Lear. Deny to speake with me? They are sicke, they are weary, They haue trauail'd all the night? meere fetches, The images of reuolt and flying off. Fetch me a better answer

Glo. My deere Lord, You know the fiery quality of the Duke, How vnremoueable and fixt he is In his owne course

Lear. Vengeance, Plague, Death, Confusion: Fiery? What quality? Why Gloster, Gloster, I'ld speake with the Duke of Cornewall, and his wife

Glo. Well my good Lord, I haue inform'd them so

Lear. Inform'd them? Do'st thou vnderstand me man

Glo. I my good Lord

Lear. The King would speake with Cornwall, The deere Father Would with his Daughter speake, commands, tends, seruice, Are they inform'd of this? My breath and blood: Fiery? The fiery Duke, tell the hot Duke that- No, but not yet, may be he is not well, Infirmity doth still neglect all office, Whereto our health is bound, we are not our selues, When Nature being opprest, commands the mind To suffer with the body; Ile forbeare, And am fallen out with my more headier will, To take the indispos'd and sickly fit, For the sound man. Death on my state: wherefore Should he sit heere? This act perswades me, That this remotion of the Duke and her Is practise only. Giue me my Seruant forth; Goe tell the Duke, and's wife, Il'd speake with them: Now, presently: bid them come forth and heare me, Or at their Chamber doore Ile beate the Drum, Till it crie sleepe to death

Glo. I would haue all well betwixt you. Enter.

Lear. Oh me my heart! My rising heart! But downe

Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cockney did to the Eeles, when she put 'em i'th' Paste aliue, she knapt 'em o'th' coxcombs with a sticke, and cryed downe wantons, downe; 'twas her Brother, that in pure kindnesse to his Horse buttered his Hay. Enter Cornewall, Regan, Gloster, Seruants.

Lear. Good morrow to you both

Corn. Haile to your Grace.

Kent here set at liberty.

Reg. I am glad to see your Highnesse

Lear. Regan, I thinke you are. I know what reason I haue to thinke so, if thou should'st not be glad, I would diuorce me from thy Mother Tombe, Sepulchring an Adultresse. O are you free? Some other time for that. Beloued Regan, Thy Sisters naught: oh Regan, she hath tied Sharpe-tooth'd vnkindnesse, like a vulture heere, I can scarce speake to thee, thou'lt not beleeue With how deprau'd a quality. Oh Regan

Reg. I pray you Sir, take patience, I haue hope You lesse know how to value her desert, Then she to scant her dutie

Lear. Say? How is that? Reg. I cannot thinke my Sister in the least Would faile her Obligation. If Sir perchance She haue restrained the Riots of your Followres, 'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end, As cleeres her from all blame

Lear. My curses on her

Reg. O Sir, you are old, Nature in you stands on the very Verge Of his confine: you should be rul'd, and led By some discretion, that discernes your state Better then you your selfe: therefore I pray you, That to our Sister, you do make returne, Say you haue wrong'd her

Lear. Aske her forgiuenesse? Do you but marke how this becomes the house? Deere daughter, I confesse that I am old; Age is vnnecessary: on my knees I begge, That you'l vouchsafe me Rayment, Bed, and Food

Reg. Good Sir, no more: these are vnsightly trickes: Returne you to my Sister

Lear. Neuer Regan: She hath abated me of halfe my Traine; Look'd blacke vpon me, strooke me with her Tongue Most Serpent-like, vpon the very Heart. All the stor'd Vengeances of Heauen, fall On her ingratefull top: strike her yong bones You taking Ayres, with Lamenesse

Corn. Fye sir, fie

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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