William Shakespeare: King Lear, Act III, Scene VI
Enter Gloucester, King Lear, Kent, Fool, and Edgar
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.
Frateretto calls me; and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son; for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
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 justicer;
To the Fool
Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she foxes!
Look, where he stands and glares! Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam? Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me,—
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.
I'll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence.
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;
To the Fool
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. Pur! the cat is gray.
Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor king her father.
And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim What store her heart is made on. Stop her there! Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place! False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?
Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you Curs, be thy mouth or black or white, Tooth that poisons if it bite; Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim, Hound or spaniel, brach or lym, Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail, Tom will make them weep and wail: For, with throwing thus my head, Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled. Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs And market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
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 attire: but let them be changed.
Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains: so, so, so. We'll go to supper i' he morning. So, so, so.
Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms; I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him: There is a litter ready; lay him in 't, And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master: If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life, With thine, and all that offer to defend him, Stand in assured loss: take up, take up; And follow me, that will to some provision Give thee quick conduct.
Oppressed nature sleeps: This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken senses, Which, if convenience will not allow, Stand in hard cure.
To the Fool
Come, help to bear thy master; Thou must not stay behind.
Exeunt all but Edgar
When we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers suffers most i' the mind, Leaving free things and happy shows behind: But then the mind much sufferance 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 father'd! Tom, away! Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray, When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee, In thy just proof, repeals and reconciles thee. What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the king! Lurk, lurk.