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'King Lear' Act 3, Scene 4 (Part 1)

The Complete Text to 'King Lear' Act 3, Scene 4 (Part 1)

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[The heath. Before a hovel.]

[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool]


KENT

Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.

[Storm still]


KING LEAR

Let me alone.


KENT

Good my lord, enter here.


KING LEAR

Wilt break my heart?


KENT

I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.


KING LEAR

Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the
mind's free,
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, --
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.


KENT

Good my lord, enter here.


KING LEAR

Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.

[To the Fool]

In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty, --
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.

[Fool goes in]

Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.


EDGAR

[Within]

Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

[The Fool runs out from the hovel]


Fool

Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit
Help me, help me!


KENT

Give me thy hand. Who's there?


Fool

A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.


KENT

What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
Come forth.

[Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man]


EDGAR

Away! the foul fiend follows me!
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.


KING LEAR

Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?


EDGAR

Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and quagmire;
that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold, -- O, do
de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
have him now, -- and there, -- and there again, and there.

[Storm still]


KING LEAR

What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?


Fool

Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.


KING LEAR

Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!


KENT

He hath no daughters, sir.


KING LEAR

Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.


EDGAR

Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!


Fool

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.


EDGAR

Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
array. Tom's a-cold.


KING LEAR

What hast thou been?


EDGAR

A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.

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