Open Source Shakespeare

Speeches (Lines) for Earl of Kent
in "King Lear"

Total: 127

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



(stage directions). Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. [Kent and Gloucester converse. Edmund stands back.]

Earl of Kent. I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than



Earl of Gloucester. It did always seem so to us; but now, in the division of the
kingdom, it appears not which of the Dukes he values most, for
equalities are so weigh'd that curiosity in neither can make
choice of either's moiety.

Earl of Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?



Earl of Gloucester. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge. I have so often
blush'd to acknowledge him that now I am braz'd to't.

Earl of Kent. I cannot conceive you.



Earl of Gloucester. Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew
round-womb'd, and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she
had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?

Earl of Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so



Edmund. My services to your lordship.

Earl of Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.



Lear. Let it be so! thy truth then be thy dower!
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee from this for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my sometime daughter.

Earl of Kent. Good my liege-



Lear. Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery.- Hence and avoid my sight!-
So be my grave my peace as here I give
Her father's heart from her! Call France! Who stirs?
Call Burgundy! Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third;
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly in my power,
Preeminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all th' additions to a king. The sway,
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm,
This coronet part betwixt you.

Earl of Kent. Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers-



Lear. The bow is bent and drawn; make from the shaft.

Earl of Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart! Be Kent unmannerly
When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man?
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound
When majesty falls to folly. Reverse thy doom;
And in thy best consideration check
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.



Lear. Kent, on thy life, no more!

Earl of Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.



Lear. Out of my sight!

Earl of Kent. See better, Lear, and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.



Lear. Now by Apollo-

Earl of Kent. Now by Apollo, King,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.



Duke of Albany. [with Cornwall] Dear sir, forbear!

Earl of Kent. Do!
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift,
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee thou dost evil.



Lear. Hear me, recreant!
On thine allegiance, hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow-
Which we durst never yet- and with strain'd pride
To come between our sentence and our power,-
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,-
Our potency made good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee for provision
To shield thee from diseases of the world,
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom. If, on the tenth day following,
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter,
This shall not be revok'd.

Earl of Kent. Fare thee well, King. Since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
[To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
That justly think'st and hast most rightly said!
[To Regan and Goneril] And your large speeches may your deeds
That good effects may spring from words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
He'll shape his old course in a country new. Exit.



(stage directions). Enter Kent, [disguised].

Earl of Kent. 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 labours.
Horns within. Enter Lear, [Knights,] and Attendants.



Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready. [Exit
an Attendant.]
How now? What art thou?

Earl of Kent. A man, sir.



Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?

Earl of Kent. 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.



Lear. What art thou?

Earl of Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King.



Lear. If thou be'st as poor for a subject as he's for a king, thou
art poor enough. What wouldst thou?

Earl of Kent. Service.



Lear. Who wouldst thou serve?

Earl of Kent. You.



Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?

Earl of Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would
fain call master.



Lear. What's that?

Earl of Kent. Authority.



Lear. What services canst thou do?

Earl of Kent. 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.



Lear. How old art thou?

Earl of Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to
dote on her for anything. I have years on my back forty-eight.



Oswald. I'll not be strucken, my lord.

Earl of Kent. Nor tripp'd neither, you base football player?



Lear. I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee.

Earl of Kent. 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.



Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

Earl of Kent. Why, fool?



Fool. 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.

Earl of Kent. This is nothing, fool.



Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast
born with.

Earl of Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.



Lear. Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my
daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her
demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I
shall be there afore you.

Earl of Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter. Exit.



Oswald. Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this house?

Earl of Kent. Ay.



Oswald. Where may we set our horses?

Earl of Kent. I' th' mire.



Oswald. Prithee, if thou lov'st me, tell me.

Earl of Kent. I love thee not.



Oswald. Why then, I care not for thee.

Earl of Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I would make thee care for



Oswald. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

Earl of Kent. Fellow, I know thee.



Oswald. What dost thou know me for?

Earl of Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud,
shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy,
worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson,
glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of
good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave,
beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch;
one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the
least syllable of thy addition.



Oswald. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one
that's neither known of thee nor knows thee!

Earl of Kent. What a brazen-fac'd varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me!
Is it two days ago since I beat thee and tripp'd up thy heels
before the King? [Draws his sword.] Draw, you rogue! for, though
it be night, yet the moon shines. I'll make a sop o' th'
moonshine o' you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barbermonger!



Oswald. Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

Earl of Kent. Draw, you rascal! You come with letters against the King, and
take Vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father.
Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks! Draw, you
rascal! Come your ways!



Oswald. Help, ho! murther! help!

Earl of Kent. Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat slave!
Strike! [Beats him.]



Edmund. How now? What's the matter? Parts [them].

Earl of Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please! Come, I'll flesh ye!
Come on, young master!



Oswald. I am scarce in breath, my lord.

Earl of Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour. You cowardly
rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.



Duke of Cornwall. Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a man?

Earl of Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir. A stonecutter or a painter could not have
made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.



