ACT I
Scene V.
 

Court before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.

LEAR
Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my
daughter no further with anything 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.

Exit.

FOOL
If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of
kibes?

LEAR
Ay, boy.

FOOL
Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod.

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.

LEAR
What canst tell, boy?

FOOL
She'll taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou
canst tell why one's nose stands i' th' middle on's face?

LEAR
No.

FOOL
Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that what a
man cannot smell out, 'a may spy into.

LEAR
I did her wrong.

FOOL
Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

LEAR
No.

FOOL
Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

LEAR
Why?

FOOL
Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters,
and leave his horns without a case.

LEAR
I will forget my nature. So kind a father!- Be my horses
ready?

FOOL
Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars
are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.

LEAR
Because they are not eight?

FOOL
Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.

LEAR
To tak't again perforce! Monster ingratitude!

FOOL
If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being
old before thy time.

LEAR
How's that?

FOOL
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

LEAR
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!

[Enter a Gentleman.]

How now? Are the horses ready?

GENTLEMAN
Ready, my lord.

LEAR
Come, boy.

FOOL
She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter

Exeunt.