King Lear eText - Act II

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Act II

Scene I

Gloucester's castle.

[Enter Edmund, and Curan meets him]

[Exit]

[Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches]

[Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants]

[Exeunt]

EDMUND:
Save thee, Curan.
CURAN:
And you, sir. I have been with your father, and given him
notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan his duchess will
be here with him this night.
EDMUND:
How comes that?(5)
CURAN:
Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing
arguments?
EDMUND:
Not I pray you, what are they?
CURAN:
Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the(10)
Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
EDMUND:
Not a word.
CURAN:
You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
EDMUND:
The duke be here tonight? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.(15)
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
My father watches: O sir, fly this place;(20)
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him: have you nothing said(25)
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

[Enter Edgar]

EDGAR:
I am sure on't, not a word.
EDMUND:
I hear my father coming: pardon me:
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you(30)
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavor. I have seen drunkards(35)
Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?

[Exit Edgar]

[Wounds his arm]

GLOUCESTER:
Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
EDMUND:
Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon(40)
To stand auspicious mistress,—
GLOUCESTER:
But where is he?
EDMUND:
Look, sir, I bleed.
GLOUCESTER:
Where is the villain, Edmund?
EDMUND:
Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could—(45)
GLOUCESTER:
Pursue him, ho! Go after.
By no means what?

[Exeunt some Servants]

EDMUND:
Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;(50)
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home(55)
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarumed spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.(60)
GLOUCESTER:
Let him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found—dispatch. The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes tonight:
By his authority I will proclaim it,(65)
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
EDMUND:
When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech(70)
I threatened to discover him: he replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faithed? No: what I should deny,—(75)
As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,—I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death(80)
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
GLOUCESTER:
O strange and fastened villain!
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.(85)
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have the due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means(90)
To make thee capable.

[Tucket within]

CORNWALL:
How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.
REGAN:
If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?(95)
GLOUCESTER:
O, madam, my old heart is cracked, it's cracked!
REGAN:
What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?
GLOUCESTER:
O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
REGAN:
Was he not companion with the riotous knights(100)
That tend upon my father?
GLOUCESTER:
I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.
EDMUND:
Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
REGAN:
No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,(105)
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them; and with such cautions,
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.(110)
CORNWALL:
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A childlike office.
EDMUND:
'Twas my duty, sir.
GLOUCESTER:
He did bewray his practice; and received(115)
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
CORNWALL:
Is he pursued?
GLOUCESTER:
Ay, my good lord.
CORNWALL:
If he be taken, he shall never more
Be feared of doing harm: make your own purpose,(120)
How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.(125)
EDMUND:
I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
GLOUCESTER:
For him I thank your grace.
CORNWALL:
You know not why we came to visit you,—
REGAN:
Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:(130)
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers(135)
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
GLOUCESTER:
I serve you, madam:(140)
Your graces are right welcome.

Scene II

Before Gloucester's castle.

[Enter Kent and Oswald, severally]

[Drawing his sword]

[Beating him]

[Enter Edmund, with his rapier drawn, Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, and Servants]

[Stocks brought out]

[Exeunt all but Gloucester and Kent]

[Exit]

[Sleeps]

