King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

FOOL

35If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’d have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

FOOL

If you were my fool, uncle, I’d have you beaten for getting old before your time.

LEAR

How’s that?

LEAR

How’s that?

FOOL

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

FOOL

You’re not supposed to get old until you’re wise.

LEAR

O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
40I would not be mad.
Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.

LEAR

Oh, dear God, don’t let me go mad! Keep me balanced and sane. I don’t want to go mad.
Enter a GENTLEMAN
A GENTLEMAN enters.
How now? Are the horses ready?
So, are the horses ready?

GENTLEMAN

Ready, my lord.

GENTLEMAN

They’re ready, my lord.

LEAR

Come, boy.

LEAR

Come on, boy.
Exeunt LEAR and GENTLEMAN
LEAR and the GENTLEMAN exit.

FOOL

45She that’s a maid now and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long unless things be cut shorter.

FOOL

(speaking to the audience) Any girl who laughs because I’m going with the king is too foolish to remain a virgin very long.
Exit
He exits.