Open Source Shakespeare

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

Total: 118

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



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

Earl of Gloucester. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than
this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Though this knave came
something saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was
his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the
whoreson must be acknowledged.- Do you know this noble gentleman,



Edmund. [comes forward] No, my lord.

Earl of Gloucester. My Lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honourable



Edmund. Sir, I shall study deserving.

Earl of Gloucester. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.
[Sound a sennet.]
The King is coming.



Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.

Earl of Gloucester. I shall, my liege.



(stage directions). Flourish. Enter Gloucester, with France and Burgundy; Attendants.

Earl of Gloucester. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester.

Earl of Gloucester. Kent banish'd thus? and France in choler parted?
And the King gone to-night? subscrib'd his pow'r?
Confin'd to exhibition? All this done
Upon the gad? Edmund, how now? What news?



(stage directions). [Puts up the letter.]

Earl of Gloucester. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?



Edmund. I know no news, my lord.

Earl of Gloucester. What paper were you reading?



Edmund. Nothing, my lord.

Earl of Gloucester. No? What needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your
pocket? The quality of nothing hath not such need to hide
itself. Let's see. Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need



Edmund. I beseech you, sir, pardon me. It is a letter from my brother
that I have not all o'er-read; and for so much as I have
perus'd, I find it not fit for your o'erlooking.

Earl of Gloucester. Give me the letter, sir.



Edmund. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as
in part I understand them, are to blame.

Earl of Gloucester. Let's see, let's see!



Edmund. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as
an essay or taste of my virtue.

Earl of Gloucester. [reads] 'This policy and reverence of age makes the world
bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us
till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle
and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny, who sways,
not as it hath power, but as it is suffer'd. Come to me, that
of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I
wak'd him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live
the beloved of your brother,
Hum! Conspiracy? 'Sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half
his revenue.' My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart
and brain to breed it in? When came this to you? Who brought it?



Edmund. It was not brought me, my lord: there's the cunning of it. I
found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Earl of Gloucester. You know the character to be your brother's?



Edmund. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his;
but in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Earl of Gloucester. It is his.



Edmund. It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is not in the

Earl of Gloucester. Hath he never before sounded you in this business?



Edmund. Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit
that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father
should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

Earl of Gloucester. O villain, villain! His very opinion in the letter! Abhorred
villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than
brutish! Go, sirrah, seek him. I'll apprehend him. Abominable
villain! Where is he?



Edmund. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend
your indignation against my brother till you can derive from him
better testimony of his intent, you should run a certain course;
where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his
purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour and shake
in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life
for him that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your
honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Earl of Gloucester. Think you so?



Edmund. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall
hear us confer of this and by an auricular assurance have your
satisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very

Earl of Gloucester. He cannot be such a monster.



Edmund. Nor is not, sure.

Earl of Gloucester. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.
Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray
you; frame the business after your own wisdom. I would unstate
myself to be in a due resolution.



Edmund. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I
shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Earl of Gloucester. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to
us. Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet
nature finds itself scourg'd by the sequent effects. Love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide. In cities, mutinies; in
countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd
'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the
prediction; there's son against father: the King falls from bias
of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best
of our time. Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all
ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves. Find out
this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it
carefully. And the noble and true-hearted Kent banish'd! his
offence, honesty! 'Tis strange. Exit.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches.

Earl of Gloucester. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?



Edmund. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand 's auspicious mistress.

Earl of Gloucester. But where is he?



Edmund. Look, sir, I bleed.

Earl of Gloucester. Where is the villain, Edmund?



Edmund. Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could-

Earl of Gloucester. Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants].
By no means what?



Edmund. Persuade me to the murther of your lordship;
But that I told him the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to th' father- sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared sword he charges home
My unprovided body, lanch'd mine arm;
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to th' encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.

Earl of Gloucester. Let him fly far.
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found- dispatch. The noble Duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night.
By his authority I will proclaim it
That he which find, him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous caitiff to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.



