ALL ARTS Vault Selects


King Lear

Join us for a 1974 production of one of Shakespeare’s best-known works, featuring James Earl Jones as the titular King, and a supporting cast including Lee Chamberlin, Raul Julia, Rosalind Cash, and Paul Sorvino. Filmed at Central Park's Delacorte Theater for the New York Shakespeare Festival, you’ll have the best seats to enter into the work of Shakespeare, delivering drama, humor, and poetry.

AIRED: January 21, 2020 | 2:58:47

Welcome to the ALL ARTS Vault.

I'm Shanelle Gabriel.

The Vault is the place to go for special access

to all things arts, so we're going into the archives

to uncover some of our greatest gems

and share these programs with you

as they would have been seen decades ago

when they first aired.

Today, we're proud to present a historic performance

of Shakespeare's "King Lear"

filmed at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park

for the New York Shakespeare Festival

and originally broadcast in 1974 for "Great Performances."

This show was produced by the legendary Joseph Papp,

founder of The Public Theater,

and stars James Earl Jones as the titular king of Britain

who gives a transformative performance

full of intense madness as well as tender moments of compassion.

Over the course of this tragic play,

you'll witness King Lear's life bleakly

falling to pieces through his own doing

as well as the madness of the world around him

including the actions of his three daughters,

Goneril, Cordelia, and Regan,

here wonderfully portrayed by Rosalind Cash,

Lee Chamberlin, and Ellen Holly,

and mirroring King Lear's familial troubles and downfall

is the Earl of Gloucester played by a young Paul Sorvino.

Instead of three daughters to contend with,

Gloucester is led to ruin

by his villainous and scheming bastard son, Edmund,

brought to life with slyness and humor by Raúl Juliá.

What ultimately takes this production to new heights

is both the intimate camera work,

giving viewers at home the best sight lines,

and the audience who laugh,

applaud, and add a vibrancy to this outdoor production.

This "King Lear" is an accessible entry

into the work of Shakespeare,

delivering drama, humor, and poetry.

We hope you enjoy "Theater in America: King Lear."


Man: This series is made possible

by grants from the Exxon Corporation

and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.



"Theater in America," a series of great performances produced

especially for television in collaboration

with America's outstanding theater companies.


Hello. I'm Hal Holbrook.

Welcome to "Theater in America."

Over 350 years ago,

William Shakespeare wrote for his own company,

and his plays were very, very popular with the crowds.

People came to the Globe Theatre.

They bought fruit from the orange girls,

pinched them, drank, talked, and saw the show.

Outside in New York's Central Park,

Joe Papp has been giving his audiences

the same kind of theatrical experience since 1958.

After a picnic or maybe a look at the trees,

the public can settle down to a free performance

by some of the best actors in town.

Tonight's production of "King Lear"

was taped during an actual performance.

The actors are heard against a background of city noises,

horns, jet planes flying overhead,

and what emerges is a genuine theatrical event.

Shakespeare's tragedy of pride, greed, and treachery

speaks to the modern American audience

in very, very contemporary terms.

To get to the park...

Narrator: Since early afternoon, the audience has been gathering.

We'll pick up the tickets.

Tickets are one per person in line.

Narrator: The crew has been readying the stage.

As evening approaches,

the actors leave the 20th century

and become members of a royal court.

Two more step through, and another two step through.

The last one will pick them up.

Narrator: James Earl Jones transforms himself

into the king.

Rage, blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes,

spout until you have drenched our steeples,

drowned the cocks!

You sulfurous and thought-executing fires,

vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

singe my white head!

And thou, all-shaking thunder,

strike flat the thick rotundity of the world!

No, I will be the pattern of all patience.

I will say nothing.

Let the great gods, that keep this dreadful

pother 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 perjured and thou similar of virtue

that art incestuous, caitiff, to pieces shake,

that under covert and convenient

seeming hast practiced on man's life --

close pent-up guilts, rive your concealing...

Woman: There you are.

Jones: ...and currently these dreadful summoners grace.

I am a man more sinn'd against than sinning.


[ Applause ]

Narrator: Joseph Papp,

producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Many of the fine actors you'll see tonight,

the leading performers,

have appeared in as many plays of Shakespeare on this stage

here in Central Park, so it is quite an event.

Tonight's performance is like any other performance --

It's live, with a very lively audience, I gather,

and I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you.

[ Applause ]


I thought the king had more affected

the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.

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.

Is not this your son, my lord?

His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge.

I have so often blushed to acknowledge him,

that now I am brazed to it.

I cannot conceive you.

Sir, this young fellow's mother could,

whereupon she grew round-wombed,

and had, indeed, sir,

a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.

Do you smell a fault?

I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.

But I have a son, sir, 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? No, my lord.

My lord of Kent, remember him hereafter

as my honorable friend.

My services to your lordship.

I must love you, and sue to know you better.

I shall study deserving.

He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.

The king is coming.


[ Applause ]


Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.

I shall, my lord.

Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.

Give me the map!

Know that we have divided in three our kingdom,

and 'tis our fast intent to shake all cares and business

from our age, conferring them on younger strengths,

while we unburthen'd crawl toward death.


Our son of Cornwall,

and you, our no less loving son of Albany,

we have this hour a constant

will to publish our daughters' several dowers,

that future strife may be prevented now.

The princes, France and Burgundy,

great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,

long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,

and here are to be answer'd.

[ Laughing ]

Tell me, my daughters, since now we will divest us

both of rule, interest of territory, cares of state,

which of you shall we say doth love us most?

That we our largest bounty may extend

where nature doth with merit challenge.

Goneril, our eldest-born, speak first.

Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter,

dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty,

beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,

no less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour,

as much as child e'er loved, or father found,

a love that makes breath poor, and speech unable,

beyond all manner of so much I love you.

What shall Cordelia speak?

Love, and be silent.

Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,

with shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,

with plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,

we make thee lady,

to thine and Albany's issues be this perpetual.

What says our second daughter,

our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall?

I am made of that self metal as my sister,

and prize me at her worth.

In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love,

only she comes too short,

that I profess myself an enemy to all other joys,

which the most precious square of sense possesses,

and find I am along felicitate in your dear highness' love.

Then poor Cordelia!

And yet not so, since, I am sure,

my love's more ponderous than my tongue.

To thee and thine hereditary ever remain this ample

third of our fair kingdom,

no less in space, validity, and pleasure,

than that conferr'd on Goneril.

Now, our joy, although our last, and least,

to whose young love the vines of France

and milk of Burgundy strive to be interess'd,

what can you say to draw a third more opulent than your sisters?


-Nothing, my lord. -Nothing!

[ Laughs ]


Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth,

I love your majesty according to my bond,

nor more nor less.

How, how, Cordelia.

Mend your speech a little, lest you may mar your fortunes.

Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me,

I return those duties back as are right fit,

obey you, love you, and most honour you.

Why have my sisters husbands, if they say they love you all?

Haply, when I shall wed,

the lord whose hand must take my plight

shall carry half my love with him, half my care and duty,

sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,

to love my father all.

But goes thy heart with this?

Ay, my good lord.

So young, and so untender?

So young, my lord, and true.

Let it be so, thy truth, then, be thy dower,

for, by the sacred radiance of the sun,

the mysteries of Hacate, and the night,

by all the operation of the orbs from whom we do exist,

and cease to be,

here I disclaim all my paternal care,

propinquity and property of blood,

and as a stranger to my heart and me hold thee,

from this, for ever.

Ha! The barbarous Scythian,

or he that makes his generation messes to gorge his appetite,

shall to my bosom be as well neighbour'd,

pitied, and relieved, as thou my sometime daughter.

-Good my liege -- -Peace, Kent!

Come not between the dragon and his wrath.

I loved her most,

and thought to set my rest on her kind nursery.

Hence, and avoid my sight!

So be my grave my peace,

as here I give her father's heart from her!

Call France. Who stirs?

Call Burgundy.

Cornwall and Albany,

with my two daughters' dowers digest the third,

let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.

I do invest you jointly with my power, pre-eminence,

and all the large effects that troop with majesty.

Ourself, by monthly course,

with reservation of an hundred knights,

by you to be sustain'd,

shall our abode make with you by due turns.

Only we shall retain the name,

and all the addition to a king,

the sway, revenue, execution of the rest, beloved sons,

be yours, which to confirm, this coronet part between you.

Royal Lear, whom I have ever honour'd as my king,

loved as my father, as my master foll'd,

as my great patron thought on in my prayers --

The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.

Let it fall rather, though the fork invade

the region of my heart,

be Kent unmannerly, when Lear is mad.

What wilt thou do, old man?

Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,

when power to flattery bows?

To plainness honour's bound, when majesty falls to folly.

Reserve thy state, in thy best consideration,

cheque this hideous rashness, answer my life my judgment,

thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,

nor are those empty-hearted

whose low sounds reverb no hollowness.

Kent, on thy life, no more.

My life I never held but as a pawn

to wage against thine enemies,

nor fear to lose it, thy safety being motive!

-Out of my sight! -See better, Lear.

Let me still remain the true blank of thine eye.

Now, by Apollo --

Now, by Apollo, king, thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

O, vassal! Miscreant!

Dear sir, forbear. Kill thy physician,

and thy fee bestow upon the foul disease.

Revoke thy gift, or, whilst I can vent clamor

from my throat, I'll tell thee thou dost evil!

Hear me, recreant!

On thine allegiance, hear me!

That thou hast sought to make us break our vows,

which we durst never yet, and with strain'd pride

to come betwixt our sentence and our power,

which nor our nature nor our place can bear,

our potency made good, take thy reward.

Five days we do allot thee,

for provision to shield thee from disasters of the world,

and on the sixth to turn thy hated back upon our kingdom,

if, on the tenth day following,

thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,

the moment is thy death.


By Jupiter, this shall not be revoked.

Fare thee well, king, sith thus thou wilt appear,

freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.

The gods to their dear shelter take thee,

maid, that justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!

And your large speeches may your deeds approve,

that good effects may follow words of love.

Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu,

he'll shape his old course in a country new.

Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

My lord of Burgundy.

We first address towards you,

who with this king hath rivall'd for our daughter,

what, in the least, will you require

in present dower with her, or cease your quest of love?

Most royal majesty, I crave no more

than hath your highness offer'd, nor will you tender less.

Right noble Burgundy, when she was dear to us,

we did hold her so, but now her price is fall'n.

Sir, there she stands, if aught within that little

seeming substance,

or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,

and nothing more, may fitly like your grace,

she's there, and she is yours.

I know no answer.

Will you, with those infirmities she owes, unfriended,

new-adopted to our hate, dower'd with our curse,

and stranger'd with our oath, take her, or leave her?

Pardon me, royal sir,

election makes not up on such conditions.

Then leave her, sir,

for, by the power that made me,

I tell you all her wealth.

For you, great king,

I would not from your love make such a stray,

to match you where I hate,

therefore beseech you to avert your liking a more worthier way

than on a wretch whom nature

is ashamed almost to acknowledge hers.

This is most strange, that she, whom even

but now was your best object, the argument of your praise,

the balm of your age, the best, the dearest,

should in this trice of time commit a thing so monstrous,

to dismantle so many folds of favor.

I yet beseech your majesty,

if for I want that glib and oily art,

to speak and purpose not, since what I well intend,

I'll do't before I speak,

that you make known it is no vicious blot, murder,

or foulness, no unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,

that hath deprived me of your grace and favor,

but even for want of that for which I am richer,

a still-soliciting eye,

and such a tongue that I am glad I have not,

though not to have it hath lost me in your liking.

Better thou hadst not been born

that not to have pleased me better.

Is it but this, a tardiness in nature

which often leaves the history unspoke that it intends to do?

My lord of Burgundy, what say you to the lady?

Love's not love when it is mingled

with regards that stands aloof from the entire point.

Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.

Royal king, give me but that portion

which you yourself proposed,

and here I take Cordelia by the hand,

Duchess of Burgundy.

Nothing, I have sworn, I am firm.

I am sorry that you have so lost a father

that you must lose a husband.

Peace be with Burgundy!

Since that respects of fortune are his love,

I shall not be his wife.

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor,

most choice, forsaken, and most loved, despised!

Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon,

be it lawful I take up what's cast away.

Gods, gods!

