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King Lear - Act 4, scene 1
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Last updated: Thu, Apr 21, 2016
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Act 4, scene 1
Edgar, still in disguise as Poor Tom, meets the blinded Gloucester and agrees to lead him to Dover.Enter Edgar ⌜in disguise.⌝
2382 Yet better thus, and known to be contemned,
2383 Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
2384 The lowest and most dejected thing of Fortune,
2385 Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
2386 5 The lamentable change is from the best;
2387 The worst returns to laughter. [Welcome, then,
2388 Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace.
2389 The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
2390 Owes nothing to thy blasts.] But who comes here?
Enter Gloucester and an old man.
2391 10 My father, poorly led? World, world, O world,
2392 But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
2393 Life would not yield to age.
2394 O my good lord, I have been your tenant
2395 And your father’s tenant these fourscore years.
2396 15 Away, get thee away. Good friend, begone.
2397 Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
2398 Thee they may hurt.
OLD MAN 2399 You cannot see your way.
2400 I have no way and therefore want no eyes.
2401 20 I stumbled when I saw. Full oft ’tis seen
2402 Our means secure us, and our mere defects
2403 Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
2404 The food of thy abusèd father’s wrath,
2405 Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
2406 25 I’d say I had eyes again.
OLD MAN 2407 How now? Who’s there?
2408 O gods, who is ’t can say “I am at the worst”?
2409 I am worse than e’er I was.
OLD MAN 2410 ’Tis poor mad Tom.
2411 30 And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
2412 So long as we can say “This is the worst.”
2413 Fellow, where goest?
GLOUCESTER 2414 Is it a beggar-man?
OLD MAN 2415 Madman and beggar too.
2416 35 He has some reason, else he could not beg.
2417 I’ th’ last night’s storm, I such a fellow saw,
2418 Which made me think a man a worm. My son
2419 Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
2420 Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard
2421 40 more since.
2422 As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods;
2423 They kill us for their sport.
EDGAR, ⌜aside⌝ 2424 How should this be?
2425 Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
2426 45 Ang’ring itself and others.—Bless thee, master.
2427 Is that the naked fellow?
OLD MAN 2428 Ay, my lord.
2429 ⟨Then, prithee,⟩ get thee away. If for my sake
p. 1752430 Thou wilt o’ertake us hence a mile or twain
2431 50 I’ th’ way toward Dover, do it for ancient love,
2432 And bring some covering for this naked soul,
2433 Which I’ll entreat to lead me.
OLD MAN 2434 Alack, sir, he is mad.
2435 ’Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.
2436 55 Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure.
2437 Above the rest, begone.
2438 I’ll bring him the best ’parel that I have,
2439 Come on ’t what will.He exits.
GLOUCESTER 2440 Sirrah, naked fellow—
2441 60 Poor Tom’s a-cold. ⌜Aside.⌝ I cannot daub it further.
GLOUCESTER 2442 Come hither, fellow.
2443 And yet I must.—Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.
GLOUCESTER 2444 Know’st thou the way to Dover?
EDGAR 2445 Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath.
2446 65 Poor Tom hath been ⟨scared⟩ out of his good wits.
2447 Bless thee, good man’s son, from the foul fiend.
2448 ⟨Five fiends have been in Poor Tom at once: of lust,
2449 as Obidicut; Hobbididance, prince of dumbness;
2450 Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; ⌜Flibbertigibbet,⌝
2451 70 of ⌜mopping⌝ and ⌜mowing,⌝ who since possesses
2452 chambermaids and waiting women. So, bless
2453 thee, master.⟩
GLOUCESTER, ⌜giving him money⌝
2454 Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens’
2456 75 Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
2457 Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still:
2458 Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
2459 That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
2460 Because he does not feel, feel your power quickly.
p. 1772461 80 So distribution should undo excess
2462 And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
EDGAR 2463 Ay, master.
2464 There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
2465 Looks fearfully in the confinèd deep.
2466 85 Bring me but to the very brim of it,
2467 And I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear
2468 With something rich about me. From that place
2469 I shall no leading need.
EDGAR 2470 Give me thy arm.
2471 90 Poor Tom shall lead thee.