Court before the Duke of Albany's Palace.
Lear, Kent, and Fool. Enter
Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. Acquaint my LEAR
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.
I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter. KENT
If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of FOOL
Ay, boy. LEAR
Then I prithee be merry. Thy wit shall ne'er go slip-shod. FOOL
Ha, ha, ha! LEAR
Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though FOOL
she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can tell
what I can tell.
What canst tell, boy? LEAR
She'll taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou FOOL
canst tell why one's nose stands i' th' middle on's face?
Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that what a FOOL
man cannot smell out, 'a may spy into.
I did her wrong. LEAR
Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell? FOOL
Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house. FOOL
Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters, FOOL
and leave his horns without a case.
I will forget my nature. So kind a father!- Be my horses LEAR
Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars FOOL
are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.
Because they are not eight? LEAR
Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool. FOOL
To tak't again perforce! Monster ingratitude! LEAR
If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being FOOL
old before thy time.
How's that? LEAR
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise. FOOL
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! LEAR
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!
a Gentleman.] [Enter
How now? Are the horses ready?
Ready, my lord. GENTLEMAN
Come, boy. LEAR
She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure, FOOL
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter