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Home > King Lear > ACT IV - SCENE II. Before ALBANY's palace.

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ACT IV - SCENE II. Before ALBANY's palace.
Enter GONERIL and EDMUND

GONERIL
1    Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
2    Not met us on the way.
Enter OSWALD
3    Now, where's your master'?
OSWALD
4    Madam, within; but never man so changed.
5    I told him of the army that was landed;
6    He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:
7    His answer was 'The worse:' of Gloucester's treachery,
8    And of the loyal service of his son,
9    When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot,
10   And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
11   What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
12   What like, offensive.
GONERIL
To EDMUND
13    Then shall you go no further.
14   It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
15   That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
16   Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
17   May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
18   Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
19   I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
20   Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
21   Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,
22   If you dare venture in your own behalf,
23   A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech;
Giving a favour
24   Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
25   Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
26   Conceive, and fare thee well.
EDMUND
27   Yours in the ranks of death.
GONERIL
28   My most dear Gloucester!
Exit EDMUND
29   O, the difference of man and man!
30   To thee a woman's services are due:
31   My fool usurps my body.
OSWALD
32   Madam, here comes my lord.
Exit

Enter ALBANY

GONERIL
33   I have been worth the whistle.
ALBANY
34   O Goneril!
35   You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
36   Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
37   That nature, which contemns its origin,
38   Cannot be border'd certain in itself;
39   She that herself will sliver and disbranch
40   From her material sap, perforce must wither
41   And come to deadly use.
GONERIL
42   No more; the text is foolish.
ALBANY
43   Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
44   Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
45   Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
46   A father, and a gracious aged man,
47   Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
48   Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
49   Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
50   A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
51   If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
52   Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
53   It will come,
54   Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
55   Like monsters of the deep.
GONERIL
56   Milk-liver'd man!
57   That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
58   Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
59   Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
60   Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd
61   Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
62   France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
63   With plumed helm thy slayer begins threats;
64   Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
65   'Alack, why does he so?'
ALBANY
66   See thyself, devil!
67   Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
68   So horrid as in woman.
GONERIL
69   O vain fool!
ALBANY
70   Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame,
71   Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
72   To let these hands obey my blood,
73   They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
74   Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,
75   A woman's shape doth shield thee.
GONERIL
76   Marry, your manhood now--
Enter a Messenger

ALBANY
77   What news?
Messenger
78   O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead:
79   Slain by his servant, going to put out
80   The other eye of Gloucester.
ALBANY
81   Gloucester's eye!
Messenger
82   A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
83   Opposed against the act, bending his sword
84   To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
85   Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
86   But not without that harmful stroke, which since
87   Hath pluck'd him after.
ALBANY
88   This shows you are above,
89   You justicers, that these our nether crimes
90   So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
91   Lost he his other eye?
Messenger
92   Both, both, my lord.
93   This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
94   'Tis from your sister.
GONERIL
Aside
95    One way I like this well;
96   But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,
97   May all the building in my fancy pluck
98   Upon my hateful life: another way,
99   The news is not so tart.--I'll read, and answer.
Exit

ALBANY
100  Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
Messenger
101  Come with my lady hither.
ALBANY
102  He is not here.
Messenger
103  No, my good lord; I met him back again.
ALBANY
104  Knows he the wickedness?
Messenger
105  Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against him;
106  And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
107  Might have the freer course.
ALBANY
108  Gloucester, I live
109  To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
110  And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
111  Tell me what more thou know'st.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT IV, SCENE IACT IV, SCENE III (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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