Re: THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare
Darkness and devils!--
Saddle my horses; call my train together.--
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee:
Yet have I left a daughter.
You strike my people; and your disorder'd rabble
Make servants of their betters.
Woe that too late repents!--
(To Albany.) O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? Speak, sir.--Prepare my horses.--
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!
Pray, sir, be patient.
(to Goneril) Detested kite, thou liest!:
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know;
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.--O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate that let thy folly in (Striking his head.)
And thy dear judgment out!--Go, go, my people.
My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath mov'd you.
It may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!--Away, away!
Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?
Never afflict yourself to know more of it;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.
What, fifty of my followers at a clap!
Within a fortnight!
What's the matter, sir?
I'll tell thee.--Life and death!--(To Goneril) I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them.--Blasts and fogs upon thee!
Th' untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee!--Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Ha!
Let it be so: I have another daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever.
(Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants.)
Do you mark that?
I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you,--
Pray you, content.--What, Oswald, ho!
(To the Fool) You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.
Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry,--take the fool with thee.--
A fox when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter;
So the fool follows after.
This man hath had good counsel.--A hundred knights!
'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
At point a hundred knights: yes, that on every dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy.--Oswald, I say!--
Well, you may fear too far.
Safer than trust too far:
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister:
If she sustain him and his hundred knights,
When I have show'd th' unfitness,--
How now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?
Take you some company, and away to horse:
Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
And hasten your return.
No, no, my lord!
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn it not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than prais'd for harmful mildness.
How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell:
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
Well, well; the event.
Scene V. Court before the Duke of Albany's Palace.
(Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.)
Go you before to Gloster with these letters: acquaint my
daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her
demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I
shall be there afore you.
I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.
If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in danger of kibes?
Then I pr'ythee be merry; thy wit shall not go slipshod.
Ha, ha, ha!
Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though
she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I can tell
what I can tell.
What canst tell, boy?
She'll taste as like this as a crab does to a crab. Thou
canst tell why one's nose stands i' the middle on's face?
Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that what a man
cannot smell out, he may spy into.
I did her wrong,--
Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.
Why, to put's head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and
leave his horns without a case.
I will forget my nature. So kind a father!--Be my horses ready?
Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are
no more than seven is a pretty reason.
Because they are not eight?
Yes indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.
To tak't again perforce!--Monster ingratitude!
If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being
old before thy time.
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!--
How now? are the horses ready?
Ready, my lord.
She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.
Scene I. A court within the Castle of the Earl of Gloster.
(Enter Edmund and Curan, meeting.)
Save thee, 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.
How comes that?
Nay, I know not.--You have heard of the news abroad; I mean the
whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?
Not I: pray you, what are they?
Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the two dukes
of Cornwall and Albany?
Not a word.
You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
The Duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
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:--sir, fly this place;
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
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
I am sure on't, not a word.
I hear my father coming:--pardon me;
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you:--
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 endeavour: (Wounds his arm.)
I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport.--Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?
(Enter Gloster, and Servants with torches.)
Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress,--
But where is he?
Look, sir, I bleed.
Where is the villain, Edmund?
Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could,--
Pursue him, ho!--Go after.
--By no means what?
Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
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
My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm;
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.
Let him fly far;
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found--dispatch'd.--The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd 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 faith'd? No: what I should deny
As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character, I'd 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
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.
Strong and fast'ned villain!
Would he deny his letter?--I never got him.
Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.--
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 due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.
(Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants.)
How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,--
Which I can call but now,--I have heard strange news.
If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?
O madam, my old heart is crack'd,--it's crack'd!
What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?
O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?
I know not, madam:--
It is too bad, too bad.
Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
No marvel then though he were ill affected:
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.--
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A childlike office.
'Twas my duty, sir.
He did bewray his practice; and receiv'd
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Is he pursu'd?
Ay, my good lord.
If he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
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.
I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
For him I thank your grace.
You know not why we came to visit you,--
Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night:
Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:--
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
I serve you, madam:
Your graces are right welcome.
Scene II. Before Gloster's Castle.
(Enter Kent and Oswald, severally.)
Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?
Where may we set our horses?
I' the mire.
Pr'ythee, if thou lov'st me, tell me.
I love thee not.
Why then, I care not for thee.
If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.
Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
Fellow, I know thee.
What dost thou know me for?
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, whoreson,
glass-gazing, superserviceable, 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, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel
bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou
denyest the least syllable of thy addition.
Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that's
neither known of thee nor knows thee?
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is
it two days ago since I beat thee and tripped up thy heels 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!
(Drawing his sword.)
Away! I have nothing to do with thee.
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!
Help, ho! murder! help!
Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike!
Help, ho! murder! murder!
(Enter Edmund, Cornwall, Regan, Gloster, and Servants.)
How now! What's the matter?
With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh you; come
on, young master.
Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?