King Lear By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 6

EDGAR.
Bear free and patient thoughts. — But who comes here?

[Enter Lear, fantastically dressed up with flowers.]

The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.

LEAR.
No, they cannot touch me for coining;
I am the king himself.

EDGAR.
O thou side-piercing sight!

LEAR.
Nature 's above art in that respect. — There's your press money.
That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a
clothier's yard. — Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace; — this piece
of toasted cheese will do't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it
on a giant. — Bring up the brown bills. O, well flown, bird! — i'
the clout, i' the clout: hewgh! — Give the word.

EDGAR.
Sweet marjoram.

LEAR.
Pass.

GLOUCESTER.
I know that voice.

LEAR.
Ha! Goneril with a white beard! — They flattered me like a dog;
and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were
there. To say 'ay' and 'no' to everything I said! — 'Ay' and 'no',
too, was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and
the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at
my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they
are not men o' their words: they told me I was everything; 'tis a
lie — I am not ague-proof.

GLOUCESTER.
The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is't not the king?

LEAR.
Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. — What was thy cause? —
Adultery? —
Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers. —
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name; —
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's; there's hell, there's darkness,
There is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench,
consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my
imagination: there's money for thee.

GLOUCESTER.
O, let me kiss that hand!

LEAR.
Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

GLOUCESTER.
O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. — Dost thou know me?

LEAR.
I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind Cupid; I'll not love. — Read thou this
challenge; mark but the penning of it.

GLOUCESTER.
Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

EDGAR.
I would not take this from report; — it is,
And my heart breaks at it.

LEAR.
Read.

GLOUCESTER.
What, with the case of eyes?

LEAR.
O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money
in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a
light: yet you see how this world goes.

GLOUCESTER.
I see it feelingly.

LEAR.
What, art mad? A man may see how the world goes with no eyes.
Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yond simple
thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief? — Thou hast seen a farmer's
dog bark at a beggar?

GLOUCESTER.
Ay, sir.

LEAR.
And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold
the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office. —
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pygmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none. — I say none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. — Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: — so.

EDGAR.
O, matter and impertinency mix'd!
Reason, in madness!

LEAR.
If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry. — I will preach to thee: mark.

GLOUCESTER.
Alack, alack the day!

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