William Shakespeare, King Lear
Act 3, Scene 2
Storm still – Enter LEAR and FOOLLEAR Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! You sulfurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ th’ world, Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once That make ingrateful man! FOOL O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this rainwater out o’ door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing. Here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool. LEAR Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain! Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters. I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness. I never gave you kingdom, called you children. You owe me no subscription. Why then, let fall Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand, your slave— A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man. But yet I call you servile ministers, That will with two pernicious daughters joined Your high engendered battles ‘gainst a head So old and white as this. Oh, ho! ‘Tis foul. FOOL He that has a house to put ‘s head in has a good headpiece. The codpiece that will house Before the head has any— The head and he shall louse. So beggars marry many. The man that makes his toe What he his heart should make Shall of a corn cry woe, And turn his sleep to wake. For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass. With a crowd of slut daughters to add to the slut wife. The man who kicks away The person he should love Will bring himself pain And sleepless nights. For there never was a pretty woman who didn’t like to preen in the mirror. Enter KENT disguised
LEAR No, I will be the pattern of all patience. I will say nothing. KENT Who’s there? FOOL Marry, here’s grace and a codpiece—that’s a wise man and a fool. KENT (to LEAR) Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark And make them keep their caves. Since I was man, Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never Remember to have heard. Man’s nature cannot carry Th’ affliction nor the fear. LEAR Let the great gods That keep this dreadful pudder o’er our heads Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch That hast within thee undivulgèd crimes Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand, Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake, That under covert and convenient seeming Hast practiced on man’s life. Close pent-up guilts, Rive your concealing continents and cry These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man More sinned against than sinning. KENT Alack, bareheaded? Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel. Some friendship will it lend you ‘gainst the tempest. Repose you there, while I to this hard house— More harder than the stones whereof ’tis raised, Which even but now, demanding after you, Denied me to come in—return, and force Their scanted courtesy. LEAR My wits begin to turn.— (to FOOL) Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold? I am cold myself. (to KENT) Where is this straw, my fellow? The art of our necessities is strange That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel. Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart That’s sorry yet for thee. FOOL (sings) He that has and a little tiny wit— With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain— Must make content with his fortunes fit, For the rain it raineth every day. LEAR True, my good boy.—Come, bring us to this hovel. Exeunt LEAR and KENT Please consider a small donation to help fund this site.
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