Sunday, October 6, 2013

King Lear, Act IV, Scene 6

Act IV, Scene 6
The country near Dover.
Enter Gloucester [whose eyes have been plucked from his head by Lear's enemies], and Edgar [his son, disguised as a Peasant].
  • Edgar. You do climb up it now. Look how we labour.
  • Edgar. Horrible steep. 2600
    Hark, do you hear the sea?
  • Edgar. Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
    By your eyes' anguish.
  • Earl of Gloucester. So may it be indeed. 2605
    Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st
    In better phrase and matter than thou didst.
  • Edgar. Y'are much deceiv'd. In nothing am I chang'd
    But in my garments.
  • Edgar. Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
    And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
    The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
    Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
    Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade! 2615
    Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
    The fishermen that walk upon the beach
    Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
    Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
    Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge 2620
    That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes
    Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
    Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
    Topple down headlong.
  • Edgar. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
    Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
    Would I not leap upright.
  • Earl of Gloucester. Let go my hand.
    Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel 2630
    Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods
    Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
    Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
  • Edgar. Now fare ye well, good sir.
  • Edgar. [aside]. Why I do trifle thus with his despair
    Is done to cure it.
  • Earl of Gloucester. O you mighty gods! He kneels.
    This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
    Shake patiently my great affliction off. 2640
    If I could bear it longer and not fall
    To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
    My snuff and loathed part of nature should
    Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
    Now, fellow, fare thee well. 2645
    He falls [forward and swoons].
  • Edgar. Gone, sir, farewell.-
    And yet I know not how conceit may rob
    The treasury of life when life itself
    Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought, 2650
    By this had thought been past.- Alive or dead?
    Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir? Speak!-
    Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives.
    What are you, sir?
  • Edgar. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
    So many fadom down precipitating,
    Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg; but thou dost breathe;
    Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
    Ten masts at each make not the altitude 2660
    Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
    Thy life is a miracle. Speak yet again.
  • Edgar. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
    Look up a-height. The shrill-gorg'd lark so far 2665
    Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.
  • Earl of Gloucester. Alack, I have no eyes!
    Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit
    To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
    When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage 2670
    And frustrate his proud will.
  • Edgar. Give me your arm.
    Up- so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.
  • Edgar. This is above all strangeness. 2675
    Upon the crown o' th' cliff what thing was that
    Which parted from you?
  • Edgar. As I stood here below, methought his eyes
    Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea. 2680
    It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
    Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
    Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.
  • Earl of Gloucester. I do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear
    Affliction till it do cry out itself 2685
    'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
    I took it for a man. Often 'twould say
    'The fiend, the fiend'- he led me to that place.
  • Edgar. Bear free and patient thoughts.

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