William Shakespeare's King Lear teaches the lesson to never believe everything you hear.
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King Lear

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Act III. Scene VI.


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HOME > Plays > King Lear > Act III. Scene VI.

King Lear

Act III. Scene VI.

Scene VI.—A Chamber in a Farmhouse
adjoining the Castle.

Enter GLOUCESTER, LEAR, KENT, Fool,
and EDGAR.

Glo. Here is better than the open air; take
it thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with
what addition I can: I will not be long from
you.
Kent. All the power of his wits has given way
to his impatience. The gods reward your kind-
ness! [Exit GLOUCESTER.
Edg. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero
is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, in-
nocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Fool. Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a mad-
man be a gentleman or a yeoman!
Lear. A king, a king!
Fool. No; he's a yeoman that has a gentleman
to his son; for he's a mad yeoman that sees his
son a gentleman before him.
Lear. To have a thousand with red burning
spits
Come hizzing in upon 'em,—
Edg. The foul fiend bites my back.
Fool. He's mad that trusts in the tameness
of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a
whore's oath.
Lear. It shall be done; I will arraign them
straight. |
[To EDGAR.] Come, sit thou here, most learned
justicer;
[To the Fool.] Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now,
you she foxes!
Edg. Look, where he stands and glares!
wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me,—
Fool. Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.
Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the
voice of a nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom's
belly for two white herring. Croak not, black
angel; I have no food for thee.
Kent. How do you, sir? Stand you not so
amaz'd:
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
Lear. I'll see their trial first. Bring in their
evidence.
[To EDGAR.] Thou robed man of justice, take
thy place;
[To the Fool.] And thou, his yoke-fellow of
equity,
Bench by his side. [To KENT.] You are o' the
commission,
Sit you too.
Edg. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Purr! the cat is grey.
Lear. Arraign her first; 'tis Goneril. I here
take my oath before this honourable assembly,
she kicked the poor king her father.
Fool. Come hither, mistress. Is your name
Goneril?
Lear. She cannot deny it.
Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-
stool.
Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks
proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her
there!
Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the
place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?
Edg. Bless thy five wits!
Kent. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?
Edg. [Aside.] My tears begin to take his part
so much,
They'll mar my counterfeiting.
Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at
me.
Edg. Tom will throw his head at them.
Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym;
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail;
Tom will make them weep and wail:
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes
and fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy
horn is dry.
Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan, see
what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause
in nature that makes these hard hearts? [To
EDGAR.] You, sir, I entertain you for one of my
hundred; only I do not like the fashion of your
garments: you will say, they are Persian attire;
but let them be changed.
Kent. Now, good my lord, lie here and rest
awhile.
Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw
the curtains: so, so, so. We'll go to supper i' the
morning: so, so, so.
Fool. And I'll go to bed at noon.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER.
Glo. Come hither, friend: where is the king
my master?
Kent. Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits
are gone.
Glo. Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy
arms;
I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready; lay him in 't,
And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou
shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy
master:
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up;
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.
Kent. Oppress'd nature sleeps:
This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken
sinews,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure.—[To the Fool.] Come, help
to bear thy master;
Thou must not stay behind.
Glo. Come, come, away.
[Exeunt KENT, GLOUCESTER, and the
Fool, bearing away LEAR.
Edg. When we our betters see bearing our
woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind;
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'er-
skip,
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellow-
ship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the
king bow;
He childed as I father'd! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles
thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the
king!
Lurk, lurk. [Exit.


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