ePub 版


eels, when she put them i'the paste alive; she rapp'd 'em o'the coxcombs with a stick, and cry'd, Down, wantons, down: 'Twas her brother, that, in pure kindness to his horse, butter'd his hay.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants.

Lear. Good morrow to you both.


Hail to your grace!

[KENT is set at liberty.

Reg. I am glad to see your highness.

Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what reason I have to think so: if thou should'st not be glad, I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, Sepúlch'ring an adultress.-O, are you free?


Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here,

[ocr errors]

[Points to his Heart:

I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe,
Of how deprav'd a quality-O Regan!

Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope,
You less know how to value her desert,

Than she to scant her duty.9

Say, how is that?

Reg. I cannot think, my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: If, sir, perchance,
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.

Lear. My curses on her!


O, sir, you are old; Nature in you stands on the very verge


i'the paste-] The paste, or crust of a pie, in Shakspeare's time, was called a coffin.


scant her duty,] i. e. be deficient in her duty, but the expression is inaccurate.

Of her confine: you should be rul❜d, and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself: Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;

Say, you have wrong'd her, sir.


Ask her forgiveness?

Do you but mark how this becomes the house?1
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;

Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg,


That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.

Reg. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks : Return you to my sister.


Never, Regan:

She hath abated me of half my train;

Look'd black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:-

All the stor❜d vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!


Fye, fye, fye!

Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding


Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,

You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,

To fall and blast her pride!

Reg. O the blest gods! So will you wish on me, when the rash mood's on. † Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse; Thy tender-hefted nature3 shall not give

Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine


the house?] The order of families, duties of relation.

2 Age is unnecessary:] i. e. Old age has few wants, or it may mean that old people are useless.

+"mood is on." MALONE.

3 Thy tender-hefted nature-] Hefted seems to mean the same as heaved. Tender-hefted, i. e. whose bosom is agitated by tender


Do comfort, and not burn: 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes, *
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt.
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o'the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.


Good sir, to the purpose,

[Trumpets within.

Lear. Who put my man' i'the stocks?


What trumpet's that?

Enter Steward.

Reg. I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter, That she would soon be here. Is your lady come? Lear. This is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd pride Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows: Out, varlet, from my sight!


What means your grace?

Lear. Who stock'd my servant? Regan, I have good


Thou didst not know of't. Who comes here? O,


[ocr errors]


If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!

to scant my sizes,] To contract my allowances or proportions settled. Sizes are certain portions of bread, beer, or other victuals, which in publick societies are set down to the account of particular persons: a word still used in colleges.

5 Allow obedience,] Allow sometimes signifies approve.

Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?


O, Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

Gon. Why not by the hand, sir? How have I of


All's not offence, that indiscretion finds,"

And dotage terms so.


O, sides, you are too tough!

Will you yet hold?- How came my man i'the stocks? Corn. I set him there, sir: but his own disorders Deserv'd much less advancement. 7

You! did you?

Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,

You will return and sojourn with
my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me;
I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.


Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o'the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,-
Necessity's sharp pinch!- Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg
To keep base life afoot:-Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter9
To this detested groom,


[Looking on the Steward. At your choice, sir.

6 that indiscretion finds,] Or thinks.




less advancement.] A still worse or more disgraceful situ

being weak, seem so.] Since you are weak, be content to think yourself weak.


· and sumpter —] Sumpter is a horse that carries necessaries on a journey, though sometimes used for the case to carry them in.

Lear. I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make me mad;
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
We'll no more meet, no more see one another:
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh,

Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,1

In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it ;
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,

Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:

Mend, when thou canst; be better, at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,

I, and my hundred knights.


Not altogether so, sir;

I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided

For your fit welcome: Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion,
Must be content to think you
old, and so-
But she knows what she does.


Is this well spoken now?

Reg. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers? Is it not well? What should you need of more? Yea, or so many? sith that both charge and danger Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house, Should many people, under two commands, Hold amity? 'Tis hard: almost impossible.

Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance From those that she call servants, or from mine?

Reg. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to

slack you,

We could control them: If you will come to me,
(For now I spy a danger,) I entreat you

To bring but five-and-twenty; to no more
Will I give place, or notice.

Lear. I gave you all

1 embossed carbuncle,] Embossed is, swelling, protuberant.

« 上一頁繼續 »