King Lear


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Lear, Kent, Knight, and the Fool
before (adv.) 1 ahead, in advance


LEAR

(to Kent)

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.
demand (n.) 1 question, enquiry, request

If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore
afore (prep.) 2 before, ahead of

you.


KENT

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

letter.

Exit


FOOL

If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in

danger of kibes?
kibe (n.) chilblain, inflamed heel


LEAR

Ay, boy.


FOOL

Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall not go
slipshod, slip-shod (adj.) wearing slippers
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

slipshod.


LEAR

Ha, ha, ha!


FOOL

Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly;
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage

for though she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet
crab (n.) crab-apple, sour apple

I can tell what I can tell.


LEAR

What canst tell, boy?


FOOL

She will taste as like this as a crab does to a crab.

Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i'the middle on's

face?


LEAR

No.


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.


FOOL

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?


LEAR

No.


FOOL

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


LEAR

Why?


FOOL

Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his
's (det.) 1 contracted form of ‘his’

daughters, and leave his horns without a case.


LEAR

I will forget my nature. So kind a father! – Be my

horses ready?


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?


FOOL

Yes, indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.


LEAR

To take't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
perforce (adv.) 1 forcibly, by force, violently See Topics: Frequency count


FOOL

If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee beaten

for being old before thy time.


LEAR

How's that?


FOOL

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst

been wise.


LEAR

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

Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!
temper (n.) 4 mental balance, stable mind

How now! Are the horses ready?


KNIGHT

Ready, my lord.


LEAR

Come, boy.

Exeunt all except the Fool


FOOL

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

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

Exit

 
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