Act II, Scene 3
- Enter Edgar.
Edgar1 - 21
- I heard myself proclaim’d,
- And by the happy hollow of a tree
- Escap’d the hunt. No port is free, no place
- That guard and most unusual vigilance
- Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape
- I will preserve myself, and am bethought
- To take the basest and most poorest shape
- That ever penury, in contempt of man,
- Brought near to beast. My face I’ll grime with filth,
- Blanket my loins, elf all my hairs in knots,
- And with presented nakedness outface
- The winds and persecutions of the sky.
- The country gives me proof and president
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Feb 24, 2019 Miko“Tom o' Bedlam” was a term given to madmen. Bedlam was the Hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem in London, the oldest mental institution in the world. It is still in existence. The hospital issued licenses to beg to former inmates.
- Strike in their numb’d and mortified arms
- Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
- And with this horrible object, from low farms,
- Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
- Sometimes with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
- Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! Poor Tom!
- That’s something yet: Edgar I nothing am.