Act I, Scene 4
A hall in the Duke of Albany’s palace.
- Enter Kent disguised as Caius.
Kent1 - 7
- If but as well I other accents borrow,
- That can my speech defuse, my good intent
- May carry through itself to that full issue
- For which I raz’d my likeness. Now, banish’d Kent,
- If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn’d,
- So may it come, thy master, whom thou lov’st,
- Shall find thee full of labors.
- Horns within. Enter Lear, Knights, and Attendants from
Lear8 - 9
- Let me not stay a jot for dinner, go get it ready.
- Exit an Attendant.
- How now, what art thou?
- A man, sir.
- What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?
Kent12 - 15
- 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 honest, to
- converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear
- judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
- What art thou?
- A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King.
Lear18 - 19
- If thou be’st as poor for a subject as he’s for a king, th’
- art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
- Who wouldst thou serve?
- Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent24 - 25
- No, sir, but you have that in your countenance which I would
- fain call master.
- What’s that?
- What services canst do?
Kent29 - 32
- I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in
- telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly. That which
- ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in, and the best of
- me is diligence.
- How old art thou?
Kent34 - 36
- Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old
- to dote on her for any thing. I have years on my back
Lear37 - 41
- 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 my knave? My Fool? Go you and call my Fool
- Exit an Attendant.
- Enter Steward Oswald.
- You, you, sirrah, where’s my daughter?
- So please you—
Lear43 - 45
- What says the fellow there? Call the clotpole back.
- Exit a Knight.
- Where’s my Fool? Ho! I think the world’s asleep.
- Enter Knight.
- How now? Where’s that mongrel?
- He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
- Why came not the slave back to me when I call’d him?
- Sir, he answer’d me in the roundest manner, he would not.
- He would not?
Knight50 - 54
- 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 dependents as in the
- Duke himself also, and your daughter.
- Ha? Say’st thou so?
Knight56 - 57
- I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken, for my
- duty cannot be silent when I think your Highness wrong’d.
Lear58 - 62
- Thou but rememb’rest me of mine own conception. I have
- perceiv’d a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather
- blam’d as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretense
- and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into’t. But
- where’s my Fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight63 - 64
- Since my young lady’s going into France, sir, the Fool hath
- much pin’d away.
Lear65 - 68
- No more of that, I have noted it well. Go you and tell my
- daughter I would speak with her.
- Exit an Attendant.
- Go you call hither my Fool.
- Exit another Attendant.
- Enter Steward Oswald.
- O, you, sir, you, come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?
- My lady’s father.
Lear70 - 71
- “My lady’s father”? My lord’s knave! You whoreson dog, you
- slave, you cur!
- I am none of these, my lord, I beseech your pardon.
- Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
- Striking him.
- I’ll not be strucken, my lord.
- Nor tripp’d neither, you base football player.
- Tripping up his heels.
- I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv’st me, and I’ll love thee.
Kent77 - 79
- 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? So.
- Pushes Oswald out.
Lear80 - 81
- Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee, there’s earnest of thy
- Giving Kent money.
- Enter Fool.
- Let me hire him too, here’s my coxcomb.
- Offering Kent his cap.
- How now, my pretty knave, how dost thou?
- Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
- Why, Fool?
Fool86 - 92
- Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor. Nay, and
- thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou’lt catch cold
- shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has
- banish’d two on ’s daughters, and did the third a blessing
- against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear
- my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and
- two daughters!
- Why, my boy?
Fool94 - 95
- If I gave them all my living, I’ld keep my coxcombs myself.
- There’s mine, beg another of thy daughters.
- Take heed, sirrah—the whip.
Fool97 - 98
- Truth’s a dog must to kennel, he must be whipt out, when the
- Lady Brach may stand by th’ fire and stink.
- A pestilent gall to me!
- Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.
Fool102 - 112
- 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,
- Set less than thou throwest;
- 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.
Fool114 - 115
- Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer, you gave me
- nothing for’t. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
- Why, no, boy, nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool117 - 118
- To Kent.
- Prithee tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to. He
- will not believe a fool.
- A bitter fool!
Fool120 - 121
- Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool
- and a sweet one?
- No, lad, teach me.
Fool123 - 130
- That lord that counsell’d 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 here,
- The other found out there.
- Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool132 - 133
- All thy other titles thou hast given away, that thou wast
- born with.
- This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool135 - 139
- No, faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a
- monopoly out, they would have part an’t. And ladies too,
- they will not let me have all the fool to myself, they’ll be
- snatching. Nuncle, give me an egg, and I’ll give thee two
- What two crowns shall they be?
Fool141 - 151
- Why, after I have cut the egg i’ th’ middle and eat up the
- meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown
- i’ th’ middle and gav’st away both parts, thou bor’st thine
- ass on thy back o’er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy
- bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away. If I speak
- like myself in this, let him be whipt that first finds it
- “Fools had ne’er less grace in a year,
- For wise men are grown foppish,
- And know not how their wits to wear,
- Their manners are so apish.”
- When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool153 - 160
- I have us’d it, nuncle, e’er since thou mad’st thy daughters
- thy mothers, for when thou gav’st them the rod, and put’st
- down thine own breeches,
- “Then they for sudden joy did weep,
- And I for sorrow sung,
- That such a king should play bo-peep,
- And go the fools among.”
- Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy Fool to lie—I would fain learn to lie.
- And you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipt.
