Return


The Library

Literature
William Shakespeare
King Lear
Act III

ACT III. Scene I.
A heath.

Storm still. Enter Kent and a Gentleman at several doors.

Kent. Who's there, besides foul weather?
Gent. One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
Kent. I know you. Where's the King?
Gent. 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.
Kent. But who is with him?
Gent. None but the fool, who labours to outjest
His heart-struck injuries.
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.
Gent. I will talk further with you.
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.
Gent. Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?
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.
Exeunt [severally].




Scene II.
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!
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,
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!
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,
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!
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.
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
glass.

Enter Kent.

Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.
Kent. Who's there?
Fool. Marry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a
fool.
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.
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.
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.
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-
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
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;
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,
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.
This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.
Exit.




Scene III.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Gloucester and Edmund.

Glou. 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.
Edm. Most savage and unnatural!
Glou. 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.
Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the Duke
Instantly know, and of that letter too.
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses- no less than all.
The younger rises when the old doth fall. Exit.




Scene IV.
The heath. Before a hovel.

Storm still. Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

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.
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Wilt break my heart?
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.
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Prithee go in thyself; seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
[To the Fool] In, boy; go first.- You houseless poverty-
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
Exit [Fool].
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.
Edg. [within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

Enter Fool [from the hovel].

Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit. Help me, help me!
Kent. Give me thy hand. Who's there?
Fool. A spirit, a spirit! He says his name's poor Tom.
Kent. What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw?
Come forth.

Enter Edgar [disguised as a madman].

Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows me! Through the sharp hawthorn
blows the cold wind. Humh! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters, and art thou come
to this?
Edg. Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inch'd
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five
wits! Tom 's acold. O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him now- and there-
and there again- and there!
Storm still.
Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give 'em all?
Fool. Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all sham'd.
Lear. Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
Kent. He hath no daughters, sir.
Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'Twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.
Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock's Hill. 'Allow, 'allow, loo, loo!
Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Edg. Take heed o' th' foul fiend; obey thy parents: keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom 's acold.
Lear. What hast thou been?
Edg. A servingman, proud in heart and mind; that curl'd my hair,
wore gloves in my cap; serv'd the lust of my mistress' heart and
did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven; one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and wak'd to do it. Wine lov'd
I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd the Turk.
False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox
in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray
thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand
out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul
fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind; says
suum, mun, hey, no, nonny. Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let
him trot by.
Storm still.
Lear. Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy
uncover'd body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than
this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the worm no silk, the beast
no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! Here's three
on's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself;
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked
animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings! Come, unbutton
here.
[Tears at his clothes.]
Fool. Prithee, nuncle, be contented! 'Tis a naughty night to swim
in. Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's
heart- a small spark, all the rest on's body cold. Look, here
comes a walking fire.

Enter Gloucester with a torch.

Edg. 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!

Kent. How fares your Grace?
Lear. What's he?
Kent. Who's there? What is't you seek?
Glou. What are you there? Your names?
Edg. 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
wear;

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!
Glou. What, hath your Grace no better company?
Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman!
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
Glou. Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.
Edg. Poor Tom 's acold.
Glou. 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.
Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer; go into th' house.
Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.
Lear. Let me ask you one word in private.
Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord.
His wits begin t' unsettle.
Glou. 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-
Lear. O, cry you mercy, sir.
Noble philosopher, your company.
Edg. Tom's acold.
Glou. In, fellow, there, into th' hovel; keep thee warm.
Lear. Come, let's in all.
Kent. This way, my lord.
Lear. With him!
I will keep still with my philosopher.
Kent. Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
Glou. Take him you on.
Kent. Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
Lear. Come, good Athenian.
Glou. No words, no words! hush.
Edg. Child Rowland to the dark tower came;
His word was still

Fie, foh, and fum!
I smell the blood of a British man.
Exeunt.

Scene V.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Cornwall and Edmund.

Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to
loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive it was not altogether your brother's evil
disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set
awork by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune that I must repent to be just!
This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an
intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that
this treason were not- or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the Duchess.
Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty
business in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester.
Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our
apprehension.
Edm. [aside] If I find him comforting the King, it will stuff his
suspicion more fully.- I will persever in my course of loyalty,
though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt find a dearer
father in my love.
Exeunt.




Scene VI.
A farmhouse near Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Gloucester, Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar.

Glou. 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.
Kent. All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
The gods reward your kindness!
Exit [Gloucester].
Edg. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the
lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a
yeoman.
Lear. A king, a king!
Fool. No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a
mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in upon 'em-
Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.
Fool. He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's
health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
Lear. It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.

[To Edgar] Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.
[To the Fool] Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes!
Edg. Look, where he stands and glares! Want'st thou eyes at trial,
madam?

Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me.

Fool. Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

Edg. 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.
Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so amaz'd.
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
Lear. I'll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence.
[To Edgar] Thou, robed man of justice, take thy place.
[To the Fool] And thou, his yokefellow of equity,
Bench by his side. [To Kent] You are o' th' commission,
Sit you too.
Edg. Let us deal justly.

Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Thy sheep shall take no harm.

Purr! the cat is gray.
Lear. Arraign her first. 'Tis Goneril. I here take my oath before
this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor King her father.
Fool. Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms! sword! fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her scape?
Edg. Bless thy five wits!
Kent. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?
Edg. [aside] My tears begin to take his part so much
They'll mar my counterfeiting.
Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.
Edg. Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Bobtail tyke or trundle-tall-
Tom will make them weep and wail;
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market
towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
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.
Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains.
So, so, so. We'll go to supper i' th' morning. So, so, so.
Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.

Enter Gloucester.

Glou. Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?
Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not; his wits are gone.
Glou. 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.
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.
Glou. Come, come, away!
Exeunt [all but Edgar].
Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' th' mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind;
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the King bow,
He childed as I fathered! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe scape the King!
Lurk, lurk. [Exit.]




Scene VII.
Gloucester's Castle.

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, [Edmund the] Bastard, and Servants.

Corn. [to Goneril] Post speedily to my lord your husband, show him
this letter. The army of France is landed.- Seek out the traitor
Gloucester.
[Exeunt some of the Servants.]
Reg. Hang him instantly.
Gon. Pluck out his eyes.
Corn. Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our sister
company. The revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous
father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the Duke where you
are going, to a most festinate preparation. We are bound to the
like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.
Farewell, dear sister; farewell, my Lord of Gloucester.

Enter [Oswald the] Steward.

How now? Where's the King?
Osw. My Lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence.
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast
To have well-armed friends.
Corn. Get horses for your mistress.
Gon. Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.
Corn. Edmund, farewell.
Exeunt Goneril, [Edmund, and Oswald].
Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
[Exeunt other Servants.]
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a court'sy to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not control.

Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three.

Who's there? the traitor?
Reg. Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.
Corn. Bind fast his corky arms.
Glou. What mean, your Graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.
Corn. Bind him, I say.
[Servants bind him.]
Reg. Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
Glou. Unmerciful lady as you are, I am none.
Corn. To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find-
[Regan plucks his beard.]
Glou. By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.
Reg. So white, and such a traitor!
Glou. 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?
Corn. Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?
Reg. Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.
Corn. And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?
Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatic King?
Speak.
Glou. I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one oppos'd.
Corn. Cunning.
Reg. And false.
Corn. Where hast thou sent the King?
Glou. To Dover.
Reg. Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charg'd at peril-
Corn. Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.
Glou. I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.
Reg. Wherefore to Dover, sir?
Glou. 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.
Corn. See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.
Glou. He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help!- O cruel! O ye gods!
Reg. One side will mock another. Th' other too!
Corn. If you see vengeance-
1. Serv. Hold your hand, my lord!
I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
Reg. How now, you dog?
1. Serv. If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I'ld shake it on this quarrel.
Reg. What do you mean?
Corn. My villain! Draw and fight.
1. Serv. Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
Reg. Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?
She takes a sword and runs at him behind.
1. Serv. O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O! He dies.
Corn. Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?
Glou. All dark and comfortless! Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act.
Reg. 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.
Glou. O my follies! Then Edgar was abus'd.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
Reg. Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
Exit [one] with Gloucester.
How is't, my lord? How look you?
Corn. I have receiv'd a hurt. Follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
Exit [Cornwall, led by Regan].
2. Serv. I'll never care what wickedness I do,
If this man come to good.
3. Serv. If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
2. Serv. Let's follow the old Earl, and get the bedlam
To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.
3. Serv. Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!
Exeunt.