King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LEAR

No.

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.

FOOL

Why, to keep the eyes on the sides, so that you can see anything that you can’t sniff out.

LEAR

I did her wrong—

LEAR

I was wrong to her—

FOOL

Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

FOOL

Do you know how an oyster makes its shell?

LEAR

No.

LEAR

No.

FOOL

Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a house.

FOOL

Me neither. But I know why a snail carries its house on its back.

LEAR

25Why?

LEAR

Why?

FOOL

Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.

FOOL

So that he always has a roof over his head. He can’t give his house away to his daughters, leaving himself without shelter.

LEAR

I will forget my nature. So kind a father!—Be my horses ready?

LEAR

I want to forget what I am. Such a kind father!—Are my horses ready?

FOOL

30Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

FOOL

Your attendant asses are getting the horses ready. There’s a nice reason why the constellation Pleiades has only seven stars in it.

LEAR

Because they are not eight?

LEAR

Because it doesn’t have eight?

FOOL

Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.

FOOL

That’s right. You’d make a good fool.

LEAR

To take ’t again perforce— Monster ingratitude!

LEAR

I could take back my crown by force—What outrageous ingratitude!