Before Albany's palace.
[Enter Goneril and Edmund]
Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
- Now, where's your master?
Madam, within; but never man so changed.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:(5)
His answer was ‘The worse:’ of Gloucester's treachery,
And of the loyal service of his son,
When I informed him, then he called me sot,
And told me I had turned the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;(10)
What like, offensive.
[To Edmund] Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way(15)
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,(20)
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech; [Giving a favor]
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
Conceive, and fare thee well.(25)
Yours in the ranks of death.
- My most dear Gloucester!
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.(30)
Madam, here comes my lord.
I have been worth the whistle.
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:(35)
That nature, which contemns its origin,
Cannot be bordered certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.(40)
No more; the text is foolish.
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savor but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?
A father, and a gracious aged man,(45)
Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits(50)
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honor from thy suffering; that not know'st
Fools do those villains pity who are punished
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?(60)
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
‘Alack, why does he so?’
See thyself, devil!(65)
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.
O vain fool!
Thou changed and self-covered thing, for shame,
Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness(70)
To let these hands obey my blood,
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,
A woman's shape doth shield thee.
Marry, your manhood now—(75)
[Enter a Messenger]
O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead:
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.
A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him, and amongst them felled him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke, which since(85)
Hath plucked him after.
This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other eye?(90)
Both, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
'Tis from your sister.
[Aside] One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,(95)
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: another way,
The news is not so tart.—I'll read, and answer.
Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
Come with my lady hither.(100)
He is not here.
No, my good lord; I met him back again.
Knows he the wickedness?
Ay, my good lord; 'twas he informed against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment(105)
Might have the freer course.
Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou showedst the king,
And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
Tell me what more thou know'st.(110)