William Shakespeare: King Lear, Act IV, Scene VII
Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Doctor
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work, To match thy goodness? My life will be too short, And every measure fail me.
To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid. All my reports go with the modest truth; Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
Pardon me, 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.
O you kind gods, Cure this great breach in his abused nature! The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up Of this child-changed father!
O 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 warring winds? To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder? In 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.
You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave: Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears Do scald like moulten lead.
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight? 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: let's see; I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured Of my condition!
O, look upon me, sir, And hold your hands in benediction o'er me: No, sir, you must not kneel.
Pray, do not mock me: 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 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.
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.
Be comforted, good madam: the great rage, You see, is kill'd 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 Till further settling.
Exeunt all but Kent and Gentleman