OSWALD:
Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?
KENT:
Ay.
OSWALD:
Where may we set our horses?
KENT:
I' the mire.
OSWALD:
Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.(5)
KENT:
I love thee not.
OSWALD:
Why, then, I care not for thee.
KENT:
If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care
for me.
OSWALD:
Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.(10)
KENT:
Fellow, I know thee.
OSWALD:
What dost thou know me for?
KENT:
A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base,
proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy,
worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave,(15)
a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in
way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of
a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a
mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining,(20)
if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.
OSWALD:
Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on
one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!
KENT:
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up thy heels,(25)
and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though
it be night, yet the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the
moonshine of you: draw, you whoreson cullionly barbermonger,
draw.
OSWALD:
Away! I have nothing to do with thee.(30)
KENT:
Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king;
and take vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her
father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks:
draw, you rascal; come your ways.
OSWALD:
Help, ho! murder! help!(35)
KENT:
Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave,
strike!
OSWALD:
Help, ho! murder! murder!
EDMUND:
How now! What's the matter? Part.(40)
KENT:
With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh
ye; come on, young master.
GLOUCESTER:
Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?
CORNWALL:
Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?(45)
REGAN:
The messengers from our sister and the king.
CORNWALL:
What is your difference? speak.
OSWALD:
I am scarce in breath, my lord.
KENT:
No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor. You
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made(50)
thee.
CORNWALL:
Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
KENT:
Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could not have
made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the
trade.(55)
CORNWALL:
Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
OSWALD:
This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at
suit of his gray beard,—
KENT:
Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted(60)
villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with
him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?
CORNWALL:
Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
KENT:
Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.(65)
CORNWALL:
Why art thou angry?
KENT:
That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse to unloose; smooth every(70)
passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,(75)
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.(80)
CORNWALL:
Why, art thou mad, old fellow?
GLOUCESTER:
How fell you out? say that.
KENT:
No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
CORNWALL:
Why dost thou call him a knave? What's his(85)
offense?
KENT:
His countenance likes me not.
CORNWALL:
No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
KENT:
Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time(90)
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.
CORNWALL:
This is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb(95)
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbor more craft and more corrupter ends(100)
Than twenty silly ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
KENT:
Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire(105)
On flickering Phoebus' front,—
CORNWALL:
What mean'st by this?
KENT:
To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much.
I know, sir, I am no flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain
accent was a plain knave; which for my part I will not be,(110)
though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't.
CORNWALL:
What was the offence you gave him?
OSWALD:
I never gave him any:
It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;(115)
When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
Tripped me behind; being down, insulted, railed,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued;(120)
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
KENT:
None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.
CORNWALL:
Fetch forth the stocks!(125)
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you—
KENT:
Sir, I am too old to learn:
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:(130)
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.
CORNWALL:
Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honor,
There shall he sit till noon.(135)
REGAN:
Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.
KENT:
Why, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.
REGAN:
Sir, being his knave, I will.
CORNWALL:
This is a fellow of the self-same color(140)
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
GLOUCESTER:
Let me beseech your grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for 't: your purposed low correction
Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches(145)
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punished with: the king must take it ill,
That he's so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrained.
CORNWALL:
I'll answer that.(150)
REGAN:
My sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
Come, my good lord, away.

[Kent is put in the stocks]

GLOUCESTER:
I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's(155)
pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubbed nor stopped: I'll entreat for thee.
KENT:
Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travelled hard;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.(160)
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
Give you good morrow!
GLOUCESTER:
The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.
KENT:
Good king, that must approve the common saw,(165)
Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles(170)
But misery: I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been informed
Of my obscured course; and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o'erwatched,(175)
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!

Scene III

A wood.

[Enter Edgar]

[Exit]

EDGAR:
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. Whiles I may 'scape,(5)
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;(10)
And with presented nakedness out-face
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(15)
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!(20)
That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.

Scene IV

To wage against the enmity o' the air;
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl,—(225)
Necessity's sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squire-like; pension beg
To keep base life afoot. Return with her?(230)
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom.

Before Gloucester's castle. Kent in the stocks.

[Enter King Lear, Fool, and Gentleman]

[Exit]

[Re-enter King Lear with Gloucester]

[Exit]

[Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, and Servants]

[Kent is set at liberty]

[Tucket within]

[Pointing at Oswald]

[Exeunt King Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool]

[Storm and tempest]

[Re-enter Gloucester]

[Exeunt]

