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Titus Andronicus

ACT I

SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.

The Tomb of the ANDRONICI appearing; the Tribunes and Senators aloft. Enter, below, from one side, SATURNINUS and his Followers; and, from the other side, BASSIANUS and his Followers; with drum and colours

SATURNINUS

Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
Defend the justice of my cause with arms,
And, countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords:
I am his first-born son, that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome;
Then let my father’s honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

BASSIANUS

Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,
If ever Bassianus, Caesar’s son,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the Capitol
And suffer not dishonour to approach
The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence and nobility;
But let desert in pure election shine,
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the crown

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Princes, that strive by factions and by friends
Ambitiously for rule and empery,
Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
A special party, have, by common voice,
In election for the Roman empery,
Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius
For many good and great deserts to Rome:
A nobler man, a braver warrior,
Lives not this day within the city walls:
He by the senate is accit’d home
From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
That, with his sons, a terror to our foes,
Hath yoked a nation strong, train’d up in arms.
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome and chastised with arms
Our enemies’ pride: five times he hath return’d
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field;
And now at last, laden with horror’s spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat, by honour of his name,
Whom worthily you would have now succeed.
And in the Capitol and senate’s right,
Whom you pretend to honour and adore,
That you withdraw you and abate your strength;
Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.

SATURNINUS

How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!

BASSIANUS

Marcus Andronicus, so I do ally
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour thee and thine,
Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
Gracious Lavinia, Rome’s rich ornament,
That I will here dismiss my loving friends,
And to my fortunes and the people’s favor
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh’d.

Exeunt the followers of BASSIANUS

SATURNINUS

Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
I thank you all and here dismiss you all,
And to the love and favor of my country
Commit myself, my person and the cause.

Exeunt the followers of SATURNINUS
Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
As I am confident and kind to thee.
Open the gates, and let me in.

BASSIANUS

Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

Flourish. SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS go up into the Capitol

Enter a Captain

Captain

Romans, make way: the good Andronicus.
Patron of virtue, Rome’s best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honour and with fortune is return’d
From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

Drums and trumpets sounded. Enter MARTIUS and MUTIUS; After them, two Men bearing a coffin covered with black; then LUCIUS and QUINTUS. After them, TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, AARON, and other Goths, prisoners; Soldiers and people following. The Bearers set down the coffin, and TITUS speaks

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
Lo, as the bark, that hath discharged her fraught,
Returns with precious jading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh’d her anchorage,
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
To re-salute his country with his tears,
Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.
Thou great defender of this Capitol,
Stand gracious to the rites that we intend!
Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons,
Half of the number that King Priam had,
Behold the poor remains, alive and dead!
These that survive let Rome reward with love;
These that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors:
Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,
Why suffer’st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?
Make way to lay them by their brethren.

The tomb is opened
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, slain in your country’s wars!
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more!

LUCIUS

Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthy prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeased,
Nor we disturb’d with prodigies on earth.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I give him you, the noblest that survives,
The eldest son of this distressed queen.

TAMORA

Stay, Roman brethren! Gracious conqueror,
Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother’s tears in passion for her son:
And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me!
Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome,
To beautify thy triumphs and return,
Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,
But must my sons be slaughter’d in the streets,
For valiant doings in their country’s cause?
O, if to fight for king and commonweal
Were piety in thine, it is in these.
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:
Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge:
Thrice noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld
Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
To this your son is mark’d, and die he must,
To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.

LUCIUS

Away with him! and make a fire straight;
And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
Let’s hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.

Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and MUTIUS, with ALARBUS

TAMORA

O cruel, irreligious piety!

CHIRON

Was ever Scythia half so barbarous?

DEMETRIUS

Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.
Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
To tremble under Titus’ threatening looks.
Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal
The self-same gods that arm’d the Queen of Troy
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
May favor Tamora, the Queen of Goths—
When Goths were Goths and Tamora was queen—
To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.

Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS and MUTIUS, with their swords bloody

LUCIUS

See, lord and father, how we have perform’d
Our Roman rites: Alarbus’ limbs are lopp’d,
And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky.
Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren,
And with loud ‘larums welcome them to Rome.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Let it be so; and let Andronicus
Make this his latest farewell to their souls.

Trumpets sounded, and the coffin laid in the tomb
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;
Rome’s readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned grudges; here are no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!

Enter LAVINIA

LAVINIA

In peace and honour live Lord Titus long;
My noble lord and father, live in fame!
Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
I render, for my brethren’s obsequies;
And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy,
Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome:
O, bless me here with thy victorious hand,
Whose fortunes Rome’s best citizens applaud!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved
The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!
Lavinia, live; outlive thy father’s days,
And fame’s eternal date, for virtue’s praise!

Enter, below, MARCUS ANDRONICUS and Tribunes; re-enter SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS, attended

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother,
Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

And welcome, nephews, from successful wars,
You that survive, and you that sleep in fame!
Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
That in your country’s service drew your swords:
But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,
That hath aspired to Solon’s happiness
And triumphs over chance in honour’s bed.
Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,
This palliament of white and spotless hue;
And name thee in election for the empire,
With these our late-deceased emperor’s sons:
Be candidatus then, and put it on,
And help to set a head on headless Rome.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

A better head her glorious body fits
Than his that shakes for age and feebleness:
What should I don this robe, and trouble you?
Be chosen with proclamations to-day,
To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,
And set abroad new business for you all?
Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
And led my country’s strength successfully,
And buried one and twenty valiant sons,
Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
In right and service of their noble country
Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world:
Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.

SATURNINUS

Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Patience, Prince Saturninus.

SATURNINUS

Romans, do me right:
Patricians, draw your swords: and sheathe them not
Till Saturninus be Rome’s emperor.
Andronicus, would thou wert shipp’d to hell,
Rather than rob me of the people’s hearts!

LUCIUS

Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good
That noble-minded Titus means to thee!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee
The people’s hearts, and wean them from themselves.

BASSIANUS

Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,
But honour thee, and will do till I die:
My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,
I will most thankful be; and thanks to men
Of noble minds is honourable meed.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

People of Rome, and people’s tribunes here,
I ask your voices and your suffrages:
Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?

Tribunes

To gratify the good Andronicus,
And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
The people will accept whom he admits.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I make,
That you create your emperor’s eldest son,
Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,
Reflect on Rome as Titan’s rays on earth,
And ripen justice in this commonweal:
Then, if you will elect by my advice,
Crown him and say ‘Long live our emperor!’

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

With voices and applause of every sort,
Patricians and plebeians, we create
Lord Saturninus Rome’s great emperor,
And say ‘Long live our Emperor Saturnine!’

A long flourish till they come down

SATURNINUS

Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done
To us in our election this day,
I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
And will with deeds requite thy gentleness:
And, for an onset, Titus, to advance
Thy name and honourable family,
Lavinia will I make my empress,
Rome’s royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse:
Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

It doth, my worthy lord; and in this match
I hold me highly honour’d of your grace:
And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,
King and commander of our commonweal,
The wide world’s emperor, do I consecrate
My sword, my chariot and my prisoners;
Presents well worthy Rome’s imperial lord:
Receive them then, the tribute that I owe,
Mine honour’s ensigns humbled at thy feet.

SATURNINUS

Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life!
How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts
Rome shall record, and when I do forget
The least of these unspeakable deserts,
Romans, forget your fealty to me.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

[To TAMORA] Now, madam, are you prisoner to
an emperor;
To him that, for your honour and your state,
Will use you nobly and your followers.

SATURNINUS

A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue
That I would choose, were I to choose anew.
Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance:
Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,
Thou comest not to be made a scorn in Rome:
Princely shall be thy usage every way.
Rest on my word, and let not discontent
Daunt all your hopes: madam, he comforts you
Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.
Lavinia, you are not displeased with this?

LAVINIA

Not I, my lord; sith true nobility
Warrants these words in princely courtesy.

SATURNINUS

Thanks, sweet Lavinia. Romans, let us go;
Ransomless here we set our prisoners free:
Proclaim our honours, lords, with trump and drum.

Flourish. SATURNINUS courts TAMORA in dumb show

BASSIANUS

Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.

Seizing LAVINIA

TITUS ANDRONICUS

How, sir! are you in earnest then, my lord?

BASSIANUS

Ay, noble Titus; and resolved withal
To do myself this reason and this right.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

‘Suum cuique’ is our Roman justice:
This prince in justice seizeth but his own.

LUCIUS

And that he will, and shall, if Lucius live.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Traitors, avaunt! Where is the emperor’s guard?
Treason, my lord! Lavinia is surprised!

SATURNINUS

Surprised! by whom?

BASSIANUS

By him that justly may
Bear his betroth’d from all the world away.

Exeunt BASSIANUS and MARCUS with LAVINIA

MUTIUS

Brothers, help to convey her hence away,
And with my sword I’ll keep this door safe.

Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Follow, my lord, and I’ll soon bring her back.

MUTIUS

My lord, you pass not here.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

What, villain boy!
Barr’st me my way in Rome?

Stabbing MUTIUS

MUTIUS

Help, Lucius, help!

Dies

During the fray, SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON and AARON go out and re-enter, above

Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS

My lord, you are unjust, and, more than so,
In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Nor thou, nor he, are any sons of mine;
My sons would never so dishonour me:
Traitor, restore Lavinia to the emperor.

LUCIUS

Dead, if you will; but not to be his wife,
That is another’s lawful promised love.

Exit

SATURNINUS

No, Titus, no; the emperor needs her not,
Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock:
I’ll trust, by leisure, him that mocks me once;
Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,
Confederates all thus to dishonour me.
Was there none else in Rome to make a stale,
But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,
Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thine,
That said’st I begg’d the empire at thy hands.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O monstrous! what reproachful words are these?

SATURNINUS

But go thy ways; go, give that changing piece
To him that flourish’d for her with his sword
A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy;
One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,
To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

These words are razors to my wounded heart.

SATURNINUS

And therefore, lovely Tamora, queen of Goths,
That like the stately Phoebe ‘mongst her nymphs
Dost overshine the gallant’st dames of Rome,
If thou be pleased with this my sudden choice,
Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,
And will create thee empress of Rome,
Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice?
And here I swear by all the Roman gods,
Sith priest and holy water are so near
And tapers burn so bright and every thing
In readiness for Hymenaeus stand,
I will not re-salute the streets of Rome,
Or climb my palace, till from forth this place
I lead espoused my bride along with me.

TAMORA

And here, in sight of heaven, to Rome I swear,
If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths,
She will a handmaid be to his desires,
A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.

SATURNINUS

Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon. Lords, accompany
Your noble emperor and his lovely bride,
Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine,
Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquered:
There shall we consummate our spousal rites.

Exeunt all but TITUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I am not bid to wait upon this bride.
Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,
Dishonour’d thus, and challenged of wrongs?

Re-enter MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O Titus, see, O, see what thou hast done!
In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine,
Nor thou, nor these, confederates in the deed
That hath dishonour’d all our family;
Unworthy brother, and unworthy sons!

LUCIUS

But let us give him burial, as becomes;
Give Mutius burial with our brethren.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Traitors, away! he rests not in this tomb:
This monument five hundred years hath stood,
Which I have sumptuously re-edified:
Here none but soldiers and Rome’s servitors
Repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls:
Bury him where you can; he comes not here.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

My lord, this is impiety in you:
My nephew Mutius’ deeds do plead for him
He must be buried with his brethren.

QUINTUS MARTIUS

And shall, or him we will accompany.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

‘And shall!’ what villain was it that spake
that word?

QUINTUS

He that would vouch it in any place but here.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

What, would you bury him in my despite?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

No, noble Titus, but entreat of thee
To pardon Mutius and to bury him.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,
And, with these boys, mine honour thou hast wounded:
My foes I do repute you every one;
So, trouble me no more, but get you gone.

MARTIUS

He is not with himself; let us withdraw.

QUINTUS

Not I, till Mutius’ bones be buried.

MARCUS and the Sons of TITUS kneel

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Brother, for in that name doth nature plead,—

QUINTUS

Father, and in that name doth nature speak,—

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Renowned Titus, more than half my soul,—

LUCIUS

Dear father, soul and substance of us all,—

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter
His noble nephew here in virtue’s nest,
That died in honour and Lavinia’s cause.
Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous:
The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax
That slew himself; and wise Laertes’ son
Did graciously plead for his funerals:
Let not young Mutius, then, that was thy joy
Be barr’d his entrance here.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Rise, Marcus, rise.
The dismall’st day is this that e’er I saw,
To be dishonour’d by my sons in Rome!
Well, bury him, and bury me the next.

MUTIUS is put into the tomb

LUCIUS

There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends,
Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.

All

[Kneeling] No man shed tears for noble Mutius;
He lives in fame that died in virtue’s cause.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

My lord, to step out of these dreary dumps,
How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths
Is of a sudden thus advanced in Rome?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I know not, Marcus; but I know it is,
Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell:
Is she not then beholding to the man
That brought her for this high good turn so far?
Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.

Flourish. Re-enter, from one side, SATURNINUS attended, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON and AARON; from the other, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, and others

SATURNINUS

So, Bassianus, you have play’d your prize:
God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride!

BASSIANUS

And you of yours, my lord! I say no more,
Nor wish no less; and so, I take my leave.

SATURNINUS

Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,
Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.

BASSIANUS

Rape, call you it, my lord, to seize my own,
My truth-betrothed love and now my wife?
But let the laws of Rome determine all;
Meanwhile I am possess’d of that is mine.

SATURNINUS

‘Tis good, sir: you are very short with us;
But, if we live, we’ll be as sharp with you.

BASSIANUS

My lord, what I have done, as best I may,
Answer I must and shall do with my life.
Only thus much I give your grace to know:
By all the duties that I owe to Rome,
This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,
Is in opinion and in honour wrong’d;
That in the rescue of Lavinia
With his own hand did slay his youngest son,
In zeal to you and highly moved to wrath
To be controll’d in that he frankly gave:
Receive him, then, to favor, Saturnine,
That hath express’d himself in all his deeds
A father and a friend to thee and Rome.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds:
‘Tis thou and those that have dishonour’d me.
Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge,
How I have loved and honour’d Saturnine!

TAMORA

My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
Then hear me speak in indifferently for all;
And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.

SATURNINUS

What, madam! be dishonour’d openly,
And basely put it up without revenge?

TAMORA

Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend
I should be author to dishonour you!
But on mine honour dare I undertake
For good Lord Titus’ innocence in all;
Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs:
Then, at my suit, look graciously on him;
Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,
Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.

Aside to SATURNINUS
be won at last;
Dissemble all your griefs and discontents:
You are but newly planted in your throne;
Lest, then, the people, and patricians too,
Upon a just survey, take Titus’ part,
And so supplant you for ingratitude,
Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,
Yield at entreats; and then let me alone:
I’ll find a day to massacre them all
And raze their faction and their family,
The cruel father and his traitorous sons,
To whom I sued for my dear son’s life,
And make them know what ’tis to let a queen
Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.

Aloud
Come, come, sweet emperor; come, Andronicus;
Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart
That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.

SATURNINUS

Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail’d.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I thank your majesty, and her, my lord:
These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.

TAMORA

Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,
A Roman now adopted happily,
And must advise the emperor for his good.
This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;
And let it be mine honour, good my lord,
That I have reconciled your friends and you.
For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass’d
My word and promise to the emperor,
That you will be more mild and tractable.
And fear not lords, and you, Lavinia;
By my advice, all humbled on your knees,
You shall ask pardon of his majesty.

LUCIUS

We do, and vow to heaven and to his highness,
That what we did was mildly as we might,
Tendering our sister’s honour and our own.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

That, on mine honour, here I do protest.

SATURNINUS

Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.

TAMORA

Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends:
The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;
I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.

SATURNINUS

Marcus, for thy sake and thy brother’s here,
And at my lovely Tamora’s entreats,
I do remit these young men’s heinous faults: Stand up.
Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,
I found a friend, and sure as death I swore
I would not part a bachelor from the priest.
Come, if the emperor’s court can feast two brides,
You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends.
This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

To-morrow, an it please your majesty
To hunt the panther and the hart with me,
With horn and hound we’ll give your grace bonjour.

SATURNINUS

Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.

Flourish. Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Palace.

Enter AARON

AARON

Now climbeth Tamora Olympus’ top,
Safe out of fortune’s shot; and sits aloft,
Secure of thunder’s crack or lightning flash;
Advanced above pale envy’s threatening reach.
As when the golden sun salutes the morn,
And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach,
And overlooks the highest-peering hills;
So Tamora:
Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait,
And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts,
To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
Hast prisoner held, fetter’d in amorous chains
And faster bound to Aaron’s charming eyes
Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
To wait upon this new-made empress.
To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
This siren, that will charm Rome’s Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck and his commonweal’s.
Holloa! what storm is this?

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, braving

DEMETRIUS

Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge,
And manners, to intrude where I am graced;
And may, for aught thou know’st, affected be.

CHIRON

Demetrius, thou dost over-ween in all;
And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
‘Tis not the difference of a year or two
Makes me less gracious or thee more fortunate:
I am as able and as fit as thou
To serve, and to deserve my mistress’ grace;
And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
And plead my passions for Lavinia’s love.

AARON

[Aside] Clubs, clubs! these lovers will not keep
the peace.

DEMETRIUS

Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,
Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
Are you so desperate grown, to threat your friends?
Go to; have your lath glued within your sheath
Till you know better how to handle it.

CHIRON

Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.

DEMETRIUS

Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?

They draw

AARON

[Coming forward] Why, how now, lords!
So near the emperor’s palace dare you draw,
And maintain such a quarrel openly?
Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge:
I would not for a million of gold
The cause were known to them it most concerns;
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonour’d in the court of Rome.
For shame, put up.

DEMETRIUS

Not I, till I have sheathed
My rapier in his bosom and withal
Thrust these reproachful speeches down his throat
That he hath breathed in my dishonour here.

CHIRON

For that I am prepared and full resolved.
Foul-spoken coward, that thunder’st with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing darest perform!

AARON

Away, I say!
Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.
Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jet upon a prince’s right?
What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broach’d
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware! and should the empress know
This discord’s ground, the music would not please.

CHIRON

I care not, I, knew she and all the world:
I love Lavinia more than all the world.

DEMETRIUS

Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:
Lavinia is thine elder brother’s hope.

AARON

Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brook competitors in love?
I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.

CHIRON

Aaron, a thousand deaths
Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.

AARON

To achieve her! how?

DEMETRIUS

Why makest thou it so strange?
She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d;
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
What, man! more water glideth by the mill
Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor’s brother.
Better than he have worn Vulcan’s badge.

AARON

[Aside] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.

DEMETRIUS

Then why should he despair that knows to court it
With words, fair looks and liberality?
What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
And borne her cleanly by the keeper’s nose?

AARON

Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.

CHIRON

Ay, so the turn were served.

DEMETRIUS

Aaron, thou hast hit it.

AARON

Would you had hit it too!
Then should not we be tired with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye! and are you such fools
To square for this? would it offend you, then
That both should speed?

CHIRON

Faith, not me.

DEMETRIUS

Nor me, so I were one.

AARON

For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar:
‘Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect; and so must you resolve,
That what you cannot as you would achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus’ love.
A speedier course than lingering languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented plots there are
Fitted by kind for rape and villany:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes’ height advance you both.
The emperor’s court is like the house of Fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears:
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take
your turns;
There serve your lusts, shadow’d from heaven’s eye,
And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.

CHIRON

Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice,

DEMETRIUS

Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits.
Per Styga, per manes vehor.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A forest near Rome. Horns and cry of hounds heard.

Enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with Hunters, & c., MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
The fields are fragrant and the woods are green:
Uncouple here and let us make a bay
And wake the emperor and his lovely bride
And rouse the prince and ring a hunter’s peal,
That all the court may echo with the noise.
Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To attend the emperor’s person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspired.

A cry of hounds and horns, winded in a peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, and Attendants
Many good morrows to your majesty;
Madam, to you as many and as good:
I promised your grace a hunter’s peal.

SATURNINUS

And you have rung it lustily, my lord;
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.

BASSIANUS

Lavinia, how say you?

LAVINIA

I say, no;
I have been broad awake two hours and more.

SATURNINUS

Come on, then; horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport.

To TAMORA
Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o’er the plain.

DEMETRIUS

Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A lonely part of the forest.

Enter AARON, with a bag of gold

AARON

He that had wit would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villany:
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest

Hides the gold
That have their alms out of the empress’ chest.

Enter TAMORA

TAMORA

My lovely Aaron, wherefore look’st thou sad,
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chant melody on every bush,
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
And make a chequer’d shadow on the ground:
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And, whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;
And, after conflict such as was supposed
The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy’d,
When with a happy storm they were surprised
And curtain’d with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other’s arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
Be unto us as is a nurse’s song
Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.

AARON

Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs:
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark Tamora, the empress of my soul,
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
This is the day of doom for Bassianus:
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day,
Thy sons make pillage of her chastity
And wash their hands in Bassianus’ blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal plotted scroll.
Now question me no more; we are espied;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives’ destruction.

TAMORA

Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!

AARON

No more, great empress; Bassianus comes:
Be cross with him; and I’ll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe’er they be.

Exit

Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA

BASSIANUS

Who have we here? Rome’s royal empress,
Unfurnish’d of her well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her,
Who hath abandoned her holy groves
To see the general hunting in this forest?

TAMORA

Saucy controller of our private steps!
Had I the power that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Actaeon’s; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

LAVINIA

Under your patience, gentle empress,
‘Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;
And to be doubted that your Moor and you
Are singled forth to try experiments:
Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day!
‘Tis pity they should take him for a stag.

BASSIANUS

Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian
Doth make your honour of his body’s hue,
Spotted, detested, and abominable.
Why are you sequester’d from all your train,
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed.
And wander’d hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?

LAVINIA

And, being intercepted in your sport,
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
For sauciness. I pray you, let us hence,
And let her joy her raven-colour’d love;
This valley fits the purpose passing well.

BASSIANUS

The king my brother shall have note of this.

LAVINIA

Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:
Good king, to be so mightily abused!

TAMORA

Why have I patience to endure all this?

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON

DEMETRIUS

How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother!
Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?

TAMORA

Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
These two have ‘ticed me hither to this place:
A barren detested vale, you see it is;
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O’ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:
And when they show’d me this abhorred pit,
They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
Would make such fearful and confused cries
As any mortal body hearing it
Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But straight they told me they would bind me here
Unto the body of a dismal yew,
And leave me to this miserable death:
And then they call’d me foul adulteress,
Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
That ever ear did hear to such effect:
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed.
Revenge it, as you love your mother’s life,
Or be ye not henceforth call’d my children.

DEMETRIUS

This is a witness that I am thy son.

Stabs BASSIANUS

CHIRON

And this for me, struck home to show my strength.

Also stabs BASSIANUS, who dies

LAVINIA

Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
For no name fits thy nature but thy own!

TAMORA

Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my boys
Your mother’s hand shall right your mother’s wrong.

DEMETRIUS

Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her;
First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw:
This minion stood upon her chastity,
Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
And with that painted hope braves your mightiness:
And shall she carry this unto her grave?

CHIRON

An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.

TAMORA

But when ye have the honey ye desire,
Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.

CHIRON

I warrant you, madam, we wil l make that sure.
Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.

LAVINIA

O Tamora! thou bear’st a woman’s face,—

TAMORA

I will not hear her speak; away with her!

LAVINIA

Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.

DEMETRIUS

Listen, fair madam: let it be your glory
To see her tears; but be your heart to them
As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.

LAVINIA

When did the tiger’s young ones teach the dam?
O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee;
The milk thou suck’dst from her did turn to marble;
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:

To CHIRON
Do thou entreat her show a woman pity.

CHIRON

What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?

LAVINIA

‘Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark:
Yet have I heard,—O, could I find it now!—
The lion moved with pity did endure
To have his princely paws pared all away:
Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,
The whilst their own birds famish in their nests:
O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
Nothing so kind, but something pitiful!

TAMORA

I know not what it means; away with her!

LAVINIA

O, let me teach thee! for my father’s sake,
That gave thee life, when well he might have
slain thee,
Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.

TAMORA

Hadst thou in person ne’er offended me,
Even for his sake am I pitiless.
Remember, boys, I pour’d forth tears in vain,
To save your brother from the sacrifice;
But fierce Andronicus would not relent;
Therefore, away with her, and use her as you will,
The worse to her, the better loved of me.

LAVINIA

O Tamora, be call’d a gentle queen,
And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
For ’tis not life that I have begg’d so long;
Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.

TAMORA

What begg’st thou, then? fond woman, let me go.

LAVINIA

‘Tis present death I beg; and one thing more
That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,
And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
Where never man’s eye may behold my body:
Do this, and be a charitable murderer.

TAMORA

So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:
No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.

DEMETRIUS

Away! for thou hast stay’d us here too long.

LAVINIA

No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature!
The blot and enemy to our general name!
Confusion fall—

CHIRON

Nay, then I’ll stop your mouth. Bring thou her husband:
This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.

DEMETRIUS throws the body of BASSIANUS into the pit; then exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, dragging off LAVINIA

TAMORA

Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure.
Ne’er let my heart know merry cheer indeed,
Till all the Andronici be made away.
Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
And let my spleenful sons this trull deflow’r.

Exit

Re-enter AARON, with QUINTUS and MARTIUS

AARON

Come on, my lords, the better foot before:
Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
Where I espied the panther fast asleep.

QUINTUS

My sight is very dull, whate’er it bodes.

MARTIUS

And mine, I promise you; were’t not for shame,
Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.

Falls into the pit

QUINTUS

What art thou fall’n? What subtle hole is this,
Whose mouth is cover’d with rude-growing briers,
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
As fresh as morning dew distill’d on flowers?
A very fatal place it seems to me.
Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?

MARTIUS

O brother, with the dismall’st object hurt
That ever eye with sight made heart lament!

AARON

[Aside] Now will I fetch the king to find them here,
That he thereby may give a likely guess
How these were they that made away his brother.

Exit

MARTIUS

Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?

QUINTUS

I am surprised with an uncouth fear;
A chilling sweat o’er-runs my trembling joints:
My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.

MARTIUS

To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
Aaron and thou look down into this den,
And see a fearful sight of blood and death.

QUINTUS

Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing whereat it trembles by surmise;
O, tell me how it is; for ne’er till now
Was I a child to fear I know not what.

MARTIUS

Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,
All on a heap, like to a slaughter’d lamb,
In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.

QUINTUS

If it be dark, how dost thou know ’tis he?

MARTIUS

Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,
Which, like a taper in some monument,
Doth shine upon the dead man’s earthy cheeks,
And shows the ragged entrails of the pit:
So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
O brother, help me with thy fainting hand—
If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath—
Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
As hateful as Cocytus’ misty mouth.

QUINTUS

Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;
Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
I may be pluck’d into the swallowing womb
Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus’ grave.
I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.

MARTIUS

Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.

QUINTUS

Thy hand once more; I will not loose again,
Till thou art here aloft, or I below:
Thou canst not come to me: I come to thee.

Falls in

Enter SATURNINUS with AARON

SATURNINUS

Along with me: I’ll see what hole is here,
And what he is that now is leap’d into it.
Say who art thou that lately didst descend
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?

MARTIUS

The unhappy son of old Andronicus:
Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,
To find thy brother Bassianus dead.

SATURNINUS

My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest:
He and his lady both are at the lodge
Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;
‘Tis not an hour since I left him there.

MARTIUS

We know not where you left him all alive;
But, out, alas! here have we found him dead.

Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS, and Lucius

TAMORA

Where is my lord the king?

SATURNINUS

Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.

TAMORA

Where is thy brother Bassianus?

SATURNINUS

Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:
Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.

TAMORA

Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
The complot of this timeless tragedy;
And wonder greatly that man’s face can fold
In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

She giveth SATURNINUS a letter

SATURNINUS

[Reads] ‘An if we miss to meet him handsomely—
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus ’tis we mean—
Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
Thou know’st our meaning. Look for thy reward
Among the nettles at the elder-tree
Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.’
O Tamora! was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder-tree.
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
That should have murdered Bassianus here.

AARON

My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.

SATURNINUS

[To TITUS] Two of thy whelps, fell curs of
bloody kind,
Have here bereft my brother of his life.
Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison:
There let them bide until we have devised
Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.

TAMORA

What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
How easily murder is discovered!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

High emperor, upon my feeble knee
I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed sons,
Accursed if the fault be proved in them,—

SATURNINUS

If it be proved! you see it is apparent.
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?

TAMORA

Andronicus himself did take it up.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail;
For, by my father’s reverend tomb, I vow
They shall be ready at your highness’ will
To answer their suspicion with their lives.

SATURNINUS

Thou shalt not bail them: see thou follow me.
Some bring the murder’d body, some the murderers:
Let them not speak a word; the guilt is plain;
For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
That end upon them should be executed.

TAMORA

Andronicus, I will entreat the king;
Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Another part of the forest.

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON with LAVINIA, ravished; her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out

DEMETRIUS

So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
Who ’twas that cut thy tongue and ravish’d thee.

CHIRON

Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.

DEMETRIUS

See, how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.

CHIRON

Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.

DEMETRIUS

She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
And so let’s leave her to her silent walks.

CHIRON

An ’twere my case, I should go hang myself.

DEMETRIUS

If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.

Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON

Enter MARCUS

MARCUS

Who is this? my niece, that flies away so fast!
Cousin, a word; where is your husband?
If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
That I may slumber in eternal sleep!
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
Have lopp’d and hew’d and made thy body bare
Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments,
Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
And might not gain so great a happiness
As have thy love? Why dost not speak to me?
Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
Like to a bubbling fountain stirr’d with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.
Ah, now thou turn’st away thy face for shame!
And, notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan’s face
Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
Shall I speak for thee? shall I say ’tis so?
O, that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,
That I might rail at him, to ease my mind!
Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp’d,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious sampler sew’d her mind:
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sew’d than Philomel.
O, had the monster seen those lily hands
Tremble, like aspen-leaves, upon a lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
He would not then have touch’d them for his life!
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony
Which that sweet tongue hath made,
He would have dropp’d his knife, and fell asleep
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet’s feet.
Come, let us go, and make thy father blind;
For such a sight will blind a father’s eye:
One hour’s storm will drown the fragrant meads;
What will whole months of tears thy father’s eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee
O, could our mourning ease thy misery!

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. Rome. A street.

Enter Judges, Senators and Tribunes, with MARTIUS and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the place of execution; TITUS going before, pleading

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;
For all my blood in Rome’s great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch’d;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
Whose souls are not corrupted as ’tis thought.
For two and twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour’s lofty bed.

Lieth down; the Judges, & c., pass by him, and Exeunt
For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write
My heart’s deep languor and my soul’s sad tears:
Let my tears stanch the earth’s dry appetite;
My sons’ sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
In summer’s drought I’ll drop upon thee still;
In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow
And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drink my dear sons’ blood.

Enter LUCIUS, with his sword drawn
O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men!
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators.

LUCIUS

O noble father, you lament in vain:
The tribunes hear you not; no man is by;
And you recount your sorrows to a stone.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.
Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you,—

LUCIUS

My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, tis no matter, man; if they did hear,
They would not mark me, or if they did mark,
They would not pity me, yet plead I must;
Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale:
When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
Receive my tears and seem to weep with me;
And, were they but attired in grave weeds,
Rome could afford no tribune like to these.
A stone is soft as wax,—tribunes more hard than stones;
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.

Rises
But wherefore stand’st thou with thy weapon drawn?

LUCIUS

To rescue my two brothers from their death:
For which attempt the judges have pronounced
My everlasting doom of banishment.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O happy man! they have befriended thee.
Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey
But me and mine: how happy art thou, then,
From these devourers to be banished!
But who comes with our brother Marcus here?

Enter MARCUS and LAVINIA

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break:
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Will it consume me? let me see it, then.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

This was thy daughter.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, Marcus, so she is.

LUCIUS

Ay me, this object kills me!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.
Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father’s sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea,
Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou camest,
And now like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.
Give me a sword, I’ll chop off my hands too;
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nursed this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have served me to effectless use:
Now all the service I require of them
Is that the one will help to cut the other.
‘Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.

LUCIUS

Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr’d thee?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, that delightful engine of her thoughts
That blabb’d them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!

LUCIUS

O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
That hath received some unrecuring wound.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

It was my deer; and he that wounded her
Hath hurt me more than had he killed me dead:
For now I stand as one upon a rock
Environed with a wilderness of sea,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
Here stands my other son, a banished man,
And here my brother, weeping at my woes.
But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn,
Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.
Had I but seen thy picture in this plight,
It would have madded me: what shall I do
Now I behold thy lively body so?
Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears:
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyr’d thee:
Thy husband he is dead: and for his death
Thy brothers are condemn’d, and dead by this.
Look, Marcus! ah, son Lucius, look on her!
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew
Upon a gather’d lily almost wither’d.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Perchance she weeps because they kill’d her husband;
Perchance because she knows them innocent.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful
Because the law hath ta’en revenge on them.
No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.
Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips.
Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,
Looking all downwards to behold our cheeks
How they are stain’d, as meadows, yet not dry,
With miry slime left on them by a flood?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
Plot some deuce of further misery,
To make us wonder’d at in time to come.

LUCIUS

Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief,
See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Patience, dear niece. Good Titus, dry thine eyes.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot
Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
For thou, poor man, hast drown’d it with thine own.

LUCIUS

Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
That to her brother which I said to thee:
His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
O, what a sympathy of woe is this,
As far from help as Limbo is from bliss!

Enter AARON

AARON

Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
Sends thee this word,—that, if thou love thy sons,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
Or any one of you, chop off your hand,
And send it to the king: he for the same
Will send thee hither both thy sons alive;
And that shall be the ransom for their fault.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?
With all my heart, I’ll send the emperor My hand:
Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?

LUCIUS

Stay, father! for that noble hand of thine,
That hath thrown down so many enemies,
Shall not be sent: my hand will serve the turn:
My youth can better spare my blood than you;
And therefore mine shall save my brothers’ lives.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
And rear’d aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemy’s castle?
O, none of both but are of high desert:
My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
To ransom my two nephews from their death;
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.

AARON

Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
For fear they die before their pardon come.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

My hand shall go.

LUCIUS

By heaven, it shall not go!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Sirs, strive no more: such wither’d herbs as these
Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.

LUCIUS

Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
Let me redeem my brothers both from death.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

And, for our father’s sake and mother’s care,
Now let me show a brother’s love to thee.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Agree between you; I will spare my hand.

LUCIUS

Then I’ll go fetch an axe.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

But I will use the axe.

Exeunt LUCIUS and MARCUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come hither, Aaron; I’ll deceive them both:
Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.

AARON

[Aside] If that be call’d deceit, I will be honest,
And never, whilst I live, deceive men so:
But I’ll deceive you in another sort,
And that you’ll say, ere half an hour pass.

Cuts off TITUS’s hand

Re-enter LUCIUS and MARCUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Now stay your strife: what shall be is dispatch’d.
Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:
Tell him it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers; bid him bury it
More hath it merited; that let it have.
As for my sons, say I account of them
As jewels purchased at an easy price;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.

AARON

I go, Andronicus: and for thy hand
Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.

Aside
Their heads, I mean. O, how this villany
Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace.
Aaron will have his soul black like his face.

Exit

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
And bow this feeble ruin to the earth:
If any power pities wretched tears,
To that I call!

To LAVINIA
What, wilt thou kneel with me?
Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers;
Or with our sighs we’ll breathe the welkin dim,
And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O brother, speak with possibilities,
And do not break into these deep extremes.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
Then be my passions bottomless with them.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

But yet let reason govern thy lament.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

If there were reason for these miseries,
Then into limits could I bind my woes:
When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o’erflow?
If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
Threatening the welkin with his big-swoln face?
And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow!
She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
Then must my earth with her continual tears
Become a deluge, overflow’d and drown’d;
For why my bowels cannot hide her woes,
But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
Then give me leave, for losers will have leave
To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.

Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand

Messenger

Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
For that good hand thou sent’st the emperor.
Here are the heads of thy two noble sons;
And here’s thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back;
Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock’d;
That woe is me to think upon thy woes
More than remembrance of my father’s death.

Exit

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Now let hot AEtna cool in Sicily,
And be my heart an ever-burning hell!
These miseries are more than may be borne.
To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal;
But sorrow flouted at is double death.

LUCIUS

Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound,
And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
That ever death should let life bear his name,
Where life hath no more interest but to breathe!

LAVINIA kisses TITUS

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
As frozen water to a starved snake.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

When will this fearful slumber have an end?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Now, farewell, flattery: die, Andronicus;
Thou dost not slumber: see, thy two sons’ heads,
Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here:
Thy other banish’d son, with this dear sight
Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs:
Rend off thy silver hair, thy other hand
Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal sight
The closing up of our most wretched eyes;
Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Ha, ha, ha!

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this hour.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, I have not another tear to shed:
Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
And would usurp upon my watery eyes
And make them blind with tributary tears:
Then which way shall I find Revenge’s cave?
For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
And threat me I shall never come to bliss
Till all these mischiefs be return’d again
Even in their throats that have committed them.
Come, let me see what task I have to do.
You heavy people, circle me about,
That I may turn me to each one of you,
And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head;
And in this hand the other I will bear.
Lavinia, thou shalt be employ’d: these arms!
Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;
Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay:
Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there:
And, if you love me, as I think you do,
Let’s kiss and part, for we have much to do.

Exeunt TITUS, MARCUS, and LAVINIA

LUCIUS

Farewell Andronicus, my noble father,
The wofull’st man that ever lived in Rome:
Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again,
He leaves his pledges dearer than his life:
Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;
O, would thou wert as thou tofore hast been!
But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs;
And make proud Saturnine and his empress
Beg at the gates, like Tarquin and his queen.
Now will I to the Goths, and raise a power,
To be revenged on Rome and Saturnine.

Exit

SCENE II. A room in Titus’s house. A banquet set out.

Enter TITUS, MARCUS, LAVINIA and Young LUCIUS, a boy

TITUS ANDRONICUS

So, so; now sit: and look you eat no more
Than will preserve just so much strength in us
As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.
Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot:
Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands,
And cannot passionate our tenfold grief
With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine
Is left to tyrannize upon my breast;
Who, when my heart, all mad with misery,
Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,
Then thus I thump it down.

To LAVINIA
Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs!
When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating,
Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans;
Or get some little knife between thy teeth,
And just against thy heart make thou a hole;
That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
May run into that sink, and soaking in
Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Fie, brother, fie! teach her not thus to lay
Such violent hands upon her tender life.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

How now! has sorrow made thee dote already?
Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
What violent hands can she lay on her life?
Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands;
To bid AEneas tell the tale twice o’er,
How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?
O, handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
Lest we remember still that we have none.
Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk,
As if we should forget we had no hands,
If Marcus did not name the word of hands!
Come, let’s fall to; and, gentle girl, eat this:
Here is no drink! Hark, Marcus, what she says;
I can interpret all her martyr’d signs;
She says she drinks no other drink but tears,
Brew’d with her sorrow, mesh’d upon her cheeks:
Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;
In thy dumb action will I be as perfect
As begging hermits in their holy prayers:
Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
But I of these will wrest an alphabet
And by still practise learn to know thy meaning.

Young LUCIUS

Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments:
Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Alas, the tender boy, in passion moved,
Doth weep to see his grandsire’s heaviness.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Peace, tender sapling; thou art made of tears,
And tears will quickly melt thy life away.

MARCUS strikes the dish with a knife
What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

At that that I have kill’d, my lord; a fly.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Out on thee, murderer! thou kill’st my heart;
Mine eyes are cloy’d with view of tyranny:
A deed of death done on the innocent
Becomes not Titus’ brother: get thee gone:
I see thou art not for my company.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Alas, my lord, I have but kill’d a fly.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

But how, if that fly had a father and mother?
How would he hang his slender gilded wings,
And buzz lamenting doings in the air!
Poor harmless fly,
That, with his pretty buzzing melody,
Came here to make us merry! and thou hast
kill’d him.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Pardon me, sir; it was a black ill-favor’d fly,
Like to the empress’ Moor; therefore I kill’d him.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O, O, O,
Then pardon me for reprehending thee,
For thou hast done a charitable deed.
Give me thy knife, I will insult on him;
Flattering myself, as if it were the Moor
Come hither purposely to poison me.—
There’s for thyself, and that’s for Tamora.
Ah, sirrah!
Yet, I think, we are not brought so low,
But that between us we can kill a fly
That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Alas, poor man! grief has so wrought on him,
He takes false shadows for true substances.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, take away. Lavinia, go with me:
I’ll to thy closet; and go read with thee
Sad stories chanced in the times of old.
Come, boy, and go with me: thy sight is young,
And thou shalt read when mine begin to dazzle.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. Rome. Titus’s garden.

Enter young LUCIUS, and LAVINIA running after him, and the boy flies from her, with books under his arm. Then enter TITUS and MARCUS

Young LUCIUS

Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia
Follows me every where, I know not why:
Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes.
Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Stand by me, Lucius; do not fear thine aunt.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.

Young LUCIUS

Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean:
See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee:
Somewhither would she have thee go with her.
Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care
Read to her sons than she hath read to thee
Sweet poetry and Tully’s Orator.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?

Young LUCIUS

My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,
Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her:
For I have heard my grandsire say full oft,
Extremity of griefs would make men mad;
And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
Ran mad through sorrow: that made me to fear;
Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt
Loves me as dear as e’er my mother did,
And would not, but in fury, fright my youth:
Which made me down to throw my books, and fly—
Causeless, perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt:
And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,
I will most willingly attend your ladyship.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, I will.

LAVINIA turns over with her stumps the books which LUCIUS has let fall

TITUS ANDRONICUS

How now, Lavinia! Marcus, what means this?
Some book there is that she desires to see.
Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.
But thou art deeper read, and better skill’d
Come, and take choice of all my library,
And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens
Reveal the damn’d contriver of this deed.
Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

I think she means that there was more than one
Confederate in the fact: ay, more there was;
Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?

Young LUCIUS

Grandsire, ’tis Ovid’s Metamorphoses;
My mother gave it me.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

For love of her that’s gone,
Perhaps she cull’d it from among the rest.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Soft! see how busily she turns the leaves!

Helping her
What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?
This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
And treats of Tereus’ treason and his rape:
And rape, I fear, was root of thine annoy.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

See, brother, see; note how she quotes the leaves.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl,
Ravish’d and wrong’d, as Philomela was,
Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods? See, see!
Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt—
O, had we never, never hunted there!—
Pattern’d by that the poet here describes,
By nature made for murders and for rapes.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, why should nature build so foul a den,
Unless the gods delight in tragedies?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none
but friends,
What Roman lord it was durst do the deed:
Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
That left the camp to sin in Lucrece’ bed?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me.
Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
Inspire me, that I may this treason find!
My lord, look here: look here, Lavinia:
This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst
This after me, when I have writ my name
Without the help of any hand at all.

He writes his name with his staff, and guides it with feet and mouth
Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
Write thou good niece; and here display, at last,
What God will have discover’d for revenge;
Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,
That we may know the traitors and the truth!

She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it with her stumps, and writes

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?
‘Stuprum. Chiron. Demetrius.’

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What, what! the lustful sons of Tamora
Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Magni Dominator poli,
Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, calm thee, gentle lord; although I know
There is enough written upon this earth
To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts
And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.
My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;
And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector’s hope;
And swear with me, as, with the woful fere
And father of that chaste dishonour’d dame,
Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece’ rape,
That we will prosecute by good advice
Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
And see their blood, or die with this reproach.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

‘Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware:
The dam will wake; and, if she wind you once,
She’s with the lion deeply still in league,
And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,
And when he sleeps will she do what she list.
You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let it alone;
And, come, I will go get a leaf of brass,
And with a gad of steel will write these words,
And lay it by: the angry northern wind
Will blow these sands, like Sibyl’s leaves, abroad,
And where’s your lesson, then? Boy, what say you?

Young LUCIUS

I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
Their mother’s bed-chamber should not be safe
For these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Ay, that’s my boy! thy father hath full oft
For his ungrateful country done the like.

Young LUCIUS

And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, go with me into mine armoury;
Lucius, I’ll fit thee; and withal, my boy,
Shalt carry from me to the empress’ sons
Presents that I intend to send them both:
Come, come; thou’lt do thy message, wilt thou not?

Young LUCIUS

Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

No, boy, not so; I’ll teach thee another course.
Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house:
Lucius and I’ll go brave it at the court:
Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we’ll be waited on.

Exeunt TITUS, LAVINIA, and Young LUCIUS

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,
And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart
Than foemen’s marks upon his batter’d shield;
But yet so just that he will not revenge.
Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!

Exit

SCENE II. The same. A room in the palace.

Enter, from one side, AARON, DEMETRIUS, and CHIRON; from the other side, Young LUCIUS, and an Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses writ upon them

CHIRON

Demetrius, here’s the son of Lucius;
He hath some message to deliver us.

AARON

Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.

Young LUCIUS

My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
I greet your honours from Andronicus.

Aside
And pray the Roman gods confound you both!

DEMETRIUS

Gramercy, lovely Lucius: what’s the news?

Young LUCIUS

[Aside] That you are both decipher’d, that’s the news,
For villains mark’d with rape.—May it please you,
My grandsire, well advised, hath sent by me
The goodliest weapons of his armoury
To gratify your honourable youth,
The hope of Rome; for so he bade me say;
And so I do, and with his gifts present
Your lordships, that, whenever you have need,
You may be armed and appointed well:
And so I leave you both:

Aside
like bloody villains.

Exeunt Young LUCIUS, and Attendant

DEMETRIUS

What’s here? A scroll; and written round about?
Let’s see;

Reads
‘Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.’

CHIRON

O, ’tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:
I read it in the grammar long ago.

AARON

Ay, just; a verse in Horace; right, you have it.

Aside
Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here’s no sound jest! the old man hath found their guilt;
And sends them weapons wrapped about with lines,
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
But were our witty empress well afoot,
She would applaud Andronicus’ conceit:
But let her rest in her unrest awhile.
And now, young lords, was’t not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
Captives, to be advanced to this height?
It did me good, before the palace gate
To brave the tribune in his brother’s hearing.

DEMETRIUS

But me more good, to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate and send us gifts.

AARON

Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
Did you not use his daughter very friendly?

DEMETRIUS

I would we had a thousand Roman dames
At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.

CHIRON

A charitable wish and full of love.

AARON

Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.

CHIRON

And that would she for twenty thousand more.

DEMETRIUS

Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods
For our beloved mother in her pains.

AARON

[Aside] Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.

Trumpets sound within

DEMETRIUS

Why do the emperor’s trumpets flourish thus?

CHIRON

Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.

DEMETRIUS

Soft! who comes here?

Enter a Nurse, with a blackamoor Child in her arms

Nurse

Good morr ow, lords:
O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?

AARON

Well, more or less, or ne’er a whit at all,
Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?

Nurse

O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!

AARON

Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!
What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?

Nurse

O, that which I would hide from heaven’s eye,
Our empress’ shame, and stately Rome’s disgrace!
She is deliver’d, lords; she is deliver’d.

AARON

To whom?

Nurse

I mean, she is brought a-bed.

AARON

Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?

Nurse

A devil.

AARON

Why, then she is the devil’s dam; a joyful issue.

Nurse

A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue:
Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime:
The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
And bids thee christen it with thy dagger’s point.

AARON

‘Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.

DEMETRIUS

Villain, what hast thou done?

AARON

That which thou canst not undo.

CHIRON

Thou hast undone our mother.

AARON

Villain, I have done thy mother.

DEMETRIUS

And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone.
Woe to her chance, and damn’d her loathed choice!
Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend!

CHIRON

It shall not live.

AARON

It shall not die.

Nurse

Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.

AARON

What, must it, nurse? then let no man but I
Do execution on my flesh and blood.

DEMETRIUS

I’ll broach the tadpole on my rapier’s point:
Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon dispatch it.

AARON

Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.

Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws
Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?
Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar’s sharp point
That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threatening band of Typhon’s brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father’s hands.
What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-limed walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan’s black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the empress from me, I am of age
To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.

DEMETRIUS

Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?

AARON

My mistress is my mistress; this myself,
The vigour and the picture of my youth:
This before all the world do I prefer;
This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.

DEMETRIUS

By this our mother is forever shamed.

CHIRON

Rome will despise her for this foul escape.

Nurse

The emperor, in his rage, will doom her death.

CHIRON

I blush to think upon this ignomy.

AARON

Why, there’s the privilege your beauty bears:
Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the heart!
Here’s a young lad framed of another leer:
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father,
As who should say ‘Old lad, I am thine own.’
He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you,
And from that womb where you imprison’d were
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.

Nurse

Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?

DEMETRIUS

Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.

AARON

Then sit we down, and let us all consult.
My son and I will have the wind of you:
Keep there: now talk at pleasure of your safety.

They sit

DEMETRIUS

How many women saw this child of his?

AARON

Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league,
I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But say, again; how many saw the child?

Nurse

Cornelia the midwife and myself;
And no one else but the deliver’d empress.

AARON

The empress, the midwife, and yourself:
Two may keep counsel when the third’s away:
Go to the empress, tell her this I said.

He kills the nurse
Weke, weke! so cries a pig prepared to the spit.

DEMETRIUS

What mean’st thou, Aaron? wherefore didst thou this?

AARON

O Lord, sir, ’tis a deed of policy:
Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,
A long-tongued babbling gossip? no, lords, no:
And now be it known to you my full intent.
Not far, one Muli lives, my countryman;
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are:
Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanced,
And be received for the emperor’s heir,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords; ye see I have given her physic,

Pointing to the nurse
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
The midwife and the nurse well made away,
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.

CHIRON

Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
With secrets.

DEMETRIUS

For this care of Tamora,
Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.

Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON bearing off the Nurse’s body

AARON

Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies;
There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the empress’ friends.
Come on, you thick lipp’d slave, I’ll bear you hence;
For it is you that puts us to our shifts:
I’ll make you feed on berries and on roots,
And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
To be a warrior, and command a camp.

Exit

SCENE III. The same. A public place.

Enter TITUS, bearing arrows with letters at the ends of them; with him, MARCUS, Young LUCIUS, PUBLIUS, SEMPRONIUS, CAIUS, and other Gentlemen, with bows

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, Marcus; come, kinsmen; this is the way.
Sir boy, now let me see your archery;
Look ye draw home enough, and ’tis there straight.
Terras Astraea reliquit:
Be you remember’d, Marcus, she’s gone, she’s fled.
Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;
Happily you may catch her in the sea;
Yet there’s as little justice as at land:
No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it;
‘Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:
Then, when you come to Pluto’s region,
I pray you, deliver him this petition;
Tell him, it is for justice and for aid,
And that it comes from old Andronicus,
Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
Ah, Rome! Well, well; I made thee miserable
What time I threw the people’s suffrages
On him that thus doth tyrannize o’er me.
Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,
And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch’d:
This wicked emperor may have shipp’d her hence;
And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
To see thy noble uncle thus distract?

PUBLIUS

Therefore, my lord, it highly us concerns
By day and night to attend him carefully,
And feed his humour kindly as we may,
Till time beget some careful remedy.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.
Join with the Goths; and with revengeful war
Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Publius, how now! how now, my masters!
What, have you met with her?

PUBLIUS

No, my good lord; but Pluto sends you word,
If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall:
Marry, for Justice, she is so employ’d,
He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,
So that perforce you must needs stay a time.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
I’ll dive into the burning lake below,
And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.
Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we
No big-boned men framed of the Cyclops’ size;
But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear:
And, sith there’s no justice in earth nor hell,
We will solicit heaven and move the gods
To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.
Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus;

He gives them the arrows
‘Ad Jovem,’ that’s for you: here, ‘Ad Apollinem:’
‘Ad Martem,’ that’s for myself:
Here, boy, to Pallas: here, to Mercury:
To Saturn, Caius, not to Saturnine;
You were as good to shoot against the wind.
To it, boy! Marcus, loose when I bid.
Of my word, I have written to effect;
There’s not a god left unsolicited.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court:
We will afflict the emperor in his pride.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Now, masters, draw.

They shoot
O, well said, Lucius!
Good boy, in Virgo’s lap; give it Pallas.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon;
Your letter is with Jupiter by this.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Ha, ha!
Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus’ horns.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

This was the sport, my lord: when Publius shot,
The Bull, being gall’d, gave Aries such a knock
That down fell both the Ram’s horns in the court;
And who should find them but the empress’ villain?
She laugh’d, and told the Moor he should not choose
But give them to his master for a present.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy!

Enter a Clown, with a basket, and two pigeons in it
News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.
Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters?
Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter?

Clown

O, the gibbet-maker! he says that he hath taken
them down again, for the man must not be hanged till
the next week.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?

Clown

Alas, sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him
in all my life.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?

Clown

Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, didst thou not come from heaven?

Clown

From heaven! alas, sir, I never came there God
forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my
young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the
tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl
betwixt my uncle and one of the emperial’s men.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for
your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to
the emperor from you.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor
with a grace?

Clown

Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado,
But give your pigeons to the emperor:
By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
Hold, hold; meanwhile here’s money for thy charges.
Give me pen and ink. Sirrah, can you with a grace
deliver a supplication?

Clown

Ay, sir.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Then here is a supplication for you. And when you
come to him, at the first approach you must kneel,
then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons, and
then look for your reward. I’ll be at hand, sir; see
you do it bravely.

Clown

I warrant you, sir, let me alone.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Sirrah, hast thou a knife? come, let me see it.
Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration;
For thou hast made it like an humble suppliant.
And when thou hast given it the emperor,
Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.

Clown

God be with you, sir; I will.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, Marcus, let us go. Publius, follow me.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same. Before the palace.

Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, Lords, and others; SATURNINUS with the arrows in his hand that TITUS shot

SATURNINUS

Why, lords, what wrongs are these! was ever seen
An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent
Of egal justice, used in such contempt?
My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
However these disturbers of our peace
Buz in the people’s ears, there nought hath pass’d,
But even with law, against the willful sons
Of old Andronicus. And what an if
His sorrows have so overwhelm’d his wits,
Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
And now he writes to heaven for his redress:
See, here’s to Jove, and this to Mercury;
This to Apollo; this to the god of war;
Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
What’s this but libelling against the senate,
And blazoning our injustice every where?
A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?
As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
But if I live, his feigned ecstasies
Shall be no shelter to these outrages:
But he and his shall know that justice lives
In Saturninus’ health, whom, if she sleep,
He’ll so awake as she in fury shall
Cut off the proud’st conspirator that lives.

TAMORA

My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus’ age,
The effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,
Whose loss hath pierced him deep and scarr’d his heart;
And rather comfort his distressed plight
Than prosecute the meanest or the best
For these contempts.

Aside
Why, thus it shall become
High-witted Tamora to gloze with all:
But, Titus, I have touched thee to the quick,
Thy life-blood out: if Aaron now be wise,
Then is all safe, the anchor’s in the port.

Enter Clown
How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?

Clown

Yea, forsooth, an your mistership be emperial.

TAMORA

Empress I am, but yonder sits the emperor.

Clown

‘Tis he. God and Saint Stephen give you good den:
I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.

SATURNINUS reads the letter

SATURNINUS

Go, take him away, and hang him presently.

Clown

How much money must I have?

TAMORA

Come, sirrah, you must be hanged.

Clown

Hanged! by’r lady, then I have brought up a neck to
a fair end.

Exit, guarded

SATURNINUS

Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
Shall I endure this monstrous villany?
I know from whence this same device proceeds:
May this be borne?—as if his traitorous sons,
That died by law for murder of our brother,
Have by my means been butcher’d wrongfully!
Go, drag the villain hither by the hair;
Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege:
For this proud mock I’ll be thy slaughterman;
Sly frantic wretch, that holp’st to make me great,
In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.

Enter AEMILIUS
What news with thee, AEmilius?

AEMILIUS

Arm, arm, my lord;—Rome never had more cause.
The Goths have gather’d head; and with a power
high-resolved men, bent to the spoil,
They hither march amain, under conduct
Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus;
Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do
As much as ever Coriolanus did.

SATURNINUS

Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
These tidings nip me, and I hang the head
As flowers with frost or grass beat down with storms:
Ay, now begin our sorrows to approach:
‘Tis he the common people love so much;
Myself hath often over-heard them say,
When I have walked like a private man,
That Lucius’ banishment was wrongfully,
And they have wish’d that Lucius were their emperor.

TAMORA

Why should you fear? is not your city strong?

SATURNINUS

Ay, but the citizens favor Lucius,
And will revolt from me to succor him.

TAMORA

King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name.
Is the sun dimm’d, that gnats do fly in it?
The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby,
Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
He can at pleasure stint their melody:
Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.
Then cheer thy spirit : for know, thou emperor,
I will enchant the old Andronicus
With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,
Than baits to fish, or honey-stalks to sheep,
When as the one is wounded with the bait,
The other rotted with delicious feed.

SATURNINUS

But he will not entreat his son for us.

TAMORA

If Tamora entreat him, then he will:
For I can smooth and fill his aged ear
With golden promises; that, were his heart
Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.

To AEmilius
Go thou before, be our ambassador:
Say that the emperor requests a parley
Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
Even at his father’s house, the old Andronicus.

SATURNINUS

AEmilius, do this message honourably:
And if he stand on hostage for his safety,
Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.

AEMILIUS

Your bidding shall I do effectually.

Exit

TAMORA

Now will I to that old Andronicus;
And temper him with all the art I have,
To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
And bury all thy fear in my devices.

SATURNINUS

Then go successantly, and plead to him.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Plains near Rome.

Enter LUCIUS with an army of Goths, with drum and colours

LUCIUS

Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
I have received letters from great Rome,
Which signify what hate they bear their emperor
And how desirous of our sight they are.
Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
Imperious and impatient of your wrongs,
And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,
Let him make treble satisfaction.

First Goth

Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,
Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort;
Whose high exploits and honourable deeds
Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
Be bold in us: we’ll follow where thou lead’st,
Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day
Led by their master to the flowered fields,
And be avenged on cursed Tamora.

All the Goths

And as he saith, so say we all with him.

LUCIUS

I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?

Enter a Goth, leading AARON with his Child in his arms

Second Goth

Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray’d
To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;
And, as I earnestly did fix mine eye
Upon the wasted building, suddenly
I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
The crying babe controll’d with this discourse:
‘Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!
Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
Had nature lent thee but thy mother’s look,
Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:
But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
They never do beget a coal-black calf.
Peace, villain, peace!’—even thus he rates
the babe,—
‘For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
Who, when he knows thou art the empress’ babe,
Will hold thee dearly for thy mother’s sake.’
With this, my weapon drawn, I rush’d upon him,
Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither,
To use as you think needful of the man.

LUCIUS

O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
That robb’d Andronicus of his good hand;
This is the pearl that pleased your empress’ eye,
And here’s the base fruit of his burning lust.
Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
Why dost not speak? what, deaf? not a word?
A halter, soldiers! hang him on this tree.
And by his side his fruit of bastardy.

AARON

Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.

LUCIUS

Too like the sire for ever being good.
First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl;
A sight to vex the father’s soul withal.
Get me a ladder.

A ladder brought, which AARON is made to ascend

AARON

Lucius, save the child,
And bear it from me to the empress.
If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things,
That highly may advantage thee to hear:
If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
I’ll speak no more but ‘Vengeance rot you all!’

LUCIUS

Say on: an if it please me which thou speak’st
Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish’d.

AARON

An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius,
‘Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
For I must talk of murders, rapes and massacres,
Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
Complots of mischief, treason, villanies
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform’d:
And this shall all be buried by my death,
Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.

LUCIUS

Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.

AARON

Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.

LUCIUS

Who should I swear by? thou believest no god:
That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?

AARON

What if I do not? as, indeed, I do not;
Yet, for I know thou art religious
And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,
Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
An idiot holds his bauble for a god
And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
To that I’ll urge him: therefore thou shalt vow
By that same god, what god soe’er it be,
That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up;
Or else I will discover nought to thee.

LUCIUS

Even by my god I swear to thee I will.

AARON

First know thou, I begot him on the empress.

LUCIUS

O most insatiate and luxurious woman!

AARON

Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
‘Twas her two sons that murder’d Bassianus;
They cut thy sister’s tongue and ravish’d her
And cut her hands and trimm’d her as thou saw’st.

LUCIUS

O detestable villain! call’st thou that trimming?

AARON

Why, she was wash’d and cut and trimm’d, and ’twas
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.

LUCIUS

O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!

AARON

Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them:
That codding spirit had they from their mother,
As sure a card as ever won the set;
That bloody mind, I think, they learn’d of me,
As true a dog as ever fought at head.
Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.
I train’d thy brethren to that guileful hole
Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay:
I wrote the letter that thy father found
And hid the gold within the letter mention’d,
Confederate with the queen and her two sons:
And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
I play’d the cheater for thy father’s hand,
And, when I had it, drew myself apart
And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter:
I pry’d me through the crevice of a wall
When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads;
Beheld his tears, and laugh’d so heartily,
That both mine eyes were rainy like to his :
And when I told the empress of this sport,
She swooned almost at my pleasing tale,
And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.

First Goth

What, canst thou say all this, and never blush?

AARON

Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.

LUCIUS

Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?

AARON

Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
Even now I curse the day—and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,—
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends’ doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
‘Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.’
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

LUCIUS

Bring down the devil; for he must not die
So sweet a death as hanging presently.

AARON

If there be devils, would I were a devil,
To live and burn in everlasting fire,
So I might have your company in hell,
But to torment you with my bitter tongue!

LUCIUS

Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

Enter a Goth

Third Goth

My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
Desires to be admitted to your presence.

LUCIUS

Let him come near.

Enter AEMILIUS
Welcome, AEmilius what’s the news from Rome?

AEMILIUS

Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
The Roman emperor greets you all by me;
And, for he understands you are in arms,
He craves a parley at your father’s house,
Willing you to demand your hostages,
And they shall be immediately deliver’d.

First Goth

What says our general?

LUCIUS

AEmilius, let the emperor give his pledges
Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
And we will come. March away.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Rome. Before TITUS’s house.

Enter TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, and CHIRON, disguised

TAMORA

Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,
I will encounter with Andronicus,
And say I am Revenge, sent from below
To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps,
To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;
Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,
And work confusion on his enemies.

They knock

Enter TITUS, above

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Who doth molest my contemplation?
Is it your trick to make me ope the door,
That so my sad decrees may fly away,
And all my study be to no effect?
You are deceived: for what I mean to do
See here in bloody lines I have set down;
And what is written shall be executed.

TAMORA

Titus, I am come to talk with thee.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

No, not a word; how can I grace my talk,
Wanting a hand to give it action?
Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more.

TAMORA

If thou didst know me, thou wouldest talk with me.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I am not mad; I know thee well enough:
Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines;
Witness these trenches made by grief and care,
Witness the tiring day and heavy night;
Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well
For our proud empress, mighty Tamora:
Is not thy coming for my other hand?

TAMORA

Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora;
She is thy enemy, and I thy friend:
I am Revenge: sent from the infernal kingdom,
To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,
By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
Come down, and welcome me to this world’s light;
Confer with me of murder and of death:
There’s not a hollow cave or lurking-place,
No vast obscurity or misty vale,
Where bloody murder or detested rape
Can couch for fear, but I will find them out;
And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,
Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me,
To be a torment to mine enemies?

