Scene V

Court before the same.

[Enter King Lear, Kent, and Fool]

KING LEAR:
Go you before to Gloucester with these letters.
Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you
know than comes from her demand out of the letter.
If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.
KENT:
I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter. (5)

[Exit Kent.]

FOOL:
If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of kibes?
KING LEAR:
Ay, boy.
FOOL:
Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod. (10)
KING LEAR:
Ha, ha, ha!
FOOL:
Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for
though she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can
tell what I can tell.(15)
KING LEAR:
Why, what canst thou tell, my 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?
KING LEAR:
No.
FOOL:
Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose; that what(20)
a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
KING LEAR:
I did her wrong—
FOOL:
Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
KING LEAR:
No.
FOOL:
Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.(25)
KING LEAR:
Why?
FOOL:
Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his
daughters, and leave his horns without a case.
KING LEAR:
I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my horses ready?(30)
FOOL:
Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven
stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
KING LEAR:
Because they are not eight?
FOOL:
Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.
KING LEAR:
To take 't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!(35)
FOOL:
If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for
being old before thy time.
KING LEAR:
How's that?
FOOL:
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.(40)
KING LEAR:
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!

[Enter Gentleman.]

How now! are the horses ready?

GENTLEMAN:
Ready, my lord.
KING LEAR:
Come, boy.
FOOL:
She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,(45)
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.

[Exeunt]