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Quotations from King Lear

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Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. (1.1.36)

Although the last, not least. (1.1.85)

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again. (1.1.92)

Come not between the dragon and his wrath. (1.1.124)

Mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes. (1.1.97)

I want that glib and oily art
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
I'll do't before I speak. (1.1.227)

A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking. (1.1.230)

Love is not love
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. (1.1.241)

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised! (1.1.253)

Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides. (1.1.302)

I grow, I prosper;
Now, gods, stand up for bastards! (1.2.21)

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit
of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity; fools by
heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
disposition to the charge of a star! (1.2.132)

Pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy; my cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. (1.2.150)

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest. (1.4.132)

Who is it that can tell me who I am? (1.4.230)

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster. (1.4.283)

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! (1.4.312)

Striving to better, oft we mar what 's well. (1.4.346)

O! let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven;
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad! (1.5.51)

Down, thou climbing sorrow!
Thy element's below. (2.4.57)

O, sir! you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine. (2.4.148)

Necessity's sharp pinch! (2.4.231)

O reason not the need! Our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's. (2.4.264)

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both! (2.4.274)

Let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks! (2.4.277)

Contending with the fretful elements;
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease. (3.1.4)

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man! (3.2.1)

Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, called you children,
You owe me no subscription: then, let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man. (3.2.14)

No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing. (3.2.37)

Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece; that's a wise man and a fool. (3.2.40)

Things that love night
Love not such nights as these. (3.2.42)

Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinned against than sinning. (3.2.57)

The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. (3.2.70)

He that has a little tiny wit,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day. (3.2.74)

When the mind's free,
The body's delicate. (3.4.11)

Oh, that way madness lies; let me shun that. (3.4.21)

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? (3.4.28)

Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel. (3.4.33)

Wine loved I deeply, dice dearly, and in woman out-paramoured the Turk. (3.4.81)

Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend. (3.4.96)

'Tis a naughty night to swim in. (3.4.113)

The green mantle of the standing pool. (3.4.136)

The prince of darkness is a gentleman. (3.4.148)

Poor Tom's a-cold. (3.4.151)

Child Roland to the dark tower came,
His word was still, Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man. (3.4.185)

He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath. (3.6.20)

The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me. (3.6.65)

Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail. (3.6.69)

By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard. (3.7.35)

I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course. (3.7.55)

Yet better thus, and known to be contemned,
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. (4.1.1)

I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw. (4.1.18)

Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'd say I had eyes again. (4.1.23)

The worst is not,
So long as we can say, 'This is the worst.' (4.1.27)

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport. (4.1.36)

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. (4.2.30)

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions. (4.3.34)

He was met even now
As mad as the vexed sea; singing aloud;
Crowned with rank fumitor and furrow weeds,
With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. (4.4.1)

Half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice. (4.6.10)

They told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie, I am not ague-proof. (4.6.107)

Every inch a king. (4.6.109)

Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination; there's money for thee. (4.6.120)

A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? (4.6.154)

Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it. (4.6.170)

Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. (4.6.180)

I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester:
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither:
Thou know'st the first time that we smell the air
We waul and cry. (4.6.182)

When we are born we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools. (4.6.187)

Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire. (4.7.36)

Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead. (4.7.46)

I fear I am not in my perfect mind. (4.7.63)

Pray you now, forget and forgive. (4.7.99)

Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all. (5.2.9)

We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: and we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon 's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies; and we'll wear out,
In a walled prison, packs and sets of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon. (5.3.9)

Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. (5.3.20)

The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us. (5.3.172)

The wheel is come full circle. (5.3.176)

Howl, howl, howl, howl! O! you are men of stones:
Had I your tongue and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vaults should crack. She's gone for ever! (5.3.259)

Is this the promised end? (5.3.265)

Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman. (5.3.275)

Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him much
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer. (5.3.314)

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long. (5.3.325)


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