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Horns within. Enter Lear, Knights and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner, go, get it ready : How now, what art thou?
(To Kent. Kent. A man, Sir.
Lear. What doft thou profess? what would'At thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honeft; to converse with him that is wife and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I cannot chuse, and to eat no filh.
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honeft-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King,
Lear. If thou beeft as poor for a subject, as he is for a King, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou ?
Kent. No, Sir, but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Kent. I can keep honeft counsels, ride, run, marr a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in; and the beft of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, Sir, to love a woman for finging; nor so old, to doat on her for any thing. I have years on my back forty eight.
Lear. Follow me, thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner, ho, dinner -where's
fool ? go you, and call my fool hither. You, you, firrah, where's my daughter
Enter Steward. Stew. So please you
[Exit. Lear. What says the fellow there? call the clotpole back; where's my fool, ho? I think, the world's alleep: how now? Where's that mungrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me when I call'd him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not?
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but to my Judgment, your Highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependants, as in the Duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be miftaken; for my duty cannot be filent, when I think your Highness is wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'ft me of my own conception. I have perceiv'd a moft faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as my own jealous curiofity, than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness; I will look further into't; but where's my fool ? I have not seen him these two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, Sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that, I have noted it well; go you and tell my daug later, I would speak with her. Go you, call hither my fool. O, you, Sir, come you hither, Sir; who am I, Sir?
-you whoreson dog, you slave, you cur,
Stew. I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon. Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
[Striking hin. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tript neither, you base foot-ball player.
[Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, Sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences: away, away; if you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry; but away, go to: have you wisdom? 10.
[Pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee; there's earnest of thy service.
To them, Enter Fool.
[Giving his cap.
Fool. Why? for taking one's part, that is out of favour; nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind fits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my
coxcomb; why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou fól low him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb. How now, nuncle? would, I had two coxcombs, and two daughters.
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I give them all my living, I'll keep my coxcomb my self; there's mine, beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, Sirrah, the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog muft to kennel, he must be whip'd out, when the lady brach may stand by th' fire and tink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me.
Fool. Mark it, nurcle;
Kent. This is nothing, sool.
Fool. Then it is like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer, you gave me nothing for't; can you make no ule of nothing, nuncle:
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pr’ythee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.
[To Kent, Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, be-
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hart 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 on't, they would have part on’t: nay, the Ladies too, they'll not let me have all fool to myself, they'll be snatching.
(10) Fool. That Lord, ebat counfeld shee - ] These four lines I have restor’d from the old 4to; and, surely, the retrenchment of them by the players was very iniudicious. For, without them, how very abfurdly does Lear reply, Dost thou call me fool, bay? Vol. VI.
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'th' middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg: when thou cloveit thy Crown i' th' middle and gav'it away both parts, thou bor'ft thine ass on thy back o'er the dirt; thou had'ít little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gav'st thy golden one away: if I speak like myself in this, let him be whip’d that first finds it fo. Fools ne'er had less
Their manners are so apish. Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, firrah :
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, e'er fince thou mad'it thy daughters thy mothers; for when thou gav'st them the rod, and put'it down thine own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep, (Singing
And I for sorrow sung;
And go the fools among, Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach iby fool to lie; I would fain learn to lie.
Lear. If you lie, firrah, we'll have you whipt.
Fool, I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are; they'll have me whipt for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipe for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipt for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o'thing than a foul, and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hait pared thy wit o'both sides, and left nothing i'th' middle; here comes one o'th' parings.
To them, Enter Gonerill, Lear, How now, daughter, what makes that frontlet on! you are too much of late i' th' frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadît ra necd to care for her frowning; now thou art an O with