Foole. Do'st thou know the difference my Boy, betweene a bitter Foole, and a sweet one

Lear. No Lad, teach me

Foole. Nunckle, giue me an egge, and Ile giue thee two Crownes

Lear. What two Crownes shall they be? Foole. Why after I haue cut the egge i'th' middle and eate vp the meate, the two Crownes of the egge: when thou clouest thy Crownes i'th' middle, and gau'st away both parts, thou boar'st thine Asse on thy backe o're the durt, thou hadst little wit in thy bald crowne, when thou gau'st thy golden one away; if I speake like my selfe in this, let him be whipt that first findes it so. Fooles had nere lesse grace in a yeere, For wisemen are growne foppish, And know not how their wits to weare, Their manners are so apish

Le. When were you wont to be so full of Songs sirrah? Foole. I haue vsed it Nunckle, ere since thou mad'st thy Daughters thy Mothers, for when thou gau'st them the rod, and put'st downe thine owne breeches, then they For sodaine ioy did weepe, And I for sorrow sung, That such a King should play bo-peepe, And goe the Foole among. Pry'thy Nunckle keepe a Schoolemaster that can teach thy Foole to lie, I would faine learne to lie

Lear. And you lie sirrah, wee'l haue you whipt

Foole. I maruell what kin thou and thy daughters are, they'l haue me whipt for speaking true: thou'lt haue me whipt for lying, and sometimes I am whipt for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing then a foole, and yet I would not be thee Nunckle, thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing i'th' middle; heere comes one o'the parings. Enter Gonerill.

Lear. How now Daughter? what makes that Frontlet on? You are too much of late i'th' frowne

Foole. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning, now thou art an O without a figure, I am better then thou art now, I am a Foole, thou art nothing. Yes forsooth I will hold my tongue, so your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum, he that keepes nor crust, nor crum, Weary of all, shall want some. That's a sheal'd Pescod

Gon. Not only Sir this, your all-lycenc'd Foole, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourely Carpe and Quarrell, breaking forth In ranke, and (not to be endur'd) riots Sir. I had thought by making this well knowne vnto you, To haue found a safe redresse, but now grow fearefull By what your selfe too late haue spoke and done, That you protect this course, and put it on By your allowance, which if you should, the fault Would not scape censure, nor the redresses sleepe, Which in the tender of a wholesome weale, Mighty in their working do you that offence, Which else were shame, that then necessitie Will call discreet proceeding

Foole. For you know Nunckle, the Hedge-Sparrow fed the Cuckoo so long, that it's had it head bit off by it young, so out went the Candle, and we were left darkling

Lear. Are you our Daughter? Gon. I would you would make vse of your good wisedome (Whereof I know you are fraught), and put away These dispositions, which of late transport you From what you rightly are

Foole. May not an Asse know, when the Cart drawes the Horse? Whoop Iugge I loue thee

Lear. Do's any heere know me? This is not Lear: Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies? Either his Notion weakens, his Discernings Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so? Who is it that can tell me who I am? Foole. Lears shadow

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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