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Home > King Lear > ACT III - SCENE IV. The heath. Before a hovel.

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ACT III - SCENE IV. The heath. Before a hovel.
Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool

KENT
1    Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
2    The tyranny of the open night's too rough
3    For nature to endure.
Storm still

KING LEAR
4    Let me alone.
KENT
5    Good my lord, enter here.
KING LEAR
6    Wilt break my heart?
KENT
7    I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
KING LEAR
8    Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
9    Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
10   But where the greater malady is fix'd,
11   The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;
12   But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
13   Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the
14   mind's free,
15   The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
16   Doth from my senses take all feeling else
17   Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
18   Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
19   For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:
20   No, I will weep no more. In such a night
21   To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
22   In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
23   Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,--
24   O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
25   No more of that.
KENT
26   Good my lord, enter here.
KING LEAR
27   Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
28   This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
29   On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
To the Fool
30   In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty,--
31   Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
Fool goes in
32   Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
33   That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
34   How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
35   Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
36   From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
37   Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
38   Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
39   That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
40   And show the heavens more just.
EDGAR
Within
41    Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!
The Fool runs out from the hovel

Fool
42   Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit
43   Help me, help me!
KENT
44   Give me thy hand. Who's there?
Fool
45   A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.
KENT
46   What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
47   Come forth.
Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man

EDGAR
48   Away! the foul fiend follows me!
49   Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
50   Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
KING LEAR
51   Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
52   And art thou come to this?
EDGAR
53   Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
54   fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
55   through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and quagmire;
56   that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
57   in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
58   proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
59   four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
60   traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold,--O, do
61   de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
62   star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
63   charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
64   have him now,--and there,--and there again, and there.
Storm still

KING LEAR
65   What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
66   Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Fool
67   Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
KING LEAR
68   Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
69   Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
KENT
70   He hath no daughters, sir.
KING LEAR
71   Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
72   To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
73   Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
74   Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
75   Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
76   Those pelican daughters.
EDGAR
77   Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
78   Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!
Fool
79   This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
EDGAR
80   Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
81   keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
82   man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
83   array. Tom's a-cold.
KING LEAR
84   What hast thou been?
EDGAR
85   A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
86   my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
87   my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
88   her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
89   broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
90   slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
91   wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
92   out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
93   ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
94   wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
95   Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
96   silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
97   out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
98   from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.
99   Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
100  Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
101  Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.
Storm still

KING LEAR
102  Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
103  with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
104  Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
105  owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
106  no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
107  's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
108  unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
109  forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
110  come unbutton here.
Tearing off his clothes

Fool
111  Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night
112  to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were
113  like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the
114  rest on's body cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.
Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch

EDGAR
115  This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins
116  at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives
117  the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the
118  hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the
119  poor creature of earth.
120  S. Withold footed thrice the old;
121  He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
122  Bid her alight,
123  And her troth plight,
124  And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
KENT
125  How fares your grace?
KING LEAR
126  What's he?
KENT
127  Who's there? What is't you seek?
GLOUCESTER
128  What are you there? Your names?
EDGAR
129  Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad,
130  the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water; that in
131  the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages,
132  eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat and
133  the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the
134  standing pool; who is whipped from tithing to
135  tithing, and stock- punished, and imprisoned; who
136  hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his
137  body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
138  But mice and rats, and such small deer,
139  Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
140  Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!
GLOUCESTER
141  What, hath your grace no better company?
EDGAR
142  The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
143  Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
GLOUCESTER
144  Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
145  That it doth hate what gets it.
EDGAR
146  Poor Tom's a-cold.
GLOUCESTER
147  Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
148  To obey in all your daughters' hard commands:
149  Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
150  And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
151  Yet have I ventured to come seek you out,
152  And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
KING LEAR
153  First let me talk with this philosopher.
154  What is the cause of thunder?
KENT
155  Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.
KING LEAR
156  I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
157  What is your study?
EDGAR
158  How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.
KING LEAR
159  Let me ask you one word in private.
KENT
160  Importune him once more to go, my lord;
161  His wits begin to unsettle.
GLOUCESTER
162  Canst thou blame him?
Storm still
163  His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
164  He said it would be thus, poor banish'd man!
165  Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
166  I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
167  Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life,
168  But lately, very late: I loved him, friend;
169  No father his son dearer: truth to tell thee,
170  The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night's this!
171  I do beseech your grace,--
KING LEAR
172  O, cry your mercy, sir.
173  Noble philosopher, your company.
EDGAR
174  Tom's a-cold.
GLOUCESTER
175  In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee warm.
KING LEAR
176  Come let's in all.
KENT
177  This way, my lord.
KING LEAR
178  With him;
179  I will keep still with my philosopher.
KENT
180  Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
GLOUCESTER
181  Take him you on.
KENT
182  Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
KING LEAR
183  Come, good Athenian.
GLOUCESTER
184  No words, no words: hush.
EDGAR
185  Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
186  His word was still,--Fie, foh, and fum,
187  I smell the blood of a British man.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE IIIACT III, SCENE V (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III

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