1. Scene I. The heath.
Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.--But who comes here?
[Enter Gloster, led by an Old Man.]
My father, poorly led?--World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.
O my good lord,
I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant,
These fourscore years.
Away, get thee away; good friend, be gone:
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may hurt.
You cannot see your way.
I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities.--O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'd say I had eyes again!
How now! Who's there?
[Aside.] O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at the worst'?
I am worse than e'er I was.
'Tis poor mad Tom.
[Aside.] And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'
Fellow, where goest?
Is it a beggar-man?
Madman and beggar too.