Wednesday, October 31, 2018

from King Lear by William Shakespeare, 2.2.172-192

        I heard myself proclaimed,
        And by the happy hollow of a tree
        Escaped 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 numbed and mortified bare arms
        Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
        And with this horrible object, from low farms,
        Poor pelting villages, sheepcotes and mills,
        Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
        Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod, poor Tom,
        That’s something yet: Edgar I nothing am.      Exit.

Source of the text – William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 2, Scene 2, lines 172-192, from King Lear (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series), edited by R.A. Foakes.  London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1997, p. 237-238.

TJB: Faux villonaud. As the soliloquy progresses, Edgar’s poised, hypotactic iambics give way to the trochaic roaring mad litany of Poor Tom.

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