King Lear By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 4

LEAR.
Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy
uncovered body this extremity of the skies. — Is man no more than
this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast
no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. — Ha! here's three
on's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked
animal as thou art. — Off, off, you lendings! — Come, unbutton
here.
[Tears off his clothes.]

FOOL.
Pr'ythee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim
in. — Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's
heart, — a small spark, all the rest on's body cold. — Look, here
comes a walking fire.

EDGAR.
This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew,
and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin,
squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat,
and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Swithold footed thrice the old;
He met the nightmare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

KENT.
How fares your grace?

[Enter Gloucester with a torch.]

LEAR.
What's he?

KENT.
Who's there? What is't you seek?

GLOUCESTER.
What are you there? Your names?

EDGAR.
Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole, the
wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when the
foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat
and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool;
who is whipped from tithing to tithing, and stocked, punished,
and imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts
to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to wear; —
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower. — Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!

GLOUCESTER.
What, hath your grace no better company?

EDGAR.
The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.

GLOUCESTER.
Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vile
That it doth hate what gets it.

EDGAR.
Poor Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER.
Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters' hard commands;
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

LEAR.
First let me talk with this philosopher. —
What is the cause of thunder?

KENT.
Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.

LEAR.
I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban. —
What is your study?

EDGAR.
How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.

LEAR.
Let me ask you one word in private.

KENT.
Importune him once more to go, my lord;
His wits begin to unsettle.

GLOUCESTER.
Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death: — ah, that good Kent! —
He said it would be thus, — poor banish'd man! —
Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life
But lately, very late: I lov'd him, friend, —
No father his son dearer: true to tell thee,
[Storm continues.]
The grief hath craz'd my wits. — What a night's this! —
I do beseech your grace, —

LEAR.
O, cry you mercy, sir. —
Noble philosopher, your company.

EDGAR.
Tom's a-cold.

GLOUCESTER.
In, fellow, there, into the hovel; keep thee warm.

LEAR.
Come, let's in all.

KENT.
This way, my lord.

LEAR.
With him;
I will keep still with my philosopher.

KENT.
Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.

GLOUCESTER.
Take him you on.

KENT.
Sirrah, come on; go along with us.

LEAR.
Come, good Athenian.

GLOUCESTER.
No words, no words: hush.

EDGAR.
Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still — Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.

[Exeunt.]

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