'Tis strange that from their cold'st neglect my love

should kindle to inflamed respect.

Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,

is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France,

not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy

could by this unprized precious maid of me.

Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind, thou losest here,

a better where to find.

Thou hast her, France, let her be thine,

for we have no such daughter,

nor shall ever see that face of hers again.

Therefore be gone without our grace,

our love, our benison.

Come, noble Burgundy.


Bid farewell to your sisters.

The Jewels of our father,

with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you,

I know you what you are, and like a sister am most loath

to call your faults as they are names.

Love well our father, to your professed bosoms I commit him

but, alas, stood I within his grace,

I would prefer him to a better place.

So, farewell to you both.

Prescribe not us our duties.

Let your study be to content your lord,

who hath received you at fortune's alms.

You have obedience scanted,

and well are worth the want that you have wanted.

Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides,

who covers faults, at last with shame derides.

Well may you prosper!

Come, my fair Cordelia.

Sister, it is not a little I have to say

of what most nearly appertains to us both.

I think our father will hence to-night.

'Tis most certain, and with you, next month with us.

You see how full of changes his age is,

the observation we have made of it hath not been little.

He always loved our sister most and with what poor judgment

he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.

'Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath always

but slenderly known himself.

The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash.

Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him

as this of Kent's banishment.

Pray you, let us hit together, if our father

carry authority with such dispositions

as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

We shall further think of it.

We must do something, and i' the heat.


Thou, nature, art my goddess,

to thy law my services are bound.

Wherefore should I stand in the plague of custom,

and permit the curiosity of nations to deprive me,

for that I am some 12 or 14 moon-shines lag of a brother?

Why bastard?

Wherefore base?

When my dimensions are as well compact,

my mind as generous,

and my shape as true, as honest madam's issue?

Why brand they us with base?

With baseness? Bastardy?

Base, base?

Who, in the lusty stealth of nature,

take more composition and fierce quality than doth,

within a dull, stale, tired bed,

go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,

got 'tween asleep and wake?

Well, then, legitimate Edgar, I must have your land,

our father's love is to the bastard Edmund

as to the legitimate -- fine word, legitimate!

Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,

and my invention thrive,

Edmund the base shall top the legitimate.

I grow; I prosper,

now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Kent banish'd thus!

And France in choler parted!

And the king gone to-night!

Prescribed his power!

Confined to exhibition!

All this done upon the gad!

Edmund, how now! What news?

So please your lordship, none.

Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

I know no news, my lord.

-What paper were you reading? -Nothing, my lord.


What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket?

The quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself.

Come, let's see, if it be nothing,

I shall not need spectacles.

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 perused,

I find it not fit for your o'er-looking.


Give me the letter, sir.

I hope, for my brother's justification,

he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.

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 suffered.

Come to me, that of this I may speak more.

If our father would sleep till I waked him,

you should enjoy half his revenue forever,

and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.


'Sleep till I waked 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 you to this? Who brought it?

It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it.

I found it thrown in at the casement of my chamber.

You know the character to be your brother's?

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!

-It is his. -It is his hand, my lord,

but I hope his heart is not in the contents.

Has he never before sounded you in this business?

Never, my lord, but I've heard him oft maintain it

to be fit that sons at perfect age

and fathers decline, the father should be as ward to the son,

and the son manage his revenue!

Oh, villain.


His very opinion in the letter!

Abhorred villain.

Unnatural, detested, brutish villain, worse than brutish.

Go, sirrah, seek. I'll apprehend him.

An abominable villain.

-Where is he? -I do not well know, my lord!

If it shall please you to suspend your indignation

until 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 honor

and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience.

I dare pawn down my life for him that he has writ this

to feel my affection to your honor

and to no other pretense of danger.

-Think you so? -If your honor 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 evening.

-He cannot be such a monster. -Not is not, sure!

To his father that so tenderly and entirely loves him!

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.

I will seek him, sir, presently, convey the business

as I shall find means and acquaint you withal.

These late eclipses of the sun and moon portend no good to us.

Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus,

yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects.

Love cools. Friendship falls off.

Brothers divide.

In cities, mutinies. In countries, discord.

In palaces, treason,

and the bond cracked 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 banished.

His offense -- honesty.

'Tis strange.

This is the excellent foppery of the world

that when we're sick in fortune,

often the surfeits of our own behavior,

we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars

as if we were villains on necessity,

fools by heavenly compulsion,

knaves, thieves and treachers by spherical predominance,

drunkards, liars, and adulterers

by an enforced obedience of planetary influence

and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting on.

An admirable evasion of whoremaster man

to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star.

My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail,

and my nativity was under Ursa Major,

so that it follows that I am rough and lecherous.

[ Blows raspberry ]

I would have been that I am had the maidenliest star

in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.

Edgar, and pat he comes like the catastrophe

of the old comedy.

My cue is villainous melancholy

with a sigh like "Tom o' Bedlam."

[ Gasps ] Oh!

Oh, these eclipses do portend

these divisions!

♪ Fa, sol, la, mi

How now, brother Edmund.

What serious contemplation are you in?

I am thinking, brother, of a prediction

I read this other day what should follow these eclipses.

Do you busy yourself with that?

I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed

unhappily as of unnaturalness between the child

and the parent, death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities,

divisions in state,

menaces and maledictions against king and nobles,

needless diffidences, as banishment of friends,

dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches

and I know not what.

How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

Come, come, when saw you my father last?

-The night gone by. -Spake you with him?

Aye, two hours together.

Parted you in good terms?

Found you no displeasure in him by word nor countenance?

None at all.

Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended him,

and at my entreaty, forbear his presence until some little time

hath qualified the heat of his displeasure

which at this instant so rageth in him

that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.

Some villain hath done me wrong. That's my fear!

I pray you, have a continent forbearance

until the speed of his rage goes slower,

and as I say, retire with me to my lodging

from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak.

Pray you, go. There's my key.

If you do stir abroad, go armed. Armed brother?

Brother, I advise you to the best! Go armed!

I am no honest man if there be any good meaning toward you.

I've told you what I've seen and heard but faintly,

nothing like the image and horror of it.

-Pray you, away. -Shall I hear from you anon?

I do serve you in this business.

A credulous father and a brother noble

whose nature is so far from doing harms

that he suspects none, on whose foolish honesty

my practices ride easy.

I see the business.

Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit.

All with me's meet that I can fashion fit.


Did my father strike my gentleman

for chiding of his fool?

Aye, madam.

By day and night, he wrongs me.

Every hour he flashes into one gross crime

or other that sets us all at odds!

I'll not endure it.

His knights grow riotous,

and himself upbraids us on every trifle.

When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him.

Say I am sick.

If you come slack of former services, you shall do well.

The fault of it, I'll answer.

He's coming, madam. I hear him.

Put on what weary negligence you please,

you and your fellows.

I'd have it come to question.

If he distaste it, let him to my sister, whose mind and mine

I know in that are one, not to be overruled. [ Sighs ]

Idle old man that would still manage those authorities

that he hath given away.

-Remember what I have said. -Well, madam.

And let his knights have colder looks among you.

What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so.

I would breed from hence occasion,

and I shall that I may speak.

I'll write straight to my sister to hold my course.

Prepare for dinner.


But as well I other accents borrow

that can my speech defuse,

my good intent may follow through itself

to that full issue for which I razed my likeness.

Now, banished Kent, if thou can serve

where thou dost stand condemned, so may it come thy master,

whom thou loves, shall find thee full of labors.

[ Coughing ]

Let me not stay a jot for dinner.

Go get it ready.

How now.

What art thou?

A man, sir.

What dost thou profess?

What wouldst thou with us?

I do profess to be no less than I seem,

to serve him truly that will put me in trust,

to love him that is honest, to converse with him

that is wise and says little, to fear judgment,

to fight when I cannot choose and to eat no fish.

What art thou?

A very honest-hearted fellow, sir,

and as poor as the king.

If thou beest as poor for a subject as he is for a king,

thou art poor enough.

-What wouldst thou? -Service.

-Who wouldst thou serve? -You.

Oh, does thou know me, fellow?

No, sir, but you have that in your countenance

I would fain call master.

-What's that? -Authority.

What services canst thou do?

I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale

in telling it, deliver a plain message bluntly.

That which ordinary men are fit for,

I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.

How old art thou?

Not so young, sir, to love a woman

for singing nor so old to dote on her for anything.

[ Laughter ]

I have years on my back -- 48.

Follow me. Thou shalt serve me.

If I like thee no worse after dinner,

I will not part with thee yet.


Ho, dinner!

Wheres my knave, my fool?

Go, you. Call my fool hither.

You! You, sirrah! Where's my daughter?

Oh, so please you, uh...

What says the fellow there?

Call the clotpoll back.

Where's my fool?


I think the world is asleep.

How now? Where's that mongrel?

He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

Why came not the slave back to me when I called him?

Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner,

he would not.

He would not?

My lord, I know not what the matter is,

but to my judgment, your highness is not entertained

with that ceremonious affection as you were wont.

There's a great abatement of kindness

appears as well in the general dependents

as in the Duke himself also and your daughter.

Ah, sayest thou so?

I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken,

for my duty cannot be silent

when I think your highness wronged.

Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception.

I have perceived a most faint neglect of late.

I will look further into it, but where's my fool?

I've not seen him this two days.

Since my young lady is going into France, sir,

the fool hath much pined away.

No more of that!

I have noted it well! Go, you.

Tell my daughter I would speak with her.

Go, you. Call hither my fool.


You, sir, you.

Come you hither, sir.

Who am I, sir?

My lady's father.

"My lady's father"? My lord's knave!

You whoreson dog! You slave! You cur!

I am none of these, my lord. I beseech your pardon.

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

I'll not be struck, my lord! Ow!

Nor tripped either, you base football player! Ow! Ow!

-Come, sir! Arise! -I'll teach you differences.

-Away, sir! Away! -Ow!

If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry!

-Ah! -But away!

Ah, my friendly knave, I thank thee.

There's earnest of thy service.

Let me hire him, too. Here's my coxcomb.

How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?

Sirrah, thou wouldst best take my coxcomb.

-Why, fool? -Why?

For taking one's part that's out of favor.

Nay, and thou canst not smile as the wind sits.

Thou'lt catch cold shortly.

There, take my coxcomb.

Why, this fellow has banished two on's daughters,

did the third a blessing against his will.

If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.

How now, nuncle? [ Laughs ]

Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters.

Why, my boy?

If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself.

There's mine.

Beg another of thy daughters.

Take heed, sirrah, the whip.

Truth is a dog must to kennel.

He must be whipped out while lady, the bitch,

may stand upon the fire and stink.

A pestilent gall to me.

Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.


Mark it, nuncle.

Have more than thou showest.

Speak less than thou knowest.

Lend less than thou owest.

Ride more than thou goest.

Leave thy drink and thy whore and keep in a door,

and thou shalt have more than two 10s to a score.

This is nothing, fool.

Then 'tis like the breath of an unfeed lawyer.

You gave me nothing for it.

[ Laughs ]

Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?


No, boy.

Nothing can be made out of nothing.

Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to.

He'll not believe a fool.

Ah. Bitter fool.

Dost thou know the difference, my boy,

between a bitter fool and a sweet one?

No, lad. Teach me.

♪ That lord that counseled thee ♪

♪ To give away thy land

♪ Come place him here by me

♪ Do thou for him stand

♪ The sweet and bitter fool

♪ Will presently appear

♪ The one in motley here

The other found out there.

Dost thou call me fool, boy?

All thy other titles thou hast given away.

That, thou was born with.

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

No, faith, lords and great men will not let me.

If I had a monopoly out,

they would have part on, and ladies, too.

They will not let me have all the fool to myself.

They'll be snatching. [ Laughs ] Now go.

Give me an egg, and I will give thee two crowns.

What two crowns shall they be?

Well when I've cut the egg in the middle

and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg.

When thou clovest thy crown in the middle

and gavest away both parts,

thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt.

Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown

when thou gavest the golden one away.

If I speak like myself in this,

let him be whipped that first finds it so.

♪ Fools had never less grace in a year ♪

♪ For wise men are grown foppish ♪

♪ And know not how their wits to wear ♪

♪ Their manners are so apish

When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

Well, I have used it, nuncle,

ever since thou madest thou daughters thy mothers,

for when thou gavest them the rod and puts

down thine own britches...

