William Shakespeare: King Lear, Act II, Scene III

Scene III

A wood

Enter Edgar

Edgar

I heard myself proclaim'd; And by the happy hollow of a tree Escaped the hunt. No port is free; no place, That guard, and most unusual vigilance, Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may 'scape, I will preserve myself: and am bethought To take the basest and most poorest shape That ever penury, in contempt of man, Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with filth; Blanket my loins: elf all my hair in knots; And with presented nakedness out-face The winds and persecutions of the sky. The country gives me proof and precedent Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices, Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary; And with this horrible object, from low farms, Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills, Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers, Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom! That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.

Exit