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I will preserve my self: and am bethought
SCENE changes, again, to the Earl of
Glo ster's Castle.
Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman, Lear. T IS ftrange, that they should so depart from
Gent. As I learn'd,
Kent. Hail to thee, noble master!
Fool. Ha, ha, he wears cruel garters ; horses are ty'd by the heads, dogs and bears by th' neck, monkeys by th’ loins, and men by th’ legs ; when a man is over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden nether stocks.
Lear. What's he, that hath so much thy Place mistook, To set thee here?
Kent. It is both he and she,
Lear. They durst not do't.
Kent. My lord, when at their home I did commend your Highness' letters to them, Ere I was risen from the place, that shew'd My duty kneeling, came a reeking Post, Stew'd in his haste, half breathless, panting forth From Gonerill his mistress, falutation ; Deliver'd letters spight of intermiffion, Which presently they read : on whose contents They fummon'd up their meiny, ftrait took horse ; Commanded me to follow, and attend The leisure of their answer ; gave me cold looks ; And meeting here the other meslenger, Whose welcome, I perceiv'd, had poison'd mine ; (Being the very fellow, which of late Display'd so faucily against your Highness) Having more man than wit about me, I drew; He rais'd the house with loud and coward cries : Your son and daughter found this trespass worth The shame which here it suffers. Fool. Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese Ay that
way. Fathers, that wear rags, Do make their children blind ; But fathers, that bear bags, Shall see their children kind. Fortune, that arrant whore, Ne'er turns the key to th' poor. But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours from Thy dear daughters, as thou canst tell in a year.
Lear. Oh, how this mother swells up tow'rd my heart!
Kent. With the Earl, Sir, here within.
[Exit. Gen. Made you no more offence, But what you speak of ?
Kent. None.. How chance the King comes with so small a number?
Fool. An thou hadiť been set i'th' stocks for that queftion, thou'dft well deserved it.
Kent. Why, fool ?
Fool. We'll set thee to school to an Ant, to teach thee there's no lab'ring i' th' winter. All, that follow their noses are led by their eyes, buc blind men ; and there's not a nose among twenty, but can smell him that's stinking - let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, left it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes upward, let him draw thee after, When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again ; I would have none but knaves follow it, since a foo) gives it. That Sir, which serves for gain, And follows but for form, Will pack, when it begins to rain, And leave thee in the storm : But I will tarry, the fool will stay, And let the wise man fly : The knave turns fool, that runs away ; The fool no knave, perdy.
Kent. Where learn'd you this, fool ?
Enter Lear and Glo'fter.
You know the fiery quality of the Duke :
Lear. Vengeance! plague! death ! confusion !
Glo. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.'
Glo. I would have all well betwixt you. [Exit. Lear. Oh me, my heart! my rising heart! but down. Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the Eels, when she put them i' th' Pafty alive ; she rapt 'em o'th' coxcombs with a stick, and cry'd, down wantons, down ; 'Twas her brother, that in pure kindness to his horse butter'd his hay.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Glo'fter, and Servants.
Grace! [Kent is set at liberty.
Reg. Reg. I am glad to see your Highness.
Lear. Regan, I think, you are; I know, what reason I have to think fo ; if thou wert not glad, I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, Sepulchring an adult'ress. O, are you free? [To Kent. Some other time for that. Beloved Regan, Thy fifter's naught : oh Regan, she hath tied Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture here ;
[Points to his beart. I can scárce speak to thee; thou’lt not believe, With how deprav'd a quality - oh Regan!
Reg. I pray you, Sir, take patience ; I have Hope, You less know how to value her desert, Than she to scant her duty.
Lear. Say? How is that ?
Reg. I cannot think, my sister in the least
Lear. My curses on her!
Reg. O Sir, you are old,
Lear. Ask her forgiveness?
(9) Do you but mark how this becomes the House ?j This Phrase to me is unintelligible, and seems to say nothing to the purpose: Neither can it mean, as I conceive, how this becomes the Order of Families. Lear would certainly intend to reply, how does asking my Daughters Forgiveness become me as a Father, and agree with common Fashion, the eftablifh'd Rule and Custom of Nature? It seems, therefore, no Doubt to me, but the Poet wrote, as I have alter’d the Text. And that ShakeSpeare employs Vse in this signification, is too obvious to want a Proof.