Oswald. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spar'd
At suit of his grey beard-

Earl of Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if
you'll give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into
mortar and daub the walls of a jakes with him. 'Spare my grey
beard,' you wagtail?



Duke of Cornwall. Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

Earl of Kent. Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.



Duke of Cornwall. Why art thou angry?

Earl of Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel,
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing naught (like dogs) but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, an I had you upon Sarum Plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.



Earl of Gloucester. How fell you out? Say that.

Earl of Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.



Duke of Cornwall. Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

Earl of Kent. His countenance likes me not.



Duke of Cornwall. No more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.

Earl of Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain.
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.



Duke of Cornwall. This is some fellow
Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he!
An honest mind and plain- he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.

Earl of Kent. Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
Under th' allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front-



Duke of Cornwall. What mean'st by this?

Earl of Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I
know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that beguil'd you in a plain
accent was a plain knave, which, for my part, I will not be,
though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to't.



Oswald. I never gave him any.
It pleas'd the King his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd
And put upon him such a deal of man
That worthied him, got praises of the King
For him attempting who was self-subdu'd;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.

Earl of Kent. None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.



Duke of Cornwall. Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
We'll teach you-

Earl of Kent. Sir, I am too old to learn.
Call not your stocks for me. I serve the King;
On whose employment I was sent to you.
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.



Regan. Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night too!

Earl of Kent. Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.



Earl of Gloucester. I am sorry for thee, friend. 'Tis the Duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd. I'll entreat for thee.

Earl of Kent. Pray do not, sir. I have watch'd and travell'd hard.
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels.
Give you good morrow!



Earl of Gloucester. The Duke 's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken. Exit.

Earl of Kent. Good King, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
Of my obscured course- and [reads] 'shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies'- All weary and o'erwatch'd,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night; smile once more, turn thy wheel.



Gentleman. As I learn'd,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.

Earl of Kent. Hail to thee, noble master!



Lear. Ha!
Mak'st thou this shame thy pastime?

Earl of Kent. No, my lord.



Lear. What's he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?

Earl of Kent. It is both he and she-
Your son and daughter.



Lear. No.

Earl of Kent. Yes.



Lear. No, I say.

Earl of Kent. I say yea.



Lear. No, no, they would not!

Earl of Kent. Yes, they have.



Lear. By Jupiter, I swear no!

Earl of Kent. By Juno, I swear ay!



Lear. They durst not do't;
They would not, could not do't. 'Tis worse than murther
To do upon respect such violent outrage.
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,
Coming from us.

Earl of Kent. My lord, when at their home
I did commend your Highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read; on whose contents,
They summon'd up their meiny, straight took horse,
Commanded me to follow and attend
The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks,
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine-
Being the very fellow which of late
Display'd so saucily against your Highness-
Having more man than wit about me, drew.
He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.



Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio! Down, thou climbing sorrow!
Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?

Earl of Kent. With the Earl, sir, here within.



Gentleman. Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

Earl of Kent. None.
How chance the King comes with so small a number?



Fool. An thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question,
thou'dst well deserv'd it.

Earl of Kent. Why, fool?



Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no
labouring i' th' winter. All that follow their noses are led by
their eyes but blind men, and there's not a nose among twenty
but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great
wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following
it; but the great one that goes upward, let him draw thee after.
When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again. I
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly.
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.

Earl of Kent. Where learn'd you this, fool?



(stage directions). Enter Kent and a Gentleman at several doors.

Earl of Kent. Who's there, besides foul weather?



Gentleman. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

Earl of Kent. I know you. Where's the King?



Gentleman. Contending with the fretful elements;
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 white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.

Earl of Kent. But who is with him?



Gentleman. None but the fool, who labours to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.

Earl of Kent. Sir, I do know you,
And dare upon the warrant of my note
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 Cornwall;
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 scattered kingdom, who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The King hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.



Gentleman. I will talk further with you.

Earl of Kent. No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia
(As fear not but you shall), show her this ring,
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the King.



Gentleman. Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?

Earl of Kent. Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet:
That, when we have found the King (in which your pain
That way, I'll this), he that first lights on him
Holla the other.



Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.

Earl of Kent. Who's there?



Fool. Marry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a

Earl of 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
Th' affliction nor the fear.



Lear. Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipp'd of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous. Caitiff, in pieces shake
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd 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.

Earl of Kent. Alack, bareheaded?
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.
Repose you there, whilst I to this hard house
(More harder than the stones whereof 'tis rais'd,
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in) return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.



(stage directions). Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

Earl of Kent. Here is the place, my lord. Good my lord, enter.
The tyranny of the open night 's too rough
For nature to endure.



Lear. Let me alone.

Earl of Kent. Good my lord, enter here.



Lear. Wilt break my heart?

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



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'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i' th' 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.

Earl of Kent. Good my lord, enter here.



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

Earl of Kent. Give me thy hand. Who's there?



Fool. A spirit, a spirit! He says his name's poor Tom.

Earl of Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw?
Come forth.



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

Earl of Kent. He hath no daughters, sir.



