ACT I SCENE V

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King Lear

ACT I SCENE VCourt before the same.
[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool]
KING LEARGo you before to Gloucester with these letters.
Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you
know than comes from her demand out of the letter.
If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you.
KENTI will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered5
your letter.
[Exit]
FoolIf a man’s brains were in’s heels, were’t not in
danger of kibes?
KING LEARAy, boy.
FoolThen, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne’er go10
slip-shod.
KING LEARHa, ha, ha!
FoolShalt 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.15
KING LEARWhy, what canst thou tell, my boy?
FoolShe will taste as like this as a crab does to a
crab. Thou canst tell why one’s nose stands i’
the middle on’s face?
KING LEARNo.20
FoolWhy, to keep one’s eyes of either side’s nose; that
what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
KING LEARI did her wrong–
FoolCanst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
KING LEARNo.25
FoolNor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
KING LEARWhy?
FoolWhy, to put his head in; not to give it away to his
daughters, and leave his horns without a case.
KING LEARI will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my30
horses ready?
FoolThy asses are gone about ’em. The reason why the
seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
KING LEARBecause they are not eight?
FoolYes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.35
KING LEARTo take ‘t again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
FoolIf thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’ld have thee beaten
for being old before thy time.
KING LEARHow’s that?
FoolThou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst40
been wise.
KING LEARO, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!
[Enter Gentleman]
How now! are the horses ready?
GentlemanReady, my lord.45
KING LEARCome, boy.
FoolShe that’s a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.
[Exeunt]

King Lear, Act 2, Scene 1