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The Tragedy of King Lear

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Act III, Scene 1

A heath. Storm still.


Enter Kent and a Gentleman at several doors.

  • Gentleman. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
  • 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, 1625
    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 1630
    Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
    And bids what will take all.
  • Gentleman. None but the fool, who labours to outjest
    His heart-struck injuries. 1635
  • 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; 1640
    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, 1645
    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, 1650
    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 1655
    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 1660
    This office to you.
  • Earl of Kent. No, do not.
    For confirmation that I am much more
    Than my out-wall, open this purse and take 1665
    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. 1670
  • 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. 1675

Exeunt [severally].