TAMORA

I am; therefore come down, and welcome me.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Do me some service, ere I come to thee.
Lo, by thy side where Rape and Murder stands;
Now give me some surance that thou art Revenge,
Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot-wheels;
And then I’ll come and be thy waggoner,
And whirl along with thee about the globe.
Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet,
To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away,
And find out murderers in their guilty caves:
And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel
Trot, like a servile footman, all day long,
Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east
Until his very downfall in the sea:
And day by day I’ll do this heavy task,
So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.

TAMORA

These are my ministers, and come with me.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Are these thy ministers? what are they call’d?

TAMORA

Rapine and Murder; therefore called so,
Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Good Lord, how like the empress’ sons they are!
And you, the empress! but we worldly men
Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee;
And, if one arm’s embracement will content thee,
I will embrace thee in it by and by.

Exit above

TAMORA

This closing with him fits his lunacy
Whate’er I forge to feed his brain-sick fits,
Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,
For now he firmly takes me for Revenge;
And, being credulous in this mad thought,
I’ll make him send for Lucius his son;
And, whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,
I’ll find some cunning practise out of hand,
To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths,
Or, at the least, make them his enemies.
See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme.

Enter TITUS below

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee:
Welcome, dread Fury, to my woful house:
Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too.
How like the empress and her sons you are!
Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor:
Could not all hell afford you such a devil?
For well I wot the empress never wags
But in her company there is a Moor;
And, would you represent our queen aright,
It were convenient you had such a devil:
But welcome, as you are. What shall we do?

TAMORA

What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?

DEMETRIUS

Show me a murderer, I’ll deal with him.

CHIRON

Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
And I am sent to be revenged on him.

TAMORA

Show me a thousand that have done thee wrong,
And I will be revenged on them all.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Look round about the wicked streets of Rome;
And when thou find’st a man that’s like thyself.
Good Murder, stab him; he’s a murderer.
Go thou with him; and when it is thy hap
To find another that is like to thee,
Good Rapine, stab him; he’s a ravisher.
Go thou with them; and in the emperor’s court
There is a queen, attended by a Moor;
Well mayst thou know her by thy own proportion,
for up and down she doth resemble thee:
I pray thee, do on them some violent death;
They have been violent to me and mine.

TAMORA

Well hast thou lesson’d us; this shall we do.
But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
And bid him come and banquet at thy house;
When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
I will bring in the empress and her sons,
The emperor himself and all thy foes;
And at thy mercy shalt they stoop and kneel,
And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
What says Andronicus to this device?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Marcus, my brother! ’tis sad Titus calls.

Enter MARCUS
Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius;
Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths:
Bid him repair to me, and bring with him
Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths;
Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are:
Tell him the emperor and the empress too
Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.
This do thou for my love; and so let him,
As he regards his aged father’s life.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

This will I do, and soon return again.

Exit

TAMORA

Now will I hence about thy business,
And take my ministers along with me.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me;
Or else I’ll call my brother back again,
And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.

TAMORA

[Aside to her sons] What say you, boys? will you
bide with him,
Whiles I go tell my lord the emperor
How I have govern’d our determined jest?
Yield to his humour, smooth and speak him fair,
And tarry with him till I turn again.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

[Aside] I know them all, though they suppose me mad,
And will o’erreach them in their own devices:
A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam!

DEMETRIUS

Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.

TAMORA

Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes
To lay a complot to betray thy foes.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell.

Exit TAMORA

CHIRON

Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ’d?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Tut, I have work enough for you to do.
Publius, come hither, Caius, and Valentine!

Enter PUBLIUS and others

PUBLIUS

What is your will?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Know you these two?

PUBLIUS

The empress’ sons, I take them, Chiron and Demetrius.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceived;
The one is Murder, Rape is the other’s name;
And therefore bind them, gentle Publius.
Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them.
Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,
And now I find it; therefore bind them sure,
And stop their mouths, if they begin to cry.

Exit

PUBLIUS, & c. lay hold on CHIRON and DEMETRIUS

CHIRON

Villains, forbear! we are the empress’ sons.

PUBLIUS

And therefore do we what we are commanded.
Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.
Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast.

Re-enter TITUS, with LAVINIA; he bearing a knife, and she a basin

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.
Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me;
But let them hear what fearful words I utter.
O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!
Here stands the spring whom you have stain’d with mud,
This goodly summer with your winter mix’d.
You kill’d her husband, and for that vile fault
Two of her brothers were condemn’d to death,
My hand cut off and made a merry jest;
Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear
Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forced.
What would you say, if I should let you speak?
Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace.
Hark, wretches! how I mean to martyr you.
This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
Whilst that Lavinia ‘tween her stumps doth hold
The basin that receives your guilty blood.
You know your mother means to feast with me,
And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad:
Hark, villains! I will grind your bones to dust
And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste,
And of the paste a coffin I will rear
And make two pasties of your shameful heads,
And bid that strumpet, your unhallow’d dam,
Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
This is the feast that I have bid her to,
And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
For worse than Philomel you used my daughter,
And worse than Progne I will be revenged:
And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come,

He cuts their throats
Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,
Let me go grind their bones to powder small
And with this hateful liquor temper it;
And in that paste let their vile heads be baked.
Come, come, be every one officious
To make this banquet; which I wish may prove
More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast.
So, now bring them in, for I’ll play the cook,
And see them ready ‘gainst their mother comes.

Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies

SCENE III. Court of TITUS’s house. A banquet set out.

Enter LUCIUS, MARCUS, and Goths, with AARON prisoner

LUCIUS

Uncle Marcus, since it is my father’s mind
That I repair to Rome, I am content.

First Goth

And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.

LUCIUS

Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil;
Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him
Till he be brought unto the empress’ face,
For testimony of her foul proceedings:
And see the ambush of our friends be strong;
I fear the emperor means no good to us.

AARON

Some devil whisper curses in mine ear,
And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth
The venomous malice of my swelling heart!

LUCIUS

Away, inhuman dog! unhallow’d slave!
Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in.

Exeunt Goths, with AARON. Flourish within
The trumpets show the emperor is at hand.

Enter SATURNINUS and TAMORA, with AEMILIUS, Tribunes, Senators, and others

SATURNINUS

What, hath the firmament more suns than one?

LUCIUS

What boots it thee to call thyself a sun?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Rome’s emperor, and nephew, break the parle;
These quarrels must be quietly debated.
The feast is ready, which the careful Titus
Hath ordain’d to an honourable end,
For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome:
Please you, therefore, draw nigh, and take your places.

SATURNINUS

Marcus, we will.

Hautboys sound. The Company sit down at table

Enter TITUS dressed like a Cook, LAVINIA veiled, Young LUCIUS, and others. TITUS places the dishes on the table

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Welcome, my gracious lord; welcome, dread queen;
Welcome, ye warlike Goths; welcome, Lucius;
And welcome, all: although the cheer be poor,
‘Twill fill your stomachs; please you eat of it.

SATURNINUS

Why art thou thus attired, Andronicus?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Because I would be sure to have all well,
To entertain your highness and your empress.

TAMORA

We are beholding to you, good Andronicus.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

An if your highness knew my heart, you were.
My lord the emperor, resolve me this:
Was it well done of rash Virginius
To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
Because she was enforced, stain’d, and deflower’d?

SATURNINUS

It was, Andronicus.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Your reason, mighty lord?

SATURNINUS

Because the girl should not survive her shame,
And by her presence still renew his sorrows.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant,
For me, most wretched, to perform the like.
Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee;

Kills LAVINIA
And, with thy shame, thy father’s sorrow die!

SATURNINUS

What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Kill’d her, for whom my tears have made me blind.
I am as woful as Virginius was,
And have a thousand times more cause than he
To do this outrage: and it now is done.

SATURNINUS

What, was she ravish’d? tell who did the deed.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Will’t please you eat? will’t please your
highness feed?

TAMORA

Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Not I; ’twas Chiron and Demetrius:
They ravish’d her, and cut away her tongue;
And they, ’twas they, that did her all this wrong.

SATURNINUS

Go fetch them hither to us presently.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Why, there they are both, baked in that pie;
Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.
‘Tis true, ’tis true; witness my knife’s sharp point.

Kills TAMORA

SATURNINUS

Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!

Kills TITUS

LUCIUS

Can the son’s eye behold his father bleed?
There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed!

Kills SATURNINUS. A great tumult. LUCIUS, MARCUS, and others go up into the balcony

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

You sad-faced men, people and sons of Rome,
By uproar sever’d, like a flight of fowl
Scatter’d by winds and high tempestuous gusts,
O, let me teach you how to knit again
This scatter’d corn into one mutual sheaf,
These broken limbs again into one body;
Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself,
And she whom mighty kingdoms court’sy to,
Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,
Do shameful execution on herself.
But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
Grave witnesses of true experience,
Cannot induce you to attend my words,

To LUCIUS
Speak, Rome’s dear friend, as erst our ancestor,
When with his solemn tongue he did discourse
To love-sick Dido’s sad attending ear
The story of that baleful burning night
When subtle Greeks surprised King Priam’s Troy,
Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch’d our ears,
Or who hath brought the fatal engine in
That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
My heart is not compact of flint nor steel;
Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
But floods of tears will drown my oratory,
And break my utterance, even in the time
When it should move you to attend me most,
Lending your kind commiseration.
Here is a captain, let him tell the tale;
Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.

LUCIUS

Then, noble auditory, be it known to you,
That cursed Chiron and Demetrius
Were they that murdered our emperor’s brother;
And they it were that ravished our sister:
For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded;
Our father’s tears despised, and basely cozen’d
Of that true hand that fought Rome’s quarrel out,
And sent her enemies unto the grave.
Lastly, myself unkindly banished,
The gates shut on me, and turn’d weeping out,
To beg relief among Rome’s enemies:
Who drown’d their enmity in my true tears.
And oped their arms to embrace me as a friend.
I am the turned forth, be it known to you,
That have preserved her welfare in my blood;
And from her bosom took the enemy’s point,
Sheathing the steel in my adventurous body.
Alas, you know I am no vaunter, I;
My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
That my report is just and full of truth.
But, soft! methinks I do digress too much,
Citing my worthless praise: O, pardon me;
For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Now is my turn to speak. Behold this child:

Pointing to the Child in the arms of an Attendant
Of this was Tamora delivered;
The issue of an irreligious Moor,
Chief architect and plotter of these woes:
The villain is alive in Titus’ house,
And as he is, to witness this is true.
Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge
These wrongs, unspeakable, past patience,
Or more than any living man could bear.
Now you have heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
Have we done aught amiss,—show us wherein,
And, from the place where you behold us now,
The poor remainder of Andronici
Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down.
And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
And make a mutual closure of our house.
Speak, Romans, speak; and if you say we shall,
Lo, hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.

AEMILIUS

Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,
Lucius our emperor; for well I know
The common voice do cry it shall be so.

All

Lucius, all hail, Rome’s royal emperor!

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Go, go into old Titus’ sorrowful house,

To Attendants
And hither hale that misbelieving Moor,
To be adjudged some direful slaughtering death,
As punishment for his most wicked life.

Exeunt Attendants

LUCIUS, MARCUS, and the others descend

All

Lucius, all hail, Rome’s gracious governor!

LUCIUS

Thanks, gentle Romans: may I govern so,
To heal Rome’s harms, and wipe away her woe!
But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,
For nature puts me to a heavy task:
Stand all aloof: but, uncle, draw you near,
To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.
O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,

Kissing TITUS
These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain’d face,
The last true duties of thy noble son!

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips:
O were the sum of these that I should pay
Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them!

LUCIUS

Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
To melt in showers: thy grandsire loved thee well:
Many a time he danced thee on his knee,
Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow:
Many a matter hath he told to thee,
Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;
In that respect, then, like a loving child,
Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
Because kind nature doth require it so:
Friends should associate friends in grief and woe:
Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave;
Do him that kindness, and take leave of him.

Young LUCIUS

O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart
Would I were dead, so you did live again!
O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping;
My tears will choke me, if I ope my mouth.

Re-enter Attendants with AARON

AEMILIUS

You sad Andronici, have done with woes:
Give sentence on this execrable wretch,
That hath been breeder of these dire events.

LUCIUS

Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
There let him stand, and rave, and cry for food;
If any one relieves or pities him,
For the offence he dies. This is our doom:
Some stay to see him fasten’d in the earth.

AARON

O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
I should repent the evils I have done:
Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
Would I perform, if I might have my will;
If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul.

LUCIUS

Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father’s grave:
My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
Be closed in our household’s monument.
As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,
No funeral rite, nor man m mourning weeds,
No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;
And, being so, shall have like want of pity.
See justice done on Aaron, that damn’d Moor,
By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:
Then, afterwards, to order well the state,
That like events may ne’er it ruinate.

Exeunt

Timon of Athens

ACT I

SCENE I. Athens. A hall in Timon’s house.

Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, and others, at several doors

Poet

Good day, sir.

Painter

I am glad you’re well.

Poet

I have not seen you long: how goes the world?

Painter

It wears, sir, as it grows.

Poet

Ay, that’s well known:
But what particular rarity? what strange,
Which manifold record not matches? See,
Magic of bounty! all these spirits thy power
Hath conjured to attend. I know the merchant.

Painter

I know them both; th’ other’s a jeweller.

Merchant

O, ’tis a worthy lord.

Jeweller

Nay, that’s most fix’d.

Merchant

A most incomparable man, breathed, as it were,
To an untirable and continuate goodness:
He passes.
Jeweller: I have a jewel here—

Merchant

O, pray, let’s see’t: for the Lord Timon, sir?
Jeweller: If he will touch the estimate: but, for that—

Poet

[Reciting to himself] ‘When we for recompense have
praised the vile,
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.’

Merchant

‘Tis a good form.

Looking at the jewel

Jeweller

And rich: here is a water, look ye.

Painter

You are rapt, sir, in some work, some dedication
To the great lord.

Poet

A thing slipp’d idly from me.
Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes
From whence ’tis nourish’d: the fire i’ the flint
Shows not till it be struck; our gentle flame
Provokes itself and like the current flies
Each bound it chafes. What have you there?

Painter

A picture, sir. When comes your book forth?

Poet

Upon the heels of my presentment, sir.
Let’s see your piece.

Painter

‘Tis a good piece.

Poet

So ’tis: this comes off well and excellent.

Painter

Indifferent.

Poet

Admirable: how this grace
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth! how big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.

Painter

It is a pretty mocking of the life.
Here is a touch; is’t good?

Poet

I will say of it,
It tutors nature: artificial strife
Lives in these touches, livelier than life.

Enter certain Senators, and pass over

Painter

How this lord is follow’d!

Poet

The senators of Athens: happy man!

Painter

Look, more!

Poet

You see this confluence, this great flood
of visitors.
I have, in this rough work, shaped out a man,
Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug
With amplest entertainment: my free drift
Halts not particularly, but moves itself
In a wide sea of wax: no levell’d malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold;
But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind.

Painter

How shall I understand you?

Poet

I will unbolt to you.
You see how all conditions, how all minds,
As well of glib and slippery creatures as
Of grave and austere quality, tender down
Their services to Lord Timon: his large fortune
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts; yea, from the glass-faced flatterer
To Apemantus, that few things loves better
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down
The knee before him, and returns in peace
Most rich in Timon’s nod.

Painter

I saw them speak together.

Poet

Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill
Feign’d Fortune to be throned: the base o’ the mount
Is rank’d with all deserts, all kind of natures,
That labour on the bosom of this sphere
To propagate their states: amongst them all,
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady fix’d,
One do I personate of Lord Timon’s frame,
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her;
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants
Translates his rivals.

Painter

‘Tis conceived to scope.
This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks,
With one man beckon’d from the rest below,
Bowing his head against the sleepy mount
To climb his happiness, would be well express’d
In our condition.

Poet

Nay, sir, but hear me on.
All those which were his fellows but of late,
Some better than his value, on the moment
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance,
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear,
Make sacred even his stirrup, and through him
Drink the free air.

Painter

Ay, marry, what of these?

Poet

When Fortune in her shift and change of mood
Spurns down her late beloved, all his dependants
Which labour’d after him to the mountain’s top
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down,
Not one accompanying his declining foot.

Painter

‘Tis common:
A thousand moral paintings I can show
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune’s
More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well
To show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen
The foot above the head.

Trumpets sound. Enter TIMON, addressing himself courteously to every suitor; a Messenger from VENTIDIUS talking with him; LUCILIUS and other servants following

TIMON

Imprison’d is he, say you?

Messenger

Ay, my good lord: five talents is his debt,
His means most short, his creditors most strait:
Your honourable letter he desires
To those have shut him up; which failing,
Periods his comfort.

TIMON

Noble Ventidius! Well;
I am not of that feather to shake off
My friend when he must need me. I do know him
A gentleman that well deserves a help:
Which he shall have: I’ll pay the debt,
and free him.

Messenger

Your lordship ever binds him.

TIMON

Commend me to him: I will send his ransom;
And being enfranchised, bid him come to me.
‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after. Fare you well.

Messenger

All happiness to your honour!

Exit

Enter an old Athenian

Old Athenian

Lord Timon, hear me speak.

TIMON

Freely, good father.

Old Athenian

Thou hast a servant named Lucilius.

TIMON

I have so: what of him?

Old Athenian

Most noble Timon, call the man before thee.

TIMON

Attends he here, or no? Lucilius!

LUCILIUS

Here, at your lordship’s service.

Old Athenian

This fellow here, Lord Timon, this thy creature,
By night frequents my house. I am a man
That from my first have been inclined to thrift;
And my estate deserves an heir more raised
Than one which holds a trencher.

TIMON

Well; what further?

Old Athenian

One only daughter have I, no kin else,
On whom I may confer what I have got:
The maid is fair, o’ the youngest for a bride,
And I have bred her at my dearest cost
In qualities of the best. This man of thine
Attempts her love: I prithee, noble lord,
Join with me to forbid him her resort;
Myself have spoke in vain.

TIMON

The man is honest.

Old Athenian

Therefore he will be, Timon:
His honesty rewards him in itself;
It must not bear my daughter.

TIMON

Does she love him?

Old Athenian

She is young and apt:
Our own precedent passions do instruct us
What levity’s in youth.

TIMON

[To LUCILIUS] Love you the maid?

LUCILIUS

Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it.

Old Athenian

If in her marriage my consent be missing,
I call the gods to witness, I will choose
Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world,
And dispossess her all.

TIMON

How shall she be endow’d,
if she be mated with an equal husband?

Old Athenian

Three talents on the present; in future, all.

TIMON

This gentleman of mine hath served me long:
To build his fortune I will strain a little,
For ’tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter:
What you bestow, in him I’ll counterpoise,
And make him weigh with her.

Old Athenian

Most noble lord,
Pawn me to this your honour, she is his.

TIMON

My hand to thee; mine honour on my promise.

LUCILIUS

Humbly I thank your lordship: never may
The state or fortune fall into my keeping,
Which is not owed to you!

Exeunt LUCILIUS and Old Athenian

Poet

Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your lordship!

TIMON

I thank you; you shall hear from me anon:
Go not away. What have you there, my friend?

Painter

A piece of painting, which I do beseech
Your lordship to accept.

TIMON

Painting is welcome.
The painting is almost the natural man;
or since dishonour traffics with man’s nature,
He is but outside: these pencill’d figures are
Even such as they give out. I like your work;
And you shall find I like it: wait attendance
Till you hear further from me.

Painter

The gods preserve ye!

TIMON

Well fare you, gentleman: give me your hand;
We must needs dine together. Sir, your jewel
Hath suffer’d under praise.

Jeweller

What, my lord! dispraise?

TIMON

A more satiety of commendations.
If I should pay you for’t as ’tis extoll’d,
It would unclew me quite.

Jeweller

My lord, ’tis rated
As those which sell would give: but you well know,
Things of like value differing in the owners
Are prized by their masters: believe’t, dear lord,
You mend the jewel by the wearing it.

TIMON

Well mock’d.

Merchant

No, my good lord; he speaks the common tongue,
Which all men speak with him.

TIMON

Look, who comes here: will you be chid?

Enter APEMANTUS
Jeweller: We’ll bear, with your lordship.

Merchant

He’ll spare none.

TIMON

Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus!

APEMANTUS

Till I be gentle, stay thou for thy good morrow;
When thou art Timon’s dog, and these knaves honest.

TIMON

Why dost thou call them knaves? thou know’st them not.

APEMANTUS

Are they not Athenians?

TIMON

Yes.

APEMANTUS

Then I repent not.
Jeweller: You know me, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Thou know’st I do: I call’d thee by thy name.

TIMON

Thou art proud, Apemantus.

APEMANTUS

Of nothing so much as that I am not like Timon.

TIMON

Whither art going?

APEMANTUS

To knock out an honest Athenian’s brains.

TIMON

That’s a deed thou’lt die for.

APEMANTUS

Right, if doing nothing be death by the law.

TIMON

How likest thou this picture, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

The best, for the innocence.

TIMON

Wrought he not well that painted it?

APEMANTUS

He wrought better that made the painter; and yet
he’s but a filthy piece of work.

Painter

You’re a dog.

APEMANTUS

Thy mother’s of my generation: what’s she, if I be a dog?

TIMON

Wilt dine with me, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

No; I eat not lords.

TIMON

An thou shouldst, thou ‘ldst anger ladies.

APEMANTUS

O, they eat lords; so they come by great bellies.

TIMON

That’s a lascivious apprehension.

APEMANTUS

So thou apprehendest it: take it for thy labour.

TIMON

How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Not so well as plain-dealing, which will not cost a
man a doit.

TIMON

What dost thou think ’tis worth?

APEMANTUS

Not worth my thinking. How now, poet!

Poet

How now, philosopher!

APEMANTUS

Thou liest.

Poet

Art not one?

APEMANTUS

Yes.

Poet

Then I lie not.

APEMANTUS

Art not a poet?

Poet

Yes.

APEMANTUS

Then thou liest: look in thy last work, where thou
hast feigned him a worthy fellow.

Poet

That’s not feigned; he is so.

APEMANTUS

Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay thee for thy
labour: he that loves to be flattered is worthy o’
the flatterer. Heavens, that I were a lord!

TIMON

What wouldst do then, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

E’en as Apemantus does now; hate a lord with my heart.

TIMON

What, thyself?

APEMANTUS

Ay.

TIMON

Wherefore?

APEMANTUS

That I had no angry wit to be a lord.
Art not thou a merchant?

Merchant

Ay, Apemantus.

APEMANTUS

Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not!

Merchant

If traffic do it, the gods do it.

APEMANTUS

Traffic’s thy god; and thy god confound thee!

Trumpet sounds. Enter a Messenger

TIMON

What trumpet’s that?

Messenger

‘Tis Alcibiades, and some twenty horse,
All of companionship.

TIMON

Pray, entertain them; give them guide to us.

Exeunt some Attendants
You must needs dine with me: go not you hence
Till I have thank’d you: when dinner’s done,
Show me this piece. I am joyful of your sights.

Enter ALCIBIADES, with the rest
Most welcome, sir!

APEMANTUS

So, so, there!
Aches contract and starve your supple joints!
That there should be small love ‘mongst these
sweet knaves,
And all this courtesy! The strain of man’s bred out
Into baboon and monkey.

ALCIBIADES

Sir, you have saved my longing, and I feed
Most hungerly on your sight.

TIMON

Right welcome, sir!
Ere we depart, we’ll share a bounteous time
In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in.

Exeunt all except APEMANTUS

Enter two Lords

First Lord

What time o’ day is’t, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Time to be honest.

First Lord

That time serves still.

APEMANTUS

The more accursed thou, that still omitt’st it.

Second Lord

Thou art going to Lord Timon’s feast?

APEMANTUS

Ay, to see meat fill knaves and wine heat fools.

Second Lord

Fare thee well, fare thee well.

APEMANTUS

Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.

Second Lord

Why, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I mean to
give thee none.

First Lord

Hang thyself!

APEMANTUS

No, I will do nothing at thy bidding: make thy
requests to thy friend.

Second Lord

Away, unpeaceable dog, or I’ll spurn thee hence!

APEMANTUS

I will fly, like a dog, the heels o’ the ass.

Exit

First Lord

He’s opposite to humanity. Come, shall we in,
And taste Lord Timon’s bounty? he outgoes
The very heart of kindness.

Second Lord

He pours it out; Plutus, the god of gold,
Is but his steward: no meed, but he repays
Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him,
But breeds the giver a return exceeding
All use of quittance.

First Lord

The noblest mind he carries
That ever govern’d man.

Second Lord

Long may he live in fortunes! Shall we in?

First Lord

I’ll keep you company.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.

Hautboys playing loud music. A great banquet served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, Lords, Senators, and VENTIDIUS. Then comes, dropping, after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly, like himself

VENTIDIUS

Most honour’d Timon,
It hath pleased the gods to remember my father’s age,
And call him to long peace.
He is gone happy, and has left me rich:
Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound
To your free heart, I do return those talents,
Doubled with thanks and service, from whose help
I derived liberty.

TIMON

O, by no means,
Honest Ventidius; you mistake my love:
I gave it freely ever; and there’s none
Can truly say he gives, if he receives:
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them; faults that are rich are fair.

VENTIDIUS

A noble spirit!

TIMON

Nay, my lords,

They all stand ceremoniously looking on TIMON
Ceremony was but devised at first
To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
Recanting goodness, sorry ere ’tis shown;
But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
Pray, sit; more welcome are ye to my fortunes
Than my fortunes to me.

They sit

First Lord

My lord, we always have confess’d it.

APEMANTUS

Ho, ho, confess’d it! hang’d it, have you not?

TIMON

O, Apemantus, you are welcome.

APEMANTUS

No;
You shall not make me welcome:
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors.

TIMON

Fie, thou’rt a churl; ye’ve got a humour there
Does not become a man: ’tis much to blame.
They say, my lords, ‘ira furor brevis est;’ but yond
man is ever angry. Go, let him have a table by
himself, for he does neither affect company, nor is
he fit for’t, indeed.

APEMANTUS

Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon: I come to
observe; I give thee warning on’t.

TIMON

I take no heed of thee; thou’rt an Athenian,
therefore welcome: I myself would have no power;
prithee, let my meat make thee silent.

APEMANTUS

I scorn thy meat; ‘twould choke me, for I should
ne’er flatter thee. O you gods, what a number of
men eat Timon, and he sees ’em not! It grieves me
to see so many dip their meat in one man’s blood;
and all the madness is, he cheers them up too.
I wonder men dare trust themselves with men:
Methinks they should invite them without knives;
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.
There’s much example for’t; the fellow that sits
next him now, parts bread with him, pledges the
breath of him in a divided draught, is the readiest
man to kill him: ‘t has been proved. If I were a
huge man, I should fear to drink at meals;
Lest they should spy my windpipe’s dangerous notes:
Great men should drink with harness on their throats.

TIMON

My lord, in heart; and let the health go round.

Second Lord

Let it flow this way, my good lord.

APEMANTUS

Flow this way! A brave fellow! he keeps his tides
well. Those healths will make thee and thy state
look ill, Timon. Here’s that which is too weak to
be a sinner, honest water, which ne’er left man i’ the mire:
This and my food are equals; there’s no odds:
Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods.
Apemantus’ grace.
Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
I pray for no man but myself:
Grant I may never prove so fond,
To trust man on his oath or bond;
Or a harlot, for her weeping;
Or a dog, that seems a-sleeping:
Or a keeper with my freedom;
Or my friends, if I should need ’em.
Amen. So fall to’t:
Rich men sin, and I eat root.

Eats and drinks
Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus!

TIMON

Captain Alcibiades, your heart’s in the field now.

ALCIBIADES

My heart is ever at your service, my lord.

TIMON

You had rather be at a breakfast of enemies than a
dinner of friends.

ALCIBIADES

So the were bleeding-new, my lord, there’s no meat
like ’em: I could wish my best friend at such a feast.

APEMANTUS

Would all those fatterers were thine enemies then,
that then thou mightst kill ’em and bid me to ’em!

First Lord

Might we but have that happiness, my lord, that you
would once use our hearts, whereby we might express
some part of our zeals, we should think ourselves
for ever perfect.

TIMON

O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods
themselves have provided that I shall have much help
from you: how had you been my friends else? why
have you that charitable title from thousands, did
not you chiefly belong to my heart? I have told
more of you to myself than you can with modesty
speak in your own behalf; and thus far I confirm
you. O you gods, think I, what need we have any
friends, if we should ne’er have need of ’em? they
were the most needless creatures living, should we
ne’er have use for ’em, and would most resemble
sweet instruments hung up in cases that keep their
sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished
myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We
are born to do benefits: and what better or
properer can we can our own than the riches of our
friends? O, what a precious comfort ’tis, to have
so many, like brothers, commanding one another’s
fortunes! O joy, e’en made away ere ‘t can be born!
Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks: to
forget their faults, I drink to you.

APEMANTUS

Thou weepest to make them drink, Timon.

Second Lord

Joy had the like conception in our eyes
And at that instant like a babe sprung up.

APEMANTUS

Ho, ho! I laugh to think that babe a bastard.

Third Lord

I promise you, my lord, you moved me much.

APEMANTUS

Much!

Tucket, within

TIMON

What means that trump?

Enter a Servant
How now?

Servant

Please you, my lord, there are certain
ladies most desirous of admittance.

TIMON

Ladies! what are their wills?

Servant

There comes with them a forerunner, my lord, which
bears that office, to signify their pleasures.

TIMON

I pray, let them be admitted.

Enter Cupid

Cupid

Hail to thee, worthy Timon, and to all
That of his bounties taste! The five best senses
Acknowledge thee their patron; and come freely
To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: th’ ear,
Taste, touch and smell, pleased from thy tale rise;
They only now come but to feast thine eyes.

TIMON

They’re welcome all; let ’em have kind admittance:
Music, make their welcome!

Exit Cupid

First Lord

You see, my lord, how ample you’re beloved.

Music. Re-enter Cupid with a mask of Ladies as Amazons, with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing

APEMANTUS

Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!
They dance! they are mad women.
Like madness is the glory of this life.
As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men
Upon whose age we void it up again,
With poisonous spite and envy.
Who lives that’s not depraved or depraves?
Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
Of their friends’ gift?
I should fear those that dance before me now
Would one day stamp upon me: ‘t has been done;
Men shut their doors against a setting sun.

The Lords rise from table, with much adoring of TIMON; and to show their loves, each singles out an Amazon, and all dance, men with women, a lofty strain or two to the hautboys, and cease

TIMON

You have done our pleasures much grace, fair ladies,
Set a fair fashion on our entertainment,
Which was not half so beautiful and kind;
You have added worth unto ‘t and lustre,
And entertain’d me with mine own device;
I am to thank you for ‘t.

First Lady

My lord, you take us even at the best.

APEMANTUS

‘Faith, for the worst is filthy; and would not hold
taking, I doubt me.

TIMON

Ladies, there is an idle banquet attends you:
Please you to dispose yourselves.

All Ladies

Most thankfully, my lord.

Exeunt Cupid and Ladies

TIMON

Flavius.

FLAVIUS

My lord?

TIMON

The little casket bring me hither.

FLAVIUS

Yes, my lord. More jewels yet!
There is no crossing him in ‘s humour;

Aside
Else I should tell him,—well, i’ faith I should,
When all’s spent, he ‘ld be cross’d then, an he could.
‘Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
That man might ne’er be wretched for his mind.

Exit

First Lord

Where be our men?

Servant

Here, my lord, in readiness.

Second Lord

Our horses!

Re-enter FLAVIUS, with the casket

TIMON

O my friends,
I have one word to say to you: look you, my good lord,
I must entreat you, honour me so much
As to advance this jewel; accept it and wear it,
Kind my lord.

First Lord

I am so far already in your gifts,—

All

So are we all.

Enter a Servant

Servant

My lord, there are certain nobles of the senate
Newly alighted, and come to visit you.

TIMON

They are fairly welcome.

FLAVIUS

I beseech your honour,
Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near.

TIMON

Near! why then, another time I’ll hear thee:
I prithee, let’s be provided to show them
entertainment.

FLAVIUS

[Aside] I scarce know how.

Enter a Second Servant

Second Servant

May it please your honour, Lord Lucius,
Out of his free love, hath presented to you
Four milk-white horses, trapp’d in silver.

TIMON

I shall accept them fairly; let the presents
Be worthily entertain’d.

Enter a third Servant
How now! what news?

Third Servant

Please you, my lord, that honourable
gentleman, Lord Lucullus, entreats your company
to-morrow to hunt with him, and has sent your honour
two brace of greyhounds.

TIMON

I’ll hunt with him; and let them be received,
Not without fair reward.

FLAVIUS

[Aside] What will this come to?
He commands us to provide, and give great gifts,
And all out of an empty coffer:
Nor will he know his purse, or yield me this,
To show him what a beggar his heart is,
Being of no power to make his wishes good:
His promises fly so beyond his state
That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
For every word: he is so kind that he now
Pays interest for ‘t; his land’s put to their books.
Well, would I were gently put out of office
Before I were forced out!
Happier is he that has no friend to feed
Than such that do e’en enemies exceed.
I bleed inwardly for my lord.

Exit

TIMON

You do yourselves
Much wrong, you bate too much of your own merits:
Here, my lord, a trifle of our love.

Second Lord

With more than common thanks I will receive it.

Third Lord

O, he’s the very soul of bounty!

TIMON

And now I remember, my lord, you gave
Good words the other day of a bay courser
I rode on: it is yours, because you liked it.

Second Lord

O, I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, in that.

TIMON

You may take my word, my lord; I know, no man
Can justly praise but what he does affect:
I weigh my friend’s affection with mine own;
I’ll tell you true. I’ll call to you.

All Lords

O, none so welcome.

TIMON

I take all and your several visitations
So kind to heart, ’tis not enough to give;
Methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends,
And ne’er be weary. Alcibiades,
Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich;
It comes in charity to thee: for all thy living
Is ‘mongst the dead, and all the lands thou hast
Lie in a pitch’d field.

ALCIBIADES

Ay, defiled land, my lord.

First Lord

We are so virtuously bound—

TIMON

And so
Am I to you.

Second Lord

So infinitely endear’d—

TIMON

All to you. Lights, more lights!

First Lord

The best of happiness,
Honour and fortunes, keep with you, Lord Timon!

TIMON

Ready for his friends.

Exeunt all but APEMANTUS and TIMON

APEMANTUS

What a coil’s here!
Serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
That are given for ’em. Friendship’s full of dregs:
Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs,
Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on court’sies.

TIMON

Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, I would be
good to thee.

APEMANTUS

No, I’ll nothing: for if I should be bribed too,
there would be none left to rail upon thee, and then
thou wouldst sin the faster. Thou givest so long,
Timon, I fear me thou wilt give away thyself in
paper shortly: what need these feasts, pomps and
vain-glories?

TIMON

Nay, an you begin to rail on society once, I am
sworn not to give regard to you. Farewell; and come
with better music.

Exit

APEMANTUS

So:
Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shalt not then:
I’ll lock thy heaven from thee.
O, that men’s ears should be
To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!

Exit

ACT II
SCENE I. A Senator’s house.

Enter Senator, with papers in his hand

Senator

And late, five thousand: to Varro and to Isidore
He owes nine thousand; besides my former sum,
Which makes it five and twenty. Still in motion
Of raging waste? It cannot hold; it will not.
If I want gold, steal but a beggar’s dog,
And give it Timon, why, the dog coins gold.
If I would sell my horse, and buy twenty more
Better than he, why, give my horse to Timon,
Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me, straight,
And able horses. No porter at his gate,
But rather one that smiles and still invites
All that pass by. It cannot hold: no reason
Can found his state in safety. Caphis, ho!
Caphis, I say!

Enter CAPHIS

CAPHIS

Here, sir; what is your pleasure?

Senator

Get on your cloak, and haste you to Lord Timon;
Importune him for my moneys; be not ceased
With slight denial, nor then silenced when—
‘Commend me to your master’—and the cap
Plays in the right hand, thus: but tell him,
My uses cry to me, I must serve my turn
Out of mine own; his days and times are past
And my reliances on his fracted dates
Have smit my credit: I love and honour him,
But must not break my back to heal his finger;
Immediate are my needs, and my relief
Must not be toss’d and turn’d to me in words,
But find supply immediate. Get you gone:
Put on a most importunate aspect,
A visage of demand; for, I do fear,
When every feather sticks in his own wing,
Lord Timon will be left a naked gull,
Which flashes now a phoenix. Get you gone.

CAPHIS

I go, sir.

Senator

‘I go, sir!’—Take the bonds along with you,
And have the dates in contempt.

CAPHIS

I will, sir.

Senator

Go.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

Enter FLAVIUS, with many bills in his hand

FLAVIUS

No care, no stop! so senseless of expense,
That he will neither know how to maintain it,
Nor cease his flow of riot: takes no account
How things go from him, nor resumes no care
Of what is to continue: never mind
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.
What shall be done? he will not hear, till feel:
I must be round with him, now he comes from hunting.
Fie, fie, fie, fie!

Enter CAPHIS, and the Servants of Isidore and Varro

CAPHIS

Good even, Varro: what,
You come for money?
Varro’s Servant Is’t not your business too?

CAPHIS

It is: and yours too, Isidore?
Isidore’s Servant It is so.

CAPHIS

Would we were all discharged!
Varro’s Servant I fear it.

CAPHIS

Here comes the lord.

Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, & c

TIMON

So soon as dinner’s done, we’ll forth again,
My Alcibiades. With me? what is your will?

CAPHIS

My lord, here is a note of certain dues.

TIMON

Dues! Whence are you?

CAPHIS

Of Athens here, my lord.

TIMON

Go to my steward.

CAPHIS

Please it your lordship, he hath put me off
To the succession of new days this month:
My master is awaked by great occasion
To call upon his own, and humbly prays you
That with your other noble parts you’ll suit
In giving him his right.

TIMON

Mine honest friend,
I prithee, but repair to me next morning.

CAPHIS

Nay, good my lord,—

TIMON

Contain thyself, good friend.
Varro’s Servant One Varro’s servant, my good lord,—
Isidore’s Servant From Isidore;
He humbly prays your speedy payment.

CAPHIS

If you did know, my lord, my master’s wants—
Varro’s Servant ‘Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, six weeks And past.
Isidore’s Servant Your steward puts me off, my lord;
And I am sent expressly to your lordship.

TIMON

Give me breath.
I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on;
I’ll wait upon you instantly.

Exeunt ALCIBIADES and Lords

To FLAVIUS
Come hither: pray you,
How goes the world, that I am thus encounter’d
With clamourous demands of date-broke bonds,
And the detention of long-since-due debts,
Against my honour?

FLAVIUS

Please you, gentlemen,
The time is unagreeable to this business:
Your importunacy cease till after dinner,
That I may make his lordship understand
Wherefore you are not paid.

TIMON

Do so, my friends. See them well entertain’d.

Exit

FLAVIUS

Pray, draw near.

Exit

Enter APEMANTUS and Fool

CAPHIS

Stay, stay, here comes the fool with Apemantus:
let’s ha’ some sport with ’em.
Varro’s Servant Hang him, he’ll abuse us.
Isidore’s Servant A plague upon him, dog!
Varro’s Servant How dost, fool?

APEMANTUS

Dost dialogue with thy shadow?
Varro’s Servant I speak not to thee.

APEMANTUS

No,’tis to thyself.

To the Fool
Come away.
Isidore’s Servant There’s the fool hangs on your back already.

APEMANTUS

No, thou stand’st single, thou’rt not on him yet.

CAPHIS

Where’s the fool now?

APEMANTUS

He last asked the question. Poor rogues, and
usurers’ men! bawds between gold and want!

All Servants

What are we, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Asses.

All Servants

Why?

APEMANTUS

That you ask me what you are, and do not know
yourselves. Speak to ’em, fool.

Fool

How do you, gentlemen?

All Servants

Gramercies, good fool: how does your mistress?

Fool

She’s e’en setting on water to scald such chickens
as you are. Would we could see you at Corinth!

APEMANTUS

Good! gramercy.

Enter Page

Fool

Look you, here comes my mistress’ page.

Page

[To the Fool] Why, how now, captain! what do you
in this wise company? How dost thou, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer
thee profitably.

Page

Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of
these letters: I know not which is which.

APEMANTUS

Canst not read?

Page

No.

APEMANTUS

There will little learning die then, that day thou
art hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to
Alcibiades. Go; thou wast born a bastard, and thou’t
die a bawd.

Page

Thou wast whelped a dog, and thou shalt famish a
dog’s death. Answer not; I am gone.

Exit

APEMANTUS

E’en so thou outrunnest grace. Fool, I will go with
you to Lord Timon’s.

Fool

Will you leave me there?

APEMANTUS

If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers?

All Servants

Ay; would they served us!

APEMANTUS

So would I,—as good a trick as ever hangman served thief.

Fool

Are you three usurers’ men?

All Servants

Ay, fool.

Fool

I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant: my
mistress is one, and I am her fool. When men come
to borrow of your masters, they approach sadly, and
go away merry; but they enter my mistress’ house
merrily, and go away sadly: the reason of this?
Varro’s Servant I could render one.

APEMANTUS

Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster
and a knave; which not-withstanding, thou shalt be
no less esteemed.
Varro’s Servant What is a whoremaster, fool?

Fool

A fool in good clothes, and something like thee.
‘Tis a spirit: sometime’t appears like a lord;
sometime like a lawyer; sometime like a philosopher,
with two stones moe than’s artificial one: he is
very often like a knight; and, generally, in all
shapes that man goes up and down in from fourscore
to thirteen, this spirit walks in.
Varro’s Servant Thou art not altogether a fool.

Fool

Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as
I have, so much wit thou lackest.

APEMANTUS

That answer might have become Apemantus.

All Servants

Aside, aside; here comes Lord Timon.

Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS

APEMANTUS

Come with me, fool, come.

Fool

I do not always follow lover, elder brother and
woman; sometime the philosopher.

Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool

FLAVIUS

Pray you, walk near: I’ll speak with you anon.

Exeunt Servants

TIMON

You make me marvel: wherefore ere this time
Had you not fully laid my state before me,
That I might so have rated my expense,
As I had leave of means?

FLAVIUS

You would not hear me,
At many leisures I proposed.

TIMON

Go to:
Perchance some single vantages you took.
When my indispos ition put you back:
And that unaptness made your minister,
Thus to excuse yourself.

FLAVIUS

O my good lord,
At many times I brought in my accounts,
Laid them before you; you would throw them off,
And say, you found them in mine honesty.
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me
Return so much, I have shook my head and wept;
Yea, ‘gainst the authority of manners, pray’d you
To hold your hand more close: I did endure
Not seldom, nor no slight cheques, when I have
Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
And your great flow of debts. My loved lord,
Though you hear now, too late—yet now’s a time—
The greatest of your having lacks a half
To pay your present debts.

TIMON

Let all my land be sold.

FLAVIUS

‘Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone;
And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
Of present dues: the future comes apace:
What shall defend the interim? and at length
How goes our reckoning?

TIMON

To Lacedaemon did my land extend.

FLAVIUS

O my good lord, the world is but a word:
Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
How quickly were it gone!

TIMON

You tell me true.

FLAVIUS

If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood,
Call me before the exactest auditors
And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,
When all our offices have been oppress’d
With riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine, when every room
Hath blazed with lights and bray’d with minstrelsy,
I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow.

TIMON

Prithee, no more.

FLAVIUS

Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord!
How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
This night englutted! Who is not Timon’s?
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is
Lord Timon’s?
Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon!
Ah, when the means are gone that buy this praise,
The breath is gone whereof this praise is made:
Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers,
These flies are couch’d.

TIMON

Come, sermon me no further:
No villanous bounty yet hath pass’d my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
If I would broach the vessels of my love,
And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
Men and men’s fortunes could I frankly use
As I can bid thee speak.

FLAVIUS

Assurance bless your thoughts!

TIMON

And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown’d,
That I account them blessings; for by these
Shall I try friends: you shall perceive how you
Mistake my fortunes; I am wealthy in my friends.
Within there! Flaminius! Servilius!

Enter FLAMINIUS, SERVILIUS, and other Servants

Servants

My lord? my lord?

TIMON

I will dispatch you severally; you to Lord Lucius;
to Lord Lucullus you: I hunted with his honour
to-day: you, to Sempronius: commend me to their
loves, and, I am proud, say, that my occasions have
found time to use ’em toward a supply of money: let
the request be fifty talents.

FLAMINIUS

As you have said, my lord.

FLAVIUS

[Aside] Lord Lucius and Lucullus? hum!

TIMON

Go you, sir, to the senators—
Of whom, even to the state’s best health, I have
Deserved this hearing—bid ’em send o’ the instant
A thousand talents to me.

FLAVIUS

I have been bold—
For that I knew it the most general way—
To them to use your signet and your name;
But they do shake their heads, and I am here
No richer in return.

TIMON

Is’t true? can’t be?

FLAVIUS

They answer, in a joint and corporate voice,
That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot
Do what they would; are sorry—you are honourable,—
But yet they could have wish’d—they know not—
Something hath been amiss—a noble nature
May catch a wrench—would all were well—’tis pity;—
And so, intending other serious matters,
After distasteful looks and these hard fractions,
With certain half-caps and cold-moving nods
They froze me into silence.

TIMON

You gods, reward them!
Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary:
Their blood is caked, ’tis cold, it seldom flows;
‘Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
Is fashion’d for the journey, dull and heavy.

To a Servant
Go to Ventidius.

To FLAVIUS
Prithee, be not sad,
Thou art true and honest; ingeniously I speak.
No blame belongs to thee.

To Servant
Ventidius lately
Buried his father; by whose death he’s stepp’d
Into a great estate: when he was poor,
Imprison’d and in scarcity of friends,
I clear’d him with five talents: greet him from me;
Bid him suppose some good necessity
Touches his friend, which craves to be remember’d
With those five talents.

Exit Servant

To FLAVIUS
That had, give’t these fellows
To whom ’tis instant due. Ne’er speak, or think,
That Timon’s fortunes ‘mong his friends can sink.

FLAVIUS

I would I could not think it: that thought is
bounty’s foe;
Being free itself, it thinks all others so.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. A room in Lucullus’ house.

FLAMINIUS waiting. Enter a Servant to him

Servant

I have told my lord of you; he is coming down to you.

FLAMINIUS

I thank you, sir.

Enter LUCULLUS

Servant

Here’s my lord.

LUCULLUS

[Aside] One of Lord Timon’s men? a gift, I
warrant. Why, this hits right; I dreamt of a silver
basin and ewer to-night. Flaminius, honest
Flaminius; you are very respectively welcome, sir.
Fill me some wine.

Exit Servants
And how does that honourable, complete, free-hearted
gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful good lord
and master?

FLAMINIUS

His health is well sir.

LUCULLUS

I am right glad that his health is well, sir: and
what hast thou there under thy cloak, pretty Flaminius?

FLAMINIUS

‘Faith, nothing but an empty box, sir; which, in my
lord’s behalf, I come to entreat your honour to
supply; who, having great and instant occasion to
use fifty talents, hath sent to your lordship to
furnish him, nothing doubting your present
assistance therein.

LUCULLUS

La, la, la, la! ‘nothing doubting,’ says he? Alas,
good lord! a noble gentleman ’tis, if he would not
keep so good a house. Many a time and often I ha’
dined with him, and told him on’t, and come again to
supper to him, of purpose to have him spend less,
and yet he would embrace no counsel, take no warning
by my coming. Every man has his fault, and honesty
is his: I ha’ told him on’t, but I could ne’er get
him from’t.

Re-enter Servant, with wine

Servant

Please your lordship, here is the wine.

LUCULLUS

Flaminius, I have noted thee always wise. Here’s to thee.

FLAMINIUS

Your lordship speaks your pleasure.

LUCULLUS

I have observed thee always for a towardly prompt
spirit—give thee thy due—and one that knows what
belongs to reason; and canst use the time well, if
the time use thee well: good parts in thee.

To Servant
Get you gone, sirrah.

Exit Servant
Draw nearer, honest Flaminius. Thy lord’s a
bountiful gentleman: but thou art wise; and thou
knowest well enough, although thou comest to me,
that this is no time to lend money, especially upon
bare friendship, without security. Here’s three
solidares for thee: good boy, wink at me, and say
thou sawest me not. Fare thee well.

FLAMINIUS

Is’t possible the world should so much differ,
And we alive that lived? Fly, damned baseness,
To him that worships thee!

Throwing the money back

LUCULLUS

Ha! now I see thou art a fool, and fit for thy master.

Exit

FLAMINIUS

May these add to the number that may scald thee!
Let moulten coin be thy damnation,
Thou disease of a friend, and not himself!
Has friendship such a faint and milky heart,
It turns in less than two nights? O you gods,
I feel master’s passion! this slave,
Unto his honour, has my lord’s meat in him:
Why should it thrive and turn to nutriment,
When he is turn’d to poison?
O, may diseases only work upon’t!
And, when he’s sick to death, let not that part of nature
Which my lord paid for, be of any power
To expel sickness, but prolong his hour!

Exit

SCENE II. A public place.

Enter LUCILIUS, with three Strangers

LUCILIUS

Who, the Lord Timon? he is my very good friend, and
an honourable gentleman.

First Stranger

We know him for no less, though we are but strangers
to him. But I can tell you one thing, my lord, and
which I hear from common rumours: now Lord Timon’s
happy hours are done and past, and his estate
shrinks from him.

LUCILIUS

Fie, no, do not believe it; he cannot want for money.

Second Stranger

But believe you this, my lord, that, not long ago,
one of his men was with the Lord Lucullus to borrow
so many talents, nay, urged extremely for’t and
showed what necessity belonged to’t, and yet was denied.

LUCILIUS

How!

Second Stranger

I tell you, denied, my lord.

LUCILIUS

What a strange case was that! now, before the gods,
I am ashamed on’t. Denied that honourable man!
there was very little honour showed in’t. For my own
part, I must needs confess, I have received some
small kindnesses from him, as money, plate, jewels
and such-like trifles, nothing comparing to his;
yet, had he mistook him and sent to me, I should
ne’er have denied his occasion so many talents.

Enter SERVILIUS

SERVILIUS

See, by good hap, yonder’s my lord;
I have sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord,—

To LUCIUS

LUCILIUS

Servilius! you are kindly met, sir. Fare thee well:
commend me to thy honourable virtuous lord, my very
exquisite friend.

SERVILIUS

May it please your honour, my lord hath sent—

LUCILIUS

Ha! what has he sent? I am so much endeared to
that lord; he’s ever sending: how shall I thank
him, thinkest thou? And what has he sent now?

SERVILIUS

Has only sent his present occasion now, my lord;
requesting your lordship to supply his instant use
with so many talents.

LUCILIUS

I know his lordship is but merry with me;
He cannot want fifty five hundred talents.

SERVILIUS

But in the mean time he wants less, my lord.
If his occasion were not virtuous,
I should not urge it half so faithfully.

LUCILIUS

Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius?

SERVILIUS

Upon my soul,’tis true, sir.

LUCILIUS

What a wicked beast was I to disfurnish myself
against such a good time, when I might ha’ shown
myself honourable! how unluckily it happened, that I
should purchase the day before for a little part,
and undo a great deal of honoured! Servilius, now,
before the gods, I am not able to do,—the more
beast, I say:—I was sending to use Lord Timon
myself, these gentlemen can witness! but I would
not, for the wealth of Athens, I had done’t now.
Commend me bountifully to his good lordship; and I
hope his honour will conceive the fairest of me,
because I have no power to be kind: and tell him
this from me, I count it one of my greatest
afflictions, say, that I cannot pleasure such an
honourable gentleman. Good Servilius, will you
befriend me so far, as to use mine own words to him?

SERVILIUS

Yes, sir, I shall.

LUCILIUS

I’ll look you out a good turn, Servilius.

Exit SERVILIUS
True as you said, Timon is shrunk indeed;
And he that’s once denied will hardly speed.

Exit

First Stranger

Do you observe this, Hostilius?

Second Stranger

Ay, too well.

First Stranger

Why, this is the world’s soul; and just of the
same piece
Is every flatterer’s spirit. Who can call him
His friend that dips in the same dish? for, in
My knowing, Timon has been this lord’s father,
And kept his credit with his purse,
Supported his estate; nay, Timon’s money
Has paid his men their wages: he ne’er drinks,
But Timon’s silver treads upon his lip;
And yet—O, see the monstrousness of man
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape!—
He does deny him, in respect of his,
What charitable men afford to beggars.

Third Stranger

Religion groans at it.

First Stranger

For mine own part,
I never tasted Timon in my life,
Nor came any of his bounties over me,
To mark me for his friend; yet, I protest,
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue
And honourable carriage,
Had his necessity made use of me,
I would have put my wealth into donation,
And the best half should have return’d to him,
So much I love his heart: but, I perceive,
Men must learn now with pity to dispense;
For policy sits above conscience.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A room in Sempronius’ house.

Enter SEMPRONIUS, and a Servant of TIMON’s

SEMPRONIUS

Must he needs trouble me in ‘t,—hum!—‘bove
all others?
He might have tried Lord Lucius or Lucullus;
And now Ventidius is wealthy too,
Whom he redeem’d from prison: all these
Owe their estates unto him.

Servant

My lord,
They have all been touch’d and found base metal, for
They have au denied him.

SEMPRONIUS

How! have they denied him?
Has Ventidius and Lucullus denied him?
And does he send to me? Three? hum!
It shows but little love or judgment in him:
Must I be his last refuge! His friends, like
physicians,
Thrive, give him over: must I take the cure upon me?
Has much disgraced me in’t; I’m angry at him,
That might have known my place: I see no sense for’t,
But his occasion might have woo’d me first;
For, in my conscience, I was the first man
That e’er received gift from him:
And does he think so backwardly of me now,
That I’ll requite its last? No:
So it may prove an argument of laughter
To the rest, and ‘mongst lords I be thought a fool.
I’ld rather than the worth of thrice the sum,
Had sent to me first, but for my mind’s sake;
I’d such a courage to do him good. But now return,
And with their faint reply this answer join;
Who bates mine honour shall not know my coin.

Exit

Servant

Excellent! Your lordship’s a goodly villain. The
devil knew not what he did when he made man
politic; he crossed himself by ‘t: and I cannot
think but, in the end, the villainies of man will
set him clear. How fairly this lord strives to
appear foul! takes virtuous copies to be wicked,
like those that under hot ardent zeal would set
whole realms on fire: Of such a nature is his
politic love.
This was my lord’s best hope; now all are fled,
Save only the gods: now his friends are dead,
Doors, that were ne’er acquainted with their wards
Many a bounteous year must be employ’d
Now to guard sure their master.
And this is all a liberal course allows;
Who cannot keep his wealth must keep his house.

Exit

SCENE IV. The same. A hall in Timon’s house.

Enter two Servants of Varro, and the Servant of LUCIUS, meeting TITUS, HORTENSIUS, and other Servants of TIMON’s creditors, waiting his coming out

Varro’s

First Servant

Well met; good morrow, Titus and Hortensius.

TITUS

The like to you kind Varro.

HORTENSIUS

Lucius!
What, do we meet together?
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, and I think
One business does command us all; for mine Is money.

TITUS

So is theirs and ours.

Enter PHILOTUS
Lucilius’ Servant And Sir Philotus too!

PHILOTUS

Good day at once.
Lucilius’ Servant Welcome, good brother.
What do you think the hour?

PHILOTUS

Labouring for nine.
Lucilius’ Servant So much?

PHILOTUS

Is not my lord seen yet?
Lucilius’ Servant Not yet.

PHILOTUS

I wonder on’t; he was wont to shine at seven.
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, but the days are wax’d shorter with him:
You must consider that a prodigal course
Is like the sun’s; but not, like his, recoverable.
I fear ’tis deepest winter in Lord Timon’s purse;
That is one may reach deep enough, and yet
Find little.

PHILOTUS

I am of your fear for that.

TITUS

I’ll show you how to observe a strange event.
Your lord sends now for money.

HORTENSIUS

Most true, he does.

TITUS

And he wears jewels now of Timon’s gift,
For which I wait for money.

HORTENSIUS

It is against my heart.
Lucilius’ Servant Mark, how strange it shows,
Timon in this should pay more than he owes:
And e’en as if your lord should wear rich jewels,
And send for money for ’em.

HORTENSIUS

I’m weary of this charge, the gods can witness:
I know my lord hath spent of Timon’s wealth,
And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth.
Varro’s

First Servant

Yes, mine’s three thousand crowns: what’s yours?
Lucilius’ Servant Five thousand mine.
Varro’s

First Servant

‘Tis much deep: and it should seem by the sun,
Your master’s confidence was above mine;
Else, surely, his had equall’d.
Enter FLAMINIUS.

TITUS

One of Lord Timon’s men.
Lucilius’ Servant Flaminius! Sir, a word: pray, is my lord ready to
come forth?

FLAMINIUS

No, indeed, he is not.

TITUS

We attend his lordship; pray, signify so much.

FLAMINIUS

I need not tell him that; he knows you are too diligent.

Exit

Enter FLAVIUS in a cloak, muffled
Lucilius’ Servant Ha! is not that his steward muffled so?
He goes away in a cloud: call him, call him.

TITUS

Do you hear, sir?
Varro’s

Second Servant

By your leave, sir,—

FLAVIUS

What do ye ask of me, my friend?

TITUS

We wait for certain money here, sir.

FLAVIUS

Ay,
If money were as certain as your waiting,
‘Twere sure enough.
Why then preferr’d you not your sums and bills,
When your false masters eat of my lord’s meat?
Then they could smile and fawn upon his debts
And take down the interest into their
gluttonous maws.
You do yourselves but wrong to stir me up;
Let me pass quietly:
Believe ‘t, my lord and I have made an end;
I have no more to reckon, he to spend.
Lucilius’ Servant Ay, but this answer will not serve.

FLAVIUS

If ’twill not serve,’tis not so base as you;
For you serve knaves.

Exit
Varro’s

First Servant

How! what does his cashiered worship mutter?
Varro’s

Second Servant

No matter what; he’s poor, and that’s revenge
enough. Who can speak broader than he that has no
house to put his head in? such may rail against
great buildings.

Enter SERVILIUS

TITUS

O, here’s Servilius; now we shall know some answer.

SERVILIUS

If I might beseech you, gentlemen, to repair some
other hour, I should derive much from’t; for,
take’t of my soul, my lord leans wondrously to
discontent: his comfortable temper has forsook him;
he’s much out of health, and keeps his chamber.
Lucilius’ Servant: Many do keep their chambers are not sick:
And, if it be so far beyond his health,
Methinks he should the sooner pay his debts,
And make a clear way to the gods.

SERVILIUS

Good gods!

TITUS

We cannot take this for answer, sir.

FLAMINIUS

[Within] Servilius, help! My lord! my lord!

Enter TIMON, in a rage, FLAMINIUS following

TIMON

What, are my doors opposed against my passage?
Have I been ever free, and must my house
Be my retentive enemy, my gaol?
The place which I have feasted, does it now,
Like all mankind, show me an iron heart?
Lucilius’ Servant Put in now, Titus.

TITUS

My lord, here is my bill.
Lucilius’ Servant Here’s mine.

HORTENSIUS

And mine, my lord.
Both
Varro’s Servants And ours, my lord.

PHILOTUS

All our bills.

TIMON

Knock me down with ’em: cleave me to the girdle.
Lucilius’ Servant Alas, my lord,-

TIMON

Cut my heart in sums.

TITUS

Mine, fifty talents.

TIMON

Tell out my blood.
Lucilius’ Servant Five thousand crowns, my lord.

TIMON

Five thousand drops pays that.
What yours?—and yours?
Varro’s

First Servant

My lord,—
Varro’s

Second Servant

My lord,—

TIMON

Tear me, take me, and the gods fall upon you!

Exit

HORTENSIUS

‘Faith, I perceive our masters may throw their caps
at their money: these debts may well be called
desperate ones, for a madman owes ’em.

Exeunt

Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS

TIMON

They have e’en put my breath from me, the slaves.
Creditors? devils!

FLAVIUS

My dear lord,—

TIMON

What if it should be so?

FLAVIUS

My lord,—

TIMON

I’ll have it so. My steward!

FLAVIUS

Here, my lord.

TIMON

So fitly? Go, bid all my friends again,
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius:
All, sirrah, all:
I’ll once more feast the rascals.

FLAVIUS

O my lord,
You only speak from your distracted soul;
There is not so much left, to furnish out
A moderate table.

TIMON

Be’t not in thy care; go,
I charge thee, invite them all: let in the tide
Of knaves once more; my cook and I’ll provide.

Exeunt

SCENE V. The same. The senate-house. The Senate sitting.
First Senator

My lord, you have my voice to it; the fault’s
Bloody; ’tis necessary he should die:
Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.

Second Senator

Most true; the law shall bruise him.

Enter ALCIBIADES, with Attendants

ALCIBIADES

Honour, health, and compassion to the senate!

First Senator

Now, captain?

ALCIBIADES

I am an humble suitor to your virtues;
For pity is the virtue of the law,
And none but tyrants use it cruelly.
It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy
Upon a friend of mine, who, in hot blood,
Hath stepp’d into the law, which is past depth
To those that, without heed, do plunge into ‘t.
He is a man, setting his fate aside,
Of comely virtues:
Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice—
An honour in him which buys out his fault—
But with a noble fury and fair spirit,
Seeing his reputation touch’d to death,
He did oppose his foe:
And with such sober and unnoted passion
He did behave his anger, ere ’twas spent,
As if he had but proved an argument.

First Senator

You undergo too strict a paradox,
Striving to make an ugly deed look fair:
Your words have took such pains as if they labour’d
To bring manslaughter into form and set quarrelling
Upon the head of valour; which indeed
Is valour misbegot and came into the world
When sects and factions were newly born:
He’s truly valiant that can wisely suffer
The worst that man can breathe, and make his wrongs
His outsides, to wear them like his raiment,
carelessly,
And ne’er prefer his injuries to his heart,
To bring it into danger.
If wrongs be evils and enforce us kill,
What folly ’tis to hazard life for ill!

ALCIBIADES

My lord,—

First Senator

You cannot make gross sins look clear:
To revenge is no valour, but to bear.

ALCIBIADES

My lords, then, under favour, pardon me,
If I speak like a captain.
Why do fond men expose themselves to battle,
And not endure all threats? sleep upon’t,
And let the foes quietly cut their throats,
Without repugnancy? If there be
Such valour in the bearing, what make we
Abroad? why then, women are more valiant
That stay at home, if bearing carry it,
And the ass more captain than the lion, the felon
Loaden with irons wiser than the judge,
If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords,
As you are great, be pitifully good:
Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?
To kill, I grant, is sin’s extremest gust;
But, in defence, by mercy, ’tis most just.
To be in anger is impiety;
But who is man that is not angry?
Weigh but the crime with this.

Second Senator

You breathe in vain.

ALCIBIADES

In vain! his service done
At Lacedaemon and Byzantium
Were a sufficient briber for his life.

First Senator

What’s that?

ALCIBIADES

I say, my lords, he has done fair service,
And slain in fight many of your enemies:
How full of valour did he bear himself
In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds!

