Fiction > Harvard Classics > William Shakespeare > King Lear
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Tragedy of King Lear.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act II
 
Scene III
 
 
[The same]
Enter EDGAR

  Edg.  I heard myself proclaim’d;
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escap’d the hunt. No port is free; no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance        4
Does not attend my taking. 1 Whiles I may scape
I will preserve myself, and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,        8
Brought near to beast. My face I’ll grime with filth,
Blanket my loins, elf 2 all my hairs in knots,
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.        12
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb’d and mortified arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;        16
And with this horrible object, 3 from low farms,
Poor pelting 4 villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometimes with lunatic bans, 5 sometimes with prayers,
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!        20
That’s something yet. Edgar I nothing am.  Exit.
 
Note 1. Watch to capture me [back]
Note 2. Tangle in elf-locks. [back]
Note 3. Appearance. [back]
Note 4. Petty. [back]
Note 5. Curses. [back]
 

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