King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 6

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LEAR

95Why, my boy?

LEAR

Why, my boy?

FOOL

If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs myself.
There’s mine. Beg another of thy daughters.

FOOL

If I gave them all I own, I’d have two fool’s caps for myself. Here’s mine. Ask your daughters for another one.

LEAR

Take heed, sirrah—the whip.

LEAR

Watch out, boy—remember I can whip you.

FOOL

Truth’s a dog that must to kennel. He must be whipped out, when Lady Brach may stand by th' fire and stink.

FOOL

I get whipped like a dog for telling the truth, while Lady Bitch gets to stand around the fire and stink the place up with her false words.

LEAR

A pestilent gall to me!

LEAR

A constant pain to me!

FOOL

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

FOOL

I’ll recite something for you, guy.

LEAR

Do.

LEAR

Yes, do that.

FOOL

Mark it, nuncle.
105Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
110Set less than thou throwest,
Leave thy drink and thy whore
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.

FOOL

Listen up, uncle.
Have more than you show,
Speak less than you know,
Lend less than you owe.
Ride more than you walk,
Don’t believe everything you hear,
Don’t bet everything on one throw of the dice,
Leave behind your booze and your whore,
And stay indoors,
And you’ll end up with more
Than two tens to a twenty.

KENT

115This is nothing, Fool.

KENT

That makes no sense, Fool. It’s nothing.

FOOL

Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer. You gave me nothing for ’t.—Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?

FOOL

In that case it’s like the words of an unpaid lawyer. You paid me nothing for it. Can’t you make any use of nothing, uncle?