King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4
The heath. Before a hovel.
[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and FOOL]
Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.
Let me alone.
Good my lord, enter here.
Wilt break my heart?
I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'ldst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea, 10
Thou'ldst meet the bear i' the mouth. When the mind's free,
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to't? But I will punish home:
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, -- 20
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.
Good my lord, enter here.
Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
[To the FOOL]
In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty, --
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.
[FOOL goes in]
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, 30
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!
[The FOOL runs out from the hovel]
Come not in here, nuncle, here's a spirit
Help me, help me!
Give me thy hand. Who's there? 40
A spirit, a spirit: he says his name's poor Tom.
What art thou that dost grumble there i' the straw?
[Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man]
Away! the foul fiend follows me!
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?
Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, and through ford and whirlipool 50
e'er bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow,
and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over four-inched
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five
wits! Tom's a-cold, -- O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I have him now, -- and
there, -- and there again, and there. 60
What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
He hath no daughters, sir.
Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh? 70
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.
Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!
This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents; keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom's a-cold.
What hast thou been?
A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair; wore 80
gloves in my cap; served the lust of my mistress' heart, and did
the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that slept
in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it: wine loved I
deeply, dice dearly: and in woman out-paramoured the Turk: false
of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in
stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let
not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray thy 90
poor heart to woman: keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out
of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the foul
fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: Says suum,
mun, ha, no, nonny. Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot
Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with thy
uncovered body this extremity of the skies. Is man no more than
this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast
no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three
on 's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself: 100
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare, forked animal
as thou art. Off, off, you lendings! come unbutton here.
[Tearing off his clothes]
Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night to swim in.
Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's
heart; a small spark, all the rest on's body cold. Look, here
comes a walking fire.
[Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch]
This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew, and
walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin, squints
the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and
hurts the poor creature of earth. 110
Saint Withold footed thrice the old;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
How fares your grace?
Who's there? What is't you seek?
What are you there? Your names?
Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the 120
wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when the
foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat
and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool;
who is whipped from tithing to tithing, and stock-punished, and
imprisoned; who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to
his body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend! 130
What, hath your grace no better company?
The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.
Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.
Poor Tom's a-cold.
Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters' hard commands:
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you, 140
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out,
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.
First let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?
Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.
I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?
How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.
Let me ask you one word in private.
Importune him once more to go, my lord; 150
His wits begin to unsettle.
Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus, poor banish'd man!
Thou say'st the king grows mad; I'll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
Now outlaw'd from my blood; he sought my life,
But lately, very late: I loved him, friend;
No father his son dearer: truth to tell thee,
The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night's this!
I do beseech your grace, --
O, cry your mercy, sir. 160
Noble philosopher, your company.
In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee warm.
Come let's in all.
This way, my lord.
I will keep still with my philosopher.
Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.
Take him you on.
Sirrah, come on; go along with us.
Come, good Athenian.
No words, no words: hush. 170
Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still, -- Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.