♪ Then they for sudden joy did weep ♪

♪ And I for sorrow sung

♪ That such a king should play bopeep ♪

♪ And go the fools among

Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster

that can teach thy fool to lie.

I would fain learn to lie.

And you lie, sirrah.

We will have you whipped.

I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are.

They'll have me whipped for speaking true.

Thou'lt have me whipped for lying.

Sometimes I'm whipped for holding my peace.

[ Laughs ]

I'd rather be any kind of thing than a fool,

and yet I would not be thee, nuncle.

Thou hast pared thy wit on both sides

and left nothing in the middle.

Here comes one of the parings.

How now, daughter?

What makes that frontlet on?

You are too much of late in the frown.

Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need

to care for her frowning.

Now thou art an O without a figure.

I am better than thou art now. I am a fool.

Thou art nothing.

Yes, forsooth. I will hold my tongue.

So your face bids me, though you say nothing.

Mum. Mum.

He that keeps nor crust nor crumb,

weary of all, shall want some.

That's a shelled peascod.

Not only, sir, this, your all-licensed fool,

but other of your insolent retinue

do hourly carp and quarrel,

breaking forth in rank and not-to-be-endured riots.

Sir, I had thought by making this well known unto you

to have found a safe redress but now grow fearful

by what yourself too late have spoke and done,

that you protect this course and put it on by your allowance.

For you know, nuncle, the hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long

that it had it head bit off by it young.

So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.

Are you our daughter?

I would you would make use of your good wisdom,

whereof I know you are fraught, and put away these dispositions

which of late transport you from what you rightly are.

May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?

Woop! Jug, I love thee.

Does any here know me?

This is not Lear.

Does Lear walk thus, speak thus?

Where are his eyes?

Either his notion weakens, his discernings

are lethargied -- Ah!

Waking? 'Tis not so.

Who is it can tell me who I am?

Lear's shadow.

Ah, I would learn that, for by the marks

of sovereignty, knowledge and reason,

I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

Which they will make an obedient father.

Your name, fair gentlewoman?

This admiration, sir,

is much of the savor of other your new pranks.

I do beseech you to understand my purposes aright.

As you are old and reverend, should be wise.

Here do you keep 100 knights and squires,

men so disordered, so debauched and bold,

that this, our court, infected with their manners,

shows like a riotous inn.

Epicurism and lust makes it more like a tavern

or a brothel than a graced palace.

The shame itself doth speak for instant remedy.

Be then desired by her that else will take the thing she begs,

a little to disquantity your train,

and the remainder that shall still depend to be such men

as may besort your age who know themselves and you.

Darkness and devils.

Saddle my horses!

Call my train together!

Degenerate bastard!

I'll not trouble thee. Yet have I left a daughter.

You strike my people, and your disordered rabble

make servants of their betters!

Woe that too late repents.

Is it your will?

Speak, sir!

Prepare my horses!

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,

more hideous when thou showest thee in a child

than the sea monster.

Pray, sir, be patient.

Detested kite, thou liest.

My train are men of choice and rarest parts

that all particulars of duty know,

and in the most exact regard support

the worships of their name.

Oh, most small fault, how ugly didst thou in Cordelia show,

which like an engine

wrenched my frame of nature from the fixed place,

drew from my heart all love and added to the gall.

Oh, Lear, Lear, Lear!

Beat at this gate that let thy folly

in and thy dear judgment out.

Go! Go, my people!

My lord, I am guiltless as I am ignorant

of what hath moved you.

It may be so, my lord.

Hear, nature, hear.

Dear goddess, hear.

Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend

to make this creature fruitful.

Into her womb convey sterility.

Dry up in her the organs of increase,

and from her derogate body,

never spring a babe to honor her!

If she must teem, create her child of spleen

that it may live and be a thwart disnatured torment to her!

Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth.

With cadent tears, fret channels in her cheeks.

Turn all her mother's pains and benefits to laughter

and contempt that she may feel how sharper

than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child.

Away, away.

Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

Never afflict yourself to know more of it,

but let his disposition have that scope as dotage gives it.


Fifty of my followers at a clap within a fortnight.

What's the matter, sir?

I'll tell thee.

Life and death.

[ Crying ]

I am ashamed that thou hast power

to shake my manhood thus,

that these hot tears, which break from me perforce,

should make thee worth them.

Old fond eyes, beweep this cause again,

and I'll pluck ye out and cast you with the waters

that you loose, to temper clay!

Yea, is it come to this?

Let it be so.

I have another daughter who,

I am sure, is kind and comfortable.

When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails,

she'll flay thy wolvish visage.

Thou shalt find that I'll resume the shape which thou dost think

I have cast off forever.

Do you mark that?

I cannot be so partial, Goneril, to the great love I bear you.

Pray you content. What? Oswald, ho!

You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

Nuncle Lear! Nuncle Lear, tarry!

Take the fool with thee.

A fox, when one has caught her,

and such a daughter should sure to the slaughter.

If my cap could buy a halter, so the fool follows after.

This man hath had good counsel, 100 knights!

'Tis politic and safe to let him keep at point 100 knights!

Yes, that on every dream, each buzz, each fancy,

complaint he may enguard his dotage with their powers

and hold our lives in mercy.

-Oswald, I say! -Well, you may fear too far.

Safer than trust too far.

Let me still take away the harms I fear,

not fear still to be taken.

I know his heart!

What he hath uttered, I have writ my sister.

If she sustain him and his 100 knights

after I have showed the unfitness...

How now, Oswald?

Have you that letter I writ my sister?

Aye, madam.

Take you some company and away to horse.

Inform her full of my particular fear,

and thereto add such reasons of your own as may compact it more.

Get you gone. Hasten your return.

No, no, my lord.

This milky gentleness and course of yours,

though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,

you are much more attasked for want of wisdom

than praised for harmful mildness.

How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.

Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

Nay, then.

Well, well, the event...


Go you before to Gloucester with these letters.

Acquaint my daughter, Regan,

no further with anything you know

than comes from her demand out of this letter.

If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you.

I will not sleep, my lord, until I have delivered your letters.

If a man's brains were in his heels,

were it not in danger of kibes?

Aye, boy.

Then I prithee, be merry.

Thy wit shall not go slipshod.

Mm, mm, mm.

Shalt see thy other daughter will treat thee kindly,

for though she is as like this as a crab is like an apple,

yet I can tell what I can tell.

What canst tell, boy?

She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab.

Canst tell why one's nose stands in the middle one's face?


Why, to keep one's eyes on either side's nose,

that what a man may not smell out, he may spy into.

I did her wrong.

Canst tell why an oyster has a shell?


Nor I neither,

but I can tell why a snail has a house.


Why, to put his head in, not to give it away to his daughters

and leave his horns without a case!

I will forget my nature, so kind a father.

Be my horses ready?

Thy asses are gone about them.

The reason why the seven stars

are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

Because they are not eight?

Yes, indeed.

Thou wouldst make a good fool.

To take it again perforce,

monster ingratitude.

If thou wert my fool, nuncle,

I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

How's that?

Thou shouldst not have been old until thou hadst been wise.

Oh, let me not be mad,

not mad, sweet heaven.

Keep me in temper.

I would not be mad.

How now, are the horses ready?

Ready, my lord.

Come, boy.

She that's a maid now and laughs at my departure

will not be a maid long unless things be cut shorter.


Save thee, Curan.

Oh, and you, sir.

I have been with your father and given him notice

that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan,

his duchess, will be here with him this night.

-How comes that? -Nay, I know not.

You have heard of the news abroad?

I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet

but ear-kissing arguments?

Not I. Pray you, what are they?

Have you heard of no likely wars

toward twixt the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Not a word.

You may do then in time.

Oh, fare you well, sir.

[ Laughs ]

Brother, a word! Descend, brother, I say!

The duke be here tonight? The better, best.

This weaves itself perforce into my business.

My father hath set guard to take my brother,

and I have one thing of a queasy question which I must act.

Briefness and fortune, work.

My father watches. Oh, sir, fly this place.

Intelligence is given where you are hid.

You have now the good advantage of the night!

Have you not spoken against the Duke of Cornwall?

He's coming hither, in the night,

in the haste, and Regan with him.

Have you nothing said upon his party

against the Duke of Albany?

-Advise yourself! -I am sure on it, not a word.

Pardon me. I hear my father coming.

In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you.

Draw! Seem to defend yourself.

Now quit you well. Yield!

Come before my father!

Light, ho! Here!

Fly, brother!

Torches! Torches!

So farewell!

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion

of my more fierce endeavor.

I have seen drunkards do more than this in sport.

Father! Father!

Stop! Stop! No, help!

Now, Edmund, where is the villain?

Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,

mumbling of wicked charms,

conjuring the moon to stand auspicious mistress!

-But where is he? -Look, sir. I bleed.

Edmund, where is the villain!

Fled this way, sir, when by no means... Pursue him, ho!

Go after!

By no means what?

Persuade me to the murder of your lordship,

but that I told him the revenging gods

against parasites did all the thunders bend,

spoke with how manifold and strong a bond the child

was bound to the 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, latched mine arm,

and when he saw my best alarumed spirits,

bold in the quarrel's right,

roused to the encounter for suddenly he fled.

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 tonight.

By his authority, I will proclaim it

that he which finds him shall deserve

our thanks bringing the murderous coward

to the stake.

He that conceals him, death.

When I dissuaded him of his intent

and found him pight to do it with cursed speech,

I threatened 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?

No, what I should deny, as this I would,

ay, though thou didst produce my very character.

I'd turn it all to thy suggestion,

plot and damned practice!"

Would he deny his letters, said he?

Oh, strange and fastened villain,

I never got him!

All ports I'll bar.

The villain shall not escape,

and of my land, loyal and natural boy,

I'll work the means to make you capable.

Come now, my noble friend.

Since I came hither, which I can call but now,

I've heard strange news.

If it be true all vengeance comes too short

which can pursue the offender.

How dost, my lord?

Oh, madam, my old heart is cracked.

-It's cracked. -What?

Did my father's godson seek your life,

he who my father named your Edgar?

Lady, lady, shame would have it hid.

Was he not companion with the riotous knights

that tended upon my father?

I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad.

Ay, madam, he was of that consort.

No marvel then, though he were ill affected.

'Twas they who put him on the old man's death

to have the expense and waste of his revenues.

I have this present evening from my sister

been well informed of them, and with such cautions

that if they come to sojourn at my house,

I'll not be there. -Nor I, assure thee, Regan.

Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father

a childlike office.

It was my duty, sir.

He did bewray his practice and received this hurt you see,

striving to apprehend him.

-Is he pursued? -Ay, my good lord.

If he be taken, he shall never more be feared of doing harm.

Make your own purpose how in my strength you please.

For you, Edmund, whose virtue and obedience doth this instant

so much commend itself, you shall be ours.

Natures of such deep trust we shall much need.

You we first seize on.

I shall serve you, sir, truly however else.

For him, I thank your grace.

You know not why we came to visit you.

Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night, occasions,

noble Gloucester, of some prize

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 businesses

which crave the instant use. -I serve you, madam.

Your graces are right welcome.


Good dawning to thee, friend.

-Art of this house? -Ay.

Where may we set our horses?

In the mire.

Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

I love thee not.

Why, then, I care not for thee.

If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold,

I would make thee care for me.

Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

-Fellow, I know thee. -But what dost thou know me for?

A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats, a base, proud,

shallow, beggarly, three-suited, 100-pound,

filthy, worsted-stocking, knave,

a lily-livered, action-taking whoreson,

glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue,

one-trunk-inheriting slave,

one that wouldst be a bawd in the way of good service,

but art nothing but the composition of knave,

beggar, coward, pander,

and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch,

one that I will beat into clamorous whining

if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.


What a monstrous fellow art thou,

thus to rail on one

that is neither known of thee nor knows thee?

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou to say thou knowest me not!

Is it two days ago since I tripped at thy heels

and beat thee before the king?

-Oh. -Oh, draw, you rogue.

For though it be night, yet the Moon shines,

I'll make a sop of the moonshine of you, you whoreson

cullionly barber-monger, draw.

Away! I have nothing to do with thee!

Draw, you rascal!

You come with letters against the king and take vanity

the puppet's part against the royalty of her father.

Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks!

-Draw, you rascal, draw! -Help, ho!

Come your ways.

How now? What's the matter? Part!

With you, goodman boy. Come on. I'll flesh ye.

Come on, young master.

Weapons, arms? What's the matter here?

Keep peace, upon your lives!

He dies that strikes again.

What is the matter?

What is your difference? Speak.

I'm scarce in breath, my lord.

No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor, you cowardly rascal.

Nature disclaims in thee, A tailor made thee.

Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a man?

A tailor, sir, a stone-cutter or a painter

could not have made him so ill,

though they had been but two hours of the trade.

Speak yet. How grew your quarrel?

This ancient ruffian, sir,

whose life I have spared at suit of his gray beard --

Thou whoreson zed! Thou unnecessary letter!

My lord, if you will give me leave,

I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar

and daub the walls of an outhouse with him.

Spare my gray hairs, you wagtail.

Peace, sirrah. Know you no reverence?

Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.

Why art thou angry?

That such as slave as this should wear a sword

who wears no honesty.

Such smiling robes as these like rats oft bite

the holy cords atwain, knowing naught like dogs but...

A plague upon your epileptic visage!

Smile you my speeches as I were a fool?

You goose!

If I had you upon Sarum plain,

I'd drive you cackling home to Camelot!

What? Art thou mad, old fellow?

No contraries hold more antipathy

than I and such a knave.

Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

His countenance likes me not!

No more perchance does mine nor his or hers.

Sir, it is my occupation to be plain.

I have seen better faces in my time

than stand on any shoulders I see before me at this instant.

This is some fellow who having been praised for bluntness

doth affect a saucy roughness and constrains

the garb quite from his nature.

He cannot flatter.

He, an honest mind and plain,

he must speak truth, and they will take it so.

If not, he is plain.

These kind of knaves I know which in this plainness

harbor more craft and more corrupter ends

than 20 silly ducking observants

that stretch their duties nicely.

Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity

and under the allowance of your great aspect,

whose influence like the wreath of radiant fire

on flickering Phoebus'...

What means by this?

To go out of my dialect which you discommend so much.

I know, sir. I am no flatterer.

He that beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave,

which for my part, I will not be though

I should win your displeasure to entreat me to it.

What was the offense you gave him?

I never gave him any.

It pleased the king, his master, very late to strike at me

upon his misconstruction.

When he, compact and flattering the king's displeasure,

tripped me behind.

Being down, insulted, railed and put upon me such

a deal of man that worthied him, got praises of the king,

and in the fleshment of this dread exploit,

drew on me here again.

None of these rogues and cowards but Ajax is their fool.

Fetch forth the stocks.

You stubborn ancient knave,

you reverend braggart, we'll teach you.

Sir, I'm too old to learn. Call not your stocks for me.

I serve the king, on whose employment I was sent to you.

You shall do -- person of my master!

...the stocks!

As I have life and honor, there shall he sit until noon.

Until noon, until night, lord, and all night, too.

If I were your father's dog, you would not use me thus!

Sir, being his...I will.

This is a fellow of the selfsame color our sister speaks of.

Come. Bring away the stocks!

Let me beseech your grace not to do so.

His fault is much, and the good king, his master,

will check him for it.

Your purposed low correction is such as basest and...

its wretches for pilferings and most common trespasses

are punished with.

The king his master needs must take it ill

that he's so slightly valued in his messenger

should have him... restrained.

I'll answer that.

My...assaulted...affairs, put in his legs.

I am sorry for thee, friend.

'Tis the duke's pleasure whose disposition all the world

well knows will not be rubbed nor stopped.

I'll entreat...

...sleep out, ...the rest I'll whistle.

Good man's fortune may grow out at heels.

Give you good morrow.

The duke is to blame in this. 'Twill be ill taken.

Good King, that approve the common...

Thou out of heaven's benediction...

to the warm Sun.

Approach thou... this underglobe,

that by thy comfortable beams I may peruse this letter.

...these miracles but misery.

I know 'tis from Cordelia who hath been informed

of my obscured course,

and, "Shall find time from this enormous state

seeking to give is their remedies."

All weary and o'erwatched, take...

eyes not to behold this shameful lodging.

Fortune, good night.

Smile once more.

Turn thy wheel.


I heard myself proclaimed,

and by the happy hollow of a tree, escaped the hunt.

No port... [ speaks indistinctly ]

...that guard and most unusual vigilance

does not attend my taking.

While I may escape,

take the basest and most poorest shape

that ever penury in contempt of man brought near to beast.

My face, I'll...filth.

Blanket my loins.

Elf all my hairs in knots,

and with presented nakedness outface the winds

and persecutions of the sky.

The country gives me proof and precedent of Bedlam beggars,

who with roaring voices, sometime...

Bans, sometime with prayers... their charity.

Poor Turlygod!

Poor Tom!

That's something yet.

Edgar, I nothing am.


Strange that they should so depart from home

and not send back my messenger.

As I learned the night before,

there was no purpose in them of this remove.

Hail to thee, noble master.


...thou this shame thy pastime?

No, my lord.

...he wear cruel garters.

Horses are tied by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck,

monkeys by the loins and men by the legs.

When a man is overlusty at legs,

then he wears wooden nether-stocks.

...he that so much thy place mistook to set thee here?

It is both he and she, your son and daughter.

-No. -Yes.

I say, "Yea."

-No, no, they would not. -Yes, they have.

-By Jupiter, I swear no. -By Juno, swear ay.

They durst not do it.

They could not, would not do it.

Resolve with me thousand much deserve

or thou impose this usage coming from us.

My lord, when at their home,

I did commend your highness' letters to them.

Ere I was risen from the place that showed my duty kneeling,

comes there a reeking post, stewed in his haste,

half breathless, panting forth the from Goneril...

letters spite of intermission,

which presently they read on whose contents,

they summoned up their meiny, straight took horse,

commanded me to follow...

leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks,

and meeting here, the other messenger...

...of poisoned mind, being that very fellow

which of late displayed so saucily against your highness,

having more man than wit about me, drew.

He the house with loud and coward cries.

...daughter found this trespass worth...

which here it suffers.

Winter is not gone yet if the wild geese fly that way.

But for... [ speaks indistinctly ]

as many dolors... thy daughters as thou

canst tell in a year.

O mother swells up toward thy heart!

Hysterica passio, down,

O climbing sorrow,

they element...below.

Where is this daughter?

-With the earl, here, within. -Follow me not.

Stay here!

Made you no more offense than what you speak of? None.

...the king comes with so small a...

Thou hadst been set stocks for that question,

thou hadst well deserved. -Why, fool?

We'll set thee to school to an ant...

no laboring in the winter.

All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men.

There's not a nose among 20 but smell him that stink.

Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs downhill,

lest it break thy neck with following,

but the great one that goes upward...

him draw thee after.

When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me again.

I would have none but knaves follow it since a fool gives it.

♪ That sir which serves and seeks for gain ♪

♪ And follows but for form

♪ Will pack when it begins to rain ♪

♪ And leave thee in the storm

♪ But I will follow

♪ The fool will stay

♪ And let the wise man fly

♪ The...runs away

-The fool no knave, perdie -Where...fool?

Not in the stocks, fool.

Deny to speak with me.

They are sick. They are weary.

They have traveled all the night.

Mere fetches. Fetch me a better answer.

My dear lord, you know the fiery quality of the duke,

how unremovable and fixed he is in his own course.

Vengeance, plague, death,

confusion, fiery, what quality?

Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,

I would speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Well, my good... I have informed them so.

Informed them?

-Dost thou understand me, man? -Ay, my good lord.

The king would speak with Cornwall.

The dear father would with his daughter speak,

commands, tends service!

[ Speaks indistinctly ] ...and bloody.

"Fiery?" The "fiery" duke?

Tell the hot duke... wife, should he...

Go tell duke and his wife

I'd speak with them now, presently!

Bid them come forth and hear me or at their chamber door,

I'll beat the drum 'til it cry sleep to death!

I would have all well betwixt you.

-Oh me... -Shh, shh, shh, shh.

My heart, my rising heart, but down.

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels

when she put them in the paste alive.

Oh, she knapped them with the coxcombs

with a stick and cried, "Down, wantons, down!"

'Twas her brother that in pure kindness

to his horse buttered his hay.

Good morrow to you both.

Hail to your grace.

I am glad to see your highness.

Regan, I think you are.

I know what reason I have to think so.

If thou shouldst not be glad,

I'd divorce me from thy mother's tomb,

sepulchring an adulteress.

Beloved Regan, thy sister is naught.

Oh, Regan,

she hath tied sharp-toothed unkindness

like a vulture here.

I can scarce speak to thee.

Thou'lt not believe with how depraved a quality.

Oh, Regan!

I pray you, sir, take patience.

I have hope you less know how to value her desert

than she to scant her duty.

Say, how's that?

I cannot think my sister in the least

would fail her obligation.

If, sir, perchance, she have restrained

the riots of your followers,

'tis on such ground and to such wholesome end

as clears her from all blame.

My curses on her!

Oh, sir, you are old.

Nature in you stands on the very verge of its confine.

You should be ruled and led by some discretion

that discerns your state better than you yourself.

Therefore, I pray you that to our sister you do make return.

Say you have wronged her.

[ Exhales ]

Ask her forgiveness?

Do you but mark how this becomes the house?

Dear daughter, I confess that I am old.

Age is unnecessary.

On my knees, I beg that you'll

vouchsafe me raiment, bed and food.

Good sir, no more.

These are unsightly tricks.

Return you to my sister.

Never, Regan.

She hath abated me of half my train,

struck me with that tongue,

most serpentlike upon the very heart.

All the stored vengeances of heaven

fall on her ungrateful top!

Strike her young bones infectious airs with lameness.

-Fie, sir, fie! -You nimble lightnings,

dart your blinding flames into her scornful eyes!

Infect her beauty, you fen-sucked fogs drawn

by the powerful Sun to fall and blister!

O, the blessed gods.

So you will wish on me when the rash mood is on.

No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.

Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give thee o'er to harshness.

'Tis not in thee to grudge my pleasures,

to cut off my train, to bandy hasty words,

to scant my sizes and in conclusion

to oppose the bolt against my coming in.

Thou better know'st the offices of nature,

bond of childhood, effects of courtesy,

dues of gratitude.

Thy half the kingdom

hast thou not forgot wherein I thee endowed!

Good sir, to the purpose.

Who put my man in the stocks?

-What trumpet is that? -I know it.

My sister, this approves her letter

that she would soon be here.

-Is your lady come? -Ay, madam.

This is a slave whose easy borrowed pride dwells

in the fickle grace of her he follows.

Out, varlet, from my sight!

What means your grace?

Who stocked my servant?

Regan, I have good hope thou didst not know on.

[ Trumpets blow ]

Who comes here?

Oh, heavens.

If you do love old men, if your sweet sway allow obedience,

if you yourselves are old, make it your cause.

Send down and take my part!

Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?

Oh, Regan, would you take her by the hand?

Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?

All is not offense that indiscretion finds

and dotage terms so.

Oh, sides, you are too tough.

Will you yet hold?

Came my man in the stocks?

I set him there, sir, but his own disorders

deserved much less advancement!

You! Did you?

I pray you, Father, being weak seem so.

If 'til the expiration of your month,

you're to return and sojourn with my sister,

dismissing half your train, come then to me.

I am now from home and out of that provision

which shall be needful for your entertainment.

Return to her and 50 men dismissed? No.

Rather I abjure all roofs and choose to wage

against the enmity of the air, to be a comrade with the wolf

and howl necessity's sharp pinch.

Return to her?

Why, the hot-blooded France

that dowerless took our youngest born.

I could as well be brought to knee his throne,

and, squire-like, pension beg to keep base life afoot.

Return with her?

Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter

to this detested groom.

At your choice, sir.

I prithee, daughter,

do not make me mad.

I will not trouble thee, my child.


We'll no more meet, no more see one another,

but yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter,

or rather a disease that's in my flesh

which I must needs call mine.

Thou art a boil, a plague sore or an embossed carbuncle

in my corrupted blood, but I'll not chide thee.

Mend when thou canst.

Be better at thy leisure.

I can be patient.

I can stay with Regan, I and my 100 knights.

