King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LEAR

(to KENT) I thank thee, fellow. Thou servest me, and I’ll love thee.

LEAR

(to KENT) Thank you, sir. You serve me well, and I’ll love you for it.

KENT

(to OSWALD) Come, sir, arise, away! I’ll teach you differences. Away, away. If you will measure your lubber’s length again, tarry. But away, go to. Have you wisdom? So.

KENT

(to OSWALD) Come on, sir, get up and get out of here! I’ll teach you to respect your betters. If you want me to trip you again, then stick around. If not, get going. Go on. Do you know what’s good for you? There you go.
Exit OSWALD
OSWALD exits.

LEAR

Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee.

LEAR

Now, my friendly servant, thank you.
Enter FOOL
(gives KENT money) There’s earnest of thy service.
(giving KENT money) Here’s a token of my gratitude.

FOOL

Let me hire him too.—Here’s my coxcomb.
(offers KENT his cap)

FOOL

Wait, let me hire him too.—Here’s my fool’s cap, a token of my gratitude. (he offers KENT his cap)

LEAR

85How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?

LEAR

Well hello, my good boy. How are you doing?

FOOL

(to KENT) Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

FOOL

(to KENT) Guy, you’d better take my cap.

LEAR

Why, Fool?

LEAR

Why, Fool?

FOOL

Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor. Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two on ’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters.

FOOL

Why? For standing up for this unpopular king. No, if you can’t adjust to political changes, you’ll suffer for it. There, take my fool’s cap. This guy here has banished two of his daughters and blessed the third one without intending to. If you work for him, you’re a fool and should wear a fool’s cap.—So how’s it going, uncle? I wish I had two fool’s caps and two daughters.