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King Lear
by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

Another part of the heath

 

 

 

 



King Lear Act 3, Scene 2


 

King Lear Act 3 Scene 2

Storm still

Enter LEAR and FOOL

Storm still

Enter LEAR and FOOL

LEAR

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout

Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!

cocks=weathercocks

You sulfurous and thought-executing fires,

thought-executing=arising as fast as a thought

Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

vaunt-couriers=advance guards

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

germens=sperm

That make ingrateful man!

 

LEAR

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 daughter’s blessing. Here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.

 

FOOL

O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this rainwater out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughter’s 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.

tax=blame

I never gave you kingdom, called you children.

You owe me no subscription. Why, then, let fall

subscription=allegiance

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

join=join in

Your high engendered battles 'gainst a head

high-engendered=loftily begotten

So old and white as this. Oh, ho! 'Tis foul.

 

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 (head, brain).

The codpiece that will house

house=find a lodging

Before the head has any—

any=any lodging

The head and he shall louse.

louse=become infested with lice

So beggars marry many.

The man that makes his toe

What he his heart should make

Shall of a corn cry woe,

a sore corn makes him cry out as if from the heart

And turn his sleep to wake.

For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths (faces) in a glass (mirror).

 

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.

 

 

Enter KENT disguised

Enter KENT disguised

LEAR

No, I will be the pattern of all patience.

I will say nothing.

 

LEAR

No, I will be the pattern of all patience.

I will say nothing.

 

KENT

Who’s there?

 

KENT

Who’s there?

 

FOOL

Marry, here’s grace and a codpiece—that’s a wise man and a fool.

 

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

gallow=frighten

And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,

I was=I have been a

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.

 

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

pudder=uproar

Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch

find out=bring to light

That hast within thee undivulgèd crimes

Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand,

of justice=by justice

Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue

similar=pretending

That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake,

caitiff=villain

to pieces shake – continuing from “tremble” (above)

That under covert and convenient seeming

Hast practiced on man’s life. Close pent-up guilts,

practiced=plotted

Rive your concealing continents and cry

rive your concealing continents=break apart  your concealing contents

cry=beg for pardon (grace) from

These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man

summoner=court officer who assures attendance

More sinned against than sinning.

 

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.

hard by=near by

Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest.

Repose you there, while I to this hard house—

(the house is Gloucester’s castle)

More harder than the stones whereof ’tis raised,

Which even but now, demanding after you,

demanding=inquiring

Denied me to come in—return, and force

Their scanted courtesy.

 

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.

 

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,

(must make his happiness fit with his luck)

For the rain it raineth every day.

 

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.

 

LEAR

True, my good boy.—Come, bring us to this hovel.

 

Exeunt LEAR and KENT

Exeunt LEAR and KENT

FOOL

This is a brave night to cool a courtesan.

courtesan=courtesan’s lust

I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go.

When priests are more in word than matter,

When brewers mar their malt with water,

When nobles are their tailors' tutors,

No heretics burned but wenches' suitors,

(wenches’ suitors burned with disease)

When every case in law is right,

No squire in debt nor no poor knight,

When slanders do not live in tongues,

do not live in tongues=are not spoken

Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,

cutpurses – outside pocket (purse) was attached with a string

When usurers tell their gold i' th' field,

tell their gold I’ th’ field=count their money in the open

And bawds and whores do churches build—

Then shall the realm of Albion

Albion=England

Come to great confusion.

confusion – four syllables

Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,

That going shall be used with feet.

used with feet=done by foot

This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

 

FOOL

This is a brave night to cool a courtesan.

I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go.

When priests are more in word than matter,

When brewers mar their malt with water,

When nobles are their tailors' tutors,

No heretics burned but wenches' suitors,

When every case in law is right,

No squire in debt nor no poor knight,

When slanders do not live in tongues,

Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,

When usurers tell their gold i' th' field,

And bawds and whores do churches build—

Then shall the realm of Albion

Come to great confusion.

Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,

That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

 

Exit

Exit

 

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