Second Senator

He has made too much plenty with ’em;
He’s a sworn rioter: he has a sin that often
Drowns him, and takes his valour prisoner:
If there were no foes, that were enough
To overcome him: in that beastly fury
He has been known to commit outrages,
And cherish factions: ’tis inferr’d to us,
His days are foul and his drink dangerous.

First Senator

He dies.

ALCIBIADES

Hard fate! he might have died in war.
My lords, if not for any parts in him—
Though his right arm might purchase his own time
And be in debt to none—yet, more to move you,
Take my deserts to his, and join ’em both:
And, for I know your reverend ages love
Security, I’ll pawn my victories, all
My honours to you, upon his good returns.
If by this crime he owes the law his life,
Why, let the war receive ‘t in valiant gore
For law is strict, and war is nothing more.

First Senator

We are for law: he dies; urge it no more,
On height of our displeasure: friend or brother,
He forfeits his own blood that spills another.

ALCIBIADES

Must it be so? it must not be. My lords,
I do beseech you, know me.

Second Senator

How!

ALCIBIADES

Call me to your remembrances.

Third Senator

What!

ALCIBIADES

I cannot think but your age has forgot me;
It could not else be, I should prove so base,
To sue, and be denied such common grace:
My wounds ache at you.

First Senator

Do you dare our anger?
‘Tis in few words, but spacious in effect;
We banish thee for ever.

ALCIBIADES

Banish me!
Banish your dotage; banish usury,
That makes the senate ugly.

First Senator

If, after two days’ shine, Athens contain thee,
Attend our weightier judgment. And, not to swell
our spirit,
He shall be executed presently.

Exeunt Senators

ALCIBIADES

Now the gods keep you old enough; that you may live
Only in bone, that none may look on you!
I’m worse than mad: I have kept back their foes,
While they have told their money and let out
Their coin upon large interest, I myself
Rich only in large hurts. All those for this?
Is this the balsam that the usuring senate
Pours into captains’ wounds? Banishment!
It comes not ill; I hate not to be banish’d;
It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury,
That I may strike at Athens. I’ll cheer up
My discontented troops, and lay for hearts.
‘Tis honour with most lands to be at odds;
Soldiers should brook as little wrongs as gods.

Exit

SCENE VI. The same. A banqueting-room in Timon’s house.

Music. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter divers Lords, Senators and others, at several doors

First Lord

The good time of day to you, sir.

Second Lord

I also wish it to you. I think this honourable lord
did but try us this other day.

First Lord

Upon that were my thoughts tiring, when we
encountered: I hope it is not so low with him as
he made it seem in the trial of his several friends.

Second Lord

It should not be, by the persuasion of his new feasting.

First Lord

I should think so: he hath sent me an earnest
inviting, which many my near occasions did urge me
to put off; but he hath conjured me beyond them, and
I must needs appear.

Second Lord

In like manner was I in debt to my importunate
business, but he would not hear my excuse. I am
sorry, when he sent to borrow of me, that my
provision was out.

First Lord

I am sick of that grief too, as I understand how all
things go.

Second Lord

Every man here’s so. What would he have borrowed of
you?

First Lord

A thousand pieces.

Second Lord

A thousand pieces!

First Lord

What of you?

Second Lord

He sent to me, sir,—Here he comes.

Enter TIMON and Attendants

TIMON

With all my heart, gentlemen both; and how fare you?

First Lord

Ever at the best, hearing well of your lordship.

Second Lord

The swallow follows not summer more willing than we
your lordship.

TIMON

[Aside] Nor more willingly leaves winter; such
summer-birds are men. Gentlemen, our dinner will not
recompense this long stay: feast your ears with the
music awhile, if they will fare so harshly o’ the
trumpet’s sound; we shall to ‘t presently.

First Lord

I hope it remains not unkindly with your lordship
that I returned you an empty messenger.

TIMON

O, sir, let it not trouble you.

Second Lord

My noble lord,—

TIMON

Ah, my good friend, what cheer?

Second Lord

My most honourable lord, I am e’en sick of shame,
that, when your lordship this other day sent to me,
I was so unfortunate a beggar.

TIMON

Think not on ‘t, sir.

Second Lord

If you had sent but two hours before,—

TIMON

Let it not cumber your better remembrance.

The banquet brought in
Come, bring in all together.

Second Lord

All covered dishes!

First Lord

Royal cheer, I warrant you.

Third Lord

Doubt not that, if money and the season can yield
it.

First Lord

How do you? What’s the news?

Third Lord

Alcibiades is banished: hear you of it?

First Lord Second Lord

Alcibiades banished!

Third Lord

‘Tis so, be sure of it.

First Lord

How! how!

Second Lord

I pray you, upon what?

TIMON

My worthy friends, will you draw near?

Third Lord

I’ll tell you more anon. Here’s a noble feast toward.

Second Lord

This is the old man still.

Third Lord

Will ‘t hold? will ‘t hold?

Second Lord

It does: but time will—and so—

Third Lord

I do conceive.

TIMON

Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to
the lip of his mistress: your diet shall be in all
places alike. Make not a city feast of it, to let
the meat cool ere we can agree upon the first place:
sit, sit. The gods require our thanks.
You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with
thankfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves
praised: but reserve still to give, lest your
deities be despised. Lend to each man enough, that
one need not lend to another; for, were your
godheads to borrow of men, men would forsake the
gods. Make the meat be beloved more than the man
that gives it. Let no assembly of twenty be without
a score of villains: if there sit twelve women at
the table, let a dozen of them be—as they are. The
rest of your fees, O gods—the senators of Athens,
together with the common lag of people—what is
amiss in them, you gods, make suitable for
destruction. For these my present friends, as they
are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to
nothing are they welcome.
Uncover, dogs, and lap.

The dishes are uncovered and seen to be full of warm water

Some Speak

What does his lordship mean?

Some Others

I know not.

TIMON

May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends I smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. This is Timon’s last;
Who, stuck and spangled with your flatteries,
Washes it off, and sprinkles in your faces
Your reeking villany.

Throwing the water in their faces
Live loathed and long,
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune, trencher-friends, time’s flies,
Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks!
Of man and beast the infinite malady
Crust you quite o’er! What, dost thou go?
Soft! take thy physic first—thou too—and thou;—
Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none.

Throws the dishes at them, and drives them out
What, all in motion? Henceforth be no feast,
Whereat a villain’s not a welcome guest.
Burn, house! sink, Athens! henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!

Exit

Re-enter the Lords, Senators, & c

First Lord

How now, my lords!

Second Lord

Know you the quality of Lord Timon’s fury?

Third Lord

Push! did you see my cap?

Fourth Lord

I have lost my gown.

First Lord

He’s but a mad lord, and nought but humour sways him.
He gave me a jewel th’ other day, and now he has
beat it out of my hat: did you see my jewel?

Third Lord

Did you see my cap?

Second Lord

Here ’tis.

Fourth Lord

Here lies my gown.

First Lord

Let’s make no stay.

Second Lord

Lord Timon’s mad.

Third Lord

I feel ‘t upon my bones.

Fourth Lord

One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. Without the walls of Athens.

Enter TIMON

TIMON

Let me look back upon thee. O thou wall,
That girdlest in those wolves, dive in the earth,
And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent!
Obedience fail in children! slaves and fools,
Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,
And minister in their steads! to general filths
Convert o’ the instant, green virginity,
Do ‘t in your parents’ eyes! bankrupts, hold fast;
Rather than render back, out with your knives,
And cut your trusters’ throats! bound servants, steal!
Large-handed robbers your grave masters are,
And pill by law. Maid, to thy master’s bed;
Thy mistress is o’ the brothel! Son of sixteen,
pluck the lined crutch from thy old limping sire,
With it beat out his brains! Piety, and fear,
Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth,
Domestic awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood,
Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades,
Degrees, observances, customs, and laws,
Decline to your confounding contraries,
And let confusion live! Plagues, incident to men,
Your potent and infectious fevers heap
On Athens, ripe for stroke! Thou cold sciatica,
Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt
As lamely as their manners. Lust and liberty
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth,
That ‘gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,
And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains,
Sow all the Athenian bosoms; and their crop
Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath,
at their society, as their friendship, may
merely poison! Nothing I’ll bear from thee,
But nakedness, thou detestable town!
Take thou that too, with multiplying bans!
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find
The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind.
The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all—
The Athenians both within and out that wall!
And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow
To the whole race of mankind, high and low! Amen.

Exit

SCENE II. Athens. A room in Timon’s house.

Enter FLAVIUS, with two or three Servants

First Servant

Hear you, master steward, where’s our master?
Are we undone? cast off? nothing remaining?

FLAVIUS

Alack, my fellows, what should I say to you?
Let me be recorded by the righteous gods,
I am as poor as you.

First Servant

Such a house broke!
So noble a master fall’n! All gone! and not
One friend to take his fortune by the arm,
And go along with him!

Second Servant

As we do turn our backs
From our companion thrown into his grave,
So his familiars to his buried fortunes
Slink all away, leave their false vows with him,
Like empty purses pick’d; and his poor self,
A dedicated beggar to the air,
With his disease of all-shunn’d poverty,
Walks, like contempt, alone. More of our fellows.

Enter other Servants

FLAVIUS

All broken implements of a ruin’d house.

Third Servant

Yet do our hearts wear Timon’s livery;
That see I by our faces; we are fellows still,
Serving alike in sorrow: leak’d is our bark,
And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck,
Hearing the surges threat: we must all part
Into this sea of air.

FLAVIUS

Good fellows all,
The latest of my wealth I’ll share amongst you.
Wherever we shall meet, for Timon’s sake,
Let’s yet be fellows; let’s shake our heads, and say,
As ’twere a knell unto our master’s fortunes,
‘We have seen better days.’ Let each take some;
Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more:
Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor.

Servants embrace, and part several ways
O, the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us!
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
Since riches point to misery and contempt?
Who would be so mock’d with glory? or to live
But in a dream of friendship?
To have his pomp and all what state compounds
But only painted, like his varnish’d friends?
Poor honest lord, brought low by his own heart,
Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood,
When man’s worst sin is, he does too much good!
Who, then, dares to be half so kind again?
For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men.
My dearest lord, bless’d, to be most accursed,
Rich, only to be wretched, thy great fortunes
Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord!
He’s flung in rage from this ingrateful seat
Of monstrous friends, nor has he with him to
Supply his life, or that which can command it.
I’ll follow and inquire him out:
I’ll ever serve his mind with my best will;
Whilst I have gold, I’ll be his steward still.

Exit

SCENE III. Woods and cave, near the seashore.

Enter TIMON, from the cave

O blessed breeding sun, draw from the earth
Rotten humidity; below thy sister’s orb
Infect the air! Twinn’d brothers of one womb,
Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
Scarce is dividant, touch them with several fortunes;
The greater scorns the lesser: not nature,
To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune,
But by contempt of nature.
Raise me this beggar, and deny ‘t that lord;
The senator shall bear contempt hereditary,
The beggar native honour.
It is the pasture lards the rother’s sides,
The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who dares,
In purity of manhood stand upright,
And say ‘This man’s a flatterer?’ if one be,
So are they all; for every grise of fortune
Is smooth’d by that below: the learned pate
Ducks to the golden fool: all is oblique;
There’s nothing level in our cursed natures,
But direct villany. Therefore, be abhorr’d
All feasts, societies, and throngs of men!
His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains:
Destruction fang mankind! Earth, yield me roots!

Digging
Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
With thy most operant poison! What is here?
Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods,
I am no idle votarist: roots, you clear heavens!
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed,
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: this is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put’st odds
Among the route of nations, I will make thee
Do thy right nature.

March afar off
Ha! a drum ? Thou’rt quick,
But yet I’ll bury thee: thou’lt go, strong thief,
When gouty keepers of thee cannot stand.
Nay, stay thou out for earnest.

Keeping some gold

Enter ALCIBIADES, with drum and fife, in warlike manner; PHRYNIA and TIMANDRA

ALCIBIADES

What art thou there? speak.

TIMON

A beast, as thou art. The canker gnaw thy heart,
For showing me again the eyes of man!

ALCIBIADES

What is thy name? Is man so hateful to thee,
That art thyself a man?

TIMON

I am Misanthropos, and hate mankind.
For thy part, I do wish thou wert a dog,
That I might love thee something.

ALCIBIADES

I know thee well;
But in thy fortunes am unlearn’d and strange.

TIMON

I know thee too; and more than that I know thee,
I not desire to know. Follow thy drum;
With man’s blood paint the ground, gules, gules:
Religious canons, civil laws are cruel;
Then what should war be? This fell whore of thine
Hath in her more destruction than thy sword,
For all her cherubim look.

PHRYNIA

Thy lips rot off!

TIMON

I will not kiss thee; then the rot returns
To thine own lips again.

ALCIBIADES

How came the noble Timon to this change?

TIMON

As the moon does, by wanting light to give:
But then renew I could not, like the moon;
There were no suns to borrow of.

ALCIBIADES

Noble Timon,
What friendship may I do thee?

TIMON

None, but to
Maintain my opinion.

ALCIBIADES

What is it, Timon?

TIMON

Promise me friendship, but perform none: if thou
wilt not promise, the gods plague thee, for thou art
a man! if thou dost perform, confound thee, for
thou art a man!

ALCIBIADES

I have heard in some sort of thy miseries.

TIMON

Thou saw’st them, when I had prosperity.

ALCIBIADES

I see them now; then was a blessed time.

TIMON

As thine is now, held with a brace of harlots.

TIMANDRA

Is this the Athenian minion, whom the world
Voiced so regardfully?

TIMON

Art thou Timandra?

TIMANDRA

Yes.

TIMON

Be a whore still: they love thee not that use thee;
Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust.
Make use of thy salt hours: season the slaves
For tubs and baths; bring down rose-cheeked youth
To the tub-fast and the diet.

TIMANDRA

Hang thee, monster!

ALCIBIADES

Pardon him, sweet Timandra; for his wits
Are drown’d and lost in his calamities.
I have but little gold of late, brave Timon,
The want whereof doth daily make revolt
In my penurious band: I have heard, and grieved,
How cursed Athens, mindless of thy worth,
Forgetting thy great deeds, when neighbour states,
But for thy sword and fortune, trod upon them,—

TIMON

I prithee, beat thy drum, and get thee gone.

ALCIBIADES

I am thy friend, and pity thee, dear Timon.

TIMON

How dost thou pity him whom thou dost trouble?
I had rather be alone.

ALCIBIADES

Why, fare thee well:
Here is some gold for thee.

TIMON

Keep it, I cannot eat it.

ALCIBIADES

When I have laid proud Athens on a heap,—

TIMON

Warr’st thou ‘gainst Athens?

ALCIBIADES

Ay, Timon, and have cause.

TIMON

The gods confound them all in thy conquest;
And thee after, when thou hast conquer’d!

ALCIBIADES

Why me, Timon?

TIMON

That, by killing of villains,
Thou wast born to conquer my country.
Put up thy gold: go on,—here’s gold,—go on;
Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
Will o’er some high-viced city hang his poison
In the sick air: let not thy sword skip one:
Pity not honour’d age for his white beard;
He is an usurer: strike me the counterfeit matron;
It is her habit only that is honest,
Herself’s a bawd: let not the virgin’s cheek
Make soft thy trenchant sword; for those milk-paps,
That through the window-bars bore at men’s eyes,
Are not within the leaf of pity writ,
But set them down horrible traitors: spare not the babe,
Whose dimpled smiles from fools exhaust their mercy;
Think it a bastard, whom the oracle
Hath doubtfully pronounced thy throat shall cut,
And mince it sans remorse: swear against objects;
Put armour on thine ears and on thine eyes;
Whose proof, nor yells of mothers, maids, nor babes,
Nor sight of priests in holy vestments bleeding,
Shall pierce a jot. There’s gold to pay soldiers:
Make large confusion; and, thy fury spent,
Confounded be thyself! Speak not, be gone.

ALCIBIADES

Hast thou gold yet? I’ll take the gold thou
givest me,
Not all thy counsel.

TIMON

Dost thou, or dost thou not, heaven’s curse
upon thee!

PHRYNIA TIMANDRA

Give us some gold, good Timon: hast thou more?

TIMON

Enough to make a whore forswear her trade,
And to make whores, a bawd. Hold up, you sluts,
Your aprons mountant: you are not oathable,
Although, I know, you ‘ll swear, terribly swear
Into strong shudders and to heavenly agues
The immortal gods that hear you,—spare your oaths,
I’ll trust to your conditions: be whores still;
And he whose pious breath seeks to convert you,
Be strong in whore, allure him, burn him up;
Let your close fire predominate his smoke,
And be no turncoats: yet may your pains, six months,
Be quite contrary: and thatch your poor thin roofs
With burthens of the dead;—some that were hang’d,
No matter:—wear them, betray with them: whore still;
Paint till a horse may mire upon your face,
A pox of wrinkles!

PHRYNIA TIMANDRA

Well, more gold: what then?
Believe’t, that we’ll do any thing for gold.

TIMON

Consumptions sow
In hollow bones of man; strike their sharp shins,
And mar men’s spurring. Crack the lawyer’s voice,
That he may never more false title plead,
Nor sound his quillets shrilly: hoar the flamen,
That scolds against the quality of flesh,
And not believes himself: down with the nose,
Down with it flat; take the bridge quite away
Of him that, his particular to foresee,
Smells from the general weal: make curl’d-pate
ruffians bald;
And let the unscarr’d braggarts of the war
Derive some pain from you: plague all;
That your activity may defeat and quell
The source of all erection. There’s more gold:
Do you damn others, and let this damn you,
And ditches grave you all!

PHRYNIA TIMANDRA

More counsel with more money, bounteous Timon.

TIMON

More whore, more mischief first; I have given you earnest.

ALCIBIADES

Strike up the drum towards Athens! Farewell, Timon:
If I thrive well, I’ll visit thee again.

TIMON

If I hope well, I’ll never see thee more.

ALCIBIADES

I never did thee harm.

TIMON

Yes, thou spokest well of me.

ALCIBIADES

Call’st thou that harm?

TIMON

Men daily find it. Get thee away, and take
Thy beagles with thee.

ALCIBIADES

We but offend him. Strike!

Drum beats. Exeunt ALCIBIADES, PHRYNIA, and TIMANDRA

TIMON

That nature, being sick of man’s unkindness,
Should yet be hungry! Common mother, thou,

Digging
Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast,
Teems, and feeds all; whose self-same mettle,
Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff’d,
Engenders the black toad and adder blue,
The gilded newt and eyeless venom’d worm,
With all the abhorred births below crisp heaven
Whereon Hyperion’s quickening fire doth shine;
Yield him, who all thy human sons doth hate,
From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root!
Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb,
Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!
Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears;
Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face
Hath to the marbled mansion all above
Never presented!—O, a root,—dear thanks!—
Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas;
Whereof ungrateful man, with liquorish draughts
And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind,
That from it all consideration slips!

Enter APEMANTUS
More man? plague, plague!

APEMANTUS

I was directed hither: men report
Thou dost affect my manners, and dost use them.

TIMON

‘Tis, then, because thou dost not keep a dog,
Whom I would imitate: consumption catch thee!

APEMANTUS

This is in thee a nature but infected;
A poor unmanly melancholy sprung
From change of fortune. Why this spade? this place?
This slave-like habit? and these looks of care?
Thy flatterers yet wear silk, drink wine, lie soft;
Hug their diseased perfumes, and have forgot
That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods,
By putting on the cunning of a carper.
Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive
By that which has undone thee: hinge thy knee,
And let his very breath, whom thou’lt observe,
Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain,
And call it excellent: thou wast told thus;
Thou gavest thine ears like tapsters that bid welcome
To knaves and all approachers: ’tis most just
That thou turn rascal; hadst thou wealth again,
Rascals should have ‘t. Do not assume my likeness.

TIMON

Were I like thee, I’ld throw away myself.

APEMANTUS

Thou hast cast away thyself, being like thyself;
A madman so long, now a fool. What, think’st
That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain,
Will put thy shirt on warm? will these moss’d trees,
That have outlived the eagle, page thy heels,
And skip where thou point’st out? will the
cold brook,
Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste,
To cure thy o’er-night’s surfeit? Call the creatures
Whose naked natures live in an the spite
Of wreakful heaven, whose bare unhoused trunks,
To the conflicting elements exposed,
Answer mere nature; bid them flatter thee;
O, thou shalt find—

TIMON

A fool of thee: depart.

APEMANTUS

I love thee better now than e’er I did.

TIMON

I hate thee worse.

APEMANTUS

Why?

TIMON

Thou flatter’st misery.

APEMANTUS

I flatter not; but say thou art a caitiff.

TIMON

Why dost thou seek me out?

APEMANTUS

To vex thee.

TIMON

Always a villain’s office or a fool’s.
Dost please thyself in’t?

APEMANTUS

Ay.

TIMON

What! a knave too?

APEMANTUS

If thou didst put this sour-cold habit on
To castigate thy pride, ’twere well: but thou
Dost it enforcedly; thou’ldst courtier be again,
Wert thou not beggar. Willing misery
Outlives encertain pomp, is crown’d before:
The one is filling still, never complete;
The other, at high wish: best state, contentless,
Hath a distracted and most wretched being,
Worse than the worst, content.
Thou shouldst desire to die, being miserable.

TIMON

Not by his breath that is more miserable.
Thou art a slave, whom Fortune’s tender arm
With favour never clasp’d; but bred a dog.
Hadst thou, like us from our first swath, proceeded
The sweet degrees that this brief world affords
To such as may the passive drugs of it
Freely command, thou wouldst have plunged thyself
In general riot; melted down thy youth
In different beds of lust; and never learn’d
The icy precepts of respect, but follow’d
The sugar’d game before thee. But myself,
Who had the world as my confectionary,
The mouths, the tongues, the eyes and hearts of men
At duty, more than I could frame employment,
That numberless upon me stuck as leaves
Do on the oak, hive with one winter’s brush
Fell from their boughs and left me open, bare
For every storm that blows: I, to bear this,
That never knew but better, is some burden:
Thy nature did commence in sufferance, time
Hath made thee hard in’t. Why shouldst thou hate men?
They never flatter’d thee: what hast thou given?
If thou wilt curse, thy father, that poor rag,
Must be thy subject, who in spite put stuff
To some she beggar and compounded thee
Poor rogue hereditary. Hence, be gone!
If thou hadst not been born the worst of men,
Thou hadst been a knave and flatterer.

APEMANTUS

Art thou proud yet?

TIMON

Ay, that I am not thee.

APEMANTUS

I, that I was
No prodigal.

TIMON

I, that I am one now:
Were all the wealth I have shut up in thee,
I’ld give thee leave to hang it. Get thee gone.
That the whole life of Athens were in this!
Thus would I eat it.

Eating a root

APEMANTUS

Here; I will mend thy feast.

Offering him a root

TIMON

First mend my company, take away thyself.

APEMANTUS

So I shall mend mine own, by the lack of thine.

TIMON

‘Tis not well mended so, it is but botch’d;
if not, I would it were.

APEMANTUS

What wouldst thou have to Athens?

TIMON

Thee thither in a whirlwind. If thou wilt,
Tell them there I have gold; look, so I have.

APEMANTUS

Here is no use for gold.

TIMON

The best and truest;
For here it sleeps, and does no hired harm.

APEMANTUS

Where liest o’ nights, Timon?

TIMON

Under that’s above me.
Where feed’st thou o’ days, Apemantus?

APEMANTUS

Where my stomach finds meat; or, rather, where I eat
it.

TIMON

Would poison were obedient and knew my mind!

APEMANTUS

Where wouldst thou send it?

TIMON

To sauce thy dishes.

APEMANTUS

The middle of humanity thou never knewest, but the
extremity of both ends: when thou wast in thy gilt
and thy perfume, they mocked thee for too much
curiosity; in thy rags thou knowest none, but art
despised for the contrary. There’s a medlar for
thee, eat it.

TIMON

On what I hate I feed not.

APEMANTUS

Dost hate a medlar?

TIMON

Ay, though it look like thee.

APEMANTUS

An thou hadst hated meddlers sooner, thou shouldst
have loved thyself better now. What man didst thou
ever know unthrift that was beloved after his means?

TIMON

Who, without those means thou talkest of, didst thou
ever know beloved?

APEMANTUS

Myself.

TIMON

I understand thee; thou hadst some means to keep a
dog.

APEMANTUS

What things in the world canst thou nearest compare
to thy flatterers?

TIMON

Women nearest; but men, men are the things
themselves. What wouldst thou do with the world,
Apemantus, if it lay in thy power?

APEMANTUS

Give it the beasts, to be rid of the men.

TIMON

Wouldst thou have thyself fall in the confusion of
men, and remain a beast with the beasts?

APEMANTUS

Ay, Timon.

TIMON

A beastly ambition, which the gods grant thee t’
attain to! If thou wert the lion, the fox would
beguile thee; if thou wert the lamb, the fox would
eat three: if thou wert the fox, the lion would
suspect thee, when peradventure thou wert accused by
the ass: if thou wert the ass, thy dulness would
torment thee, and still thou livedst but as a
breakfast to the wolf: if thou wert the wolf, thy
greediness would afflict thee, and oft thou shouldst
hazard thy life for thy dinner: wert thou the
unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee and
make thine own self the conquest of thy fury: wert
thou a bear, thou wouldst be killed by the horse:
wert thou a horse, thou wouldst be seized by the
leopard: wert thou a leopard, thou wert german to
the lion and the spots of thy kindred were jurors on
thy life: all thy safety were remotion and thy
defence absence. What beast couldst thou be, that
were not subject to a beast? and what a beast art
thou already, that seest not thy loss in
transformation!

APEMANTUS

If thou couldst please me with speaking to me, thou
mightst have hit upon it here: the commonwealth of
Athens is become a forest of beasts.

TIMON

How has the ass broke the wall, that thou art out of the city?

APEMANTUS

Yonder comes a poet and a painter: the plague of
company light upon thee! I will fear to catch it
and give way: when I know not what else to do, I’ll
see thee again.

TIMON

When there is nothing living but thee, thou shalt be
welcome. I had rather be a beggar’s dog than Apemantus.

APEMANTUS

Thou art the cap of all the fools alive.

TIMON

Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!

APEMANTUS

A plague on thee! thou art too bad to curse.

TIMON

All villains that do stand by thee are pure.

APEMANTUS

There is no leprosy but what thou speak’st.

TIMON

If I name thee.
I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.

APEMANTUS

I would my tongue could rot them off!

TIMON

Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!
Choler does kill me that thou art alive;
I swound to see thee.

APEMANTUS

Would thou wouldst burst!

TIMON

Away,
Thou tedious rogue! I am sorry I shall lose
A stone by thee.

Throws a stone at him

APEMANTUS

Beast!

TIMON

Slave!

APEMANTUS

Toad!

TIMON

Rogue, rogue, rogue!
I am sick of this false world, and will love nought
But even the mere necessities upon ‘t.
Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave;
Lie where the light foam the sea may beat
Thy grave-stone daily: make thine epitaph,
That death in me at others’ lives may laugh.

To the gold
O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
‘Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen’s purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian’s lap! thou visible god,
That solder’st close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss! that speak’st with
every tongue,
To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, thy slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!

APEMANTUS

Would ’twere so!
But not till I am dead. I’ll say thou’st gold:
Thou wilt be throng’d to shortly.

TIMON

Throng’d to!

APEMANTUS

Ay.

TIMON

Thy back, I prithee.

APEMANTUS

Live, and love thy misery.

TIMON

Long live so, and so die.

Exit APEMANTUS
I am quit.
Moe things like men! Eat, Timon, and abhor them.

Enter Banditti

First Bandit

Where should he have this gold? It is some poor
fragment, some slender sort of his remainder: the
mere want of gold, and the falling-from of his
friends, drove him into this melancholy.

Second Bandit

It is noised he hath a mass of treasure.

Third Bandit

Let us make the assay upon him: if he care not
for’t, he will supply us easily; if he covetously
reserve it, how shall’s get it?

Second Bandit

True; for he bears it not about him, ’tis hid.

First Bandit

Is not this he?

Banditti

Where?

Second Bandit

‘Tis his description.

Third Bandit

He; I know him.

Banditti

Save thee, Timon.

TIMON

Now, thieves?

Banditti

Soldiers, not thieves.

TIMON

Both too; and women’s sons.

Banditti

We are not thieves, but men that much do want.

TIMON

Your greatest want is, you want much of meat.
Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots;
Within this mile break forth a hundred springs;
The oaks bear mast, the briers scarlet hips;
The bounteous housewife, nature, on each bush
Lays her full mess before you. Want! why want?

First Bandit

We cannot live on grass, on berries, water,
As beasts and birds and fishes.

TIMON

Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds, and fishes;
You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con
That you are thieves profess’d, that you work not
In holier shapes: for there is boundless theft
In limited professions. Rascal thieves,
Here’s gold. Go, suck the subtle blood o’ the grape,
Till the high fever seethe your blood to froth,
And so ‘scape hanging: trust not the physician;
His antidotes are poison, and he slays
Moe than you rob: take wealth and lives together;
Do villany, do, since you protest to do’t,
Like workmen. I’ll example you with thievery.
The sun’s a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea: the moon’s an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:
The sea’s a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears: the earth’s a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
From general excrement: each thing’s a thief:
The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Have uncheque’d theft. Love not yourselves: away,
Rob one another. There’s more gold. Cut throats:
All that you meet are thieves: to Athens go,
Break open shops; nothing can you steal,
But thieves do lose it: steal no less for this
I give you; and gold confound you howsoe’er! Amen.

Third Bandit

Has almost charmed me from my profession, by
persuading me to it.

First Bandit

‘Tis in the malice of mankind that he thus advises
us; not to have us thrive in our mystery.

Second Bandit

I’ll believe him as an enemy, and give over my trade.

First Bandit

Let us first see peace in Athens: there is no time
so miserable but a man may be true.

Exeunt Banditti

Enter FLAVIUS

FLAVIUS

O you gods!
Is yond despised and ruinous man my lord?
Full of decay and failing? O monument
And wonder of good deeds evilly bestow’d!
What an alteration of honour
Has desperate want made!
What viler thing upon the earth than friends
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
How rarely does it meet with this time’s guise,
When man was wish’d to love his enemies!
Grant I may ever love, and rather woo
Those that would mischief me than those that do!
Has caught me in his eye: I will present
My honest grief unto him; and, as my lord,
Still serve him with my life. My dearest master!

TIMON

Away! what art thou?

FLAVIUS

Have you forgot me, sir?

TIMON

Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men;
Then, if thou grant’st thou’rt a man, I have forgot thee.

FLAVIUS

An honest poor servant of yours.

TIMON

Then I know thee not:
I never had honest man about me, I; all
I kept were knaves, to serve in meat to villains.

FLAVIUS

The gods are witness,
Ne’er did poor steward wear a truer grief
For his undone lord than mine eyes for you.

TIMON

What, dost thou weep? Come nearer. Then I
love thee,
Because thou art a woman, and disclaim’st
Flinty mankind; whose eyes do never give
But thorough lust and laughter. Pity’s sleeping:
Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with weeping!

FLAVIUS

I beg of you to know me, good my lord,
To accept my grief and whilst this poor wealth lasts
To entertain me as your steward still.

TIMON

Had I a steward
So true, so just, and now so comfortable?
It almost turns my dangerous nature mild.
Let me behold thy face. Surely, this man
Was born of woman.
Forgive my general and exceptless rashness,
You perpetual-sober gods! I do proclaim
One honest man—mistake me not—but one;
No more, I pray,—and he’s a steward.
How fain would I have hated all mankind!
And thou redeem’st thyself: but all, save thee,
I fell with curses.
Methinks thou art more honest now than wise;
For, by oppressing and betraying me,
Thou mightst have sooner got another service:
For many so arrive at second masters,
Upon their first lord’s neck. But tell me true—
For I must ever doubt, though ne’er so sure—
Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous,
If not a usuring kindness, and, as rich men deal gifts,
Expecting in return twenty for one?

FLAVIUS

No, my most worthy master; in whose breast
Doubt and suspect, alas, are placed too late:
You should have fear’d false times when you did feast:
Suspect still comes where an estate is least.
That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love,
Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind,
Care of your food and living; and, believe it,
My most honour’d lord,
For any benefit that points to me,
Either in hope or present, I’ld exchange
For this one wish, that you had power and wealth
To requite me, by making rich yourself.

TIMON

Look thee, ’tis so! Thou singly honest man,
Here, take: the gods out of my misery
Have sent thee treasure. Go, live rich and happy;
But thus condition’d: thou shalt build from men;
Hate all, curse all, show charity to none,
But let the famish’d flesh slide from the bone,
Ere thou relieve the beggar; give to dogs
What thou deny’st to men; let prisons swallow ’em,
Debts wither ’em to nothing; be men like
blasted woods,
And may diseases lick up their false bloods!
And so farewell and thrive.

FLAVIUS

O, let me stay,
And comfort you, my master.

TIMON

If thou hatest curses,
Stay not; fly, whilst thou art blest and free:
Ne’er see thou man, and let me ne’er see thee.

Exit FLAVIUS. TIMON retires to his cave

ACT V
SCENE I. The woods. Before Timon’s cave.

Enter Poet and Painter; TIMON watching them from his cave

Painter

As I took note of the place, it cannot be far where
he abides.

Poet

What’s to be thought of him? does the rumour hold
for true, that he’s so full of gold?

Painter

Certain: Alcibiades reports it; Phrynia and
Timandra had gold of him: he likewise enriched poor
straggling soldiers with great quantity: ’tis said
he gave unto his steward a mighty sum.

Poet

Then this breaking of his has been but a try for his friends.

Painter

Nothing else: you shall see him a palm in Athens
again, and flourish with the highest. Therefore
’tis not amiss we tender our loves to him, in this
supposed distress of his: it will show honestly in
us; and is very likely to load our purposes with
what they travail for, if it be a just true report
that goes of his having.

Poet

What have you now to present unto him?

Painter

Nothing at this time but my visitation: only I will
promise him an excellent piece.

Poet

I must serve him so too, tell him of an intent
that’s coming toward him.

Painter

Good as the best. Promising is the very air o’ the
time: it opens the eyes of expectation:
performance is ever the duller for his act; and,
but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the
deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is
most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind
of will or testament which argues a great sickness
in his judgment that makes it.

TIMON comes from his cave, behind

TIMON

[Aside] Excellent workman! thou canst not paint a
man so bad as is thyself.

Poet

I am thinking what I shall say I have provided for
him: it must be a personating of himself; a satire
against the softness of prosperity, with a discovery
of the infinite flatteries that follow youth and opulency.

TIMON

[Aside] Must thou needs stand for a villain in
thine own work? wilt thou whip thine own faults in
other men? Do so, I have gold for thee.

Poet

Nay, let’s seek him:
Then do we sin against our own estate,
When we may profit meet, and come too late.

Painter

True;
When the day serves, before black-corner’d night,
Find what thou want’st by free and offer’d light. Come.

TIMON

[Aside] I’ll meet you at the turn. What a
god’s gold,
That he is worshipp’d in a baser temple
Than where swine feed!
‘Tis thou that rigg’st the bark and plough’st the foam,
Settlest admired reverence in a slave:
To thee be worship! and thy saints for aye
Be crown’d with plagues that thee alone obey!
Fit I meet them.

Coming forward

Poet

Hail, worthy Timon!

Painter

Our late noble master!

TIMON

Have I once lived to see two honest men?

Poet

Sir,
Having often of your open bounty tasted,
Hearing you were retired, your friends fall’n off,
Whose thankless natures—O abhorred spirits!—
Not all the whips of heaven are large enough:
What! to you,
Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence
To their whole being! I am rapt and cannot cover
The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude
With any size of words.

TIMON

Let it go naked, men may see’t the better:
You that are honest, by being what you are,
Make them best seen and known.

Painter

He and myself
Have travail’d in the great shower of your gifts,
And sweetly felt it.

TIMON

Ay, you are honest men.

Painter

We are hither come to offer you our service.

TIMON

Most honest men! Why, how shall I requite you?
Can you eat roots, and drink cold water? no.

Both

What we can do, we’ll do, to do you service.

TIMON

Ye’re honest men: ye’ve heard that I have gold;
I am sure you have: speak truth; ye’re honest men.

Painter

So it is said, my noble lord; but therefore
Came not my friend nor I.

TIMON

Good honest men! Thou draw’st a counterfeit
Best in all Athens: thou’rt, indeed, the best;
Thou counterfeit’st most lively.

Painter

So, so, my lord.

TIMON

E’en so, sir, as I say. And, for thy fiction,
Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth
That thou art even natural in thine art.
But, for all this, my honest-natured friends,
I must needs say you have a little fault:
Marry, ’tis not monstrous in you, neither wish I
You take much pains to mend.

Both

Beseech your honour
To make it known to us.

TIMON

You’ll take it ill.

Both

Most thankfully, my lord.

TIMON

Will you, indeed?

Both

Doubt it not, worthy lord.

TIMON

There’s never a one of you but trusts a knave,
That mightily deceives you.

Both

Do we, my lord?

TIMON

Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dissemble,
Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him,
Keep in your bosom: yet remain assured
That he’s a made-up villain.

Painter

I know none such, my lord.

Poet

Nor I.

TIMON

Look you, I love you well; I’ll give you gold,
Rid me these villains from your companies:
Hang them or stab them, drown them in a draught,
Confound them by some course, and come to me,
I’ll give you gold enough.

Both

Name them, my lord, let’s know them.

TIMON

You that way and you this, but two in company;
Each man apart, all single and alone,
Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.
If where thou art two villains shall not be,
Come not near him. If thou wouldst not reside
But where one villain is, then him abandon.
Hence, pack! there’s gold; you came for gold, ye slaves:

To Painter
You have work’d for me; there’s payment for you: hence!

To Poet
You are an alchemist; make gold of that.
Out, rascal dogs!

Beats them out, and then retires to his cave

Enter FLAVIUS and two Senators

FLAVIUS

It is in vain that you would speak with Timon;
For he is set so only to himself
That nothing but himself which looks like man
Is friendly with him.

First Senator

Bring us to his cave:
It is our part and promise to the Athenians
To speak with Timon.

Second Senator

At all times alike
Men are not still the same: ’twas time and griefs
That framed him thus: time, with his fairer hand,
Offering the fortunes of his former days,
The former man may make him. Bring us to him,
And chance it as it may.

FLAVIUS

Here is his cave.
Peace and content be here! Lord Timon! Timon!
Look out, and speak to friends: the Athenians,
By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee:
Speak to them, noble Timon.

TIMON comes from his cave

TIMON

Thou sun, that comfort’st, burn! Speak, and
be hang’d:
For each true word, a blister! and each false
Be as cauterizing to the root o’ the tongue,
Consuming it with speaking!

First Senator

Worthy Timon,—

TIMON

Of none but such as you, and you of Timon.

First Senator

The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

TIMON

I thank them; and would send them back the plague,
Could I but catch it for them.

First Senator

O, forget
What we are sorry for ourselves in thee.
The senators with one consent of love
Entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought
On special dignities, which vacant lie
For thy best use and wearing.

Second Senator

They confess
Toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross:
Which now the public body, which doth seldom
Play the recanter, feeling in itself
A lack of Timon’s aid, hath sense withal
Of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon;
And send forth us, to make their sorrow’d render,
Together with a recompense more fruitful
Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;
Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth
As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs
And write in thee the figures of their love,
Ever to read them thine.

TIMON

You witch me in it;
Surprise me to the very brink of tears:
Lend me a fool’s heart and a woman’s eyes,
And I’ll beweep these comforts, worthy senators.

First Senator

Therefore, so please thee to return with us
And of our Athens, thine and ours, to take
The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks,
Allow’d with absolute power and thy good name
Live with authority: so soon we shall drive back
Of Alcibiades the approaches wild,
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up
His country’s peace.

Second Senator

And shakes his threatening sword
Against the walls of Athens.

First Senator

Therefore, Timon,—

TIMON

Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir; thus:
If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,
That Timon cares not. But if be sack fair Athens,
And take our goodly aged men by the beards,
Giving our holy virgins to the stain
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain’d war,
Then let him know, and tell him Timon speaks it,
In pity of our aged and our youth,
I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,
And let him take’t at worst; for their knives care not,
While you have throats to answer: for myself,
There’s not a whittle in the unruly camp
But I do prize it at my love before
The reverend’st throat in Athens. So I leave you
To the protection of the prosperous gods,
As thieves to keepers.

FLAVIUS

Stay not, all’s in vain.

TIMON

Why, I was writing of my epitaph;
it will be seen to-morrow: my long sickness
Of health and living now begins to mend,
And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still;
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,
And last so long enough!

First Senator

We speak in vain.

TIMON

But yet I love my country, and am not
One that rejoices in the common wreck,
As common bruit doth put it.

First Senator

That’s well spoke.

TIMON

Commend me to my loving countrymen,—

First Senator

These words become your lips as they pass
thorough them.

Second Senator

And enter in our ears like great triumphers
In their applauding gates.

TIMON

Commend me to them,
And tell them that, to ease them of their griefs,
Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses,
Their pangs of love, with other incident throes
That nature’s fragile vessel doth sustain
In life’s uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them:
I’ll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades’ wrath.

First Senator

I like this well; he will return again.

TIMON

I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.

FLAVIUS

Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.

TIMON

Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Who once a day with his embossed froth
The turbulent surge shall cover: thither come,
And let my grave-stone be your oracle.
Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
What is amiss plague and infection mend!
Graves only be men’s works and death their gain!
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.

Retires to his cave

First Senator

His discontents are unremoveably
Coupled to nature.

Second Senator

Our hope in him is dead: let us return,
And strain what other means is left unto us
In our dear peril.

First Senator

It requires swift foot.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before the walls of Athens.

Enter two Senators and a Messenger

First Senator

Thou hast painfully discover’d: are his files
As full as thy report?

Messenger

have spoke the least:
Besides, his expedition promises
Present approach.

Second Senator

We stand much hazard, if they bring not Timon.

Messenger

I met a courier, one mine ancient friend;
Whom, though in general part we were opposed,
Yet our old love made a particular force,
And made us speak like friends: this man was riding
From Alcibiades to Timon’s cave,
With letters of entreaty, which imported
His fellowship i’ the cause against your city,
In part for his sake moved.

First Senator

Here come our brothers.

Enter the Senators from TIMON

Third Senator

No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.
The enemies’ drum is heard, and fearful scouring
Doth choke the air with dust: in, and prepare:
Ours is the fall, I fear; our foes the snare.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The woods. Timon’s cave, and a rude tomb seen.

Enter a Soldier, seeking TIMON

Soldier

By all description this should be the place.
Who’s here? speak, ho! No answer! What is this?
Timon is dead, who hath outstretch’d his span:
Some beast rear’d this; there does not live a man.
Dead, sure; and this his grave. What’s on this tomb
I cannot read; the character I’ll take with wax:
Our captain hath in every figure skill,
An aged interpreter, though young in days:
Before proud Athens he’s set down by this,
Whose fall the mark of his ambition is.

Exit

SCENE IV. Before the walls of Athens.

Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES with his powers

ALCIBIADES

Sound to this coward and lascivious town
Our terrible approach.

A parley sounded

Enter Senators on the walls
Till now you have gone on and fill’d the time
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice; till now myself and such
As slept within the shadow of your power
Hav e wander’d with our traversed arms and breathed
Our sufferance vainly: now the time is flush,
When crouching marrow in the bearer strong
Cries of itself ‘No more:’ now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,
And pursy insolence shall break his wind
With fear and horrid flight.

First Senator

Noble and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power or we had cause of fear,
We sent to thee, to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.

Second Senator

So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city’s love
By humble message and by promised means:
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.

First Senator

These walls of ours
Were not erected by their hands from whom
You have received your griefs; nor are they such
That these great towers, trophies and schools
should fall
For private faults in them.

Second Senator

Nor are they living
Who were the motives that you first went out;
Shame that they wanted cunning, in excess
Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
Into our city with thy banners spread:
By decimation, and a tithed death—
If thy revenges hunger for that food
Which nature loathes—take thou the destined tenth,
And by the hazard of the spotted die
Let die the spotted.

First Senator

All have not offended;
For those that were, it is not square to take
On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:
Spare thy Athenian cradle and those kin
Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall
With those that have offended: like a shepherd,
Approach the fold and cull the infected forth,
But kill not all together.

Second Senator

What thou wilt,
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile
Than hew to’t with thy sword.

First Senator

Set but thy foot
Against our rampired gates, and they shall ope;
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say thou’lt enter friendly.

Second Senator

Throw thy glove,
Or any token of thine honour else,
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress
And not as our confusion, all thy powers
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we
Have seal’d thy full desire.

ALCIBIADES

Then there’s my glove;
Descend, and open your uncharged ports:
Those enemies of Timon’s and mine own
Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof
Fall and no more: and, to atone your fears
With my more noble meaning, not a man
Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
Of regular justice in your city’s bounds,
But shall be render’d to your public laws
At heaviest answer.

Both

‘Tis most nobly spoken.

ALCIBIADES

Descend, and keep your words.

The Senators descend, and open the gates

Enter Soldier

Soldier

My noble general, Timon is dead;
Entomb’d upon the very hem o’ the sea;
And on his grave-stone this insculpture, which
With wax I brought away, whose soft impression
Interprets for my poor ignorance.

ALCIBIADES

[Reads the epitaph] ‘Here lies a
wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft:
Seek not my name: a plague consume you wicked
caitiffs left!
Here lie I, Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate:
Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay
not here thy gait.’
These well express in thee thy latter spirits:
Though thou abhorr’dst in us our human griefs,
Scorn’dst our brain’s flow and those our
droplets which
From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit
Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye
On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead
Is noble Timon: of whose memory
Hereafter more. Bring me into your city,
And I will use the olive with my sword,
Make war breed peace, make peace stint war, make each
Prescribe to other as each other’s leech.
Let our drums strike.

Exeunt

Romeo and Juliet

ACT I

PROLOGUE

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

SCENE I. Verona. A public place.

Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, of the house of Capulet, armed with swords and bucklers

SAMPSON

Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.

GREGORY

No, for then we should be colliers.

SAMPSON

I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw.

GREGORY

Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o’ the collar.

SAMPSON

I strike quickly, being moved.

GREGORY

But thou art not quickly moved to strike.

SAMPSON

A dog of the house of Montague moves me.

GREGORY

To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand:
therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn’st away.

SAMPSON

A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will
take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.

GREGORY

That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes
to the wall.

SAMPSON

True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels,
are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push
Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids
to the wall.

GREGORY

The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.

SAMPSON

‘Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I
have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the
maids, and cut off their heads.

GREGORY

The heads of the maids?

SAMPSON

Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads;
take it in what sense thou wilt.

GREGORY

They must take it in sense that feel it.

SAMPSON

Me they shall feel while I am able to stand: and
’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.

GREGORY

‘Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou
hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool! here comes
two of the house of the Montagues.

SAMPSON

My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee.

GREGORY

How! turn thy back and run?

SAMPSON

Fear me not.

GREGORY

No, marry; I fear thee!

SAMPSON

Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.

GREGORY

I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as
they list.

SAMPSON

Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them;
which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR

ABRAHAM

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAMPSON

I do bite my thumb, sir.

ABRAHAM

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAMPSON

[Aside to GREGORY] Is the law of our side, if I say
ay?

GREGORY

No.

SAMPSON

No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I
bite my thumb, sir.

GREGORY

Do you quarrel, sir?

ABRAHAM

Quarrel sir! no, sir.

SAMPSON

If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.

ABRAHAM

No better.

SAMPSON

Well, sir.

GREGORY

Say ‘better:’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.

SAMPSON

Yes, better, sir.

ABRAHAM

You lie.

SAMPSON

Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

They fight

Enter BENVOLIO

BENVOLIO

Part, fools!
Put up your swords; you know not what you do.

Beats down their swords

Enter TYBALT

TYBALT

What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

BENVOLIO

I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.

TYBALT

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word,
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:
Have at thee, coward!

They fight

Enter, several of both houses, who join the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs

First Citizen

Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down!
Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!

Enter CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPULET

CAPULET

What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!

LADY CAPULET

A crutch, a crutch! why call you for a sword?

CAPULET

My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.

Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE

MONTAGUE

Thou villain Capulet,—Hold me not, let me go.

LADY MONTAGUE

Thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe.

Enter PRINCE, with Attendants

PRINCE

Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,—
Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground,
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets,
And made Verona’s ancient citizens
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate:
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.
For this time, all the rest depart away:
You Capulet; shall go along with me:
And, Montague, come you this afternoon,
To know our further pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO

MONTAGUE

Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?

BENVOLIO

Here were the servants of your adversary,
And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:
I drew to part them: in the instant came
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared,
Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears,
He swung about his head and cut the winds,
Who nothing hurt withal hiss’d him in scorn:
While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
Came more and more and fought on part and part,
Till the prince came, who parted either part.

LADY MONTAGUE

O, where is Romeo? saw you him to-day?
Right glad I am he was not at this fray.

BENVOLIO

Madam, an hour before the worshipp’d sun
Peer’d forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city’s side,
So early walking did I see your son:
Towards him I made, but he was ware of me
And stole into the covert of the wood:
I, measuring his affections by my own,
That most are busied when they’re most alone,
Pursued my humour not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn’d who gladly fled from me.

MONTAGUE

Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew.
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs;
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed,
Away from the light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks far daylight out
And makes himself an artificial night:
Black and portentous must this humour prove,
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.

BENVOLIO

My noble uncle, do you know the cause?

MONTAGUE

I neither know it nor can learn of him.

BENVOLIO

Have you importuned him by any means?

MONTAGUE

Both by myself and many other friends:
But he, his own affections’ counsellor,
Is to himself—I will not say how true—
But to himself so secret and so close,
So far from sounding and discovery,
As is the bud bit with an envious worm,
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow.
We would as willingly give cure as know.

Enter ROMEO

BENVOLIO

See, where he comes: so please you, step aside;
I’ll know his grievance, or be much denied.

MONTAGUE

I would thou wert so happy by thy stay,
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let’s away.

Exeunt MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE

BENVOLIO

Good-morrow, cousin.

ROMEO

Is the day so young?

BENVOLIO

But new struck nine.

ROMEO

Ay me! sad hours seem long.
Was that my father that went hence so fast?

BENVOLIO

It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?

ROMEO

Not having that, which, having, makes them short.

BENVOLIO

In love?

ROMEO

Out—

BENVOLIO

Of love?

ROMEO

Out of her favour, where I am in love.

BENVOLIO

Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

ROMEO

Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire,
sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?

BENVOLIO

No, coz, I rather weep.

ROMEO

Good heart, at what?

BENVOLIO

At thy good heart’s oppression.

ROMEO

Why, such is love’s transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz.

BENVOLIO

Soft! I will go along;
An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.

ROMEO

Tut, I have lost myself; I am not here;
This is not Romeo, he’s some other where.

BENVOLIO

Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.

ROMEO

What, shall I groan and tell thee?

BENVOLIO

Groan! why, no.
But sadly tell me who.

ROMEO

Bid a sick man in sadness make his will:
Ah, word ill urged to one that is so ill!
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.

BENVOLIO

I aim’d so near, when I supposed you loved.

ROMEO

A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love.

BENVOLIO

A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.

ROMEO

Well, in that hit you miss: she’ll not be hit
With Cupid’s arrow; she hath Dian’s wit;
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d,
From love’s weak childish bow she lives unharm’d.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store.

BENVOLIO

Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?

ROMEO

She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,
To merit bliss by making me despair:
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead that live to tell it now.

BENVOLIO

Be ruled by me, forget to think of her.

ROMEO

O, teach me how I should forget to think.

BENVOLIO

By giving liberty unto thine eyes;
Examine other beauties.

ROMEO

‘Tis the way
To call hers exquisite, in question more:
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies’ brows
Being black put us in mind they hide the fair;
He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost:
Show me a mistress that is passing fair,
What doth her beauty serve, but as a note
Where I may read who pass’d that passing fair?
Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget.

BENVOLIO

I’ll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A street.

Enter CAPULET, PARIS, and Servant

CAPULET

But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike; and ’tis not hard, I think,
For men so old as we to keep the peace.

PARIS

Of honourable reckoning are you both;
And pity ’tis you lived at odds so long.
But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?

CAPULET

But saying o’er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world;
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

PARIS

Younger than she are happy mothers made.

CAPULET

And too soon marr’d are those so early made.
The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she,
She is the hopeful lady of my earth:
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part;
An she agree, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
This night I hold an old accustom’d feast,
Whereto I have invited many a guest,
Such as I love; and you, among the store,
One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
At my poor house look to behold this night
Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light:
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparell’d April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house; hear all, all see,
And like her most whose merit most shall be:
Which on more view, of many mine being one
May stand in number, though in reckoning none,
Come, go with me.

To Servant, giving a paper
Go, sirrah, trudge about
Through fair Verona; find those persons out
Whose names are written there, and to them say,
My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

Exeunt CAPULET and PARIS

Servant

Find them out whose names are written here! It is
written, that the shoemaker should meddle with his
yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with
his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am
sent to find those persons whose names are here
writ, and can never find what names the writing
person hath here writ. I must to the learned.—In good time.

Enter BENVOLIO and ROMEO

BENVOLIO

Tut, man, one fire burns out another’s burning,
One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish;
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;
One desperate grief cures with another’s languish:
Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.

ROMEO

Your plaintain-leaf is excellent for that.

BENVOLIO

For what, I pray thee?

ROMEO

For your broken shin.

BENVOLIO

Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

ROMEO

Not mad, but bound more than a mad-man is;
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
Whipp’d and tormented and—God-den, good fellow.

Servant

God gi’ god-den. I pray, sir, can you read?

ROMEO

Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.

Servant

Perhaps you have learned it without book: but, I
pray, can you read any thing you see?

ROMEO

Ay, if I know the letters and the language.

Servant

Ye say honestly: rest you merry!

ROMEO

Stay, fellow; I can read.

Reads
‘Signior Martino and his wife and daughters;
County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady
widow of Vitravio; Signior Placentio and his lovely
nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; mine
uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; my fair niece
Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio and his cousin
Tybalt, Lucio and the lively Helena.’ A fair
assembly: whither should they come?

Servant

Up.

ROMEO

Whither?

Servant

To supper; to our house.

ROMEO

Whose house?

Servant

My master’s.

ROMEO

Indeed, I should have ask’d you that before.

Servant

Now I’ll tell you without asking: my master is the
great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house
of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine.
Rest you merry!

Exit

BENVOLIO

At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s
Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so lovest,
With all the admired beauties of Verona:
Go thither; and, with unattainted eye,
Compare her face with some that I shall show,
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

ROMEO

When the devout religion of mine eye
Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires;
And these, who often drown’d could never die,
Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!
One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun
Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.

BENVOLIO

Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself poised with herself in either eye:
But in that crystal scales let there be weigh’d
Your lady’s love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well that now shows best.

ROMEO

I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown,
But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A room in Capulet’s house.

Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse

LADY CAPULET

Nurse, where’s my daughter? call her forth to me.

Nurse

Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,
I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird!
God forbid! Where’s this girl? What, Juliet!

Enter JULIET

JULIET

How now! who calls?

Nurse

Your mother.

JULIET

Madam, I am here.
What is your will?

LADY CAPULET

This is the matter:—Nurse, give leave awhile,
We must talk in secret:—nurse, come back again;
I have remember’d me, thou’s hear our counsel.
Thou know’st my daughter’s of a pretty age.

Nurse

Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.

LADY CAPULET

She’s not fourteen.

Nurse

I’ll lay fourteen of my teeth,—
And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four—
She is not fourteen. How long is it now
To Lammas-tide?

LADY CAPULET

A fortnight and odd days.

Nurse

Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
Susan and she—God rest all Christian souls!—
Were of an age: well, Susan is with God;
She was too good for me: but, as I said,
On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen;
That shall she, marry; I remember it well.
‘Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;
And she was wean’d,—I never shall forget it,—
Of all the days of the year, upon that day:
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,
Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall;
My lord and you were then at Mantua:—
Nay, I do bear a brain:—but, as I said,
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple
Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool,
To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug!
Shake quoth the dove-house: ’twas no need, I trow,
To bid me trudge:
And since that time it is eleven years;
For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood,
She could have run and waddled all about;
For even the day before, she broke her brow:
And then my husband—God be with his soul!
A’ was a merry man—took up the child:
‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ and, by my holidame,
The pretty wretch left crying and said ‘Ay.’
To see, now, how a jest shall come about!
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,
I never should forget it: ‘Wilt thou not, Jule?’ quoth he;
And, pretty fool, it stinted and said ‘Ay.’

LADY CAPULET

Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.

Nurse

Yes, madam: yet I cannot choose but laugh,
To think it should leave crying and say ‘Ay.’
And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow
A bump as big as a young cockerel’s stone;
A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly:
‘Yea,’ quoth my husband,’fall’st upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age;
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ it stinted and said ‘Ay.’

JULIET

And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.

Nurse

Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed:
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.

LADY CAPULET

Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?

JULIET

It is an honour that I dream not of.

Nurse

An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
I would say thou hadst suck’d wisdom from thy teat.

LADY CAPULET

Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers: by my count,
I was your mother much upon these years
That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief:
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

Nurse

A man, young lady! lady, such a man
As all the world—why, he’s a man of wax.

LADY CAPULET

Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.

Nurse

Nay, he’s a flower; in faith, a very flower.

LADY CAPULET

What say you? can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face,
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;
Examine every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content
And what obscured in this fair volume lies
Find written in the margent of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:
The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride
For fair without the fair within to hide:
That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less.

Nurse

No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men.

LADY CAPULET

Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?

JULIET

I’ll look to like, if looking liking move:
But no more deep will I endart mine eye
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Enter a Servant

Servant

Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you
called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in
the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must
hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.

LADY CAPULET

We follow thee.

Exit Servant
Juliet, the county stays.

Nurse

Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A street.

Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others

ROMEO

What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
Or shall we on without a apology?

BENVOLIO

The date is out of such prolixity:
We’ll have no Cupid hoodwink’d with a scarf,
Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,
Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper;
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
After the prompter, for our entrance:
But let them measure us by what they will;
We’ll measure them a measure, and be gone.

ROMEO

Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

MERCUTIO

Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.

ROMEO

Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes
With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.

MERCUTIO

You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings,
And soar with them above a common bound.

ROMEO

I am too sore enpierced with his shaft
To soar with his light feathers, and so bound,
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.

MERCUTIO

And, to sink in it, should you burden love;
Too great oppression for a tender thing.

ROMEO

Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

MERCUTIO

If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
Give me a case to put my visage in:
A visor for a visor! what care I
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.

BENVOLIO

Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in,
But every man betake him to his legs.

ROMEO

A torch for me: let wantons light of heart
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels,
For I am proverb’d with a grandsire phrase;
I’ll be a candle-holder, and look on.
The game was ne’er so fair, and I am done.

MERCUTIO

Tut, dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own word:
If thou art dun, we’ll draw thee from the mire
Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick’st
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!

ROMEO

Nay, that’s not so.

MERCUTIO

I mean, sir, in delay
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
Five times in that ere once in our five wits.

ROMEO

And we mean well in going to this mask;
But ’tis no wit to go.

MERCUTIO

Why, may one ask?

ROMEO

I dream’d a dream to-night.

MERCUTIO

And so did I.

ROMEO

Well, what was yours?

MERCUTIO

That dreamers often lie.

ROMEO

In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

MERCUTIO

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she—

ROMEO

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk’st of nothing.

MERCUTIO

True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.

BENVOLIO

This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves;
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

ROMEO

I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night’s revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.

BENVOLIO

Strike, drum.

Exeunt

SCENE V. A hall in Capulet’s house.

Musicians waiting. Enter Servingmen with napkins

First Servant

Where’s Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He
shift a trencher? he scrape a trencher!

Second Servant

When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s
hands and they unwashed too, ’tis a foul thing.

First Servant

Away with the joint-stools, remove the
court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save
me a piece of marchpane; and, as thou lovest me, let
the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.
Antony, and Potpan!

Second Servant

Ay, boy, ready.

First Servant

You are looked for and called for, asked for and
sought for, in the great chamber.

Second Servant

We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys; be
brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.

Enter CAPULET, with JULIET and others of his house, meeting the Guests and Maskers

CAPULET

Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toes
Unplagued with corns will have a bout with you.
Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all
Will now deny to dance? she that makes dainty,
She, I’ll swear, hath corns; am I come near ye now?
Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day
That I have worn a visor and could tell
A whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear,
Such as would please: ’tis gone, ’tis gone, ’tis gone:
You are welcome, gentlemen! come, musicians, play.
A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls.

Music plays, and they dance
More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up,
And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.
Ah, sirrah, this unlook’d-for sport comes well.
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;
For you and I are past our dancing days:
How long is’t now since last yourself and I
Were in a mask?

Second Capulet

By’r lady, thirty years.

CAPULET

What, man! ’tis not so much, ’tis not so much:
‘Tis since the nuptials of Lucentio,
Come pentecost as quickly as it will,
Some five and twenty years; and then we mask’d.

Second Capulet

‘Tis more, ’tis more, his son is elder, sir;
His son is thirty.

CAPULET

Will you tell me that?
His son was but a ward two years ago.

ROMEO

[To a Servingman] What lady is that, which doth
enrich the hand
Of yonder knight?

Servant

I know not, sir.

ROMEO

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

TYBALT

This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
Come hither, cover’d with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin.

CAPULET

Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so?

TYBALT

Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe,
A villain that is hither come in spite,
To scorn at our solemnity this night.

CAPULET

Young Romeo is it?

TYBALT

‘Tis he, that villain Romeo.

CAPULET

Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
He bears him like a portly gentleman;
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth:
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement:
Therefore be patient, take no note of him:
It is my will, the which if thou respect,
Show a fair presence and put off these frowns,
And ill-beseeming semblance for a feast.

TYBALT

It fits, when such a villain is a guest:
I’ll not endure him.

CAPULET

He shall be endured:
What, goodman boy! I say, he shall: go to;
Am I the master here, or you? go to.
You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul!
You’ll make a mutiny among my guests!
You will set cock-a-hoop! you’ll be the man!

TYBALT

Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.

CAPULET

Go to, go to;
You are a saucy boy: is’t so, indeed?
This trick may chance to scathe you, I know what:
You must contrary me! marry, ’tis time.
Well said, my hearts! You are a princox; go:
Be quiet, or—More light, more light! For shame!
I’ll make you quiet. What, cheerly, my hearts!

TYBALT

Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.
I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall
Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.

Exit

ROMEO

[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

ROMEO

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

ROMEO

Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

JULIET

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

ROMEO

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

JULIET

You kiss by the book.

Nurse

Madam, your mother craves a word with you.

ROMEO

What is her mother?

Nurse

Marry, bachelor,
Her mother is the lady of the house,
And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous
I nursed her daughter, that you talk’d withal;
I tell you, he that can lay hold of her
Shall have the chinks.

ROMEO

Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.

BENVOLIO

Away, begone; the sport is at the best.

