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  Act 4 Scene 6

page Act 4 Scene 6 Page 6

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115Behold yond simpering dame, whose face between her forks presages snow, that minces virtue and does shake the head to hear of pleasure’s name. The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to ’t with a more riotous appetite. Down from the waist they are centaurs, though women all above. But to the girdle do the gods inherit; beneath is all the fiends'. There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the sulfurous pit— burning, scalding, stench, consumption! Fie, fie, fie, pah, pah!—Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination. There’s money for thee.
frigid. She pretends to be virtuous and to disdain the word “sex, but she’s hornier than a passel of rabbits. Women are sex machines below the waist, though they’re chaste up above. Above the waist they belong to God, but the lower part belongs to the devil. That’s where hell is, and darkness, and fires and stench! Death and orgasm! Ah, ah, ah! Give me an aphrodisiac, pharmacist. Let me have sweet dreams. There’s money in it for you.

GLOUCESTER

125O, let me kiss that hand!

GLOUCESTER

Oh, let me kiss his hand!

LEAR

Let me wipe it first. It smells of mortality.

LEAR

Let me wipe it off first. It stinks of death.

GLOUCESTER

O ruined piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to naught. Dost thou know me?

GLOUCESTER

A ruined man! This is how the whole world will end up, worn away to nothing.—Do you know who I am?

LEAR

I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid. I’ll not love. Read thou this challenge. Mark but the penning of it.

LEAR

I remember your eyes quite well. Are you squinting at me? Go ahead, try to make me fall in love, blind

Cupid

Cupid is the blind Greek god of love. He shoots arrows at people to make them fall in love.

Cupid
. I won’t ever love again. Read this letter. Just look at the handwriting.

GLOUCESTER

Were all thy letters suns, I could not see one.

GLOUCESTER

If every letter on that page were a sun, I couldn’t see even one of them.

EDGAR

(aside) I would not take this from report. It is,
And my heart breaks at it.

EDGAR

(to himself) I wouldn’t believe this if I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes. It’s real, and it breaks my heart.

LEAR

135Read.

LEAR

Read it.

GLOUCESTER

What, with the case of eyes?

GLOUCESTER

How? With my eye sockets?

LEAR

Oh ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light. Yet you see how this world goes.

LEAR

Oh ho, is that what you’re getting at? You want money before you’ll read? No eyes in your head til there’s money in your wallet? Your eyes are in a bad way, your wallet’s empty, but you understand the ways of the world.