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Download King Lear
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Navigate this workKing Lear
Act 2, scene 2
Kent meets Oswald at Gloucester’s castle (where both await answers to the letters they have brought Regan) and challenges Oswald to fight. The disturbance and Kent’s explanations provoke Cornwall into putting Kent into the stocks for punishment.Enter Kent ⌜in disguise⌝ and ⌜Oswald, the⌝ Steward,
OSWALD 1151 Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this
KENT 1153 Ay.
OSWALD 1154 Where may we set our horses?
KENT 1155 5I’ th’ mire.
OSWALD 1156 Prithee, if thou lov’st me, tell me.
KENT 1157 I love thee not.
OSWALD 1158 Why then, I care not for thee.
KENT 1159 If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make
1160 10 thee care for me.
OSWALD 1161 Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
KENT 1162 Fellow, I know thee.
OSWALD 1163 What dost thou know me for?
KENT 1164 A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a
1165 15 base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound,
1166 filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered,
1167 action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable,
1168 finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting
p. 851169 slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good
1170 20 service, and art nothing but the composition of a
1171 knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir
1172 of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into
1173 ⟨clamorous⟩ whining if thou deny’st the least syllable
1174 of thy addition.
OSWALD 1175 25Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou thus
1176 to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor
1177 knows thee!
KENT 1178 What a brazen-faced varlet art thou to deny thou
1179 knowest me! Is it two days ⟨ago⟩ since I tripped up
1180 30 thy heels and beat thee before the King? ⌜He draws
his sword.⌝ 1181 Draw, you rogue, for though it be night,
1182 yet the moon shines. I’ll make a sop o’ th’ moonshine
1183 of you, you whoreson, cullionly barbermonger.
OSWALD 1185 35Away! I have nothing to do with thee.
KENT 1186 Draw, you rascal! You come with letters against
1187 the King and take Vanity the puppet’s part against
1188 the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I’ll so
1189 carbonado your shanks! Draw, you rascal! Come
1190 40 your ways.
OSWALD 1191 Help, ho! Murder! Help!
KENT 1192 Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue! Stand, you neat
1193 slave! Strike!⌜He beats Oswald.⌝
OSWALD 1194 Help, ho! Murder, murder!
Enter Bastard ⟨Edmund, with his rapier drawn,⟩
Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.
EDMUND 1195 45How now, what’s the matter? Part!
KENT 1196 With you, goodman boy, if you please. Come, I’ll
1197 flesh you. Come on, young master.
1198 Weapons? Arms? What’s the matter here?
CORNWALL 1199 Keep peace, upon your lives! He dies that
1200 50 strikes again. What is the matter?
1201 The messengers from our sister and the King.
CORNWALL 1202 What is your difference? Speak.
OSWALD 1203 I am scarce in breath, my lord.
KENT 1204 No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor.
1205 55 You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a
1206 tailor made thee.
CORNWALL 1207 Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a
KENT 1209 A tailor, sir. A stonecutter or a painter could not
1210 60 have made him so ill, though they had been but two
1211 years o’ th’ trade.
CORNWALL 1212 Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
OSWALD 1213 This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have
1214 spared at suit of his gray beard—
KENT 1215 65Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter!
1216 —My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread
1217 this unbolted villain into mortar and daub the wall
1218 of a jakes with him.—Spare my gray beard, you
CORNWALL 1220 70Peace, sirrah!
1221 You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
1222 Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.
CORNWALL 1223 Why art thou angry?
1224 That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
1225 75 Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as
1227 Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain
1228 Which are ⟨too⟩ intrinse t’ unloose; smooth every
1230 80 That in the natures of their lords rebel—
1231 Being oil to fire, snow to the colder moods—
1232 ⟨Renege,⟩ affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
1233 With every ⟨gale⟩ and vary of their masters,
p. 891234 Knowing naught, like dogs, but following.—
1235 85 A plague upon your epileptic visage!
1236 ⌜Smile⌝ you my speeches, as I were a fool?
1237 Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
1238 I’d drive you cackling home to Camelot.
CORNWALL 1239 What, art thou mad, old fellow?
GLOUCESTER 1240 90How fell you out? Say that.