ROMEO

Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.

CAPULET

Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone;
We have a trifling foolish banquet towards.
Is it e’en so? why, then, I thank you all
I thank you, honest gentlemen; good night.
More torches here! Come on then, let’s to bed.
Ah, sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late:
I’ll to my rest.

Exeunt all but JULIET and Nurse

JULIET

Come hither, nurse. What is yond gentleman?

Nurse

The son and heir of old Tiberio.

JULIET

What’s he that now is going out of door?

Nurse

Marry, that, I think, be young Petrucio.

JULIET

What’s he that follows there, that would not dance?

Nurse

I know not.

JULIET

Go ask his name: if he be married.
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.

Nurse

His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
The only son of your great enemy.

JULIET

My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.

Nurse

What’s this? what’s this?

JULIET

A rhyme I learn’d even now
Of one I danced withal.

One calls within ‘Juliet.’

Nurse

Anon, anon!
Come, let’s away; the strangers all are gone.

Exeunt

ACT II
PROLOGUE

Enter Chorus

Chorus

Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie,
And young affection gapes to be his heir;
That fair for which love groan’d for and would die,
With tender Juliet match’d, is now not fair.
Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,
Alike betwitched by the charm of looks,
But to his foe supposed he must complain,
And she steal love’s sweet bait from fearful hooks:
Being held a foe, he may not have access
To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear;
And she as much in love, her means much less
To meet her new-beloved any where:
But passion lends them power, time means, to meet
Tempering extremities with extreme sweet.

Exit

SCENE I. A lane by the wall of Capulet’s orchard.

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

Can I go forward when my heart is here?
Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.

He climbs the wall, and leaps down within it

Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

BENVOLIO

Romeo! my cousin Romeo!

MERCUTIO

He is wise;
And, on my lie, hath stol’n him home to bed.

BENVOLIO

He ran this way, and leap’d this orchard wall:
Call, good Mercutio.

MERCUTIO

Nay, I’ll conjure too.
Romeo! humours! madman! passion! lover!
Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh:
Speak but one rhyme, and I am satisfied;
Cry but ‘Ay me!’ pronounce but ‘love’ and ‘dove;’
Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word,
One nick-name for her purblind son and heir,
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid!
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not;
The ape is dead, and I must conjure him.
I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,
By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,
By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us!

BENVOLIO

And if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him.

MERCUTIO

This cannot anger him: ‘twould anger him
To raise a spirit in his mistress’ circle
Of some strange nature, letting it there stand
Till she had laid it and conjured it down;
That were some spite: my invocation
Is fair and honest, and in his mistres s’ name
I conjure only but to raise up him.

BENVOLIO

Come, he hath hid himself among these trees,
To be consorted with the humorous night:
Blind is his love and best befits the dark.

MERCUTIO

If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
Romeo, that she were, O, that she were
An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!
Romeo, good night: I’ll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep:
Come, shall we go?

BENVOLIO

Go, then; for ’tis in vain
To seek him here that means not to be found.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Capulet’s orchard.

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

JULIET appears above at a window
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

JULIET

Ay me!

ROMEO

She speaks:
O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.

JULIET

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

ROMEO

[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

JULIET

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

ROMEO

I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

JULIET

What man art thou that thus bescreen’d in night
So stumblest on my counsel?

ROMEO

By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear the word.

JULIET

My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?

ROMEO

Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.

JULIET

How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

ROMEO

With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.

JULIET

If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

ROMEO

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.

JULIET

I would not for the world they saw thee here.

ROMEO

I have night’s cloak to hide me from their sight;
And but thou love me, let them find me here:
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.

JULIET

By whose direction found’st thou out this place?

ROMEO

By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.

JULIET

Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay,’
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear’st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers’ perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,
I’ll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my ‘havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard’st, ere I was ware,
My true love’s passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

ROMEO

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

JULIET

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

ROMEO

What shall I swear by?

JULIET

Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.

ROMEO

If my heart’s dear love—

JULIET

Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

ROMEO

O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

JULIET

What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

ROMEO

The exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

JULIET

I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

ROMEO

Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

JULIET

But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Nurse calls within
I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again.

Exit, above

ROMEO

O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

Re-enter JULIET, above

JULIET

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I’ll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

Nurse

[Within] Madam!

JULIET

I come, anon.—But if thou mean’st not well,
I do beseech thee—

Nurse

[Within] Madam!

JULIET

By and by, I come:—
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:
To-morrow will I send.

ROMEO

So thrive my soul—

JULIET

A thousand times good night!

Exit, above

ROMEO

A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from
their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

Retiring

Re-enter JULIET, above

JULIET

Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer’s voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo’s name.

ROMEO

It is my soul that calls upon my name:
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!

JULIET

Romeo!

ROMEO

My dear?

JULIET

At what o’clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?

ROMEO

At the hour of nine.

JULIET

I will not fail: ’tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.

ROMEO

Let me stand here till thou remember it.

JULIET

I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.

ROMEO

And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.

JULIET

‘Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:
And yet no further than a wanton’s bird;
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

ROMEO

I would I were thy bird.

JULIET

Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Exit above

ROMEO

Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father’s cell,
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.

Exit

SCENE III. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, with a basket

FRIAR LAURENCE

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain’d from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

Good morrow, father.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Benedicite!
What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?
Young son, it argues a distemper’d head
So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed:
Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie;
But where unbruised youth with unstuff’d brain
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign:
Therefore thy earliness doth me assure
Thou art up-roused by some distemperature;
Or if not so, then here I hit it right,
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.

ROMEO

That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine.

FRIAR LAURENCE

God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline?

ROMEO

With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no;
I have forgot that name, and that name’s woe.

FRIAR LAURENCE

That’s my good son: but where hast thou been, then?

ROMEO

I’ll tell thee, ere thou ask it me again.
I have been feasting with mine enemy,
Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,
That’s by me wounded: both our remedies
Within thy help and holy physic lies:
I bear no hatred, blessed man, for, lo,
My intercession likewise steads my foe.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.

ROMEO

Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
And all combined, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage: when and where and how
We met, we woo’d and made exchange of vow,
I’ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
That thou consent to marry us to-day.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine
Hath wash’d thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!
How much salt water thrown away in waste,
To season love, that of it doth not taste!
The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,
Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears;
Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit
Of an old tear that is not wash’d off yet:
If e’er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline:
And art thou changed? pronounce this sentence then,
Women may fall, when there’s no strength in men.

ROMEO

Thou chid’st me oft for loving Rosaline.

FRIAR LAURENCE

For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.

ROMEO

And bad’st me bury love.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Not in a grave,
To lay one in, another out to have.

ROMEO

I pray thee, chide not; she whom I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
The other did not so.

FRIAR LAURENCE

O, she knew well
Thy love did read by rote and could not spell.
But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove,
To turn your households’ rancour to pure love.

ROMEO

O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A street.

Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

MERCUTIO

Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home to-night?

BENVOLIO

Not to his father’s; I spoke with his man.

MERCUTIO

Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline.
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.

BENVOLIO

Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.

MERCUTIO

A challenge, on my life.

BENVOLIO

Romeo will answer it.

MERCUTIO

Any man that can write may answer a letter.

BENVOLIO

Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he
dares, being dared.

MERCUTIO

Alas poor Romeo! he is already dead; stabbed with a
white wench’s black eye; shot through the ear with a
love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the
blind bow-boy’s butt-shaft: and is he a man to
encounter Tybalt?

BENVOLIO

Why, what is Tybalt?

MERCUTIO

More than prince of cats, I can tell you. O, he is
the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as
you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and
proportion; rests me his minim rest, one, two, and
the third in your bosom: the very butcher of a silk
button, a duellist, a duellist; a gentleman of the
very first house, of the first and second cause:
ah, the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the
hai!

BENVOLIO

The what?

MERCUTIO

The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents! ‘By Jesu,
a very good blade! a very tall man! a very good
whore!’ Why, is not this a lamentable thing,
grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with
these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these
perdona-mi’s, who stand so much on the new form,
that they cannot at ease on the old bench? O, their
bones, their bones!

Enter ROMEO

BENVOLIO

Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.

MERCUTIO

Without his roe, like a dried herring: flesh, flesh,
how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers
that Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was but a
kitchen-wench; marry, she had a better love to
be-rhyme her; Dido a dowdy; Cleopatra a gipsy;
Helen and Hero hildings and harlots; Thisbe a grey
eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signior
Romeo, bon jour! there’s a French salutation
to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit
fairly last night.

ROMEO

Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you?

MERCUTIO

The ship, sir, the slip; can you not conceive?

ROMEO

Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was great; and in
such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy.

MERCUTIO

That’s as much as to say, such a case as yours
constrains a man to bow in the hams.

ROMEO

Meaning, to court’sy.

MERCUTIO

Thou hast most kindly hit it.

ROMEO

A most courteous exposition.

MERCUTIO

Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.

ROMEO

Pink for flower.

MERCUTIO

Right.

ROMEO

Why, then is my pump well flowered.

MERCUTIO

Well said: follow me this jest now till thou hast
worn out thy pump, that when the single sole of it
is worn, the jest may remain after the wearing sole singular.

ROMEO

O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
singleness.

MERCUTIO

Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits faint.

ROMEO

Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I’ll cry a match.

MERCUTIO

Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have
done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of
thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five:
was I with you there for the goose?

ROMEO

Thou wast never with me for any thing when thou wast
not there for the goose.

MERCUTIO

I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.

ROMEO

Nay, good goose, bite not.

MERCUTIO

Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
sharp sauce.

ROMEO

And is it not well served in to a sweet goose?

MERCUTIO

O here’s a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an
inch narrow to an ell broad!

ROMEO

I stretch it out for that word ‘broad;’ which added
to the goose, proves thee far and wide a broad goose.

MERCUTIO

Why, is not this better now than groaning for love?
now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art
thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature:
for this drivelling love is like a great natural,
that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.

BENVOLIO

Stop there, stop there.

MERCUTIO

Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.

BENVOLIO

Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.

MERCUTIO

O, thou art deceived; I would have made it short:
for I was come to the whole depth of my tale; and
meant, indeed, to occupy the argument no longer.

ROMEO

Here’s goodly gear!

Enter Nurse and PETER

MERCUTIO

A sail, a sail!

BENVOLIO

Two, two; a shirt and a smock.

Nurse

Peter!

PETER

Anon!

Nurse

My fan, Peter.

MERCUTIO

Good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan’s the
fairer face.

Nurse

God ye good morrow, gentlemen.

MERCUTIO

God ye good den, fair gentlewoman.

Nurse

Is it good den?

MERCUTIO

‘Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the
dial is now upon the prick of noon.

Nurse

Out upon you! what a man are you!

ROMEO

One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for himself to
mar.

Nurse

By my troth, it is well said; ‘for himself to mar,’
quoth a’? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where I
may find the young Romeo?

ROMEO

I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older when
you have found him than he was when you sought him:
I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.

Nurse

You say well.

MERCUTIO

Yea, is the worst well? very well took, i’ faith;
wisely, wisely.

Nurse

if you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
you.

BENVOLIO

She will indite him to some supper.

MERCUTIO

A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! so ho!

ROMEO

What hast thou found?

MERCUTIO

No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie,
that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.

Sings
An old hare hoar,
And an old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in lent
But a hare that is hoar
Is too much for a score,
When it hoars ere it be spent.
Romeo, will you come to your father’s? we’ll
to dinner, thither.

ROMEO

I will follow you.

MERCUTIO

Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,

Singing
‘lady, lady, lady.’

Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO

Nurse

Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir, what saucy
merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery?

ROMEO

A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk,
and will speak more in a minute than he will stand
to in a month.

Nurse

An a’ speak any thing against me, I’ll take him
down, an a’ were lustier than he is, and twenty such
Jacks; and if I cannot, I’ll find those that shall.
Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-gills; I am
none of his skains-mates. And thou must stand by
too, and suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure?

PETER

I saw no man use you a pleasure; if I had, my weapon
should quickly have been out, I warrant you: I dare
draw as soon as another man, if I see occasion in a
good quarrel, and the law on my side.

Nurse

Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about
me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word:
and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you
out; what she bade me say, I will keep to myself:
but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into
a fool’s paradise, as they say, it were a very gross
kind of behavior, as they say: for the gentlewoman
is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double
with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered
to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.

ROMEO

Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I
protest unto thee—

Nurse

Good heart, and, i’ faith, I will tell her as much:
Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful woman.

ROMEO

What wilt thou tell her, nurse? thou dost not mark me.

Nurse

I will tell her, sir, that you do protest; which, as
I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.

ROMEO

Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;
And there she shall at Friar Laurence’ cell
Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.

Nurse

No truly sir; not a penny.

ROMEO

Go to; I say you shall.

Nurse

This afternoon, sir? well, she shall be there.

ROMEO

And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey wall:
Within this hour my man shall be with thee
And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair;
Which to the high top-gallant of my joy
Must be my convoy in the secret night.
Farewell; be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains:
Farewell; commend me to thy mistress.

Nurse

Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.

ROMEO

What say’st thou, my dear nurse?

Nurse

Is your man secret? Did you ne’er hear say,
Two may keep counsel, putting one away?

ROMEO

I warrant thee, my man’s as true as steel.

NURSE

Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest lady—Lord,
Lord! when ’twas a little prating thing:—O, there
is a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain
lay knife aboard; but she, good soul, had as lief
see a toad, a very toad, as see him. I anger her
sometimes and tell her that Paris is the properer
man; but, I’ll warrant you, when I say so, she looks
as pale as any clout in the versal world. Doth not
rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?

ROMEO

Ay, nurse; what of that? both with an R.

Nurse

Ah. mocker! that’s the dog’s name; R is for
the—No; I know it begins with some other
letter:—and she hath the prettiest sententious of
it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good
to hear it.

ROMEO

Commend me to thy lady.

Nurse

Ay, a thousand times.

Exit Romeo
Peter!

PETER

Anon!

Nurse

Peter, take my fan, and go before and apace.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Capulet’s orchard.

Enter JULIET

JULIET

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that’s not so.
O, she is lame! love’s heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills:
Therefore do nimble-pinion’d doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes!

Enter Nurse and PETER
O honey nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.

Nurse

Peter, stay at the gate.

Exit PETER

JULIET

Now, good sweet nurse,—O Lord, why look’st thou sad?
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily;
If good, thou shamest the music of sweet news
By playing it to me with so sour a face.

Nurse

I am a-weary, give me leave awhile:
Fie, how my bones ache! what a jaunt have I had!

JULIET

I would thou hadst my bones, and I thy news:
Nay, come, I pray thee, speak; good, good nurse, speak.

Nurse

Jesu, what haste? can you not stay awhile?
Do you not see that I am out of breath?

JULIET

How art thou out of breath, when thou hast breath
To say to me that thou art out of breath?
The excuse that thou dost make in this delay
Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse.
Is thy news good, or bad? answer to that;
Say either, and I’ll stay the circumstance:
Let me be satisfied, is’t good or bad?

Nurse

Well, you have made a simple choice; you know not
how to choose a man: Romeo! no, not he; though his
face be better than any man’s, yet his leg excels
all men’s; and for a hand, and a foot, and a body,
though they be not to be talked on, yet they are
past compare: he is not the flower of courtesy,
but, I’ll warrant him, as gentle as a lamb. Go thy
ways, wench; serve God. What, have you dined at home?

JULIET

No, no: but all this did I know before.
What says he of our marriage? what of that?

Nurse

Lord, how my head aches! what a head have I!
It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.
My back o’ t’ other side,—O, my back, my back!
Beshrew your heart for sending me about,
To catch my death with jaunting up and down!

JULIET

I’ faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.
Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love?

Nurse

Your love says, like an honest gentleman, and a
courteous, and a kind, and a handsome, and, I
warrant, a virtuous,—Where is your mother?

JULIET

Where is my mother! why, she is within;
Where should she be? How oddly thou repliest!
‘Your love says, like an honest gentleman,
Where is your mother?’

Nurse

O God’s lady dear!
Are you so hot? marry, come up, I trow;
Is this the poultice for my aching bones?
Henceforward do your messages yourself.

JULIET

Here’s such a coil! come, what says Romeo?

Nurse

Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day?

JULIET

I have.

Nurse

Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell;
There stays a husband to make you a wife:
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks,
They’ll be in scarlet straight at any news.
Hie you to church; I must another way,
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love
Must climb a bird’s nest soon when it is dark:
I am the drudge and toil in your delight,
But you shall bear the burden soon at night.
Go; I’ll to dinner: hie you to the cell.

JULIET

Hie to high fortune! Honest nurse, farewell.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and ROMEO

FRIAR LAURENCE

So smile the heavens upon this holy act,
That after hours with sorrow chide us not!

ROMEO

Amen, amen! but come what sorrow can,
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy
That one short minute gives me in her sight:
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare;
It is enough I may but call her mine.

FRIAR LAURENCE

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

Enter JULIET
Here comes the lady: O, so light a foot
Will ne’er wear out the everlasting flint:
A lover may bestride the gossamer
That idles in the wanton summer air,
And yet not fall; so light is vanity.

JULIET

Good even to my ghostly confessor.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.

JULIET

As much to him, else is his thanks too much.

ROMEO

Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy
Be heap’d like mine and that thy skill be more
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath
This neighbour air, and let rich music’s tongue
Unfold the imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter.

JULIET

Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament:
They are but beggars that can count their worth;
But my true love is grown to such excess
I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Come, come with me, and we will make short work;
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till holy church incorporate two in one.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. A public place.

Enter MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, Page, and Servants

BENVOLIO

I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

MERCUTIO

Thou art like one of those fellows that when he
enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword
upon the table and says ‘God send me no need of
thee!’ and by the operation of the second cup draws
it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.

BENVOLIO

Am I like such a fellow?

MERCUTIO

Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as
any in Italy, and as soon moved to be moody, and as
soon moody to be moved.

BENVOLIO

And what to?

MERCUTIO

Nay, an there were two such, we should have none
shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! why,
thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more,
or a hair less, in his beard, than thou hast: thou
wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no
other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes: what
eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel?
Thy head is as fun of quarrels as an egg is full of
meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as
an egg for quarrelling: thou hast quarrelled with a
man for coughing in the street, because he hath
wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun:
didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing
his new doublet before Easter? with another, for
tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou
wilt tutor me from quarrelling!

BENVOLIO

An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man
should buy the fee-simple of my life for an hour and a quarter.

MERCUTIO

The fee-simple! O simple!

BENVOLIO

By my head, here come the Capulets.

MERCUTIO

By my heel, I care not.

Enter TYBALT and others

TYBALT

Follow me close, for I will speak to them.
Gentlemen, good den: a word with one of you.

MERCUTIO

And but one word with one of us? couple it with
something; make it a word and a blow.

TYBALT

You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you
will give me occasion.

MERCUTIO

Could you not take some occasion without giving?

TYBALT

Mercutio, thou consort’st with Romeo,—

MERCUTIO

Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels? an
thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but
discords: here’s my fiddlestick; here’s that shall
make you dance. ‘Zounds, consort!

BENVOLIO

We talk here in the public haunt of men:
Either withdraw unto some private place,
And reason coldly of your grievances,
Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.

MERCUTIO

Men’s eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;
I will not budge for no man’s pleasure, I.

Enter ROMEO

TYBALT

Well, peace be with you, sir: here comes my man.

MERCUTIO

But I’ll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery:
Marry, go before to field, he’ll be your follower;
Your worship in that sense may call him ‘man.’

TYBALT

Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this,—thou art a villain.

ROMEO

Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting: villain am I none;
Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not.

TYBALT

Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.

ROMEO

I do protest, I never injured thee,
But love thee better than thou canst devise,
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love:
And so, good Capulet,—which name I tender
As dearly as my own,—be satisfied.

MERCUTIO

O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
Alla stoccata carries it away.

Draws
Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?

TYBALT

What wouldst thou have with me?

MERCUTIO

Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine
lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you
shall use me hereafter, drybeat the rest of the
eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher
by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your
ears ere it be out.

TYBALT

I am for you.

Drawing

ROMEO

Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.

MERCUTIO

Come, sir, your passado.

They fight

ROMEO

Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.
Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
Forbidden bandying in Verona streets:
Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!

TYBALT under ROMEO’s arm stabs MERCUTIO, and flies with his followers

MERCUTIO

I am hurt.
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?

BENVOLIO

What, art thou hurt?

MERCUTIO

Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

Exit Page

ROMEO

Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.

MERCUTIO

No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
church-door; but ’tis enough,’twill serve: ask for
me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’
both your houses! ‘Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a
cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a
rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of
arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I
was hurt under your arm.

ROMEO

I thought all for the best.

MERCUTIO

Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses!
They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too: your houses!

Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO

ROMEO

This gentleman, the prince’s near ally,
My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
In my behalf; my reputation stain’d
With Tybalt’s slander,—Tybalt, that an hour
Hath been my kinsman! O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
And in my temper soften’d valour’s steel!

Re-enter BENVOLIO

BENVOLIO

O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio’s dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.

ROMEO

This day’s black fate on more days doth depend;
This but begins the woe, others must end.

BENVOLIO

Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.

ROMEO

Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain!
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!

Re-enter TYBALT
Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again,
That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio’s soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company:
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.

TYBALT

Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
Shalt with him hence.

ROMEO

This shall determine that.

They fight; TYBALT falls

BENVOLIO

Romeo, away, be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death,
If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away!

ROMEO

O, I am fortune’s fool!

BENVOLIO

Why dost thou stay?

Exit ROMEO

Enter Citizens, & c

First Citizen

Which way ran he that kill’d Mercutio?
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?

BENVOLIO

There lies that Tybalt.

First Citizen

Up, sir, go with me;
I charge thee in the princes name, obey.

Enter Prince, attended; MONTAGUE, CAPULET, their Wives, and others

PRINCE

Where are the vile beginners of this fray?

BENVOLIO

O noble prince, I can discover all
The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl:
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.

LADY CAPULET

Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother’s child!
O prince! O cousin! husband! O, the blood is spilt
O my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,
For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
O cousin, cousin!

PRINCE

Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?

BENVOLIO

Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay;
Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethink
How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
Your high displeasure: all this uttered
With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow’d,
Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
With piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,
Who all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
Cold death aside, and with the other sends
It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity,
Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,
‘Hold, friends! friends, part!’ and, swifter than
his tongue,
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
And ‘twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
But by and by comes back to Romeo,
Who had but newly entertain’d revenge,
And to ‘t they go like lightning, for, ere I
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.
And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.

LADY CAPULET

He is a kinsman to the Montague;
Affection makes him false; he speaks not true:
Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
And all those twenty could but kill one life.
I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.

PRINCE

Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;
Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?

MONTAGUE

Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio’s friend;
His fault concludes but what the law should end,
The life of Tybalt.

PRINCE

And for that offence
Immediately we do exile him hence:
I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding,
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine:
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
Therefore use none: let Romeo hence in haste,
Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will:
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Capulet’s orchard.

Enter JULIET

JULIET

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus’ lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway’s eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk’d of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann’d blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess’d it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy’d: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them. O, here comes my nurse,
And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.

Enter Nurse, with cords
Now, nurse, what news? What hast thou there? the cords
That Romeo bid thee fetch?

Nurse

Ay, ay, the cords.

Throws them down

JULIET

Ay me! what news? why dost thou wring thy hands?

Nurse

Ah, well-a-day! he’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead!
We are undone, lady, we are undone!
Alack the day! he’s gone, he’s kill’d, he’s dead!

JULIET

Can heaven be so envious?

Nurse

Romeo can,
Though heaven cannot: O Romeo, Romeo!
Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!

JULIET

What devil art thou, that dost torment me thus?
This torture should be roar’d in dismal hell.
Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but ‘I,’
And that bare vowel ‘I’ shall poison more
Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice:
I am not I, if there be such an I;
Or those eyes shut, that make thee answer ‘I.’
If he be slain, say ‘I’; or if not, no:
Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe.

Nurse

I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes,—
God save the mark!—here on his manly breast:
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse;
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaub’d in blood,
All in gore-blood; I swounded at the sight.

JULIET

O, break, my heart! poor bankrupt, break at once!
To prison, eyes, ne’er look on liberty!
Vile earth, to earth resign; end motion here;
And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier!

Nurse

O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had!
O courteous Tybalt! honest gentleman!
That ever I should live to see thee dead!

JULIET

What storm is this that blows so contrary?
Is Romeo slaughter’d, and is Tybalt dead?
My dear-loved cousin, and my dearer lord?
Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!
For who is living, if those two are gone?

Nurse

Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished;
Romeo that kill’d him, he is banished.

JULIET

O God! did Romeo’s hand shed Tybalt’s blood?

Nurse

It did, it did; alas the day, it did!

JULIET

O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!
Dove-feather’d raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st,
A damned saint, an honourable villain!
O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell,
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
In moral paradise of such sweet flesh?
Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? O that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace!

Nurse

There’s no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
Ah, where’s my man? give me some aqua vitae:
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.
Shame come to Romeo!

JULIET

Blister’d be thy tongue
For such a wish! he was not born to shame:
Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit;
For ’tis a throne where honour may be crown’d
Sole monarch of the universal earth.
O, what a beast was I to chide at him!

Nurse

Will you speak well of him that kill’d your cousin?

JULIET

Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name,
When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it?
But, wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?
That villain cousin would have kill’d my husband:
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring;
Your tributary drops belong to woe,
Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy.
My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;
And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband:
All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt’s death,
That murder’d me: I would forget it fain;
But, O, it presses to my memory,
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds:
‘Tybalt is dead, and Romeo—banished;’
That ‘banished,’ that one word ‘banished,’
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s death
Was woe enough, if it had ended there:
Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship
And needly will be rank’d with other griefs,
Why follow’d not, when she said ‘Tybalt’s dead,’
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,
Which modern lamentations might have moved?
But with a rear-ward following Tybalt’s death,
‘Romeo is banished,’ to speak that word,
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
All slain, all dead. ‘Romeo is banished!’
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound,
In that word’s death; no words can that woe sound.
Where is my father, and my mother, nurse?

Nurse

Weeping and wailing over Tybalt’s corse:
Will you go to them? I will bring you thither.

JULIET

Wash they his wounds with tears: mine shall be spent,
When theirs are dry, for Romeo’s banishment.
Take up those cords: poor ropes, you are beguiled,
Both you and I; for Romeo is exiled:
He made you for a highway to my bed;
But I, a maid, die maiden-widowed.
Come, cords, come, nurse; I’ll to my wedding-bed;
And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!

Nurse

Hie to your chamber: I’ll find Romeo
To comfort you: I wot well where he is.
Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night:
I’ll to him; he is hid at Laurence’ cell.

JULIET

O, find him! give this ring to my true knight,
And bid him come to take his last farewell.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE

FRIAR LAURENCE

Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man:
Affliction is enamour’d of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity.

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

Father, what news? what is the prince’s doom?
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand,
That I yet know not?

FRIAR LAURENCE

Too familiar
Is my dear son with such sour company:
I bring thee tidings of the prince’s doom.

ROMEO

What less than dooms-day is the prince’s doom?

FRIAR LAURENCE

A gentler judgment vanish’d from his lips,
Not body’s death, but body’s banishment.

ROMEO

Ha, banishment! be merciful, say ‘death;’
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death: do not say ‘banishment.’

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hence from Verona art thou banished:
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.

ROMEO

There is no world without Verona walls,
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence-banished is banish’d from the world,
And world’s exile is death: then banished,
Is death mis-term’d: calling death banishment,
Thou cutt’st my head off with a golden axe,
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.

FRIAR LAURENCE

O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!
Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,
Taking thy part, hath rush’d aside the law,
And turn’d that black word death to banishment:
This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.

ROMEO

‘Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her;
But Romeo may not: more validity,
More honourable state, more courtship lives
In carrion-flies than Romeo: they my seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin;
But Romeo may not; he is banished:
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:
They are free men, but I am banished.
And say’st thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mix’d, no sharp-ground knife,
No sudden mean of death, though ne’er so mean,
But ‘banished’ to kill me?—‘banished’?
O friar, the damned use that word in hell;
Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin-absolver, and my friend profess’d,
To mangle me with that word ‘banished’?

FRIAR LAURENCE

Thou fond mad man, hear me but speak a word.

ROMEO

O, thou wilt speak again of banishment.

FRIAR LAURENCE

I’ll give thee armour to keep off that word:
Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy,
To comfort thee, though thou art banished.

ROMEO

Yet ‘banished’? Hang up philosophy!
Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,
Displant a town, reverse a prince’s doom,
It helps not, it prevails not: talk no more.

FRIAR LAURENCE

O, then I see that madmen have no ears.

ROMEO

How should they, when that wise men have no eyes?

FRIAR LAURENCE

Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.

ROMEO

Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel:
Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,
An hour but married, Tybalt murdered,
Doting like me and like me banished,
Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair,
And fall upon the ground, as I do now,
Taking the measure of an unmade grave.

Knocking within

FRIAR LAURENCE

Arise; one knocks; good Romeo, hide thyself.

ROMEO

Not I; unless the breath of heartsick groans,
Mist-like, infold me from the search of eyes.

Knocking

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hark, how they knock! Who’s there? Romeo, arise;
Thou wilt be taken. Stay awhile! Stand up;

Knocking
Run to my study. By and by! God’s will,
What simpleness is this! I come, I come!

Knocking
Who knocks so hard? whence come you? what’s your will?

Nurse

[Within] Let me come in, and you shall know
my errand;
I come from Lady Juliet.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Welcome, then.

Enter Nurse

Nurse

O holy friar, O, tell me, holy friar,
Where is my lady’s lord, where’s Romeo?

FRIAR LAURENCE

There on the ground, with his own tears made drunk.

Nurse

O, he is even in my mistress’ case,
Just in her case! O woful sympathy!
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering.
Stand up, stand up; stand, and you be a man:
For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand;
Why should you fall into so deep an O?

ROMEO

Nurse!

Nurse

Ah sir! ah sir! Well, death’s the end of all.

ROMEO

Spakest thou of Juliet? how is it with her?
Doth she not think me an old murderer,
Now I have stain’d the childhood of our joy
With blood removed but little from her own?
Where is she? and how doth she? and what says
My conceal’d lady to our cancell’d love?

Nurse

O, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps;
And now falls on her bed; and then starts up,
And Tybalt calls; and then on Romeo cries,
And then down falls again.

ROMEO

As if that name,
Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
Did murder her; as that name’s cursed hand
Murder’d her kinsman. O, tell me, friar, tell me,
In what vile part of this anatomy
Doth my name lodge? tell me, that I may sack
The hateful mansion.

Drawing his sword

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hold thy desperate hand:
Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art:
Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast:
Unseemly woman in a seeming man!
Or ill-beseeming beast in seeming both!
Thou hast amazed me: by my holy order,
I thought thy disposition better temper’d.
Hast thou slain Tybalt? wilt thou slay thyself?
And stay thy lady too that lives in thee,
By doing damned hate upon thyself?
Why rail’st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth?
Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet
In thee at once; which thou at once wouldst lose.
Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit;
Which, like a usurer, abound’st in all,
And usest none in that true use indeed
Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit:
Thy noble shape is but a form of wax,
Digressing from the valour of a man;
Thy dear love sworn but hollow perjury,
Killing that love which thou hast vow’d to cherish;
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,
Misshapen in the conduct of them both,
Like powder in a skitless soldier’s flask,
Is set afire by thine own ignorance,
And thou dismember’d with thine own defence.
What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love:
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed,
Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her:
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua;
Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time
To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends,
Beg pardon of the prince, and call thee back
With twenty hundred thousand times more joy
Than thou went’st forth in lamentation.
Go before, nurse: commend me to thy lady;
And bid her hasten all the house to bed,
Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto:
Romeo is coming.

Nurse

O Lord, I could have stay’d here all the night
To hear good counsel: O, what learning is!
My lord, I’ll tell my lady you will come.

ROMEO

Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide.

Nurse

Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir:
Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late.

Exit

ROMEO

How well my comfort is revived by this!

FRIAR LAURENCE

Go hence; good night; and here stands all your state:
Either be gone before the watch be set,
Or by the break of day disguised from hence:
Sojourn in Mantua; I’ll find out your man,
And he shall signify from time to time
Every good hap to you that chances here:
Give me thy hand; ’tis late: farewell; good night.

ROMEO

But that a joy past joy calls out on me,
It were a grief, so brief to part with thee: Farewell.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A room in Capulet’s house.

Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and PARIS

CAPULET

Things have fall’n out, sir, so unluckily,
That we have had no time to move our daughter:
Look you, she loved her kinsman Tybalt dearly,
And so did I:—Well, we were born to die.
‘Tis very late, she’ll not come down to-night:
I promise you, but for your company,
I would have been a-bed an hour ago.

PARIS

These times of woe afford no time to woo.
Madam, good night: commend me to your daughter.

LADY CAPULET

I will, and know her mind early to-morrow;
To-night she is mew’d up to her heaviness.

CAPULET

Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender
Of my child’s love: I think she will be ruled
In all respects by me; nay, more, I doubt it not.
Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed;
Acquaint her here of my son Paris’ love;
And bid her, mark you me, on Wednesday next—
But, soft! what day is this?

PARIS

Monday, my lord,

CAPULET

Monday! ha, ha! Well, Wednesday is too soon,
O’ Thursday let it be: o’ Thursday, tell her,
She shall be married to this noble earl.
Will you be ready? do you like this haste?
We’ll keep no great ado,—a friend or two;
For, hark you, Tybalt being slain so late,
It may be thought we held him carelessly,
Being our kinsman, if we revel much:
Therefore we’ll have some half a dozen friends,
And there an end. But what say you to Thursday?

PARIS

My lord, I would that Thursday were to-morrow.

CAPULET

Well get you gone: o’ Thursday be it, then.
Go you to Juliet ere you go to bed,
Prepare her, wife, against this wedding-day.
Farewell, my lord. Light to my chamber, ho!
Afore me! it is so very very late,
That we may call it early by and by.
Good night.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Capulet’s orchard.

Enter ROMEO and JULIET above, at the window

JULIET

Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

ROMEO

It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

JULIET

Yon light is not day-light, I know it, I:
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,
And light thee on thy way to Mantua:
Therefore stay yet; thou need’st not to be gone.

ROMEO

Let me be ta’en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye,
‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow;
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay than will to go:
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.
How is’t, my soul? let’s talk; it is not day.

JULIET

It is, it is: hie hence, be gone, away!
It is the lark that sings so out of tune,
Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.
Some say the lark makes sweet division;
This doth not so, for she divideth us:
Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes,
O, now I would they had changed voices too!
Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,
Hunting thee hence with hunt’s-up to the day,
O, now be gone; more light and light it grows.

ROMEO

More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!

Enter Nurse, to the chamber

Nurse

Madam!

JULIET

Nurse?

Nurse

Your lady mother is coming to your chamber:
The day is broke; be wary, look about.

Exit

JULIET

Then, window, let day in, and let life out.

ROMEO

Farewell, farewell! one kiss, and I’ll descend.

He goeth down

JULIET

Art thou gone so? love, lord, ay, husband, friend!
I must hear from thee every day in the hour,
For in a minute there are many days:
O, by this count I shall be much in years
Ere I again behold my Romeo!

ROMEO

Farewell!
I will omit no opportunity
That may convey my greetings, love, to thee.

JULIET

O think’st thou we shall ever meet again?

ROMEO

I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve
For sweet discourses in our time to come.

JULIET

O God, I have an ill-divining soul!
Methinks I see thee, now thou art below,
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb:
Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale.

ROMEO

And trust me, love, in my eye so do you:
Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu!

Exit

JULIET

O fortune, fortune! all men call thee fickle:
If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him.
That is renown’d for faith? Be fickle, fortune;
For then, I hope, thou wilt not keep him long,
But send him back.

LADY CAPULET

[Within] Ho, daughter! are you up?

JULIET

Who is’t that calls? is it my lady mother?
Is she not down so late, or up so early?
What unaccustom’d cause procures her hither?

Enter LADY CAPULET

LADY CAPULET

Why, how now, Juliet!

JULIET

Madam, I am not well.

LADY CAPULET

Evermore weeping for your cousin’s death?
What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears?
An if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live;
Therefore, have done: some grief shows much of love;
But much of grief shows still some want of wit.

JULIET

Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss.

LADY CAPULET

So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend
Which you weep for.

JULIET

Feeling so the loss,
Cannot choose but ever weep the friend.

LADY CAPULET

Well, girl, thou weep’st not so much for his death,
As that the villain lives which slaughter’d him.

JULIET

What villain madam?

LADY CAPULET

That same villain, Romeo.

JULIET

[Aside] Villain and he be many miles asunder.—
God Pardon him! I do, with all my heart;
And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart.

LADY CAPULET

That is, because the traitor murderer lives.

JULIET

Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands:
Would none but I might venge my cousin’s death!

LADY CAPULET

We will have vengeance for it, fear thou not:
Then weep no more. I’ll send to one in Mantua,
Where that same banish’d runagate doth live,
Shall give him such an unaccustom’d dram,
That he shall soon keep Tybalt company:
And then, I hope, thou wilt be satisfied.

JULIET

Indeed, I never shall be satisfied
With Romeo, till I behold him—dead—
Is my poor heart for a kinsman vex’d.
Madam, if you could find out but a man
To bear a poison, I would temper it;
That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,
Soon sleep in quiet. O, how my heart abhors
To hear him named, and cannot come to him.
To wreak the love I bore my cousin
Upon his body that slaughter’d him!

LADY CAPULET

Find thou the means, and I’ll find such a man.
But now I’ll tell thee joyful tidings, girl.

JULIET

And joy comes well in such a needy time:
What are they, I beseech your ladyship?

LADY CAPULET

Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child;
One who, to put thee from thy heaviness,
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy,
That thou expect’st not nor I look’d not for.

JULIET

Madam, in happy time, what day is that?

LADY CAPULET

Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,
The gallant, young and noble gentleman,
The County Paris, at Saint Peter’s Church,
Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.

JULIET

Now, by Saint Peter’s Church and Peter too,
He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
I wonder at this haste; that I must wed
Ere he, that should be husband, comes to woo.
I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam,
I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear,
It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,
Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!

LADY CAPULET

Here comes your father; tell him so yourself,
And see how he will take it at your hands.

Enter CAPULET and Nurse

CAPULET

When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;
But for the sunset of my brother’s son
It rains downright.
How now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?
Evermore showering? In one little body
Thou counterfeit’st a bark, a sea, a wind;
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is,
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;
Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them,
Without a sudden calm, will overset
Thy tempest-tossed body. How now, wife!
Have you deliver’d to her our decree?

LADY CAPULET

Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks.
I would the fool were married to her grave!

CAPULET

Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife.
How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?

JULIET

Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
Proud can I never be of what I hate;
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.

CAPULET

How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’
And yet ‘not proud,’ mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!

LADY CAPULET

Fie, fie! what, are you mad?

JULIET

Good father, I beseech you on my knees,
Hear me with patience but to speak a word.

CAPULET

Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!
I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday,
Or never after look me in the face:
Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;
My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blest
That God had lent us but this only child;
But now I see this one is one too much,
And that we have a curse in having her:
Out on her, hilding!

Nurse

God in heaven bless her!
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.

CAPULET

And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,
Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.

Nurse

I speak no treason.

CAPULET

O, God ye god-den.

Nurse

May not one speak?

CAPULET

Peace, you mumbling fool!
Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl;
For here we need it not.

LADY CAPULET

You are too hot.

CAPULET

God’s bread! it makes me mad:
Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,
Alone, in company, still my care hath been
To have her match’d: and having now provided
A gentleman of noble parentage,
Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train’d,
Stuff’d, as they say, with honourable parts,
Proportion’d as one’s thought would wish a man;
And then to have a wretched puling fool,
A whining mammet, in her fortune’s tender,
To answer ‘I’ll not wed; I cannot love,
I am too young; I pray you, pardon me.’
But, as you will not wed, I’ll pardon you:
Graze where you will you shall not house with me:
Look to’t, think on’t, I do not use to jest.
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in
the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:
Trust to’t, bethink you; I’ll not be forsworn.

Exit

JULIET

Is there no pity sitting in the clouds,
That sees into the bottom of my grief?
O, sweet my mother, cast me not away!
Delay this marriage for a month, a week;
Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.

LADY CAPULET

Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word:
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.

Exit

JULIET

O God!—O nurse, how shall this be prevented?
My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven;
How shall that faith return again to earth,
Unless that husband send it me from heaven
By leaving earth? comfort me, counsel me.
Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems
Upon so soft a subject as myself!
What say’st thou? hast thou not a word of joy?
Some comfort, nurse.

Nurse

Faith, here it is.
Romeo is banish’d; and all the world to nothing,
That he dares ne’er come back to challenge you;
Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth.
Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,
I think it best you married with the county.
O, he’s a lovely gentleman!
Romeo’s a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam,
Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
I think you are happy in this second match,
For it excels your first: or if it did not,
Your first is dead; or ’twere as good he were,
As living here and you no use of him.

JULIET

Speakest thou from thy heart?

Nurse

And from my soul too;
Or else beshrew them both.

JULIET

Amen!

Nurse

What?

JULIET

Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much.
Go in: and tell my lady I am gone,
Having displeased my father, to Laurence’ cell,
To make confession and to be absolved.

Nurse

Marry, I will; and this is wisely done.

Exit

JULIET

Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!
Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn,
Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue
Which she hath praised him with above compare
So many thousand times? Go, counsellor;
Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain.
I’ll to the friar, to know his remedy:
If all else fail, myself have power to die.

Exit

ACT IV
SCENE I. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS

FRIAR LAURENCE

On Thursday, sir? the time is very short.

PARIS

My father Capulet will have it so;
And I am nothing slow to slack his haste.

FRIAR LAURENCE

You say you do not know the lady’s mind:
Uneven is the course, I like it not.

PARIS

Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt’s death,
And therefore have I little talk’d of love;
For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.
Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous
That she doth give her sorrow so much sway,
And in his wisdom hastes our marriage,
To stop the inundation of her tears;
Which, too much minded by herself alone,
May be put from her by society:
Now do you know the reason of this haste.

FRIAR LAURENCE

[Aside] I would I knew not why it should be slow’d.
Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell.

Enter JULIET

PARIS

Happily met, my lady and my wife!

JULIET

That may be, sir, when I may be a wife.

PARIS

That may be must be, love, on Thursday next.

JULIET

What must be shall be.

FRIAR LAURENCE

That’s a certain text.

PARIS

Come you to make confession to this father?

JULIET

To answer that, I should confess to you.

PARIS

Do not deny to him that you love me.

JULIET

I will confess to you that I love him.

PARIS

So will ye, I am sure, that you love me.

JULIET

If I do so, it will be of more price,
Being spoke behind your back, than to your face.

PARIS

Poor soul, thy face is much abused with tears.

JULIET

The tears have got small victory by that;
For it was bad enough before their spite.

PARIS

Thou wrong’st it, more than tears, with that report.

JULIET

That is no slander, sir, which is a truth;
And what I spake, I spake it to my face.

PARIS

Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander’d it.

JULIET

It may be so, for it is not mine own.
Are you at leisure, holy father, now;
Or shall I come to you at evening mass?

FRIAR LAURENCE

My leisure serves me, pensive daughter, now.
My lord, we must entreat the time alone.

PARIS

God shield I should disturb devotion!
Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse ye:
Till then, adieu; and keep this holy kiss.

Exit

JULIET

O shut the door! and when thou hast done so,
Come weep with me; past hope, past cure, past help!

FRIAR LAURENCE

Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
It strains me past the compass of my wits:
I hear thou must, and nothing may prorogue it,
On Thursday next be married to this county.

JULIET

Tell me not, friar, that thou hear’st of this,
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help,
Do thou but call my resolution wise,
And with this knife I’ll help it presently.
God join’d my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands;
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal’d,
Shall be the label to another deed,
Or my true heart with treacherous revolt
Turn to another, this shall slay them both:
Therefore, out of thy long-experienced time,
Give me some present counsel, or, behold,
‘Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that
Which the commission of thy years and art
Could to no issue of true honour bring.
Be not so long to speak; I long to die,
If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hold, daughter: I do spy a kind of hope,
Which craves as desperate an execution.
As that is desperate which we would prevent.
If, rather than to marry County Paris,
Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,
Then is it likely thou wilt undertake
A thing like death to chide away this shame,
That copest with death himself to scape from it:
And, if thou darest, I’ll give thee remedy.

JULIET

O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower;
Or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears;
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
O’er-cover’d quite with dead men’s rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,
To live an unstain’d wife to my sweet love.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hold, then; go home, be merry, give consent
To marry Paris: Wednesday is to-morrow:
To-morrow night look that thou lie alone;
Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber:
Take thou this vial, being then in bed,
And this distilled liquor drink thou off;
When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade
To paly ashes, thy eyes’ windows fall,
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
Each part, deprived of supple government,
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
And in this borrow’d likeness of shrunk death
Thou shalt continue two and forty hours,
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.
Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead:
Then, as the manner of our country is,
In thy best robes uncover’d on the bier
Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.
In the mean time, against thou shalt awake,
Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift,
And hither shall he come: and he and I
Will watch thy waking, and that very night
Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.
And this shall free thee from this present shame;
If no inconstant toy, nor womanish fear,
Abate thy valour in the acting it.

JULIET

Give me, give me! O, tell not me of fear!

FRIAR LAURENCE

Hold; get you gone, be strong and prosperous
In this resolve: I’ll send a friar with speed
To Mantua, with my letters to thy lord.

JULIET

Love give me strength! and strength shall help afford.
Farewell, dear father!

Exeunt

SCENE II. Hall in Capulet’s house.

Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and two Servingmen

CAPULET

So many guests invite as here are writ.

Exit First Servant
Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.

Second Servant

You shall have none ill, sir; for I’ll try if they
can lick their fingers.

CAPULET

How canst thou try them so?

Second Servant

Marry, sir, ’tis an ill cook that cannot lick his
own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his
fingers goes not with me.

CAPULET

Go, be gone.

Exit Second Servant
We shall be much unfurnished for this time.
What, is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence?

Nurse

Ay, forsooth.

CAPULET

Well, he may chance to do some good on her:
A peevish self-will’d harlotry it is.

Nurse

See where she comes from shrift with merry look.

Enter JULIET

CAPULET

How now, my headstrong! where have you been gadding?

JULIET

Where I have learn’d me to repent the sin
Of disobedient opposition
To you and your behests, and am enjoin’d
By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here,
And beg your pardon: pardon, I beseech you!
Henceforward I am ever ruled by you.

CAPULET

Send for the county; go tell him of this:
I’ll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning.

JULIET

I met the youthful lord at Laurence’ cell;
And gave him what becomed love I might,
Not step o’er the bounds of modesty.

CAPULET

Why, I am glad on’t; this is well: stand up:
This is as’t should be. Let me see the county;
Ay, marry, go, I say, and fetch him hither.
Now, afore God! this reverend holy friar,
Our whole city is much bound to him.

JULIET

Nurse, will you go with me into my closet,
To help me sort such needful ornaments
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow?

LADY CAPULET

No, not till Thursday; there is time enough.

CAPULET

Go, nurse, go with her: we’ll to church to-morrow.

Exeunt JULIET and Nurse

LADY CAPULET

We shall be short in our provision:
‘Tis now near night.

CAPULET

Tush, I will stir about,
And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife:
Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her;
I’ll not to bed to-night; let me alone;
I’ll play the housewife for this once. What, ho!
They are all forth. Well, I will walk myself
To County Paris, to prepare him up
Against to-morrow: my heart is wondrous light,
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim’d.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Juliet’s chamber.

Enter JULIET and Nurse

JULIET

Ay, those attires are best: but, gentle nurse,
I pray thee, leave me to my self to-night,
For I have need of many orisons
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
Which, well thou know’st, is cross, and full of sin.

Enter LADY CAPULET

LADY CAPULET

What, are you busy, ho? need you my help?

JULIET

No, madam; we have cull’d such necessaries
As are behoveful for our state to-morrow:
So please you, let me now be left alone,
And let the nurse this night sit up with you;
For, I am sure, you have your hands full all,
In this so sudden business.

LADY CAPULET

Good night:
Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need.

Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse

JULIET

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I’ll call them back again to comfort me:
Nurse! What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.
Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, no: this shall forbid it: lie thou there.

Laying down her dagger
What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath minister’d to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour’d,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there’s a fearful point!
Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,—
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort;—
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:—
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?
And madly play with my forefather’s joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier’s point: stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.

She falls upon her bed, within the curtains

SCENE IV. Hall in Capulet’s house.

Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse

LADY CAPULET

Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.

Nurse

They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.

Enter CAPULET

CAPULET

Come, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow’d,
The curfew-bell hath rung, ’tis three o’clock:
Look to the baked meats, good Angelica:
Spare not for the cost.

Nurse

Go, you cot-quean, go,
Get you to bed; faith, You’ll be sick to-morrow
For this night’s watching.

CAPULET

No, not a whit: what! I have watch’d ere now
All night for lesser cause, and ne’er been sick.

LADY CAPULET

Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time;
But I will watch you from such watching now.

Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse

CAPULET

A jealous hood, a jealous hood!

Enter three or four Servingmen, with spits, logs, and baskets
Now, fellow,
What’s there?

First Servant

Things for the cook, sir; but I know not what.

CAPULET

Make haste, make haste.

Exit First Servant
Sirrah, fetch drier logs:
Call Peter, he will show thee where they are.

Second Servant

I have a head, sir, that will find out logs,
And never trouble Peter for the matter.

Exit

CAPULET

Mass, and well said; a merry whoreson, ha!
Thou shalt be logger-head. Good faith, ’tis day:
The county will be here with music straight,
For so he said he would: I hear him near.

Music within
Nurse! Wife! What, ho! What, nurse, I say!

Re-enter Nurse
Go waken Juliet, go and trim her up;
I’ll go and chat with Paris: hie, make haste,
Make haste; the bridegroom he is come already:
Make haste, I say.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Juliet’s chamber.

Enter Nurse

Nurse

Mistress! what, mistress! Juliet! fast, I warrant her, she:
Why, lamb! why, lady! fie, you slug-a-bed!
Why, love, I say! madam! sweet-heart! why, bride!
What, not a word? you take your pennyworths now;
Sleep for a week; for the next night, I warrant,
The County Paris hath set up his rest,
That you shall rest but little. God forgive me,
Marry, and amen, how sound is she asleep!
I must needs wake her. Madam, madam, madam!
Ay, let the county take you in your bed;
He’ll fright you up, i’ faith. Will it not be?

Undraws the curtains
What, dress’d! and in your clothes! and down again!
I must needs wake you; Lady! lady! lady!
Alas, alas! Help, help! my lady’s dead!
O, well-a-day, that ever I was born!
Some aqua vitae, ho! My lord! my lady!

Enter LADY CAPULET

LADY CAPULET

What noise is here?

Nurse

O lamentable day!

LADY CAPULET

What is the matter?

Nurse

Look, look! O heavy day!

LADY CAPULET

O me, O me! My child, my only life,
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
Help, help! Call help.

Enter CAPULET

CAPULET

For shame, bring Juliet forth; her lord is come.

Nurse

She’s dead, deceased, she’s dead; alack the day!

LADY CAPULET

Alack the day, she’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead!

CAPULET

Ha! let me see her: out, alas! she’s cold:
Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff;
Life and these lips have long been separated:
Death lies on her like an untimely frost
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.

Nurse

O lamentable day!

LADY CAPULET

O woful time!

CAPULET

Death, that hath ta’en her hence to make me wail,
Ties up my tongue, and will not let me speak.

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS, with Musicians

FRIAR LAURENCE

Come, is the bride ready to go to church?

CAPULET

Ready to go, but never to return.
O son! the night before thy wedding-day
Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies,
Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir;
My daughter he hath wedded: I will die,
And leave him all; life, living, all is Death’s.

PARIS

Have I thought long to see this morning’s face,
And doth it give me such a sight as this?

LADY CAPULET

Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!
Most miserable hour that e’er time saw
In lasting labour of his pilgrimage!
But one, poor one, one poor and loving child,
But one thing to rejoice and solace in,
And cruel death hath catch’d it from my sight!

Nurse

O woe! O woful, woful, woful day!
Most lamentable day, most woful day,
That ever, ever, I did yet behold!
O day! O day! O day! O hateful day!
Never was seen so black a day as this:
O woful day, O woful day!

PARIS

Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!
Most detestable death, by thee beguil’d,
By cruel cruel thee quite overthrown!
O love! O life! not life, but love in death!

CAPULET

Despised, distressed, hated, martyr’d, kill’d!
Uncomfortable time, why camest thou now
To murder, murder our solemnity?
O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!
Dead art thou! Alack! my child is dead;
And with my child my joys are buried.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Peace, ho, for shame! confusion’s cure lives not
In these confusions. Heaven and yourself
Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all,
And all the better is it for the maid:
Your part in her you could not keep from death,
But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.
The most you sought was her promotion;
For ’twas your heaven she should be advanced:
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced
Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?
O, in this love, you love your child so ill,
That you run mad, seeing that she is well:
She’s not well married that lives married long;
But she’s best married that dies married young.
Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary
On this fair corse; and, as the custom is,
In all her best array bear her to church:
For though fond nature bids us an lament,
Yet nature’s tears are reason’s merriment.

CAPULET

All things that we ordained festival,
Turn from their office to black funeral;
Our instruments to melancholy bells,
Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast,
Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change,
Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,
And all things change them to the contrary.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Sir, go you in; and, madam, go with him;
And go, Sir Paris; every one prepare
To follow this fair corse unto her grave:
The heavens do lour upon you for some ill;
Move them no more by crossing their high will.

Exeunt CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, PARIS, and FRIAR LAURENCE

First Musician

Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be gone.

Nurse

Honest goodfellows, ah, put up, put up;
For, well you know, this is a pitiful case.

Exit

First Musician

Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended.

Enter PETER

PETER

Musicians, O, musicians, ‘Heart’s ease, Heart’s
ease:’ O, an you will have me live, play ‘Heart’s ease.’

First Musician

Why ‘Heart’s ease?’

PETER

O, musicians, because my heart itself plays ‘My
heart is full of woe:’ O, play me some merry dump,
to comfort me.

First Musician

Not a dump we; ’tis no time to play now.

PETER

You will not, then?

First Musician

No.

PETER

I will then give it you soundly.

First Musician

What will you give us?

PETER

No money, on my faith, but the gleek;
I will give you the minstrel.

First Musician

Then I will give you the serving-creature.

PETER

Then will I lay the serving-creature’s dagger on
your pate. I will carry no crotchets: I’ll re you,
I’ll fa you; do you note me?

First Musician

An you re us and fa us, you note us.

Second Musician

Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit.

PETER

Then have at you with my wit! I will dry-beat you
with an iron wit, and put up my iron dagger. Answer
me like men:
‘When griping grief the heart doth wound,
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
Then music with her silver sound’—
why ‘silver sound’? why ‘music with her silver
sound’? What say you, Simon Catling?

Musician

Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.

PETER

Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck?

Second Musician

I say ‘silver sound,’ because musicians sound for silver.

PETER

Pretty too! What say you, James Soundpost?

Third Musician

Faith, I know not what to say.

PETER

O, I cry you mercy; you are the singer: I will say
for you. It is ‘music with her silver sound,’
because musicians have no gold for sounding:
‘Then music with her silver sound
With speedy help doth lend redress.’

Exit

First Musician

What a pestilent knave is this same!

Second Musician

Hang him, Jack! Come, we’ll in here; tarry for the
mourners, and stay dinner.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Mantua. A street.

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
My bosom’s lord sits lightly in his throne;
And all this day an unaccustom’d spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave
to think!—
And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,
That I revived, and was an emperor.
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess’d,
When but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!

Enter BALTHASAR, booted
News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar!
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
How doth my lady? Is my father well?
How fares my Juliet? that I ask again;
For nothing can be ill, if she be well.

BALTHASAR

Then she is well, and nothing can be ill:
Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument,
And her immortal part with angels lives.
I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault,
And presently took post to tell it you:
O, pardon me for bringing these ill news,
Since you did leave it for my office, sir.

ROMEO

Is it even so? then I defy you, stars!
Thou know’st my lodging: get me ink and paper,
And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night.

BALTHASAR

I do beseech you, sir, have patience:
Your looks are pale and wild, and do import
Some misadventure.

ROMEO

Tush, thou art deceived:
Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do.
Hast thou no letters to me from the friar?

BALTHASAR

No, my good lord.

ROMEO

No matter: get thee gone,
And hire those horses; I’ll be with thee straight.

Exit BALTHASAR
Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
Let’s see for means: O mischief, thou art swift
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!
I do remember an apothecary,—
And hereabouts he dwells,—which late I noted
In tatter’d weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones:
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff’d, and other skins
Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter’d, to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said
‘An if a man did need a poison now,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.’
O, this same thought did but forerun my need;
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house.
Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.
What, ho! apothecary!

Enter Apothecary

Apothecary

Who calls so loud?

ROMEO

Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor:
Hold, there is forty ducats: let me have
A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear
As will disperse itself through all the veins
That the life-weary taker may fall dead
And that the trunk may be discharged of breath
As violently as hasty powder fired
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.

Apothecary

Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua’s law
Is death to any he that utters them.

ROMEO

Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,
And fear’st to die? famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back;
The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law;
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.

Apothecary

My poverty, but not my will, consents.

ROMEO

I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.

Apothecary

Put this in any liquid thing you will,
And drink it off; and, if you had the strength
Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.

ROMEO

There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,
Doing more murders in this loathsome world,
Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.
I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none.
Farewell: buy food, and get thyself in flesh.
Come, cordial and not poison, go with me
To Juliet’s grave; for there must I use thee.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Enter FRIAR JOHN

FRIAR JOHN

Holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho!

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE

FRIAR LAURENCE

This same should be the voice of Friar John.
Welcome from Mantua: what says Romeo?
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter.

FRIAR JOHN

Going to find a bare-foot brother out
One of our order, to associate me,
Here in this city visiting the sick,
And finding him, the searchers of the town,
Suspecting that we both were in a house
Where the infectious pestilence did reign,
Seal’d up the doors, and would not let us forth;
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay’d.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?

FRIAR JOHN

I could not send it,—here it is again,—
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,
So fearful were they of infection.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,
The letter was not nice but full of charge
Of dear import, and the neglecting it
May do much danger. Friar John, go hence;
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight
Unto my cell.

FRIAR JOHN

Brother, I’ll go and bring it thee.

Exit

FRIAR LAURENCE

Now must I to the monument alone;
Within three hours will fair Juliet wake:
She will beshrew me much that Romeo
Hath had no notice of these accidents;
But I will write again to Mantua,
And keep her at my cell till Romeo come;
Poor living corse, closed in a dead man’s tomb!

Exit

SCENE III. A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets.

Enter PARIS, and his Page bearing flowers and a torch

PARIS

Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof:
Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.
Under yond yew-trees lay thee all along,
Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground;
So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread,
Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves,
But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me,
As signal that thou hear’st something approach.
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go.

PAGE

[Aside] I am almost afraid to stand alone
Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.

Retires

PARIS

Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew,—
O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones;—
Which with sweet water nightly I will dew,
Or, wanting that, with tears distill’d by moans:
The obsequies that I for thee will keep
Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.

The Page whistles
The boy gives warning something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,
To cross my obsequies and true love’s rite?
What with a torch! muffle me, night, awhile.

Retires

Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a torch, mattock, & c

ROMEO

Give me that mattock and the wrenching iron.
Hold, take this letter; early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light: upon thy life, I charge thee,
Whate’er thou hear’st or seest, stand all aloof,
And do not interrupt me in my course.
Why I descend into this bed of death,
Is partly to behold my lady’s face;
But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger
A precious ring, a ring that I must use
In dear employment: therefore hence, be gone:
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
In what I further shall intend to do,
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs:
The time and my intents are savage-wild,
More fierce and more inexorable far
Than empty tigers or the roaring sea.

BALTHASAR

I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.

ROMEO

So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that:
Live, and be prosperous: and farewell, good fellow.

BALTHASAR

[Aside] For all this same, I’ll hide me hereabout:
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.

Retires

ROMEO

Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
And, in despite, I’ll cram thee with more food!

Opens the tomb

PARIS

This is that banish’d haughty Montague,
That murder’d my love’s cousin, with which grief,
It is supposed, the fair creature died;
And here is come to do some villanous shame
To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.

Comes forward
Stop thy unhallow’d toil, vile Montague!
Can vengeance be pursued further than death?
Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee:
Obey, and go with me; for thou must die.

ROMEO

I must indeed; and therefore came I hither.
Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man;
Fly hence, and leave me: think upon these gone;
Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,
Put not another sin upon my head,
By urging me to fury: O, be gone!
By heaven, I love thee better than myself;
For I come hither arm’d against myself:
Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say,
A madman’s mercy bade thee run away.

PARIS

I do defy thy conjurations,
And apprehend thee for a felon here.

ROMEO

Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy!

They fight

PAGE

O Lord, they fight! I will go call the watch.

Exit

PARIS

O, I am slain!

Falls
If thou be merciful,
Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.

Dies

ROMEO

In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.
Mercutio’s kinsman, noble County Paris!
What said my man, when my betossed soul
Did not attend him as we rode? I think
He told me Paris should have married Juliet:
Said he not so? or did I dream it so?
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,
To think it was so? O, give me thy hand,
One writ with me in sour misfortune’s book!
I’ll bury thee in a triumphant grave;
A grave? O no! a lantern, slaughter’d youth,
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr’d.

Laying PARIS in the tomb
How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry! which their keepers call
A lightning before death: O, how may I
Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!
Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer’d; beauty’s ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
O, what more favour can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
For fear of that, I still will stay with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again: here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here’s to my love!

Drinks
O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.

Dies

Enter, at the other end of the churchyard, FRIAR LAURENCE, with a lantern, crow, and spade

FRIAR LAURENCE

Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night
Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who’s there?

BALTHASAR

Here’s one, a friend, and one that knows you well.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend,
What torch is yond, that vainly lends his light
To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern,
It burneth in the Capel’s monument.

BALTHASAR

It doth so, holy sir; and there’s my master,
One that you love.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Who is it?

BALTHASAR

Romeo.

FRIAR LAURENCE

How long hath he been there?

BALTHASAR

Full half an hour.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Go with me to the vault.

BALTHASAR

I dare not, sir
My master knows not but I am gone hence;
And fearfully did menace me with death,
If I did stay to look on his intents.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Stay, then; I’ll go alone. Fear comes upon me:
O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing.

BALTHASAR

As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,
I dreamt my master and another fought,
And that my master slew him.

FRIAR LAURENCE

Romeo!

Advances
Alack, alack, what blood is this, which stains
The stony entrance of this sepulchre?
What mean these masterless and gory swords
To lie discolour’d by this place of peace?

Enters the tomb
Romeo! O, pale! Who else? what, Paris too?
And steep’d in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour
Is guilty of this lamentable chance!
The lady stirs.

JULIET wakes

JULIET

O comfortable friar! where is my lord?
I do remember well where I should be,
And there I am. Where is my Romeo?

Noise within

FRIAR LAURENCE

I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest
Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep:
A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.
Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;
And Paris too. Come, I’ll dispose of thee
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns:
Stay not to question, for the watch is coming;
Come, go, good Juliet,

Noise again
I dare no longer stay.

JULIET

Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.

Exit FRIAR LAURENCE
What’s here? a cup, closed in my true love’s hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
To make die with a restorative.

Kisses him
Thy lips are warm.

First Watchman

[Within] Lead, boy: which way?

JULIET

Yea, noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger!

Snatching ROMEO’s dagger
This is thy sheath;

Stabs herself
there rust, and let me die.

Falls on ROMEO’s body, and dies

Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS

PAGE

This is the place; there, where the torch doth burn.

First Watchman

The ground is bloody; search about the churchyard:
Go, some of you, whoe’er you find attach.
Pitiful sight! here lies the county slain,
And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,
Who here hath lain these two days buried.
Go, tell the prince: run to the Capulets:
Raise up the Montagues: some others search:
We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;
But the true ground of all these piteous woes
We cannot without circumstance descry.

Re-enter some of the Watch, with BALTHASAR

Second Watchman

Here’s Romeo’s man; we found him in the churchyard.

First Watchman

Hold him in safety, till the prince come hither.

Re-enter others of the Watch, with FRIAR LAURENCE

Third Watchman

Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs and weeps:
We took this mattock and this spade from him,
As he was coming from this churchyard side.

First Watchman

A great suspicion: stay the friar too.

Enter the PRINCE and Attendants

PRINCE

What misadventure is so early up,
That calls our person from our morning’s rest?

Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and others

CAPULET

What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?

LADY CAPULET

The people in the street cry Romeo,
Some Juliet, and some Paris; and all run,
With open outcry toward our monument.

PRINCE

What fear is this which startles in our ears?

First Watchman

Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;
And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,
Warm and new kill’d.

PRINCE

Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.

First Watchman

Here is a friar, and slaughter’d Romeo’s man;
With instruments upon them, fit to open
These dead men’s tombs.

CAPULET

O heavens! O wife, look how our daughter bleeds!
This dagger hath mista’en—for, lo, his house
Is empty on the back of Montague,—
And it mis-sheathed in my daughter’s bosom!

LADY CAPULET

O me! this sight of death is as a bell,
That warns my old age to a sepulchre.

Enter MONTAGUE and others

PRINCE

Come, Montague; for thou art early up,
To see thy son and heir more early down.

MONTAGUE

Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;
Grief of my son’s exile hath stopp’d her breath:
What further woe conspires against mine age?

PRINCE

Look, and thou shalt see.

MONTAGUE

O thou untaught! what manners is in this?
To press before thy father to a grave?

PRINCE

Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,
Till we can clear these ambiguities,
And know their spring, their head, their
true descent;
And then will I be general of your woes,
And lead you even to death: meantime forbear,
And let mischance be slave to patience.
Bring forth the parties of suspicion.

FRIAR LAURENCE

I am the greatest, able to do least,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place
Doth make against me of this direful murder;
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excused.

PRINCE

Then say at once what thou dost know in this.

FRIAR LAURENCE

I will be brief, for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo’s faithful wife:
I married them; and their stol’n marriage-day
Was Tybalt’s dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish’d the new-made bridegroom from the city,
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
You, to remove that siege of grief from her,
Betroth’d and would have married her perforce
To County Paris: then comes she to me,
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her, so tutor’d by my art,
A sleeping potion; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow’d grave,
Being the time the potion’s force should cease.
But he which bore my letter, Friar John,
Was stay’d by accident, and yesternight
Return’d my letter back. Then all alone
At the prefixed hour of her waking,
Came I to take her from her kindred’s vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
But when I came, some minute ere the time
Of her awaking, here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of heaven with patience:
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.

PRINCE

We still have known thee for a holy man.
Where’s Romeo’s man? what can he say in this?

BALTHASAR

I brought my master news of Juliet’s death;
And then in post he came from Mantua
To this same place, to this same monument.
This letter he early bid me give his father,
And threatened me with death, going in the vault,
I departed not and left him there.

PRINCE

Give me the letter; I will look on it.
Where is the county’s page, that raised the watch?
Sirrah, what made your master in this place?

PAGE

He came with flowers to strew his lady’s grave;
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:
Anon comes one with light to ope the tomb;
And by and by my master drew on him;
And then I ran away to call the watch.

PRINCE

This letter doth make good the friar’s words,
Their course of love, the tidings of her death:
And here he writes that he did buy a poison
Of a poor ‘pothecary, and therewithal
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish’d.

CAPULET

O brother Montague, give me thy hand:
This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more
Can I demand.

MONTAGUE

But I can give thee more:
For I will raise her statue in pure gold;
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet.

CAPULET

As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!

PRINCE

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Exeunt

Othello, The Moore of Venice

ACT I

SCENE I. Venice. A street.

Enter RODERIGO and IAGO

RODERIGO

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

IAGO

‘Sblood, but you will not hear me:
If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RODERIGO

Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO

Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp’d to him: and, by the faith of man,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:
But he; as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bombast circumstance
Horribly stuff’d with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion,
Nonsuits my mediators; for, ‘Certes,’ says he,
‘I have already chose my officer.’
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds
Christian and heathen, must be be-lee’d and calm’d
By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster,
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship’s ancient.

RODERIGO

By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

IAGO

Why, there’s no remedy; ’tis the curse of service,
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,
Whether I in any just term am affined
To love the Moor.

RODERIGO

I would not follow him then.

IAGO

O, sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow’d. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,
For nought but provender, and when he’s old, cashier’d:
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are
Who, trimm’d in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them and when they have lined
their coats
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

RODERIGO

What a full fortune does the thicklips owe
If he can carry’t thus!

IAGO

Call up her father,
Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,
Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t,
As it may lose some colour.

RODERIGO

Here is her father’s house; I’ll call aloud.

IAGO

Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
As when, by night and negligence, the fire
Is spied in populous cities.

RODERIGO

What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

IAGO

Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves!
Look to your house, your daughter and your bags!
Thieves! thieves!

BRABANTIO appears above, at a window

BRABANTIO

What is the reason of this terrible summons?
What is the matter there?

RODERIGO

Signior, is all your family within?

IAGO

Are your doors lock’d?

BRABANTIO

Why, wherefore ask you this?

IAGO

‘Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d; for shame, put on
your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.

BRABANTIO

What, have you lost your wits?

RODERIGO

Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?

BRABANTIO

Not I what are you?

RODERIGO

My name is Roderigo.

BRABANTIO

The worser welcome:
I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors:
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say
My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,
Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come
To start my quiet.

RODERIGO

Sir, sir, sir,—

BRABANTIO

But thou must needs be sure
My spirit and my place have in them power
To make this bitter to thee.

RODERIGO

Patience, good sir.

BRABANTIO

What tell’st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;
My house is not a grange.

RODERIGO

Most grave Brabantio,
In simple and pure soul I come to you.

IAGO

‘Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not
serve God, if the devil bid you. Because we come to
do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll
have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse;
you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have
coursers for cousins and gennets for germans.

BRABANTIO

What profane wretch art thou?

IAGO

I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

BRABANTIO

Thou art a villain.

IAGO

You are—a senator.

BRABANTIO

This thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo.

RODERIGO

Sir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you,
If’t be your pleasure and most wise consent,
As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,
At this odd-even and dull watch o’ the night,
Transported, with no worse nor better guard
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor—
If this be known to you and your allowance,
We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;
But if you know not this, my manners tell me
We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
That, from the sense of all civility,
I thus would play and trifle with your reverence:
Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;
Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes
In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself:
If she be in her chamber or your house,
Let loose on me the justice of the state
For thus deluding you.

BRABANTIO

Strike on the tinder, ho!
Give me a taper! call up all my people!
This accident is not unlike my dream:
Belief of it oppresses me already.
Light, I say! light!

Exit above

IAGO

Farewell; for I must leave you:
It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
To be produced—as, if I stay, I shall—
Against the Moor: for, I do know, the state,
However this may gall him with some cheque,
Cannot with safety cast him, for he’s embark’d
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls,
Another of his fathom they have none,
To lead their business: in which regard,
Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains.
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;
And there will I be with him. So, farewell.

Exit

Enter, below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with torches

BRABANTIO

It is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what’s to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,
Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!
With the Moor, say’st thou? Who would be a father!
How didst thou know ’twas she? O she deceives me
Past thought! What said she to you? Get more tapers:
Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you?

RODERIGO

Truly, I think they are.

BRABANTIO

O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood!
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds
By what you see them act. Is there not charms
By which the property of youth and maidhood
May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,
Of some such thing?

RODERIGO

Yes, sir, I have indeed.

BRABANTIO

Call up my brother. O, would you had had her!
Some one way, some another. Do you know
Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?

RODERIGO

I think I can discover him, if you please,
To get good guard and go along with me.

BRABANTIO

Pray you, lead on. At every house I’ll call;
I may command at most. Get weapons, ho!
And raise some special officers of night.
On, good Roderigo: I’ll deserve your pains.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Another street.

Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants with torches

IAGO

Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience
To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity
Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
I had thought to have yerk’d him here under the ribs.

OTHELLO

‘Tis better as it is.

IAGO

Nay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
Against your honour
That, with the little godliness I have,
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray you, sir,
Are you fast married? Be assured of this,
That the magnifico is much beloved,
And hath in his effect a voice potential
As double as the duke’s: he will divorce you;
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
The law, with all his might to enforce it on,
Will give him cable.

OTHELLO

Let him do his spite:
My services which I have done the signiory
Shall out-tongue his complaints. ‘Tis yet to know,—
Which, when I know that boasting is an honour,
I shall promulgate—I fetch my life and being
From men of royal siege, and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach’d: for know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea’s worth. But, look! what lights come yond?

IAGO

Those are the raised father and his friends:
You were best go in.

OTHELLO

Not I I must be found:
My parts, my title and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

IAGO

By Janus, I think no.

Enter CASSIO, and certain Officers with torches

OTHELLO

The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant.
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?

CASSIO

The duke does greet you, general,
And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,
Even on the instant.

OTHELLO

What is the matter, think you?

CASSIO

Something from Cyprus as I may divine:
It is a business of some heat: the galleys
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
This very night at one another’s heels,
And many of the consuls, raised and met,
Are at the duke’s already: you have been
hotly call’d for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found,
The senate hath sent about three several guests
To search you out.

OTHELLO

‘Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.

Exit

CASSIO

Ancient, what makes he here?

IAGO

‘Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack:
If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.

CASSIO

I do not understand.

IAGO

He’s married.

CASSIO

To who?

Re-enter OTHELLO

IAGO

Marry, to—Come, captain, will you go?

OTHELLO

Have with you.

CASSIO

Here comes another troop to seek for you.

IAGO

It is Brabantio. General, be advised;
He comes to bad intent.

Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers with torches and weapons

OTHELLO

Holla! stand there!

RODERIGO

Signior, it is the Moor.

BRABANTIO

Down with him, thief!

They draw on both sides

IAGO

You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.

OTHELLO

Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good signior, you shall more command with years
Than with your weapons.

BRABANTIO

O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter?
Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound,
Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.
Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense
That thou hast practised on her with foul charms,
Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on;
‘Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
For an abuser of the world, a practiser
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,
Subdue him at his peril.

OTHELLO

Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter. Where will you that I go
To answer this your charge?

BRABANTIO

To prison, till fit time
Of law and course of direct session
Call thee to answer.

OTHELLO

What if I do obey?
How may the duke be therewith satisfied,
Whose messengers are here about my side,
Upon some present business of the state
To bring me to him?

First Officer

‘Tis true, most worthy signior;
The duke’s in council and your noble self,
I am sure, is sent for.

BRABANTIO

How! the duke in council!
In this time of the night! Bring him away:
Mine’s not an idle cause: the duke himself,
Or any of my brothers of the state,
Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own;
For if such actions may have passage free,
Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A council-chamber.

The DUKE and Senators sitting at a table; Officers attending

DUKE OF VENICE

There is no composition in these news
That gives them credit.

First Senator

Indeed, they are disproportion’d;
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.

DUKE OF VENICE

And mine, a hundred and forty.

Second Senator

And mine, two hundred:
But though they jump not on a just account,—
As in these cases, where the aim reports,
‘Tis oft with difference—yet do they all confirm
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.

DUKE OF VENICE

Nay, it is possible enough to judgment:
I do not so secure me in the error,
But the main article I do approve
In fearful sense.

Sailor

[Within] What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!

First Officer

A messenger from the galleys.

Enter a Sailor

DUKE OF VENICE

Now, what’s the business?

Sailor

The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;
So was I bid report here to the state
By Signior Angelo.

DUKE OF VENICE

How say you by this change?

First Senator

This cannot be,
By no assay of reason: ’tis a pageant,
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
And let ourselves again but understand,
That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
So may he with more facile question bear it,
For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
But altogether lacks the abilities
That Rhodes is dress’d in: if we make thought of this,
We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
To leave that latest which concerns him first,
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
To wake and wage a danger profitless.

DUKE OF VENICE

Nay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.

First Officer

Here is more news.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

The Ottomites, reverend and gracious,
Steering with due course towards the isle of Rhodes,
Have there injointed them with an after fleet.

First Senator

Ay, so I thought. How many, as you guess?

Messenger

Of thirty sail: and now they do restem
Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano,
Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
With his free duty recommends you thus,
And prays you to believe him.

DUKE OF VENICE

‘Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.
Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?

First Senator

He’s now in Florence.

DUKE OF VENICE

Write from us to him; post-post-haste dispatch.

First Senator

Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.

Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Officers

DUKE OF VENICE

Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.

To BRABANTIO
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior;
We lack’d your counsel and your help tonight.

BRABANTIO

So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me;
Neither my place nor aught I heard of business
Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care
Take hold on me, for my particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
And it is still itself.

DUKE OF VENICE

Why, what’s the matter?

BRABANTIO

My daughter! O, my daughter!

DUKE OF VENICE Senator

Dead?

BRABANTIO

Ay, to me;
She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not.

DUKE OF VENICE

Whoe’er he be that in this foul proceeding
Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself
And you of her, the bloody book of law
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
After your own sense, yea, though our proper son
Stood in your action.

BRABANTIO

Humbly I thank your grace.
Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems,
Your special mandate for the state-affairs
Hath hither brought.

DUKE OF VENICE Senator

We are very sorry for’t.

DUKE OF VENICE

[To OTHELLO] What, in your own part, can you say to this?

BRABANTIO

Nothing, but this is so.

OTHELLO

Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters,
That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her:
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace:
For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field,
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration and what mighty magic,
For such proceeding I am charged withal,
I won his daughter.

BRABANTIO

A maiden never bold;
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!
It is a judgment maim’d and most imperfect
That will confess perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
To find out practises of cunning hell,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,
Or with some dram conjured to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

DUKE OF VENICE

To vouch this, is no proof,
Without more wider and more overt test
Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods
Of modern seeming do prefer against him.

First Senator

But, Othello, speak:
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections?
Or came it by request and such fair question
As soul to soul affordeth?

OTHELLO

I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
And let her speak of me before her father:
If you do find me foul in her report,
The trust, the office I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.

DUKE OF VENICE

Fetch Desdemona hither.

OTHELLO

Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place.

Exeunt IAGO and Attendants
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I’ll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love,
And she in mine.

DUKE OF VENICE

Say it, Othello.

OTHELLO

Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels’ history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak,—such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She’ld come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, ’twas passing strange,
‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants

DUKE OF VENICE

I think this tale would win my daughter too.
Good Brabantio,
Take up this mangled matter at the best:
Men do their broken weapons rather use
Than their bare hands.

BRABANTIO

I pray you, hear her speak:
If she confess that she was half the wooer,
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress:
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?

DESDEMONA

My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

BRABANTIO

God be wi’ you! I have done.
Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs:
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.
Come hither, Moor:
I here do give thee that with all my heart
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,
I am glad at soul I have no other child:
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

DUKE OF VENICE

Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence,
Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers
Into your favour.
When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

BRABANTIO

So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
We lose it not, so long as we can smile.
He bears the sentence well that nothing bears
But the free comfort which from thence he hears,
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.

DUKE OF VENICE

The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for
Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best
known to you; and though we have there a substitute
of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a
sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
voice on you: you must therefore be content to
slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
more stubborn and boisterous expedition.

OTHELLO

The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnise
A natural and prompt alacrity
I find in hardness, and do undertake
These present wars against the Ottomites.
Most humbly therefore bending to your state,
I crave fit disposition for my wife.
Due reference of place and exhibition,
With such accommodation and besort
As levels with her breeding.

DUKE OF VENICE

If you please,
Be’t at her father’s.

BRABANTIO

I’ll not have it so.

OTHELLO

Nor I.

DESDEMONA

Nor I; I would not there reside,
To put my father in impatient thoughts
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke,
To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear;
And let me find a charter in your voice,
To assist my simpleness.

DUKE OF VENICE

What would You, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA

That I did love the Moor to live with him,
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world: my heart’s subdued
Even to the very quality of my lord:
I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,
And to his honour and his valiant parts
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
And I a heavy interim shall support
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.

OTHELLO

Let her have your voices.
Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not,
To please the palate of my appetite,
Nor to comply with heat—the young affects
In me defunct—and proper satisfaction.
But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
I will your serious and great business scant
For she is with me: no, when light-wing’d toys
Of feather’d Cupid seal with wanton dullness
My speculative and officed instruments,
That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
And all indign and base adversities
Make head against my estimation!

DUKE OF VENICE

Be it as you shall privately determine,
Either for her stay or going: the affair cries haste,
And speed must answer it.

First Senator

You must away to-night.

OTHELLO

With all my heart.

DUKE OF VENICE

At nine i’ the morning here we’ll meet again.
Othello, leave some officer behind,
And he shall our commission bring to you;
With such things else of quality and respect
As doth import you.

OTHELLO

So please your grace, my ancient;
A man he is of honest and trust:
To his conveyance I assign my wife,
With what else needful your good grace shall think
To be sent after me.

DUKE OF VENICE

Let it be so.
Good night to every one.

To BRABANTIO
And, noble signior,
If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

First Senator

Adieu, brave Moor, use Desdemona well.

BRABANTIO

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
She has deceived her father, and may thee.

Exeunt DUKE OF VENICE, Senators, Officers, & c

OTHELLO

My life upon her faith! Honest Iago,
My Desdemona must I leave to thee:
I prithee, let thy wife attend on her:
And bring them after in the best advantage.
Come, Desdemona: I have but an hour
Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
To spend with thee: we must obey the time.

Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA

RODERIGO

Iago,—

IAGO

What say’st thou, noble heart?

RODERIGO

What will I do, thinkest thou?

IAGO

Why, go to bed, and sleep.

RODERIGO

I will incontinently drown myself.

IAGO

If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why,
thou silly gentleman!

RODERIGO

It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and
then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.

IAGO

O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four
times seven years; and since I could distinguish
betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man
that knew how to love himself. Ere I would say, I
would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I
would change my humanity with a baboon.

RODERIGO

What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so
fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.

IAGO

Virtue! a fig! ’tis in ourselves that we are thus
or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which
our wills are gardeners: so that if we will plant
nettles, or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up
thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs, or
distract it with many, either to have it sterile
with idleness, or manured with industry, why, the
power and corrigible authority of this lies in our
wills. If the balance of our lives had not one
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that
you call love to be a sect or scion.

RODERIGO

It cannot be.

IAGO

It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of
the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself! drown
cats and blind puppies. I have professed me thy
friend and I confess me knit to thy deserving with
cables of perdurable toughness; I could never
better stead thee than now. Put money in thy
purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favour with
an usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse. It
cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her
love to the Moor,— put money in thy purse,—nor he
his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou
shalt see an answerable sequestration:—put but
money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in
their wills: fill thy purse with money:—the food
that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be
to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must
change for youth: when she is sated with his body,
she will find the error of her choice: she must
have change, she must: therefore put money in thy
purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money
thou canst: if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt
an erring barbarian and a supersubtle Venetian not
too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell, thou
shalt enjoy her; therefore make money. A pox of
drowning thyself! it is clean out of the way: seek
thou rather to be hanged in compassing thy joy than
to be drowned and go without her.

RODERIGO

Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on
the issue?

IAGO

Thou art sure of me:—go, make money:—I have told
thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I
hate the Moor: my cause is hearted; thine hath no
less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge
against him: if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost
thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many
events in the womb of time which will be delivered.
Traverse! go, provide thy money. We will have more
of this to-morrow. Adieu.

RODERIGO

Where shall we meet i’ the morning?

IAGO

At my lodging.

RODERIGO

I’ll be with thee betimes.

IAGO

Go to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo?

RODERIGO

What say you?

IAGO

No more of drowning, do you hear?

RODERIGO

I am changed: I’ll go sell all my land.

Exit

IAGO

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse:
For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane,
If I would time expend with such a snipe.
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man: let me see now:
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery—How, how? Let’s see:—
After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have’t. It is engender’d. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.

Exit

ACT II
SCENE I. A Sea-port in Cyprus. An open place near the quay.

Enter MONTANO and two Gentlemen

MONTANO

What from the cape can you discern at sea?

First Gentleman

Nothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;
I cannot, ‘twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.

MONTANO

Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian’d so upon the sea,
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

Second Gentleman

A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
seems to cast water on the burning bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.

MONTANO

If that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they are drown’d:
It is impossible they bear it out.

Enter a third Gentleman

Third Gentleman

News, lads! our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang’d the Turks,
That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.

MONTANO

How! is this true?

Third Gentleman

The ship is here put in,
A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
Is come on shore: the Moor himself at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

MONTANO

I am glad on’t; ’tis a worthy governor.

Third Gentleman

But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly,
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
With foul and violent tempest.

MONTANO

Pray heavens he be;
For I have served him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, ho!
As well to see the vessel that’s come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.

Third Gentleman

Come, let’s do so:
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.

Enter CASSIO

CASSIO

Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.

MONTANO

Is he well shipp’d?

CASSIO

His bark is stoutly timber’d, his pilot
Of very expert and approved allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.

A cry within ‘A sail, a sail, a sail!’

Enter a fourth Gentleman

CASSIO

What noise?

Fourth Gentleman

The town is empty; on the brow o’ the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry ‘A sail!’

CASSIO

My hopes do shape him for the governor.

Guns heard

Second Gentlemen

They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
Our friends at least.

CASSIO

I pray you, sir, go forth,
And give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.

Second Gentleman

I shall.

Exit

MONTANO

But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?

CASSIO

Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame;
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener.

Re-enter second Gentleman
How now! who has put in?

Second Gentleman

‘Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

CASSIO

Has had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter’d rocks and congregated sands—
Traitors ensteep’d to clog the guiltless keel,—
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.

MONTANO

What is she?

CASSIO

She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se’nnight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms,
Give renew’d fire to our extincted spirits
And bring all Cyprus comfort!

Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Attendants
O, behold,
The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round!

DESDEMONA

I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

CASSIO

He is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
But that he’s well and will be shortly here.

DESDEMONA

O, but I fear—How lost you company?

CASSIO

The great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship—But, hark! a sail.

Within ‘A sail, a sail!’ Guns heard

Second Gentleman

They give their greeting to the citadel;
This likewise is a friend.

CASSIO

See for the news.

Exit Gentleman
Good ancient, you are welcome.

To EMILIA
Welcome, mistress.
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; ’tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

Kissing her

IAGO

Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’ll have enough.

DESDEMONA

Alas, she has no speech.

IAGO

In faith, too much;
I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.

EMILIA

You have little cause to say so.

IAGO

Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
Saints m your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives’ in your beds.

DESDEMONA

O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

IAGO

Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
You rise to play and go to bed to work.

EMILIA

You shall not write my praise.

IAGO

No, let me not.

DESDEMONA

What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst
praise me?

IAGO

O gentle lady, do not put me to’t;
For I am nothing, if not critical.

DESDEMONA

Come on assay. There’s one gone to the harbour?

IAGO

Ay, madam.

DESDEMONA

I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

IAGO

I am about it; but indeed my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize;
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver’d.
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
The one’s for use, the other useth it.

DESDEMONA

Well praised! How if she be black and witty?

IAGO

If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

DESDEMONA

Worse and worse.

EMILIA

How if fair and foolish?

IAGO

She never yet was foolish that was fair;
For even her folly help’d her to an heir.

DESDEMONA

These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’
the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for
her that’s foul and foolish?

IAGO

There’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

DESDEMONA

O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst best.
But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving
woman indeed, one that, in the authority of her
merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?

IAGO

She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said ‘Now I may,’
She that being anger’d, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail;
She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,
See suitors following and not look behind,
She was a wight, if ever such wight were,—

DESDEMONA

To do what?

IAGO

To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

DESDEMONA

O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say
you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal
counsellor?

CASSIO

He speaks home, madam: You may relish him more in
the soldier than in the scholar.

IAGO

[Aside] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,
whisper: with as little a web as this will I
ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon
her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.
You say true; ’tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had
been better you had not kissed your three fingers so
oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!

Trumpet within
The Moor! I know his trumpet.

CASSIO

‘Tis truly so.

DESDEMONA

Let’s meet him and receive him.

CASSIO

Lo, where he comes!

Enter OTHELLO and Attendants

OTHELLO

O my fair warrior!

DESDEMONA

My dear Othello!

OTHELLO

It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,
‘Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

DESDEMONA

The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!

OTHELLO

Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be

Kissing her
That e’er our hearts shall make!

IAGO

[Aside] O, you are well tuned now!
But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.

OTHELLO

Come, let us to the castle.
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks
are drown’d.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
Once more, well met at Cyprus.

Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

IAGO

Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come
hither. If thou be’st valiant,— as, they say, base
men being in love have then a nobility in their
natures more than is native to them—list me. The
lieutenant tonight watches on the court of
guard:—first, I must tell thee this—Desdemona is
directly in love with him.

RODERIGO

With him! why, ’tis not possible.

IAGO

Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.
Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,
but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies:
and will she love him still for prating? let not
thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed;
and what delight shall she have to look on the
devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of
sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to
give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour,
sympathy in years, manners and beauties; all which
the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these
required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will
find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge,
disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will
instruct her in it and compel her to some second
choice. Now, sir, this granted,—as it is a most
pregnant and unforced position—who stands so
eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio
does? a knave very voluble; no further
conscionable than in putting on the mere form of
civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing
of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why,
none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a
finder of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and
counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
present itself; a devilish knave. Besides, the
knave is handsome, young, and hath all those
requisites in him that folly and green minds look
after: a pestilent complete knave; and the woman
hath found him already.

RODERIGO

I cannot believe that in her; she’s full of
most blessed condition.

IAGO

Blessed fig’s-end! the wine she drinks is made of
grapes: if she had been blessed, she would never
have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou
not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst
not mark that?

RODERIGO

Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

IAGO

Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue
to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met
so near with their lips that their breaths embraced
together. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo! when these
mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes
the master and main exercise, the incorporate
conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I
have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night;
for the command, I’ll lay’t upon you. Cassio knows
you not. I’ll not be far from you: do you find
some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking
too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what
other course you please, which the time shall more
favourably minister.

RODERIGO

Well.

IAGO

Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and haply
may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for
even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to
mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true
taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So
shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by
the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the
impediment most profitably removed, without the
which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

RODERIGO

I will do this, if I can bring it to any
opportunity.

IAGO

I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

RODERIGO

Adieu.

Exit

IAGO

That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap’d into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife,
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb—
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too—
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egregiously an ass
And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. ‘Tis here, but yet confused:
Knavery’s plain face is never seen tin used.

Exit

SCENE II. A street.

Enter a Herald with a proclamation; People following

Herald

It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant
general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived,
importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet,
every man put himself into triumph; some to dance,
some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and
revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his
nuptial. So much was his pleasure should be
proclaimed. All offices are open, and there is full
liberty of feasting from this present hour of five
till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the
isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!

Exeunt

SCENE III. A hall in the castle.

Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants

OTHELLO

Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to outsport discretion.

CASSIO

Iago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to’t.

OTHELLO

Iago is most honest.
Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
Let me have speech with you.

To DESDEMONA
Come, my dear love,
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
That profit’s yet to come ‘tween me and you.
Good night.

Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

Enter IAGO

CASSIO

Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

IAGO

Not this hour, lieutenant; ’tis not yet ten o’ the
clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love
of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame:
he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and
she is sport for Jove.

CASSIO

She’s a most exquisite lady.

IAGO

And, I’ll warrant her, fun of game.

CASSIO

Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.

IAGO

What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of
provocation.

CASSIO

An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

IAGO

And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?

CASSIO

She is indeed perfection.

IAGO

Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
the health of black Othello.

CASSIO

Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and
unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
courtesy would invent some other custom of
entertainment.

IAGO

O, they are our friends; but one cup: I’ll drink for
you.

CASSIO

I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was
craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
it makes here: I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
and dare not task my weakness with any more.

IAGO

What, man! ’tis a night of revels: the gallants
desire it.

CASSIO

Where are they?

IAGO

Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.

CASSIO

I’ll do’t; but it dislikes me.

Exit

IAGO

If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
Whom love hath turn’d almost the wrong side out,
To Desdemona hath to-night caroused
Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
The very elements of this warlike isle,
Have I to-night fluster’d with flowing cups,
And they watch too. Now, ‘mongst this flock of drunkards,
Am I to put our Cassio in some action
That may offend the isle.—But here they come:
If consequence do but approve my dream,
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

Re-enter CASSIO; with him MONTANO and Gentlemen; servants following with wine

CASSIO

‘Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.

MONTANO

Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am
a soldier.

IAGO

Some wine, ho!

Sings
And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
Some wine, boys!

CASSIO

‘Fore God, an excellent song.

IAGO

I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and
your swag-bellied Hollander—Drink, ho!—are nothing
to your English.

CASSIO

Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

IAGO

Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
can be filled.

CASSIO

To the health of our general!

MONTANO

I am for it, lieutenant; and I’ll do you justice.

IAGO

O sweet England!
King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call’d the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree:
‘Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
Some wine, ho!

CASSIO

Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

IAGO

Will you hear’t again?

CASSIO

No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
does those things. Well, God’s above all; and there
be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

IAGO

It’s true, good lieutenant.

CASSIO

For mine own part,—no offence to the general, nor
any man of quality,—I hope to be saved.

IAGO

And so do I too, lieutenant.

CASSIO

Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s
have no more of this; let’s to our affairs.—Forgive
us our sins!—Gentlemen, let’s look to our business.
Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
speak well enough.

All

Excellent well.

CASSIO

Why, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.

Exit

MONTANO

To the platform, masters; come, let’s set the watch.

IAGO

You see this fellow that is gone before;
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: ’tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

MONTANO

But is he often thus?

IAGO

‘Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
He’ll watch the horologe a double set,
If drink rock not his cradle.

MONTANO

It were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

Enter RODERIGO

IAGO

[Aside to him] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

Exit RODERIGO

MONTANO

And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.

IAGO

Not I, for this fair island:
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil—But, hark! what noise?

Cry within: ‘Help! help!’

Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO

CASSIO

You rogue! you rascal!

MONTANO

What’s the matter, lieutenant?

CASSIO

A knave teach me my duty!
I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

RODERIGO

Beat me!

CASSIO

Dost thou prate, rogue?

Striking RODERIGO

MONTANO

Nay, good lieutenant;

Staying him
I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

CASSIO

Let me go, sir,
Or I’ll knock you o’er the mazzard.

MONTANO

Come, come,
you’re drunk.

CASSIO

Drunk!

They fight

IAGO

[Aside to RODERIGO] Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.

Exit RODERIGO
Nay, good lieutenant,—alas, gentlemen;—
Help, ho!—Lieutenant,—sir,—Montano,—sir;
Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!

Bell rings
Who’s that which rings the bell?—Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God’s will, lieutenant, hold!
You will be shamed for ever.

Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants

OTHELLO

What is the matter here?

MONTANO

‘Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

Faints

OTHELLO

Hold, for your lives!

IAGO

Hold, ho! Lieutenant,—sir—Montano,—gentlemen,—
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

OTHELLO

Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
Are we turn’d Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
Honest Iago, that look’st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

IAGO

I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now—
As if some planet had unwitted men—
Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

OTHELLO

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

CASSIO

I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

OTHELLO

Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure: what’s the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

MONTANO

Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
Your officer, Iago, can inform you,—
While I spare speech, which something now
offends me,—
Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
By me that’s said or done amiss this night;
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
And to defend ourselves it be a sin
When violence assails us.

OTHELLO

Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgment collied,
Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
How this foul rout began, who set it on;
And he that is approved in this offence,
Though he had twinn’d with me, both at a birth,
Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,
To manage private and domestic quarrel,
In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
‘Tis monstrous. Iago, who began’t?

MONTANO

If partially affined, or leagued in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.

IAGO

Touch me not so near:
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
Montano and myself being in speech,
There comes a fellow crying out for help:
And Cassio following him with determined sword,
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
Lest by his clamour—as it so fell out—
The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
I ne’er might say before. When I came back—
For this was brief—I found them close together,
At blow and thrust; even as again they were
When you yourself did part them.
More of this matter cannot I report:
But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
From him that fled some strange indignity,
Which patience could not pass.

OTHELLO

I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
But never more be officer of mine.

Re-enter DESDEMONA, attended
Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
I’ll make thee an example.

DESDEMONA

What’s the matter?

OTHELLO

All’s well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
Lead him off.

To MONTANO, who is led off
Iago, look with care about the town,
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
Come, Desdemona: ’tis the soldiers’ life
To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO

IAGO

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

CASSIO

Ay, past all surgery.

IAGO

Marry, heaven forbid!

CASSIO

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
Iago, my reputation!

IAGO

As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
deserving: you have lost no reputation at all,
unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man!
there are ways to recover the general again: you
are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue
to him again, and he’s yours.

CASSIO

I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible
spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
let us call thee devil!

IAGO

What was he that you followed with your sword? What
had he done to you?

CASSIO

I know not.

IAGO

Is’t possible?

CASSIO

I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly;
a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men
should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away
their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance
revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

IAGO

Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus
recovered?

CASSIO

It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
another, to make me frankly despise myself.

IAGO

Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
the place, and the condition of this country
stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

CASSIO

I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

IAGO

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

CASSIO

I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

IAGO

You or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man.
I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife
is now the general: may say so in this respect, for
that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
her help to put you in your place again: she is of
so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
than she is requested: this broken joint between
you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

CASSIO

You advise me well.

IAGO

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

CASSIO

I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will
beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me:
I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.

IAGO

You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
must to the watch.
CASSIO: Good night, honest Iago.

Exit

IAGO

And what’s he then that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking and indeed the course
To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she’s framed as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor—were’t to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
His soul is so enfetter’d to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I then a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear,
That she repeals him for her body’s lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

Re-enter RODERIGO
How now, Roderigo!

RODERIGO

I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well
cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.

IAGO

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know’st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier’d Cassio:
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile. By the mass, ’tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
Nay, get thee gone.

Exit RODERIGO
Two things are to be done:
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
I’ll set her on;
Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife: ay, that’s the way
Dull not device by coldness and delay.

Exit

ACT III
SCENE I. Before the castle.

Enter CASSIO and some Musicians

CASSIO

Masters, play here; I will content your pains;
Something that’s brief; and bid ‘Good morrow, general.’

Music

Enter Clown

Clown

Why masters, have your instruments been in Naples,
that they speak i’ the nose thus?

First Musician

How, sir, how!

Clown

Are these, I pray you, wind-instruments?

First Musician

Ay, marry, are they, sir.

Clown

O, thereby hangs a tail.

First Musician

Whereby hangs a tale, sir?

Clown

Marry. sir, by many a wind-instrument that I know.
But, masters, here’s money for you: and the general
so likes your music, that he desires you, for love’s
sake, to make no more noise with it.

First Musician

Well, sir, we will not.

Clown

If you have any music that may not be heard, to’t
again: but, as they say to hear music the general
does not greatly care.

First Musician

We have none such, sir.

Clown

Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I’ll away:
go; vanish into air; away!

Exeunt Musicians

CASSIO

Dost thou hear, my honest friend?

Clown

No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.

CASSIO

Prithee, keep up thy quillets. There’s a poor piece
of gold for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends
the general’s wife be stirring, tell her there’s
one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech:
wilt thou do this?

Clown

She is stirring, sir: if she will stir hither, I
shall seem to notify unto her.

CASSIO

Do, good my friend.

Exit Clown

Enter IAGO
In happy time, Iago.

IAGO

You have not been a-bed, then?

CASSIO

Why, no; the day had broke
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,
To send in to your wife: my suit to her
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
Procure me some access.

IAGO

I’ll send her to you presently;
And I’ll devise a mean to draw the Moor
Out of the way, that your converse and business
May be more free.

CASSIO

I humbly thank you for’t.

Exit IAGO
I never knew
A Florentine more kind and honest.

Enter EMILIA

EMILIA

Good morrow, good Lieutenant: I am sorry
For your displeasure; but all will sure be well.
The general and his wife are talking of it;
And she speaks for you stoutly: the Moor replies,
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus,
And great affinity, and that in wholesome wisdom
He might not but refuse you; but he protests he loves you
And needs no other suitor but his likings
To take the safest occasion by the front
To bring you in again.

CASSIO

Yet, I beseech you,
If you think fit, or that it may be done,
Give me advantage of some brief discourse
With Desdemona alone.

EMILIA

Pray you, come in;
I will bestow you where you shall have time
To speak your bosom freely.

CASSIO

I am much bound to you.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A room in the castle.

Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Gentlemen

OTHELLO

These letters give, Iago, to the pilot;
And by him do my duties to the senate:
That done, I will be walking on the works;
Repair there to me.

IAGO

Well, my good lord, I’ll do’t.

OTHELLO

This fortification, gentlemen, shall we see’t?

Gentleman

We’ll wait upon your lordship.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The garden of the castle.

Enter DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and EMILIA

DESDEMONA

Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do
All my abilities in thy behalf.

EMILIA

Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband,
As if the case were his.

DESDEMONA

O, that’s an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,
But I will have my lord and you again
As friendly as you were.

CASSIO

Bounteous madam,
Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
He’s never any thing but your true servant.

DESDEMONA

I know’t; I thank you. You do love my lord:
You have known him long; and be you well assured
He shall in strangeness stand no further off
Than in a polite distance.

CASSIO

Ay, but, lady,
That policy may either last so long,
Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet,
Or breed itself so out of circumstance,
That, I being absent and my place supplied,
My general will forget my love and service.

DESDEMONA

Do not doubt that; before Emilia here
I give thee warrant of thy place: assure thee,
If I do vow a friendship, I’ll perform it
To the last article: my lord shall never rest;
I’ll watch him tame and talk him out of patience;
His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
I’ll intermingle every thing he does
With Cassio’s suit: therefore be merry, Cassio;
For thy solicitor shall rather die
Than give thy cause away.

EMILIA

Madam, here comes my lord.

CASSIO

Madam, I’ll take my leave.

DESDEMONA

Why, stay, and hear me speak.

CASSIO

Madam, not now: I am very ill at ease,
Unfit for mine own purposes.

DESDEMONA

Well, do your discretion.

Exit CASSIO

Enter OTHELLO and IAGO

IAGO

Ha! I like not that.

OTHELLO

What dost thou say?

IAGO

Nothing, my lord: or if—I know not what.

OTHELLO

Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?

IAGO

Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
That he would steal away so guilty-like,
Seeing you coming.

OTHELLO

I do believe ’twas he.

DESDEMONA

How now, my lord!
I have been talking with a suitor here,
A man that languishes in your displeasure.

OTHELLO

Who is’t you mean?

DESDEMONA

Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
If I have any grace or power to move you,
His present reconciliation take;
For if he be not one that truly loves you,
That errs in ignorance and not in cunning,
I have no judgment in an honest face:
I prithee, call him back.

OTHELLO

Went he hence now?

DESDEMONA

Ay, sooth; so humbled
That he hath left part of his grief with me,
To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

OTHELLO

Not now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.

DESDEMONA

But shall’t be shortly?

OTHELLO

The sooner, sweet, for you.

DESDEMONA

Shall’t be to-night at supper?

OTHELLO

No, not to-night.

DESDEMONA

To-morrow dinner, then?

OTHELLO

I shall not dine at home;
I meet the captains at the citadel.

DESDEMONA

Why, then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn;
On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:
I prithee, name the time, but let it not
Exceed three days: in faith, he’s penitent;
And yet his trespass, in our common reason—
Save that, they say, the wars must make examples
Out of their best—is not almost a fault
To incur a private cheque. When shall he come?
Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
What you would ask me, that I should deny,
Or stand so mammering on. What! Michael Cassio,
That came a-wooing with you, and so many a time,
When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,
Hath ta’en your part; to have so much to do
To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,—

OTHELLO

Prithee, no more: let him come when he will;
I will deny thee nothing.

DESDEMONA

Why, this is not a boon;
‘Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,
Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit
To your own person: nay, when I have a suit
Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed,
It shall be full of poise and difficult weight
And fearful to be granted.

OTHELLO

I will deny thee nothing:
Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
To leave me but a little to myself.

DESDEMONA

Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord.

OTHELLO

Farewell, my Desdemona: I’ll come to thee straight.

DESDEMONA

Emilia, come. Be as your fancies teach you;
Whate’er you be, I am obedient.

Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA

OTHELLO

Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.

IAGO

My noble lord—

OTHELLO

What dost thou say, Iago?

IAGO

Did Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady,
Know of your love?

OTHELLO

He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?

IAGO

But for a satisfaction of my thought;
No further harm.

OTHELLO

Why of thy thought, Iago?

IAGO

I did not think he had been acquainted with her.

OTHELLO

O, yes; and went between us very oft.

IAGO

Indeed!

OTHELLO

Indeed! ay, indeed: discern’st thou aught in that?
Is he not honest?

IAGO

Honest, my lord!

OTHELLO

Honest! ay, honest.

IAGO

My lord, for aught I know.

OTHELLO

What dost thou think?

IAGO

Think, my lord!

OTHELLO

Think, my lord!
By heaven, he echoes me,
As if there were some monster in his thought
Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something:
I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that,
When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
And when I told thee he was of my counsel
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst ‘Indeed!’
And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
Some horrible conceit: if thou dost love me,
Show me thy thought.

IAGO

My lord, you know I love you.

OTHELLO

I think thou dost;
And, for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty,
And weigh’st thy words before thou givest them breath,
Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more:
For such things in a false disloyal knave
Are tricks of custom, but in a man that’s just
They are close delations, working from the heart
That passion cannot rule.

IAGO

For Michael Cassio,
I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.

OTHELLO

I think so too.

IAGO

Men should be what they seem;
Or those that be not, would they might seem none!

OTHELLO

Certain, men should be what they seem.

IAGO

Why, then, I think Cassio’s an honest man.

OTHELLO

Nay, yet there’s more in this:
I prithee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,
As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts
The worst of words.

IAGO

Good my lord, pardon me:
Though I am bound to every act of duty,
I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;
As where’s that palace whereinto foul things
Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure,
But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets and law-days and in session sit
With meditations lawful?

OTHELLO

Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
If thou but think’st him wrong’d and makest his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

IAGO

I do beseech you—
Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not—that your wisdom yet,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,
Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance.
It were not for your quiet nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
To let you know my thoughts.

OTHELLO

What dost thou mean?

IAGO

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.

OTHELLO

By heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts.

IAGO

You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;
Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.

OTHELLO

Ha!

IAGO

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o’er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

OTHELLO

O misery!

IAGO

Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
But riches fineless is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
From jealousy!

OTHELLO

Why, why is this?
Think’st thou I’ld make a lie of jealousy,
To follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt
Is once to be resolved: exchange me for a goat,
When I shall turn the business of my soul
To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,
Matching thy inference. ‘Tis not to make me jealous
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well;
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt;
For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;
I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this,—
Away at once with love or jealousy!

IAGO

I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason
To show the love and duty that I bear you
With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure:
I would not have your free and noble nature,
Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to’t:
I know our country disposition well;
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
Is not to leave’t undone, but keep’t unknown.

OTHELLO

Dost thou say so?

IAGO

She did deceive her father, marrying you;
And when she seem’d to shake and fear your looks,
She loved them most.

OTHELLO

And so she did.

IAGO

Why, go to then;
She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
To seal her father’s eyes up close as oak-
He thought ’twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame;
I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
For too much loving you.

OTHELLO

I am bound to thee for ever.

IAGO

I see this hath a little dash’d your spirits.

OTHELLO

Not a jot, not a jot.

IAGO

I’ faith, I fear it has.
I hope you will consider what is spoke
Comes from my love. But I do see you’re moved:
I am to pray you not to strain my speech
To grosser issues nor to larger reach
Than to suspicion.

OTHELLO

I will not.

IAGO

Should you do so, my lord,
My speech should fall into such vile success
As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio’s my worthy friend—
My lord, I see you’re moved.

OTHELLO

No, not much moved:
I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.

IAGO

Long live she so! and long live you to think so!

OTHELLO

And yet, how nature erring from itself,—

IAGO

Ay, there’s the point: as—to be bold with you—
Not to affect many proposed matches
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank,
Foul disproportion thoughts unnatural.
But pardon me; I do not in position
Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms
And happily repent.

OTHELLO

Farewell, farewell:
If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
Set on thy wife to observe: leave me, Iago:

IAGO

[Going] My lord, I take my leave.

OTHELLO

Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtless
Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

IAGO

[Returning] My lord, I would I might entreat
your honour
To scan this thing no further; leave it to time:
Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
For sure, he fills it up with great ability,
Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
You shall by that perceive him and his means:
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment
With any strong or vehement importunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears—
As worthy cause I have to fear I am—
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour.

OTHELLO

Fear not my government.

IAGO

I once more take my leave.

Exit

OTHELLO

This fellow’s of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,
Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
I’ld whistle her off and let her down the wind,
To pray at fortune. Haply, for I am black
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have, or for I am declined
Into the vale of years,—yet that’s not much—
She’s gone. I am abused; and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses. Yet, ’tis the plague of great ones;
Prerogatived are they less than the base;
‘Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
Even then this forked plague is fated to us
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:

Re-enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA
If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!
I’ll not believe’t.

DESDEMONA

How now, my dear Othello!
Your dinner, and the generous islanders
By you invited, do attend your presence.

OTHELLO

I am to blame.

DESDEMONA

Why do you speak so faintly?
Are you not well?

OTHELLO

I have a pain upon my forehead here.

DESDEMONA

‘Faith, that’s with watching; ’twill away again:
Let me but bind it hard, within this hour
It will be well.

OTHELLO

Your napkin is too little:

He puts the handkerchief from him; and it drops
Let it alone. Come, I’ll go in with you.

DESDEMONA

I am very sorry that you are not well.

Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA

EMILIA

I am glad I have found this napkin:
This was her first remembrance from the Moor:
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Woo’d me to steal it; but she so loves the token,
For he conjured her she should ever keep it,
That she reserves it evermore about her
To kiss and talk to. I’ll have the work ta’en out,
And give’t Iago: what he will do with it
Heaven knows, not I;
I nothing but to please his fantasy.

Re-enter Iago

IAGO

How now! what do you here alone?

EMILIA

Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.

IAGO

A thing for me? it is a common thing—

EMILIA

Ha!

IAGO

To have a foolish wife.

EMILIA

O, is that all? What will you give me now
For the same handkerchief?

IAGO

What handkerchief?

EMILIA

What handkerchief?
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
That which so often you did bid me steal.

IAGO

Hast stol’n it from her?

EMILIA

No, ‘faith; she let it drop by negligence.
And, to the advantage, I, being here, took’t up.
Look, here it is.

IAGO

A good wench; give it me.

EMILIA

What will you do with ‘t, that you have been
so earnest
To have me filch it?

IAGO

[Snatching it] Why, what’s that to you?

EMILIA

If it be not for some purpose of import,
Give’t me again: poor lady, she’ll run mad
When she shall lack it.

IAGO

Be not acknown on ‘t; I have use for it.
Go, leave me.

Exit EMILIA
I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison:
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Look, where he comes!

Re-enter OTHELLO
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.

OTHELLO

Ha! ha! false to me?

IAGO

Why, how now, general! no more of that.

OTHELLO

Avaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:
I swear ’tis better to be much abused
Than but to know’t a little.

IAGO

How now, my lord!

OTHELLO

What sense had I of her stol’n hours of lust?
I saw’t not, thought it not, it harm’d not me:
I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
I found not Cassio’s kisses on her lips:
He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stol’n,
Let him not know’t, and he’s not robb’d at all.

IAGO

I am sorry to hear this.

OTHELLO

I had been happy, if the general camp,
Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove’s dead clamours counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello’s occupation’s gone!

IAGO

Is’t possible, my lord?

OTHELLO

Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
Or by the worth of man’s eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!

IAGO

Is’t come to this?

OTHELLO

Make me to see’t; or, at the least, so prove it,
That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!

IAGO

My noble lord,—

OTHELLO

If thou dost slander her and torture me,
Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
On horror’s head horrors accumulate;
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
For nothing canst thou to damnation add
Greater than that.

IAGO

O grace! O heaven forgive me!
Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?
God be wi’ you; take mine office. O wretched fool.
That livest to make thine honesty a vice!
O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world,
To be direct and honest is not safe.
I thank you for this profit; and from hence
I’ll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence.

OTHELLO

Nay, stay: thou shouldst be honest.

IAGO

I should be wise, for honesty’s a fool
And loses that it works for.

OTHELLO

By the world,
I think my wife be honest and think she is not;
I think that thou art just and think thou art not.
I’ll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh
As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black
As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives,
Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
I’ll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!

IAGO

I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion:
I do repent me that I put it to you.
You would be satisfied?

OTHELLO

Would! nay, I will.

IAGO

And may: but, how? how satisfied, my lord?
Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on—
Behold her topp’d?

OTHELLO

Death and damnation! O!

IAGO

It were a tedious difficulty, I think,
To bring them to that prospect: damn them then,
If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster
More than their own! What then? how then?
What shall I say? Where’s satisfaction?
It is impossible you should see this,
Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
If imputation and strong circumstances,
Which lead directly to the door of truth,
Will give you satisfaction, you may have’t.

OTHELLO

Give me a living reason she’s disloyal.

IAGO

I do not like the office:
But, sith I am enter’d in this cause so far,
Prick’d to’t by foolish honesty and love,
I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately;
And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
I could not sleep.
There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:
One of this kind is Cassio:
In sleep I heard him say ‘Sweet Desdemona,
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves;’
And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
Cry ‘O sweet creature!’ and then kiss me hard,
As if he pluck’d up kisses by the roots
That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
Over my thigh, and sigh’d, and kiss’d; and then
Cried ‘Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!’

OTHELLO

O monstrous! monstrous!

IAGO

Nay, this was but his dream.

OTHELLO

But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
‘Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.

IAGO

And this may help to thicken other proofs
That do demonstrate thinly.

OTHELLO

I’ll tear her all to pieces.

IAGO

Nay, but be wise: yet we see nothing done;
She may be honest yet. Tell me but this,
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief
Spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand?

OTHELLO

I gave her such a one; ’twas my first gift.

IAGO

I know not that; but such a handkerchief—
I am sure it was your wife’s—did I to-day
See Cassio wipe his beard with.

OTHELLO

If it be that—

IAGO

If it be that, or any that was hers,
It speaks against her with the other proofs.

OTHELLO

O, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
Now do I see ’tis true. Look here, Iago;
All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven.
‘Tis gone.
Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell!
Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
For ’tis of aspics’ tongues!

IAGO

Yet be content.

OTHELLO

O, blood, blood, blood!

IAGO

Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.

OTHELLO

Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
Shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to humble love,
Till that a capable and wide revenge
Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven,

Kneels
In the due reverence of a sacred vow
I here engage my words.

IAGO

Do not rise yet.

Kneels
Witness, you ever-burning lights above,
You elements that clip us round about,
Witness that here Iago doth give up
The execution of his wit, hands, heart,
To wrong’d Othello’s service! Let him command,
And to obey shall be in me remorse,
What bloody business ever.

They rise

OTHELLO

I greet thy love,
Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,
And will upon the instant put thee to’t:
Within these three days let me hear thee say
That Cassio’s not alive.

IAGO

My friend is dead; ’tis done at your request:
But let her live.

OTHELLO

Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,
To furnish me with some swift means of death
For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

IAGO

I am your own for ever.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Before the castle.

Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown

DESDEMONA

Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?

Clown

I dare not say he lies any where.

DESDEMONA

Why, man?

Clown

He’s a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
is stabbing.

DESDEMONA

Go to: where lodges he?

Clown

To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie.

DESDEMONA

Can any thing be made of this?

Clown

I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a
lodging and say he lies here or he lies there, were
to lie in mine own throat.

DESDEMONA

Can you inquire him out, and be edified by report?

Clown

I will catechise the world for him; that is, make
questions, and by them answer.

DESDEMONA

Seek him, bid him come hither: tell him I have
moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will be well.

Clown

To do this is within the compass of man’s wit: and
therefore I will attempt the doing it.

Exit

DESDEMONA

Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?

EMILIA

I know not, madam.

DESDEMONA

Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.

EMILIA

Is he not jealous?

DESDEMONA

Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
Drew all such humours from him.

EMILIA

Look, where he comes.

DESDEMONA

I will not leave him now till Cassio
Be call’d to him.

Enter OTHELLO
How is’t with you, my lord

OTHELLO

Well, my good lady.

Aside
O, hardness to dissemble!—
How do you, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA

Well, my good lord.

OTHELLO

Give me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.

DESDEMONA

It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

OTHELLO

This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:
Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires
A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,
Much castigation, exercise devout;
For here’s a young and sweating devil here,
That commonly rebels. ‘Tis a good hand,
A frank one.

DESDEMONA

You may, indeed, say so;
For ’twas that hand that gave away my heart.

OTHELLO

A liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.

DESDEMONA

I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.

OTHELLO

What promise, chuck?

DESDEMONA

I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

OTHELLO

I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.

DESDEMONA

Here, my lord.

OTHELLO

That which I gave you.

DESDEMONA

I have it not about me.

OTHELLO

Not?

DESDEMONA

No, indeed, my lord.

OTHELLO

That is a fault.
That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people: she told her, while
she kept it,
‘Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
Or made gift of it, my father’s eye
Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
To give it her. I did so: and take heed on’t;
Make it a darling like your precious eye;
To lose’t or give’t away were such perdition
As nothing else could match.

DESDEMONA

Is’t possible?

OTHELLO

‘Tis true: there’s magic in the web of it:
A sibyl, that had number’d in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury sew’d the work;
The worms were hallow’d that did breed the silk;
And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
Conserved of maidens’ hearts.

DESDEMONA

Indeed! is’t true?

OTHELLO

Most veritable; therefore look to’t well.

DESDEMONA

Then would to God that I had never seen’t!

OTHELLO

Ha! wherefore?

DESDEMONA

Why do you speak so startingly and rash?

OTHELLO

Is’t lost? is’t gone? speak, is it out
o’ the way?

DESDEMONA

Heaven bless us!

OTHELLO

Say you?

DESDEMONA

It is not lost; but what an if it were?

OTHELLO

How!

DESDEMONA

I say, it is not lost.

OTHELLO

Fetch’t, let me see’t.

DESDEMONA

Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
This is a trick to put me from my suit:
Pray you, let Cassio be received again.

OTHELLO

Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.

DESDEMONA

Come, come;
You’ll never meet a more sufficient man.

OTHELLO

The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA

I pray, talk me of Cassio.

OTHELLO

The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA

A man that all his time
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
Shared dangers with you,—

OTHELLO

The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA

In sooth, you are to blame.

OTHELLO

Away!

Exit

EMILIA

Is not this man jealous?

DESDEMONA

I ne’er saw this before.
Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief:
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

EMILIA

‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
To eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!

Enter CASSIO and IAGO

IAGO

There is no other way; ’tis she must do’t:
And, lo, the happiness! go, and importune her.

DESDEMONA

How now, good Cassio! what’s the news with you?

CASSIO

Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
That by your virtuous means I may again
Exist, and be a member of his love
Whom I with all the office of my heart
Entirely honour: I would not be delay’d.
If my offence be of such mortal kind
That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
Nor purposed merit in futurity,
Can ransom me into his love again,
But to know so must be my benefit;
So shall I clothe me in a forced content,
And shut myself up in some other course,
To fortune’s alms.

DESDEMONA

Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
My advocation is not now in tune;
My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
Were he in favour as in humour alter’d.
So help me every spirit sanctified,
As I have spoken for you all my best
And stood within the blank of his displeasure
For my free speech! you must awhile be patient:
What I can do I will; and more I will
Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.

IAGO

Is my lord angry?

EMILIA

He went hence but now,
And certainly in strange unquietness.

IAGO

Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
And, like the devil, from his very arm
Puff’d his own brother:—and can he be angry?
Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
There’s matter in’t indeed, if he be angry.

DESDEMONA

I prithee, do so.

Exit IAGO
Something, sure, of state,
Either from Venice, or some unhatch’d practise
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
Hath puddled his clear spirit: and in such cases
Men’s natures wrangle with inferior things,
Though great ones are their object. ‘Tis even so;
For let our finger ache, and it indues
Our other healthful members even to that sense
Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
Nor of them look for such observances
As fit the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,
I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
But now I find I had suborn’d the witness,
And he’s indicted falsely.

EMILIA

Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.

DESDEMONA

Alas the day! I never gave him cause.

EMILIA

But jealous souls will not be answer’d so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.

DESDEMONA

Heaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!

EMILIA

Lady, amen.

DESDEMONA

I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout:
If I do find him fit, I’ll move your suit
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

CASSIO

I humbly thank your ladyship.

Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA

Enter BIANCA

BIANCA

Save you, friend Cassio!

CASSIO

What make you from home?
How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
I’ faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.

BIANCA

And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lovers’ absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!

CASSIO

Pardon me, Bianca:
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press’d:
But I shall, in a more continuate time,
Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,

Giving her DESDEMONA’s handkerchief
Take me this work out.

BIANCA

O Cassio, whence came this?
This is some token from a newer friend:
To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
Is’t come to this? Well, well.

CASSIO

Go to, woman!
Throw your vile guesses in the devil’s teeth,
From whence you have them. You are jealous now
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
No, in good troth, Bianca.

BIANCA

Why, whose is it?

CASSIO

I know not, sweet: I found it in my chamber.
I like the work well: ere it be demanded—
As like enough it will—I’ld have it copied:
Take it, and do’t; and leave me for this time.

BIANCA

Leave you! wherefore?

CASSIO

I do attend here on the general;
And think it no addition, nor my wish,
To have him see me woman’d.

BIANCA

Why, I pray you?

CASSIO

Not that I love you not.

BIANCA

But that you do not love me.
I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
And say if I shall see you soon at night.

CASSIO

‘Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
For I attend here: but I’ll see you soon.

BIANCA

‘Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. Cyprus. Before the castle.

Enter OTHELLO and IAGO

IAGO

Will you think so?

OTHELLO

Think so, Iago!

IAGO

What,
To kiss in private?

OTHELLO

An unauthorized kiss.

IAGO

Or to be naked with her friend in bed
An hour or more, not meaning any harm?

OTHELLO

Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm!
It is hypocrisy against the devil:
They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.

IAGO

So they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip:
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,—

OTHELLO

What then?

IAGO

Why, then, ’tis hers, my lord; and, being hers,
She may, I think, bestow’t on any man.

OTHELLO

She is protectress of her honour too:
May she give that?

IAGO

Her honour is an essence that’s not seen;
They have it very oft that have it not:
But, for the handkerchief,—

OTHELLO

By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
Thou said’st, it comes o’er my memory,
As doth the raven o’er the infected house,
Boding to all—he had my handkerchief.

IAGO

Ay, what of that?

OTHELLO

That’s not so good now.

IAGO

What,
If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
Or heard him say,—as knaves be such abroad,
Who having, by their own importunate suit,
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
But they must blab—

OTHELLO

Hath he said any thing?

IAGO

He hath, my lord; but be you well assured,
No more than he’ll unswear.

OTHELLO

What hath he said?

IAGO

‘Faith, that he did—I know not what he did.

OTHELLO

What? what?

IAGO

Lie—

OTHELLO

With her?

IAGO

With her, on her; what you will.

OTHELLO

Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
they belie her. Lie with her! that’s fulsome.
—Handkerchief—confessions—handkerchief!—To
confess, and be hanged for his labour;—first, to be
hanged, and then to confess.—I tremble at it.
Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
passion without some instruction. It is not words
that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
—Is’t possible?—Confess—handkerchief!—O devil!—

Falls in a trance

IAGO

Work on,
My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught;
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
All guiltless, meet reproach. What, ho! my lord!
My lord, I say! Othello!

Enter CASSIO
How now, Cassio!

CASSIO

What’s the matter?

IAGO

My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy:
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.

CASSIO

Rub him about the temples.

IAGO

No, forbear;
The lethargy must have his quiet course:
If not, he foams at mouth and by and by
Breaks out to savage madness. Look he stirs:
Do you withdraw yourself a little while,
He will recover straight: when he is gone,
I would on great occasion speak with you.

Exit CASSIO
How is it, general? have you not hurt your head?

OTHELLO

Dost thou mock me?

IAGO

I mock you! no, by heaven.
Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

OTHELLO

A horned man’s a monster and a beast.

IAGO

There’s many a beast then in a populous city,
And many a civil monster.

OTHELLO

Did he confess it?

IAGO

Good sir, be a man;
Think every bearded fellow that’s but yoked
May draw with you: there’s millions now alive
That nightly lie in those unproper beds
Which they dare swear peculiar: your case is better.
O, ’tis the spite of hell, the fiend’s arch-mock,
To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

OTHELLO

O, thou art wise; ’tis certain.

IAGO

Stand you awhile apart;
Confine yourself but in a patient list.
Whilst you were here o’erwhelmed with your grief—
A passion most unsuiting such a man—
Cassio came hither: I shifted him away,
And laid good ‘scuse upon your ecstasy,
Bade him anon return and here speak with me;
The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
That dwell in every region of his face;
For I will make him tell the tale anew,
Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
He hath, and is again to cope your wife:
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
And nothing of a man.

OTHELLO

Dost thou hear, Iago?
I will be found most cunning in my patience;
But—dost thou hear?—most bloody.

IAGO

That’s not amiss;
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?

OTHELLO retires
Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
A housewife that by selling her desires
Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature
That dotes on Cassio; as ’tis the strumpet’s plague
To beguile many and be beguiled by one:
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain
From the excess of laughter. Here he comes:

Re-enter CASSIO
As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;
And his unbookish jealousy must construe
Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures and light behavior,
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieutenant?

CASSIO

The worser that you give me the addition
Whose want even kills me.

IAGO

Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on’t.

Speaking lower
Now, if this suit lay in Bianco’s power,
How quickly should you speed!

CASSIO

Alas, poor caitiff!

OTHELLO

Look, how he laughs already!

IAGO

I never knew woman love man so.

CASSIO

Alas, poor rogue! I think, i’ faith, she loves me.

OTHELLO

Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.

IAGO

Do you hear, Cassio?

OTHELLO

Now he importunes him
To tell it o’er: go to; well said, well said.