Edmund. When I dissuaded him from his intent
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discover him. He replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard, dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No. What I should deny
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character), I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice;
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'

Earl of Gloucester. Strong and fast'ned villain!
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
[Tucket within.]
Hark, the Duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not scape;
The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him, and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.



Regan. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th' offender. How dost, my lord?

Earl of Gloucester. O madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!



Regan. What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father nam'd? Your Edgar?

Earl of Gloucester. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!



Regan. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

Earl of Gloucester. I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad!



Edmund. 'Twas my duty, sir.

Earl of Gloucester. He did bewray his practice, and receiv'd
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.



Duke of Cornwall. Is he pursued?

Earl of Gloucester. Ay, my good lord.



Edmund. I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.

Earl of Gloucester. For him I thank your Grace.



Regan. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night.
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home. The several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.

Earl of Gloucester. I serve you, madam.
Your Graces are right welcome.



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

Earl of Gloucester. Weapons? arms? What's the matter here?



Duke of Cornwall. What, art thou mad, old fellow?

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



(stage directions). Stocks brought out.

Earl of Gloucester. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so.
His fault is much, and the good King his master
Will check him for't. Your purpos'd low correction
Is such as basest and contemn'dest wretches
For pilf'rings and most common trespasses
Are punish'd with. The King must take it ill
That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.



(stage directions). Exeunt [all but Gloucester and Kent].

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.



Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travell'd all the night? Mere fetches-
The images of revolt and flying off!
Fetch me a better answer.

Earl of Gloucester. My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
How unremovable and fix'd he is
In his own course.



Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? What quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Earl of Gloucester. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.



Lear. Inform'd them? Dost thou understand me, man?

Earl of Gloucester. Ay, my good lord.



Lear. The King would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service.
Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood!
Fiery? the fiery Duke? Tell the hot Duke that-
No, but not yet! May be he is not well.
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound. We are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I'll forbear;
And am fallen out with my more headier will,
To take the indispos'd and sickly fit
For the sound man.- Death on my state! Wherefore
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the Duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the Duke and 's wife I'ld speak with them-
Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death.

Earl of Gloucester. I would have all well betwixt you. Exit.



Duke of Cornwall. Followed the old man forth.
[Enter Gloucester.]
He is return'd.

Earl of Gloucester. The King is in high rage.



Duke of Cornwall. Whither is he going?

Earl of Gloucester. He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.



Goneril. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Earl of Gloucester. Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about
There's scarce a bush.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester and Edmund.

Earl of Gloucester. Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing! When
I desir'd their leave that I might pity him, they took from me
the use of mine own house, charg'd me on pain of perpetual
displeasure neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any
way sustain him.



Edmund. Most savage and unnatural!

Earl of Gloucester. Go to; say you nothing. There is division betwixt the Dukes,
and a worse matter than that. I have received a letter this
night- 'tis dangerous to be spoken- I have lock'd the letter in
my closet. These injuries the King now bears will be revenged
home; there's part of a power already footed; we must incline to
the King. I will seek him and privily relieve him. Go you and
maintain talk with the Duke, that my charity be not of him
perceived. If he ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. Though I
die for't, as no less is threat'ned me, the King my old master
must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund.
Pray you be careful. Exit.



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

Earl of Gloucester. What are you there? Your names?



Edgar. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole,
the wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when
the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets, swallows the
old rat and the ditch-dog, drinks the green mantle of the
standing pool; who is whipp'd from tithing to tithing, and
stock-punish'd and imprison'd; who hath had three suits to his
back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin! peace, thou fiend!

Earl of Gloucester. What, hath your Grace no better company?



Edgar. The prince of darkness is a gentleman!
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.

Earl of Gloucester. Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.



Edgar. Poor Tom 's acold.

Earl of Gloucester. Go in with me. My duty cannot suffer
T' obey in all your daughters' hard commands.
Though their injunction be to bar my doors
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.



