King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Storm still Enter LEAR and FOOL
The storm continues. LEAR and the FOOL enter.
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulfurous and thought-executing fires,
5Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' th' world,
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!
Blow, winds! Blow until your cheeks crack! Rage on, blow! Let tornadoes spew water until the steeples of our churches and the weathervanes are all drowned. Let quick sulfurous lightning, strong enough to split enormous trees, singe the white hair on my head. Let thunder flatten the spherical world, crack open all the molds from which nature forms human beings, and spill all the seeds from which ungrateful humans grow!
10O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is better than this rainwater out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing. Here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.
Oh, uncle, it’s better to smile and flatter indoors where it’s dry than get soaked out here. Please, uncle, let’s go in and ask your daughters to forgive you. This storm has no pity for either wise men or fools.
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
15Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.
I never gave you kingdom, called you children.
You owe me no subscription. Why then, let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand, your slave—
20A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That will with two pernicious daughters joined
Your high engendered battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. Oh, ho! 'Tis foul.
Let thunder rumble! Let lightning spit fire! Let the rain spray! The rain, the wind, the thunder and lightning are not my daughters. Nature, I don’t accuse your weather of unkindness. I never gave you a kingdom or raised you as my child, and you don’t owe me any obedience. So go ahead and have your terrifying fun. Here I am, your slave—a poor, sick, weak, hated old man. But I can still accuse you of kowtowing, taking my daughters' side against me, ancient as I am. Oh, it’s foul!
25He that has a house to put ’s head in has a good headpiece.
The codpiece that will house
Anyone who has a house to cover his head has a good head on his shoulders.
The guy who finds a place to put his penis
Before he has a house of his own
Will wind up dirt poor and covered with lice