ACT IV
Scene VII.
 

A tent in the French camp.

Enter Cordelia, Kent, Doctor, and Gentleman.

CORDELIA
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short
And every measure fail me.

KENT
To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth;
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.

CORDELIA
Be better suited.
These weeds are memories of those worser hours.
I prithee put them off.

KENT
Pardon, dear madam.
Yet to be known shortens my made intent.
My boon I make it that you know me not
Till time and I think meet.

CORDELIA
Then be't so, my good lord. [To the Doctor] How, does the King?

DOCTOR
Madam, sleeps still.

CORDELIA
O you kind gods,
Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
Th' untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up
Of this child-changed father!

DOCTOR
So please your Majesty
That we may wake the King? He hath slept long.

CORDELIA
Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
I' th' sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.

GENTLEMAN
Ay, madam. In the heaviness of sleep
We put fresh garments on him.

DOCTOR
Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.
I doubt not of his temperance.

CORDELIA
Very well.

Music.

DOCTOR
Please you draw near. Louder the music there!

CORDELIA
O my dear father, restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made!

KENT
Kind and dear princess!

CORDELIA
Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
To be oppos'd against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? to watch- poor perdu!-
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all.- He wakes. Speak to him.

DOCTOR
Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.

CORDELIA
How does my royal lord? How fares your Majesty?

LEAR
You do me wrong to take me out o' th' grave.
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.

CORDELIA
Sir, do you know me?

LEAR
You are a spirit, I know. When did you die?

CORDELIA
Still, still, far wide!

DOCTOR
He's scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.

LEAR
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight,
I am mightily abus'd. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands. Let's see.
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assur'd
Of my condition!

CORDELIA
O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.
No, sir, you must not kneel.

LEAR
Pray, do not mock me.
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
For (as I am a man) I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.

CORDELIA
And so I am! I am!

LEAR
Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray weep not.
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
You have some cause, they have not.

CORDELIA
No cause, no cause.

LEAR
Am I in France?

KENT
In your own kingdom, sir.

LEAR
Do not abuse me.

DOCTOR
Be comforted, good madam. The great rage
You see is kill'd in him; and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more
Till further settling.

CORDELIA
Will't please your Highness walk?

LEAR
You must bear with me.
Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.

Exeunt. Manent Kent and Gentleman.

GENTLEMAN
Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?

KENT
Most certain, sir.

GENTLEMAN
Who is conductor of his people?

KENT
As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.

GENTLEMAN
They say Edgar, his banish'd son, is with the Earl of Kent
in Germany.

KENT
Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of
the kingdom approach apace.

GENTLEMAN
The arbitrement is like to be bloody.
Fare you well, sir.

[Exit.]

KENT
My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.

Exit.