1241 No contraries hold more antipathy
1242 Than I and such a knave.
1243 Why dost thou call him “knave”? What is his fault?
KENT 1244 His countenance likes me not.
1245 95 No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
1246 Sir, ’tis my occupation to be plain:
1247 I have seen better faces in my time
1248 Than stands on any shoulder that I see
1249 Before me at this instant.
CORNWALL 1250 100 This is some fellow
1251 Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
1252 A saucy roughness and constrains the garb
1253 Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he.
1254 An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
1255 105 An they will take it, so; if not, he’s plain.
1256 These kind of knaves I know, which in this
1258 Harbor more craft and more corrupter ends
1259 Than twenty silly-ducking observants
1260 110 That stretch their duties nicely.
1261 Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
1262 Under th’ allowance of your great aspect,
1263 Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
1264 On ⌜flick’ring⌝ Phoebus’ front—
p. 91CORNWALL 1265 115 What mean’st by this?
KENT 1266 To go out of my dialect, which you discommend
1267 so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that
1268 beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave,
1269 which for my part I will not be, though I should
1270 120 win your displeasure to entreat me to ’t.
CORNWALL, ⌜to Oswald⌝ 1271 What was th’ offense you gave
OSWALD 1273 I never gave him any.
1274 It pleased the King his master very late
1275 125 To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
1276 When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
1277 Tripped me behind; being down, insulted, railed,
1278 And put upon him such a deal of man
1279 That worthied him, got praises of the King
1280 130 For him attempting who was self-subdued;
1281 And in the fleshment of this ⟨dread⟩ exploit,
1282 Drew on me here again.
KENT 1283 None of these rogues and cowards
1284 But Ajax is their fool.
CORNWALL 1285 135 Fetch forth the stocks.—
1286 You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
1287 We’ll teach you.
KENT 1288 Sir, I am too old to learn.
1289 Call not your stocks for me. I serve the King,
1290 140 On whose employment I was sent to you.
1291 You shall do small ⟨respect,⟩ show too bold
1293 Against the grace and person of my master,
1294 Stocking his messenger.
1295 145 Fetch forth the stocks.—As I have life and honor,
1296 There shall he sit till noon.
1297 Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night, too.
1298 Why, madam, if I were your father’s dog,
1299 You should not use me so.
REGAN 1300 150Sir, being his knave, I will.
1301 This is a fellow of the selfsame color
1302 Our sister speaks of.—Come, bring away the stocks.
Stocks brought out.
1303 Let me beseech your Grace not to do so.
1304 ⟨His fault is much, and the good king his master
1305 155 Will check him for ’t. Your purposed low correction
1306 Is such as basest and ⌜contemned’st⌝ wretches
1307 For pilf’rings and most common trespasses
1308 Are punished with.⟩ The King must take it ill
1309 That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
1310 160 Should have him thus restrained.
CORNWALL 1311 I’ll answer that.
1312 My sister may receive it much more worse
1313 To have her gentleman abused, assaulted
1314 ⟨For following her affairs.—Put in his legs.⟩
⌜Kent is put in the stocks.⌝
CORNWALL 1315 165Come, my ⟨good⟩ lord, away.
⌜All but Gloucester and Kent⌝ exit.
1316 I am sorry for thee, friend. ’Tis the ⟨Duke’s⟩
1318 Whose disposition all the world well knows
1319 Will not be rubbed nor stopped. I’ll entreat for thee.
1320 170 Pray, do not, sir. I have watched and traveled hard.
1321 Some time I shall sleep out; the rest I’ll whistle.
1322 A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels.
1323 Give you good morrow.
1324 The Duke’s to blame in this. ’Twill be ill taken.
1325 175 Good king, that must approve the common saw,
1326 Thou out of heaven’s benediction com’st
1327 To the warm sun.⌜He takes out a paper.⌝
1328 Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
1329 That by thy comfortable beams I may
1330 180 Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
1331 But misery. I know ’tis from Cordelia,
1332 Who hath most fortunately been informed
1333 Of my obscurèd course, and shall find time
1334 From this enormous state, seeking to give
1335 185 Losses their remedies. All weary and o’erwatched,
1336 Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
1337 This shameful lodging.
1338 Fortune, good night. Smile once more; turn thy