King Lear By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 4

Scene IV. A part of the Heath with a Hovel. Storm continues.

[Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.]

Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.

Let me alone.

Good my lord, enter here.

Wilt break my heart?

I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's free,
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. — Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? — But I will punish home: —
No, I will weep no more. — In such a night
To shut me out! — Pour on; I will endure: —
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril! —
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, —
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

Good my lord, enter here.

Pr'ythee go in thyself; seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. — But I'll go in. —
[To the Fool.] In, boy; go first. — You houseless poverty, —
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep. —

[Fool goes in.]

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.

[Within.] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

[The Fool runs out from the hovel.]

Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit.
Help me, help me!

Give me thy hand. — Who's there?

A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.

What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
Come forth.

[Enter Edgar, disguised as a madman.]

Away! the foul fiend follows me! —
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind. —
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

Didst thou give all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?

Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. — Bless thy five
wits! — Tom's a-cold. — O, do de, do de, do de. — Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes: — there could I have him now, — and
there, — and there again, and there.
[Storm continues.]

What, have his daughters brought him to this pass? —
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give 'em all?

Nay, he reserv'd a blanket, else we had been all shamed.

Now all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!

He hath no daughters, sir.

Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters. —
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill: —
Halloo, halloo, loo loo!

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

Take heed o' th' foul fiend: obey thy parents; keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom's a-cold.

What hast thou been?

A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair;
wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of my mistress' heart, and
did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it: wine loved
I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd the Turk;
false of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox
in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray
thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand
out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul
fiend. — Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: says
suum, mun, nonny. Dolphin my boy, boy, sessa! let him trot by.

[Storm still continues.]

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