From her material sap, perforce must wither,
And come to deadly use.1

Goneril. No more: the text is foolish.

Albany. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile,^-
Filths savour but themselves.2 What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence the head-lugg'd bear3 would liok,
Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.4
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited?
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences, /
It will come,5

Humanity must perforce prey- on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.

Gon. Milk-liver'd man!6

That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering;1 that not know'st,
Tools do those villains pity, who are punish'd
Ere they have done their mischief. Where 's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;8
With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
Whilst thou, a moral fool, sitt'st still, and criest,
"Alack! why does he so?"

Alb. See thyself, devil!

Proper deformity9 seems not in the fiend
So horrid, as in woman.

1. She who breaks the bonds of filial duty, and becomes wholly alienated from her father, must wither and perish, like a branch separated from that sap which supplies it with nourishment, and gives life to the matter of which it is composed. — To sliver, to tear off longwise: it is still in use in the north, meaning, to cut a slice. Come to deadly use is explained in the incantation in "Macbeth": —

"Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat; and slips of yew,
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse."

2. i. e. Filthy things are agreeable only to their like.

3. i. e. the rugged bear.

4. i. e. you have sent mad.

5. i. e. It will happen that, &c.

6. Milk-liver'd, white-liver'd, and lily-liver'd signify cowardly. Compare note 3, page 34.

7. i. e. Whose eye does not discern between thy honour and thy wrongs.

8. i. e. in our land, in which no noise of armaments is heard, no preparations are made to repel the invasion.

9. f. c. deformity of mind, with a fair exterior.

Goneril. O vain fool!

Albany. Thou changed and self-cover'd thing,1 for shame, Be-monster not thy feature. 2 Were it my fitness To let these hands obey my blood; 3 They are apt enough to dislocate and tear Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend, A woman's shape doth shield thee.

Gon. i Marry, your manhood now! —

Enter a Messenger.
Alb. What news?

Messenger. 0, my good lord! the duke of Cornwall's dead;
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloster.'

Albany. Gloster's eyes!

Mess. A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,4 Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword To his great master; who thereat enrag'd, Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead, 5 But not without that harmful stroke, which since Hath pluck'd him after.

Alb. This shows you are above,

You justicers, that these our nether6 crimes
So speedily can venge! — But, 0 poor Gloster!
Lost he his other eye?

Mess. Both, both, my lord. —

This letter, Madam, craves a speedy answer; .'

'T is from your sister.

Gon. [Aside.'] One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloster with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life.1 Another way,

The news is not so tart. [_To Mm.] I 'll read, and answer.


1. Self cover'd thing expresses the same idea as proper deformity, i. e. a thing, or being, whose wicked spirit is covered by a fair body.

2. t. e. Do not convert thy fair features to those of a monster.

3. i. e. Were it fitting for me to let these hands obey my inclination, they are ready enough, &c.

4. Remorse, tenderness, pity. This

word commonly means, pain of mind

from a consciousness of guilt.

. 5. i. e. amongst them they felled him


6. Nether, lower, i. e. our crimes here below.

7. May overturn all my castles in the air, and crush my life, so hateful to them, beneath the ruins.

Albany. Where was his son, when they did take his eves? Mess. Come with my lady hither. y Alb. - He is not here. Mess. No, my good lord; I met him back again. Alb. Knows he the wickedness? Mess. Ay, my good lord; ’t was he inform'd against him, And quit the house, on purpose that their punishment Might have the freer course. Alb. - Gloster, I live --> To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king, And to revenge thine eyes. – Come hither, friend: Tell me what more thou knowest. [Eaceunt.

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Kent. Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back, know you the reason? Gentleman. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his coming forth is thought of; which imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger, that his personal return was most requir’d, and necessary. Kent. Who? hath he left behind him general? Gent. The Marshal of France, Monsieur la Far. Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief? Gent. Ay, Sir; she took them, read them in my presence; And now and then an ample tear trill'd down Her delicate cheek: it seem’d, she was a queen Over her passion, who, most rebel-like, Sought to be king o'er her. Kent. O ! then it mov’d her. Gent. Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove Who should express her goodliest. You have seen Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears Were like a better day: those happy smilets,”

1. i. e. the kingdom of France. deed, often be heard in the present 2. Who, for whom, which is not un- day. frequent in Shakespeare, and may, in- 3. Smilets, diminutive of smiles.

That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. — In brief, sorrow
Would be a rarity most belov'd,
If .all could so become it.

Kent. Made she no verbal question? 1

^ , Gent. 'Faith, once, or twice, she heav'd the name of


Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;

Cried, "Sisters! sisters! — Shame of ladies! sisters!

Kent! father! sisters! What? i' the storm? i' the night?

Let pity not be believed!"2 — There she shook

The holy water from her heavenly eyes,

And clamour moisten'd:3 then, away she 'started

To deal with grief alone.

Kerj,t. It is the stars,

The stars above us, govern our conditions; 4
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

Gent. No'.

Kent. Was this before the king return'd?

Gent. No, since.

Kent. Well, Sir, the poor distress'd Lear 's i' the town, Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers What we are come about, and by no means Will yield to see his daughter. t

Gent. . Why, good Sir?

Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him; his own


That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters: these things sting
His mind so venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

Gent. Alack, poor gentleman!

Kent, Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?

Gent. 'T is so, they are afoot.

1. Did she, enter into no conversation with you? Shakspeare frequently uses question for conversation, and not only for interrogation.

2. Let not such a thing as pity be supposed to exist.

3. And her outcries were accompanied with tears. •

4. i. e. regulate our dispositions.

Kent. Well, Sir, I 'll bring you to our master Lear, And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause 1 Will in concealment wrap me up awhile: When I am known aright, you shall not grieve2 Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go Along with me. [Exeunt.


The Same. A Tent.
Enter CORDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers.

Cordelia. Alack! 't is he: why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex'd sea: singing aloud;
Crown'd with rank fumiter,3 and furrow weeds,4
With hoar-docks,5 hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,6
Darnel,7 and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining8 corn. — A century9 send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer.] — What can

man's wisdom,

In the restoring his bereaved sense?

He that helps him take all my outward worth".

Physician. There is means, Madam:
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Are many simples10 operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

Cordelia. All bless'd secrets,

All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant, and remediate,
In the good man's distress! — Seek, seek for him;

1. Some business of great importaboe to me.

2. t. e. you shall not regret having lent me, &c.

3. Fumiter, or fumitory, or fumatory, from the French fumilerre, is the Fumaria officinalis, a species growing in hedges and waste places.

4. Furrow-wetds, a weed growing in furrowed land.

5. Hoar-docks supposed to be intended for charlock, the Sinapis arvensis, a

King Lear.

very troublesome weed in corn-fields, sometimes called wild-mustard.

6. Cuckoo-flowers, the plant Cordamine pratensis, also called meadow lady's smock.

7. Darnel, or Lolium perenne, is the species of grass called rye-grass.

8. Sustaining, nourishing.

9. A century, a company of a hundred men.

10. Simples, drugs.


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