Fool162 - 167
- I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They’ll have
- me whipt for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipt for lying;
- and sometimes I am whipt 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 par’d thy wit o’ both sides, and
- left nothing i’ th’ middle. Here comes one o’ the parings.
- Enter Goneril.
Lear168 - 169
- How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on? You are too
- much of late i’ th’ frown.
Fool170 - 178
- 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, I am a Fool, thou art nothing.
- To Goneril.
- Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face bids me,
- though you say nothing.
- Mum, mum:
- He that keeps nor crust nor crumb,
- Weary of all, shall want some.
- Pointing to Lear.
- That’s a sheal’d peascod.
Goneril179 - 192
- 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-endur’d 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; which if you should, the fault
- Would not scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
- Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
- Might in their working do you that offense,
- Which else were shame, that then necessity
- Will call discreet proceeding.
Fool193 - 196
- For you know, nuncle,
- “The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
- That it had it head bit off by it young.”
- So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
- Are you our daughter?
Goneril198 - 201
- I would you would make use of your good wisdom
- (Whereof I know you are fraught) and put away
- These dispositions which of late transport you
- From what you rightly are.
Fool202 - 203
- May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?
- “Whoop, Jug! I love thee.”
Lear204 - 208
- Does any here know me? This is not Lear.
- Does Lear walk thus? Speak thus? Where are his eyes?
- Either his notion weakens, his discernings
- Are lethargied—Ha! Waking? ’Tis not so.
- Who is it that can tell me who I am?
- Lear’s shadow.
Lear210 - 212
- I would learn that, for by the marks of sovereignty,
- Knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded
- I had daughters.
- Which they will make an obedient father.
- Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Goneril215 - 230
- This admiration, sir, is much o’ th’ savor
- 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 debosh’d and bold,
- That this our court, infected with their manners,
- Shows like a riotous inn. Epicurism and lust
- Makes it more like a tavern or a brothel
- Than a grac’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 disquantity your train,
- And the remainders that shall still depend,
- To be such men as may besort your age,
- Which know themselves and you.
Lear231 - 234
- Darkness and devils!
- Saddle my horses; call my train together!
- Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee;
- Yet have I left a daughter.
Goneril235 - 236
- You strike my people,
- And your disorder’d rabble make servants of their betters.
- Enter Albany.
Lear237 - 241
- Woe, that too late repents!—O, sir, are you come?
- Is it your will? Speak, sir.—Prepare my horses.—
- Ingratitude! Thou marble-hearted fiend,
- More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child
- Than the sea-monster.
- Pray, sir, be patient.
Lear243 - 253
- To Goneril.
- Detested kite, thou liest.
- My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
- That all particulars of duty know,
- And in the most exact regard support
- The worships of their name. O most small fault,
- How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
- Which, like an engine, wrench’d my frame of nature
- From the fix’d place; drew from my heart all love,
- And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
- Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in
- Striking his head.
- And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.
- Exeunt Knights and Kent.
Albany254 - 255
- My lord, I am guiltless as I am ignorant
- Of what hath moved you.
Lear256 - 271
- It may be so, my lord.
- Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!
- Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
- To make this creature fruitful.
- Into her womb convey sterility,
- Dry up in her the organs of increase,
- And from her derogate body never spring
- A babe to honor her! If she must teem,
- Create her child of spleen, that it may live
- And be a thwart disnatur’d torment to her.
- Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
- With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
- Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits
- To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
- How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
- To have a thankless child!—Away, away!
- Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
Goneril273 - 275
- Never afflict yourself to know more of it,
- But let his disposition have that scope
- As dotage gives it.
- Enter Lear.
Lear276 - 277
- What, fifty of my followers at a clap?
- Within a fortnight?
- What’s the matter, sir?
Lear279 - 294
- I’ll tell thee.
- To Goneril.
- Life and death! I am asham’d
- That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
- That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
- Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
- Th’ untented woundings of a father’s curse
- Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
- Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out,
- And cast you, with the waters that you loose,
- To temper clay. Yea, is’t come to this?
- Ha? Let it be so: I have another daughter,
- Who I am sure is kind and comfortable.
- When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
- She’ll flea thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
- That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think
- I have cast off forever.
- Do you mark that?
Albany296 - 297
- I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
- To the great love I bear you—
Goneril298 - 299
- Pray you, content.—What, Oswald, ho!
- To the Fool.
- You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
Fool300 - 305
- Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, take the Fool with thee.
- A fox, when one has caught her,
- And such a daughter,
- Should sure to the slaughter,
- If my cap would buy a halter,
- So the Fool follows after.
Goneril306 - 311
- This man hath had good counsel—a hundred knights!
- ’Tis politic and safe to let him keep
- At point a hundred knights; yes, that on every dream,
- Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
- He may enguard his dotage with their pow’rs,
- And hold our lives in mercy.—Oswald, I say!
- Well, you may fear too far.
Goneril313 - 320
- Safer than trust too far.
- Let me still take away the harms I fear,
- Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart.
- What he hath utter’d I have writ my sister;
- If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
- When I have show’d th’ unfitness—
- Enter Steward Oswald.
- How now, Oswald?
- What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
- Ay, madam.
Goneril322 - 331
- Take you some company, and away to horse.
- Inform her full of my particular fear,
- And thereto add such reasons of your own
- As may compact it more. Get you gone,
- And hasten your return.
- Exit Oswald.
- No, no, my lord,
- This milky gentleness and course of yours
- Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
- You are much more attax’d for want of wisdom
- Than prais’d for harmful mildness.
Albany332 - 333
- How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell:
- Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.
- Nay then—
- Well, well, th’ event.