IAGO

She gives it out that you shall marry hey:
Do you intend it?

CASSIO

Ha, ha, ha!

OTHELLO

Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?

CASSIO

I marry her! what? a customer! Prithee, bear some
charity to my wit: do not think it so unwholesome.
Ha, ha, ha!

OTHELLO

So, so, so, so: they laugh that win.

IAGO

‘Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.

CASSIO

Prithee, say true.

IAGO

I am a very villain else.

OTHELLO

Have you scored me? Well.

CASSIO

This is the monkey’s own giving out: she is
persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love and
flattery, not out of my promise.

OTHELLO

Iago beckons me; now he begins the story.

CASSIO

She was here even now; she haunts me in every place.
I was the other day talking on the sea-bank with
certain Venetians; and thither comes the bauble,
and, by this hand, she falls me thus about my neck—

OTHELLO

Crying ‘O dear Cassio!’ as it were: his gesture
imports it.

CASSIO

So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me; so hales,
and pulls me: ha, ha, ha!

OTHELLO

Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber. O,
I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall
throw it to.

CASSIO

Well, I must leave her company.

IAGO

Before me! look, where she comes.

CASSIO

‘Tis such another fitchew! marry a perfumed one.

Enter BIANCA
What do you mean by this haunting of me?

BIANCA

Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did you
mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now?
I was a fine fool to take it. I must take out the
work?—A likely piece of work, that you should find
it in your chamber, and not know who left it there!
This is some minx’s token, and I must take out the
work? There; give it your hobby-horse: wheresoever
you had it, I’ll take out no work on’t.

CASSIO

How now, my sweet Bianca! how now! how now!

OTHELLO

By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!

BIANCA

An you’ll come to supper to-night, you may; an you
will not, come when you are next prepared for.

Exit

IAGO

After her, after her.

CASSIO

‘Faith, I must; she’ll rail in the street else.

IAGO

Will you sup there?

CASSIO

‘Faith, I intend so.

IAGO

Well, I may chance to see you; for I would very fain
speak with you.

CASSIO

Prithee, come; will you?

IAGO

Go to; say no more.

Exit CASSIO

OTHELLO

[Advancing] How shall I murder him, Iago?

IAGO

Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?

OTHELLO

O Iago!

IAGO

And did you see the handkerchief?

OTHELLO

Was that mine?

IAGO

Yours by this hand: and to see how he prizes the
foolish woman your wife! she gave it him, and he
hath given it his whore.

OTHELLO

I would have him nine years a-killing.
A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman!

IAGO

Nay, you must forget that.

OTHELLO

Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned to-night;
for she shall not live: no, my heart is turned to
stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the
world hath not a sweeter creature: she might lie by
an emperor’s side and command him tasks.

IAGO

Nay, that’s not your way.

OTHELLO

Hang her! I do but say what she is: so delicate
with her needle: an admirable musician: O! she
will sing the savageness out of a bear: of so high
and plenteous wit and invention:—

IAGO

She’s the worse for all this.

OTHELLO

O, a thousand thousand times: and then, of so
gentle a condition!

IAGO

Ay, too gentle.

OTHELLO

Nay, that’s certain: but yet the pity of it, Iago!
O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

IAGO

If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
patent to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes
near nobody.

OTHELLO

I will chop her into messes: cuckold me!

IAGO

O, ’tis foul in her.

OTHELLO

With mine officer!

IAGO

That’s fouler.

OTHELLO

Get me some poison, Iago; this night: I’ll not
expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty
unprovide my mind again: this night, Iago.

IAGO

Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even
the bed she hath contaminated.

OTHELLO

Good, good: the justice of it pleases: very good.

IAGO

And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker: you
shall hear more by midnight.

OTHELLO

Excellent good.

A trumpet within
What trumpet is that same?

IAGO

Something from Venice, sure. ‘Tis Lodovico
Come from the duke: and, see, your wife is with him.

Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

LODOVICO

Save you, worthy general!

OTHELLO

With all my heart, sir.

LODOVICO

The duke and senators of Venice greet you.

Gives him a letter

OTHELLO

I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.

Opens the letter, and reads

DESDEMONA

And what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?

IAGO

I am very glad to see you, signior
Welcome to Cyprus.

LODOVICO

I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?

IAGO

Lives, sir.

DESDEMONA

Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord
An unkind breach: but you shall make all well.

OTHELLO

Are you sure of that?

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

[Reads] ‘This fail you not to do, as you will—‘

LODOVICO

He did not call; he’s busy in the paper.
Is there division ‘twixt my lord and Cassio?

DESDEMONA

A most unhappy one: I would do much
To atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.

OTHELLO

Fire and brimstone!

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

Are you wise?

DESDEMONA

What, is he angry?

LODOVICO

May be the letter moved him;
For, as I think, they do command him home,
Deputing Cassio in his government.

DESDEMONA

Trust me, I am glad on’t.

OTHELLO

Indeed!

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

I am glad to see you mad.

DESDEMONA

Why, sweet Othello,—

OTHELLO

[Striking her] Devil!

DESDEMONA

I have not deserved this.

LODOVICO

My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
Though I should swear I saw’t: ’tis very much:
Make her amends; she weeps.

OTHELLO

O devil, devil!
If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears,
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
Out of my sight!

DESDEMONA

I will not stay to offend you.

Going

LODOVICO

Truly, an obedient lady:
I do beseech your lordship, call her back.

OTHELLO

Mistress!

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

What would you with her, sir?

LODOVICO

Who, I, my lord?

OTHELLO

Ay; you did wish that I would make her turn:
Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on,
And turn again; and she can weep, sir, weep;
And she’s obedient, as you say, obedient,
Very obedient. Proceed you in your tears.
Concerning this, sir,—O well-painted passion!—
I am commanded home. Get you away;
I’ll send for you anon. Sir, I obey the mandate,
And will return to Venice. Hence, avaunt!

Exit DESDEMONA
Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight,
I do entreat that we may sup together:
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.—Goats and monkeys!

Exit

LODOVICO

Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate
Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue
The shot of accident, nor dart of chance,
Could neither graze nor pierce?

IAGO

He is much changed.

LODOVICO

Are his wits safe? is he not light of brain?

IAGO

He’s that he is: I may not breathe my censure
What he might be: if what he might he is not,
I would to heaven he were!

LODOVICO

What, strike his wife!

IAGO

‘Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew
That stroke would prove the worst!

LODOVICO

Is it his use?
Or did the letters work upon his blood,
And new-create this fault?

IAGO

Alas, alas!
It is not honesty in me to speak
What I have seen and known. You shall observe him,
And his own courses will denote him so
That I may save my speech: do but go after,
And mark how he continues.

LODOVICO

I am sorry that I am deceived in him.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A room in the castle.

Enter OTHELLO and EMILIA

OTHELLO

You have seen nothing then?

EMILIA

Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.

OTHELLO

Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.

EMILIA

But then I saw no harm, and then I heard
Each syllable that breath made up between them.

OTHELLO

What, did they never whisper?

EMILIA

Never, my lord.

OTHELLO

Nor send you out o’ the way?

EMILIA

Never.

OTHELLO

To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?

EMILIA

Never, my lord.

OTHELLO

That’s strange.

EMILIA

I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other,
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.
If any wretch have put this in your head,
Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse!
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
There’s no man happy; the purest of their wives
Is foul as slander.

OTHELLO

Bid her come hither: go.

Exit EMILIA
She says enough; yet she’s a simple bawd
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,
A closet lock and key of villanous secrets
And yet she’ll kneel and pray; I have seen her do’t.

Enter DESDEMONA with EMILIA

DESDEMONA

My lord, what is your will?

OTHELLO

Pray, chuck, come hither.

DESDEMONA

What is your pleasure?

OTHELLO

Let me see your eyes;
Look in my face.

DESDEMONA

What horrible fancy’s this?

OTHELLO

[To EMILIA] Some of your function, mistress;
Leave procreants alone and shut the door;
Cough, or cry ‘hem,’ if any body come:
Your mystery, your mystery: nay, dispatch.

Exit EMILIA

DESDEMONA

Upon my knees, what doth your speech import?
I understand a fury in your words.
But not the words.

OTHELLO

Why, what art thou?

DESDEMONA

Your wife, my lord; your true
And loyal wife.

OTHELLO

Come, swear it, damn thyself
Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double damn’d:
Swear thou art honest.

DESDEMONA

Heaven doth truly know it.

OTHELLO

Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.

DESDEMONA

To whom, my lord? with whom? how am I false?

OTHELLO

O Desdemona! away! away! away!

DESDEMONA

Alas the heavy day! Why do you weep?
Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?
If haply you my father do suspect
An instrument of this your calling back,
Lay not your blame on me: If you have lost him,
Why, I have lost him too.

OTHELLO

Had it pleased heaven
To try me with affliction; had they rain’d
All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head.
Steep’d me in poverty to the very lips,
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
I should have found in some place of my soul
A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
A fixed figure for the time of scorn
To point his slow unmoving finger at!
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:
But there, where I have garner’d up my heart,
Where either I must live, or bear no life;
The fountain from the which my current runs,
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there,
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp’d cherubin,—
Ay, there, look grim as hell!

DESDEMONA

I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.

OTHELLO

O, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles,
That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed,
Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
ne’er been born!

DESDEMONA

Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?

OTHELLO

Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,
Made to write ‘whore’ upon? What committed!
Committed! O thou public commoner!
I should make very forges of my cheeks,
That would to cinders burn up modesty,
Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed!
Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks,
The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
Is hush’d within the hollow mine of earth,
And will not hear it. What committed!
Impudent strumpet!

DESDEMONA

By heaven, you do me wrong.

OTHELLO

Are you not a strumpet?

DESDEMONA

No, as I am a Christian:
If to preserve this vessel for my lord
From any other foul unlawful touch
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.

OTHELLO

What, not a whore?

DESDEMONA

No, as I shall be saved.

OTHELLO

Is’t possible?

DESDEMONA

O, heaven forgive us!

OTHELLO

I cry you mercy, then:
I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
That married with Othello.

Raising his voice
You, mistress,
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
And keep the gate of hell!

Re-enter EMILIA
You, you, ay, you!
We have done our course; there’s money for your pains:
I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel.

Exit

EMILIA

Alas, what does this gentleman conceive?
How do you, madam? how do you, my good lady?

DESDEMONA

‘Faith, half asleep.

EMILIA

Good madam, what’s the matter with my lord?

DESDEMONA

With who?

EMILIA

Why, with my lord, madam.

DESDEMONA

Who is thy lord?

EMILIA

He that is yours, sweet lady.

DESDEMONA

I have none: do not talk to me, Emilia;
I cannot weep; nor answer have I none,
But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember;
And call thy husband hither.

EMILIA

Here’s a change indeed!

Exit

DESDEMONA

‘Tis meet I should be used so, very meet.
How have I been behaved, that he might stick
The small’st opinion on my least misuse?

Re-enter EMILIA with IAGO

IAGO

What is your pleasure, madam?
How is’t with you?

DESDEMONA

I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes
Do it with gentle means and easy tasks:
He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,
I am a child to chiding.

IAGO

What’s the matter, lady?

EMILIA

Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her.
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her,
As true hearts cannot bear.

DESDEMONA

Am I that name, Iago?

IAGO

What name, fair lady?

DESDEMONA

Such as she says my lord did say I was.

EMILIA

He call’d her whore: a beggar in his drink
Could not have laid such terms upon his callat.

IAGO

Why did he so?

DESDEMONA

I do not know; I am sure I am none such.

IAGO

Do not weep, do not weep. Alas the day!

EMILIA

Hath she forsook so many noble matches,
Her father and her country and her friends,
To be call’d whore? would it not make one weep?

DESDEMONA

It is my wretched fortune.

IAGO

Beshrew him for’t!
How comes this trick upon him?

DESDEMONA

Nay, heaven doth know.

EMILIA

I will be hang’d, if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
Have not devised this slander; I’ll be hang’d else.

IAGO

Fie, there is no such man; it is impossible.

DESDEMONA

If any such there be, heaven pardon him!

EMILIA

A halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his bones!
Why should he call her whore? who keeps her company?
What place? what time? what form? what likelihood?
The Moor’s abused by some most villanous knave,
Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
O heaven, that such companions thou’ldst unfold,
And put in every honest hand a whip
To lash the rascals naked through the world
Even from the east to the west!

IAGO

Speak within door.

EMILIA

O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
That turn’d your wit the seamy side without,
And made you to suspect me with the Moor.

IAGO

You are a fool; go to.

DESDEMONA

O good Iago,
What shall I do to win my lord again?
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:
If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,
Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,
Delighted them in any other form;
Or that I do not yet, and ever did.
And ever will—though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;
And his unkindness may defeat my life,
But never taint my love. I cannot say ‘whore:’
It does abhor me now I speak the word;
To do the act that might the addition earn
Not the world’s mass of vanity could make me.

IAGO

I pray you, be content; ’tis but his humour:
The business of the state does him offence,
And he does chide with you.

DESDEMONA

If ’twere no other—

IAGO

‘Tis but so, I warrant.

Trumpets within
Hark, how these instruments summon to supper!
The messengers of Venice stay the meat;
Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.

Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA

Enter RODERIGO
How now, Roderigo!

RODERIGO

I do not find that thou dealest justly with me.

IAGO

What in the contrary?

RODERIGO

Every day thou daffest me with some device, Iago;
and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me
all conveniency than suppliest me with the least
advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure
it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what
already I have foolishly suffered.

IAGO

Will you hear me, Roderigo?

RODERIGO

‘Faith, I have heard too much, for your words and
performances are no kin together.

IAGO

You charge me most unjustly.

RODERIGO

With nought but truth. I have wasted myself out of
my means. The jewels you have had from me to
deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a
votarist: you have told me she hath received them
and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden
respect and acquaintance, but I find none.

IAGO

Well; go to; very well.

RODERIGO

Very well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor ’tis
not very well: nay, I think it is scurvy, and begin
to find myself fobbed in it.

IAGO

Very well.

RODERIGO

I tell you ’tis not very well. I will make myself
known to Desdemona: if she will return me my
jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my
unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I
will seek satisfaction of you.

IAGO

You have said now.

RODERIGO

Ay, and said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing.

IAGO

Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from
this instant to build on thee a better opinion than
ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo: thou hast
taken against me a most just exception; but yet, I
protest, I have dealt most directly in thy affair.

RODERIGO

It hath not appeared.

IAGO

I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your
suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But,
Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed, which I
have greater reason to believe now than ever, I mean
purpose, courage and valour, this night show it: if
thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona,
take me from this world with treachery and devise
engines for my life.

RODERIGO

Well, what is it? is it within reason and compass?

IAGO

Sir, there is especial commission come from Venice
to depute Cassio in Othello’s place.

RODERIGO

Is that true? why, then Othello and Desdemona
return again to Venice.

IAGO

O, no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away with
him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be
lingered here by some accident: wherein none can be
so determinate as the removing of Cassio.

RODERIGO

How do you mean, removing of him?

IAGO

Why, by making him uncapable of Othello’s place;
knocking out his brains.

RODERIGO

And that you would have me to do?

IAGO

Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right.
He sups to-night with a harlotry, and thither will I
go to him: he knows not yet of his horrorable
fortune. If you will watch his going thence, which
I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one,
you may take him at your pleasure: I will be near
to second your attempt, and he shall fall between
us. Come, stand not amazed at it, but go along with
me; I will show you such a necessity in his death
that you shall think yourself bound to put it on
him. It is now high suppertime, and the night grows
to waste: about it.

RODERIGO

I will hear further reason for this.

IAGO

And you shall be satisfied.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Another room In the castle.

Enter OTHELLO, LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, EMILIA and Attendants

LODOVICO

I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

OTHELLO

O, pardon me: ’twill do me good to walk.

LODOVICO

Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

DESDEMONA

Your honour is most welcome.

OTHELLO

Will you walk, sir?
O,—Desdemona,—

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned
forthwith: dismiss your attendant there: look it be done.

DESDEMONA

I will, my lord.

Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants

EMILIA

How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.

DESDEMONA

He says he will return incontinent:
He hath commanded me to go to bed,
And bade me to dismiss you.

EMILIA

Dismiss me!

DESDEMONA

It was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,.
Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
We must not now displease him.

EMILIA

I would you had never seen him!

DESDEMONA

So would not I my love doth so approve him,
That even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns—
Prithee, unpin me,—have grace and favour in them.

EMILIA

I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

DESDEMONA

All’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
If I do die before thee prithee, shroud me
In one of those same sheets.

EMILIA

Come, come you talk.

DESDEMONA

My mother had a maid call’d Barbara:
She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
And did forsake her: she had a song of ‘willow;’
An old thing ’twas, but it express’d her fortune,
And she died singing it: that song to-night
Will not go from my mind; I have much to do,
But to go hang my head all at one side,
And sing it like poor Barbara. Prithee, dispatch.

EMILIA

Shall I go fetch your night-gown?

DESDEMONA

No, unpin me here.
This Lodovico is a proper man.

EMILIA

A very handsome man.

DESDEMONA

He speaks well.

EMILIA

I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot
to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

DESDEMONA

[Singing] The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow:
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow:
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur’d her moans;
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d the stones;
Lay by these:—

Singing
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Prithee, hie thee; he’ll come anon:—

Singing
Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,-
Nay, that’s not next.—Hark! who is’t that knocks?

EMILIA

It’s the wind.

DESDEMONA

[Singing] I call’d my love false love; but what
said he then?
Sing willow, willow, willow:
If I court moe women, you’ll couch with moe men!
So, get thee gone; good night Ate eyes do itch;
Doth that bode weeping?

EMILIA

‘Tis neither here nor there.

DESDEMONA

I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!
Dost thou in conscience think,—tell me, Emilia,—
That there be women do abuse their husbands
In such gross kind?

EMILIA

There be some such, no question.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMILIA

Why, would not you?

DESDEMONA

No, by this heavenly light!

EMILIA

Nor I neither by this heavenly light;
I might do’t as well i’ the dark.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMILIA

The world’s a huge thing: it is a great price.
For a small vice.

DESDEMONA

In troth, I think thou wouldst not.

EMILIA

In troth, I think I should; and undo’t when I had
done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a
joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
exhibition; but for the whole world,—why, who would
not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
monarch? I should venture purgatory for’t.

DESDEMONA

Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
For the whole world.

EMILIA

Why the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world: and
having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your
own world, and you might quickly make it right.

DESDEMONA

I do not think there is any such woman.

EMILIA

Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would
store the world they played for.
But I do think it is their husbands’ faults
If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
Or scant our former having in despite;
Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have. What is it that they do
When they change us for others? Is it sport?
I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
I think it doth: is’t frailty that thus errs?
It is so too: and have not we affections,
Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Then let them use us well: else let them know,
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

DESDEMONA

Good night, good night: heaven me such uses send,
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Cyprus. A street.

Enter IAGO and RODERIGO

IAGO

Here, stand behind this bulk; straight will he come:
Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home:
Quick, quick; fear nothing; I’ll be at thy elbow:
It makes us, or it mars us; think on that,
And fix most firm thy resolution.

RODERIGO

Be near at hand; I may miscarry in’t.

IAGO

Here, at thy hand: be bold, and take thy stand.

Retires

RODERIGO

I have no great devotion to the deed;
And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons:
‘Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword: he dies.

IAGO

I have rubb’d this young quat almost to the sense,
And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio,
Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,
Every way makes my gain: live Roderigo,
He calls me to a restitution large
Of gold and jewels that I bobb’d from him,
As gifts to Desdemona;
It must not be: if Cassio do remain,
He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly; and, besides, the Moor
May unfold me to him; there stand I in much peril:
No, he must die. But so: I hear him coming.

Enter CASSIO

RODERIGO

I know his gait, ’tis he.—Villain, thou diest!

Makes a pass at CASSIO

CASSIO

That thrust had been mine enemy indeed,
But that my coat is better than thou know’st
I will make proof of thine.

Draws, and wounds RODERIGO

RODERIGO

O, I am slain!

IAGO from behind wounds CASSIO in the leg, and exit

CASSIO

I am maim’d for ever. Help, ho! murder! murder!

Falls

Enter OTHELLO

OTHELLO

The voice of Cassio: Iago keeps his word.

RODERIGO

O, villain that I am!

OTHELLO

It is even so.

CASSIO

O, help, ho! light! a surgeon!

OTHELLO

‘Tis he:—O brave Iago, honest and just,
That hast such noble sense of thy friend’s wrong!
Thou teachest me. Minion, your dear lies dead,
And your unblest fate hies: strumpet, I come.
Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;
Thy bed, lust-stain’d, shall with lust’s blood be spotted.

Exit

Enter LODOVICO and GRATIANO

CASSIO

What, ho! no watch? no passage? murder! murder!

GRATIANO

‘Tis some mischance; the cry is very direful.

CASSIO

O, help!

LODOVICO

Hark!

RODERIGO

O wretched villain!

LODOVICO

Two or three groan: it is a heavy night:
These may be counterfeits: let’s think’t unsafe
To come in to the cry without more help.

RODERIGO

Nobody come? then shall I bleed to death.

LODOVICO

Hark!

Re-enter IAGO, with a light

GRATIANO

Here’s one comes in his shirt, with light and weapons.

IAGO

Who’s there? whose noise is this that ones on murder?

LODOVICO

We do not know.

IAGO

Did not you hear a cry?

CASSIO

Here, here! for heaven’s sake, help me!

IAGO

What’s the matter?

GRATIANO

This is Othello’s ancient, as I take it.

LODOVICO

The same indeed; a very valiant fellow.

IAGO

What are you here that cry so grievously?

CASSIO

Iago? O, I am spoil’d, undone by villains!
Give me some help.

IAGO

O me, lieutenant! what villains have done this?

CASSIO

I think that one of them is hereabout,
And cannot make away.

IAGO

O treacherous villains!
What are you there? come in, and give some help.

To LODOVICO and GRATIANO

RODERIGO

O, help me here!

CASSIO

That’s one of them.

IAGO

O murderous slave! O villain!

Stabs RODERIGO

RODERIGO

O damn’d Iago! O inhuman dog!

IAGO

Kill men i’ the dark!—Where be these bloody thieves?—
How silent is this town!—Ho! murder! murder!—
What may you be? are you of good or evil?

LODOVICO

As you shall prove us, praise us.

IAGO

Signior Lodovico?

LODOVICO

He, sir.

IAGO

I cry you mercy. Here’s Cassio hurt by villains.

GRATIANO

Cassio!

IAGO

How is’t, brother!

CASSIO

My leg is cut in two.

IAGO

Marry, heaven forbid!
Light, gentlemen; I’ll bind it with my shirt.

Enter BIANCA

BIANCA

What is the matter, ho? who is’t that cried?

IAGO

Who is’t that cried!

BIANCA

O my dear Cassio! my sweet Cassio! O Cassio,
Cassio, Cassio!

IAGO

O notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect
Who they should be that have thus many led you?

CASSIO

No.

GRATIANO

I am to find you thus: I have been to seek you.

IAGO

Lend me a garter. So. O, for a chair,
To bear him easily hence!

BIANCA

Alas, he faints! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!

IAGO

Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash
To be a party in this injury.
Patience awhile, good Cassio. Come, come;
Lend me a light. Know we this face or no?
Alas my friend and my dear countryman
Roderigo! no:—yes, sure: O heaven! Roderigo.

GRATIANO

What, of Venice?

IAGO

Even he, sir; did you know him?

GRATIANO

Know him! ay.

IAGO

Signior Gratiano? I cry you gentle pardon;
These bloody accidents must excuse my manners,
That so neglected you.

GRATIANO

I am glad to see you.

IAGO

How do you, Cassio? O, a chair, a chair!

GRATIANO

Roderigo!

IAGO

He, he ’tis he.

A chair brought in
O, that’s well said; the chair!

GRATIANO

Some good man bear him carefully from hence;
I’ll fetch the general’s surgeon.

To BIANCA
For you, mistress,
Save you your labour. He that lies slain
here, Cassio,
Was my dear friend: what malice was between you?

CASSIO

None in the world; nor do I know the man.

IAGO

[To BIANCA] What, look you pale? O, bear him out
o’ the air.

CASSIO and RODERIGO are borne off
Stay you, good gentlemen. Look you pale, mistress?
Do you perceive the gastness of her eye?
Nay, if you stare, we shall hear more anon.
Behold her well; I pray you, look upon her:
Do you see, gentlemen? nay, guiltiness will speak,
Though tongues were out of use.

Enter EMILIA

EMILIA

‘Las, what’s the matter? what’s the matter, husband?

IAGO

Cassio hath here been set on in the dark
By Roderigo and fellows that are scaped:
He’s almost slain, and Roderigo dead.

EMILIA

Alas, good gentleman! alas, good Cassio!

IAGO

This is the fruit of whoring. Prithee, Emilia,
Go know of Cassio where he supp’d to-night.

To BIANCA
What, do you shake at that?

BIANCA

He supp’d at my house; but I therefore shake not.

IAGO

O, did he so? I charge you, go with me.

EMILIA

Fie, fie upon thee, strumpet!

BIANCA

I am no strumpet; but of life as honest
As you that thus abuse me.

EMILIA

As I! foh! fie upon thee!

IAGO

Kind gentlemen, let’s go see poor Cassio dress’d.
Come, mistress, you must tell’s another tale.
Emilia run you to the citadel,
And tell my lord and lady what hath happ’d.
Will you go on? I pray.

Aside
This is the night
That either makes me or fordoes me quite.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A bedchamber in the castle: DESDEMONA in bed asleep;

a light burning.

Enter OTHELLO

OTHELLO

It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,—
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!—
It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.
Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light:
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me: but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck’d the rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again.
It must needs wither: I’ll smell it on the tree.

Kissing her
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. One more, and this the last:
So sweet was ne’er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow’s heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.

DESDEMONA

Who’s there? Othello?

OTHELLO

Ay. Desdemona.

DESDEMONA

Will you come to bed, my lord?

OTHELLO

Have you pray’d to-night, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA

Ay, my lord.

OTHELLO

If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

DESDEMONA

Alas, my lord, what do you mean by that?

OTHELLO

Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by:
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No; heaven forfend! I would not kill thy soul.

DESDEMONA

Talk you of killing?

OTHELLO

Ay, I do.

DESDEMONA

Then heaven
Have mercy on me!

OTHELLO

Amen, with all my heart!

DESDEMONA

If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.

OTHELLO

Hum!

DESDEMONA

And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then
When your eyes roll so: why I should fear I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.

OTHELLO

Think on thy sins.

DESDEMONA

They are loves I bear to you.

OTHELLO

Ay, and for that thou diest.

DESDEMONA

That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.

OTHELLO

Peace, and be still!

DESDEMONA

I will so. What’s the matter?

OTHELLO

That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee
Thou gavest to Cassio.

DESDEMONA

No, by my life and soul!
Send for the man, and ask him.

OTHELLO

Sweet soul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy deathbed.

DESDEMONA

Ay, but not yet to die.

OTHELLO

Yes, presently:
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;
For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

DESDEMONA

Then Lord have mercy on me!

OTHELLO

I say, amen.

DESDEMONA

And have you mercy too! I never did
Offend you in my life; never loved Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love: I never gave him token.

OTHELLO

By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in’s hand.
O perjured woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And makest me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:
I saw the handkerchief.

DESDEMONA

He found it then;
I never gave it him: send for him hither;
Let him confess a truth.

OTHELLO

He hath confess’d.

DESDEMONA

What, my lord?

OTHELLO

That he hath used thee.

DESDEMONA

How? unlawfully?

OTHELLO

Ay.

DESDEMONA

He will not say so.

OTHELLO

No, his mouth is stopp’d;
Honest Iago hath ta’en order for’t.

DESDEMONA

O! my fear interprets: what, is he dead?

OTHELLO

Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.

DESDEMONA

Alas! he is betray’d and I undone.

OTHELLO

Out, strumpet! weep’st thou for him to my face?

DESDEMONA

O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!

OTHELLO

Down, strumpet!

DESDEMONA

Kill me to-morrow: let me live to-night!

OTHELLO

Nay, if you strive—

DESDEMONA

But half an hour!

OTHELLO

Being done, there is no pause.

DESDEMONA

But while I say one prayer!

OTHELLO

It is too late.

He stifles her

EMILIA

[Within] My lord , my lord! what, ho! my lord, my lord!

OTHELLO

What noise is this? Not dead? not yet quite dead?
I that am cruel am yet merciful;
I would not have thee linger in thy pain: So, so.

EMILIA

[Within] What, ho! my lord, my lord!

OTHELLO

Who’s there?

EMILIA

[Within] O, good my lord, I would speak a word with you!

OTHELLO

Yes: ’tis Emilia. By and by. She’s dead.
‘Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio’s death.—
The noise was here. Ha! no more moving?
Still as the grave. Shall she come in? were’t good?—
I think she stirs again:—no. What’s best to do?
If she come in, she’ll sure speak to my wife:
My wife! my wife! what wife? I have no wife.
O insupportable! O heavy hour!
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse
Of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe
Should yawn at alteration.

EMILIA

[Within] I do beseech you
That I may speak with you, O, good my lord!

OTHELLO

I had forgot thee: O, come in, Emilia;
Soft; by and by. Let me the curtains draw.
Where art thou?

Unlocks the door

Enter EMILIA
What’s the matter with thee now?

EMILIA

O, my good lord, yonder’s foul murders done!

OTHELLO

What, now?

EMILIA

But now, my lord.

OTHELLO

It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.

EMILIA

Cassio, my lord, hath kill’d a young Venetian
Call’d Roderigo.

OTHELLO

Roderigo kill’d!
And Cassio kill’d!

EMILIA

No, Cassio is not kill’d.

OTHELLO

Not Cassio kill’d! then murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.

DESDEMONA

O, falsely, falsely murder’d!

EMILIA

Alas, what cry is that?

OTHELLO

That! what?

EMILIA

Out, and alas! that was my lady’s voice.
Help! help, ho! help! O lady, speak again!
Sweet Desdemona! O sweet mistress, speak!

DESDEMONA

A guiltless death I die.

EMILIA

O, who hath done this deed?

DESDEMONA

Nobody; I myself. Farewell
Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!

Dies

OTHELLO

Why, how should she be murder’d?

EMILIA

Alas, who knows?

OTHELLO

You heard her say herself, it was not I.

EMILIA

She said so: I must needs report the truth.

OTHELLO

She’s, like a liar, gone to burning hell:
‘Twas I that kill’d her.

EMILIA

O, the more angel she,
And you the blacker devil!

OTHELLO

She turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.

EMILIA

Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.

OTHELLO

She was false as water.

EMILIA

Thou art rash as fire, to say
That she was false: O, she was heavenly true!

OTHELLO

Cassio did top her; ask thy husband else.
O, I were damn’d beneath all depth in hell,
But that I did proceed upon just grounds
To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.

EMILIA

My husband!

OTHELLO

Thy husband.

EMILIA

That she was false to wedlock?

OTHELLO

Ay, with Cassio. Nay, had she been true,
If heaven would make me such another world
Of one entire and Perfect chrysolite,
I’ld not have sold her for it.

EMILIA

My husband!

OTHELLO

Ay, ’twas he that told me first:
An honest man he is, and hates the slime
That sticks on filthy deeds.

EMILIA

My husband!

OTHELLO

What needs this iteration, woman? I say thy husband.

EMILIA

O mistress, villany hath made mocks with love,
My husband say that she was false!

OTHELLO

He, woman;
I say thy husband: dost understand the word?
My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.

EMILIA

If he say so, may his pernicious soul
Rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart:
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.

OTHELLO

Ha!

EMILIA

Do thy worst:
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven
Than thou wast worthy her.

OTHELLO

Peace, you were best.

EMILIA

Thou hast not half that power to do me harm
As I have to be hurt. O gull! O dolt!
As ignorant as dirt! thou hast done a deed—
I care not for thy sword; I’ll make thee known,
Though I lost twenty lives.—Help! help, ho! help!
The Moor hath kill’d my mistress! Murder! murder!

Enter MONTANO, GRATIANO, IAGO, and others

MONTANO

What is the matter? How now, general!

EMILIA

O, are you come, Iago? you have done well,
That men must lay their murders on your neck.

GRATIANO

What is the matter?

EMILIA

Disprove this villain, if thou be’st a man:
He says thou told’st him that his wife was false:
I know thou didst not, thou’rt not such a villain:
Speak, for my heart is full.

IAGO

I told him what I thought, and told no more
Than what he found himself was apt and true.

EMILIA

But did you ever tell him she was false?

IAGO

I did.

EMILIA

You told a lie, an odious, damned lie;
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
She false with Cassio!—did you say with Cassio?

IAGO

With Cassio, mistress. Go to, charm your tongue.

EMILIA

I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak:
My mistress here lies murder’d in her bed,—

All

O heavens forfend!

EMILIA

And your reports have set the murder on.

OTHELLO

Nay, stare not, masters: it is true, indeed.

GRATIANO

‘Tis a strange truth.

MONTANO

O monstrous act!

EMILIA

Villany, villany, villany!
I think upon’t, I think: I smell’t: O villany!—
I thought so then:—I’ll kill myself for grief:—
O villany, villany!

IAGO

What, are you mad? I charge you, get you home.

EMILIA

Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak:
‘Tis proper I obey him, but not now.
Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home.

OTHELLO

O! O! O!

He falls on the bed

EMILIA

Nay, lay thee down and roar;
For thou hast kill’d the sweetest innocent
That e’er did lift up eye.

OTHELLO

[Rising] O, she was foul!
I scarce did know you, uncle: there lies your niece,
Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopp’d:
I know this act shows horrible and grim.

GRATIANO

Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father’s dead:
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
Shore his old thread in twain: did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,
And fall to reprobation.

OTHELLO

‘Tis pitiful; but yet Iago knows
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame
A thousand times committed; Cassio confess’d it:
And she did gratify his amorous works
With that recognizance and pledge of love
Which I first gave her; I saw it in his hand:
It was a handkerchief, an antique token
My father gave my mother.

EMILIA

O heaven! O heavenly powers!

IAGO

Come, hold your peace.

EMILIA

‘Twill out, ’twill out: I peace!
No, I will speak as liberal as the north:
Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.

IAGO

Be wise, and get you home.

EMILIA

I will not.

IAGO offers to stab EMILIA

GRATIANO

Fie!
Your sword upon a woman?

EMILIA

O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak’st of
I found by fortune and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earnestness,
More than indeed belong’d to such a trifle,
He begg’d of me to steal it.

IAGO

Villanous whore!

EMILIA

She give it Cassio! no, alas! I found it,
And I did give’t my husband.

IAGO

Filth, thou liest!

EMILIA

By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen.
O murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool
Do with so good a woman?

OTHELLO

Are there no stones in heaven
But what serve for the thunder?—Precious villain!

He runs at IAGO IAGO, from behind, stabs EMILIA, and exit

GRATIANO

The woman falls; sure, he hath kill’d his wife.

EMILIA

Ay, ay: O, lay me by my mistress’ side.

GRATIANO

He’s gone, but his wife’s kill’d.

MONTANO

‘Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon,
Which I have here recover’d from the Moor:
Come, guard the door without; let him not pass,
But kill him rather. I’ll after that same villain,
For ’tis a damned slave.

Exeunt MONTANO and GRATIANO

OTHELLO

I am not valiant neither,
But ever puny whipster gets my sword:
But why should honour outlive honesty?
Let it go all.

EMILIA

What did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan.
And die in music.

Singing
Willow, willow, willow,—
Moor, she was chaste; she loved thee, cruel Moor;
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true;
So speaking as I think, I die, I die.

Dies

OTHELLO

I have another weapon in this chamber;
It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook’s temper:—
O, here it is. Uncle, I must come forth.

GRATIANO

[Within] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear:
Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer.

OTHELLO

Look in upon me then and speak with me,
Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee.

Re-enter GRATIANO

GRATIANO

What is the matter?

OTHELLO

Behold, I have a weapon;
A better never did itself sustain
Upon a soldier’s thigh: I have seen the day,
That, with this little arm and this good sword,
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop: but, O vain boast!
Who can control his fate? ’tis not so now.
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon’d;
Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
Do you go back dismay’d? ’tis a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello’s breast,
And he retires. Where should Othello go?
Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starr’d wench!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl!
Even like thy chastity. O cursed slave!
Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead!
Oh! Oh! Oh!

Enter LODOVICO. MONTANO, CASSIO carried in a chair, and Officers with IAGO, prisoner

LODOVICO

Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?

OTHELLO

That’s he that was Othello: here I am.

LODOVICO

Where is that viper? bring the villain forth.

OTHELLO

I look down towards his feet; but that’s a fable.
If that thou best a devil, I cannot kill thee.

Wounds IAGO

LODOVICO

Wrench his sword from him.

IAGO

I bleed, sir; but not kill’d.

OTHELLO

I am not sorry neither: I’ld have thee live;
For, in my sense, ’tis happiness to die.

LODOVICO

O thou Othello, thou wert once so good,
Fall’n in the practise of a damned slave,
What shall be said to thee?

OTHELLO

Why, any thing:
An honourable murderer, if you will;
For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.

LODOVICO

This wretch hath part confess’d his villany:
Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?

OTHELLO

Ay.

CASSIO

Dear general, I never gave you cause.

OTHELLO

I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil
Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?

IAGO

Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:
From this time forth I never will speak word.

LODOVICO

What, not to pray?

GRATIANO

Torments will ope your lips.

OTHELLO

Well, thou dost best.

LODOVICO

Sir, you shall understand what hath befall’n,
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter
Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo;
And here another: the one of them imports
The death of Cassio to be undertook
By Roderigo.

OTHELLO

O villain!

CASSIO

Most heathenish and most gross!

LODOVICO

Now here’s another discontented paper,
Found in his pocket too; and this, it seems,
Roderigo meant to have sent this damned villain;
But that belike Iago in the interim
Came in and satisfied him.

OTHELLO

O the pernicious caitiff!
How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief
That was my wife’s?

CASSIO

I found it in my chamber:
And he himself confess’d but even now
That there he dropp’d it for a special purpose
Which wrought to his desire.

OTHELLO

O fool! fool! fool!

CASSIO

There is besides in Roderigo’s letter,
How he upbraids Iago, that he made him
Brave me upon the watch; whereon it came
That I was cast: and even but now he spake,
After long seeming dead, Iago hurt him,
Iago set him on.

LODOVICO

You must forsake this room, and go with us:
Your power and your command is taken off,
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave,
If there be any cunning cruelty
That can torment him much and hold him long,
It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest,
Till that the nature of your fault be known
To the Venetian state. Come, bring him away.

OTHELLO

Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know’t.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.

Stabs himself

LODOVICO

O bloody period!

GRATIANO

All that’s spoke is marr’d.

OTHELLO

I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee: no way but this;
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.

Falls on the bed, and dies

CASSIO

This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon;
For he was great of heart.

LODOVICO

[To IAGO] O Spartan dog,
More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea!
Look on the tragic loading of this bed;
This is thy work: the object poisons sight;
Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house,
And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor,
For they succeed on you. To you, lord governor,
Remains the censure of this hellish villain;
The time, the place, the torture: O, enforce it!
Myself will straight aboard: and to the state
This heavy act with heavy heart relate.

Exeunt

The Tragedy of Macbeth

ACT I

SCENE I. A desert place.

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch

Where the place?

Second Witch

Upon the heath.

Third Witch

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch

Paddock calls.

Third Witch

Anon.

ALL

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A camp near Forres.

Alarum within. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant

DUNCAN

What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.

MALCOLM

This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
‘Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

Sergeant

Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show’d like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak:
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix’d his head upon our battlements.

DUNCAN

O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!

Sergeant

As whence the sun ‘gins his reflection
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had with valour arm’d
Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,
With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men
Began a fresh assault.

DUNCAN

Dismay’d not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

Sergeant

Yes;
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorise another Golgotha,
I cannot tell.
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

DUNCAN

So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons.

Exit Sergeant, attended
Who comes here?

Enter ROSS

MALCOLM

The worthy thane of Ross.

LENNOX

What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.

ROSS

God save the king!

DUNCAN

Whence camest thou, worthy thane?

ROSS

From Fife, great king;
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold. Norway himself,
With terrible numbers,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;
Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapp’d in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point rebellious, arm ‘gainst arm.
Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude,
The victory fell on us.

DUNCAN

Great happiness!

ROSS

That now
Sweno, the Norways’ king, craves composition:
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme’s inch
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

DUNCAN

No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.

ROSS

I’ll see it done.

DUNCAN

What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A heath near Forres.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch

Killing swine.

Third Witch

Sister, where thou?

First Witch

A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch’d, and munch’d, and munch’d:—
‘Give me,’ quoth I:
‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger:
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.

Second Witch

I’ll give thee a wind.

First Witch

Thou’rt kind.

Third Witch

And I another.

First Witch

I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I’ the shipman’s card.
I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se’nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
Look what I have.

Second Witch

Show me, show me.

First Witch

Here I have a pilot’s thumb,
Wreck’d as homeward he did come.

Drum within

Third Witch

A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come.

ALL

The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about:
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm’s wound up.

Enter MACBETH and BANQUO

MACBETH

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

BANQUO

How far is’t call’d to Forres? What are these
So wither’d and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth,
And yet are on’t? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her chappy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

MACBETH

Speak, if you can: what are you?

First Witch

All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch

All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch

All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

BANQUO

Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I’ the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.

First Witch

Hail!

Second Witch

Hail!

Third Witch

Hail!

First Witch

Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch

Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

First Witch

Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

MACBETH

Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

Witches vanish

BANQUO

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish’d?

MACBETH

Into the air; and what seem’d corporal melted
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay’d!

BANQUO

Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

MACBETH

Your children shall be kings.

BANQUO

You shall be king.

MACBETH

And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

BANQUO

To the selfsame tune and words. Who’s here?

Enter ROSS and ANGUS

ROSS

The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend
Which should be thine or his: silenced with that,
In viewing o’er the rest o’ the selfsame day,
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
Strange images of death. As thick as hail
Came post with post; and every one did bear
Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defence,
And pour’d them down before him.

ANGUS

We are sent
To give thee from our royal master thanks;
Only to herald thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.

ROSS

And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor:
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane!
For it is thine.

BANQUO

What, can the devil speak true?

MACBETH

The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
In borrow’d robes?

ANGUS

Who was the thane lives yet;
But under heavy judgment bears that life
Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
With hidden help and vantage, or that with both
He labour’d in his country’s wreck, I know not;
But treasons capital, confess’d and proved,
Have overthrown him.

MACBETH

[Aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!
The greatest is behind.

To ROSS and ANGUS
Thanks for your pains.

To BANQUO
Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me
Promised no less to them?

BANQUO

That trusted home
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.
Cousins, a word, I pray you.

MACBETH

[Aside] Two truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen.

Aside
Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not.

BANQUO

Look, how our partner’s rapt.

MACBETH

[Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
Without my stir.

BANQUO

New horrors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use.

MACBETH

[Aside] Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

BANQUO

Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

MACBETH

Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought
With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
Are register’d where every day I turn
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.
Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time,
The interim having weigh’d it, let us speak
Our free hearts each to other.

BANQUO

Very gladly.

MACBETH

Till then, enough. Come, friends.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Forres. The palace.

Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants

DUNCAN

Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
Those in commission yet return’d?

MALCOLM

My liege,
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
With one that saw him die: who did report
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,
Implored your highness’ pardon and set forth
A deep repentance: nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As ’twere a careless trifle.

DUNCAN

There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face:
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.

Enter MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS
O worthiest cousin!
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me: thou art so far before
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
That the proportion both of thanks and payment
Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay.

MACBETH

The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness’ part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour.

DUNCAN

Welcome hither:
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
And hold thee to my heart.

BANQUO

There if I grow,
The harvest is your own.

DUNCAN

My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
And you whose places are the nearest, know
We will establish our estate upon
Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
Not unaccompanied invest him only,
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
And bind us further to you.

MACBETH

The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
The hearing of my wife with your approach;
So humbly take my leave.

DUNCAN

My worthy Cawdor!

MACBETH

[Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

Exit

DUNCAN

True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
And in his commendations I am fed;
It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
It is a peerless kinsman.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE V. Inverness. Macbeth’s castle.

Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter

LADY MACBETH

‘They met me in the day of success: and I have
learned by the perfectest report, they have more in
them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire
to question them further, they made themselves air,
into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in
the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who
all-hailed me ‘Thane of Cawdor;’ by which title,
before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred
me to the coming on of time, with ‘Hail, king that
shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver
thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it
to thy heart, and farewell.’
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou’ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries ‘Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.’ Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown’d withal.

Enter a Messenger
What is your tidings?

Messenger

The king comes here to-night.

LADY MACBETH

Thou’rt mad to say it:
Is not thy master with him? who, were’t so,
Would have inform’d for preparation.

Messenger

So please you, it is true: our thane is coming:
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
Than would make up his message.

LADY MACBETH

Give him tending;
He brings great news.

Exit Messenger
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

Enter MACBETH
Great Glamis! worthy Cawdor!
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.

MACBETH

My dearest love,
Duncan comes here to-night.

LADY MACBETH

And when goes hence?

MACBETH

To-morrow, as he purposes.

LADY MACBETH

O, never
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t. He that’s coming
Must be provided for: and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch;
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

MACBETH

We will speak further.

LADY MACBETH

Only look up clear;
To alter favour ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Before Macbeth’s castle.

Hautboys and torches. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, BANQUO, LENNOX, MACDUFF, ROSS, ANGUS, and Attendants

DUNCAN

This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.

BANQUO

This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven’s breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate.

Enter LADY MACBETH

DUNCAN

See, see, our honour’d hostess!
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
How you shall bid God ‘ild us for your pains,
And thank us for your trouble.

LADY MACBETH

All our service
In every point twice done and then done double
Were poor and single business to contend
Against those honours deep and broad wherewith
Your majesty loads our house: for those of old,
And the late dignities heap’d up to them,
We rest your hermits.

DUNCAN

Where’s the thane of Cawdor?
We coursed him at the heels, and had a purpose
To be his purveyor: but he rides well;
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him
To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,
We are your guest to-night.

LADY MACBETH

Your servants ever
Have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt,
To make their audit at your highness’ pleasure,
Still to return your own.

DUNCAN

Give me your hand;
Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
And shall continue our graces towards him.
By your leave, hostess.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. Macbeth’s castle.

Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Servants with dishes and service, and pass over the stage. Then enter MACBETH

MACBETH

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust;
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

Enter LADY MACBETH
How now! what news?

LADY MACBETH

He has almost supp’d: why have you left the chamber?

MACBETH

Hath he ask’d for me?

LADY MACBETH

Know you not he has?

MACBETH

We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.

LADY MACBETH

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?

MACBETH

Prithee, peace:
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.

LADY MACBETH

What beast was’t, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.

MACBETH

If we should fail?

LADY MACBETH

We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—
Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
Soundly invite him—his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?

MACBETH

Bring forth men-children only;
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done’t?

LADY MACBETH

Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
Upon his death?

MACBETH

I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. Court of Macbeth’s castle.

Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE bearing a torch before him

BANQUO

How goes the night, boy?

FLEANCE

The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.

BANQUO

And she goes down at twelve.

FLEANCE

I take’t, ’tis later, sir.

BANQUO

Hold, take my sword. There’s husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose!

Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch
Give me my sword.
Who’s there?

MACBETH

A friend.

BANQUO

What, sir, not yet at rest? The king’s a-bed:
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
Sent forth great largess to your offices.
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up
In measureless content.

MACBETH

Being unprepared,
Our will became the servant to defect;
Which else should free have wrought.

BANQUO

All’s well.
I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
To you they have show’d some truth.

MACBETH

I think not of them:
Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
We would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.

BANQUO

At your kind’st leisure.

MACBETH

If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,
It shall make honour for you.

BANQUO

So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
I shall be counsell’d.

MACBETH

Good repose the while!

BANQUO

Thanks, sir: the like to you!

Exeunt BANQUO and FLEANCE

MACBETH

Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.

Exit Servant
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There’s no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,
Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

A bell rings
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

Exit

SCENE II. The same.

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;
What hath quench’d them hath given me fire.
Hark! Peace!
It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it:
The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg’d
their possets,
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live or die.

MACBETH

[Within] Who’s there? what, ho!

LADY MACBETH

Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,
And ’tis not done. The attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss ’em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done’t.

Enter MACBETH
My husband!

MACBETH

I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?

MACBETH

When?

LADY MACBETH

Now.

MACBETH

As I descended?

LADY MACBETH

Ay.

MACBETH

Hark!
Who lies i’ the second chamber?

LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

MACBETH

This is a sorry sight.

Looking on his hands

LADY MACBETH

A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

MACBETH

There’s one did laugh in’s sleep, and one cried
‘Murder!’
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them:
But they did say their prayers, and address’d them
Again to sleep.

LADY MACBETH

There are two lodged together.

MACBETH

One cried ‘God bless us!’ and ‘Amen’ the other;
As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.
Listening their fear, I could not say ‘Amen,’
When they did say ‘God bless us!’

LADY MACBETH

Consider it not so deeply.

MACBETH

But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’?
I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’
Stuck in my throat.

LADY MACBETH

These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.

MACBETH

Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast,—

LADY MACBETH

What do you mean?

MACBETH

Still it cried ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house:
‘Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.’

LADY MACBETH

Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.

MACBETH

I’ll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on’t again I dare not.

LADY MACBETH

Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: ’tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal;
For it must seem their guilt.

Exit. Knocking within

MACBETH

Whence is that knocking?
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

Re-enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

My hands are of your colour; but I shame
To wear a heart so white.

Knocking within
I hear a knocking
At the south entry: retire we to our chamber;
A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.

Knocking within
Hark! more knocking.
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.

MACBETH

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

Knocking within
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!

Exeunt

SCENE III. The same.

Knocking within. Enter a Porter

Porter

Here’s a knocking indeed! If a
man were porter of hell-gate, he should have
old turning the key.

Knocking within
Knock,
knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ the name of
Beelzebub? Here’s a farmer, that hanged
himself on the expectation of plenty: come in
time; have napkins enow about you; here
you’ll sweat for’t.

Knocking within
Knock,
knock! Who’s there, in the other devil’s
name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could
swear in both the scales against either scale;
who committed treason enough for God’s sake,
yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come
in, equivocator.

Knocking within
Knock,
knock, knock! Who’s there? Faith, here’s an
English tailor come hither, for stealing out of
a French hose: come in, tailor; here you may
roast your goose.

Knocking within
Knock,
knock; never at quiet! What are you? But
this place is too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter
it no further: I had thought to have let in
some of all professions that go the primrose
way to the everlasting bonfire.

Knocking within
Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

Opens the gate

Enter MACDUFF and LENNOX

MACDUFF

Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
That you do lie so late?

Porter

‘Faith sir, we were carousing till the
second cock: and drink, sir, is a great
provoker of three things.

MACDUFF

What three things does drink especially provoke?

Porter

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and
urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
it provokes the desire, but it takes
away the performance: therefore, much drink
may be said to be an equivocator with lechery:
it makes him, and it mars him; it sets
him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him,
and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and
not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him
in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.

MACDUFF

I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.

Porter

That it did, sir, i’ the very throat on
me: but I requited him for his lie; and, I
think, being too strong for him, though he took
up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast
him.

MACDUFF

Is thy master stirring?

Enter MACBETH
Our knocking has awaked him; here he comes.

LENNOX

Good morrow, noble sir.

MACBETH

Good morrow, both.

MACDUFF

Is the king stirring, worthy thane?

MACBETH

Not yet.

MACDUFF

He did command me to call timely on him:
I have almost slipp’d the hour.

MACBETH

I’ll bring you to him.

MACDUFF

I know this is a joyful trouble to you;
But yet ’tis one.

MACBETH

The labour we delight in physics pain.
This is the door.

MACDUFF

I’ll make so bold to call,
For ’tis my limited service.

Exit

LENNOX

Goes the king hence to-day?

MACBETH

He does: he did appoint so.

LENNOX

The night has been unruly: where we lay,
Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,
Lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death,
And prophesying with accents terrible
Of dire combustion and confused events
New hatch’d to the woeful time: the obscure bird
Clamour’d the livelong night: some say, the earth
Was feverous and did shake.

MACBETH

‘Twas a rough night.

LENNOX

My young remembrance cannot parallel
A fellow to it.

Re-enter MACDUFF

MACDUFF

O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee!

MACBETH LENNOX

What’s the matter.

MACDUFF

Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord’s anointed temple, and stole thence
The life o’ the building!

MACBETH

What is ‘t you say? the life?

LENNOX

Mean you his majesty?

MACDUFF

Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak;
See, and then speak yourselves.

Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX
Awake, awake!
Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake!
Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit,
And look on death itself! up, up, and see
The great doom’s image! Malcolm! Banquo!
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,
To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.

Bell rings

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

What’s the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? speak, speak!

MACDUFF

O gentle lady,
‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
The repetition, in a woman’s ear,
Would murder as it fell.

Enter BANQUO
O Banquo, Banquo,
Our royal master ‘s murder’d!

LADY MACBETH

Woe, alas!
What, in our house?

BANQUO

Too cruel any where.
Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
And say it is not so.

Re-enter MACBETH and LENNOX, with ROSS

MACBETH

Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant,
There ‘s nothing serious in mortality:
All is but toys: renown and grace is dead;
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.

Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

DONALBAIN

What is amiss?

MACBETH

You are, and do not know’t:
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopp’d; the very source of it is stopp’d.

MACDUFF

Your royal father ‘s murder’d.

MALCOLM

O, by whom?

LENNOX

Those of his chamber, as it seem’d, had done ‘t:
Their hands and faces were an badged with blood;
So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
Upon their pillows:
They stared, and were distracted; no man’s life
Was to be trusted with them.

MACBETH

O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.

MACDUFF

Wherefore did you so?

MACBETH

Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:
The expedition my violent love
Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood;
And his gash’d stabs look’d like a breach in nature
For ruin’s wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,
Steep’d in the colours of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breech’d with gore: who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make ‘s love kno wn?

LADY MACBETH

Help me hence, ho!

MACDUFF

Look to the lady.

MALCOLM

[Aside to DONALBAIN] Why do we hold our tongues,
That most may claim this argument for ours?

DONALBAIN

[Aside to MALCOLM] What should be spoken here,
where our fate,
Hid in an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us?
Let ‘s away;
Our tears are not yet brew’d.

MALCOLM

[Aside to DONALBAIN] Nor our strong sorrow
Upon the foot of motion.

BANQUO

Look to the lady:

LADY MACBETH is carried out
And when we have our naked frailties hid,
That suffer in exposure, let us meet,
And question this most bloody piece of work,
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us:
In the great hand of God I stand; and thence
Against the undivulged pretence I fight
Of treasonous malice.

MACDUFF

And so do I.

ALL

So all.

MACBETH

Let’s briefly put on manly readiness,
And meet i’ the hall together.

ALL

Well contented.

Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain.

MALCOLM

What will you do? Let’s not consort with them:
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
Which the false man does easy. I’ll to England.

DONALBAIN

To Ireland, I; our separated fortune
Shall keep us both the safer: where we are,
There’s daggers in men’s smiles: the near in blood,
The nearer bloody.

MALCOLM

This murderous shaft that’s shot
Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse;
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
But shift away: there’s warrant in that theft
Which steals itself, when there’s no mercy left.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Outside Macbeth’s castle.

Enter ROSS and an old Man

Old Man

Threescore and ten I can remember well:
Within the volume of which time I have seen
Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.

ROSS

Ah, good father,
Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, ’tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp:
Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?

Old Man

‘Tis unnatural,
Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,
A falcon, towering in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at and kill’d.

ROSS

And Duncan’s horses—a thing most strange and certain—
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
Turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
Contending ‘gainst obedience, as they would make
War with mankind.

Old Man

‘Tis said they eat each other.

ROSS

They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes
That look’d upon’t. Here comes the good Macduff.

Enter MACDUFF
How goes the world, sir, now?

MACDUFF

Why, see you not?

ROSS

Is’t known who did this more than bloody deed?

MACDUFF

Those that Macbeth hath slain.

ROSS

Alas, the day!
What good could they pretend?

MACDUFF

They were suborn’d:
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons,
Are stol’n away and fled; which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed.

ROSS

‘Gainst nature still!
Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
Thine own life’s means! Then ’tis most like
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.

MACDUFF

He is already named, and gone to Scone
To be invested.

ROSS

Where is Duncan’s body?

MACDUFF

Carried to Colmekill,
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
And guardian of their bones.

ROSS

Will you to Scone?

MACDUFF

No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.

ROSS

Well, I will thither.

MACDUFF

Well, may you see things well done there: adieu!
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!

ROSS

Farewell, father.

Old Man

God’s benison go with you; and with those
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. Forres. The palace.

Enter BANQUO

BANQUO

Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised, and, I fear,
Thou play’dst most foully for’t: yet it was said
It should not stand in thy posterity,
But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings. If there come truth from them—
As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—
Why, by the verities on thee made good,
May they not be my oracles as well,
And set me up in hope? But hush! no more.

Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king, LADY MACBETH, as queen, LENNOX, ROSS, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants

MACBETH

Here’s our chief guest.

LADY MACBETH

If he had been forgotten,
It had been as a gap in our great feast,
And all-thing unbecoming.

MACBETH

To-night we hold a solemn supper sir,
And I’ll request your presence.

BANQUO

Let your highness
Command upon me; to the which my duties
Are with a most indissoluble tie
For ever knit.

MACBETH

Ride you this afternoon?

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord.

MACBETH

We should have else desired your good advice,
Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
In this day’s council; but we’ll take to-morrow.
Is’t far you ride?

BANQUO

As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
‘Twixt this and supper: go not my horse the better,
I must become a borrower of the night
For a dark hour or twain.

MACBETH

Fail not our feast.

BANQUO

My lord, I will not.

MACBETH

We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow’d
In England and in Ireland, not confessing
Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
With strange invention: but of that to-morrow,
When therewithal we shall have cause of state
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu,
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord: our time does call upon ‘s.

MACBETH

I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
And so I do commend you to their backs. Farewell.

Exit BANQUO
Let every man be master of his time
Till seven at night: to make society
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
Till supper-time alone: while then, God be with you!

Exeunt all but MACBETH, and an attendant
Sirrah, a word with you: attend those men
Our pleasure?

ATTENDANT

They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

MACBETH

Bring them before us.

Exit Attendant
To be thus is nothing;
But to be safely thus.—Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear’d: ’tis much he dares;
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none but he
Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said,
Mark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
When first they put the name of king upon me,
And bade them speak to him: then prophet-like
They hail’d him father to a line of kings:
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If ‘t be so,
For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come fate into the list.
And champion me to the utterance! Who’s there!

Re-enter Attendant, with two Murderers
Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.

Exit Attendant
Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

First Murderer

It was, so please your highness.

MACBETH

Well then, now
Have you consider’d of my speeches? Know
That it was he in the times past which held you
So under fortune, which you thought had been
Our innocent self: this I made good to you
In our last conference, pass’d in probation with you,
How you were borne in hand, how cross’d,
the instruments,
Who wrought with them, and all things else that might
To half a soul and to a notion crazed
Say ‘Thus did Banquo.’

First Murderer

You made it known to us.

MACBETH

I did so, and went further, which is now
Our point of second meeting. Do you find
Your patience so predominant in your nature
That you can let this go? Are you so gospell’d
To pray for this good man and for his issue,
Whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the grave
And beggar’d yours for ever?

First Murderer

We are men, my liege.

MACBETH

Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept
All by the name of dogs: the valued file
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous nature
Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive
Particular addition. from the bill
That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,
Not i’ the worst rank of manhood, say ‘t;
And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off,
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.

Second Murderer

I am one, my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incensed that I am reckless what
I do to spite the world.

First Murderer

And I another
So weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune,
That I would set my lie on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on’t.

MACBETH

Both of you
Know Banquo was your enemy.

Both Murderers

True, my lord.

MACBETH

So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,
That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my near’st of life: and though I could
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
For certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
Who I myself struck down; and thence it is,
That I to your assistance do make love,
Masking the business from the common eye
For sundry weighty reasons.

Second Murderer

We shall, my lord,
Perform what you command us.

First Murderer

Though our lives—

MACBETH

Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most
I will advise you where to plant yourselves;
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ the time,
The moment on’t; for’t must be done to-night,
And something from the palace; always thought
That I require a clearness: and with him—
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—
Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
Whose absence is no less material to me
Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart:
I’ll come to you anon.

Both Murderers

We are resolved, my lord.

MACBETH

I’ll call upon you straight: abide within.

Exeunt Murderers
It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight,
If it find heaven, must find it out to-night.

Exit

SCENE II. The palace.

Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant

LADY MACBETH

Is Banquo gone from court?

Servant

Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.

LADY MACBETH

Say to the king, I would attend his leisure
For a few words.

Servant

Madam, I will.

Exit

LADY MACBETH

Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content:
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

Enter MACBETH
How now, my lord! why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done is done.

MACBETH

We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it:
She’ll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the
worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly: better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well;
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.

LADY MACBETH

Come on;
Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks;
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.

MACBETH

So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you:
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
Unsafe the while, that we
Must lave our honours in these flattering streams,
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are.

LADY MACBETH

You must leave this.

MACBETH

O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.

LADY MACBETH

But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.

MACBETH

There’s comfort yet; they are assailable;
Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.

LADY MACBETH

What’s to be done?

MACBETH

Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.
Thou marvell’st at my words: but hold thee still;
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
So, prithee, go with me.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A park near the palace.

Enter three Murderers

First Murderer

But who did bid thee join with us?

Third Murderer

Macbeth.

Second Murderer

He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers
Our offices and what we have to do
To the direction just.

First Murderer

Then stand with us.
The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:
Now spurs the lated traveller apace
To gain the timely inn; and near approaches
The subject of our watch.

Third Murderer

Hark! I hear horses.

BANQUO

[Within] Give us a light there, ho!

Second Murderer

Then ’tis he: the rest
That are within the note of expectation
Already are i’ the court.

First Murderer

His horses go about.

Third Murderer

Almost a mile: but he does usually,
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate
Make it their walk.

Second Murderer

A light, a light!

Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE with a torch

Third Murderer

‘Tis he.

First Murderer

Stand to’t.

BANQUO

It will be rain to-night.

First Murderer

Let it come down.

They set upon BANQUO

BANQUO

O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
Thou mayst revenge. O slave!

Dies. FLEANCE escapes

Third Murderer

Who did strike out the light?

First Murderer

Wast not the way?

Third Murderer

There’s but one down; the son is fled.

Second Murderer

We have lost
Best half of our affair.

First Murderer

Well, let’s away, and say how much is done.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same. Hall in the palace.

A banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants

MACBETH

You know your own degrees; sit down: at first
And last the hearty welcome.

Lords

Thanks to your majesty.

MACBETH

Ourself will mingle with society,
And play the humble host.
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
We will require her welcome.

LADY MACBETH

Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends;
For my heart speaks they are welcome.

First Murderer appears at the door

MACBETH

See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks.
Both sides are even: here I’ll sit i’ the midst:
Be large in mirth; anon we’ll drink a measure
The table round.

