ACT 4, SCENE 7: A tent in the French camp. LEAR on a bed asleep,
soft music playing; Gentleman, and others attending.

Enter CORDELIA, KENT, and Doctor.

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 acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.
All my reports go with the modest truth;                                            [5]
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 me, dear madam;
Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
My boon I make it, that you know me not                                           [10]
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!                                        [15]
The untuned 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' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?                                         [20]

Gentleman: Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his 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.

Doctor: Please you, draw near. Louder the music there!                              [25]

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                   [30]
Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
To be opposed 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!--                         [35]
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!                                              [40]
'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?

KING LEAR: You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:                      [45]
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?

KING LEAR: You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?

CORDELIA: Still, still, far wide!                                                                          [50]

Doctor: He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

KING LEAR: Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused. 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;                                    [55]
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!

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

KING LEAR:                           Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,                                                          [60]
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                                        [65]
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.                                                                           [70]

CORDELIA:                           And so I am, I am.

KING 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.                                                   [75]

CORDELIA:                           No cause, no cause.

KING LEAR: Am I in France?

KENT:                           In your own kingdom, sir.

KING 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.                                      [80]
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further settling.

CORDELIA: Will't please your highness walk?

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

[Exeunt all but KENT and Gentleman.]

Gentleman: Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?             [85]

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 banished son, is with
the Earl of Kent in Germany.                                                                  [90]

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.                                            [95]

[Exit.]


Go to the next scene.
Go to the previous scene.
Return to the list of scenes