Not all together so.

I looked not for you yet nor am provided for your fit welcome.

Good sir, I give ear to my sister.

For those that mingle reason with your passion

must be content to think you old,

and so, but she knows what she does.

Is this well-spoken?

What, 50 followers? Is it not well?

What should you need of more?

Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger

speak 'gainst so great a number?

How in one house should many people

under two commands hold amity?

'Tis hard, almost impossible.

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance from those

that she calls servants or from mine?

Why not, my lord?

If then they chanced to slack you, we could control them.

If you will come to me, for now I spy a danger,

I will entreat you to bring but five and 20.

To no more will I give place or notice.

I gave you all.

And in good time, you gave it.

Made you my guardians, my depositaries,

but kept a reservation to be followed with such a number.

What, must I come to you

with five and 20, Regan?

Said you so?

And speak it again, my lord, no more with me.


Those wicked creatures yet do look well favored

when others are more wicked.

Not being the worst stands in some rank of praise.

I'll go with thee.

Thy 50 yet doth double five

and 20 and thou art twice her love.

Hear me, my lord.

What need you five and 20, 10 or five to follow in a house

where twice so many have a command to tend you?

What need one?

Oh, reason not the need.

Our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous.

Allow not nature more than nature needs.

Man's life is cheap as beast's.

Thou art a lady.

If only to go warm were gorgeous, why, nature needs

not what thou gorgeous wear'st, which scarcely keeps thee warm,

but for true need,

you heavens give me that patience.

Patience, I need.

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man

as full of grief as age, wretched in both!

If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts

against their father, fool me not so much to bear it tamely.

Touch me with noble anger and let not women's weapons,

waterdrops stain my man's cheeks!


You unnatural hags!

I will have such revenges on you both that all

the world shall...

[ Thunder crashes ]

I will do such things!

What they are, yet I know not,

but they shall be the terrors of the Earth!

You think I'll weep?

No, I'll not weep.

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart shall break

into 100,000 flaws, or ere, I'll weep.

Oh, fool, I shall go mad.

-The king is in high rage. -Whither is he going?

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

'Tis best to give him way. He leads himself.

My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

Alack, the night comes on,

and the high winds do sorely ruffle.

For many miles about, there's scarce a bush.

Oh, sir, to willful men,

the injuries that they themselves procure

must be their schoolmasters.

Shut up your doors.

He is attended with a desperate train,

and what they may incense him to,

being apt to have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

Shut up your doors, my lord.

'Tis a wild night.

My Regan counsels well.

Come out of the storm.

[ Thunder crashes ]

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!



You cataracts hurricanoes, spout 'til you have

drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,

vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

singe my white head!

And thou, all-shaking thunder,

smite flat the thick rotundity of the world!

Crack nature's molds,

all germens spill at once that make ingrateful man!

O, nuncle, court holy water in a dry house

is better than this rainwater out of door!

Good nuncle, in. Ask thy daughter's blessing.

Here is a night pities neither wise man nor fool.

[ Laughs ]

Rumble thy bellyful!

Spit, fire!

Spout. rain!

Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.

I tax you not, you elements, with unkindness.

I never gave you kingdom, called you children.

You owe me no subscription.

Then let fall your horrible pleasure.

Here I stand, your slave, a poor,

infirm, weak, and despised old man,

but yet I call you servile ministers

that will with two pernicious daughters

joined your high engendered battles against a head

so old and white as this! Oh, ho!

'Tis foul!

♪ He that has a house to put his head in has a good headpiece ♪

♪ The codpiece that will house before the head has any ♪

♪ The head and he will 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 ♪

I will be the pattern of all patience.

I will say nothing.

Who's there?

Marry, here is grace and a codpiece!

That's a wise man and a fool!

Since I was man, such sheets of fire,

such bursts of horrid thunder, I never remember to have heard!

Man's nature cannot bare the affliction nor the fear.

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,

unwhipped of justice.

Hide thee, thou bloody hand,

thou perjured and thou similar of virtue that art incestuous.

Caitiff to pieces shake that under covert and convenient

seeming hast practiced on man's life.

Close pent-up guilts, rive your concealing continents

and cry these dreadful summoners grace!

I am a man more sinned against than sinning!

Gracious, my lord!

-Hard by here is a hovel! -Ah.

Some friendship will it lend you against the tempest.

Repose you there, while I to this hard house return

and force their scanted courtesy.

My wits begin to turn.

Come on, my boy.

How dost, my boy? Art cold?

Oh, I am cold myself.

Where is this straw, my fellow?

The art of our necessities is strange

and 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.

♪ He that has and a little tiny wit ♪

♪ With a heigh-ho

♪ The wind and the rain

♪ Must make content with his fortunes fit ♪

♪ For the rain it raineth every day ♪

Bring us to this hovel.

Alack, alack, Edmund.

I like not this unnatural dealing.

When I desire their leave that I might pity him,

they took from me the use of mine own house,

charged me on pain of perpetual displeasure

neither to speak of him, entreat for him nor any way sustain him!

Most savage and unnatural!

Go to, say you nothing.

There is division between the dukes.

And a worse matter than that,

I have received a letter this night.

'Tis dangerous to be spoken.

I have locked the letter in my closet.

These injuries the king now bears will be revenged home.

There is part of a power already footed.

We must incline to the king.

I will go look for 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.

If I die for it, as no less is threatened me,

the king, my old master, must be relieved.

There is strange things, toward, Edmund.

Pray you, be careful.


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.

Here is the place, my lord!

Good, my lord, enter here!

The tyranny of the open night's too rough for nature to endure.

Let me alone.

Good, my lord, enter here!

Wilt break my heart?

I would rather break my own. Good, my lord, enter.

Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm

invades us to the skin.

So 'tis to thee.

But where the greater malady is fixed,

the lesser is scare felt.

Thou'dst shun a bear, but if thy flight

lay toward the roaring sea, thou'dst meet the i' th' teeth.

When the mind's free, the body's delicate.

The tempest in my mind doth from my senses

take all feelings else save what beats there, filial ingratitude.

Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand

for lifting food to it?

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.



That way madness lies.

Let me shun that.

No more of that.

Good my lord, enter here.

I prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease.

This tempest will not give me lead to ponder on things

will hurt me more, but I'll go in!

In, boy. Go first, you houseless poverty.

Nay, get thee in.

I'll pray, then I'll sleep.


Poor, naked wretches,

whereso'er you are,

that bide the pelting of this pitiless storm.

How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,

your looped and windowed raggedness,

defend you from seasons such as these?

Oh, 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 heaves more just.


The foul fiend follows me!

Through the sharp hawthorn blow the winds!


Go to thy bed and warm thee.

Didst thou give all to thy daughters,

and art thou come to this?

Who gives anything to Poor Tom,

whom the found 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 bridges to course his own shadow for a traitor?

Bless thy five wits.

Tom's a-cold.

Oh, do-de, do-de, do-de, do-de, do.

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!

Has his daughters brought him to this pass?

Couldst thou save nothing?

-Wouldst thou give 'em all? -Nay.

He reserved a blanket, else we had all been shamed.

Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air

hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!

He hath no daughters, sir.

Death, traitor!

Nothing could have subdued 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.

Pillicock sat on Pillicock Hill!

Alow! Alow!

Loo! Loo!

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

Take heed o' th' foul fiend.

Keep this year word's justice,

swear not, commit not with man's sworn spouse,

set not thy sweet heart on proud array.

Tom's a-cold.

Where hast thou been?

A servingman, proud in heart and mind,

that curled my hair, wore gloves in my cap,

served the lust of my mistress's 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 waked to do it.

Wine loved I deeply, dice dearly

and in woman outparamoured 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 brothels, thy hand out of plackets,

thy pen out of lenders' books

and defy the foul fiend!

Still through the hawthorn blows the wind,

says, "Summ, mun, nonny."

Dauphin, my boy, boy, cessez.

Let him trot by.

Thou wert better in a grave than to answer

with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.

Is man no more than this?

Consider him well.

Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide,

the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume.


Here are three of us are sophisticated.

Thou art the thing itself.

Unaccomodated man is no more but such a poor, bare,

forked animal as thou art.

Off, off, you lendings!

Come. Unbutton here.

Prithee, nuncle, be contented.

'Tis a naughty night to swim in.

Now -- 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!

This is foul Flibbertigibbet!

He begins at curfew and walks 'til 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 creatures of the earth!

Swithold footed thrice the old.

He met the nightmare and her ninefold,

bid her alight and troth her plight!

And aroint thee, witch!

-Aroint thee! -How fares your grace?

What's he?

Who's there? What is it you seek?

What are you there? Your names?

Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog,

the toad, the tadpole, the wall newt, and the water.

That in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages,

eats cow dung for salads,

swallows the old rather than and the ditch-dog,

drinks the green mantle of the standing pool.

Who is whipped from tithing to tithing and stocked,

punished, and imprisoned.

Who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body.

Horse to ride and weapon 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!

What, hath your grace no better company?


The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.

Modo he's called, and Mahu!

Our flesh and blood, my lord,

is grown so vile that it doth hate what gets it.

-Tom's a-cold! -Go in with me.

My duty cannot suffer to obey

in all your daughters' hard commands,

though their injunction be to bar my doors

and let this tyrannous night take hold upon.

Yet have I ventured to come seek you out

and bring you where both fire and food is ready.

First, let me talk with this philosopher.

What is the cause of thunder?

Good my lord, take his offer. Go into the house.

I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.

What is your study?

How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin!

Let me ask you one word in private.

Importune him once more to go, my lord!

-His wits begin to unsettle. -Canst thou blame him?

His daughters seek his death!

Ah, that good Kent. Poor, banished man.

He said it would be thus.

Thou say'st the king grows mad.

I'll tell thee, friend.

I am almost mad myself. I had a son.

Now outlawed from my blood. He sought my life.

But lately, friend, very lately, I loved him.

No father his son dearer.

Truth to tell thee, the grief hath crazed my wits!

Oh, what a night's this.

I do beseech your grace.

O, cry your mercy, sir.

Noble philosopher, your company.

-Tom's a-cold. -In, fellow.

There, into the hovel. Keep thee warm!

Come, let's in all.

-This way, my lord! -With him!

I will keep still with my philosopher.

Good my lord, soothe him. Let him take the fellow.

Take him you on. Sirrah, come on!

Go along with us.

Come, good Athenian.

No words! No words!


Child Roland to the dark tower came.

His word was still, "Fie, foh, fum.

I smell the blood of a British man."

I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.

How, me lord, I may be censured, that nature

thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.

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 reprovable badness in himself.

How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just!

This is the letter which 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!

Go with me to the duchess.

If the matter of this paper be certain,

you have mighty business in hand.

True or false, it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester.

Seek out where thy father is,

that he may be ready for our apprehension.

I will persevere in my course of loyalty,

though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.

I will lay trust upon thee,

and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love.

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.

[ Laughs ]

All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.

The gods reward your kindness!

Frateretto calls me then tells me

Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness.

Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman

be a gentleman or a yeoman?

A king! A king!

No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son,

for he is a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.

[ Hissing ]

To have a thousand red burning

spits come hissing in upon them.

The foul fiend bites my back!

He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf,

a horse's health, a boy's love or a whore's oath.

It shall be done.

I will arraign them straight.

Come, sit thou here, most learned justice.

Sapient sir, sit here.

Now, you she-foxes...

Look where he stands and glares!

Want'st thou eyes at trial, madam?

♪ Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me ♪

♪ Her boat hath a leak, she must not speak ♪

♪ Why she dare not come over to thee ♪

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.

How do you, sir?

Stand you not so amazed.

Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

I'll see their trial first.

Go, bring in the evidence.


Thou robed man of justice, take thy place.

And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, bench by his side.

You are o' the commission.

Sit you, too.

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


The cat is gray.

Arraign her first. 'Tis Goneril.

I take my oath before this honorable assembly,

kicked the poor king, her father.

Come you hither, mistress!

Is your name Goneril?

She cannot deny it.

Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

And here's another, whose warped looks proclaim

what store her heart is set on.

Ah! Stop her there!

Arms, arms, sword, fire, corruption in the place!

False justicer, why hast thou let her escape?

[ High-pitched voice ] Bless thy five wits!

O sir, where is that patience now,

you so oft have boasted to retain?

