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Contents > Author > William Shakespeare > O reason not the need! ("King Lear") 1564- 1616
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William Shakespeare
O reason not the need! ("King Lear")
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LEAR:

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 as cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady:
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need--
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need.
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age, wretched in both.
If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water drops,
Stain my man's cheeks. No, you unnatural hags!
I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall--I will do such things--
What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep.
No, I'll not weep.
I have full cause of weeping, but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep. O Fool, I shall go mad!

(Lear to his daughters Goneril and Regan,
"King Lear," Act 2, Scene 4, lines 263-285)

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Read by: Ted Walch
 

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