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Enter KENT disguised
KENT enters in disguise.





5

KENT
If but as well I other accents borrow,
That can my speech diffuse, my good intent
May carry through itself to that full issue
For which I razed my likeness. Now, banished Kent,
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned,
So may it come thy master, whom thou lovest,
Shall find thee full of labors.
KENT
If I can disguise my voice as well as my appearance, then I’ll be able to carry out my plan perfectly. I was banished, but hopefully I can serve the very king who condemned me. I love my master, and he’ll find me very hard-working.
Horns within Enter LEAR with attendant knights
Trumpets play offstage. LEAR enters with his attendant knights.

LEAR
Let me not stay a jot for dinner. Go get it ready.
LEAR
Don’t make me wait for dinner even a moment. Get it ready immediately.
Exit attendant
An attendant exits.
(to KENT) How now, what art thou?
(to KENT) Well now, who are you?

10
KENT
A man, sir.
KENT
A man, sir.

LEAR
What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?
LEAR
What’s your profession? What do you want from me?

KENT
I do profess to be no less than I seem—to serve him truly that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
KENT

I

Kent interprets “your profession” as “your declaration” rather than “your job.”

I
profess that I’m as good as I seem—I’ll faithfully serve a master who trusts me, love those who are honest, talk with those who are wise and don’t talk too much. I’m God-fearing, I fight if I must, and I don’t eat fish.

LEAR
What art thou?
LEAR
But who are you?

KENT
A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
KENT
An honest guy who’s as poor as the king.

LEAR
If thou beest as poor for a subject as he’s for a king, thou'rt poor enough. What wouldst thou?
LEAR
If you’re as poor a subject as he is a king, you definitely are poor. What do you want?

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