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Regan. 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
Cornwall. What means your grace?
Lear. Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good hope Thou didst not know on't. — Who comes here? 0 heavens!
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow 1 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 Goneml.
0 Regan! wilt thou take her by the hand?
Goneril. Why not by the hand, Sir? ■ How have I
All's not offence, that indiscretion finds2
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.3
Lear. You! did you?
Regan. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.4
1 am now from home, and out of that provision
Lear. Return to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
To wage against the enmity o' the air ;6
1. Allow sometimes signifies approve.
2. i. e. that indiscretion thinks so.
3. i. e. a still worse or more disgraceful situation.
4. Since you are weak, be content to acknowledge that you are so.
5. I am now away from home, and unprovided with the provisions necessary to entertain you and your followers.
6. i. e. To wage war with the air. The verb wage is now only used in connexion with war.
Necessity's sharp pinch! — Keturn with her?
Why, the hot-bfooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne,1 and, scmire-like, pension beg
To keep base life afoot. — Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter2
To this detested groom. [Looking at Oswald.
Goneril. At your choice, Sir.
Lear. I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make me mad:
Regan. Not altogether so:
Reg. I dare avouch it, Sir. What! fifty followers?
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance From those that she calls servants, or from mine?
1. f. e. to kneel at his throne. 4. I did not yet expect yon.
2. Sumpter, a horse that carries the 5. To give ear, to pay attention, to necessaries on a journey. listen.
3. Embossed, swelling, protuberant. 6. Sith, since.
Regan. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to
We could control them. If you will come to me,
Reg. And in good time you gave it.
Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries,
Reg. And speak 't again, my lord; no more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd, When others are more wicked; not being the worst, Stands in some rank of praise. — I 'll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
Goneril. Hear me, my lord.
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
Reg. What need one?
I<ear. 0! reason not the need; our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous: Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's fife 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, for 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 much2 To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger. 0! let not women's weapons, water-drops, Stain my man's cheeks. — No, you unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you both,
1. i. e. to be rem'ss in their service to you.
2. i. e. do not let me be so foolish. 4
That all the world shall — I will do such things, —
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
[Storm heard at a distance. Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or ere I 'll weep. — O, fool! I shall go mad.
[Exeunt Lear, Gloster, Kent, and Fool.
Cornwall. Let us withdraw, 't will be a storm.
Regan. This house is little: the old man and 's people Cannot be well bestow'd.
Goneril. 'T is his own blame; hath put himself from rest, And must needs taste his folly.1
Reg. For his particular,2 I 'll receive him gladly, But not one follower.
Gon. So am I purpos'd.
Where is my lord of Gloster?
Corn. Follow'd the old man forth. — He is return'd.
Corn. • Whither is he going?
Glos. He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.
Corn. 'T is best to give him way; he leads himself.
Gon. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
Glos. Alack!3 the night comes on, and the bleak winds Do sorely ruffle;4 for many miles about There 's scarce a bush.
Reg. 0, Sir! to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure
Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord; 't is a wild night: My Regan counsels well. Come out o' the storm. [Exeunt.
1. It is his own fault; he has deprived himself of a place of rest, and must taste the fruits of his folly.
2. i. e. as far as he personally is concerned.
3. Alack, alas!
4. Grow fearfully turbulent.
5. And wisdom bids us fear the acts to which they may incite him, he being so easily led by what he hears.
SCENE I. — A Heath.
A Storm, with Thunder and Lightning. Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, j meeting.
Kent. Who 's here, beside foul weather?
Gentleman. One minded,1 like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you. Where 's the king?
Gent. Contending with the fretful elements; Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,2 That things might change or cease: tears his white hair, Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,3 Catch in their tury, and make nothing of:4 Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain. This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear5 would couch, The lion and the belly-pinched6 wolf Keep their fur dry, unbonneted1 he runs, And bids what will take all.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the fool, who labours to outjest His heart-struck injuries.8
Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare, upon the warrant of my note9
1. Minded, disposed.
2. i. e. the main land.
3. Eyeless rage, blind rage.
4. To make nothing of, to treat with scorn.
5. The cub-drawn bear is the shebear, whose milk has been drunk dry by her cubs, — and who is consequently then most inclined to seek prey.
6. Belly-pinched, hungry.
7. Unbonneted, bare-beaded. Bonnet formerly signified generally, a covering for the head, but is now applied
particularly to the article of dress worn by lemales; except in Scotland, where a man's cap is also so called.
8. i. e. who endeavours by jesting to overpower the sense of injury which has struck so deep in Lear's heart.
9. My note, that which I have noticed.
10. Who have servants (as who has not who has been exalted to a throne by his fortunate stars?) and these servants, who to all appearance are nothing else but servants, Sec.