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King Lear

ACT I SCENE V Court before the same.
[Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool]
KING LEAR Go 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.
KENT I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered 5
your letter.
Fool If a man’s brains were in’s heels, were’t not in
danger of kibes?
KING LEAR Ay, boy.
Fool Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall ne’er go 10
KING LEAR Ha, ha, ha!
Fool Shalt 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 LEAR Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?
Fool She 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?
Fool Why, to keep one’s eyes of either side’s nose; that
what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
KING LEAR I did her wrong–
Fool 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 his head in; not to give it away to his
daughters, and leave his horns without a case.
KING LEAR I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my 30
horses ready?
Fool Thy asses are gone about ’em. The reason why the
seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
KING LEAR Because they are not eight?
Fool Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool. 35
KING LEAR To take ‘t again perforce! Monster ingratitude!
Fool If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’ld have thee beaten
for being old before thy time.
KING LEAR How’s that?
Fool Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst 40
been wise.
KING LEAR O, 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?
Gentleman Ready, my lord. 45
KING LEAR Come, boy.
Fool She that’s a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.

King Lear, Act 2, Scene 1