Scene II

Another part of the heath. Storm still.

[Enter King Lear and Fool]

KING LEAR:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,(5)
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germains spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!
FOOL:
O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than(10)
this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy
daughters' blessing: here's a night pities neither wise man nor fool.
KING LEAR:
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:(15)
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, called you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:(20)
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters joined
Your high engendered battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
FOOL:
He that has a house to put's head in has a good headpiece.(25)


     The codpiece that will house

     Before the head has any,

     The head and he shall louse;

     So beggars marry many.(30)

     The man that makes his toe

     What he his heart should make

     Shall of a corn cry woe,

     And turn his sleep to wake.

For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass. (35)
KING LEAR:
No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.

[Enter Kent]

KENT:
Who's there?
FOOL:
Marry, here's grace and a codpiece; that's a wise man and a fool.(40)
KENT:
Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves: since I was man,(45)
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
The affliction nor the fear.
KING LEAR:
Let the great gods,(50)
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipped of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue(55)
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practiced on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man(60)
More sinned against than sinning.
KENT:
Alack, bare-headed!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
Repose you there; while I to this hard house—(65)
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in—return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.
KING LEAR:
My wits begin to turn.(70)
Come on, my boy: how dost, my boy? art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart(75)
That's sorry yet for thee.
FOOL:
[Singing] He that has and a little tiny wit—
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,—
Must make content with his fortunes fit,(80)
For the rain it raineth every day.
KING LEAR:
True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.

[Exeunt King Lear and Kent]

FOOL:
This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:

     When priests are more in word than matter;(85)

     When brewers mar their malt with water;

     When nobles are their tailors' tutors;

     No heretics burned, but wenches' suitors;

     When every case in law is right;

     No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;(90)

     When slanders do not live in tongues;

     Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;

     When usurers tell their gold i' the field;

     And bawds and whores do churches build;

     Then shall the realm of Albion(95)

     Come to great confusion:

     Then comes the time, who lives to see't,

     That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.(100)

[Exit Fool.]