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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene I.

King Lear

A Heath.

A storm, with thunder and lightning.Enter KENT and a Gentleman, meeting.

Kent.Who’s here, beside foul weather?

Gent.One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

Kent.I know you. Where’s the king?

Gent.Contending with the fretful elements;

Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,

Or swell the curled waters ’bove the main,

That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,

Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,

Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;

Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn

The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.

This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,

The lion and the belly-pinched wolf

Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,

And bids what will take all.

Kent.But who is with him?

Gent.None but the fool, who labours to out-jest

His heart-struck injuries.

Kent.Sir, I do know you;

And dare, upon the warrant of my note,

Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,

Although as yet the face of it be cover’d

With mutual cunning, ’twixt Albany and Corn-wall;

Who have—as who have not, that their great stars

Thron’d and set high—servants, who seem no less,

Which are to France the spies and speculations

Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,

Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,

Or the hard rein which both of them have borne

Against the old kind king; or something deeper,

Whereof perchance these are but furnishings;

But, true it is, from France there comes a power

Into this scatter’d kingdom; who already,

Wise in our negligence, have secret feet,

In Some of our best ports, and are at point

To show their open banner. Now to you:

If on my credit you dare build so far

To make your speed to Dover, you shall find

Some that will thank you, making just report

Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow

The king hath cause to plain.

I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,

And from some knowledge and assurance offer

This office to you.

Gent.I will talk further with you.

Kent.No, do not.

For confirmation that I am much more

Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take

What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,—

As doubt not but you shall,—show her this ring,

And she will tell you who your fellow is

That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!

I will go seek the king.

Gent.Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?

Kent.Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet;

That, when we have found the king,—in which your pain

That way, I’ll this,—he that first lights on him

Holla the other.[Exeunt severally.