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Navigate this workKing Lear
Act 3, scene 7
Cornwall dispatches men to capture Gloucester, whom he calls a traitor. Sending Edmund and Goneril to tell Albany about the landing of the French army, Cornwall puts out Gloucester’s eyes. Cornwall is himself seriously wounded by one of his own servants, who tries to stop the torture of Gloucester.Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, ⌜Edmund, the⌝ Bastard,
CORNWALL, ⌜to Goneril⌝ 2253 Post speedily to my lord your
2254 husband. Show him this letter. ⌜He gives her a
paper.⌝ 2255 The army of France is landed.—Seek out
2256 the traitor Gloucester.⌜Some Servants exit.⌝
p. 159REGAN 2257 5Hang him instantly.
GONERIL 2258 Pluck out his eyes.
CORNWALL 2259 Leave him to my displeasure.—Edmund,
2260 keep you our sister company. The revenges we are
2261 bound to take upon your traitorous father are not
2262 10 fit for your beholding. Advise the Duke, where you
2263 are going, to a most festinate preparation; we are
2264 bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift and
2265 intelligent betwixt us.—Farewell, dear sister.—
2266 Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.
Enter ⌜Oswald, the⌝ Steward.
2267 15 How now? Where’s the King?
2268 My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.
2269 Some five- or six-and-thirty of his knights,
2270 Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
2271 Who, with some other of the lord’s dependents,
2272 20 Are gone with him toward Dover, where they boast
2273 To have well-armèd friends.
CORNWALL 2274 Get horses for your mistress.
GONERIL 2275 Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.
2276 Edmund, farewell.⌜Goneril and Edmund⌝ exit.
2277 25 Go seek the traitor Gloucester.
2278 Pinion him like a thief; bring him before us.
⌜Some Servants exit.⌝
2279 Though well we may not pass upon his life
2280 Without the form of justice, yet our power
2281 Shall do a court’sy to our wrath, which men
2282 30 May blame but not control.
Enter Gloucester and Servants.
2283 Who’s there? The
p. 161REGAN 2285 Ingrateful fox! ’Tis he.
CORNWALL 2286 Bind fast his corky arms.
2287 35 What means your Graces? Good my friends,
2289 You are my guests; do me no foul play, friends.
2290 Bind him, I say.
REGAN 2291 Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
2292 40 Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.
2293 To this chair bind him.⌜Servants bind Gloucester.⌝
2294 Villain, thou shalt find—
⌜Regan plucks Gloucester’s beard.⌝
2295 By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done
2296 To pluck me by the beard.
2297 45 So white, and such a traitor?
GLOUCESTER 2298 Naughty lady,
2299 These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
2300 Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host;
2301 With robber’s hands my hospitable favors
2302 50 You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
2303 Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?
2304 Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.
2305 And what confederacy have you with the traitors
2306 Late footed in the kingdom?
REGAN 2307 55 To whose hands
2308 You have sent the lunatic king. Speak.
2309 I have a letter guessingly set down
p. 1632310 Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,
2311 And not from one opposed.
CORNWALL 2312 60Cunning.
REGAN 2313 And false.
CORNWALL 2314 Where hast thou sent the King?
GLOUCESTER 2315 To Dover.
2316 Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at
2317 65 peril—
2318 Wherefore to Dover? Let him answer that.
2319 I am tied to th’ stake, and I must stand the course.
REGAN 2320 Wherefore to Dover?
2321 Because I would not see thy cruel nails
2322 70 Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
2323 In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
2324 The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
2325 In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up
2326 And quenched the stellèd fires;
2327 75 Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
2328 If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,
2329 Thou shouldst have said “Good porter, turn the
2331 All cruels else subscribe. But I shall see
2332 80 The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.
2333 See ’t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.—
2334 Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.
2335 He that will think to live till he be old,
2336 Give me some help!
⌜As Servants hold the chair, Cornwall forces out
one of Gloucester’s eyes.⌝
2337 85 O cruel! O you gods!
2338 One side will mock another. Th’ other too.
2339 If you see vengeance—
⌜FIRST⌝ SERVANT 2340 Hold your hand,
2341 my lord.
2342 90 I have served you ever since I was a child,
2343 But better service have I never done you
2344 Than now to bid you hold.
REGAN 2345 How now, you dog?
2346 If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
2347 95 I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?
CORNWALL 2348 My villain?⟨Draw and fight.⟩
2349 Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
REGAN, ⌜to an Attendant⌝
2350 Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?
⟨She takes a sword and runs
at him behind;⟩ kills him.
2351 O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
2352 100 To see some mischief on him. O!⌜He dies.⌝
2353 Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
⌜Forcing out Gloucester’s other eye.⌝
2354 Where is thy luster now?
2355 All dark and comfortless! Where’s my son
2357 105 Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
2358 To quit this horrid act.
REGAN 2359 Out, treacherous villain!
2360 Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he
2361 That made the overture of thy treasons to us,
2362 110 Who is too good to pity thee.
2363 O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.
2364 Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him.
2365 Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
2366 His way to Dover.
⌜Some Servants⌝ exit with Gloucester.
2367 115 How is ’t, my lord? How look you?
2368 I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.—
2369 Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
2370 Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace.
2371 Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
⌜Cornwall and Regan⌝ exit.
2372 120 I’ll never care what wickedness I do
2373 If this man come to good.
⌜THIRD⌝ SERVANT 2374 If she live long
2375 And in the end meet the old course of death,
2376 Women will all turn monsters.
2377 125 Let’s follow the old earl and get the Bedlam
2378 To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
2379 Allows itself to anything.
2380 Go thou. I’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
2381 To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!