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SCENE I. A Heath. A Storm is heard, with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter KENT, and a Gentleman, meeting. Kent. Who's here, beside foul weather? Gent. One minded like the weather, most un.
quietly. Kent. I know you ; Where's the king? Gent. Contending with the fretful element : Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main, That things might change, or cease: tears his
But who is with him?
Sir, I do know you; And dare upon the warrant of my art, Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be cover'd With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Corn
wall; Who have (as who have not, that their great stars Thron'd and set high ?) servants, who seem no
less; Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes; Or the hard rein which both of them have borne Against the old kind king; or something deeper, Whereof, perchance, these are but furnishings:But, true it is, from France there comes a power Into this scatter'd kingdom; who already Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
Gent. I will talk further with you.
No, do not.
yet; That, when we have found the king (in which
your pain That way; l’ll this); be that first lights on him, Holloa the other.
Enter LEAR and Fool.
Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out a' door.
Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughter's blessing! Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools. Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout,
rain ! Nor rain, wind, tbunder, fire, are my daughters; I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness, I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children, You owe me no subscription; why, then let fali Your horrible pleasure; here I stand your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man:But yet I call you servile ministers, That have witń two pernicious daughters join'd Your bigh engender'd battles, 'gainst a head So old and white as this. O!0! 'tis foul!
Fool. He that has a house to put his head in, has a good head-piece,
The cod-piece that will house,
Before the head has any,
So beggars marry many.
What he his heart should make
And turn his sleep to wake. --for there was never yet fair woman, but she made mouths in a glass.
Enter KENT. Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience, I will say nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace, and a cod-piece ; that's a wise man, and a fool. Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? things that love
night, Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, And make them keep their caves: Since I was
man, Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never Remember to have heard : man's nature cannot
carry The affliction, nor the fear. Lear.
Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our beads, Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou
wretch, That bast within thee andivulged crimes, Unwhipp'd of jastice ; Hide thee, thou bloody
band; Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue Tbat art incestuous : Caitiff, to pieces shake, That under covert and convenient seeming Hast practised on man's life!--Close pent-up
guilts, Rive your concealing continents, and cry These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man, More sinn'd against, than sinning. Kent.
Alack, bare-headed ! Gracious, my lord, hard by here is a hovel; Some friendship will it send you 'gainst the
tempest; Repose you there : while I to this hard house, (More hard than is the stone whereof 'tis rais'd ; Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in), return, and force Their scanted courtesy. Lear.
‘My wits begin to turn, Come on, my boy: How dost, my boy? Art
cold? I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fel.
low? The art of our necessities is strange, That can make vile things precious. Come,
With a heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,
For the rain it raineth every day.
tbis hovel. [Ereunt LEAR and KENT. Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. -I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
When priests are more in word than matter;
When every case in law is right; No squire in debt, nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues ; Nor cutpurses come not to throngs; When usurers tell their gold i' the field; And bawds and whores do churches build :Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion. Then comes the time, who lives to see't, That going sball be us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.
SCENE III. A Room in Gloster's Castle.
Enter GLOSTER and EDMUND. Glo. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this nnnatural dealing; When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
Edm. Most savage, and unnatural!
Glo. Go to; say you nothing: There is divi. sion between the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have received a letter this night; -'tis dangerous to be spoken :- I have locked the letter in my closet: these injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there is part of a power already footed : we must incline to the king. I will seek him, and privily relieve him: go you, and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived: If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed. If I die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king my old master must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund : pray you, be careful.
[Exit. · Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke Instantly know; and of that letter too :This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me That which my father loses; no less than all: The younger rises, when the old doth fall.