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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)
  • Editor: Pervez Rizvi
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Pervez Rizvi
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

    Enter Gonorill and Bastard.
    Gon. Welcome my Lord, I maruaile our milde husband
    Not met vs on the way: now, where's your Master?
    2269.1Enter Steward.
    2270Stew. Madame within, but neuer man so chang'd; I tolde him
    of the Army that was landed, he smiled at it, I told him you were
    coming, his answer was, the worse; of Glosters treachery, and of
    2275the loyall seruice of his sonne, when I enformd him, then he cald
    me sot, and told me I had turnd the wrong side out, what hee
    should most desire, seemes pleasant to him, what like offensiue.
    Gon. Then shall you go no further.
    2280It is the cowish curre of his spirit
    That dares not vndertake, heel not feele wrongs
    Which tye him to an answer, our wishes on the way
    May proue effects, backe Edmund 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 venter in your owne behalfe
    A mistresses coward, weare this spare speech,
    2290Decline your head: this kisse if it durst speake,
    Would strech thy spirits vp into the ayre;
    Conceiue, and faryewell.
    Bast. Yours in the rankes of death.
    Gon. My most deare Gloster, to thee womans seruices are due,
    My foote vsurpes my head.
    Stew. Madame, heere comes my Lord.
    2298.1Exit Steward.
    2300Gon. I haue bene worth the whistle.
    Enter the Duke of Albeney.
    Alb. O Gonorill, you are not worth the dust which the winde
    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,
    2303.5And come to deadly vse.
    Gon. No more, the text is foolish.
    Alb. Wisedome and goodnesse to the vilde seeme vilde,
    Filths sauour but themselues, what haue you done?
    Tygers, not daughters, what haue you perform'd?
    2303.10A father, and a gracious aged man,
    Whose reuerence the head-lugd Beare would licke;
    Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded;
    Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
    A man, a Prince, by him so beneflicted,
    2303.15If that the heauens do not their visible spirits
    Send quickly downe to tame the vilde offences, it will come
    Humanly must perforce prey on it selfe, like monsters of the
    Gon. Milke liuer'd man,
    2305That bearest a cheeke for blowes, a head for wrongs,
    Who hast not in thy browes an eie deseruing thine honour,
    From thy suffering, that not know'st fooles, do these villains pity
    2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
    Where's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noiselesse
    Land, with plumed helme thy slaier begins threats,
    Whiles thou a morall foole, sits still and cries
    2307.5Alacke, why does he so?
    Alb. See thy selfe diuell, proper deformiry seemes not in the
    fiend, so horrid as in woman.
    Gon. O vaine foole.
    2311.1Alb. Thou chang'd and selfe-couerd thing, for shame
    Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnesse
    To let these hands obey my bloud,
    They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
    2311.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
    A womans shape doth shield thee.
    Gon. Marry your man-hood now -------
    Enter a Gentleman.
    Alb. What newes?
    Gent. O my good Lord, the Duke of Cornwalls dead, slaine by
    his seruant, going to put out the other eie of Gloster.
    Alb. Glosters eyes?
    Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
    Oppos'd against the acte, bending his sword
    To his great master, who thereat enraged,
    2320Flew on him, and amongst them feld him dead,
    But not without that harmfull stroke,
    Which since hath pluckt him after.
    Alb. This shewes you are aboue your Iustices,
    That these our neather crimes so speedily can venge.
    2325But oh poore Glocester, lost he his other eye?
    Gent. Both, both my Lord, this letter Madam, craues a speedy
    Answer, tis from your sister.
    2330Gon. One way I like this well,
    But being widow, and my Glocester with her,
    May all the building on my fancy 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 eies?
    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 inform'd against him,
    And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
    Might haue the freer course.
    Alb. Glocester, I liue to thanke thee for the loue
    2345Thou shewedst the King, and to reuenge thy eyes;
    Come hether friend, tell me what more thou knowest.