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Home > King Lear > ACT IV - SCENE I. The heath.

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ACT IV - SCENE I. The heath.
Enter EDGAR

EDGAR
1    Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
2    Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
3    The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
4    Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
5    The lamentable change is from the best;
6    The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
7    Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
8    The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
9    Owes nothing to thy blasts. But who comes here?
Enter GLOUCESTER, led by an Old Man
10   My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
11   But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
12   Lie would not yield to age.
Old Man
13   O, my good lord, I have been your tenant, and
14   your father's tenant, these fourscore years.
GLOUCESTER
15   Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:
16   Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
17   Thee they may hurt.
Old Man
18   Alack, sir, you cannot see your way.
GLOUCESTER
19   I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
20   I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen,
21   Our means secure us, and our mere defects
22   Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
23   The food of thy abused father's wrath!
24   Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
25   I'ld say I had eyes again!
Old Man
26   How now! Who's there?
EDGAR
Aside
27    O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at
28   the worst'?
29   I am worse than e'er I was.
Old Man
30   'Tis poor mad Tom.
EDGAR
Aside
31    And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
32   So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'
Old Man
33   Fellow, where goest?
GLOUCESTER
34   Is it a beggar-man?
Old Man
35   Madman and beggar too.
GLOUCESTER
36   He has some reason, else he could not beg.
37   I' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;
38   Which made me think a man a worm: my son
39   Came then into my mind; and yet my mind
40   Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard
41   more since.
42   As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
43   They kill us for their sport.
EDGAR
Aside
44    How should this be?
45   Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
46   Angering itself and others.--Bless thee, master!
GLOUCESTER
47   Is that the naked fellow?
Old Man
48   Ay, my lord.
GLOUCESTER
49   Then, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my sake,
50   Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
51   I' the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
52   And bring some covering for this naked soul,
53   Who I'll entreat to lead me.
Old Man
54   Alack, sir, he is mad.
GLOUCESTER
55   'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind.
56   Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
57   Above the rest, be gone.
Old Man
58   I'll bring him the best 'parel that I have,
59   Come on't what will.
Exit

GLOUCESTER
60   Sirrah, naked fellow,--
EDGAR
61   Poor Tom's a-cold.
Aside
62   I cannot daub it further.
GLOUCESTER
63   Come hither, fellow.
EDGAR
Aside
64    And yet I must.--Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.
GLOUCESTER
65   Know'st thou the way to Dover?
EDGAR
66   Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor
67   Tom hath been scared out of his good wits: bless
68   thee, good man's son, from the foul fiend! five
69   fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as
70   Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
71   stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of
72   mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids
73   and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!
GLOUCESTER
74   Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
75   Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
76   Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so still!
77   Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
78   That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
79   Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;
80   So distribution should undo excess,
81   And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
EDGAR
82   Ay, master.
GLOUCESTER
83   There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
84   Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
85   Bring me but to the very brim of it,
86   And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
87   With something rich about me: from that place
88   I shall no leading need.
EDGAR
89   Give me thy arm:
90   Poor Tom shall lead thee.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE VIIACT IV, SCENE II (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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