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The Tragedy of King Lear

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Act III, Scene 2

Another part of the heath. Storm still.


Enter Lear and Fool.

  • Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
    You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
    Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks! 1680
    You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires,
    Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
    Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
    Strike flat the thick rotundity o' th' world,
    Crack Nature's moulds, all germains spill at once, 1685
    That makes ingrateful man!
  • Fool. O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this
    rain water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters
    blessing! Here's a night pities nether wise men nor fools.
  • Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain! 1690
    Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
    I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.
    I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
    You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
    Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand your slave, 1695
    A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man.
    But yet I call you servile ministers,
    That will with two pernicious daughters join
    Your high-engender'd battles 'gainst a head
    So old and white as this! O! O! 'tis foul! 1700
  • Fool. He that has a house to put 's head in has a good head-piece.
    The codpiece that will house
    Before the head has any,
    The head and he shall louse:
    So beggars marry many. 1705
    The man that makes his toe
    What he his heart should make
    Shall of a corn cry woe,
    And turn his sleep to wake.
    For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a 1710

Enter Kent.

  • Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
    I will say nothing.
  • 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 1720
    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. 1725
  • 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; 1730
    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 1735
    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. 1740
    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. 1745
  • Lear. My wits begin to turn.
    Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
    I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
    The art of our necessities is strange,
    That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel. 1750
    Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
    That's sorry yet for thee.
  • Fool. [sings]
    He that has and a little tiny wit-
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain- 1755
    Must make content with his fortunes fit,
    For the rain it raineth every day.
  • Lear. True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.

Exeunt [Lear and Kent].

  • Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I'll speak a 1760
    prophecy ere I go:
    When priests are more in word than matter;
    When brewers mar their malt with water;
    When nobles are their tailors' tutors,
    No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors; 1765
    When every case in law is right,
    No squire in debt nor no poor knight;
    When slanders do not live in tongues,
    Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
    When usurers tell their gold i' th' field, 1770
    And bawds and whores do churches build:
    Then shall the realm of Albion
    Come to great confusion.
    Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
    That going shall be us'd with feet. 1775
    This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time. Exit.