Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Secunda.
Enter Gonerill, Bastard, and Steward.
Gon. Welcome my Lord.I meruell our mild husband
Not met vs on the way. Now,where's your Master?
2270Stew. Madam within, but neuer man so chang'd:
I told him of the Army that was Landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
His answer was, the worse. OfGlosters Treachery,
And of the loyall Seruice of his Sonne
2275When I inform'd him, then he call'd me Sot,
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike, seemes pleasant to him;
What like, offensiue.
Gon. Then shall you go no further.
2280It is the Cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not vndertake: Hee'l not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer: our wishes on the way
May proue effects. Backe Edmond to my Brother,
Hasten his Musters,and conduct his powres.
2285I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands. This trustie Seruant
Shall passe betweene vs: ere long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)
A Mistresses command. Weare this; spare speech,
2290Decline your head. This kisse, if it durst speake
Would stretch thy Spirits vp into the ayre:
Conceiue, and fare thee well.
Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.
Exit.
Gon. My most deere Gloster.
2295Oh, the difference of man,and man,
To thee a Womans seruices are due,
My Foole vsurpes my body.
Stew. Madam, here come's my Lord.
Enter Albany.
2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle.
Alb. Oh Gonerill,
You are not worth the dust which the rude winde
Blowes in your face.
Gon. Milke-Liuer'd man,
2305That bear'st a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye-discerning
Thine Honor, from thy suffering.
Alb. See thy selfe diuell:
Proper deformitie seemes not in the Fiend
2310So horrid as in woman.
Gon. Oh vaine Foole.
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Oh my good Lord,the Duke of Cornwals dead,
Slaine by his Seruant, going to put out
2315The other eye of Glouster.
Alb. Glousters eyes.
Mes. A Seruant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act: bending his Sword
To his great Master, who, threat-enrag'd
2320Flew on him, and among'st them fell'd him dead,
But not without that harmefull stroke,which since
Hath pluckt him after.
Alb. This shewes you are aboue
You Iustices, that these our neather crimes
2325So speedily can venge. But (O poore Glouster)
Lost he his other eye?
Mes. Both, both, my Lord.
This Leter Madam, craues a speedy answer:
'Tis from your Sister.
2330Gon. One way I like this well,
But being widdow, and my Glouster with her,
May all the building in my fancie plucke
Vpon my hatefull life. Another way
The Newes is not so tart. Ile read,and answer.
2335Alb. Where was his Sonne,
When they did take his eyes?
Mes. Come with my Lady hither.
Alb. He is not heere.
Mes. No my good Lord, I met him backe againe.
2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse?
Mes. I my good Lord: 'twas he inform'd against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might haue the freer course.
Alb. Glouster,I liue
2345To thanke thee for the loue thou shew'dst the King,
And to reuenge thine eyes. Come hither Friend,
Tell me what more thou know'st.
Exeunt.