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

Earl of Gloucester. Canst thou blame him? [Storm still.]
His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus- poor banish'd man!
Thou say'st the King grows mad: I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself. I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood. He sought my life
But lately, very late. I lov'd him, friend-
No father his son dearer. True to tell thee,
The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night 's this!
I do beseech your Grace-



Edgar. Tom's acold.

Earl of Gloucester. In, fellow, there, into th' hovel; keep thee warm.



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

Earl of Gloucester. Take him you on.



Lear. Come, good Athenian.

Earl of Gloucester. No words, no words! hush.



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

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.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester.

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.

Earl of Gloucester. Come, come, away!



Duke of Cornwall. Bind fast his corky arms.

Earl of Gloucester. What mean, your Graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.



Regan. Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

Earl of Gloucester. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.



(stage directions). [Regan plucks his beard.]

Earl of Gloucester. By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.



Regan. So white, and such a traitor!

Earl of Gloucester. Naughty lady,
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken, and accuse thee. I am your host.
With robber's hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?



Regan. To whose hands have you sent the lunatic King?

Earl of Gloucester. I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one oppos'd.



Duke of Cornwall. Where hast thou sent the King?

Earl of Gloucester. To Dover.



Duke of Cornwall. Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

Earl of Gloucester. I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.



Regan. Wherefore to Dover, sir?

Earl of Gloucester. Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up
And quench'd the steeled fires.
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said, 'Good porter, turn the key.'
All cruels else subscrib'd. But I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.



Duke of Cornwall. See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.

Earl of Gloucester. He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help!- O cruel! O ye gods!



Duke of Cornwall. Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

Earl of Gloucester. All dark and comfortless! Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.



Regan. Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.

Earl of Gloucester. O my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!



Old Man. O my good lord,
I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant,
These fourscore years.

Earl of Gloucester. Away, get thee away! Good friend, be gone.
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.



Old Man. You cannot see your way.

Earl of Gloucester. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. Ah dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'ld say I had eyes again!



Old Man. Fellow, where goest?

Earl of Gloucester. Is it a beggarman?



Old Man. Madman and beggar too.

Earl of Gloucester. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I' th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.
They kill us for their sport.



Edgar. [aside] How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Ang'ring itself and others.- Bless thee, master!

Earl of Gloucester. Is that the naked fellow?



Old Man. Ay, my lord.

Earl of Gloucester. Then prithee get thee gone. If for my sake
Thou wilt o'ertake us hence a mile or twain
I' th' way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Who I'll entreat to lead me.



Old Man. Alack, sir, he is mad!

Earl of Gloucester. 'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.
Above the rest, be gone.



Old Man. I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
Come on't what will. Exit.

Earl of Gloucester. Sirrah naked fellow-



Edgar. Poor Tom's acold. [Aside] I cannot daub it further.

Earl of Gloucester. Come hither, fellow.



Edgar. [aside] And yet I must.- Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

Earl of Gloucester. Know'st thou the way to Dover?



Edgar. Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath. Poor Tom hath been
scar'd out of his good wits. Bless thee, good man's son, from
the foul fiend! Five fiends have been in poor Tom at once: of
lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and
mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and waiting women. So,
bless thee, master!

Earl of Gloucester. Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your pow'r quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?



Edgar. Ay, master.

Earl of Gloucester. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep.
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me. From that place
I shall no leading need.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester, and Edgar [like a Peasant].

Earl of Gloucester. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?



Edgar. You do climb up it now. Look how we labour.

Earl of Gloucester. Methinks the ground is even.



Edgar. Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?

Earl of Gloucester. No, truly.



Edgar. Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.

Earl of Gloucester. So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.



Edgar. Y'are much deceiv'd. In nothing am I chang'd
But in my garments.

Earl of Gloucester. Methinks y'are better spoken.



Edgar. Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

Earl of Gloucester. Set me where you stand.



Edgar. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.

