William Shakespeare's King Lear teaches the lesson to never believe everything you hear.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > King Lear > Act IV. Scene VII.

King Lear

Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act IV. Scene VII.

Scene VII.—A Tent in the French Camp.

Enter CORDELIA, KENT, Doctor, and

Cor. O thou good Kent! how shall I live and
To match thy goodness? My life will be too
And every measure fail me.
Kent. To be acknowledge, madam, is o'er-
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
Cor. Be better suited:
These weeds are memories of those worser
I prithee, put them off.
Kent. Pardon me dear madam;
Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.
Cor. Then be't so, my good lord.—[To the
Doctor.] How does the king?
Doc. Madam, sleeps still.
Cor. O you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untun'd and jarring senses, O! wind up
Of this child-changed father!
Doc. So please your majesty
That we may wake the king? he hath slept
Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and
I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Enter LEAR in his chair, carried by
Gent. Ay, madam; in the heaviness of sleep,
We put fresh garments on him.
Doc. Be by, good madam, when we do awake
I doubt not of his temperance.
Cor. Very well. [Music.
Doc. Please you, draw near. Louder the
music there.
Cor. O my dear father! Restoration, hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!
Kent. Kind and dear princess!
Cor. Had you not been their father, these
white flakes
Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
To be expos'd against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thun-
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? to watch—poor
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that
Against my fire. And wast thou fain, poor
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to
Doc. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.
Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares
your majesty?
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out
o' the grave;
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
Cor. Sir, do you know me?
Dear. You are a spirit, I know; when did
you die?
Cor. Still, still, far wide.
Doc. He's scarce awake; lot him alone a-
Lear. Where have I been? Where am I?
Fair day-light?
I am mightily abus'd. I should even die with
To see another thus. I know not what to
I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assur'd
Of my condition!
Cor. O! look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.
No, sir, you must not kneel.
Lear. Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more or
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you and know this
Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is, and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
Cor. And so I am, I am.
Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I
pray, weep not:
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.
Cor. No cause, no cause.
Lear. Am I in France?
Kent. In your own kingdom, sir.
Lear. Do not abuse me.
Doc. Be comforted, good madam; the great
You see, is kill'd in him; and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further setthng.
Cor. Will't please your highness walk?
Lear. You must bear with me.
Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and
foolish. [Exeunt LEAR, CORDELIA, Doc-
tor, and Attendants.
Gent. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of
Cornwall was so slain?
Kent. Most certain, sir.
Gent. Who is conductor of his people?
Kent. As 'tis said, the bastard son of Glou-
Gent. They say Edgar, his banished son, is
with the Earl of Kent in Germany.
Kent. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to
look about; the powers of the kingdom
approach apace.
Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody.
Fare you well, sir. [Exit.
Kent. My point and period will be throughly
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards