Outside Gloucester’s house, the quartet of out-of-sorts souls come together again. Lear, the Fool, and Poor Tom exchange versions of madness, but Edgar suggests a trial of Lear’s two daughters. Rather than listen to Kent’s petitions to rest, Lear insists on the trial. They first arraign Goneril, then Regan, as Lear turns the room into an imaginative furnace, suggesting hell. Edgar finishes his own contribution with the last rhymed jingle in the play. Lear takes one last shot at Regan, and then gives way to sleep. Gloucester returns. He orders Kent (even though he does not recognize him) to take Lear to Dover where he may be safe, and he and the Fool take him out. Alone on the stage, Edgar delivers a monologue in his real persona on a kind of “misery loves company” theme.
ACT III. SCENE VI. Chamber next to Gloucester’s house.
[This scene has large sections from the Quarto marked by brackets]
Enter Kent and Gloucester
Here is better than the open air. Take it
thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
addition I can. I will not be long from you. Exit.
All the power of his wits have given way to his
impatience. The gods reward your kindness! 
Enter Lear, Edgar, and Fool
Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in
the Lake of Darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.
Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
gentleman or a yeoman?
KING LEAR A king, a king! 
Fool No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son,
for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.
To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hissing in upon ‘em.
[EDGAR The foul fiend bites my back. 
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 It shall be done. I will arraign them straight.
Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.
Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she foxes— 
Look where she stands and glares. Want’st thou eyes at
trial, madam? Come o’er the bourn, Bessy, to me—
Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee. 
The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale.
Hoppendance cries in Tom’s belly for two white herring. Croak not,
black angel. I have no food for thee.
How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed. Will you lie down
and rest upon the cushions? 
I’ll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence. Thou robed man of
justice, take thy place. And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
Bench by his side. You are o’ the commission. Sit you too.
Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd? 
Thy sheep be in the corn.
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Purr, the cat is gray.
Arraign her first. ‘Tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this 
honorable assembly, she kicked the poor King her father.
Fool Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
KING LEAR She cannot deny it.
Fool Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.
And here’s another, whose warped looks proclaim 
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms, sword, fire, corruption in the place.
False justicer, why hast thou let her ’scape?]
EDGAR Bless thy five wits!
O pity! Sir, where is the patience now 
That thou so oft have boasted to retain?
[Aside] My tears begin to take his part so much
They’ll mar my counterfeiting.
KING LEAR The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me. 
Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite,
Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or him, 
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
Tom will make them weep and wail;
For with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and 
fairs and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.
Then let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her
heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?
You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred, only I do not like
the fashion of your garments. You will say they are Persian 
attire, but let them be changed.
KENT Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
Make no noise, make no noise. Draw the curtains.
So, so, so. We’ll go to supper i’th’ morning.
Fool And I’ll go to bed at noon. 
GLOUCESTER Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?
KENT Here, sir. But trouble him not; his wits are gone.
Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms.
I have o’erheard a plot of death upon him.
There is a litter ready. Lay him in’t, 
And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet
Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
If thou shouldst dally half an hour his life
With thine and all that offer to defend him
Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up, 
And follow me, that will to some provision
Give thee quick conduct.
[KENT Oppressed nature sleeps.
This rest might yet have balmed thy broken senses,
Which if convenience will not allow 
Stand in hard cure. Come, help to bear thy master;
Thou must not stay behind.]
GLOUCESTER Come, come, away.
Exeunt [all but Edgar]
When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes. 
Who alone suffers, suffers most i’the mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind.
But then the mind much sufferance doth o’er skip,
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now, 
When that which makes me bend makes the King bow,
He childed as I fathered. Tom, away.
Mark the high noises; and thyself bewray,
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee. 
What will hap more to-night, safe ’scape the King.