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King Lear - Act 4, scene 2
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Navigate this workKing Lear - Act 4, scene 2
Act 4, scene 2
Goneril and Edmund arrive at Albany and Goneril’s castle. After Goneril has sent Edmund back to Cornwall, Albany enters and fiercely rebukes Goneril for her treatment of Lear. A messenger reports Gloucester’s blinding and the death of the duke of Cornwall.Enter Goneril and ⌜Edmund, the⌝ Bastard.
2472 Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband
2473 Not met us on the way.
⟨Enter ⌜Oswald, the⌝ Steward.⟩
2474 Now, where’s your master?
2475 Madam, within, but never man so changed.
2476 5 I told him of the army that was landed;
2477 He smiled at it. I told him you were coming;
2478 His answer was “The worse.” Of Gloucester’s
2480 And of the loyal service of his son
2481 10 When I informed him, then he called me “sot”
2482 And told me I had turned the wrong side out.
2483 What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
2484 What like, offensive.
GONERIL, ⌜to Edmund⌝ 2485 Then shall you go no further.
p. 1792486 15 It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
2487 That dares not undertake. He’ll not feel wrongs
2488 Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
2489 May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother.
2490 Hasten his musters and conduct his powers.
2491 20 I must change names at home and give the distaff
2492 Into my husband’s hands. This trusty servant
2493 Shall pass between us. Ere long you are like to
2495 If you dare venture in your own behalf—
2496 25 A mistress’s command. Wear this; spare speech.
⌜She gives him a favor.⌝
2497 Decline your head. ⌜She kisses him.⌝ This kiss, if it
2498 durst speak,
2499 Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.
2500 Conceive, and fare thee well.
2501 30 Yours in the ranks of death.He exits.
GONERIL 2502 My most dear
2504 [O, the difference of man and man!]
2505 To thee a woman’s services are due;
2506 35 My fool usurps my body.
OSWALD 2507 Madam, here comes my lord.⟨He exits.⟩
2508 I have been worth the whistle.
ALBANY 2509 O Goneril,
2510 You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
2511 40 Blows in your face. ⟨I fear your disposition.
2512 That nature which contemns its origin
2513 Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
2514 She that herself will sliver and disbranch
2515 From her material sap perforce must wither
2516 45 And come to deadly use.
GONERIL 2517 No more. The text is foolish.
2518 Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.
2519 Filths savor but themselves. What have you done?
2520 Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?
2521 50 A father, and a gracious agèd man,
2522 Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would
2524 Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you
2526 55 Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
2527 A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
2528 If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
2529 Send quickly down to tame ⌜these⌝ vile offenses,
2530 It will come:
2531 60 Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
2532 Like monsters of the deep.⟩
GONERIL 2533 Milk-livered man,
2534 That bear’st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
2535 Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
2536 65 Thine honor from thy suffering; ⟨that not know’st
2537 Fools do those villains pity who are punished
2538 Ere they have done their mischief. Where’s thy
2540 France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,
2541 70 With plumèd helm thy state begins ⌜to threat,⌝
2542 Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
2543 “Alack, why does he so?”⟩
ALBANY 2544 See thyself, devil!
2545 Proper deformity ⟨shows⟩ not in the fiend
2546 75 So horrid as in woman.
GONERIL 2547 O vain fool!
2548 Thou changèd and self-covered thing, for shame
2549 Bemonster not thy feature. Were ’t my fitness
2550 To let these hands obey my blood,
2551 80 They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
p. 1832552 Thy flesh and bones. Howe’er thou art a fiend,
2553 A woman’s shape doth shield thee.
GONERIL 2554 Marry, your manhood, mew—⟩
Enter a Messenger.
⟨ALBANY 2555 What news?⟩
2556 85 O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall’s dead,
2557 Slain by his servant, going to put out
2558 The other eye of Gloucester.
ALBANY 2559 Gloucester’s eyes?
2560 A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
2561 90 Opposed against the act, bending his sword
2562 To his great master, who, ⟨thereat⟩ enraged,
2563 Flew on him and amongst them felled him dead,
2564 But not without that harmful stroke which since
2565 Hath plucked him after.
ALBANY 2566 95 This shows you are above,
2567 You ⟨justicers,⟩ that these our nether crimes
2568 So speedily can venge. But, O poor Gloucester,
2569 Lost he his other eye?
MESSENGER 2570 Both, both, my lord.—
2571 100 This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
⌜Giving her a paper.⌝
2572 ’Tis from your sister.
GONERIL, ⌜aside⌝ 2573 One way I like this well.
2574 But being widow and my Gloucester with her
2575 May all the building in my fancy pluck
2576 105 Upon my hateful life. Another way
2577 The news is not so tart.—I’ll read, and answer.
2578 Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
2579 Come with my lady hither.
p. 185ALBANY 2580 He is not here.
2581 110 No, my good lord. I met him back again.
ALBANY 2582 Knows he the wickedness?
2583 Ay, my good lord. ’Twas he informed against him
2584 And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
2585 Might have the freer course.
ALBANY 2586 115 Gloucester, I live
2587 To thank thee for the love thou show’d’st the King,
2588 And to revenge thine eyes.—Come hither, friend.
2589 Tell me what more thou know’st.