King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

KENT

   Good my lord, enter here.

KENT

My lord, please go inside here.

LEAR

Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
25On things would hurt me more. But I’ll go in.
(to FOOL) In, boy. Go first. You houseless poverty—
Nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.

LEAR

Go inside yourself. Make yourself comfortable. This storm protects me from thoughts that would hurt me more. But I’ll go in. (to FOOL) You go in first, boy. Oh, you suffering homeless people—No, you go in. I’ll pray first, then I’ll sleep.
Exit FOOL
The FOOL exits.
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
30How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
35That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.
Poor homeless creatures suffering this storm, wherever you are, how will you survive a night like this with no roof over your heads, no fat on your sides to keep you warm, and only rags for clothes? When I was king I didn’t do enough to help you. Powerful men, take your medicine by learning about hardship. Go out and feel what the impoverished feel. Then you can give them your extra wealth and make the world more fair.

EDGAR

(within) Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

EDGAR

(from inside) The water in here is nine feet deep! Poor Tom!
Enter FOOL
FOOL enters.

FOOL

Come not in here, nuncle. Here’s a spirit. Help me, help me!

FOOL

Don’t come in here, uncle! There’s a spirit in here! Help me, help me!

KENT

Give me thy hand. Who’s there?

KENT

Give me your hand. Who’s there?

FOOL

40A spirit, a spirit. He says his name’s Poor Tom.

FOOL

A ghost, a ghost! He says his name’s Poor Tom.

KENT

What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw?
Come forth.

KENT

Who are you, moaning in the hut like that? Come out.
Enter EDGAR disguised
EDGAR enters disguised.