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The Tragedy of King Lear

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Act IV, Scene 7

A tent in the French camp.


Enter Cordelia, Kent, Doctor, and Gentleman.

  • Cordelia. O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work 2910
    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. 2915
  • 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. 2920
    My boon I make it that you know me not
    Till time and I think meet.
  • Cordelia. Then be't so, my good lord. [To the Doctor] How, does the King?
  • Cordelia. O you kind gods, 2925
    Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
    Th' untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up
    Of this child-changed father!
  • Doctor. So please your Majesty
    That we may wake the King? He hath slept long. 2930
  • Cordelia. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
    I' th' sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.

  • Gentleman. Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep
    We put fresh garments on him. 2935
  • Doctor. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.
    I doubt not of his temperance.


  • Doctor. Please you draw near. Louder the music there! 2940
  • 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!
  • Cordelia. Had you not been their father, these white flakes
    Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
    To be oppos'd against the warring winds?
    To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
    In the most terrible and nimble stroke 2950
    Of quick cross lightning? to watch- poor perdu!-
    With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
    Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
    Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
    To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn, 2955
    In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
    'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
    Had not concluded all.- He wakes. Speak to him.
  • Doctor. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.
  • Cordelia. How does my royal lord? How fares your Majesty? 2960
  • Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o' th' grave.
    Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
    Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
    Do scald like molten lead.
  • Lear. You are a spirit, I know. When did you die?
  • Doctor. He's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.
  • Lear. Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight,
    I am mightily abus'd. I should e'en die with pity, 2970
    To see another thus. I know not what to say.
    I will not swear these are my hands. Let's see.
    I feel this pin prick. Would I were assur'd
    Of my condition!
  • Cordelia. O, look upon me, sir, 2975
    And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.
    No, sir, you must not kneel.
  • Lear. Pray, do not mock me.
    I am a very foolish fond old man,
    Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; 2980
    And, to deal plainly,
    I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
    Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
    Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
    What place this is; and all the skill I have 2985
    Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
    Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
    For (as I am a man) I think this lady
    To be my child Cordelia.
  • Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray weep not.
    If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
    I know you do not love me; for your sisters
    Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
    You have some cause, they have not. 2995
  • Lear. Am I in France?
  • Lear. Do not abuse me.
  • Doctor. Be comforted, good madam. The great rage 3000
    You see is kill'd in him; and yet it is danger
    To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
    Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more
    Till further settling.
  • Cordelia. Will't please your Highness walk? 3005
  • Lear. You must bear with me.
    Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.

Exeunt. Manent Kent and Gentleman.

  • Gentleman. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?
  • 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 3015
    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. 3020