Earl of Gloucester. Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.



Edgar. Now fare ye well, good sir.

Earl of Gloucester. With all my heart.



Edgar. [aside]. Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.

Earl of Gloucester. O you mighty gods! He kneels.
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
He falls [forward and swoons].



Edgar. Gone, sir, farewell.-
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life when life itself
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past.- Alive or dead?
Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir? Speak!-
Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives.
What are you, sir?

Earl of Gloucester. Away, and let me die.



Edgar. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fadom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg; but thou dost breathe;
Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
Thy life is a miracle. Speak yet again.

Earl of Gloucester. But have I fall'n, or no?



Edgar. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height. The shrill-gorg'd lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.

Earl of Gloucester. Alack, I have no eyes!
Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage
And frustrate his proud will.



Edgar. Give me your arm.
Up- so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.

Earl of Gloucester. Too well, too well.



Edgar. This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o' th' cliff what thing was that
Which parted from you?

Earl of Gloucester. A poor unfortunate beggar.



Edgar. As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.

Earl of Gloucester. I do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man. Often 'twould say
'The fiend, the fiend'- he led me to that place.



Lear. Pass.

Earl of Gloucester. I know that voice.



Lear. Ha! Goneril with a white beard? They flatter'd me like a dog,
and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones
were there. To say 'ay' and 'no' to everything I said! 'Ay' and
'no' too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me
once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would
not peace at my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em
out. Go to, they are not men o' their words! They told me I was
everything. 'Tis a lie- I am not ague-proof.

Earl of Gloucester. The trick of that voice I do well remember.
Is't not the King?



Lear. Ay, every inch a king!
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause?
Thou shalt not die. Die for adultery? No.
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simp'ring dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow,
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name.
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above.
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's.
There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit;
burning, scalding, stench, consumption. Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my
imagination. There's money for thee.

Earl of Gloucester. O, let me kiss that hand!



Lear. Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

Earl of Gloucester. O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?



Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll not love. Read thou this
challenge; mark but the penning of it.

Earl of Gloucester. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.



Lear. Read.

Earl of Gloucester. What, with the case of eyes?



Lear. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no
money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse
in a light. Yet you see how this world goes.

Earl of Gloucester. I see it feelingly.



Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how the world goes with no eyes.
Look with thine ears. See how yond justice rails upon yond
simple thief. Hark in thine ear. Change places and, handy-dandy,
which is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen a
farmer's dog bark at a beggar?

Earl of Gloucester. Ay, sir.



Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester.
Thou must be patient. We came crying hither;
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee. Mark.

Earl of Gloucester. Alack, alack the day!



(stage directions). Exit [Gentleman].

Earl of Gloucester. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!



Edgar. Well pray you, father.

Earl of Gloucester. Now, good sir, what are you?



Edgar. A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows,
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand;
I'll lead you to some biding.

Earl of Gloucester. Hearty thanks.
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!



Oswald. A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember. The sword is out
That must destroy thee.

Earl of Gloucester. Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to't.



Edgar. I know thee well. A serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

Earl of Gloucester. What, is he dead?



Edgar. Sit you down, father; rest you.
Let's see his pockets; these letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead. I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman. Let us see.
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not.
To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful. Reads the letter.
'Let our reciprocal vows be rememb'red. You have many
opportunities to cut him off. If your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done, if he
return the conqueror. Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my
jail; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the
place for your labour.
'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant, 'Goneril.'
O indistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life,
And the exchange my brother! Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murtherous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke, For him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

Earl of Gloucester. The King is mad. How stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract.
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.



Edgar. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host. Pray that the right may thrive.
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.

Earl of Gloucester. Grace go with you, sir!



Edgar. Away, old man! give me thy hand! away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en.
Give me thy hand! come on!

Earl of Gloucester. No further, sir. A man may rot even here.



Edgar. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all. Come on.

Earl of Gloucester. And that's true too. Exeunt.