice of a clergyman is now so called.

6. Brach, a bitch of the hunting kind.

7. To troio, to believe, to imagine, to conceive. Obsolete.

8. To set, to stake at play.


Leave thy drink and thy whore, And keep in-a-door, And thou shalt have more Than two tens to a score. This is nothing, fool. Fool. Then, 't is like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for 't. Can you...make._nQ._use of nothing, nuncle? .

Lear." "Why, Hq,. boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.. Ai<xSl»

Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to: he will not believe a fool. Lear. A bitter fool!

Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one? Lear. No, lad; teach me.

That lord, that counselFd thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me;

Do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool

Will presently appear;
The one in motley 1 here,
The other found out there.
Dost thou call me fool, boy?
All thy other titles thou hast given away, that
thou wast born with.

Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord. Fool. No, 'faith; lords and great men will not let me: if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on 't,2 and loads too: they will not let me have all fool to myself; they 'll be snatching. —- Give me an egg, nuncle, and I 'll give thee two crowns.

Lear. What two crowns shall they be? Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i' the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back o'er the dirt: thou


1. Motley, of various colours: alluding to the fool's clothes.

2. A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time, and the cor

ruption and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee.

hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so.

Fools had ne'er less grace in a year; [Singing.

For wise men are grown foppish; 1 And know not how their wits to wear, Their manners are so apish. Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mothers: for, when thou gavest them the rod and putt'st down thine own breeches, • *> Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing.

And I for sorrow sung, That such a king should play bo-peep,* And go the fools among. Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach thy fool to lie: I ^would fain )earn to_Jie

Lear. An "you lie, sirrah, we 'll have you whipped. Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they 'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou 'It have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing -than a fool; and yet I would not be thee, nuncle: thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing' i' the middle. Here comes one o' the parings.


Lear. How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet on?3 Methinks, you are too much of late i' the frown.

Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure. I am better than thou art now: J am a fool; thou art nothing. — Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue!

1. There never was a time when fools were less in favour; and the reason is, they never were so little wanted, for wise men now supply their place.

2. Bo-peep means child's play: The looking out from behind some object, and drawing back as if frightened, crying at the same time, ho-peep, to amuse little children.

3. A frontlet was a forehead-cloth, used formerly by ladies at night, to render that part smooth. Lear, probablv, means to say that Goneril's brow was as completely covered by a frown as it would be by a frontlet. — To make, was formerly often used where we should now use the verb, to do.

so your face [To GoN.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum:

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some. —
That 's a shealed peascod.1

Goneril. Not only, Sir, this your all-licens'd fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir,
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on,
By your allowance;2 which if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,3
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

Fool. For you trow, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it had its head bit off by its young.
So, out went the. candle, and we were left darkling.4

Lear. Are you our daughter?

Gon. I would, you would make use of your good


Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away
These dispositions, which of late transform you
From what you rightly are.

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the

horse? —

Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

Lear. Does any here know me? — This is not Lear:

1. t. e. a mere husk, which contains nothing. The outside of a king remains, hut all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone: he has nothing to give. "To sheal, or shale, is to shell.

2. And encourage it by your approbation.

3. Which, if applied, as is necessary

in order to restore a wholesome state of things.

4. This line is nothing but a fag end of an old song, added by the fool to keep up his character for uttering nonsense, and at the same time to take off the sharp edge of his former speech.

Does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied.— Ha! waking? 't is not so. —
Who is it that can tell me who I am? —
Fool. Lear's shadow?

Lear. I would learn that; for, by the marks of sov-

Knowledge, and reason,

I should be false persuaded I had daughters.1

Fool. Which2 they will make an obedient father.

Lear. Your name, .fair gentlewoman?

Goneril. This admiration, Sir, is much o' the favour3 Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you To understand my purposes aright, As you are old and reverend, should be wise. Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires; Men so disorder'd, so debauch'd and bold, That this our court, infected with their manners, Show's4 like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust Make it more like a tavern, or a brothel, Than a grae'd palace. The shame itself doth speak For instant remedy: be, then, desir'd By her, that else will take the thing she begs, A little to disquantity5 your train; And the remainder, that shall still depend,6 To be such men as may besort your age, Which know themselves and you.

Lear. Darkness and devils! —

Saddle my horses; call my train together. —
Degenerate bastard! I 'll not trouble thee:
Yet have I left a daughter.

Gon. You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble Make servants of their betters.

1. Were I to judge by the marks of sovereignty, of knowledge, or reason, I should be induced to think I had daughters, yet that must he a false persuasion.

2. Which is on this occasion used with two deviations from present language. It is referred, contrary to the rules of grammarians, to the pronoun

/, and is employed, according to a mode now obsolete, for whom, the accusative case of who.

3. i. e. of the complexion of others of your &c.

4. Shows, looks.

5. To disquantity, to diminish. Not used.

6. Depend, continue in service.

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