Gon. This man hath had good Counsell, A hundred Knights? 'Tis politike, and safe to let him keepe At point a hundred Knights: yes, that on euerie dreame, Each buz, each fancie, each complaint, dislike, He may enguard his dotage with their powres, And hold our liues in mercy. Oswald, I say

Alb. Well, you may feare too farre

Gon. Safer then trust too farre; Let me still take away the harmes I feare, Not feare still to be taken. I know his heart, What he hath vtter'd I haue writ my Sister: If she sustaine him, and his hundred Knights When I haue shew'd th' vnfitnesse. Enter Steward.

How now Oswald? What haue you writ that Letter to my Sister? Stew. I Madam

Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse, Informe her full of my particular feare, And thereto adde such reasons of your owne, As may compact it more. Get you gone, And hasten your returne; no, no, my Lord, This milky gentlenesse, and course of yours Though I condemne not, yet vnder pardon You are much more at task for want of wisedome, Then prais'd for harmefull mildnesse

Alb. How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell; Striuing to better, oft we marre what's well

Gon. Nay then- Alb. Well, well, th' euent.


Scena Quinta.

Enter Lear, Kent, Gentleman, and Foole.

Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these Letters; acquaint my Daughter no further with any thing you know, then comes from her demand out of the Letter, if your Dilligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you

Kent. I will not sleepe my Lord, till I haue deliuered your Letter. Enter.

Foole. If a mans braines were in's heeles, wert not in danger of kybes? Lear. I Boy

Foole. Then I prythee be merry, thy wit shall not go slip-shod

Lear. Ha, ha, ha

Fool. Shalt see thy other Daughter will vse thee kindly, for though she's as like this, as a Crabbe's like an Apple, yet I can tell what I can tell

Lear. What can'st tell Boy? Foole. She will taste as like this as, a Crabbe do's to a Crab: thou canst, tell why ones nose stands i'th' middle on's face? Lear. No

Foole. Why to keepe ones eyes of either side 's nose, that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into

Lear. I did her wrong

Foole. Can'st tell how an Oyster makes his shell? Lear. No

Foole. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a Snaile ha's a house

Lear. Why? Foole. Why to put's head in, not to giue it away to his daughters, and leaue his hornes without a case

Lear. I will forget my Nature, so kind a Father? Be my Horsses ready? Foole. Thy Asses are gone about 'em; the reason why the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen, is a pretty reason

Lear. Because they are not eight

Foole. Yes indeed, thou would'st make a good Foole

Lear. To tak't againe perforce; Monster Ingratitude! Foole. If thou wert my Foole Nunckle, Il'd haue thee beaten for being old before thy time

Lear. How's that? Foole. Thou shouldst not haue bin old, till thou hadst bin wise

Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad sweet Heauen: keepe me in temper, I would not be mad. How now are the Horses ready? Gent. Ready my Lord

Lear. Come Boy

Fool. She that's a Maid now, & laughs at my departure, Shall not be a Maid long, vnlesse things be cut shorter.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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