My tears begin to take his part so much,

they'll mar my counterfeiting.

The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch,

Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.

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, or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,

Tom will make them weep and wait.

For, with throwing thus my head,

dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.

[ Barking ]

Do-de, de-de!


Come, march to wakes and fairs and market towns.

Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

Then let them anatomize

Regan, see what breeds about her heart.

Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?

You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred,

only I do not like the fashion of your garments.

You will say they are Persian,

but let them be changed.

Good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

Make no noise. Make no noise.

Draw the curtains. So, so.

We'll go to supper in the morning.

And I'll go to bed at noon.

Come hither, friend! Where is the king, my master?

Here, sir, but trouble him not. His wits are gone.

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 it and drive toward 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.

Oppressed nature sleeps.

This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews,

which, if convenience will not allow, stand in hard cure.

Come, help to bear thy master.

Thou must not stay behind!

Come! Come! Away!

When we our betters see bearing our woes,

we scarcely think our miseries are foes.

Who alone suffers most in the mind,

leaving free things and happy shows behind.

But then the mind, much suffering doth o'er skip,

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.

What will hap more tonight, safe 'scape the king!

Lurk, lurk!


Post speedily to my lord, your husband.

Show him this letter. The army of France has landed.

Seek out the traitor Gloucester.

Hang him instantly!

Pluck out his eyes.

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.

Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.

Farewell, dear sister.

Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

How now! Where's the king?

My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.

Some five or six and thirty of his knights

are gone with him to Dover,

where they boast to have well-armed friends.

Get horses for your mistress.

Farewell, sweet lord and sister.

Edmund. Farewell.

Go! Seek the traitor Gloucester!

Pinion him like a thief! Bring him before us.

Though well we may not pass upon his life

without the form of justice,

yet our power shall do a curtsy to our wrath,

which men may blame, but not control.

Who's there, the traitor?

Ingrateful fox! 'Tis he.

Bind fast his corky arms!

What means your graces?

Good my friends, consider you are my guests.

Do me no foul play, friends!

-Bind him, I say! -Hard, hard!

Filthy traitor!

Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

Villain, thou shalt find --

By the kind gods,

'tis most ignobly done to pluck me by the beard!

So white, and such a traitor!

Naughty lady, these hairs,

which take out dost ravish from my chin,

will quicken and accuse thee.

With robbers' hands my hospitable favors

you should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

Be simple, answerer, for we know the truth.

And what confederacy have you with the traitors

late footed in the kingdom?

To whose hands you have sent the lunatic king?


I have a letter guessingly set down

that came from one that's of a neutral heart,

and not from one opposed.

-Cunning. -And false.

Where hast thou sent the king?

To Dover.

Wherefore to Dover?

Wast thou charged at peril...

Wherefore to Dover?

Let him answer that.

I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

Wherefore to Dover?

Because I would not see your 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 endured,

would have buoyed up and quenched the stelled fires.

Yet, poor old heart, he hope the heavens to rain.

If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,

thou shouldst have said, "Good porter, turn the key!"

All cruels else subscribed!

Ah, but I shall see the winged vengeance

overtake such children.

See it shalt thou never.

Fellows, hold him there.

Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my mark.

He that will think to live till he be old, give me some help!

O cruel!




One side will mock another.

The other, too.

If you see vengeance...

Hold you hand, my lord!

I have served you ever since I was a child,

but better service have I never done you

than now to bid you hold.

How now, you dog!

If you did wear a beard upon your chin,

I'd shake it on this quarrel.

What do you mean?

-My villain! -Nay, then.

Come on, and take the chance of anger!

A peasant stand up thus!

Ah! I am slain!


My lord, you have one eye left to see some mischief on him!

Lest it see more, prevent it!

Out, vile jelly!



Where is thy luster now?

Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature

to avenge this horrid act.

Out, treacherous villain!

Thou call'st on him that hates thee.

It was he that made the overture of thy treason to us,

who is too good to pity thee!

[ Crying ]

O my follies.

Then Edgar was abused.

Kind gods, forgive me that and prosper him!

Go! Thrust him out at gates,

and let him smell his way to Dover.

How is't with you, my lord? How look you?

I have received 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.

Yet better thus, and known to be condemned,

than still condemned and flattered.

To be worst, the lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,

stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.

The lamentable change is from the best.

The worst returns to laughter.

Welcome, then, thou unsubstantial air

that I embrace.

The wretch that thou hast blown

unto the worst owes nothing to thy blasts.

But who comes here? Aah.

My father, poorly led?

World, world, o world.

But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,

life would not yield to age.

O, my good lord, I have been your tenant

and your father's tenant these fourscore years.

Away, get the away. Good friend, be gone.

Thy comforts can do me no good at all.

-Thee they may hurt. -You cannot see your way.

I have no way, and therefore want no eyes.

I stumbled when I saw.

Fill oft 'tis seen, our means secure us,

and our mere defects prove our commodities.

O dear son Edgar,

the food of thy abused father's wrath!

Might I but live to see thee in my touch,

I'd say I had eyes again!


How now! Who's there?

O gods!

Who is't can say "I am at the worst"?

I am worse than e'er I was.

'Tis poor, mad Tom.

And worse I may be yet.

The worst is not so long as we can say,

"This is the worst."

Fellow, where goest?

Is it a beggar-man?

Madman and beggar, too.

He has some reason, else he could not beg.

In the 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 the gods.

They kill us for their sport!

How should this be?

Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,

angering itself and others.

Bless thee, master!

Is that the naked fellow?

Aye, my lord.

Then, prithee, get thee gone.

If, for my sake, thou wilt o'ertake us,

hence a mile or twain, in the way toward Dover,

do it for ancient love and bring some covering

for this naked soul, which I'll entreat to lead me.

Alack, sir, he is mad!

'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind.

Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.

Above the rest, be gone.

I'll bring him the best 'parel I have, come on it what will.


Naked fellow!

Poor Tom's a-cold.

I cannot daub it further.

Come hither, fellow!

And yet I must.

Bless thy sweet eyes!

They bleed!

Know'st thou the way to Dover?

Both stile and gate, horse-way and footpath.

Poor Tom hath been scared out of his five wits.

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 moping and mowing,

who since possesses chambermaids and waiting-women.

So, bless thee, master!

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 power quickly!

So distribution should undo excess,

and and each man have enough.

Dost thou know Dover?

Aye, master!

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.

Give me thy arm.

Poor Tom shall lead thee.


Welcome, my lord.

I marvel our mild husband not met us on the way.

Now, where's your master?

Madam, within, but never man so changed.

I told him of the army that was landed.

He smiled at it. I told him you were coming.

His answer was, "The worse,"

of Gloucester's treachery and of the loyal service of his son.

When I informed him, then he called me sot and told me

I had turned the wrong side out.

What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him,

what, like, offensive.

Then shall you go no further.

It is the cowish terror of his spirit that dares not undertake.

He'll not feel wrongs which tie him to an answer.

Back, Edmund, to my brother,

hasten his musters and conduct his powers.

I must change names at home

and give the distaff into my husband's hands.

This trusty servant shall pass between us.

Ere long you are like to hear,

if you dare venture in your own behalf,

a mistress's command,

wear this.

Spare speech.

Decline your head.

This kiss, if it durst speak,

would stretch thy spirits up into the air.

Conceive, and fare thee well.

Yours in the ranks of death.

Oh, my most dear Gloucester!

Oh, the difference of man and man!

To thee a woman's services are due.

My fool usurps my body.

Madam, here comes my lord.

I have been worth the whistle.

Goneril, you are not worth the dust

which the rude wind blows in your face.

[ Laughs ]

I fear your disposition.

That nature, which contemns its origin,

cannot be bordered certain in itself.

She that herself will sliver and disbranch

from her material sap perforce

must wither and come to deadly use.

No more, the text is foolish.

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.

Filths savor but themselves.

What have you done?

Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?

A father and a gracious aged man,

whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick,

most barbarous, most degenerate!

Have you madded?

Could my good brother suffer you to do it?

A man, a prince, by him so benefited.

If that the heavens do not their visible spirits

send quickly down to tame these vile offenses, it will come.

Humanity must perforce prey on itself

like monsters of the deep.

Milk-livered man that bearest a cheek for blows,

a head for wrongs, who hast not in thy brows

an eye discerning thine honor from thy suffering

that not knowest fools do those villains pity

who are punished ere they have done their mischief.

Where's thy drum?

France spreads his banners in our noiseless land.

With plumed helm thy space begins to threat

whilest thou, a moral fool,

sits still and cries, "Alack, why does it so?"

See thyself, devil!

Proper deformity seems not in the fiend so horrid as in woman.

Oh, vain fool!

Thou changed and self-covered thing,

for shame, be-monster not thy feature.

Were't my fitness to let these hands obey my blood,

they are apt enough to dislocate and tear thy flesh and bones.

However thou art a fiend,

a woman's shape doth shield thee.

Marry, your manhood.

[ Meows ]

What news?

Oh, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall is dead,

slain by his servant,

going to put out the other eye of Gloucester.

Gloucester's eyes!

A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,

opposed against the act,

bending his sword to his great master,

who thereat enraged, flew on him and amongst them felled him dead

but not without that harmful stroke,

which since hath plucked him after.

This shows you are above, you justicers,

that these our nether crimes so speedily can venge,

but, oh poor Gloucester, lost he his other eye?

Both, both, my lord.

This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.

'Tis from your sister.

One way I like this well, but being widow and my Edmond

with her may all the building in my fancy

pluck upon my hateful life.

Another way, the news is not so tart.

I'll read and answer.

Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

-Come with your lady hither. -He is not here.

No, my good lord, I met him back again.

Knows he the wickedness?

Ay, my good lord, 'twas he informed against him

and quit the house on purpose that their punishment

might have the freer course.

Gloucester, I live to thank thee for the love

thou showedst the king and to revenge thine eyes.

Come hither, friend. Tell me what more thou knowest.


Why is the King of France so suddenly gone back?

Something he left imperfect in the state,

and his personal return

was most required and necessary.

Did your letters pierce the queen

to any demonstration of grief?

Ay, sir, she took them, read them in my presence,

and now and then, an ample tear trilled down her delicate cheek.

It seemed she was a queen over her passion

who, most rebel-like, sought to be king o'er her.

Made she no verbal question?

Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of father,

pantingly forth, as if it pressed her heart,

cried, "Sisters! Sisters! Shame of ladies! Sisters!"

And then away she started to deal with grief alone.

It is the stars.

The stars above us govern our conditions.

Else, one self mate and mate

could not beget such different issues.

Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear is in the town

and by no means will yield to see his daughter.

Why, good sir?

His own unkindness that turned her to foreign casualties

gave her dear rights to his dog-hearted daughters.

These things sting his mind so venomously.

Alack, poor gentleman!

Well, sir, I'll take you to our master Lear

and leave you to attend him.

Some dear cause must in concealment wrap me up awhile.


Alack, 'tis he.

Why, he was met even now, as mad as the vexed sea,

singing aloud, crowned with rank fumiter

and furrow-weeds with hard-docks, hemlock,

nettles, cuckoo-flowers, Darnel and all the idle weeds

that grow in our sustaining corn.

A century sent forth.

Search every acre of our high-grown field,

and bring him to our eye.

What can man's wisdom in the restoring

his bereaved sense?

He that helps him take all my outward worth.

There is means, madam.

Our foster-nurse of nature is repose, the which he lacks.

That to provoke in him are many simples operative,

whose power will close the eye of anguish.

All blessed secrets,

all you unpublished virtues of the earth,

spring with my tears!

Be aidant, and remediate the good man's distress!


Seek for him, lest his ungoverned rage dissolve

the life that wants the means to lead it.

News, madam, the British powers are marching hitherward.

'Tis known before.

Our preparation stands in expectation of them.

Oh, my dear father, it is thy business that I go about.

No blown ambition doth our arms incite

but love, dear love and our aged father's right,

Soon may I hear and see him!


But are my brother's powers set forth?

-Ay, madam. -Himself in person there?

Madam, with much ado,

your sister is the better soldier.

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

No, madam.

What might import my sister's letter to him?

I know not, lady.

Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.

It was great ignorance,

Gloucester's eyes being out, to let him live.

Where he arrives, he moves all hearts against us.

