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Home > King Lear > ACT II - SCENE I. GLOUCESTER's castle.

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ACT II - SCENE I. GLOUCESTER's castle.
Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him

EDMUND
1    Save thee, Curan.
CURAN
2    And you, sir. I have been with your father, and
3    given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
4    his duchess will be here with him this night.
EDMUND
5    How comes that?
CURAN
6    Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
7    I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
8    ear-kissing arguments?
EDMUND
9    Not I pray you, what are they?
CURAN
10   Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the
11   Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
EDMUND
12   Not a word.
CURAN
13   You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
Exit

EDMUND
14   The duke be here to-night? The better! best!
15   This weaves itself perforce into my business.
16   My father hath set guard to take my brother;
17   And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
18   Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
19   Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
Enter EDGAR
20   My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
21   Intelligence is given where you are hid;
22   You have now the good advantage of the night:
23   Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
24   He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
25   And Regan with him: have you nothing said
26   Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
27   Advise yourself.
EDGAR
28   I am sure on't, not a word.
EDMUND
29   I hear my father coming: pardon me:
30   In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
31   Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
32   Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
33   Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.
Exit EDGAR
34   Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.
Wounds his arm
35   Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
36   Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
37   Stop, stop! No help?
Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches

GLOUCESTER
38   Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
EDMUND
39   Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
40   Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
41   To stand auspicious mistress,--
GLOUCESTER
42   But where is he?
EDMUND
43   Look, sir, I bleed.
GLOUCESTER
44   Where is the villain, Edmund?
EDMUND
45   Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could--
GLOUCESTER
46   Pursue him, ho! Go after.
Exeunt some Servants
47   By no means what?
EDMUND
48   Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
49   But that I told him, the revenging gods
50   'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
51   Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
52   The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
53   Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
54   To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
55   With his prepared sword, he charges home
56   My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
57   But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
58   Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
59   Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
60   Full suddenly he fled.
GLOUCESTER
61   Let him fly far:
62   Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
63   And found--dispatch. The noble duke my master,
64   My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
65   By his authority I will proclaim it,
66   That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
67   Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
68   He that conceals him, death.
EDMUND
69   When I dissuaded him from his intent,
70   And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
71   I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
72   'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
73   If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
74   Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
75   Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--
76   As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
77   My very character,--I'ld turn it all
78   To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
79   And thou must make a dullard of the world,
80   If they not thought the profits of my death
81   Were very pregnant and potential spurs
82   To make thee seek it.'
GLOUCESTER
83   Strong and fasten'd villain
84   Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Tucket within
85   Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
86   All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
87   The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
88   I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
89   May have the due note of him; and of my land,
90   Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
91   To make thee capable.
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants

CORNWALL
92   How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
93   Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.
REGAN
94   If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
95   Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?
GLOUCESTER
96   O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
REGAN
97   What, did my father's godson seek your life?
98   He whom my father named? your Edgar?
GLOUCESTER
99   O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
REGAN
100  Was he not companion with the riotous knights
101  That tend upon my father?
GLOUCESTER
102  I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.
EDMUND
103  Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
REGAN
104  No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
105  'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
106  To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
107  I have this present evening from my sister
108  Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
109  That if they come to sojourn at my house,
110  I'll not be there.
CORNWALL
111  Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
112  Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
113  A child-like office.
EDMUND
114  'Twas my duty, sir.
GLOUCESTER
115  He did bewray his practise; and received
116  This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
CORNWALL
117  Is he pursued?
GLOUCESTER
118  Ay, my good lord.
CORNWALL
119  If he be taken, he shall never more
120  Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
121  How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
122  Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
123  So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
124  Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
125  You we first seize on.
EDMUND
126  I shall serve you, sir,
127  Truly, however else.
GLOUCESTER
128  For him I thank your grace.
CORNWALL
129  You know not why we came to visit you,--
REGAN
130  Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:
131  Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
132  Wherein we must have use of your advice:
133  Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
134  Of differences, which I least thought it fit
135  To answer from our home; the several messengers
136  From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
137  Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
138  Your needful counsel to our business,
139  Which craves the instant use.
GLOUCESTER
140  I serve you, madam:
141  Your graces are right welcome.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE VACT II, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III

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