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  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 4

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65But 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, perdie.
But if you see a wheel going uphill, latch on for the ride. And when a wise man gives you better advice than I just did, give me my advice back again. I only want idiots following my advice, the advice of a fool.
The gentleman who serves you only for profit
And is only superficially loyal to you
Will take off when it starts to rain
And leave you alone in the storm.
But I’ll linger. The fool will stay.
And let the wise man run away.
The servant who runs away is a fool.
But this fool is no scoundrel, by God.

KENT

Where learned you this, Fool?

KENT

Where did you learn that song, Fool?

FOOL

Not i' th' stocks, fool.

FOOL

Not in the stocks, fool.
Enter LEAR and GLOUCESTER
LEAR and GLOUCESTER enter.

LEAR

Deny to speak with me? They are sick? They are weary?
80They have traveled all the night?—mere fetches, ay!
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.

LEAR

How can they refuse to speak with me? How can they say that they’re sick or exhausted or that they have
traveled all night!? They’re playing with me. These are tricks. This is rebellion. Go ask them again and make them see me this time.

GLOUCESTER

   My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke,
How unremoveable and fixed he is
85In his own course.

GLOUCESTER

My dear lord, you know how passionately stubborn the duke is. He never changes his mind.

LEAR

    Vengeance, plague, death, confusion!
“Fiery”? What “quality”? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I’d speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

LEAR

Hell! Damn it all to hell! “Passionately”? What “passion”? Gloucester, Gloucester, I want to speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

GLOUCESTER

Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.

GLOUCESTER

My lord, I informed them as much.