Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


Enter Gonorill and Bastard.
Gon. Welcome my Lord, I maruaile our mild husband
Not met vs on the way, now wher's your maister?
2269.1
Enter Steward.
2270Stew. Madame within, but neuer man so chang'd, I told him
of the army that was landed, he smild at it, I told him you were
coming, his answere was the worse, of Glosters treacherie, and of
the loyall seruice of his sonne 2275when I enform'd him, then hee
cald me sott, and told me I had turnd the wrong side out, what
hee should most desire seemes pleasant to him, what like offen-
siue.
Gon. Then shall you goe no further,
2280It is the cowish curre of his spirit
That dares not vndertake, hele not feele wrongs
Which tie him to an answere, our wishes on the way
May proue effects, backe Edgar to my brother,
Hasten his musters, and conduct his powers
2285I must change armes at home, and giue the distaffe
Into my husbands hands, this trusty seruant
Shall passe betweene vs, ere long you are like to heare
If you dare venture in your owne behalfe
A mistresses coward, weare this spare speech,
2290Decline your head: this kisse if it durst speake
Would stretch thy spirits vp into the ayre,
Conceaue and far you well.
Bast. Yours in the ranks of death.
Gon. My most deere Gloster, to thee womans seruices
My foote vsurps my body.
Stew. Madam here comes my Lord.
Exit Stew.
2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistle.
Alb. O Gonoril, you are not worth the dust which the
Blowes in your face, I feare your disposition
2303.1That nature which contemnes it origin
Cannot be bordered certaine in it selfe,
She that her selfe will sliuer and disbranch
From her materiall sap, perforce must wither,
.5And come to deadly vse.
Gon. No more, the text is foolish.
Alb. Wisedome and goodnes, to the vild seeme vild,
Filths sauor but themselues, what haue you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what haue you perform'd?
.10A father, and a gracious aged man
Whose reuerence euen the head-lugd beare would lick.
Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded,
Could my good brother suffer you to doe it?
A man, a Prince, by him so beniflicted,
.15If that the heauens doe not their visible spirits
Send quickly downe to tame the vild offences, it will
Humanity must perforce pray on it self like monsters of
Gon. Milke liuerd man
2305That bearest a cheeke for bloes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye deseruing thine honour,
From thy suffering, that not know'st fools, do those vilains pitty
2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
Wher's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noystles land,
With plumed helme, thy slayer begin threats
Whil'st thou a morall foole sits still and cries
.5Alack why does he so?
Alb. See thy selfe deuill, proper deformity seemes not in the
fiend, 2310so horid as in woman.
Gon. O vaine foole!
2311.1Alb. Thou changed, and selfe-couerd thing for shame
Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnes
To let these hands obay my bloud,
They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
A womans shape doth shield thee.
Gon. Marry your manhood now---
Alb. What newes. Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. O my good Lord the Duke of Cornwals dead, slaine by
his seruant, going to put out 2315the other eye of Gloster.
Alb. Glosters eyes?
Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
To his great maister, who thereat inraged
2320Flew on him, and amongst them, feld 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 nether crimes 2325so speedely can venge.
But O poore Gloster lost he his other eye.
Gent. Both, both my Lord, this letter Madam craues a speedy
Tis from your sister.
Gon. One way I like this well,
But being widow and my Gloster with her,
May all the building on my fancie plucke,
Vpon my hatefull life, another way the newes is not so tooke,
Ile reade and answer.
Exit.
2335Alb. Where was his sonne when they did take his eyes.
Gent. Come with my Lady hither. Alb. He is not here.
Gent. No my good Lord I met him backe againe.
2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse.
Gent. I my good Lord twas he informd against him,
And quit the house on purpose that there punishment
Might haue the freer course.
Alb. Gloster I liue 2345to thanke thee for the loue thou shewedst the
And to reuenge thy eyes, come hither friend,
Tell me what more thou knowest.
Exit.