Edgar. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet. He begins at curfew,
and walks till the first cock. He gives the web and the pin,
squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat,
and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Withold footed thrice the 'old;
He met the nightmare, and her nine fold;
Bid her alight
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

Earl of Kent. How fares your Grace?



Lear. What's he?

Earl of Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?



Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?

Earl of Kent. Good my lord, take his offer; go into th' house.



Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.

Earl of Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord.
His wits begin t' unsettle.



Lear. Come, let's in all.

Earl of Kent. This way, my lord.



Lear. With him!
I will keep still with my philosopher.

Earl of Kent. Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.



Earl of Gloucester. Take him you on.

Earl of Kent. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.



Earl of Gloucester. Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully. I will
piece out the comfort with what addition I can. I will not be
long from you.

Earl of Kent. All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
The gods reward your kindness!



Edgar. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale.
Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak
not, black angel; I have no food for thee.

Earl of Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd.
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?



Edgar. Bless thy five wits!

Earl of Kent. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?



Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her
heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard
hearts? [To Edgar] You, sir- I entertain you for one of my
hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You'll
say they are Persian attire; but let them be chang'd.

Earl of Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.



Earl of Gloucester. Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?

Earl of Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.



Earl of Gloucester. Good friend, I prithee take him in thy arms.
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready; lay him in't
And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up!
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.

Earl of Kent. Oppressed nature sleeps.
This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure. [To the Fool] Come, help to bear thy master.
Thou must not stay behind.



(stage directions). Enter Kent and a Gentleman.

Earl of Kent. Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back know you the



Gentleman. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his
coming forth is thought of, which imports to the kingdom so much
fear and danger that his personal return was most required and

Earl of Kent. Who hath he left behind him general?



Gentleman. The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

Earl of Kent. Did your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration of



Gentleman. Ay, sir. She took them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Her delicate cheek. It seem'd she was a queen
Over her passion, who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o'er her.

Earl of Kent. O, then it mov'd her?



Gentleman. Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like, a better way. Those happy smilets
That play'd on her ripe lip seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most belov'd,
If all could so become it.

Earl of Kent. Made she no verbal question?



Gentleman. Faith, once or twice she heav'd the name of father
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Cried 'Sisters, sisters! Shame of ladies! Sisters!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i' th' storm? i' th' night?
Let pity not be believ'd!' There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd. Then away she started
To deal with grief alone.

Earl of Kent. It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?



Gentleman. No.

Earl of Kent. Was this before the King return'd?



Gentleman. No, since.

Earl of Kent. Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' th' town;
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.



Gentleman. Why, good sir?

Earl of Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him; his own unkindness,
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters- these things sting
His mind so venomously that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.



Gentleman. Alack, poor gentleman!

Earl of Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?



Gentleman. 'Tis so; they are afoot.

Earl of Kent. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear
And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile.
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you go
Along with me. Exeunt.



Cordelia. O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short
And every measure fail me.

Earl of Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth;
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.



Cordelia. Be better suited.
These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
I prithee put them off.

Earl of Kent. Pardon, dear madam.
Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.



Cordelia. O my dear father, restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!

Earl of Kent. Kind and dear princess!



Lear. Am I in France?

Earl of Kent. In your own kingdom, sir.



Gentleman. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?

Earl of Kent. Most certain, sir.



Gentleman. Who is conductor of his people?

Earl of Kent. As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.



Gentleman. They say Edgar, his banish'd son, is with the Earl of Kent
in Germany.

Earl of Kent. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of
the kingdom approach apace.



Gentleman. The arbitrement is like to be bloody.
Fare you well, sir. [Exit.]

Earl of Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought. Exit.



Duke of Albany. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead.
[Exit Gentleman.]
This judgement of the heavens, that makes us tremble
Touches us not with pity. O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
That very manners urges.

Earl of Kent. I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night.
Is he not here?



Duke of Albany. Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the King? and where's Cordelia?
[The bodies of Goneril and Regan are brought in.]
Seest thou this object, Kent?

Earl of Kent. Alack, why thus?



Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stone.
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'ld use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives.
She's dead as earth. Lend me a looking glass.
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

Earl of Kent. Is this the promis'd end?



Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! If it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

Earl of Kent. O my good master!



Lear. Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip. I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o' th' best. I'll tell you straight.

Earl of Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.



Lear. This' a dull sight. Are you not Kent?

Earl of Kent. The same-
Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?



Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that.
He'll strike, and quickly too. He's dead and rotten.

Earl of Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man-



Lear. I'll see that straight.

Earl of Kent. That from your first of difference and decay
Have followed your sad steps.



Lear. You're welcome hither.

Earl of Kent. Nor no man else! All's cheerless, dark, and deadly.
Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves,
And desperately are dead.



Edgar. He faints! My lord, my lord!

Earl of Kent. Break, heart; I prithee break!



Edgar. Look up, my lord.

Earl of Kent. Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.



Edgar. He is gone indeed.

Earl of Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long.
He but usurp'd his life.



Duke of Albany. Bear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe. [To Kent and Edgar] Friends of my soul, you
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.

Earl of Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go.
My master calls me; I must not say no.