KING LEAR:
'Tis strange that they should so depart from
home,
And not send back my messenger.
GENTLEMAN:
As I learned,
The night before there was no purpose in them(5)
Of this remove.
KENT:
Hail to thee, noble master!
KING LEAR:
Ha!
Makest thou this shame thy pastime?
KENT:
No, my lord.(10)
FOOL:
Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the
heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by the loins,
and men by the legs: when a man's over-lusty at legs,
then he wears wooden nether-stocks.
KING LEAR:
What's he that hath so much thy place mistook(15)
To set thee here?
KENT:
It is both he and she;
Your son and daughter.
KING LEAR:
No.
KENT:
Yes.(20)
KING LEAR:
No, I say.
KENT:
I say, yea.
KING LEAR:
No, no, they would not.
KENT:
Yes, they have.
KING LEAR:
By Jupiter, I swear, no.(25)
KENT:
By Juno, I swear, ay.
KING LEAR:
They durst not do't;
They could not, would not do't; 'tis worse than murder,
To do upon respect such violent outrage:
Resolve me, with all modest haste, which way
Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage,
Coming from us.
KENT:
My lord, when at their home(30)
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was risen from the place that showed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations;(35)
Delivered letters, spite of intermission,
Which presently they read: on whose contents,
They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse;
Commanded me to follow, and attend
The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks:(40)
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome, I perceived, had poisoned mine,—
Being the very fellow that of late
Displayed so saucily against your highness,—
Having more man than wit about me, drew:(45)
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.
FOOL:
Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags(50)
Do make their children blind;
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to the poor.(55)
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolors for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year.
KING LEAR:
O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?(60)
KENT:
With the earl, sir, here within.
KING LEAR:
Follow me not; Stay here.
GENTLEMAN:
Made you no more offence but what you speak of?
KENT:
None.
How chance the king comes with so small a number?(65)
FOOL:
And thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question,
thou hadst well deserved it.
KENT:
Why, fool?
FOOL:
We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's
no laboring i' the winter. All that follow their noses are(70)
led by their eyes but blind men; and there's not a nose
among twenty but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy
hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy
neck with following it: but the great one that goes up the
hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee(75)
better counsel, give me mine again: I would have none but
knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,(80)
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm,
But I will tarry; the fool will stay, And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool no knave, perdy.(85)
KENT:
Where learned you this, fool?
FOOL:
Not i' the stocks, fool.
KING LEAR:
Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are
weary?
They have traveled all the night? Mere fetches;(90)
The images of revolt and flying off.
Fetch me a better answer.
GLOUCESTER:
My dear lord,
You know the fiery quality of the duke;
How unremovable and fixed he is(95)
In his own course.
KING LEAR:
Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!
Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
GLOUCESTER:
Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.(100)
KING LEAR:
Informed them! Dost thou understand me, man?
GLOUCESTER:
Ay, my good lord.
KING LEAR:
The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear
father
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service:(105)
Are they informed of this? My breath and blood!
Fiery? the fiery duke? Tell the hot duke that—
No, but not yet: may be he is not well:
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves(110)
When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I'll forbear;
And am fall'n out with my more headier will,
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man. Death on my state! Wherefore(115)
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and's wife I'ld speak with them,
Now, presently: bid them come forth and hear me,(120)
Or at their chamber-door I'll beat the drum
Till it cry sleep to death.
GLOUCESTER:
I would have all well betwixt you.
KING LEAR:
O me, my heart, my rising heart! but, down!
FOOL:
Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she(125)
put 'em i' the paste alive; she knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with
a stick, and cried “Down, wantons, down!” 'Twas her brother
that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.
KING LEAR:
Good morrow to you both.
CORNWALL:
Hail to your grace!(130)
REGAN:
I am glad to see your highness.
KING LEAR:
Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress. [To Kent] O, are you free?(135)
Some other time for that. Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here:
I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe
With how depraved a quality—O Regan!(140)

[Points to his heart]

REGAN:
I pray you, sir, take patience: I have hope.
You less know how to value her desert
Than she to scant her duty.
KING LEAR:
Say, how is that?
REGAN:
I cannot think my sister in the least(145)
Would fail her obligation: if, sir, perchance
She have restrained the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end,
As clears her from all blame.
KING LEAR:
My curses on her!(150)
REGAN:
O, sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,(155)
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wronged her, sir.
KING LEAR:
Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
“Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;(160)
Age is unnecessary: on my knees I beg
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.”