Approaching the door
There’s blood on thy face.

First Murderer

‘Tis Banquo’s then.

MACBETH

‘Tis better thee without than he within.
Is he dispatch’d?

First Murderer

My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.

MACBETH

Thou art the best o’ the cut-throats: yet he’s good
That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,
Thou art the nonpareil.

First Murderer

Most royal sir,
Fleance is ‘scaped.

MACBETH

Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air:
But now I am cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo’s safe?

First Murderer

Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenched gashes on his head;
The least a death to nature.

MACBETH

Thanks for that:
There the grown serpent lies; the worm that’s fled
Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
No teeth for the present. Get thee gone: to-morrow
We’ll hear, ourselves, again.

Exit Murderer

LADY MACBETH

My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold
That is not often vouch’d, while ’tis a-making,
‘Tis given with welcome: to feed were best at home;
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.

MACBETH

Sweet remembrancer!
Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
And health on both!

LENNOX

May’t please your highness sit.

The GHOST OF BANQUO enters, and sits in MACBETH’s place

MACBETH

Here had we now our country’s honour roof’d,
Were the graced person of our Banquo present;
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
Than pity for mischance!

ROSS

His absence, sir,
Lays blame upon his promise. Please’t your highness
To grace us with your royal company.

MACBETH

The table’s full.

LENNOX

Here is a place reserved, sir.

MACBETH

Where?

LENNOX

Here, my good lord. What is’t that moves your highness?

MACBETH

Which of you have done this?

Lords

What, my good lord?

MACBETH

Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
Thy gory locks at me.

ROSS

Gentlemen, rise: his highness is not well.

LADY MACBETH

Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus,
And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat;
The fit is momentary; upon a thought
He will again be well: if much you note him,
You shall offend him and extend his passion:
Feed, and regard him not. Are you a man?

MACBETH

Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil.

LADY MACBETH

O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear:
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,
You look but on a stool.

MACBETH

Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo!
how say you?
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel-houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites.

GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes

LADY MACBETH

What, quite unmann’d in folly?

MACBETH

If I stand here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH

Fie, for shame!

MACBETH

Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ the olden time,
Ere human statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform’d
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: this is more strange
Than such a murder is.

LADY MACBETH

My worthy lord,
Your noble friends do lack you.

MACBETH

I do forget.
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends,
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;
Then I’ll sit down. Give me some wine; fill full.
I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table,
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,
And all to all.

Lords

Our duties, and the pledge.

Re-enter GHOST OF BANQUO

MACBETH

Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!

LADY MACBETH

Think of this, good peers,
But as a thing of custom: ’tis no other;
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

MACBETH

What man dare, I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm’d rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble: or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!

GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes
Why, so: being gone,
I am a man again. Pray you, sit still.

LADY MACBETH

You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
With most admired disorder.

MACBETH

Can such things be,
And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
Without our special wonder? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe,
When now I think you can behold such sights,
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
When mine is blanched with fear.

ROSS

What sights, my lord?

LADY MACBETH

I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
Question enrages him. At once, good night:
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.

LENNOX

Good night; and better health
Attend his majesty!

LADY MACBETH

A kind good night to all!

Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH

MACBETH

It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood:
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
Augurs and understood relations have
By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
The secret’st man of blood. What is the night?

LADY MACBETH

Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

MACBETH

How say’st thou, that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?

LADY MACBETH

Did you send to him, sir?

MACBETH

I hear it by the way; but I will send:
There’s not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant fee’d. I will to-morrow,
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way: I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er:
Strange things I have in head, that will to hand;
Which must be acted ere they may be scann’d.

LADY MACBETH

You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

MACBETH

Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
We are yet but young in deed.

Exeunt

SCENE V. A Heath.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches meeting HECATE

First Witch

Why, how now, Hecate! you look angerly.

HECATE

Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
Saucy and overbold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death;
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never call’d to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?
And, which is worse, all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son,
Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you.
But make amends now: get you gone,
And at the pit of Acheron
Meet me i’ the morning: thither he
Will come to know his destiny:
Your vessels and your spells provide,
Your charms and every thing beside.
I am for the air; this night I’ll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end:
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground:
And that distill’d by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion:
He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
He hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear:
And you all know, security
Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.

Music and a song within: ‘Come away, come away,’ & c
Hark! I am call’d; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.

Exit

First Witch

Come, let’s make haste; she’ll soon be back again.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Forres. The palace.

Enter LENNOX and another Lord

LENNOX

My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
Which can interpret further: only, I say,
Things have been strangely borne. The
gracious Duncan
Was pitied of Macbeth: marry, he was dead:
And the right-valiant Banquo walk’d too late;
Whom, you may say, if’t please you, Fleance kill’d,
For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought how monstrous
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
To kill their gracious father? damned fact!
How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight
In pious rage the two delinquents tear,
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too;
For ‘twould have anger’d any heart alive
To hear the men deny’t. So that, I say,
He has borne all things well: and I do think
That had he Duncan’s sons under his key—
As, an’t please heaven, he shall not—they
should find
What ’twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.
But, peace! for from broad words and ’cause he fail’d
His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear
Macduff lives in disgrace: sir, can you tell
Where he bestows himself?

Lord

The son of Duncan,
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth
Lives in the English court, and is received
Of the most pious Edward with such grace
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect: thither Macduff
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward:
That, by the help of these—with Him above
To ratify the work—we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
Do faithful homage and receive free honours:
All which we pine for now: and this report
Hath so exasperate the king that he
Prepares for some attempt of war.

LENNOX

Sent he to Macduff?

Lord

He did: and with an absolute ‘Sir, not I,’
The cloudy messenger turns me his back,
And hums, as who should say ‘You’ll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer.’

LENNOX

And that well might
Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel
Fly to the court of England and unfold
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accursed!

Lord

I’ll send my prayers with him.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

Second Witch

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch

Harpier cries ‘Tis time, ’tis time.

First Witch

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter HECATE to the other three Witches

HECATE

O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i’ the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Music and a song: ‘Black spirits,’ & c

HECATE retires

Second Witch

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is’t you do?

ALL

A deed without a name.

MACBETH

I conjure you, by that which you profess,
Howe’er you come to know it, answer me:
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches; though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
Though castles topple on their warders’ heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature’s germens tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken; answer me
To what I ask you.

First Witch

Speak.

Second Witch

Demand.

Third Witch

We’ll answer.

First Witch

Say, if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters?

MACBETH

Call ’em; let me see ’em.

First Witch

Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten
From the murderer’s gibbet throw
Into the flame.

ALL

Come, high or low;
Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power,—

First Witch

He knows thy thought:
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

First Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

Descends

MACBETH

Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
Thou hast harp’d my fear aright: but one
word more,—

First Witch

He will not be commanded: here’s another,
More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child

Second Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I’ld hear thee.

Second Apparition

Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

Descends

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand
What is this
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty?

ALL

Listen, but speak not to’t.

Third Apparition

Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.

Descends

MACBETH

That will never be
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
Rebellion’s head, rise never till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever
Reign in this kingdom?

ALL

Seek to know no more.

MACBETH

I will be satisfied: deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?

Hautboys

First Witch

Show!

Second Witch

Show!

Third Witch

Show!

ALL

Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart!

A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
Another yet! A seventh! I’ll see no more:
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
Which shows me many more; and some I see
That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:
Horrible sight! Now, I see, ’tis true;
For the blood-bolter’d Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.

Apparitions vanish
What, is this so?

First Witch

Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I’ll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE

MACBETH

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
Come in, without there!

Enter LENNOX

LENNOX

What’s your grace’s will?

MACBETH

Saw you the weird sisters?

LENNOX

No, my lord.

MACBETH

Came they not by you?

LENNOX

No, indeed, my lord.

MACBETH

Infected be the air whereon they ride;
And damn’d all those that trust them! I did hear
The galloping of horse: who was’t came by?

LENNOX

‘Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
Macduff is fled to England.

MACBETH

Fled to England!

LENNOX

Ay, my good lord.

MACBETH

Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:
The flighty purpose never is o’ertook
Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o’ the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.
But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?
Come, bring me where they are.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Fife. Macduff’s castle.

Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and ROSS

LADY MACDUFF

What had he done, to make him fly the land?

ROSS

You must have patience, madam.

LADY MACDUFF

He had none:
His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.

ROSS

You know not
Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.

LADY MACDUFF

Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion and his titles in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

ROSS

My dearest coz,
I pray you, school yourself: but for your husband,
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
The fits o’ the season. I dare not speak
much further;
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:
Shall not be long but I’ll be here again:
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!

LADY MACDUFF

Father’d he is, and yet he’s fatherless.

ROSS

I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort:
I take my leave at once.

Exit

LADY MACDUFF

Sirrah, your father’s dead;
And what will you do now? How will you live?

Son

As birds do, mother.

LADY MACDUFF

What, with worms and flies?

Son

With what I get, I mean; and so do they.

LADY MACDUFF

Poor bird! thou’ldst never fear the net nor lime,
The pitfall nor the gin.

Son

Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
My father is not dead, for all your saying.

LADY MACDUFF

Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?

Son

Nay, how will you do for a husband?

LADY MACDUFF

Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

Son

Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.

LADY MACDUFF

Thou speak’st with all thy wit: and yet, i’ faith,
With wit enough for thee.

Son

Was my father a traitor, mother?

LADY MACDUFF

Ay, that he was.

Son

What is a traitor?

LADY MACDUFF

Why, one that swears and lies.

Son

And be all traitors that do so?

LADY MACDUFF

Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.

Son

And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

LADY MACDUFF

Every one.

Son

Who must hang them?

LADY MACDUFF

Why, the honest men.

Son

Then the liars and swearers are fools,
for there are liars and swearers enow to beat
the honest men and hang up them.

LADY MACDUFF

Now, God help thee, poor monkey!
But how wilt thou do for a father?

Son

If he were dead, you’ld weep for
him: if you would not, it were a good sign
that I should quickly have a new father.

LADY MACDUFF

Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
If you will take a homely man’s advice,
Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer.

Exit

LADY MACDUFF

Whither should I fly?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas,
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say I have done no harm?

Enter Murderers
What are these faces?

First Murderer

Where is your husband?

LADY MACDUFF

I hope, in no place so unsanctified
Where such as thou mayst find him.

First Murderer

He’s a traitor.

Son

Thou liest, thou shag-hair’d villain!

First Murderer

What, you egg!

Stabbing him
Young fry of treachery!

Son

He has kill’d me, mother:
Run away, I pray you!

Dies

Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying ‘Murder!’ Exeunt Murderers, following her

SCENE III. England. Before the King’s palace.

Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF

MALCOLM

Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.

MACDUFF

Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our down-fall’n birthdom: each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yell’d out
Like syllable of dolour.

MALCOLM

What I believe I’ll wail,
What know believe, and what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest: you have loved him well.
He hath not touch’d you yet. I am young;
but something
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb
To appease an angry god.

MACDUFF

I am not treacherous.

MALCOLM

But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave
your pardon;
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose:
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.

MACDUFF

I have lost my hopes.

MALCOLM

Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,
Without leave-taking? I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
Whatever I shall think.

MACDUFF

Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny! lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not cheque thee: wear thou
thy wrongs;
The title is affeer’d! Fare thee well, lord:
I would not be the villain that thou think’st
For the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,
And the rich East to boot.

MALCOLM

Be not offended:
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds: I think withal
There would be hands uplifted in my right;
And here from gracious England have I offer
Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head,
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
Shall have more vices than it had before,
More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.

MACDUFF

What should he be?

MALCOLM

It is myself I mean: in whom I know
All the particulars of vice so grafted
That, when they shall be open’d, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
Esteem him as a lamb, being compared
With my confineless harms.

MACDUFF

Not in the legions
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d
In evils to top Macbeth.

MALCOLM

I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name: but there’s no bottom, none,
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust, and my desire
All continent impediments would o’erbear
That did oppose my will: better Macbeth
Than such an one to reign.

MACDUFF

Boundless intemperance
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
The untimely emptying of the happy throne
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
To take upon you what is yours: you may
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
We have willing dames enough: there cannot be
That vulture in you, to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
Finding it so inclined.

MALCOLM

With this there grows
In my most ill-composed affection such
A stanchless avarice that, were I king,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
Desire his jewels and this other’s house:
And my more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more; that I should forge
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.

MACDUFF

This avarice
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will.
Of your mere own: all these are portable,
With other graces weigh’d.

MALCOLM

But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
I have no relish of them, but abound
In the division of each several crime,
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.

MACDUFF

O Scotland, Scotland!

MALCOLM

If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.

MACDUFF

Fit to govern!
No, not to live. O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accursed,
And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king: the queen that bore thee,
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself
Have banish’d me from Scotland. O my breast,
Thy hope ends here!

MALCOLM

Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste: but God above
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
At no time broke my faith, would not betray
The devil to his fellow and delight
No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
Was this upon myself: what I am truly,
Is thine and my poor country’s to command:
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
Already at a point, was setting forth.
Now we’ll together; and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?

MACDUFF

Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
‘Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor

MALCOLM

Well; more anon.—Comes the king forth, I pray you?

Doctor

Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure: their malady convinces
The great assay of art; but at his touch—
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand—
They presently amend.

MALCOLM

I thank you, doctor.

Exit Doctor

MACDUFF

What’s the disease he means?

MALCOLM

‘Tis call’d the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king;
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers: and ’tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
That speak him full of grace.

Enter ROSS

MACDUFF

See, who comes here?

MALCOLM

My countryman; but yet I know him not.

MACDUFF

My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.

MALCOLM

I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that makes us strangers!

ROSS

Sir, amen.

MACDUFF

Stands Scotland where it did?

ROSS

Alas, poor country!
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.

MACDUFF

O, relation
Too nice, and yet too true!

MALCOLM

What’s the newest grief?

ROSS

That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker:
Each minute teems a new one.

MACDUFF

How does my wife?

ROSS

Why, well.

MACDUFF

And all my children?

ROSS

Well too.

MACDUFF

The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?

ROSS

No; they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.

MACDUFF

But not a niggard of your speech: how goes’t?

ROSS

When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
Of many worthy fellows that were out;
Which was to my belief witness’d the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant’s power a-foot:
Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff their dire distresses.

MALCOLM

Be’t their comfort
We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
An older and a better soldier none
That Christendom gives out.

ROSS

Would I could answer
This comfort with the like! But I have words
That would be howl’d out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them.

MACDUFF

What concern they?
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
Due to some single breast?

ROSS

No mind that’s honest
But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Pertains to you alone.

MACDUFF

If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.

ROSS

Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.

MACDUFF

Hum! I guess at it.

ROSS

Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughter’d: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder’d deer,
To add the death of you.

MALCOLM

Merciful heaven!
What, man! ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.

MACDUFF

My children too?

ROSS

Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.

MACDUFF

And I must be from thence!
My wife kill’d too?

ROSS

I have said.

MALCOLM

Be comforted:
Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.

MACDUFF

He has no children. All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?

MALCOLM

Dispute it like a man.

MACDUFF

I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man:
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!

MALCOLM

Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.

MACDUFF

O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
Cut short all intermission; front to front
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
Within my sword’s length set him; if he ‘scape,
Heaven forgive him too!

MALCOLM

This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave; Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may:
The night is long that never finds the day.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman

Doctor

I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive
no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

Gentlewoman

Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen
her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon
her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it,
write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again
return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Doctor

A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once
the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of
watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her
walking and other actual performances, what, at any
time, have you heard her say?

Gentlewoman

That, sir, which I will not report after her.

Doctor

You may to me: and ’tis most meet you should.

Gentlewoman

Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to
confirm my speech.

Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper
Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise;
and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

Doctor

How came she by that light?

Gentlewoman

Why, it stood by her: she has light by her
continually; ’tis her command.

Doctor

You see, her eyes are open.

Gentlewoman

Ay, but their sense is shut.

Doctor

What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gentlewoman

It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands: I have known her continue in
this a quarter of an hour.

LADY MACBETH

Yet here’s a spot.

Doctor

Hark! she speaks: I will set down what comes from
her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

LADY MACBETH

Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
then, ’tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?—Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.

Doctor

Do you mark that?

LADY MACBETH

The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?—
What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’
that, my lord, no more o’ that: you mar all with
this starting.

Doctor

Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

Gentlewoman

She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of
that: heaven knows what she has known.

LADY MACBETH

Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!

Doctor

What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

Gentlewoman

I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.

Doctor

Well, well, well,—

Gentlewoman

Pray God it be, sir.

Doctor

This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known
those which have walked in their sleep who have died
holily in their beds.

LADY MACBETH

Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so
pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he
cannot come out on’s grave.

Doctor

Even so?

LADY MACBETH

To bed, to bed! there’s knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s
done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!

Exit

Doctor

Will she go now to bed?

Gentlewoman

Directly.

Doctor

Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.

Gentlewoman

Good night, good doctor.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The country near Dunsinane.

Drum and colours. Enter MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, and Soldiers

MENTEITH

The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
His uncle Siward and the good Macduff:
Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
Excite the mortified man.

ANGUS

Near Birnam wood
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.

CAITHNESS

Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?

LENNOX

For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file
Of all the gentry: there is Siward’s son,
And many unrough youths that even now
Protest their first of manhood.

MENTEITH

What does the tyrant?

CAITHNESS

Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies:
Some say he’s mad; others that lesser hate him
Do call it valiant fury: but, for certain,
He cannot buckle his distemper’d cause
Within the belt of rule.

ANGUS

Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands;
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

MENTEITH

Who then shall blame
His pester’d senses to recoil and start,
When all that is within him does condemn
Itself for being there?

CAITHNESS

Well, march we on,
To give obedience where ’tis truly owed:
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,
And with him pour we in our country’s purge
Each drop of us.

LENNOX

Or so much as it needs,
To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
Make we our march towards Birnam.

Exeunt, marching

SCENE III. Dunsinane. A room in the castle.

Enter MACBETH, Doctor, and Attendants

MACBETH

Bring me no more reports; let them fly all:
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane,
I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm?
Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:
‘Fear not, Macbeth; no man that’s born of woman
Shall e’er have power upon thee.’ Then fly,
false thanes,
And mingle with the English epicures:
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.

Enter a Servant
The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got’st thou that goose look?

Servant

There is ten thousand—

MACBETH

Geese, villain!

Servant

Soldiers, sir.

MACBETH

Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver’d boy. What soldiers, patch?
Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?

Servant

The English force, so please you.

MACBETH

Take thy face hence.

Exit Servant
Seyton!—I am sick at heart,
When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough: my way of life
Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Seyton!

Enter SEYTON

SEYTON

What is your gracious pleasure?

MACBETH

What news more?

SEYTON

All is confirm’d, my lord, which was reported.

MACBETH

I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack’d.
Give me my armour.

SEYTON

‘Tis not needed yet.

MACBETH

I’ll put it on.
Send out more horses; skirr the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour.
How does your patient, doctor?

Doctor

Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.

MACBETH

Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

Doctor

Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.

MACBETH

Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease,
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.—Pull’t off, I say.—
What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug,
Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of them?

Doctor

Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation
Makes us hear something.

MACBETH

Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane,
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.

Doctor

[Aside] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
Profit again should hardly draw me here.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Country near Birnam wood.

Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching

MALCOLM

Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
That chambers will be safe.

MENTEITH

We doubt it nothing.

SIWARD

What wood is this before us?

MENTEITH

The wood of Birnam.

MALCOLM

Let every soldier hew him down a bough
And bear’t before him: thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host and make discovery
Err in report of us.

Soldiers

It shall be done.

SIWARD

We learn no other but the confident tyrant
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
Our setting down before ‘t.

MALCOLM

‘Tis his main hope:
For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,
And none serve with him but constrained things
Whose hearts are absent too.

MACDUFF

Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
Industrious soldiership.

SIWARD

The time approaches
That will with due decision make us know
What we shall say we have and what we owe.
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
Towards which advance the war.

Exeunt, marching

SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the castle.

Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours

MACBETH

Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still ‘They come:’ our castle’s strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up:
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.

A cry of women within
What is that noise?

SEYTON

It is the cry of women, my good lord.

Exit

MACBETH

I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

Re-enter SEYTON
Wherefore was that cry?

SEYTON

The queen, my lord, is dead.

MACBETH

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger
Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.

Messenger

Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.

MACBETH

Well, say, sir.

Messenger

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.

MACBETH

Liar and slave!

Messenger

Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.

MACBETH

If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:’ and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Dunsinane. Before the castle.

Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD, MACDUFF, and their Army, with boughs

MALCOLM

Now near enough: your leafy screens throw down.
And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,
Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son,
Lead our first battle: worthy Macduff and we
Shall take upon ‘s what else remains to do,
According to our order.

SIWARD

Fare you well.
Do we but find the tyrant’s power to-night,
Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight.

MACDUFF

Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. Another part of the field.

Alarums. Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But, bear-like, I must fight the course. What’s he
That was not born of woman? Such a one
Am I to fear, or none.

Enter YOUNG SIWARD

YOUNG SIWARD

What is thy name?

MACBETH

Thou’lt be afraid to hear it.

YOUNG SIWARD

No; though thou call’st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.

MACBETH

My name’s Macbeth.

YOUNG SIWARD

The devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.

MACBETH

No, nor more fearful.

YOUNG SIWARD

Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.

They fight and YOUNG SIWARD is slain

MACBETH

Thou wast born of woman
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born.

Exit

Alarums. Enter MACDUFF

MACDUFF

That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
If thou be’st slain and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still.
I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword with an unbatter’d edge
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.

Exit. Alarums

Enter MALCOLM and SIWARD

SIWARD

This way, my lord; the castle’s gently render’d:
The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight;
The noble thanes do bravely in the war;
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.

MALCOLM

We have met with foes
That strike beside us.

SIWARD

Enter, sir, the castle.

Exeunt. Alarums

SCENE VIII. Another part of the field.

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes
Do better upon them.

Enter MACDUFF

MACDUFF

Turn, hell-hound, turn!

MACBETH

Of all men else I have avoided thee:
But get thee back; my soul is too much charged
With blood of thine already.

MACDUFF

I have no words:
My voice is in my sword: thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out!

They fight

MACBETH

Thou losest labour:
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed:
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield,
To one of woman born.

MACDUFF

Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
Untimely ripp’d.

MACBETH

Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow’d my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.

MACDUFF

Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
‘Here may you see the tyrant.’

MACBETH

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’

Exeunt, fighting. Alarums

Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours, MALCOLM, SIWARD, ROSS, the other Thanes, and Soldiers

MALCOLM

I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.

SIWARD

Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.

MALCOLM

Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

ROSS

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt:
He only lived but till he was a man;
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm’d
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.

SIWARD

Then he is dead?

ROSS

Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
Must not be measured by his worth, for then
It hath no end.

SIWARD

Had he his hurts before?

ROSS

Ay, on the front.

SIWARD

Why then, God’s soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so, his knell is knoll’d.

MALCOLM

He’s worth more sorrow,
And that I’ll spend for him.

SIWARD

He’s worth no more
They say he parted well, and paid his score:
And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.

Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH’s head

MACDUFF

Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands
The usurper’s cursed head: the time is free:
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom’s pearl,
That speak my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
Hail, King of Scotland!

ALL

Hail, King of Scotland!

Flourish

MALCOLM

We shall not spend a large expense of time
Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
In such an honour named. What’s more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exiled friends abroad
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny;
Producing forth the cruel ministers
Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,
Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life; this, and what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
We will perform in measure, time and place:
So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone.

Flourish. Exeunt

King Lear

ACT I

SCENE I. King Lear’s palace.

Enter KENT, GLOUCESTER, and EDMUND

KENT

I thought the king had more affected the Duke of
Albany than Cornwall.

GLOUCESTER

It did always seem so to us: but now, in the
division of the kingdom, it appears not which of
the dukes he values most; for equalities are so
weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice
of either’s moiety.

KENT

Is not this your son, my lord?

GLOUCESTER

His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have
so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am
brazed to it.

KENT

I cannot conceive you.

GLOUCESTER

Sir, this young fellow’s mother could: whereupon
she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a son
for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault?

KENT

I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it
being so proper.

GLOUCESTER

But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year
elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account:
though this knave came something saucily into the
world before he was sent for, yet was his mother
fair; there was good sport at his making, and the
whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this
noble gentleman, Edmund?

EDMUND

No, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my
honourable friend.

EDMUND

My services to your lordship.

KENT

I must love you, and sue to know you better.

EDMUND

Sir, I shall study deserving.

GLOUCESTER

He hath been out nine years, and away he shall
again. The king is coming.

Sennet. Enter KING LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants

KING LEAR

Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER

I shall, my liege.

Exeunt GLOUCESTER and EDMUND

KING LEAR

Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom: and ’tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburthen’d crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall,
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters’ several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter’s love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer’d. Tell me, my daughters,—
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,—
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

GONERIL

Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e’er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

CORDELIA

[Aside] What shall Cordelia do?
Love, and be silent.

LEAR

Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich’d,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: to thine and Albany’s issue
Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.

REGAN

Sir, I am made
Of the self-same metal that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short: that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness’ love.

CORDELIA

[Aside] Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love’s
More richer than my tongue.

KING LEAR

To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Than that conferr’d on Goneril. Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interess’d; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA

Nothing, my lord.

KING LEAR

Nothing!

CORDELIA

Nothing.

KING LEAR

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

CORDELIA

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR

How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

KING LEAR

But goes thy heart with this?

CORDELIA

Ay, good my lord.

KING LEAR

So young, and so untender?

CORDELIA

So young, my lord, and true.

KING LEAR

Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour’d, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime daughter.

KENT

Good my liege,—

KING LEAR

Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father’s heart from her! Call France; who stirs?
Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters’ dowers digest this third:
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain’d, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additions to a king;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part betwixt you.

Giving the crown

KENT

Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour’d as my king,
Loved as my father, as my master follow’d,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers,—

KING LEAR

The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.

KENT

Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly,
When Lear is mad. What wilt thou do, old man?
Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour’s bound,
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
And, in thy best consideration, cheque
This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.

KING LEAR

Kent, on thy life, no more.

KENT

My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thy enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.

KING LEAR

Out of my sight!

KENT

See better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.

KING LEAR

Now, by Apollo,—

KENT

Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear’st thy gods in vain.

KING LEAR

O, vassal! miscreant!

Laying his hand on his sword

ALBANY CORNWALL

Dear sir, forbear.

KENT

Do:
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy doom;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.

KING LEAR

Hear me, recreant!
On thine allegiance, hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and with strain’d pride
To come between our sentence and our power,
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Our potency made good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision
To shield thee from diseases of the world;
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following,
Thy banish’d trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death. Away! by Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked.

KENT

Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.

To CORDELIA
The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
That justly think’st, and hast most rightly said!

To REGAN and GONERIL
And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
That good effects may spring from words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
He’ll shape his old course in a country new.

Exit

Flourish. Re-enter GLOUCESTER, with KING OF FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants

GLOUCESTER

Here’s France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

KING LEAR

My lord of Burgundy.
We first address towards you, who with this king
Hath rivall’d for our daughter: what, in the least,
Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love?

BURGUNDY

Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than what your highness offer’d,
Nor will you tender less.

KING LEAR

Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;
But now her price is fall’n. Sir, there she stands:
If aught within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She’s there, and she is yours.

BURGUNDY

I know no answer.

KING LEAR

Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower’d with our curse, and stranger’d with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?

BURGUNDY

Pardon me, royal sir;
Election makes not up on such conditions.

KING LEAR

Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.

To KING OF FRANCE
For you, great king,
I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way
Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.

KING OF FRANCE

This is most strange,
That she, that even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch’d affection
Fall’n into taint: which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.

CORDELIA

I yet beseech your majesty,—
If for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
I’ll do’t before I speak,—that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour’d step,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
As I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.

KING LEAR

Better thou
Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.

KING OF FRANCE

Is it but this,—a tardiness in nature
Which often leaves the history unspoke
That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love’s not love
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

BURGUNDY

Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

KING LEAR

Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.

BURGUNDY

I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.

CORDELIA

Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

KING OF FRANCE

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:
Be it lawful I take up what’s cast away.
Gods, gods! ’tis strange that from their cold’st neglect
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

KING LEAR

Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benison.
Come, noble Burgundy.

Flourish. Exeunt all but KING OF FRANCE, GONERIL, REGAN, and CORDELIA

KING OF FRANCE

Bid farewell to your sisters.

CORDELIA

The jewels of our father, with wash’d eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And like a sister am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Use well our father:
To your professed bosoms I commit him
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So, farewell to you both.

REGAN

Prescribe not us our duties.

GONERIL

Let your study
Be to content your lord, who hath received you
At fortune’s alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.

CORDELIA

Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper!

KING OF FRANCE

Come, my fair Cordelia.

Exeunt KING OF FRANCE and CORDELIA

GONERIL

Sister, it is not a little I have to say of what
most nearly appertains to us both. I think our
father will hence to-night.

REGAN

That’s most certain, and with you; next month with us.

GONERIL

You see how full of changes his age is; the
observation we have made of it hath not been
little: he always loved our sister most; and
with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off
appears too grossly.

REGAN

‘Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever
but slenderly known himself.

GONERIL

The best and soundest of his time hath been but
rash; then must we look to receive from his age,
not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

REGAN

Such unconstant starts are we like to have from
him as this of Kent’s banishment.

GONERIL

There is further compliment of leavetaking
between France and him. Pray you, let’s hit
together: if our father carry authority with
such dispositions as he bears, this last
surrender of his will but offend us.

REGAN

We shall further think on’t.

GONERIL

We must do something, and i’ the heat.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The Earl of Gloucester’s castle.

Enter EDMUND, with a letter

EDMUND

Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,—legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

Kent banish’d thus! and France in choler parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!
Confined to exhibition! All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news?

EDMUND

So please your lordship, none.

Putting up the letter

GLOUCESTER

Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

EDMUND

I know no news, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

What paper were you reading?

EDMUND

Nothing, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of
it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath
not such need to hide itself. Let’s see: come,
if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

EDMUND

I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter
from my brother, that I have not all o’er-read;
and for so much as I have perused, I find it not
fit for your o’er-looking.

GLOUCESTER

Give me the letter, sir.

EDMUND

I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The
contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

GLOUCESTER

Let’s see, let’s see.

EDMUND

I hope, for my brother’s justification, he wrote
this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.

GLOUCESTER

[Reads] ‘This policy and reverence of age makes
the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps
our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish
them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage
in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not
as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to
me, that of this I may speak more. If our father
would sleep till I waked him, you should half his
revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your
brother, EDGAR.’
Hum—conspiracy!—‘Sleep till I waked him,—you
should enjoy half his revenue,’—My son Edgar!
Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain
to breed it in?—When came this to you? who
brought it?

EDMUND

It was not brought me, my lord; there’s the
cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the
casement of my closet.

GLOUCESTER

You know the character to be your brother’s?

EDMUND

If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear
it were his; but, in respect of that, I would
fain think it were not.

GLOUCESTER

It is his.

EDMUND

It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is
not in the contents.

GLOUCESTER

Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?

EDMUND

Never, my lord: but I have heard him oft
maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age,
and fathers declining, the father should be as
ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

GLOUCESTER

O villain, villain! His very opinion in the
letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested,
brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah,
seek him; I’ll apprehend him: abominable villain!
Where is he?

EDMUND

I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please
you to suspend your indignation against my
brother till you can derive from him better
testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain
course; where, if you violently proceed against
him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great
gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the
heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life
for him, that he hath wrote this to feel my
affection to your honour, and to no further
pretence of danger.

GLOUCESTER

Think you so?

EDMUND

If your honour judge it meet, I will place you
where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an
auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and
that without any further delay than this very evening.

GLOUCESTER

He cannot be such a monster—

EDMUND

Nor is not, sure.

GLOUCESTER

To his father, that so tenderly and entirely
loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him
out: wind me into him, I pray you: frame the
business after your own wisdom. I would unstate
myself, to be in a due resolution.

EDMUND

I will seek him, sir, presently: convey the
business as I shall find means and acquaint you withal.

GLOUCESTER

These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son
and father. This villain of mine comes under the
prediction; there’s son against father: the king
falls from bias of nature; there’s father against
child. We have seen the best of our time:
machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all
ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our
graves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall
lose thee nothing; do it carefully. And the
noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his
offence, honesty! ‘Tis strange.

Exit

EDMUND

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune,—often the surfeit
of our own behavior,—we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity; fools by
heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
disposition to the charge of a star! My
father compounded with my mother under the
dragon’s tail; and my nativity was under Ursa
major; so that it follows, I am rough and
lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am,
had the maidenliest star in the firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar—

Enter EDGAR
And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old
comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with a
sigh like Tom o’ Bedlam. O, these eclipses do
portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.

EDGAR

How now, brother Edmund! what serious
contemplation are you in?

EDMUND

I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read
this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

EDGAR

Do you busy yourself about that?

EDMUND

I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed
unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
maledictions against king and nobles; needless
diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

EDGAR

How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

EDMUND

Come, come; when saw you my father last?

EDGAR

Why, the night gone by.

EDMUND

Spake you with him?

EDGAR

Ay, two hours together.

EDMUND

Parted you in good terms? Found you no
displeasure in him by word or countenance?

EDGAR

None at all.

EDMUND

Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended
him: and at my entreaty forbear his presence
till some little time hath qualified the heat of
his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth
in him, that with the mischief of your person it
would scarcely allay.

EDGAR

Some villain hath done me wrong.

EDMUND

That’s my fear. I pray you, have a continent
forbearance till the spied of his rage goes
slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my
lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to
hear my lord speak: pray ye, go; there’s my key:
if you do stir abroad, go armed.

EDGAR

Armed, brother!

EDMUND

Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed: I
am no honest man if there be any good meaning
towards you: I have told you what I have seen
and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image
and horror of it: pray you, away.

EDGAR

Shall I hear from you anon?

EDMUND

I do serve you in this business.

Exit EDGAR
A credulous father! and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty
My practises ride easy! I see the business.
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit.

Exit

SCENE III. The Duke of Albany’s palace.

Enter GONERIL, and OSWALD, her steward

GONERIL

Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

OSWALD

Yes, madam.

GONERIL

By day and night he wrongs me; every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
That sets us all at odds: I’ll not endure it:
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say I am sick:
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I’ll answer.

OSWALD

He’s coming, madam; I hear him.

Horns within

GONERIL

Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows; I’ll have it come to question:
If he dislike it, let him to our sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again; and must be used
With cheques as flatteries,—when they are seen abused.
Remember what I tell you.

OSWALD

Well, madam.

GONERIL

And let his knights have colder looks among you;
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:
I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
That I may speak: I’ll write straight to my sister,
To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A hall in the same.

Enter KENT, disguised

KENT

If but as well I other accents borrow,
That can my speech defuse, my good intent
May carry through itself to that full issue
For which I razed my likeness. Now, banish’d Kent,
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn’d,
So may it come, thy master, whom thou lovest,
Shall find thee full of labours.

Horns within. Enter KING LEAR, Knights, and Attendants

KING LEAR

Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready.

Exit an Attendant
How now! what art thou?

KENT

A man, sir.

KING LEAR

What dost thou profess? what wouldst thou with us?

KENT

I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve
him truly that will put me in trust: to love him
that is honest; to converse with him that is wise,
and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I
cannot choose; and to eat no fish.

KING LEAR

What art thou?

KENT

A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.

KING LEAR

If thou be as poor for a subject as he is for a
king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?

KENT

Service.

KING LEAR

Who wouldst thou serve?

KENT

You.

KING LEAR

Dost thou know me, fellow?

KENT

No, sir; but you have that in your countenance
which I would fain call master.

KING LEAR

What’s that?

KENT

Authority.

KING LEAR

What services canst thou do?

KENT

I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message
bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am
qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.

KING LEAR

How old art thou?

KENT

Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor
so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years
on my back forty eight.

KING LEAR

Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.
Dinner, ho, dinner! Where’s my knave? my fool?
Go you, and call my fool hither.

Exit an Attendant

Enter OSWALD
You, you, sirrah, where’s my daughter?

OSWALD

So please you,—

Exit

KING LEAR

What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.

Exit a Knight
Where’s my fool, ho? I think the world’s asleep.

Re-enter Knight
How now! where’s that mongrel?

Knight

He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

KING LEAR

Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.

Knight

Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would
not.

KING LEAR

He would not!

Knight

My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my
judgment, your highness is not entertained with that
ceremonious affection as you were wont; there’s a
great abatement of kindness appears as well in the
general dependants as in the duke himself also and
your daughter.

KING LEAR

Ha! sayest thou so?

Knight

I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken;
for my duty cannot be silent when I think your
highness wronged.

KING LEAR

Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception: I
have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I
have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity
than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness:
I will look further into’t. But where’s my fool? I
have not seen him this two days.

Knight

Since my young lady’s going into France, sir, the
fool hath much pined away.

KING LEAR

No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you, and
tell my daughter I would speak with her.

Exit an Attendant
Go you, call hither my fool.

Exit an Attendant

Re-enter OSWALD
O, you sir, you, come you hither, sir: who am I,
sir?

OSWALD

My lady’s father.

KING LEAR

‘My lady’s father’! my lord’s knave: your
whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!

OSWALD

I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.

KING LEAR

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

Striking him

OSWALD

I’ll not be struck, my lord.

KENT

Nor tripped neither, you base football player.

Tripping up his heels

KING LEAR

I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I’ll
love thee.

KENT

Come, sir, arise, away! I’ll teach you differences:
away, away! if you will measure your lubber’s
length again, tarry: but away! go to; have you
wisdom? so.

Pushes OSWALD out

KING LEAR

Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there’s
earnest of thy service.

Giving KENT money

Enter Fool

Fool

Let me hire him too: here’s my coxcomb.

Offering KENT his cap

KING LEAR

How now, my pretty knave! how dost thou?

Fool

Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

KENT

Why, fool?

Fool

Why, for taking one’s part that’s out of favour:
nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits,
thou’lt catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb:
why, this fellow has banished two on’s daughters,
and did the third a blessing against his will; if
thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.
How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!

KING LEAR

Why, my boy?

Fool

If I gave them all my living, I’ld keep my coxcombs
myself. There’s mine; beg another of thy daughters.

KING LEAR

Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool

Truth’s a dog must to kennel; he must be whipped
out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink.

KING LEAR

A pestilent gall to me!

Fool

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

KING LEAR

Do.

Fool

Mark it, nuncle:
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.

KENT

This is nothing, fool.

Fool

Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer; you
gave me nothing for’t. Can you make no use of
nothing, nuncle?

KING LEAR

Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.

Fool

[To KENT] Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of
his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.

KING LEAR

A bitter fool!

Fool

Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a
bitter fool and a sweet fool?

KING LEAR

No, lad; teach me.

Fool

That lord that counsell’d thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me,
Do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear;
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.

KING LEAR

Dost thou call me fool, boy?

Fool

All thy other titles thou hast given away; that
thou wast born with.

KENT

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

Fool

No, faith, lords and great men will not let me; if
I had a monopoly out, they would have part on’t:
and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool
to myself; they’ll be snatching. Give me an egg,
nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.

KING LEAR

What two crowns shall they be?

Fool

Why, after I have cut the egg i’ the middle, and eat
up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou
clovest thy crown i’ the middle, and gavest away
both parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back o’er
the dirt: thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown,
when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak
like myself in this, let him be whipped that first
finds it so.

Singing
Fools had ne’er less wit in a year;
For wise men are grown foppish,
They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.

KING LEAR

When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

Fool

I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy
daughters thy mothers: for when thou gavest them
the rod, and put’st down thine own breeches,

Singing
Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.
Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach
thy fool to lie: I would fain learn to lie.

KING LEAR

An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped.

Fool

I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are:
they’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt
have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am
whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any
kind o’ thing than a fool: and yet I would not be
thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides,
and left nothing i’ the middle: here comes one o’
the parings.

Enter GONERIL

KING LEAR

How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet on?
Methinks you are too much of late i’ the frown.

Fool

Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to
care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a
figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool,
thou art nothing.

To GONERIL
Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face
bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.

Pointing to KING LEAR
That’s a shealed peascod.

GONERIL

Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be endured riots. Sir,
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done.
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not ‘scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.

Fool

For, you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it’s had it head bit off by it young.
So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.

KING LEAR

Are you our daughter?

GONERIL

Come, sir,
I would you would make use of that good wisdom,
Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away
These dispositions, that of late transform you
From what you rightly are.

Fool

May not an ass know when the cart
draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

KING LEAR

Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied—Ha! waking? ’tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Fool

Lear’s shadow.

KING LEAR

I would learn that; for, by the
marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,
I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

Fool

Which they will make an obedient father.

KING LEAR

Your name, fair gentlewoman?

GONERIL

This admiration, sir, is much o’ the savour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder’d, so debosh’d and bold,
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel
Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: be then desired
By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.

KING LEAR

Darkness and devils!
Saddle my horses; call my train together:
Degenerate bastard! I’ll not trouble thee.
Yet have I left a daughter.

GONERIL

You strike my people; and your disorder’d rabble
Make servants of their betters.

Enter ALBANY

KING LEAR

Woe, that too late repents,—

To ALBANY
O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? Speak, sir. Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!

ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.

KING LEAR

[To GONERIL] Detested kite! thou liest.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know,
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
That, like an engine, wrench’d my frame of nature
From the fix’d place; drew from heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,

Striking his head
And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.

ALBANY

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath moved you.

KING LEAR

It may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!

Exit

ALBANY

Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

GONERIL

Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.

Re-enter KING LEAR

KING LEAR

What, fifty of my followers at a clap!
Within a fortnight!

ALBANY

What’s the matter, sir?

KING LEAR

I’ll tell thee:

To GONERIL
Life and death! I am ashamed
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father’s curse
Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Yea, it is come to this?
Let is be so: yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She’ll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever: thou shalt,
I warrant thee.

Exeunt KING LEAR, KENT, and Attendants

GONERIL

Do you mark that, my lord?

ALBANY

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you,—

GONERIL

Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho!

To the Fool
You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

Fool

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool
with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter:
So the fool follows after.

Exit

GONERIL

This man hath had good counsel:—a hundred knights!
‘Tis politic and safe to let him keep
At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I say!

ALBANY

Well, you may fear too far.

GONERIL

Safer than trust too far:
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
What he hath utter’d I have writ my sister
If she sustain him and his hundred knights
When I have show’d the unfitness,—

Re-enter OSWALD
How now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

OSWALD

Yes, madam.

GONERIL

Take you some company, and away to horse:
Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
And hasten your return.

Exit OSWALD
No, no, my lord,
This milky gentleness and course of yours
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask’d for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.

ALBANY

How far your eyes may pierce I can not tell:
Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.

GONERIL

Nay, then—

ALBANY

Well, well; the event.

Exeunt

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
your letter.

Exit

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
slip-shod.

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.

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?

KING LEAR

No.

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?

KING LEAR

No.

Fool

Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

KING LEAR

Why?

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
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.

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
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.

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.

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. GLOUCESTER’s castle.

Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him

EDMUND

Save thee, Curan.

CURAN

And you, sir. I have been with your father, and
given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
his duchess will be here with him this night.

EDMUND

How comes that?

CURAN

Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
ear-kissing arguments?

EDMUND

Not I pray you, what are they?

CURAN

Have you heard of no likely wars toward, ‘twixt the
Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

EDMUND

Not a word.

CURAN

You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.

Exit

EDMUND

The duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!

Enter EDGAR
My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken ‘gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He’s coming hither: now, i’ the night, i’ the haste,
And Regan with him: have you nothing said
Upon his party ‘gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

EDGAR

I am sure on’t, not a word.

EDMUND

I hear my father coming: pardon me:
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.

Exit EDGAR
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.

Wounds his arm
Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?

Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches

GLOUCESTER

Now, Edmund, where’s the villain?

EDMUND

Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress,—

GLOUCESTER

But where is he?

EDMUND

Look, sir, I bleed.

GLOUCESTER

Where is the villain, Edmund?

EDMUND

Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could—

GLOUCESTER

Pursue him, ho! Go after.

Exeunt some Servants
By no means what?

EDMUND

Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
‘Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum’d spirits,
Bold in the quarrel’s right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.

GLOUCESTER

Let him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found—dispatch. The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.

EDMUND

When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten’d to discover him: he replied,
‘Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith’d? No: what I should deny,—
As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,—I’ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.’

GLOUCESTER

Strong and fasten’d villain
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.

Tucket within
Hark, the duke’s trumpets! I know not why he comes.
All ports I’ll bar; the villain shall not ‘scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have the due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means
To make thee capable.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants

CORNWALL

How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.

REGAN

If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

GLOUCESTER

O, madam, my old heart is crack’d, it’s crack’d!

REGAN

What, did my father’s godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?

GLOUCESTER

O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

REGAN

Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

GLOUCESTER

I know not, madam: ’tis too bad, too bad.

EDMUND

Yes, madam, he was of that consort.

REGAN

No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
‘Tis they have put him on the old man’s death,
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform’d of them; and with such cautions,
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I’ll not be there.

CORNWALL

Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.

EDMUND

‘Twas my duty, sir.

GLOUCESTER

He did bewray his practise; and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

CORNWALL

Is he pursued?

GLOUCESTER

Ay, my good lord.

CORNWALL

If he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear’d of doing harm: make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.

EDMUND

I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.

GLOUCESTER

For him I thank your grace.

CORNWALL

You know not why we came to visit you,—

REGAN

Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.

GLOUCESTER

I serve you, madam:
Your graces are right welcome.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before Gloucester’s castle.

Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally

OSWALD

Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?

KENT

Ay.

OSWALD

Where may we set our horses?

KENT

I’ the mire.

OSWALD

Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

KENT

I love thee not.

OSWALD

Why, then, I care not for thee.

KENT

If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
care for me.

OSWALD

Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

KENT

Fellow, I know thee.

OSWALD

What dost thou know me for?

KENT

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
the least syllable of thy addition.

OSWALD

Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!

KENT

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up
thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you
rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon
shines; I’ll make a sop o’ the moonshine of you:
draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

Drawing his sword

OSWALD

Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

KENT

Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the
king; and take vanity the puppet’s part against the
royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I’ll so
carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

OSWALD

Help, ho! murder! help!

KENT

Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
slave, strike.

Beating him

OSWALD

Help, ho! murder! murder!

Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants

EDMUND

How now! What’s the matter?

KENT

With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I’ll
flesh ye; come on, young master.

GLOUCESTER

Weapons! arms! What ‘s the matter here?

CORNWALL

Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?

REGAN

The messengers from our sister and the king.

CORNWALL

What is your difference? speak.

OSWALD

I am scarce in breath, my lord.

KENT

No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a
tailor made thee.

CORNWALL

Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?

KENT

Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
not have made him so ill, though he had been but two
hours at the trade.

CORNWALL

Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

OSWALD

This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
at suit of his gray beard,—

KENT

Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this
unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of
a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?

CORNWALL

Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

KENT

Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

CORNWALL

Why art thou angry?

KENT

That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse t’ unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I’ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

CORNWALL

Why, art thou mad, old fellow?

GLOUCESTER

How fell you out? say that.

KENT

No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

CORNWALL

Why dost thou call him a knave? What’s his offence?

KENT

His countenance likes me not.

CORNWALL

No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

KENT

Sir, ’tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.

CORNWALL

This is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he’s plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.

KENT

Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus’ front,—

CORNWALL

What mean’st by this?

KENT

To go out of my dialect, which you
discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no
flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain
accent was a plain knave; which for my part
I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
to entreat me to ‘t.

CORNWALL

What was the offence you gave him?

OSWALD

I never gave him any:
It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp’d me behind; being down, insulted, rail’d,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.

KENT

None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.

CORNWALL

Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We’ll teach you—

KENT

Sir, I am too old to learn:
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

CORNWALL

Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,
There shall he sit till noon.

REGAN

Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.

KENT

Why, madam, if I were your father’s dog,
You should not use me so.

REGAN

Sir, being his knave, I will.

CORNWALL

This is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!

Stocks brought out

GLOUCESTER

Let me beseech your grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will cheque him for ‘t: your purposed low correction
Is such as basest and contemned’st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punish’d with: the king must take it ill,
That he’s so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain’d.

CORNWALL

I’ll answer that.

REGAN

My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.

KENT is put in the stocks
Come, my good lord, away.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER and KENT

GLOUCESTER

I am sorry for thee, friend; ’tis the duke’s pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb’d nor stopp’d: I’ll entreat for thee.

KENT

Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell’d hard;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I’ll whistle.
A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels:
Give you good morrow!

GLOUCESTER

The duke’s to blame in this; ’twill be ill taken.

Exit

KENT

Good king, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven’s benediction comest
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery: I know ’tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been inform’d
Of my obscured course; and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o’erwatch’d,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!

Sleeps

SCENE III. A wood.

Enter EDGAR

EDGAR

I heard myself proclaim’d;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free; no place,
That guard, and most unusual vigilance,
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may ‘scape,
I will preserve myself: and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast: my face I’ll grime with filth;
Blanket my loins: elf all my hair in knots;
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb’d and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!
That’s something yet: Edgar I nothing am.

Exit

SCENE IV. Before GLOUCESTER’s castle. KENT in the stocks.

Enter KING LEAR, Fool, and Gentleman

KING LEAR

‘Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
And not send back my messenger.

Gentleman

As I learn’d,
The night before there was no purpose in them
Of this remove.

KENT

Hail to thee, noble master!

KING LEAR

Ha!
Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

KENT

No, my lord.

Fool

Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied
by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by
the loins, and men by the legs: when a man’s
over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden
nether-stocks.

KING LEAR

What’s he that hath so much thy place mistook
To set thee here?

KENT

It is both he and she;
Your son and daughter.

KING LEAR

No.

KENT

Yes.

KING LEAR

No, I say.

KENT

I say, yea.

KING LEAR

No, no, they would not.

KENT

Yes, they have.

KING LEAR

By Jupiter, I swear, no.

KENT

By Juno, I swear, ay.

KING LEAR

They durst not do ‘t;
They could not, would not do ‘t; ’tis worse than murder,
To do upon respect such violent outrage:
Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.

KENT

My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness’ letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that show’d
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stew’d in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;
Deliver’d letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read: on whose contents,
They summon’d up their meiny, straight took horse;
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceived, had poison’d mine,—
Being the very fellow that of late
Display’d so saucily against your highness,—
Having more man than wit about me, drew:
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

Fool

Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind;
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne’er turns the key to the poor.
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours
for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

KING LEAR

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element’s below! Where is this daughter?

KENT

With the earl, sir, here within.

KING LEAR

Follow me not;
Stay here.

Exit

Gentleman

Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

KENT

None.
How chance the king comes with so small a train?

Fool

And thou hadst been set i’ the stocks for that
question, thou hadst well deserved it.

KENT

Why, fool?

Fool

We’ll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee
there’s no labouring i’ the winter. All that follow
their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and
there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him
that’s stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel
runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with
following it: but the great one that goes up the
hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man
gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I
would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm,
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.

KENT

Where learned you this, fool?

Fool

Not i’ the stocks, fool.

Re-enter KING LEAR with GLOUCESTER

KING LEAR

Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travell’d all the night? Mere fetches;
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

GLOUCESTER

My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke;
How unremoveable and fix’d he is
In his own course.

KING LEAR

Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I’ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

GLOUCESTER

Well, my good lord, I have inform’d them so.

KING LEAR

Inform’d them! Dost thou understand me, man?

GLOUCESTER

Ay, my good lord.

KING LEAR

The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:
Are they inform’d of this? My breath and blood!
Fiery? the fiery duke? Tell the hot duke that—
No, but not yet: may be he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress’d, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I’ll forbear;
And am fall’n out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man. Death on my state! wherefore

Looking on KENT
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practise only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and ‘s wife I’ld speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber-door I’ll beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death.

GLOUCESTER

I would have all well betwixt you.

Exit

KING LEAR

O me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!

Fool

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels
when she put ’em i’ the paste alive; she knapped ’em
o’ the coxcombs with a stick, and cried ‘Down,
wantons, down!’ ‘Twas her brother that, in pure
kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants

KING LEAR

Good morrow to you both.

CORNWALL

Hail to your grace!

KENT is set at liberty

REGAN

I am glad to see your highness.

KING LEAR

Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress.

To KENT
O, are you free?
Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
Thy sister’s naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth’d unkindness, like a vulture, here:

Points to his heart
I can scarce speak to thee; thou’lt not believe
With how depraved a quality—O Regan!

REGAN

I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope.
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.

KING LEAR

Say, how is that?

REGAN

I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
She have restrain’d the riots of your followers,
‘Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.

KING LEAR

My curses on her!

REGAN

O, sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wrong’d her, sir.

KING LEAR

Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
‘Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;

Kneeling
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg
That you’ll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.’

REGAN

Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks:
Return you to my sister.

KING LEAR

[Rising] Never, Regan:
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look’d black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!

CORNWALL

Fie, sir, fie!

KING LEAR

You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck’d fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall and blast her pride!

REGAN

O the blest gods! so will you wish on me,
When the rash mood is on.

KING LEAR

No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o’er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort and not burn. ‘Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And in conclusion to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know’st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o’ the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow’d.

REGAN

Good sir, to the purpose.

KING LEAR

Who put my man i’ the stocks?

Tucket within

CORNWALL

What trumpet’s that?

REGAN

I know’t, my sister’s: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.

Enter OSWALD
Is your lady come?

KING LEAR

This is a slave, whose easy-borrow’d pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
Out, varlet, from my sight!

CORNWALL

What means your grace?

KING LEAR

Who stock’d my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on’t. Who comes here? O heavens,

Enter GONERIL
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!

To GONERIL
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

GONERIL

Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?
All’s not offence that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.

KING LEAR

O sides, you are too tough;
Will you yet hold? How came my man i’ the stocks?

CORNWALL

I set him there, sir: but his own disorders
Deserved much less advancement.

KING LEAR

You! did you?

REGAN

I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me:
I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

KING LEAR

Return to her, and fifty men dismiss’d?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To wage against the enmity o’ the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,—
Necessity’s sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like; pension beg
To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom.

Pointing at OSWALD

GONERIL

At your choice, sir.

KING LEAR

I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
We’ll no more meet, no more see one another:
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.

REGAN

Not altogether so:
I look’d not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so—
But she knows what she does.

KING LEAR

Is this well spoken?

REGAN

I dare avouch it, sir: what, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speak ‘gainst so great a number? How, in one house,
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? ‘Tis hard; almost impossible.

GONERIL

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants or from mine?

REGAN

Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you,
We could control them. If you will come to me,—
For now I spy a danger,—I entreat you
To bring but five and twenty: to no more
Will I give place or notice.

KING LEAR

I gave you all—

REGAN

And in good time you gave it.

KING LEAR

Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be follow’d
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?

REGAN

And speak’t again, my lord; no more with me.

KING LEAR

Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour’d,
When others are more wicked: not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise.

To GONERIL
I’ll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.

GONERIL

Hear me, my lord;
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?

REGAN

What need one?

KING LEAR

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s: thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need,—
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters’ hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women’s weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall—I will do such things,—
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep
No, I’ll not weep:
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I’ll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!

Exeunt KING LEAR, GLOUCESTER, KENT, and Fool

Storm and tempest

CORNWALL

Let us withdraw; ’twill be a storm.

REGAN

This house is little: the old man and his people
Cannot be well bestow’d.

GONERIL

‘Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.

REGAN

For his particular, I’ll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.

GONERIL

So am I purposed.
Where is my lord of Gloucester?

CORNWALL

Follow’d the old man forth: he is return’d.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

The king is in high rage.

CORNWALL

Whither is he going?

GLOUCESTER

He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.

CORNWALL

‘Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.

GONERIL

My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

GLOUCESTER

Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Do sorely ruffle; for many miles a bout
There’s scarce a bush.

REGAN

O, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors:
He is attended with a desperate train;
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

CORNWALL

Shut up your doors, my lord; ’tis a wild night:
My Regan counsels well; come out o’ the storm.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. A heath.

Storm still. Enter KENT and a Gentleman, meeting

KENT

Who’s there, besides foul weather?

Gentleman

One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

KENT

I know you. Where’s the king?

Gentleman

Contending with the fretful element:
Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled water ‘bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.

KENT

But who is with him?

Gentleman

None but the fool; who labours to out-jest
His heart-struck injuries.

KENT

Sir, I do know you;
And dare, upon the warrant of my note,
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
Although as yet the face of it be cover’d
With mutual cunning, ‘twixt Albany and Cornwall;
Who have—as who have not, that their great stars
Throned and set high?—servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
Intelligent of our state; what hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
Against the old kind king; or something deeper,
Whereof perchance these are but furnishings;
But, true it is, from France there comes a power
Into this scatter’d kingdom; who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports, and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you:
If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
I am a gentleman of blood and breeding;
And, from some knowledge and assurance, offer
This office to you.

Gentleman

I will talk further with you.

KENT

No, do not.
For confirmation that I am much more
Than my out-wall, open this purse, and take
What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,—
As fear not but you shall,—show her this ring;
And she will tell you who your fellow is
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
I will go seek the king.

Gentleman

Give me your hand: have you no more to say?

KENT

Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet;
That, when we have found the king,—in which your pain
That way, I’ll this,—he that first lights on him
Holla the other.

Exeunt severally

SCENE II. Another part of the heath. Storm still.

Enter KING LEAR and Fool

KING LEAR

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

Fool

O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry
house is better than this rain-water out o’ door.
Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters’ blessing:
here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.

KING LEAR

Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call’d you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join’d
Your high engender’d battles ‘gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! ’tis foul!

Fool

He that has a house to put’s head in has a good
head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse;
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.
For there was never yet fair woman but she made
mouths in a glass.

KING LEAR

No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
I will say nothing.

Enter KENT

KENT

Who’s there?

Fool

Marry, here’s grace and a cod-piece; that’s a wise
man and a fool.

KENT

Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard: man’s nature cannot carry
The affliction nor the fear.

KING LEAR

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 perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practised 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.

KENT

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

KING LEAR

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.

Fool

[Singing]
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.

KING LEAR

True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.

Exeunt KING LEAR and KENT

Fool

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 used with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time.

Exit

SCENE III. Gloucester’s castle.

Enter GLOUCESTER and EDMUND

GLOUCESTER

Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural
dealing. When I desire their leave that I might
pity him, they took from me the use of mine own
house; charged me, on pain of their perpetual
displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for
him, nor any way sustain him.

EDMUND

Most savage and unnatural!

GLOUCESTER

Go to; say you nothing. There’s a division betwixt
the dukes; and a worse matter than that: I have
received a letter this night; ’tis dangerous to be
spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet:
these injuries the king now bears will be revenged
home; there’s part of a power already footed: we
must incline to the king. I will seek him, and
privily relieve him: go you and maintain talk with
the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived:
if he ask for me. I am ill, and gone to bed.
Though I die for it, as no less is threatened me,
the king my old master must be relieved. There is
some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.

Exit

EDMUND

This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke
Instantly know; and of that letter too:
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses; no less than all:
The younger rises when the old doth fall.

Exit

SCENE IV. The heath. Before a hovel.

Enter KING LEAR, KENT, and Fool

KENT

Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night’s too rough
For nature to endure.

Storm still

KING LEAR

Let me alone.

KENT

Good my lord, enter here.

KING LEAR

Wilt break my heart?

KENT

I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.

KING LEAR

Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin: so ’tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix’d,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’ldst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou’ldst meet the bear i’ the mouth. When the
mind’s free,
The body’s delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to’t? But I will punish home:
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

KENT

Good my lord, enter here.

KING LEAR

Prithee, go in thyself: seek thine own ease:
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I’ll go in.

To the Fool
In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty,—
Nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.

Fool goes in
Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

EDGAR

[Within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

The Fool runs out from the hovel

Fool

Come not in here, nuncle, here’s a spirit
Help me, help me!

KENT

Give me thy hand. Who’s there?

Fool

A spirit, a spirit: he says his name’s poor Tom.

KENT

What art thou that dost grumble there i’ the straw?
Come forth.

Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man

EDGAR

Away! the foul fiend follows me!
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

KING LEAR

Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?

EDGAR

Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
through ford and whirlipool e’er bog and quagmire;
that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom’s a-cold,—O, do
de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
have him now,—and there,—and there again, and there.

Storm still

KING LEAR

What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?

Fool

Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.

KING LEAR

Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o’er men’s faults light on thy daughters!

KENT

He hath no daughters, sir.

KING LEAR

Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! ’twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

EDGAR

Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!

Fool

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

EDGAR

Take heed o’ the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
man’s sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
array. Tom’s a-cold.

KING LEAR

What hast thou been?

EDGAR

A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
my mistress’ heart, and did the act of darkness with
her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
from lenders’ books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.

Storm still

KING LEAR

Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here’s three on
‘s are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
come unbutton here.

Tearing off his clothes

Fool

Prithee, nuncle, be contented; ’tis a naughty night
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were
like an old lecher’s heart; a small spark, all the
rest on’s body cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.

Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch

EDGAR

This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins
at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives
the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the
hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the
poor creature of earth.
S. Withold footed thrice the old;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

KENT

How fares your grace?

KING LEAR

What’s he?

KENT

Who’s there? What is’t you seek?

GLOUCESTER

What are you there? Your names?

EDGAR

Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad,
the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water; that in
the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages,
eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat and
the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the
standing pool; who is whipped from tithing to
tithing, and stock- punished, and imprisoned; who
hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his
body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear;
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom’s food for seven long year.
Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin; peace, thou fiend!

GLOUCESTER

What, hath your grace no better company?

EDGAR

The prince of darkness is a gentleman:
Modo he’s call’d, and Mahu.

GLOUCESTER

Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.

EDGAR

Poor Tom’s a-cold.

GLOUCESTER

Go in with me: my duty cannot suffer
To obey in all your daughters’ hard commands:
Though their injunction be to bar my doors,
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you,
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out,
And bring you where both fire and food is ready.

KING LEAR

First let me talk with this philosopher.
What is the cause of thunder?

KENT

Good my lord, take his offer; go into the house.

KING LEAR

I’ll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?

EDGAR

How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.

KING LEAR

Let me ask you one word in private.

KENT

Importune him once more to go, my lord;
His wits begin to unsettle.

GLOUCESTER

Canst thou blame him?

Storm still
His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus, poor banish’d man!
Thou say’st the king grows mad; I’ll tell thee, friend,
I am almost mad myself: I had a son,
Now outlaw’d from my blood; he sought my life,
But lately, very late: I loved him, friend;
No father his son dearer: truth to tell thee,
The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night’s this!
I do beseech your grace,—

KING LEAR

O, cry your mercy, sir.
Noble philosopher, your company.

EDGAR

Tom’s a-cold.

GLOUCESTER

In, fellow, there, into the hovel: keep thee warm.

KING LEAR

Come let’s in all.

KENT

This way, my lord.

KING LEAR

With him;
I will keep still with my philosopher.

KENT

Good my lord, soothe him; let him take the fellow.

GLOUCESTER

Take him you on.

KENT

Sirrah, come on; go along with us.

KING LEAR

Come, good Athenian.

GLOUCESTER

No words, no words: hush.

