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My naked head expos'd to th' merciless air,
Gon. At your choice, sir.
Reg. Your pardon, sir;
fit welcome. Lear, Is this well spoken, now? Reg. My sister treats you fair. What! fifty fol .
lowers ? Is it not well? What should you need of more ?
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendFrom those whom she calls servants, or from mine? Reg. Why not, my lord ? If then they chance to slack
Lear. I gave you all !
Gon. Hear me, my lord. [It begins to rain. What need you five and twenty, ten, or five, To follow in a house, where twice so many Have a command t'attend you? Reg. What need one?
[Distant Thunder. Lear. Heav'ns drop your patience down! You see me here, ye gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age, wretched in both !If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely! touch me with nuble anger ! 0, let not women's weapons, water drops, Stain my man's cheek! —No, you unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you both, That all the world shall I will do such things,What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be The terrors of the earth.-You think I'll weep; No, I'll not weep: I have full cause of weeping; but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or ere I'll weep.-
[Rain-Thunder-Lightning. O, gods, I shall go mad! [Exeunt King LEAR, Kent and the KNIGHTS
CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, GLOSTER,
ACT THE THIRD.
A desert Heath.-Rain-Thunder -Lightring,
Enter KING LEAR and KENT. Lear, Blow, winds, and burst your cheeks! rage
louder yet! Fantastic lightning, singe, singe my white head! Spout cataracts, and hurricanoes fall, Till you
have drown'd the towns and palaces Of proud, ingrateful man!
Kent. Not all my best intreaties can persuade him Into some needful shelter, or to 'bide This poor slight cov'ring on his aged head, Expos’d to this wild war of earth and heav'n.
[Thunder. Lear. Rumble thy fill! fight whirlwind, rain and
fire ! Not fire, wind, rain, or thunder, are my daughters : I tax not you, ye elements, with unkindness : I never gave you kingdoms, call'd you children; You owe me no obedience. --Then let fall Your horrible pleasure !-Here I stand your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despis’d old man.
[Rain-Thunder-Lightning. Yet I will call you servile ministers, That have with two pernicious daughters join'd Your high engender'd battle 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. Oh! oh! 'tis foul.
Kent. Hard by, sir, is a hovel, that will lend
What! so kind a
night, Love not such nights as this; these wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, And make them keep their caves : such drenching
rain, Such sheets of fire, such claps of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring winds, have ne'er been known.
[Thunder. Lear. Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads, Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch, That hast within thee undiscover'd crimes ! Hide, hide, thou murd'rer, hide thy bloody hand ! Thou perjur'd villain, holy hypocrite, That drink'st the widow's tears, sigh now, and ask These dreadful summoners' grace!
-I am a man More sinn'd against, than sinning.
Kent. . Good sir, to th' hovel.
Lear. My wits begin to turn. Come on, my boy; how dost, my boy? art cold? I'm cold myself; show me this straw, my fellow; The art of our necessity is strange, And can make vile things precious.—my poor knave, Cold as I am at heart, I've one place there That's sorry yet for thee.
A Room in GLOSTER's Castle.
Enter EDMUND. Edm. The storm is in our louder rev'lings drown'd. Thus would I reign, could I but mount a throne. The riots of these proud imperial sisters Already have impos'd the galling yoke Of taxes, and hard impositions, on The drudging peasant's neck, who bellows out His loud complaints in vain.—Triumphant queens ! With what assurance do they tread the crowd! Oh! for a taste of such majestic beauty, Which none but my hot veins are fit ť engage; Nor are my wishes desp’rate; for ev'n now, During the banquet, I observ'd their glances Shot thick at me; and, as they left the room, Each cast, by stealth, a kind inviting smile, The happy earnest
-ha! Two Pages, from several Entrances, deliver him each a
Letter, and ereunt.
[Reads.] Where merit is so transparent, not to behold it were blindness, and not to reward it, ingratitude.
Enough! blind and ungrateful should I be,
[Reads.) If modesty be not your enemy, doubt not to find me your friend.