[Kneeling]

REGAN:
Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks:
Return you to my sister.
KING LEAR:
Never, Regan:(165)
She hath abated me of half my train;
Looked black upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,(170)
You taking airs, with lameness!

[Rising]

CORNWALL:
Fie, sir, fie!
KING LEAR:
You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-sucked fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,(175)
To fall and blast her pride!
REGAN:
O the blest gods! so will you wish on me,
When the rash mood is on.
KING LEAR:
No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse:
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give(180)
Thee o'er to harshness: her eyes are fierce; but thine
Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And in conclusion to oppose the bolt(185)
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom hast thou not forgot,
Wherein I thee endowed.(190)
REGAN:
Good sir, to the purpose.
KING LEAR:
Who put my man i' the stocks?
CORNWALL:
What trumpet's that?
REGAN:
I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.(195)
Is your lady come?

[Enter Oswald]

KING LEAR:
This is a slave, whose easy-borrowed pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows. Out, varlet, from my sight!
CORNWALL:
What means your grace?
KING LEAR:
Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope(200)
Thou didst not know on't. Who comes here?
O heavens,
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!(205)
Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

[Enter Goneril]

[To Goneril]

GONERIL:
Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.(210)
KING LEAR:
O sides, you are too tough;
Will you yet hold? How came my man i' the stocks?
CORNWALL:
I set him there, sir: but his own disorders
Deserved much less advancement.
KING LEAR:
You! did you?(215)
REGAN:
I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me:
I am now from home, and out of that provision(220)
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
KING LEAR:
Return to her, and fifty men dismissed?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
GONERIL:
At your choice, sir.
KING LEAR:
I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad:
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:(235)
We'll no more meet, no more see one another:
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,(240)
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:(245)
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.
REGAN:
Not altogether so:
I looked not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister;(250)
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so—
But she knows what she does.
KING LEAR:
Is this well spoken?
REGAN:
I dare avouch it, sir: what, fifty followers?(255)
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.(260)
GONERIL:
Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants or from mine?
REGAN:
Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack
you,
We could control them. If you will come to me,—(265)
For now I spy a danger,—I entreat you
To bring but five and twenty: to no more
Will I give place or notice.
KING LEAR:
I gave you all—
REGAN:
And in good time you gave it.(270)
KING LEAR:
Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be followed
With such a number. What, must I come to you
With five and twenty, Regan? said you so?
REGAN:
And speak't again, my lord; no more with me.(275)
KING LEAR:
Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favored,
When others are more wicked: not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise. [To Goneril] I'll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,
And thou art twice her love.(280)
GONERIL:
Hear me, my lord;
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?
REGAN:
What need one?(285)
KING 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's as cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,(290)
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!(295)
If it be you that stir 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,(300)
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:(305)
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!
CORNWALL:
Let us withdraw; 'twill be a storm.
REGAN:
This house is little: the old man and his people(310)
Cannot be well bestowed.
GONERIL:
'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,
And must needs taste his folly.
REGAN:
For his particular, I'll receive him gladly,
But not one follower.(315)
GONERIL:
So am I purposed.
Where is my lord of Gloucester?
CORNWALL:
Followed the old man forth: he is returned.
GLOUCESTER:
The king is in high rage.
CORNWALL:
Whither is he going?(320)
GLOUCESTER:
He calls to horse; but will I know not whither.
CORNWALL:
'Tis best to give him way; he leads himself.
GONERIL:
My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
GLOUCESTER:
Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about(325)
There's scarce a bush.
REGAN:
O, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors:
He is attended with a desperate train;(330)
And what they may incense him to, being apt
To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.
CORNWALL:
Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night:
My Regan counsels well; come out o' the storm.