EDGAR

Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still,—Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Gloucester’s castle.

Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND

CORNWALL

I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.

EDMUND

How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus
gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think
of.

CORNWALL

I now perceive, it was not altogether your
brother’s evil disposition made him seek his death;
but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reprovable
badness in himself.

EDMUND

How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to
be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which
approves him an intelligent party to the advantages
of France: O heavens! that this treason were not,
or not I the detector!

CORNWALL

o with me to the duchess.

EDMUND

If the matter of this paper be certain, you have
mighty business in hand.

CORNWALL

True or false, it hath made thee earl of
Gloucester. Seek out where thy father is, that he
may be ready for our apprehension.

EDMUND

[Aside] If I find him comforting the king, it will
stuff his suspicion more fully.—I will persevere in
my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore
between that and my blood.

CORNWALL

I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a
dearer father in my love.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. A chamber in a farmhouse adjoining the castle.

Enter GLOUCESTER, KING LEAR, KENT, Fool, and EDGAR

GLOUCESTER

Here is better than the open air; take it
thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can: I will not be long from you.

KENT

All the power of his wits have given way to his
impatience: the gods reward your kindness!

Exit GLOUCESTER

EDGAR

Frateretto calls me; and tells me
Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness.
Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

Fool

Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
gentleman or a yeoman?

KING LEAR

A king, a king!

Fool

No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son;
for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman
before him.

KING LEAR

To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon ’em,—

EDGAR

The foul fiend bites my back.

Fool

He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
horse’s health, a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.

KING LEAR

It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.

To EDGAR
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer;

To the Fool
Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she foxes!

EDGAR

Look, where he stands and glares!
Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?
Come o’er the bourn, Bessy, to me,—

Fool

Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

EDGAR

The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a
nightingale. Hopdance cries in Tom’s belly for two
white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no
food for thee.

KENT

How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed:
Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

KING LEAR

I’ll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence.

To EDGAR
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place;

To the Fool
And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
Bench by his side:

To KENT
you are o’ the commission,
Sit you too.

EDGAR

Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Pur! the cat is gray.

KING LEAR

Arraign her first; ’tis Goneril. I here take my
oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the
poor king her father.

Fool

Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

KING LEAR

She cannot deny it.

Fool

Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

KING LEAR

And here’s another, whose warp’d looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her ‘scape?

EDGAR

Bless thy five wits!

KENT

O pity! Sir, where is the patience now,
That thou so oft have boasted to retain?

EDGAR

[Aside] My tears begin to take his part so much,
They’ll mar my counterfeiting.

KING LEAR

The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and
Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.

EDGAR

Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
Tom will make them weep and wail:
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and
fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

KING LEAR

Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds
about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that
makes these hard hearts?

To EDGAR
You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred; only I
do not like the fashion of your garments: you will
say they are Persian attire: but let them be changed.

KENT

Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

KING LEAR

Make no noise, make no noise; draw the curtains:
so, so, so. We’ll go to supper i’ he morning. So, so, so.

Fool

And I’ll go to bed at noon.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

Come hither, friend: where is the king my master?

KENT

Here, sir; but trouble him not, his wits are gone.

GLOUCESTER

Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms;
I have o’erheard a plot of death upon him:
There is a litter ready; lay him in ‘t,
And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master:
If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
With thine, and all that offer to defend him,
Stand in assured loss: take up, take up;
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.

KENT

Oppressed nature sleeps:
This rest might yet have balm’d thy broken senses,
Which, if convenience will not allow,
Stand in hard cure.

To the Fool
Come, help to bear thy master;
Thou must not stay behind.

GLOUCESTER

Come, come, away.

Exeunt all but EDGAR

EDGAR

When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i’ the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind:
But then the mind much sufferance doth o’er skip,
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the king bow,
He childed as I father’d! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof, repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe ‘scape the king!
Lurk, lurk.

Exit

SCENE VII. Gloucester’s castle.

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL, EDMUND, and Servants

CORNWALL

Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him
this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek
out the villain Gloucester.

Exeunt some of the Servants

REGAN

Hang him instantly.

GONERIL

Pluck out his eyes.

CORNWALL

Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
sister company: the revenges we are bound to take
upon your traitorous father are not fit for your
beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to
a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my
lord of Gloucester.

Enter OSWALD
How now! where’s the king?

OSWALD

My lord of Gloucester hath convey’d him hence:
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lords dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
To have well-armed friends.

CORNWALL

Get horses for your mistress.

GONERIL

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

CORNWALL

Edmund, farewell.

Exeunt GONERIL, EDMUND, and OSWALD
Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

Exeunt other Servants
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not control. Who’s there? the traitor?

Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three

REGAN

Ingrateful fox! ’tis he.

CORNWALL

Bind fast his corky arms.

GLOUCESTER

What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

CORNWALL

Bind him, I say.

Servants bind him

REGAN

Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

GLOUCESTER

Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.

CORNWALL

To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find—

REGAN plucks his beard

GLOUCESTER

By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.

REGAN

So white, and such a traitor!

GLOUCESTER

Naughty lady,
These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
With robbers’ hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

CORNWALL

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

REGAN

Be simple answerer, for we know the truth.

CORNWALL

And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?

REGAN

To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king? Speak.

GLOUCESTER

I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.

CORNWALL

Cunning.

REGAN

And false.

CORNWALL

Where hast thou sent the king?

GLOUCESTER

To Dover.

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

CORNWALL

Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

GLOUCESTER

I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover, sir?

GLOUCESTER

Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoy’d up,
And quench’d the stelled fires:
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl’d that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said ‘Good porter, turn the key,’
All cruels else subscribed: but I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.

CORNWALL

See’t shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

GLOUCESTER

He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!

REGAN

One side will mock another; the other too.

CORNWALL

If you see vengeance,—

First Servant

Hold your hand, my lord:
I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

REGAN

How now, you dog!

First Servant

If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

CORNWALL

My villain!

They draw and fight

First Servant

Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

REGAN

Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!

Takes a sword, and runs at him behind

First Servant

O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O!

Dies

CORNWALL

Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

GLOUCESTER

All dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
To quit this horrid act.

REGAN

Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call’st on him that hates thee: it was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.

GLOUCESTER

O my follies! then Edgar was abused.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

REGAN

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.

Exit one with GLOUCESTER
How is’t, my lord? how look you?

CORNWALL

I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.

Exit CORNWALL, led by REGAN

Second Servant

I’ll never care what wickedness I do,
If this man come to good.

Third Servant

If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.

Second Servant

Let’s follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
Allows itself to any thing.

Third Servant

Go thou: I’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

Exeunt severally

ACT IV
SCENE I. The heath.

Enter EDGAR

EDGAR

Yet better thus, and known to be contemn’d,
Than still contemn’d and flatter’d. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts. But who comes here?

Enter GLOUCESTER, led by an Old Man
My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Lie would not yield to age.

Old Man

O, my good lord, I have been your tenant, and
your father’s tenant, these fourscore years.

GLOUCESTER

Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.

Old Man

Alack, sir, you cannot see your way.

GLOUCESTER

I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw: full oft ’tis seen,
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father’s wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I’ld say I had eyes again!

Old Man

How now! Who’s there?

EDGAR

[Aside] O gods! Who is’t can say ‘I am at
the worst’?
I am worse than e’er I was.

Old Man

‘Tis poor mad Tom.

EDGAR

[Aside] And worse I may be yet: the worst is not
So long as we can say ‘This is the worst.’

Old Man

Fellow, where goest?

GLOUCESTER

Is it a beggar-man?

Old Man

Madman and beggar too.

GLOUCESTER

He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I’ the last night’s storm I such a fellow saw;
Which made me think a man a worm: my son
Came then into my mind; and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard
more since.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport.

EDGAR

[Aside] How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Angering itself and others.—Bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER

Is that the naked fellow?

Old Man

Ay, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

Then, prithee, get thee gone: if, for my sake,
Thou wilt o’ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
I’ the way toward Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Who I’ll entreat to lead me.

Old Man

Alack, sir, he is mad.

GLOUCESTER

‘Tis the times’ plague, when madmen lead the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure;
Above the rest, be gone.

Old Man

I’ll bring him the best ‘parel that I have,
Come on’t what will.

Exit

GLOUCESTER

Sirrah, naked fellow,—

EDGAR

Poor Tom’s a-cold.

Aside
I cannot daub it further.

GLOUCESTER

Come hither, fellow.

EDGAR

[Aside] And yet I must.—Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.

GLOUCESTER

Know’st thou the way to Dover?

EDGAR

Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor
Tom hath been scared out of his good wits: bless
thee, good man’s son, from the foul fiend! five
fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as
Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of
mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids
and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!

GLOUCESTER

Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens’ plagues
Have humbled to all strokes: that I am wretched
Makes thee the happier: heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

EDGAR

Ay, master.

GLOUCESTER

There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading need.

EDGAR

Give me thy arm:
Poor Tom shall lead thee.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before ALBANY’s palace.

Enter GONERIL and EDMUND

GONERIL

Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.

Enter OSWALD
Now, where’s your master’?

OSWALD

Madam, within; but never man so changed.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:
His answer was ‘The worse:’ of Gloucester’s treachery,
And of the loyal service of his son,
When I inform’d him, then he call’d me sot,
And told me I had turn’d the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.

GONERIL

[To EDMUND] Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he’ll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband’s hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress’s command. Wear this; spare speech;

Giving a favour
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
Conceive, and fare thee well.

EDMUND

Yours in the ranks of death.

GONERIL

My most dear Gloucester!

Exit EDMUND
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman’s services are due:
My fool usurps my body.

OSWALD

Madam, here comes my lord.

Exit

Enter ALBANY

GONERIL

I have been worth the whistle.

ALBANY

O Goneril!
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
That nature, which contemns its origin,
Cannot be border’d certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

GONERIL

No more; the text is foolish.

ALBANY

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform’d?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugg’d bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.

GONERIL

Milk-liver’d man!
That bear’st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know’st
Fools do those villains pity who are punish’d
Ere they have done their mischief. Where’s thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit’st still, and criest
‘Alack, why does he so?’

ALBANY

See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.

GONERIL

O vain fool!

ALBANY

Thou changed and self-cover’d thing, for shame,
Be-monster not thy feature. Were’t my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones: howe’er thou art a fiend,
A woman’s shape doth shield thee.

GONERIL

Marry, your manhood now—

Enter a Messenger

ALBANY

What news?

Messenger

O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall’s dead:
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.

ALBANY

Gloucester’s eye!

Messenger

A servant that he bred, thrill’d with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him, and amongst them fell’d him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke, which since
Hath pluck’d him after.

ALBANY

This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other eye?

Messenger

Both, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
‘Tis from your sister.

GONERIL

[Aside] One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: another way,
The news is not so tart.—I’ll read, and answer.

Exit

ALBANY

Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

Messenger

Come with my lady hither.

ALBANY

He is not here.

Messenger

No, my good lord; I met him back again.

ALBANY

Knows he the wickedness?

Messenger

Ay, my good lord; ’twas he inform’d against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.

ALBANY

Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show’dst the king,
And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
Tell me what more thou know’st.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The French camp near Dover.

Enter KENT and a Gentleman

KENT

Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back
know you the reason?

Gentleman

Something he left imperfect in the
state, which since his coming forth is thought
of; which imports to the kingdom so much
fear and danger, that his personal return was
most required and necessary.

KENT

Who hath he left behind him general?

Gentleman

The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

KENT

Did your letters pierce the queen to any
demonstration of grief?

Gentleman

Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
And now and then an ample tear trill’d down
Her delicate cheek: it seem’d she was a queen
Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
Sought to be king o’er her.

KENT

O, then it moved her.

Gentleman

Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like a better way: those happy smilets,
That play’d on her ripe lip, seem’d not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
As pearls from diamonds dropp’d. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved,
If all could so become it.

KENT

Made she no verbal question?

Gentleman

‘Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of ‘father’
Pantingly forth, as if it press’d her heart:
Cried ‘Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies! sisters!
Kent! father! sisters! What, i’ the storm? i’ the night?
Let pity not be believed!’ There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten’d: then away she started
To deal with grief alone.

KENT

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

Gentleman

No.

KENT

Was this before the king return’d?

Gentleman

No, since.

KENT

Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear’s i’ the town;
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.

Gentleman

Why, good sir?

KENT

A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,
That stripp’d her from his benediction, turn’d her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting
His mind so venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

Gentleman

Alack, poor gentleman!

KENT

Of Albany’s and Cornwall’s powers you heard not?

Gentleman

‘Tis so, they are afoot.

KENT

Well, sir, I’ll bring you to our master Lear,
And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
Along with me.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same. A tent.

Enter, with drum and colours, CORDELIA, Doctor, and Soldiers

CORDELIA

Alack, ’tis he: why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex’d sea; singing aloud;
Crown’d with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. A century send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye.

Exit an Officer
What can man’s wisdom
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He that helps him take all my outward worth.

Doctor

There is means, madam:
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

CORDELIA

All blest secrets,
All you unpublish’d virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
In the good man’s distress! Seek, seek for him;
Lest his ungovern’d rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

News, madam;
The British powers are marching hitherward.

CORDELIA

‘Tis known before; our preparation stands
In expectation of them. O dear father,
It is thy business that I go about;
Therefore great France
My mourning and important tears hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our aged father’s right:
Soon may I hear and see him!

Exeunt

SCENE V. Gloucester’s castle.

Enter REGAN and OSWALD

REGAN

But are my brother’s powers set forth?

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

REGAN

Himself in person there?

OSWALD

Madam, with much ado:
Your sister is the better soldier.

REGAN

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

OSWALD

No, madam.

REGAN

What might import my sister’s letter to him?

OSWALD

I know not, lady.

REGAN

‘Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
It was great ignorance, Gloucester’s eyes being out,
To let him live: where he arrives he moves
All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone,
In pity of his misery, to dispatch
His nighted life: moreover, to descry
The strength o’ the enemy.

OSWALD

I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

REGAN

Our troops set forth to-morrow: stay with us;
The ways are dangerous.

OSWALD

I may not, madam:
My lady charged my duty in this business.

REGAN

Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something—I know not what: I’ll love thee much,
Let me unseal the letter.

OSWALD

Madam, I had rather—

REGAN

I know your lady does not love her husband;
I am sure of that: and at her late being here
She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

OSWALD

I, madam?

REGAN

I speak in understanding; you are; I know’t:
Therefore I do advise you, take this note:
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk’d;
And more convenient is he for my hand
Than for your lady’s: you may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you, give him this;
And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

OSWALD

Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
What party I do follow.

REGAN

Fare thee well.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Fields near Dover.

Enter GLOUCESTER, and EDGAR dressed like a peasant

GLOUCESTER

When shall we come to the top of that same hill?

EDGAR

You do climb up it now: look, how we labour.

GLOUCESTER

Methinks the ground is even.

EDGAR

Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?

GLOUCESTER

No, truly.

EDGAR

Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes’ anguish.

GLOUCESTER

So may it be, indeed:
Methinks thy voice is alter’d; and thou speak’st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

EDGAR

You’re much deceived: in nothing am I changed
But in my garments.

GLOUCESTER

Methinks you’re better spoken.

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: half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
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,
That on the unnumber’d idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I’ll look no more;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

GLOUCESTER

Set me where you stand.

EDGAR

Give me your hand: you are now within a foot
Of the extreme verge: for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.

GLOUCESTER

Let go my hand.
Here, friend, ‘s another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man’s taking: fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou farther off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

EDGAR

Now fare you well, good sir.

GLOUCESTER

With all my heart.

EDGAR

Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.

GLOUCESTER

[Kneeling] O you mighty gods!
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off:
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.

He falls forward

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,
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?

GLOUCESTER

Away, and let me die.

EDGAR

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fathom 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
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell:
Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.

GLOUCESTER

But have I fall’n, or no?

EDGAR

From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height; the shrill-gorged lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard: do but look up.

GLOUCESTER

Alack, I have no eyes.
Is wretchedness deprived that benefit,
To end itself by death? ‘Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the tyrant’s rage,
And frustrate his proud will.

EDGAR

Give me your arm:
Up: so. How is ‘t? Feel you your legs? You stand.

GLOUCESTER

Too well, too well.

EDGAR

This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o’ the cliff, what thing was that
Which parted from you?

GLOUCESTER

A poor unfortunate beggar.

EDGAR

As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
Horns whelk’d and waved like the enridged sea:
It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men’s impossibilities, have preserved thee.

GLOUCESTER

I do remember now: henceforth I’ll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
‘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. But who comes here?

Enter KING LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild flowers
The safer sense will ne’er accommodate
His master thus.

KING LEAR

No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the
king himself.

EDGAR

O thou side-piercing sight!

KING LEAR

Nature’s above art in that respect. There’s your
press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a
crow-keeper: draw me a clothier’s yard. Look,
look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece of toasted
cheese will do ‘t. There’s my gauntlet; I’ll prove
it on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O, well
flown, bird! i’ the clout, i’ the clout: hewgh!
Give the word.

EDGAR

Sweet marjoram.

KING LEAR

Pass.

GLOUCESTER

I know that voice.

KING LEAR

Ha! Goneril, with a white beard! They flattered
me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my
beard ere the black ones were there. To say ‘ay’
and ‘no’ to every thing that I said!—‘Ay’ and ‘no’
too was no good divinity. When the rain came to
wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when
the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I
found ’em, there I smelt ’em out. Go to, they are
not men o’ their words: they told me I was every
thing; ’tis a lie, I am not ague-proof.

GLOUCESTER

The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is ‘t not the king?

KING LEAR

Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man’s life. What was thy cause? Adultery?
Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to ‘t, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester’s bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got ‘tween the lawful sheets.
To ‘t, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure’s name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to ‘t
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends’;
There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the
sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination:
there’s money for thee.

GLOUCESTER

O, let me kiss that hand!

KING LEAR

Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

GLOUCESTER

O ruin’d piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to nought. Dost thou know me?

KING LEAR

I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny
at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I’ll not
love. Read thou this challenge; mark but the
penning of it.

GLOUCESTER

Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

EDGAR

I would not take this from report; it is,
And my heart breaks at it.

KING LEAR

Read.

GLOUCESTER

What, with the case of eyes?

KING LEAR

O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your
head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in
a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how
this world goes.

GLOUCESTER

I see it feelingly.

KING LEAR

What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes
with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond
justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in
thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen
a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?

GLOUCESTER

Ay, sir.

KING LEAR

And the creature run from the cur? There thou
mightst behold the great image of authority: a
dog’s obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I’ll able ’em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.

EDGAR

O, matter and impertinency mix’d! Reason in madness!

KING LEAR

If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes.
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know’st, the first time that we smell the air,
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee: mark.

GLOUCESTER

Alack, alack the day!

KING LEAR

When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools: this a good block;
It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
A troop of horse with felt: I’ll put ‘t in proof;
And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants

Gentleman

O, here he is: lay hand upon him. Sir,
Your most dear daughter—

KING LEAR

No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.

Gentleman

You shall have any thing.

KING LEAR

No seconds? all myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and laying autumn’s dust.

Gentleman

Good sir,—

KING LEAR

I will die bravely, like a bridegroom. What!
I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,
My masters, know you that.

Gentleman

You are a royal one, and we obey you.

KING LEAR

Then there’s life in’t. Nay, if you get it, you
shall get it with running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.

Exit running; Attendants follow

Gentleman

A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter,
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

EDGAR

Hail, gentle sir.

Gentleman

Sir, speed you: what’s your will?

EDGAR

Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Gentleman

Most sure and vulgar: every one hears that,
Which can distinguish sound.

EDGAR

But, by your favour,
How near’s the other army?

Gentleman

Near and on speedy foot; the main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

EDGAR

I thank you, sir: that’s all.

Gentleman

Though that the queen on special cause is here,
Her army is moved on.

EDGAR

I thank you, sir.

Exit Gentleman

GLOUCESTER

You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me:
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!

EDGAR

Well pray you, father.

GLOUCESTER

Now, good sir, what are you?

EDGAR

A most poor man, made tame to fortune’s blows;
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I’ll lead you to some biding.

GLOUCESTER

Hearty thanks:
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!

Enter OSWALD

OSWALD

A proclaim’d prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh
To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember: the sword is out
That must destroy thee.

GLOUCESTER

Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to’t.

EDGAR interposes

OSWALD

Wherefore, bold peasant,
Darest thou support a publish’d traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

EDGAR

Ch’ill not let go, zir, without vurther ‘casion.

OSWALD

Let go, slave, or thou diest!

EDGAR

Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk
pass. An chud ha’ bin zwaggered out of my life,
‘twould not ha’ bin zo long as ’tis by a vortnight.
Nay, come not near th’ old man; keep out, che vor
ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be
the harder: ch’ill be plain with you.

OSWALD

Out, dunghill!

EDGAR

Ch’ill pick your teeth, zir: come; no matter vor
your foins.

They fight, and EDGAR knocks him down

OSWALD

Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
And give the letters which thou find’st about me
To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!

Dies

EDGAR

I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

GLOUCESTER

What, is he dead?

EDGAR

Sit you down, father; rest you
Let’s see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He’s dead; I am only sorry
He had no other death’s-man. Let us see:
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies’ minds, we’ld rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful.

Reads
‘Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have
many opportunities to cut him off: if your will
want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered.
There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror:
then am I the prisoner, and his bed my goal; from
the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply
the place for your labour.
‘Your—wife, so I would say—
‘Affectionate servant,
‘GONERIL.’
O undistinguish’d space of woman’s will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband’s life;
And the exchange my brother! Here, in the sands,
Thee I’ll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death practised duke: for him ’tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

GLOUCESTER

The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever’d from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.

EDGAR

Give me your hand:

Drum afar off
Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum:
Come, father, I’ll bestow you with a friend.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. 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;
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
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!
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?

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!

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
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!—
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!
‘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:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like moulten lead.

CORDELIA

Sir, do you know me?

KING LEAR

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

CORDELIA

Still, still, far wide!

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;
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,
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
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.

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.

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.
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?

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.

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.

Exit

ACT V
SCENE I. The British camp, near Dover.

Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Gentlemen, and Soldiers.

EDMUND

Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is advised by aught
To change the course: he’s full of alteration
And self-reproving: bring his constant pleasure.

To a Gentleman, who goes out

REGAN

Our sister’s man is certainly miscarried.

EDMUND

‘Tis to be doubted, madam.

REGAN

Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you:
Tell me—but truly—but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister?

EDMUND

In honour’d love.

REGAN

But have you never found my brother’s way
To the forfended place?

EDMUND

That thought abuses you.

REGAN

I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom’d with her, as far as we call hers.

EDMUND

No, by mine honour, madam.

REGAN

I never shall endure her: dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.

EDMUND

Fear me not:
She and the duke her husband!

Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers

GONERIL

[Aside] I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.

ALBANY

Our very loving sister, well be-met.
Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigor of our state
Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

EDMUND

Sir, you speak nobly.

REGAN

Why is this reason’d?

GONERIL

Combine together ‘gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.

ALBANY

Let’s then determine
With the ancient of war on our proceedings.

EDMUND

I shall attend you presently at your tent.

REGAN

Sister, you’ll go with us?

GONERIL

No.

REGAN

‘Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.

GONERIL

[Aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.—I will go.

As they are going out, enter EDGAR disguised

EDGAR

If e’er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.

ALBANY

I’ll overtake you. Speak.

Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR

EDGAR

Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you.

ALBANY

Stay till I have read the letter.

EDGAR

I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I’ll appear again.

ALBANY

Why, fare thee well: I will o’erlook thy paper.

Exit EDGAR

Re-enter EDMUND

EDMUND

The enemy’s in view; draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
Is now urged on you.

ALBANY

We will greet the time.

Exit

EDMUND

To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy’d,
If both remain alive: to take the widow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being alive. Now then we’ll use
His countenance for the battle; which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him devise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

Exit

SCENE II. A field between the two camps.

Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours, KING LEAR, CORDELIA, and Soldiers, over the stage; and exeunt

Enter EDGAR and GLOUCESTER

EDGAR

Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again,
I’ll bring you comfort.

GLOUCESTER

Grace go with you, sir!

Exit EDGAR

Alarum and retreat within. Re-enter EDGAR

EDGAR

Away, old man; give me thy hand; away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en:
Give me thy hand; come on.

GLOUCESTER

No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.

EDGAR

What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all: come on.

GLOUCESTER

And that’s true too.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The British camp near Dover.

Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, EDMUND, KING LEAR and CORDELIA, prisoners; Captain, Soldiers, & c

EDMUND

Some officers take them away: good guard,
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.

CORDELIA

We are not the first
Who, with best meaning, have incurr’d the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune’s frown.
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?

KING LEAR

No, no, no, no! Come, let’s away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out;
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

EDMUND

Take them away.

KING LEAR

Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?
He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven,
And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
The good-years shall devour them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep: we’ll see ’em starve
first. Come.

Exeunt KING LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded

EDMUND

Come hither, captain; hark.
Take thou this note;

Giving a paper
go follow them to prison:
One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword: thy great employment
Will not bear question; either say thou’lt do ‘t,
Or thrive by other means.

Captain

I’ll do ‘t, my lord.

EDMUND

About it; and write happy when thou hast done.
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so
As I have set it down.

Captain

I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
If it be man’s work, I’ll do ‘t.

Exit

Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, another Captain, and Soldiers

ALBANY

Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,
And fortune led you well: you have the captives
That were the opposites of this day’s strife:
We do require them of you, so to use them
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.

EDMUND

Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
An turn our impress’d lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the queen;
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
Where you shall hold your session. At this time
We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are cursed
By those that feel their sharpness:
The question of Cordelia and her father
Requires a fitter place.

ALBANY

Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.

REGAN

That’s as we list to grace him.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.

GONERIL

Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your addition.

REGAN

In my rights,
By me invested, he compeers the best.

GONERIL

That were the most, if he should husband you.

REGAN

Jesters do oft prove prophets.

GONERIL

Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so look’d but a-squint.

REGAN

Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach. General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.

GONERIL

Mean you to enjoy him?

ALBANY

The let-alone lies not in your good will.

EDMUND

Nor in thine, lord.

ALBANY

Half-blooded fellow, yes.

REGAN

[To EDMUND] Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

ALBANY

Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
This gilded serpent

Pointing to Goneril
For your claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife:
‘Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will marry, make your loves to me,
My lady is bespoke.

GONERIL

An interlude!

ALBANY

Thou art arm’d, Gloucester: let the trumpet sound:
If none appear to prove upon thy head
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge;

Throwing down a glove
I’ll prove it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim’d thee.

REGAN

Sick, O, sick!

GONERIL

[Aside] If not, I’ll ne’er trust medicine.

EDMUND

There’s my exchange:

Throwing down a glove
what in the world he is
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies:
Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach,
On him, on you, who not? I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.

ALBANY

A herald, ho!

EDMUND

A herald, ho, a herald!

ALBANY

Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.

REGAN

My sickness grows upon me.

ALBANY

She is not well; convey her to my tent.

Exit Regan, led

Enter a Herald
Come hither, herald,—Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.

Captain

Sound, trumpet!

A trumpet sounds

Herald

[Reads] ‘If any man of quality or degree within
the lists of the army will maintain upon Edmund,
supposed Earl of Gloucester, that he is a manifold
traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the
trumpet: he is bold in his defence.’

EDMUND

Sound!

First trumpet

Herald

Again!

Second trumpet

Herald

Again!

Third trumpet

Trumpet answers within

Enter EDGAR, at the third sound, armed, with a trumpet before him

ALBANY

Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o’ the trumpet.

Herald

What are you?
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?

EDGAR

Know, my name is lost;
By treason’s tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble as the adversary
I come to cope.

ALBANY

Which is that adversary?

EDGAR

What’s he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?

EDMUND

Himself: what say’st thou to him?

EDGAR

Draw thy sword,
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a traitor;
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant ‘gainst this high-illustrious prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou ‘No,’
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.

EDMUND

In wisdom I should ask thy name;
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o’erwhelm thy heart;
Which, for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise,
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak!

Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls

ALBANY

Save him, save him!

GONERIL

This is practise, Gloucester:
By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish’d,
But cozen’d and beguiled.

ALBANY

Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it: Hold, sir:
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:
No tearing, lady: I perceive you know it.

Gives the letter to EDMUND

GONERIL

Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not thine:
Who can arraign me for’t.

ALBANY

Most monstrous! oh!
Know’st thou this paper?

GONERIL

Ask me not what I know.

Exit

ALBANY

Go after her: she’s desperate; govern her.

EDMUND

What you have charged me with, that have I done;
And more, much more; the time will bring it out:
‘Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou’rt noble,
I do forgive thee.

EDGAR

Let’s exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong’d me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father’s son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us:
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.

EDMUND

Thou hast spoken right, ’tis true;
The wheel is come full circle: I am here.

ALBANY

Methought thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness: I must embrace thee:
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee or thy father!

EDGAR

Worthy prince, I know’t.

ALBANY

Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?

EDGAR

By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
And when ’tis told, O, that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow’d me so near,—O, our lives’ sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!—taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain’d: and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost: became his guide,
Led him, begg’d for him, saved him from despair;
Never,—O fault!—reveal’d myself unto him,
Until some half-hour past, when I was arm’d:
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I ask’d his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage: but his flaw’d heart,
Alack, too weak the conflict to support!
‘Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

EDMUND

This speech of yours hath moved me,
And shall perchance do good: but speak you on;
You look as you had something more to say.

ALBANY

If there be more, more woeful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

EDGAR

This would have seem’d a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour came there in a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn’d my abhorr’d society; but then, finding
Who ’twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellow’d out
As he’ld burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
That ever ear received: which in recounting
His grief grew puissant and the strings of life
Began to crack: twice then the trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranced.

ALBANY

But who was this?

EDGAR

Kent, sir, the banish’d Kent; who in disguise
Follow’d his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman, with a bloody knife

Gentleman

Help, help, O, help!

EDGAR

What kind of help?

ALBANY

Speak, man.

EDGAR

What means that bloody knife?

Gentleman

‘Tis hot, it smokes;
It came even from the heart of—O, she’s dead!

ALBANY

Who dead? speak, man.

Gentleman

Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
By her is poisoned; she hath confess’d it.

EDMUND

I was contracted to them both: all three
Now marry in an instant.

EDGAR

Here comes Kent.

ALBANY

Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead:
This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,
Touches us not with pity.

Exit Gentleman

Enter KENT
O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
Which very manners urges.

KENT

I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night:
Is he not here?

ALBANY

Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where’s the king? and where’s Cordelia?
See’st thou this object, Kent?

The bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in

KENT

Alack, why thus?

EDMUND

Yet Edmund was beloved:
The one the other poison’d for my sake,
And after slew herself.

ALBANY

Even so. Cover their faces.

EDMUND

I pant for life: some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia:
Nay, send in time.

ALBANY

Run, run, O, run!

EDGAR

To who, my lord? Who hath the office? send
Thy token of reprieve.

EDMUND

Well thought on: take my sword,
Give it the captain.

ALBANY

Haste thee, for thy life.

Exit EDGAR

EDMUND

He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid herself.

ALBANY

The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

EDMUND is borne off

Re-enter KING LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR, Captain, and others following

KING LEAR

Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’ld use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She’s dead as earth. Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

KENT

Is this the promised end

EDGAR

Or image of that horror?

ALBANY

Fall, and cease!

KING LEAR

This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

KENT

[Kneeling] O my good master!

KING LEAR

Prithee, away.

EDGAR

‘Tis noble Kent, your friend.

KING LEAR

A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her; now she’s gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little. Ha!
What is’t thou say’st? Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.
I kill’d the slave that was a-hanging thee.

Captain

‘Tis true, my lords, he did.

KING LEAR

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me. Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o’ the best: I’ll tell you straight.

KENT

If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,
One of them we behold.

KING LEAR

This is a dull sight. Are you not Kent?

KENT

The same,
Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?

KING LEAR

He’s a good fellow, I can tell you that;
He’ll strike, and quickly too: he’s dead and rotten.

KENT

No, my good lord; I am the very man,—

KING LEAR

I’ll see that straight.

KENT

That, from your first of difference and decay,
Have follow’d your sad steps.

KING LEAR

You are welcome hither.

KENT

Nor no man else: all’s cheerless, dark, and deadly.
Your eldest daughters have fordone them selves,
And desperately are dead.

KING LEAR

Ay, so I think.

ALBANY

He knows not what he says: and vain it is
That we present us to him.

EDGAR

Very bootless.

Enter a Captain

Captain

Edmund is dead, my lord.

ALBANY

That’s but a trifle here.
You lords and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come
Shall be applied: for us we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,
To him our absolute power:

To EDGAR and KENT
you, to your rights:
With boot, and such addition as your honours
Have more than merited. All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings. O, see, see!

KING LEAR

And my poor fool is hang’d! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!

Dies

EDGAR

He faints! My lord, my lord!

KENT

Break, heart; I prithee, break!

EDGAR

Look up, my lord.

KENT

Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him much
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

EDGAR

He is gone, indeed.

KENT

The wonder is, he hath endured so long:
He but usurp’d his life.

ALBANY

Bear them from hence. Our present business
Is general woe.

To KENT and EDGAR
Friends of my soul, you twain
Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.

KENT

I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls me, I must not say no.

ALBANY

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

Exeunt, with a dead march

The Life and Death of Julius Caesar

ACT I

SCENE I. Rome. A street.

Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain Commoners

FLAVIUS

Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home:
Is this a holiday? what! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a labouring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?

First Commoner

Why, sir, a carpenter.

MARULLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir, what trade are you?

Second Commoner

Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but,
as you would say, a cobbler.

MARULLUS

But what trade art thou? answer me directly.

Second Commoner

A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe
conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

MARULLUS

What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?

Second Commoner

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet,
if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

MARULLUS

What meanest thou by that? mend me, thou saucy fellow!

Second Commoner

Why, sir, cobble you.

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

Second Commoner

Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl: I
meddle with no tradesman’s matters, nor women’s
matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon
to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I
recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon
neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.

FLAVIUS

But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

Second Commoner

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself
into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday,
to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

MARULLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb’d up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood? Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

Exeunt all the Commoners
See whether their basest metal be not moved;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;

This way will I

disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck’d with ceremonies.

MARULLUS

May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

FLAVIUS

It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets:
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck’d from Caesar’s wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A public place.

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer

CAESAR

Calpurnia!

CASCA

Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

CAESAR

Calpurnia!

CALPURNIA

Here, my lord.

CAESAR

Stand you directly in Antonius’ way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANTONY

Caesar, my lord?

CAESAR

Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

ANTONY

I shall remember:
When Caesar says ‘do this,’ it is perform’d.

CAESAR

Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

Flourish

Soothsayer

Caesar!

CAESAR

Ha! who calls?

CASCA

Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer

Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR

What man is that?

BRUTUS

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR

Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS

Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR

What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer

Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR

He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Sennet. Exeunt all except BRUTUS and CASSIUS

CASSIUS

Will you go see the order of the course?

BRUTUS

Not I.

CASSIUS

I pray you, do.

BRUTUS

I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I’ll leave you.

CASSIUS

Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

BRUTUS

Cassius,
Be not deceived: if I have veil’d my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors;
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved—
Among which number, Cassius, be you one—
Nor construe any further my neglect,
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.

CASSIUS

Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion;
By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?

BRUTUS

No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself,
But by reflection, by some other things.

CASSIUS

‘Tis just:
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus
And groaning underneath this age’s yoke,
Have wish’d that noble Brutus had his eyes.

BRUTUS

Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?

CASSIUS

Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester; if you know
That I do fawn on men and hug them hard
And after scandal them, or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

Flourish, and shout

BRUTUS

What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their king.

CASSIUS

Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.

BRUTUS

I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye and death i’ the other,
And I will look on both indifferently,
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.

CASSIUS

I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter’s cold as well as he:
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me ‘Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?’ Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar’d, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried ‘Help me, Cassius, or I sink!’
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body,
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: ’tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried ‘Give me some drink, Titinius,’
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.

Shout. Flourish

BRUTUS

Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap’d on Caesar.

CASSIUS

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that ‘Caesar’?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with ’em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now, that talk’d of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass’d but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook’d
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.

BRUTUS

That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim:
How I have thought of this and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further moved. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.

CASSIUS

I am glad that my weak words
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.

BRUTUS

The games are done and Caesar is returning.

CASSIUS

As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.

Re-enter CAESAR and his Train

BRUTUS

I will do so. But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calpurnia’s cheek is pale; and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross’d in conference by some senators.

CASSIUS

Casca will tell us what the matter is.

CAESAR

Antonius!

ANTONY

Caesar?

CAESAR

Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

ANTONY

Fear him not, Caesar; he’s not dangerous;
He is a noble Roman and well given.

CAESAR

Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock’d himself and scorn’d his spirit
That could be moved to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear’d
Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think’st of him.

Sennet. Exeunt CAESAR and all his Train, but CASCA

CASCA

You pull’d me by the cloak; would you speak with me?

BRUTUS

Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced to-day,
That Caesar looks so sad.

CASCA

Why, you were with him, were you not?

BRUTUS

I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.

CASCA

Why, there was a crown offered him: and being
offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand,
thus; and then the people fell a-shouting.

BRUTUS

What was the second noise for?

CASCA

Why, for that too.

CASSIUS

They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?

CASCA

Why, for that too.

BRUTUS

Was the crown offered him thrice?

CASCA

Ay, marry, was’t, and he put it by thrice, every
time gentler than other, and at every putting-by
mine honest neighbours shouted.

CASSIUS

Who offered him the crown?

CASCA

Why, Antony.

BRUTUS

Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.

CASCA

I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it:
it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark
Antony offer him a crown;—yet ’twas not a crown
neither, ’twas one of these coronets;—and, as I told
you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my
thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he
offered it to him again; then he put it by again:
but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his
fingers off it. And then he offered it the third
time; he put it the third time by: and still as he
refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their
chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps
and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because
Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked
Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and
for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of
opening my lips and receiving the bad air.

CASSIUS

But, soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swound?

CASCA

He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at
mouth, and was speechless.

BRUTUS

‘Tis very like: he hath the failing sickness.

CASSIUS

No, Caesar hath it not; but you and I,
And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.

CASCA

I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure,
Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not
clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and
displeased them, as they use to do the players in
the theatre, I am no true man.

BRUTUS

What said he when he came unto himself?

CASCA

Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the
common herd was glad he refused the crown, he
plucked me ope his doublet and offered them his
throat to cut. An I had been a man of any
occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word,
I would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so
he fell. When he came to himself again, he said,
If he had done or said any thing amiss, he desired
their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three
or four wenches, where I stood, cried ‘Alas, good
soul!’ and forgave him with all their hearts: but
there’s no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had
stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.

BRUTUS

And after that, he came, thus sad, away?

CASCA

Ay.

CASSIUS

Did Cicero say any thing?

CASCA

Ay, he spoke Greek.

CASSIUS

To what effect?

CASCA

Nay, an I tell you that, Ill ne’er look you i’ the
face again: but those that understood him smiled at
one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own
part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more
news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs
off Caesar’s images, are put to silence. Fare you
well. There was more foolery yet, if I could
remember it.

CASSIUS

Will you sup with me to-night, Casca?

CASCA

No, I am promised forth.

CASSIUS

Will you dine with me to-morrow?

CASCA

Ay, if I be alive and your mind hold and your dinner
worth the eating.

CASSIUS

Good: I will expect you.

CASCA

Do so. Farewell, both.

Exit

BRUTUS

What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
He was quick mettle when he went to school.

CASSIUS

So is he now in execution
Of any bold or noble enterprise,
However he puts on this tardy form.
This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
Which gives men stomach to digest his words
With better appetite.

BRUTUS

And so it is. For this time I will leave you:
To-morrow, if you please to speak with me,
I will come home to you; or, if you will,
Come home to me, and I will wait for you.

CASSIUS

I will do so: till then, think of the world.

Exit BRUTUS
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is disposed: therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus:
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
He should not humour me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,
Writings all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
Caesar’s ambition shall be glanced at:
And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.

Exit

SCENE III. The same. A street.

Thunder and lightning. Enter from opposite sides, CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO

CICERO

Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?
Why are you breathless? and why stare you so?

CASCA

Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds:
But never till to-night, never till now,
Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.
Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction.

CICERO

Why, saw you any thing more wonderful?

CASCA

A common slave—you know him well by sight—
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join’d, and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain’d unscorch’d.
Besides—I ha’ not since put up my sword—
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glared upon me, and went surly by,
Without annoying me: and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
And yesterday the bird of night did sit
Even at noon-day upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
‘These are their reasons; they are natural;’
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.

CICERO

Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time:
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Come Caesar to the Capitol to-morrow?

CASCA

He doth; for he did bid Antonius
Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.

CICERO

Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky
Is not to walk in.

CASCA

Farewell, Cicero.

Exit CICERO

Enter CASSIUS

CASSIUS

Who’s there?

CASCA

A Roman.

CASSIUS

Casca, by your voice.

CASCA

Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!

CASSIUS

A very pleasing night to honest men.

CASCA

Who ever knew the heavens menace so?

CASSIUS

Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
For my part, I have walk’d about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night,
And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
And when the cross blue lightning seem’d to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.

CASCA

But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens?
It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
When the most mighty gods by tokens send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.

CASSIUS

You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life
That should be in a Roman you do want,
Or else you use not. You look pale and gaze
And put on fear and cast yourself in wonder,
To see the strange impatience of the heavens:
But if you would consider the true cause
Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
Why birds and beasts from quality and kind,
Why old men fool and children calculate,
Why all these things change from their ordinance
Their natures and preformed faculties
To monstrous quality,—why, you shall find
That heaven hath infused them with these spirits,
To make them instruments of fear and warning
Unto some monstrous state.
Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
Most like this dreadful night,
That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol,
A man no mightier than thyself or me
In personal action, yet prodigious grown
And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.

CASCA

‘Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?

CASSIUS

Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers’ minds are dead,
And we are govern’d with our mothers’ spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.

CASCA

Indeed, they say the senators tomorrow
Mean to establish Caesar as a king;
And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
In every place, save here in Italy.

CASSIUS

I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure.

Thunder still

CASCA

So can I:
So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.

CASSIUS

And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome,
What rubbish and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate
So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this
Before a willing bondman; then I know
My answer must be made. But I am arm’d,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

CASCA

You speak to Casca, and to such a man
That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:
Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
And I will set this foot of mine as far
As who goes farthest.

CASSIUS

There’s a bargain made.
Now know you, Casca, I have moved already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans
To undergo with me an enterprise
Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know, by this, they stay for me
In Pompey’s porch: for now, this fearful night,
There is no stir or walking in the streets;
And the complexion of the element
In favour’s like the work we have in hand,
Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

CASCA

Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.

CASSIUS

‘Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;
He is a friend.

Enter CINNA
Cinna, where haste you so?

CINNA

To find out you. Who’s that? Metellus Cimber?

CASSIUS

No, it is Casca; one incorporate
To our attempts. Am I not stay’d for, Cinna?

CINNA

I am glad on ‘t. What a fearful night is this!
There’s two or three of us have seen strange sights.

CASSIUS

Am I not stay’d for? tell me.

CINNA

Yes, you are.
O Cassius, if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party—

CASSIUS

Be you content: good Cinna, take this paper,
And look you lay it in the praetor’s chair,
Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this
In at his window; set this up with wax
Upon old Brutus’ statue: all this done,
Repair to Pompey’s porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?

CINNA

All but Metellus Cimber; and he’s gone
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.

CASSIUS

That done, repair to Pompey’s theatre.

Exit CINNA
Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already, and the man entire
Upon the next encounter yields him ours.

CASCA

O, he sits high in all the people’s hearts:
And that which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.

CASSIUS

Him and his worth and our great need of him
You have right well conceited. Let us go,
For it is after midnight; and ere day
We will awake him and be sure of him.

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. Rome. BRUTUS’s orchard.

Enter BRUTUS

BRUTUS

What, Lucius, ho!
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
Give guess how near to day. Lucius, I say!
I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.
When, Lucius, when? awake, I say! what, Lucius!

Enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS

Call’d you, my lord?

BRUTUS

Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
When it is lighted, come and call me here.

LUCIUS

I will, my lord.

Exit

BRUTUS

It must be by his death: and for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crown’d:
How that might change his nature, there’s the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?—that;—
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar,
I have not known when his affections sway’d
More than his reason. But ’tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg
Which, hatch’d, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.

Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS

The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus seal’d up; and, I am sure,
It did not lie there when I went to bed.

Gives him the letter

BRUTUS

Get you to bed again; it is not day.
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?

LUCIUS

I know not, sir.

BRUTUS

Look in the calendar, and bring me word.

LUCIUS

I will, sir.

Exit

BRUTUS

The exhalations whizzing in the air
Give so much light that I may read by them.

Opens the letter and reads
‘Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake, and see thyself.
Shall Rome, & c. Speak, strike, redress!
Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake!’
Such instigations have been often dropp’d
Where I have took them up.
‘Shall Rome, & c.’ Thus must I piece it out:
Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe? What, Rome?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call’d a king.
‘Speak, strike, redress!’ Am I entreated
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise:
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!

Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS

Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.

Knocking within

BRUTUS

‘Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.

Exit LUCIUS
Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The Genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.

Re-enter LUCIUS

LUCIUS

Sir, ’tis your brother Cassius at the door,
Who doth desire to see you.

BRUTUS

Is he alone?

LUCIUS

No, sir, there are moe with him.

BRUTUS

Do you know them?

LUCIUS

No, sir; their hats are pluck’d about their ears,
And half their faces buried in their cloaks,
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour.

BRUTUS

Let ’em enter.

Exit LUCIUS
They are the faction. O conspiracy,
Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O, then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy;
Hide it in smiles and affability:
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.

Enter the conspirators, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CINNA, METELLUS CIMBER, and TREBONIUS

CASSIUS

I think we are too bold upon your rest:
Good morrow, Brutus; do we trouble you?

BRUTUS

I have been up this hour, awake all night.
Know I these men that come along with you?

CASSIUS

Yes, every man of them, and no man here
But honours you; and every one doth wish
You had but that opinion of yourself
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.

BRUTUS

He is welcome hither.

CASSIUS

This, Decius Brutus.

BRUTUS

He is welcome too.

CASSIUS

This, Casca; this, Cinna; and this, Metellus Cimber.

BRUTUS

They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?

CASSIUS

Shall I entreat a word?

BRUTUS and CASSIUS whisper

DECIUS BRUTUS

Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?

CASCA

No.

CINNA

O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines
That fret the clouds are messengers of day.

CASCA

You shall confess that you are both deceived.
Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

BRUTUS

Give me your hands all over, one by one.

CASSIUS

And let us swear our resolution.

BRUTUS

No, not an oath: if not the face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time’s abuse,—
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
What need we any spur but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? what other bond
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter? and what other oath
Than honesty to honesty engaged,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt; but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise,
Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy,
If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath pass’d from him.

CASSIUS

But what of Cicero? shall we sound him?
I think he will stand very strong with us.

CASCA

Let us not leave him out.

CINNA

No, by no means.

METELLUS CIMBER

O, let us have him, for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion
And buy men’s voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said, his judgment ruled our hands;
Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.

BRUTUS

O, name him not: let us not break with him;
For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.

CASSIUS

Then leave him out.

CASCA

Indeed he is not fit.

DECIUS BRUTUS

Shall no man else be touch’d but only Caesar?

CASSIUS

Decius, well urged: I think it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar,
Should outlive Caesar: we shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improve them, may well stretch so far
As to annoy us all: which to prevent,
Let Antony and Caesar fall together.

BRUTUS

Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
To cut the head off and then hack the limbs,
Like wrath in death and envy afterwards;
For Antony is but a limb of Caesar:
Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit,
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide ’em. This shall make
Our purpose necessary and not envious:
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call’d purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm
When Caesar’s head is off.

CASSIUS

Yet I fear him;
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Caesar—

BRUTUS

Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:
If he love Caesar, all that he can do
Is to himself, take thought and die for Caesar:
And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness and much company.

TREBONIUS

There is no fear in him; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

Clock strikes

BRUTUS

Peace! count the clock.

CASSIUS

The clock hath stricken three.

TREBONIUS

‘Tis time to part.

CASSIUS

But it is doubtful yet,
Whether Caesar will come forth to-day, or no;
For he is superstitious grown of late,
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams and ceremonies:
It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom’d terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.

DECIUS BRUTUS

Never fear that: if he be so resolved,
I can o’ersway him; for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray’d with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils and men with flatterers;
But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says he does, being then most flattered.
Let me work;
For I can give his humour the true bent,
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

CASSIUS

Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.

BRUTUS

By the eighth hour: is that the uttermost?

CINNA

Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.

METELLUS CIMBER

Caius Ligarius doth bear Caesar hard,
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey:
I wonder none of you have thought of him.

BRUTUS

Now, good Metellus, go along by him:
He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
Send him but hither, and I’ll fashion him.

CASSIUS

The morning comes upon ‘s: we’ll leave you, Brutus.
And, friends, disperse yourselves; but all remember
What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans.

BRUTUS

Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy:
And so good morrow to you every one.

Exeunt all but BRUTUS
Boy! Lucius! Fast asleep? It is no matter;
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.

Enter PORTIA

PORTIA

Brutus, my lord!

BRUTUS

Portia, what mean you? wherefore rise you now?
It is not for your health thus to commit
Your weak condition to the raw cold morning.

PORTIA

Nor for yours neither. You’ve ungently, Brutus,
Stole from my bed: and yesternight, at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walk’d about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
And when I ask’d you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks;
I urged you further; then you scratch’d your head,
And too impatiently stamp’d with your foot;
Yet I insisted, yet you answer’d not,
But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you: so I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience
Which seem’d too much enkindled, and withal
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep,
And could it work so much upon your shape
As it hath much prevail’d on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

BRUTUS

I am not well in health, and that is all.

PORTIA

Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.

BRUTUS

Why, so I do. Good Portia, go to bed.

PORTIA

Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
By all your vows of love and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy, and what men to-night
Have had to resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.

BRUTUS

Kneel not, gentle Portia.

PORTIA

I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.

BRUTUS

You are my true and honourable wife,
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart

PORTIA

If this were true, then should I know this secret.
I grant I am a woman; but withal
A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife:
I grant I am a woman; but withal
A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.
Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father’d and so husbanded?
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose ’em:
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience.
And not my husband’s secrets?

BRUTUS

O ye gods,
Render me worthy of this noble wife!

Knocking within
Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in awhile;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery of my sad brows:
Leave me with haste.

Exit PORTIA
Lucius, who’s that knocks?

Re-enter LUCIUS with LIGARIUS

LUCIUS

He is a sick man that would speak with you.

BRUTUS

Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.
Boy, stand aside. Caius Ligarius! how?

LIGARIUS

Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue.

BRUTUS

O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick!

LIGARIUS

I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
Any exploit worthy the name of honour.

BRUTUS

Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.

LIGARIUS

By all the gods that Romans bow before,
I here discard my sickness! Soul of Rome!
Brave son, derived from honourable loins!
Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjured up
My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
And I will strive with things impossible;
Yea, get the better of them. What’s to do?

BRUTUS

A piece of work that will make sick men whole.

LIGARIUS

But are not some whole that we must make sick?

BRUTUS

That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
To whom it must be done.

LIGARIUS

Set on your foot,
And with a heart new-fired I follow you,
To do I know not what: but it sufficeth
That Brutus leads me on.

BRUTUS

Follow me, then.

Exeunt

SCENE II. CAESAR’s house.

Thunder and lightning. Enter CAESAR, in his night-gown

CAESAR

Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
‘Help, ho! they murder Caesar!’ Who’s within?

Enter a Servant

Servant

My lord?

CAESAR

Go bid the priests do present sacrifice
And bring me their opinions of success.

Servant

I will, my lord.

Exit

Enter CALPURNIA

CALPURNIA

What mean you, Caesar? think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.

CAESAR

Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten’d me
Ne’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.

CALPURNIA

Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.

CAESAR

What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.

CALPURNIA

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

Re-enter Servant
What say the augurers?

Servant

They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.

CAESAR

The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter’d in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible:
And Caesar shall go forth.

CALPURNIA

Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate-house:
And he shall say you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

CAESAR

Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.

Enter DECIUS BRUTUS
Here’s Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.

DECIUS BRUTUS

Caesar, all hail! good morrow, worthy Caesar:
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.

CAESAR

And you are come in very happy time,
To bear my greeting to the senators
And tell them that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser:
I will not come to-day: tell them so, Decius.

CALPURNIA

Say he is sick.

CAESAR

Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch’d mine arm so far,
To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

DECIUS BRUTUS

Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh’d at when I tell them so.

CAESAR

The cause is in my will: I will not come;
That is enough to satisfy the senate.
But for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know:
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it:
And these does she apply for warnings, and portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg’d that I will stay at home to-day.

DECIUS BRUTUS

This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance.
This by Calpurnia’s dream is signified.

CAESAR

And this way have you well expounded it.

DECIUS BRUTUS

I have, when you have heard what I can say:
And know it now: the senate have concluded
To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be render’d, for some one to say
‘Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.’
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
‘Lo, Caesar is afraid’?
Pardon me, Caesar; for my dear dear love
To our proceeding bids me tell you this;
And reason to my love is liable.

CAESAR

How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!
I am ashamed I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go.

Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, and CINNA
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.

PUBLIUS

Good morrow, Caesar.

CAESAR

Welcome, Publius.
What, Brutus, are you stirr’d so early too?
Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was ne’er so much your enemy
As that same ague which hath made you lean.
What is ‘t o’clock?

BRUTUS

Caesar, ’tis strucken eight.

CAESAR

I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

Enter ANTONY
See! Antony, that revels long o’ nights,
Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.

ANTONY

So to most noble Caesar.

CAESAR

Bid them prepare within:
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna: now, Metellus: what, Trebonius!
I have an hour’s talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day:
Be near me, that I may remember you.

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will:

Aside
and so near will I be,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

CAESAR

Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

BRUTUS

[Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!

Exeunt

SCENE III. A street near the Capitol.

Enter ARTEMIDORUS, reading a paper

ARTEMIDORUS

‘Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius;
come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna, trust not
Trebonius: mark well Metellus Cimber: Decius Brutus
loves thee not: thou hast wronged Caius Ligarius.
There is but one mind in all these men, and it is
bent against Caesar. If thou beest not immortal,
look about you: security gives way to conspiracy.
The mighty gods defend thee! Thy lover,
‘ARTEMIDORUS.’
Here will I stand till Caesar pass along,
And as a suitor will I give him this.
My heart laments that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
If thou read this, O Caesar, thou mayst live;
If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.

Exit

SCENE IV. Another part of the same street, before the house of BRUTUS.

Enter PORTIA and LUCIUS

PORTIA

I prithee, boy, run to the senate-house;
Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone:
Why dost thou stay?

LUCIUS

To know my errand, madam.

PORTIA

I would have had thee there, and here again,
Ere I can tell thee what thou shouldst do there.
O constancy, be strong upon my side,
Set a huge mountain ‘tween my heart and tongue!
I have a man’s mind, but a woman’s might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel!
Art thou here yet?

LUCIUS

Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?

PORTIA

Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,
For he went sickly forth: and take good note
What Caesar doth, what suitors press to him.
Hark, boy! what noise is that?

LUCIUS

I hear none, madam.

PORTIA

Prithee, listen well;
I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.

LUCIUS

Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.

Enter the Soothsayer

PORTIA

Come hither, fellow: which way hast thou been?

Soothsayer

At mine own house, good lady.

PORTIA

What is’t o’clock?

Soothsayer

About the ninth hour, lady.

PORTIA

Is Caesar yet gone to the Capitol?

Soothsayer

Madam, not yet: I go to take my stand,
To see him pass on to the Capitol.

PORTIA

Thou hast some suit to Caesar, hast thou not?

Soothsayer

That I have, lady: if it will please Caesar
To be so good to Caesar as to hear me,
I shall beseech him to befriend himself.

PORTIA

Why, know’st thou any harm’s intended towards him?

Soothsayer

None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.
Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow:
The throng that follows Caesar at the heels,
Of senators, of praetors, common suitors,
Will crowd a feeble man almost to death:
I’ll get me to a place more void, and there
Speak to great Caesar as he comes along.

Exit

PORTIA

I must go in. Ay me, how weak a thing
The heart of woman is! O Brutus,
The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!
Sure, the boy heard me: Brutus hath a suit
That Caesar will not grant. O, I grow faint.
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say I am merry: come to me again,
And bring me word what he doth say to thee.

Exeunt severally

ACT III
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above.

A crowd of people; among them ARTEMIDORUS and the Soothsayer. Flourish. Enter CAESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS BRUTUS, METELLUS CIMBER, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS, PUBLIUS, and others

CAESAR

[To the Soothsayer] The ides of March are come.

Soothsayer

Ay, Caesar; but not gone.

ARTEMIDORUS

Hail, Caesar! read this schedule.

DECIUS BRUTUS

Trebonius doth desire you to o’erread,
At your best leisure, this his humble suit.

ARTEMIDORUS

O Caesar, read mine first; for mine’s a suit
That touches Caesar nearer: read it, great Caesar.

CAESAR

What touches us ourself shall be last served.

ARTEMIDORUS

Delay not, Caesar; read it instantly.

CAESAR

What, is the fellow mad?

PUBLIUS

Sirrah, give place.

CASSIUS

What, urge you your petitions in the street?
Come to the Capitol.

CAESAR goes up to the Senate-House, the rest following

POPILIUS

I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive.

CASSIUS

What enterprise, Popilius?

POPILIUS

Fare you well.

Advances to CAESAR

BRUTUS

What said Popilius Lena?

CASSIUS

He wish’d to-day our enterprise might thrive.
I fear our purpose is discovered.

BRUTUS

Look, how he makes to Caesar; mark him.

CASSIUS

Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,
Cassius or Caesar never shall turn back,
For I will slay myself.

BRUTUS

Cassius, be constant:
Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;
For, look, he smiles, and Caesar doth not change.

CASSIUS

Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus.
He draws Mark Antony out of the way.

Exeunt ANTONY and TREBONIUS

DECIUS BRUTUS

Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go,
And presently prefer his suit to Caesar.

BRUTUS

He is address’d: press near and second him.

CINNA

Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.

CAESAR

Are we all ready? What is now amiss
That Caesar and his senate must redress?

METELLUS CIMBER

Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar,
Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat
An humble heart,—

Kneeling

CAESAR

I must prevent thee, Cimber.
These couchings and these lowly courtesies
Might fire the blood of ordinary men,
And turn pre-ordinance and first decree
Into the law of children. Be not fond,
To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood
That will be thaw’d from the true quality
With that which melteth fools; I mean, sweet words,
Low-crooked court’sies and base spaniel-fawning.
Thy brother by decree is banished:
If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.

METELLUS CIMBER

Is there no voice more worthy than my own
To sound more sweetly in great Caesar’s ear
For the repealing of my banish’d brother?

BRUTUS

I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar;
Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.

CAESAR

What, Brutus!

CASSIUS

Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon:
As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.

CASSIUS

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so.

CINNA

O Caesar,—

CAESAR

Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus?

DECIUS BRUTUS

Great Caesar,—

CAESAR

Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?

CASCA

Speak, hands for me!

CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and BRUTUS stab CAESAR

CAESAR

Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.

Dies

CINNA

Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!
Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

CASSIUS

Some to the common pulpits, and cry out
‘Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!’

BRUTUS

People and senators, be not affrighted;
Fly not; stand stiff: ambition’s debt is paid.

CASCA

Go to the pulpit, Brutus.

DECIUS BRUTUS

And Cassius too.

BRUTUS

Where’s Publius?

CINNA

Here, quite confounded with this mutiny.

METELLUS CIMBER

Stand fast together, lest some friend of Caesar’s
Should chance—

BRUTUS

Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer;
There is no harm intended to your person,
Nor to no Roman else: so tell them, Publius.

CASSIUS

And leave us, Publius; lest that the people,
Rushing on us, should do your age some mischief.

BRUTUS

Do so: and let no man abide this deed,
But we the doers.

Re-enter TREBONIUS

CASSIUS

Where is Antony?

TREBONIUS

Fled to his house amazed:
Men, wives and children stare, cry out and run
As it were doomsday.

BRUTUS

Fates, we will know your pleasures:
That we shall die, we know; ’tis but the time
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.

CASSIUS

Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.

BRUTUS

Grant that, and then is death a benefit:
So are we Caesar’s friends, that have abridged
His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let us bathe our hands in Caesar’s blood
Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords:
Then walk we forth, even to the market-place,
And, waving our red weapons o’er our heads,
Let’s all cry ‘Peace, freedom and liberty!’

CASSIUS

Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!

BRUTUS

How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport,
That now on Pompey’s basis lies along
No worthier than the dust!

CASSIUS

So oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be call’d
The men that gave their country liberty.

DECIUS BRUTUS

What, shall we forth?

CASSIUS

Ay, every man away:
Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels
With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.

Enter a Servant

BRUTUS

Soft! who comes here? A friend of Antony’s.

Servant

Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel:
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down;
And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say:
Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
Caesar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving:
Say I love Brutus, and I honour him;
Say I fear’d Caesar, honour’d him and loved him.
If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony
May safely come to him, and be resolved
How Caesar hath deserved to lie in death,
Mark Antony shall not love Caesar dead
So well as Brutus living; but will follow
The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus
Thorough the hazards of this untrod state
With all true faith. So says my master Antony.

BRUTUS

Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;
I never thought him worse.
Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
Depart untouch’d.

Servant

I’ll fetch him presently.

Exit

BRUTUS

I know that we shall have him well to friend.

CASSIUS

I wish we may: but yet have I a mind
That fears him much; and my misgiving still
Falls shrewdly to the purpose.

BRUTUS

But here comes Antony.

Re-enter ANTONY
Welcome, Mark Antony.

ANTONY

O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Caesar’s death hour, nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.
I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.

BRUTUS

O Antony, beg not your death of us.
Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
As, by our hands and this our present act,
You see we do, yet see you but our hands
And this the bleeding business they have done:
Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful;
And pity to the general wrong of Rome—
As fire drives out fire, so pity pity—
Hath done this deed on Caesar. For your part,
To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony:
Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts
Of brothers’ temper, do receive you in
With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence.

CASSIUS

Your voice shall be as strong as any man’s
In the disposing of new dignities.

BRUTUS

Only be patient till we have appeased
The multitude, beside themselves with fear,
And then we will deliver you the cause,
Why I, that did love Caesar when I struck him,
Have thus proceeded.

ANTONY

I doubt not of your wisdom.
Let each man render me his bloody hand:
First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you;
Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;
Now, Decius Brutus, yours: now yours, Metellus;
Yours, Cinna; and, my valiant Casca, yours;
Though last, not last in love, yours, good Trebonius.
Gentlemen all,—alas, what shall I say?
My credit now stands on such slippery ground,
That one of two bad ways you must conceit me,
Either a coward or a flatterer.
That I did love thee, Caesar, O, ’tis true:
If then thy spirit look upon us now,
Shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death,
To see thy thy Anthony making his peace,
Shaking the bloody