Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Modern, Quarto)

[Scene 14]
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, [the] Bastard [and servants].
[To Goneril] Post speedily to my lord your husband. Show him this letter. The army of France is landed. [To a servant] Seek out the villain Gloucester.
[Exit servant.]
Hang him instantly.
Pluck out his eyes.
Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our sister company. The revenge we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the Duke where you are going, to a most festinate preparation. We are bound to the like. Our 2070post shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell dear sister. Farewell my lord of Gloucester.
[The Bastard and Goneril start to leave.]
Enter [Oswald the] steward.
How now, where's the King?
My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.
2075Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who with some other of the lord's dependants
Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast
To have well-armed friends.
[To Oswald] Get horses for your mistress.
[Exit Oswald]
Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.
Edmund farewell.
Exeunt Goneril and [the] Bastard..
[To servants] Go seek the traitor Gloucester.
Pinion him like a thief. Bring him before us.
[Exeunt servants.]
Though we may not pass upon his life
2085Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a court'sy to our wrath, which men may blame
But not control. Who's there? The traitor?
Enter Gloucester brought in by two or three.
Ingrateful fox, 'tis he.
[To servants] Bind fast his corky arms.
What means your graces? Good my friends, consider,
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.
Bind him, I say.
[They bind him.]
Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
Unmerciful lady as you are, I am true.
To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find--
[Regan plucks hairs from Gloucester's beard.]
By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done,
To pluck me by the beard.
So white and such a traitor?
Naughty lady.
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
2105Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host.
With robbers' hands my hospitable favors
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
Come, sir. What letters had you late from France?
Be simple, answerer, for we know the truth.
And what confederacy have you with
The traitors late footed in the kingdom?
To whose hands you have sent the lunatic King.
I have a letter guessingly set down
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.
And false.
Where hast thou sent the King?
To Dover.
Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril--
Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.
I am tied to th'stake, and I must stand the course.
Wherefore to Dover, sir?
Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
2130In his anointed flesh rash boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm on his bowed head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up
And quenched the stellèd fires, yet, poor old heart,
He helped the heavens to rage.
2135If wolves had at thy gate howled that dern time
Thou shouldst have said, "Good porter, turn the key."
All cruels else subscribe. But I shall see
The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.
See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
2140Upon those eyes of thine I'll set my foot.
He that will think to live till he be old
Give me some help.
[Cornwall puts out one of Gloucester's eyes.]
Oh, cruel! O ye gods!
One side will mock another. T'other too.
If you see vengeance--
21451 Servant
Hold your hand, my lord.
I have served you ever since I was a child,
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
How now, you dog!
21501 Servant
If you did wear a beard upon your chin
I'd shake it on this quarrel. [To Cornwall] What do you mean?
My villein!
1 Servant
Why then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
Draw and fight. [Cornwall is wounded.]
[To another servant] Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?
2155She takes a sword and runs at him behind.
1 Servant
Oh, I am slain, my lord. Yet have you one eye left
To see some mischief on him--oh!
[He dies.]
Lest it see more, prevent it. Out vile jelly.
[Puts out Gloucester's other eye.]
Where is thy luster now?
All dark and comfortless. Where's my son, Edmund?
Edmund, unbridle all the sparks of nature
To quite this horrid act.
Out, villain,
2165Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons
To us, who is too good to pity thee.
Oh my follies! Then Edgar was abused.
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him.
Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
[Exeunt servant with Gloucester.]
How is't my lord? How look you?
I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.
[To a servant] Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
2175Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
Exeunt [Cornwall and Regan].
2176.12 Servant
I'll never care what wickedness I do
If this man come to good.
3 Servant
If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
2176.52 Servant
Let's follow the old earl and get the bedlam
To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.
3 Servant
Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him.
Exeunt [with the body].