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King Lear
by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 5 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

 



King Lear Act 1, Scene 5

Courtyard of Albany’s palace

 

Enter LEAR, KENT disguised, and FOOL

Enter LEAR, KENT disguised, and FOOL

LEAR

(to KENT, giving him letters) Go you before (ahead) to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her demand out of (having read) the letter. If your diligence (exertion) be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.

 

LEAR

(to KENT, giving him letters) Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.

 

KENT

I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.

 

KENT

I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.

 

Exit KENT

Exit KENT

FOOL

If a man’s brains were in ’s heels, were ’t not in danger of kibes (frostbite)?

 

FOOL

If a man’s brains were in ’s heels, were ’t not in danger of kibes?

 

LEAR

Ay, boy.

 

LEAR

Ay, boy.

 

FOOL

Then, I prithee, be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slipshod.

slipshod=wearing slippers, i.e., if Lear’s brains were in his feet, he would understand the foolishness of this journey

 

FOOL

Then, I prithee, be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slipshod.

 

LEAR

Ha, ha, ha!

 

LEAR

Ha, ha, ha!

 

FOOL

Shalt (you shall) see thy other daughter will use thee kindly. For though she’s (Regan is) as like this (Goneril) as a crab’s (crabapple is) like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

 

FOOL

Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly. For though she’s as like this as a crab’s like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

 

LEAR

Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

 

LEAR

Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

 

FOOL

She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell why one’s nose stands i' th' middle on ’s face?

 

FOOL

She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou canst tell why one’s nose stands i' th' middle on ’s face?

 

LEAR

No.

 

LEAR

No.

 

FOOL

Why, to keep one’s eyes of (on) either side ’s nose, that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.

 

FOOL

Why, to keep one’s eyes of either side ’s nose, that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.

 

LEAR

I did her wrong—

 

LEAR

I did her wrong—

 

FOOL

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

 

FOOL

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

 

LEAR

No.

 

LEAR

No.

 

FOOL

Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a house.

 

FOOL

Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a house.

 

LEAR

Why?

 

LEAR

Why?

 

FOOL

Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.

 

FOOL

Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.

 

LEAR

I will forget my (good) nature. So kind a father!—Be my horses ready?

 

LEAR

I will forget my nature. So kind a father!—Be my horses ready?

 

FOOL

Thy asses (attendants) are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

 

FOOL

Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

 

LEAR

Because they are not eight?

 

LEAR

Because they are not eight?

 

FOOL

Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.

 

FOOL

Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.

 

LEAR

To take ’t again perforce (by force)— Monster ingratitude!

 

LEAR

To take ’t again perforce— Monster ingratitude!

 

FOOL

If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’d have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

 

FOOL

If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’d have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

 

LEAR

How’s that?

 

LEAR

How’s that?

 

FOOL

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

 

FOOL

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

 

LEAR

O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!

I would not be mad.

Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.

 

LEAR

O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!

I would not be mad.

Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.

 

Enter a GENTLEMAN

Enter a GENTLEMAN

How now? Are the horses ready?

How now? Are the horses ready?

GENTLEMAN

Ready, my lord.

 

GENTLEMAN

Ready, my lord.

 

LEAR

Come, boy.

 

LEAR

Come, boy.

 

Exeunt LEAR and GENTLEMAN

Exeunt LEAR and GENTLEMAN

FOOL

She that’s a maid now and laughs at my departure,

Shall not be a maid long unless things be cut shorter.

 

FOOL

She that’s a maid now and laughs at my departure,

Shall not be a maid long unless things be cut shorter.

 

Exit

Exit

 

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