King Lear Quotes


When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.


Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.


As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.They kill us for their sport.


The prince of darkness is a gentleman!


Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.


Who is it that can tell me who I am?


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 youngShall never see so much, nor live so long.


Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.


This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeitof our own behavior,--we make guilty of ourdisasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: asif we were villains by necessity; fools byheavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, andtreachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience ofplanetary influence; and all that we are evil in,by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasionof whoremaster man, to lay his goatishdisposition to the charge of a star.


Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.


And worse I may be yet: the worst is notSo long as we can say 'This is the worst.


How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child.


No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison: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: so we'll live,And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laughAt gilded butterflies, and hear poor roguesTalk 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 wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,That ebb and flow by the moon.


I am a man,
More sinn'd against than sinning.


This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.


O, let me kiss that hand!KING LEAR: Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.


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 molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!


In jest, there is truth.


A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; abase, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; alily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be abawd, in way of good service, and art nothing butthe composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom Iwill beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniestthe least syllable of thy addition.


Men must endureTheir going hence, even as their coming hither.Ripeness is all.


Mark it, nuncle.Have more than thou showest,Speak less than thou knowest,Lend less than thou owest,Ride more than thou goest,Learn more than thou trowest,Set less than thou throwest,Leave thy drink and thy whoreAnd keep in-a-door,And thou shalt have moreThan two tens to a score.


Love's not loveWhen it is mingled with regards that standAloof from th' entire point.


When we our betters see bearing our woes,We scarcely think our miseries our foes.


When themind's free, The Body's delicate.


Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange
That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.


O! Let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; keep me in temper; I would not be mad!


I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly that will put me in trust: to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.


Nothing can come of nothing.


I have no way and therefore want no eyesI stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen our means secure us, and our mere defects prove our commodities.


You are not worth the dust which the rude wind blows in your face


Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.


More fools know Jack Fool than Jack Fool knows.


Fool:"He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health,a boy's love, or a whore's oath."King Lear (III, vi, 19-21)


Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind.


These late eclipses in the sun and moon portendno good to us: though the wisdom of nature canreason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itselfscourged by the sequent effects: love cools,friendship falls off, brothers divide: incities, mutinies; in countries, discord; inpalaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt sonand father. This villain of mine comes under theprediction; there's son against father: the kingfalls from bias of nature; there's father againstchild. We have seen the best of our time:machinations, hollowness, treachery, and allruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to ourgraves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it shalllose thee nothing; do it carefully. And thenoble and true-hearted Kent banished! hisoffence, honesty! 'Tis strange.


We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage.When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel downAnd ask of thee forgiveness. So we’ll live,And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laughAt gilded butterflies, and hear poor roguesTalk 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 thingsAs if we were God’s spies.


This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so, it is a chance which does redeem all sorrows that ever I have felt.


O, reason not the need!


Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.Gods, gods! 'tis strange that from their cold'st neglectMy love should kindle to inflamed respect.Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:Not all the dukes of waterish BurgundyCan buy this unprized precious maid of me.Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:Thou losest here, a better where to find.


Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.


Proper deformity shows not in the fiendSo horrid as in woman.


Cordelia! stay a little. Ha! What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft.


Love and be silent.


Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides:Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.


Kent.Where's the king?Gent.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; tears his white hair,Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,Catch in their fury and make nothing of;Strives in his little world of man to outscornThe to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,The lion and the belly-pinched wolfKeep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,And bids what will take all.


All dark and comfortless.


Poor naked wretches, whereso'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? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou may'st shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.


Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile;Filths savour but themselves...


Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear,Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.


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