Skip over navigation

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter GLOUCESTER, LEAR, KENT disguised, FOOL, and EDGAR disguised
GLOUCESTER enters with LEAR, the FOOL, and KENT and EDGAR, both in disguise.

GLOUCESTER
Here is better than the open air. Take it thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what addition I can. I will not be long from you.
GLOUCESTER
It’s better here than outside. Be happy about it. I’ll do what I can to make you even more comfortable. I won’t be gone long.


5
KENT
All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.
The gods reward your kindness!
KENT
He can’t bear his grief and so he’s losing his mind. May God reward you for your kindness!
Exit GLOUCESTER
GLOUCESTER exits.

EDGAR
Frateretto calls me and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
EDGAR
The devil Frateretto is telling me that the diabolical Roman emperor

Nero

Nero was a first-century A.D. Roman emperor who, according to legend, played the fiddle while Rome burned.

Nero
likes to go fishing in hell. Pray to the gods, you fool, and beware the foul devil.

FOOL
Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman?
FOOL
Here’s a riddle, uncle. Is the lunatic a gentleman or an ordinary guy?

10
LEAR
A king, a king!
LEAR
He’s a king, a king!

FOOL
No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son, for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
FOOL
No, he’s an ordinary guy who ’s got a gentleman for a son, since someone would have to be crazy to let his son become a gentleman before he’s achieved that distinction himself.


LEAR
To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon 'em!
LEAR
I see Regan and Goneril in hell—A thousand hissing devils with sizzling red pitchforks come up to them!

15
EDGAR
The foul fiend bites my back.
EDGAR
The nasty devil’s biting my butt.

More Help

Previous Next
s