Edmund, I think, is gone in pity of his misery

to dispatch his nighted life, moreover,

to descry the strength of the enemy.

Madam, I must needs after him with my letter.

Our troops set forth tomorrow.

Stay with us.

-The ways are dangerous. -I may not.

My lady charged my duty in this business.

Why should she write to Edmund?

Might not you transport her purposes by word?

Belike some things, I know not what.

I'll love thee much.

-Let me unseal the letter. -I had rather...

I know your lady does not love her husband.

I am sure of that, and at her late being here,

as she gave strange glances

and most speaking looks to noble Edmund.

I know you are of her bosom.

I, madam?

I speak in understanding. You are. I know it.

Therefore, I do advise you take this note.

My lord is dead.

Edmund and I have talked, and more convenient

is he for my hand than for your lady's.

You may gather more.

If you do find him, pray you, give him this,

and when my sister learns thus much of you, pray,

desire her call her wisdom to her so fare you well.

If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,

preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

Would I could meet him, madam!

I would show which party I do follow.


When shall I come to the top of that same hill?

You do climb up it now. Look how we labor.

Methinks the ground is even.

Horrible steep, hark, do you hear the sea?

No, truly.

Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect

by your eyes' anguish.

So may it be indeed.

Methinks thy voice is altered,

and thou speakest in better phrase

and matter than thou didst.

You're much deceived.

In nothing am I changed but in my garments.

Methinks you're better spoken.

Come on, sir. Here is the place.

-[ Gasps ] -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 samphire,

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,

diminished to her cock, her cock,

a buoy almost too small for sight.

I'll look no more, lest my brain turn

and the deficient sight topple me down headlong.

Set me where you stand.

Give me your hand. Ah, ah, ah, ah.

You are now within a foot of the extreme verge.

For all beneath the moon would I not leap upright.

Let go my hand. Here, friend,

's 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.

Now fare you well, good sir.

With all my heart.

Why I do trifle thus with his despair is done to cure it.

Oh, you mighty gods, 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, oh, bless him!

Now, friend, fare thee well.

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?

Mm. Away, and let me die.

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer,

feathers, air, so many fathom down precipitating,

thou'dst shivered like an egg,

but thou dost breathe, hast heavy substance,

bleedest not, speakest, art sound.

Ten masts at each make not the altitude

which thou hast perpendicularly fell.

Thy life is a miracle.

Speak yet again.

But have I fallen or no?

From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.

Look up a-height.

The shrill-gorged lark so far cannot be seen or heard.

-Do but look up. -Alack, I have no eyes.

Is wretchedness deprived that benefit to end itself by death?

'Twas yet some comfort when misery could beguile

the tyrant's rage and frustrate his proud will.

Oh, give me your arm, up,

so how is it with you?

Feel you your legs? You stand.

Too well, too well.

This is above all strangeness.

Upon the crown of the cliff,

what thing was that which parted from you?

A poor unfortunate beggar.

As I stood here below,

methought his eyes were two full moons.

He had a thousand noses,

horns whelked and waved like the enridged sea.

It was some fiend.

Therefore, thou happy father, think that the clearest gods

that make them honors of men's impossibilities

have preserved thee.

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.

Bear free and patient thoughts,

but who comes here?

The safer sense will ne'er accommodate his master thus.

No, they cannot touch me for coining.

I am the king himself.

Oh, thou side-piercing sight!

[ Kisses ]

Nature is above art in that respect.

There's your press-money.

This fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper.

Draw me a clothier's yard.

Come. Look.

Look, a mouse, peace, peace.

This piece of toasted cheese will do it.

[ Tongue clicking ]

There's my gauntlet.

I'll prove it on a giant.

Bring up the brown bills.

Well flown, bird, i' the clout, i' the clout,


give the word.

Sweet marjoram.


I know that voice.

Goneril, with a white beard,

they flattered me like a dog.

They told me I had the white hairs in my beard

ere the black ones were there,

to say ay and no to everything that I said.

Ay and no too was no good divinity.

When the rains 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 of their words.

They told me I was everything.

'Tis a lie. I am not ague-proof.

The trick of that voice I do well remember.

Is it not the king?

Ay, every inch a king,

when I do stare, see how the subject quakes.

I pardon that man's life.

What was thy cause, adultery?

Oh. Thou shalt not die.

Die for adultery, no, the wren goes to it,

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 it, luxury, pell-mell,

for I lack soldiers.

Behold yond simpering dame

whose face between her forks presages snow,

that minces virtue and does shake the head

to hear of pleasure's name.

The fitchew nor the soiled horse

goes to it 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 fiends'.

Ooh. There is hell.

There is darkness.

There is a sulfurous pit burning,

scalding, stench,

consumption, fie, fie, fie! Yuck, yuck.

Give me an ounce of civet,

good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.

There's money for thee.

Oh, let me kiss that hand!

Let me wipe it first. It smells of mortality.

Oh, ruined piece of nature,

this great world shall so wear out to nought.

Dost thou know me?

I remember thine eyes well enough. [ Laughs ]

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.

Were all thy letters suns, I could not see.

I would not take this from report.

It is, and my heart breaks at it.

-Read. -What, with the case of eyes?

Oh, 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.

Ah, I see it feelingly.

What, art mad?

A man may see how this 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 the farmer's dog bark at a beggar?

Ay, sir.

And the creature run from the cur?

There mightst thou behold the great image of authority.

A dog is obeyed in office.

Oh, thou rascal beadle,

hold thy bloody hand!

Why dost thou lash that whore?

Strip thine own back.

Thou hotly lust to use her

in that kind for which thou whippest her.

The usurer hangs the cozener. [ Clicks tongue ]

Through tattered clothes small vices do appear.

Robes and furred gowns hide all.

Plate sin with gold.

The strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.

Arm it in rags.

A pigmy's straw does pierce it.

None does offend.

None, I say, none. I'll able 'em.

Take that of me, my friend,

who have the power to seal the accuser's lips.

Get thee glass eyes and like the scurvy politician,

seem to see the things thou dost not.

Pull off my boots, harder, harder so.

Oh, matter and impertinency mixed, reason in madness!

If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.

O I know thee well enough.

Thy name is Gloucester.

Thou must be patient.

We came crying hither. Thou know'st.

When the we smell the air, we wawl and cry.

-I will preach to thee, mark. -Alack, alack the day!

When we are born, we cry that we are come

to this great stage of fools.

This a good block.

It is a delicate stratagem to shoe a troop of horse with felt.

I'll put in proof, and when I have stolen upon

these son-in-laws,

then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Oh here he is. Lay hand upon him.

Sir, your most dear --

What, no rescue? What, a prisoner?

I am even the natural fool of fortune.

Use me well.

You shall have ransom.

Let me have surgeons.

I am cut to the brains.

You shall have anything.

What, no seconds? All myself?

Why, this would make a man a man of salt to use his eyes

for garden water-pots, ay, and laying autumn's dust.


I will die bravely, like the smug bridegroom.

What! I will be jovial.

Come. Come.

I'm a king,

Masters, know you that.

You are a royal one, and we obey you.

Ooh! Then there's life in it.

Come, and you get it.

You shall get it by running.

Hail, gentle sir.

Sir, speed you, what's your will?

Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Most sure and vulgar,

every one hears that which can distinguish sound.

But by your favor, how near is the other army?

Near and on speedy foot,

the main descry stands on the hourly thought.

I thank you, sir. That's all.

You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me.

Let not my worser spirit tempt me again

to die before you please!

Well pray you, father.

Now, sir, what are you?

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.

Hearty thanks, the bounty and the benison of heaven

to boot and boot!

Proclaimed prize, most happy, that eyeless head of thine

was first framed flesh to raise my fortune.

Thou old unhappy traitor, briefly thyself remember.

The sword is out that must destroy thee.

Now let thy friendly hand put strength enough to it.

Wherefore, bold peasant,

darest thou support a published traitor?

Hence, lest that the infection of his fortune

take like hold on thee, let go his arm.

Shall not let go, sir, without further occasion.

Let go, slave, or thou diest!

Like a good gentleman, go your gait,

and let poor folk pass.

I could have been swaggered out of my life.

'Twould not have been so long as 'tis by a fortnight.

Nay, come not near the old man.

Keep out, che vor ye, or I'll try whether your costard

or my ballow be the harder to be plain with you.

Out, dunghill!

Shall pick your teeth, sir, no matter for your foins.



Slave, thou hast slain me.

Villain, take my purse.

If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body,

and give the letters which thou findest about me to Edmund,

Earl of Gloucester.

Seek him out upon the British party.

I know thee well, a serviceable villain,

as duteous to the vices of thy mistress

as badness would desire.

-What, is he dead? -Sit you down, father.

Rest you.

The letter that he speaks of may be my friend.

Let us see. He's dead.

I'm only sorry he had no other death's-man.

Leave, gentle wax and manners,

blame us not to know our enemies' minds.

We'ld rip their hearts. Their papers, is more lawful.

"Let our reciprocal vows be remembered.

If your will want not,

time and place will be fruitfully offered.

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, your wife,

so I would say, affectionate servant, Goneril."

Oh, undistinguished 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 murderous lechers

and in the mature time with this ungracious paper

strike the sight of the death practiced duke.

For him 'tis well that of thy death and business I can tell.

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 severed from my griefs

and woes by wrong imaginations

lose the knowledge of themselves.

Give me your hand.

Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum.

Come, father.

I'll bestow you with a friend.


O thou good Kent, how shall I live

and work to match thy goodness?

My life shall be too short and every measure fail me.

To be acknowledged, madam, is overpaid.

Be better suited.

These weeds are memories of those worser hours.

I prithee, put them off.

Pardon, dear madam.

Yet to be known shortens my made intent.

My boon I make it that you know me not

'till time and I think meet.

Then be it so, my good lord.

How does the king?

Madam, sleeps still.

Oh, you kind gods, cure this great breach

in his abused nature!

The untuned and jarring senses, oh,

wind up in this child-changed father!

So please your majesty that we may wake the king?

He hath slept long.

Be governed by your knowledge,

and proceed in the sway of thine own will.

Is he arrayed?

Ay, madam, in the heaviness of his sleep,

we put fresh garments on him.

Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.

I doubt not of his temperance.

Very well.

Please you, draw near, louder the music there!


Oh, 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!

Had you not been their father,

these white flakes had challenged pity of them.

Was this a face to be opposed against the jarring winds,

to stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder

and the most terrible and nimble stroke 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,

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.

Madam, do you. 'Tis fittest.

How does my royal lord?

How fares your majesty?

You do me wrong to take me out of the 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.

Sir, do you know me?


You are a spirit.

I know.

Where did you die?

Still, still, far wide!

He's scarce awake.

Let him alone awhile.

Where have I been?

Where am I?

Fair daylight?

Oh, I am mightily abused.

I should e'en die with pity to see another thus.

I know not what to say.

I will not swear these are my hands.


Would I were assured of my condition.

Oh, look upon me, sir, and hold your hands in benediction

o'er me.

You must not kneel.

I pray.

[ Grunts ]

I am a very foolish fond old man.

Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less,

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

of what place this is, and all the skill

I have 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.

I am. I am.

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.

No cause, no cause.

Am I in France?

In your own kingdom, sir.

Do not abuse me.

Be comforted, good madam.

The great rage, you see, is killed 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 until further settling.

Will it please your highness walk?

You must bear with me.

I pray you now, forget and forgive.

I am old and foolish.

It is time to look about.

The powers of the kingdom approach apace.

The argument is like to be bloody.

Fare you well, sir.

My point and period will be throughly wrought or well

or ill as this day's battle is fought.


Know of Albany if his last purpose hold

or whether since he is advised by aught to change the course.

He's full of alteration and self-reproving.

Bring his constant pleasure.

Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.

It is to be doubted, madam.

Now, my sweet lord, you know the goodness I intend upon you.

Tell me but truly, but then speak the truth,

do you not love my sister?

In honored love.

But have you never found my brother's way

to the forfended place?

That thought abuses you.

I am fearful that you have been conjunct

and bosomed with her as far as we call hers.

-No, by mine honor, madam. -I shall never endure her.

Oh, dear my lord, be not familiar with her.

Fear me not.

She and the duke her husband.

I had rather lose the battle

than that sister should loosen him and me.

Our very loving sister, well bemet.

