Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.


King Lear : Act 3, Scene 2



           Enter KING LEAR and Fool.
blowing wind with puffy cheeks


      KING LEAR
  1   Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
  2   You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
2. cataracts: waterspouts.

  3   Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
3. drench'd: submerged. cocks: weathercocks. >>>

  4   You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
4.thought-executing: stunning. fires: sheet lightning.

  5   Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
5. vaunt-couriers: forerunners.

  6   Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
  7   Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
  8   Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
8. germens: seeds. spill: destroy.

  9   That make ingrateful man!

      Fool
 10   O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than
10. court holy-water: sprinkled blessings of a courtier; flattery.

 11   this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy
 12   daughters' blessing: here's a night pities neither wise man
 13   nor fool.

      KING LEAR
 14   Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
 15   Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
 16   I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
16. tax: blame. >>>

 17   I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
 18   You owe me no subscription: then let fall
18. subscription: allegiance; obedience.

 19   Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
 20   A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
 21   But yet I call you servile ministers,
21. you: the elements. ministers: underlings.

 22   That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
 23   Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
23. high engender'd battles: heaven-bred forces.

 24   So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!

      Fool
 25   He that has a house to put's head in has a good
 26   head-piece.
26. head-piece: i.e., brain.

 27                  The cod-piece that will house
26. cod-piece: pouch-like covering for the male genitals. >>>

 28                     Before the head has any,
 29                  The head and he shall louse;
29. louse: make lousy, full of lice.

 30                     So beggars marry many.
30. So beggars marry many: thus, by letting their penises do all of their thinking, beggars make lousy "marriages."

 31                  The man that makes his toe
 32                     What he his heart should make
 33                  Shall of a corn cry woe,
 34                     And turn his sleep to wake.
 35   For there was never yet fair woman but she made
 36   mouths in a glass.
35-36. For . . . glass: All pretty women practice making attractive faces in a mirror. — Here's my paraphrase of the Fool's speech: "Take responsibility for yourself! Don't be led by your penis or your toe. Don't look in the mirror to find the best face you can put on! (And don't, like King Lear, blame the thunder and lightening for your sufferings.)"


           Enter KENT [disguised as Caius].

      KING LEAR
 37   No, I will be the pattern of all patience;
37. pattern: perfect example.

 38   I will say nothing.

      KENT
 39   Who's there?

      Fool
 40   Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece—that's a wise
 41   man and a fool.

      KENT
 42   Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night
 43   Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
 44   Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
44-45. gallow: frighten. wanderers of the dark: bats. keep their caves: keep inside their caves.

 45   And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
 46   Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
 47   Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
 48   Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
48. carry: bear.

 49   The affliction nor the fear.

      KING LEAR
                                                  Let the great gods,
 50   That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
50. pother: commotion.

 51   Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
 52   That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
 53   Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
53. unwhipp'd of justice: unpunished.

 54   Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue
53. simular: simulator; pretender.

 55   That art incestuous! Caitiff, to pieces shake,
55. Caitiff: wretch.

 56   That under covert and convenient seeming
56. seeming: hypocrisy.

 57   Hast practised on man's life! Close pent-up guilts,
57. practised on: plotted against. close: secret.

 58   Rive your concealing continents, and cry
58. rive: split open. continents: coverings.

 59   These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
58-59. cry . . . grace: beg for mercy from these elements which bring you to justice. [Summoners were the officers who cited offenders to appear before ecclesiastical court.]

 60   More sinn'd against than sinning.

      KENT
                                                              Alack, bare-headed!
 61   Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
 62   Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest:
 63   Repose you there; while I to this hard house—
63. hard house: cruel house; i.e., Gloucester's house, now controlled by Regan and Cornwall.

 64   More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised;
 65   Which even but now, demanding after you,
 66   Denied me to come in—return, and force
65-66. Which . . . come in: Which just a moment ago, when I asked about you, denied me permission to come in.

 67   Their scanted courtesy.
67. scanted: close-fisted.


      KING LEAR
                                              My wits begin to turn.
67. My wits begin to turn: i.e., I'm beginning to think and feel differently.

 68   Come on, my boy: how dost, my boy? art cold?
 69   I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
 70   The art of our necessities is strange,
70. art: alchemy; power to make magical transformations.

 71   That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.
 72   Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
 73   That's sorry yet for thee.

      Fool  [Singing]
 74             He that has and a little tiny wit—
74. and: even. wit: sense.

 75                With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,—
 76             Must make content with his fortunes fit,
76. Must . . . fit: i.e., must learn to be content with what he has.

 77                For the rain it raineth every day.

      KING LEAR
 78   True, my good boy. Come, bring us to this hovel.

           Exit [KING LEAR with KENT].

      Fool
 79   This is a brave night to cool a courtezan.
79. brave: i.e., perfect. to cool a courtezan: to cool even the hot lusts of a prostitute.

 80   I'll speak a prophecy ere I go:
80. a prophecy: >>>

 81      When priests are more in word than matter;
81. matter: real virtue.

 82      When brewers mar their malt with water;
 83      When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
83. When . . . tutors: when noblemen follow fashion more closely than their tailors do.

 84      No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
84. No heretics . . . suitors: when the only heretics burned are faithless lovers, who burn from venereal disease.

 85      Then shall the realm of Albion
 86      Come to great confusion:
85-86. Albion: Britain. confusion: decay.

 87      When every case in law is right;
87. right: just.

 88      No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
 89      When slanders do not live in tongues;
 90      Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
90. cutpurses: pickpockets.

 91      When usurers tell their gold i' the field;
91. tell: count.

 92      And bawds and whores do churches build;
 93      Then comes the time, who lives to see't,
 94      That going shall be used with feet.
94. That going shall be used with feet: i.e., that everyone can safely stroll about as they please.

 95   This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before
 96   his time.
10. This prophecy Merlin . . . before his time: Merlin was the great wizard at the legendary court of King Arthur. The legend of King Lear is set in an even more distant past.


           Exit.