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A room in Gloster's castle.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND. Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that this treason were not, or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the duchess.
be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
Corn. True or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloster. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
Edm. [aside.] If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff his suspicion more fully.--I will persevere in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love.
A chamber in a farm-house adjoining the castle.
Glos. Here is better than the open air; take it thankfully: I will piece out the comfort with what addition I can: I will not be long from you.
Kent. All the power of his wits has given way to his impatience.-The gods reward your kindness!
[Exit Gloster. Edg. Frateretto calls me, and tells me, Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent,1 and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Pr’ythee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman?
Lear. A king, a king!
Fool. No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son; for he's mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits Come whizzing in upon
them! Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.
Fool. He's mad, that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath. Lear. It shall be done; I will arraign them
| Fools were formerly called innocents.
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer ;
[to Edgar. Thou, sapient sir, sit here. [to the Fool.]-Now,
you she foxes ! Edg. Look, where he stands and glares ! Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam ?
• Come o'er the bourn,1 Bessy, to me.' Fool. ·Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.' Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee. Kent, How do you, sir? Stand you not so
you lie down and rest upon the cushions ? Lear. I'll see their trial first : bring in the evi.
dence.Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;
[to Edgar. And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, [to the Fool. Bench by his side : you are of the commission. Sit you too.
[to Kent. Edg. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest, or wakest thou, jolly shepherd ?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
· Brook or rivulet.
And for one blast of thy minikin 1 mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.' Pur! the cat is gray.
Lear. Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honorable assembly, she kicked the poor king her father.
Fool. Come hither, mistress : is your name Goneril?
Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy; I took you for a jointstool. Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks
proclaim What store her heart is made of.–Stop her there ! Arms, arms, sword, fire !-Corruption in the place !False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?
Edg. Bless thy five wits !
Kent. O pity !—Sir, where is the patience now, That you so oft have boasted to retain ?
Edg. My tears begin to take his part so much, They 'll mar my counterfeiting.
[aside. Lear. The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.
Edg. Tom will throw his head at them.--Avaunt,
you curs !
* Be thy mouth or black or white,
1 Small. A term of endearment.
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.' Do de, de, de. Sessa. Come, march to wakes and fairs, and market towns.—Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
Lear. Then let them anatomise Regan, see what breeds about her heart: is there any cause in nature, that makes these hard hearts You, sir, I entertain you for one of
my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your garments : you will say, they are Persian attire; but let them be changed. [to Edgar.
Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here, and rest awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise ; draw the curtains : so, so, so :
i' the morning : so, so, so.
Fool. And I 'll go to bed at noon.
Glos. Come hither, friend : where is the king my
master ? Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not: his wits
1 A bracb signifies a bitch hound; a lym, a blood-hound.