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King Lear: Act IV, Scene 1

King Lear
Act IV, Scene 1

Scene 1

A heath.

  1. Enter Edgar.

Edgar

1 - 13
  1. Yet better thus, and known to be contemn’d,
  2. Than still contemn’d and flatter’d. To be worst,
  3. The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
  4. Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
  5. The lamentable change is from the best,
  6. The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then,
  7. Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace:
  8. The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
  9. Owes nothing to thy blasts.
  10. Enter Gloucester led by an Old Man.
  11.                             But who comes here?
  12. My father, parti-ey’d? World, world, O world!
  13. But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
  14. Life would not yield to age.

Old Man

14 - 16
  1.                              O my good lord,
  2. I have been your tenant, and your father’s tenant,
  3. These fourscore years.

Gloucester

17 - 19
  1. Away, get thee away! Good friend, be gone,
  2. Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
  3. Thee they may hurt.

Old Man

20
  1.                     You cannot see your way.

Gloucester

21 - 27
  1. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
  2. I stumbled when I saw. Full oft ’tis seen,
  3. Our means secure us, and our mere defects
  4. Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
  5. The food of thy abused father’s wrath!
  6. Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
  7. I’ld say I had eyes again.

Old Man

28
  1.                            How now? Who’s there?

Edgar

29 - 30
  1. Aside.
  2. O gods! Who is’t can say, I am at the worst”?
  3. I am worse than e’er I was.

Old Man

31
  1.                             ’Tis poor mad Tom.

Edgar

32 - 33
  1. Aside.
  2. And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
  3. So long as we can say, This is the worst.”

Old Man

34
  1. Fellow, where goest?

Gloucester

35
  1.                      Is it a beggar-man?

Old Man

36
  1. Madman and beggar too.

Gloucester

37 - 43
  1. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
  2. I’ th’ last night’s storm I such a fellow saw,
  3. Which made me think a man a worm. My son
  4. Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
  5. Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since.
  6. As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods,
  7. They kill us for their sport.

Edgar

44 - 46
  1. Aside.
  2.                               How should this be?
  3. Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
  4. Ang’ring itself and others.—Bless thee, master!

Gloucester

47
  1. Is that the naked fellow?

Old Man

48
  1.                           Ay, my lord.

Gloucester

49 - 53
  1. Then prithee get thee away. If for my sake
  2. Thou wilt o’ertake us hence a mile or twain
  3. I’ th’ way toward Dover, do it for ancient love,
  4. And bring some covering for this naked soul,
  5. Which I’ll entreat to lead me.

Old Man

54
  1.                                Alack, sir, he is mad.

Gloucester

55 - 57
  1. ’Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind.
  2. Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
  3. Above the rest, be gone.

Old Man

58 - 59
  1. I’ll bring him the best ’parel that I have,
  2. Come on’t what will.
  1. Exit.

Gloucester

60
  1. Sirrah, naked fellow

Edgar

61 - 62
  1. Poor Tom’s a-cold.
  2. Aside.
  3.                    I cannot daub it further.

Gloucester

63
  1. Come hither, fellow.

Edgar

64
  1. Aside.
  2. And yet I must.—Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

Gloucester

65
  1. Know’st thou the way to Dover?

Edgar

66 - 72
  1. Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor Tom hath
  2. been scar’d out of his good wits. Bless thee, good man’s
  3. son, from the foul fiend! Five fiends have been in poor Tom
  4. at once: of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of
  5. dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder;
  6. Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and mowing, who since possesses
  7. chambermaids and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!

Gloucester

73 - 80
  1. Here, take this purse, thou whom the heav’ns’ plagues
  2. Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
  3. Makes thee the happier; heavens, deal so still!
  4. Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
  5. That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
  6. Because he does not feel, feel your pow’r quickly;
  7. So distribution should undo excess,
  8. And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

Edgar

81
  1. Ay, master.

Gloucester

82 - 87
  1. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
  2. Looks fearfully in the confined deep.
  3. Bring me but to the very brim of it,
  4. And I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear
  5. With something rich about me. From that place
  6. I shall no leading need.

Edgar

88 - 89
  1.                          Give me thy arm;
  2. Poor Tom shall lead thee.
  1. Exeunt.
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