William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of King Lear

2. Scene II. Another part of the heath. Storm continues. (continued)

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace.--I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.

Alack, bareheaded!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
Repose you there, whilst I to this hard house,--
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis rais'd;
Which even but now, demanding after you,
Denied me to come in,--return, and force
Their scanted courtesy.

My wits begin to turn.--
Come on, my boy. how dost, my boy? art cold?
I am cold myself.--Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.--
Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That's sorry yet for thee.

   He that has and a little tiny wit--
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,--
   Must make content with his fortunes fit,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

True, boy.--Come, bring us to this hovel.

[Exeunt Lear and Kent.]

This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.--
I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:--
   When priests are more in word than matter;
   When brewers mar their malt with water;
   When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
   No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
   When every case in law is right;
   No squire in debt nor no poor knight;
   When slanders do not live in tongues;
   Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
   When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
   And bawds and whores do churches build;--
   Then shall the realm of Albion
   Come to great confusion:
   Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
   That going shall be us'd with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.


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