Sir, this I heard, the king is come to Cordelia with others

whom the rigor of our state forced to cry out.

Where I could not be honest I never yet was valiant.

For this business, it touches us as France invades our land,

not bolds the king with others whom I fear have just

and heavy causes to oppose us.

Sir, you speak nobly.

Why is this reasoned?

Combine together against the enemy

for these domestic and particular broils

are not the question here.

Then determine with the ancient of war on our proceedings.

Sister, you'll go with us?

-No. -'Tis most convenient.

Pray you, go with us.

Oh ho, I know the riddle. I will go.

If ever your grace had speech with man so poor,

hear me one word.

I'll overtake you. Speak.

Before you fight the battle, open this letter.

If you have victory, let the trumpet

sound for him that brought it.

Wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion

that will prove what is avouched there.

Fortune love you.

Stay until I have read your letter. I was forbid it.

When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,

and I'll appear again. -Why, fare thee well.

I will overlook thy paper.

The enemy is in view. Draw up your powers.

Here is the guess of their true strength

and forces by diligent discovery,

but your haste is now urged on you.

We will greet the time.


To both these sisters have I sworn my love,

each jealous of the other as the stung are of the adder.

Which one shall I take,

both, one, or neither?

Neither can be enjoyed if both remain alive.

To take the widow exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril,

and hardly shall I carry out my side,

her husband being alive.

Now, then, we'll use his countenance for the battle,

which being done, let her who would be rid of him

devise his speedy taking off.

As for the mercy which he intends to Lear

and to Cordelia, the battle done and they within our power

shall never see his pardon,

for my state stands on me to defend, not to debate.


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.

Grace go with you, sir.


Away, old man.

Give me your hand. Away!

King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter taken.

Give me your hand. Come on.

Ah, no further, sir.

A man may rot even here.

What, in ill thoughts again?

Men must endure their going hence

even as their coming hither.

Ripeness is all. Come on.

And that's true too.


Some officers take them away.

Good guard until their greater pleasures

first be known that are to censure them.

We are not the first who, with the best meaning,

have incurred the worst.

For thee, oppressed King, I am cast down.

Myself could else outfrown false fortune's frowns.

Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?

Oh, no, no, no.

Come, let's away to prison.

We two alone will sing like birds in the cage.

When thou dost ask me blessing,

I'll kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness,

so we'll live and pray

and sing and tell old tales

and laugh at gilded butterflies

and hear poor rogues talk of court news,

and we'll talk with them too, who loses and who wins,

who's in, who's out and take upon us

the mystery of things

as if we were God's spies,

and we'll wear out in a walled prison packs

and sects of great ones that ebb and flow by the moon.

Take them away!

Upon such sacrifices, my dear Cordelia,

the gods themselves throw incense.

Have I caught thee?

He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven

and fire us hence like fox fires.

Wipe thine eyes.

The good years shall devour them,

flesh and fell, ere they shall make us weep.

We'll see them starved first.


Come hither, captain. Hark.

Take thou this note. Go follow them to prison.

One step I have advanced thee.

If thou dost as this instructs thee,

thou dost make thy way to noble fortunes.

Know thou this, that men are as the time is.

To be tender-minded does not become a sword.

Thy great employment will not bear question.

Either say thou will do it or thrive by other means.

I'll do it, my lord.

About it, and write happily when thou is done.

Mark, I say, instantly and carry it

so as I have set it down.

I cannot draw a cart nor eat dried oats.

If it be man's work, I'll do it.


Sir, you have shown today your valiant strain,

and fortune led you well.

You have the captives who were the opposites

of this day's strife. I do require them of you.

Sir, they're ready tomorrow at further space

to appear where you shall hold your session.

At this time we sweat and bleed.

The friend hath lost his friend,

and the best quarrels, in the heat,

are cursed by those that feel their sharpness.

The question of Cordelia and her father requires a fitter place.

Sir, by your patience, I hold you

but a subject of this war, not as a brother.

That's as we list to grace him.

Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded

ere you had spoke so far.

He led our powers,

bore the commission of my place and person.

The which immediacy may well stand up

and call itself your brother.

Not so hot.

In his own grace he doth exalt himself

more than in your addition.

In my rights, by me invested, he compeers the best.

That were the most if he should husband you.

Jesters do often prove prophets.

Ha! That eye that told you so looked but asquint.

Lady, I am not well, else I should answer

from a full-flowing stomach.

General, take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony.

Dispose of them, of me. The walls is thine.

Witness the world that I create thee here, my lord and master.

Mean you to enjoy him?

The let-alone lies not in your good will.

-Nor in thine, lord. -Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Let the drum strike and prove my title thine.

Stay yet. Hear reason.

Edmund, I arrest thee on capital treason

and in thine attaint this gilded serpent.

For your claim, fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife.

'Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,

and I, her husband, contradict your bans.

If you will marry, make your loves to me.

My lady is bespoke.

Ha! An interlude!

Thou art armed, Gloucester.

Let the trumpet sound.

If none appear to prove upon thy person

thy heinous, manifest and many treasons, there is my pledge.

I'll make it on thy heart, ere I taste bread,

thou art in nothing less than I have here proclaimed thee.

Sick, oh, sick.

If not, I'll never trust medicine.

[ Spits ] There's my exchange.

What in the world hears that names me traitor,

villainlike he lies.

Call by the trumpet.

He that dares approach on him, on you, who not,

I'll maintain my truth and honor firmly.

-A herald, ho. -A herald, ho, a herald!

-My sickness grows upon -- -She is not well.

Convey her to my tent.

Come hither, herald.

Let the trumpet sound and read out this.

Trumpet, sound.

[ Trumpet blows ]

If any man of quality or degree

within the list of the army will maintain upon Edmund,

supposed Earl of Gloucester, that he is a manifold traitor,

let him appear by the third sound of the trumpet.

He is bold in his defense.


[ Trumpet blows ]


[ Trumpet blows ] -Again.

[ Trumpet blows ]

Ask him his purposes,

why he appears upon this call of the trumpet.

Your name, sir, your quality

and why you answer this present summons?

Know, my name is lost.

By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit.

Yet am I noble as the adversary I come to cope.

Which is that adversary?

What's he that speaks for Edmund, Earl of Gloucester?

Himself. What sayst thou to him?

Thou art a traitor, false to thy gods,

thy brother and my father,

conspirant against this high illustrious prince

and from the extremest upward of thy head

to the descent and dust below thy foot

a most toad-spotted traitor.

Say thou "No," this arm and my best spirits

are bent to prove against thy heart,

whereto I speak, thou liest.

Back do I toss these treasons to thy head,

with the hell-hated lie overwhelm thy heart,

which, for they yet glance scarcely bruise,

this arm of mine shall give them instant way,

where they shall rest forever.

Trumpets, speak!


[ Speaks indistinctly ]

[ Laughing ]

[ Sword thuds ]

[ Laughing ]

-Save him, save him! -Oh!

This is practice, Gloucester.

By the law of all thou wast not bound

to fight an unknown opposite.

Thou art not vanquished but cozened and beguiled.

Shut your mouth, dame, or with this paper will I stop it.

Hold, sir.

Thou worse than any name, read thine own evils.

-No! -No tearing, lady.

-I perceive you know it. -Say, if I do?

The laws are mine, not thine.

-Who can arraign me for it? -Most monstrous, oh!

Know'st thou this paper?

Ask me not what I know.

She's desperate. Go after her. Govern her.

What you have charged me with,

that I have done and more, much more.

The time will bring it out.

'Tis past, and so am I,

but what art thou that hast this fortune on me?

My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.

The gods are just and of our pleasant vices,

make instruments to plague us.

The dark and vicious place where thee he got cost him his eyes.

Thou hast spoken right.

It is true.

The wheel is come full circle.

I am here.

Let sorrow split my heart

if ever I did hate thee or thy father.

-Worthy prince, I know it. -Where have you hid yourself?

How have you known of the miseries of your father?

By nursing them, my lord.

Met I my father with his bleeding rings,

their precious stones new lost, became his guide, led him,

begged for him, saved him from despair.

Never, o fault, revealed myself unto him

until some half-hour past, when I was armed.

Not sure, though hoping of this good success,

I asked his blessing

and from first to last told him our pilgrimage.

But his flawed heart, alack, too weak

the conflict to support, 'twixt two extremes of passion,

joy and grief, burst smilingly.

This speech of yours hath moved me

and shall perchance do good.

-Help, help, oh, help! -Speak, man.

What means this bloody knife?

'Tis hot, smokes.

Came even from the heart.

-Oh, she's dead! -Who's dead?

Speak, man.

Your lady, sir, your lady

and her sister by her is poisoned.

She confesses it.

I was contracted to them both.

All three now marry in an instant.

[ Crying ]

This judgement of the heavens that makes us tremble

touches us not with pity.

I am come to bid my king and master aye good night.

-Is he not here? -Great thing of us forgot!

Speak, Edmund, where's the king, and where's Cordelia?

Yet Edmund was beloved.

The one the other poisoned for my sake and after slew herself.

I pant for life.

Some good I mean to do despite of mine own nature.

Quickly send, be brief in it to the castle, for my writ

is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia.

Take my sword. Give it the captain.

-Run, run, oh, run! -Haste thee for thy life.

He hath commission from thy wife and me

to hang Cordelia in the prison and to lay the blame

upon her own despair, that she fordid herself.

The gods defend her!

Bear him hence awhile.

Howl, howl, howl.

You are men of stones.

Had I your tongues and eyes,

I'd use them so that

heaven's vault would crack.

Oh, she's gone forever.

I know when one is dead and when one lives.

She's dead as earth.

Lend me your looking glass.

If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,

well, then, she lives.

Is this the promised end?

[ Gasps ] This feather stirs.

She lives.

If it be so, it is a chance that does redeem

all sorrows that ever I have felt.

O my good master!

Prithee, away.

A plague upon you, murderers,

traitors all.

I might have saved her.

Now she's gone forever.

Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little.

Ha? What is it thou say'st?

Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low,

an excellent thing in woman.

I killed the slave that was a-hanging thee.

'Tis true, my lords, he did.

Did I not so, fellow?

I have seen the day with my good biting falchion

I could have made them skip.

I am old now,

and these same crosses spoil me.

Who are you?

My eyes are not of the best, I'll tell you straight.

If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,

one of them we behold.

This is a dull sight.

Are you not Kent?

The same, your servant Kent.

Where is your servant Caius?

He's a good fellow, I'll tell you that.

He would strike and quickly, too.

-He's dead and rotten. -No, my lord.

I am the very man.

I'll see that straight.

That from your first of difference

and decay have followed your sad steps.

You're welcome, hither.

Nor no man else.

All is cheerless, dark and deadly.

Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves

and desperately are dead.

Ay, so I think.

You lords and noble friends, know our intent.

What comfort to this great decay may come shall be applied.

For us, we will resign during the life of this old majesty

to him our absolute power.

You, to your rights with boot and such addition

as your virtues, have more than merited.

All friends shall taste the wages of...

Oh, see, see.

And my poor fool is hanged.

No, no, no life?

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life

and thou no breath at all?

Thou'lt come no more, never,

never, never, never, ever, ever.

I pray you,

undo this button.

Thank you, sir.

Do you see this?

Look on her.

Look, her lips.

-Look there, look there. -He faints!

My lord, my lord!

Break, heart. I prithee, break!

[ Gasps ]


Look up, my lord.

Vex not his ghost. Oh, let him pass.

He hates him that would upon the rack of this tough world

stretch him out longer.

He is gone, indeed.

The wonder is he hath endured so long.

He but usurped his life.

Our present business is general woe.

Friends of my soul,

you twain rule in this realm,

and the gored state sustain.

I have a journey, sir, shortly to go.

My master calls me.

I must not say no.

The weight of this sad time we must obey.

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

The oldest hath borne most.

We that are young

shall never see so much nor live so long.


[ Applause ]

Man: Bravo!

[ Whistling, applause ]

Man: This series is made possible

by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

and Exxon Corporation.

"King Lear," like much of Shakespeare's work,

is a multifaceted drama that continues to bear new readings

with each subsequent viewing

and remains relevant to this day.

We hope you enjoyed this unforgettable

performance of "King Lear."

We'll see you next time on the "All Arts Vault."


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