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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene III.

King Lear

A Part of the Heath.

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,

Does not attend my taking. While 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,

Brought near to beast; my face I’ll grime with filth,

Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots,

And with presented nakedness outface

The winds and persecutions of the sky.

The country gives me proof and precedent

Of Bedlam beggars, who with roaring voices,

Strike in their numb’d and mortified bare arms

Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;

And with this horrible object, from low farms,

Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,

Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,

Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygood! poor Tom!

That’s something yet: Edgar I nothing am.[Exit.