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King Lear
by William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 4 Easiest-to-Read Edition

In front of Gloucester's castle, Kent in the stocks

 

 

 

 



King Lear Act 2, Scene 4


 

King Lear Act 2 Scene 4

Enter LEAR, FOOL, and GENTLEMAN

Enter LEAR, FOOL, and GENTLEMAN

LEAR

'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,

And not send back my messenger.

 

LEAR

'Tis strange that they should so depart from home,

And not send back my messenger.

 

GENTLEMAN

     As I learned,

The night before there was no purpose in them

purpose=intention

Of this remove.

 

GENTLEMAN

     As I learned,

The night before there was no purpose in them

Of this remove.

 

KENT

(to LEAR)    Hail to thee, noble master!

 

KENT

(to LEAR)    Hail to thee, noble master!

 

LEAR

Ha! Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

 

LEAR

Ha! Makest thou this shame thy pastime?

 

KENT

     No, my lord.

 

KENT

     No, my lord.

 

FOOL

Ha, ha! Look, he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by the loins, and men by the legs. When a man’s overlusty (too lively at escaping) at legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks (stockings).

 

FOOL

Ha, ha! Look, he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the heads, dogs and bears by the neck, monkeys by the loins, and men by the legs. When a man’s overlusty at legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks.

 

LEAR

(to KENT) What’s (who is) he that hath so much thy place mistook

To set thee here?

 

LEAR

(to KENT) What’s he that hath so much thy place mistook

To set thee here?

 

KENT

   It is both he and she:

Your son (son-in-law) and daughter.

 

KENT

   It is both he and she:

Your son and daughter.

 

LEAR

   No.

 

LEAR

   No.

 

KENT

     Yes.

 

KENT

     Yes.

 

LEAR

     No, I say.

 

LEAR

     No, I say.

 

KENT

I say “Yea.”

 

KENT

I say “Yea.”

 

LEAR

   No, no, they would not.

 

LEAR

   No, no, they would not.

 

KENT

     Yes, they have.

 

KENT

     Yes, they have.

 

LEAR

By Jupiter, I swear “No.”

 

LEAR

By Jupiter, I swear “No.”

 

KENT

By Juno, I swear “Ay.”

 

KENT

By Juno, I swear “Ay.”

 

LEAR

   They durst not do ’t.

They could not, would not do ’t. 'Tis worse than murder

To do upon respect such violent outrage.

upon respect=considering respect due the king

Resolve me with all modest haste which way

Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,

Coming from us.

(since  you were coming from us)

 

LEAR

   They durst not do ’t.

They could not, would not do ’t. 'Tis worse than murder

To do upon respect such violent outrage.

Resolve me with all modest haste which way

Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,

Coming from us.

 

KENT

   My lord, when at their home

I did commend your highness' letters to them.

Ere I was risen from the place that showed

My duty, kneeling, came there a reeking post,

reeking post=steaming messenger

Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth

From Goneril his mistress salutations,

Delivered letters spite of intermission,

intermission=interruption (from Kent)

Which presently they read, on whose contents

on whose contents=on the basis of which

They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse,

meiny=retinue

Commanded me to follow and attend

attend=wait for

The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks.

And meeting here the other messenger,

Whose welcome I perceived had poisoned mine—

mine=my welcome

Being the very fellow which of late

Displayed so saucily against your highness—

Having more man than wit about me, drew.

drew=drew out his sword

He raised the house with loud and coward cries.

Your son and daughter found this trespass worth

The shame which here it suffers.

it=the trespass

 

KENT

   My lord, when at their home

I did commend your highness' letters to them.

Ere I was risen from the place that showed

My duty, kneeling, came there a reeking post,

Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth

From Goneril his mistress salutations,

Delivered letters spite of intermission,

Which presently they read, on whose contents

They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse,

Commanded me to follow and attend

The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks.

And meeting here the other messenger,

Whose welcome I perceived had poisoned mine—

Being the very fellow which of late

Displayed so saucily against your highness—

Having more man than wit about me, drew.

He raised the house with loud and coward cries.

Your son and daughter found this trespass worth

The shame which here it suffers.

 

 FOOL

Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.

Fathers that wear rags

Do make their children blind.

blind=uncaring

But fathers that bear bags

bags=bags of money

Shall see their children kind.

Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.

turns the key=opens the door

But for all this thou shalt have as many dolors (sorrows and also dollars) for (on account of) thy daughters as thou canst tell (count) in a year.

 

FOOL

Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.

Fathers that wear rags

Do make their children blind.

But fathers that bear bags

Shall see their children kind.

Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.

But for all this thou shalt have as many dolors for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

 

 

 

LEAR

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!

mother=squeezing from the location of the womb

Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow.

hysterica passio=hysteria, considered then to be a female disorder

Thy element’s below.—Where is this daughter?

element=proper place

 

LEAR

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!

Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow.

Thy element’s below.—Where is this daughter?

 

KENT

With the earl, sir, here within.

 

KENT

With the earl, sir, here within.

 

LEAR

(to attendant) Follow me not. Stay here.

 

LEAR

(to attendant) Follow me not. Stay here.

 

Exit LEAR

Exit LEAR

GENTLEMAN

Made you no more offense but what you speak of?

 

GENTLEMAN

Made you no more offense but what you speak of?

 

KENT

None.

How chance the king comes with so small a train?

 

KENT

None.

How chance the king comes with so small a train?

 

FOOL

An thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question, thou’dst well deserved it.

 

FOOL

An thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that question, thou’dst well deserved it.

 

KENT

Why, Fool?

 

KENT

Why, Fool?

 

FOOL

We’ll set thee to school to an ant to teach thee there’s no laboring i' th' winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men, and there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him that’s stinking (such as Lear). Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it (such as Lear’s). But the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again. I would have none but knaves follow it since a fool gives it.

That sir which serves and seeks for gain,

that sir=that person

And follows but for form,

form=appearance

Will pack when it begins to rain

And leave thee in the storm.

But I will tarry. The fool will stay.

And let the wise man fly.

The knave (servant) turns fool that runs away;

The fool, no knave, perdie.

no knave=is no scoundrel (double meaning)

perdie=by God (par dieu)

 

FOOL

We’ll set thee to school to an ant to teach thee there’s no laboring i' th' winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men, and there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him that’s stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it. But the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again. I would have none but knaves follow it since a fool gives it.

That sir which serves and seeks for gain,

And follows but for form,

Will pack when it begins to rain

And leave thee in the storm.

But I will tarry. The fool will stay.

And let the wise man fly.

The knave turns fool that runs away;

The fool, no knave, perdie.

 

 

KENT

Where learned you this, Fool?

 

KENT

Where learned you this, Fool?

 

FOOL

Not i' th' stocks, fool.

 

FOOL

Not i' th' stocks, fool.

 

Enter LEAR and GLOUCESTER

Enter LEAR and GLOUCESTER

LEAR

Deny to speak with me? They are sick? They are weary?

They have traveled all the night?—mere fetches, ay!

fetches=dodges

The images of revolt and flying off.

Fetch me a better answer.

 

LEAR

Deny to speak with me? They are sick? They are weary?

They have traveled all the night?—mere fetches, ay!

The images of revolt and flying off.

Fetch me a better answer.

 

GLOUCESTER

   My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke,

How unremoveable and fixed he is

In his own course.

 

GLOUCESTER

   My dear lord,

You know the fiery quality of the duke,

How unremoveable and fixed he is

In his own course.

 

LEAR

    Vengeance, plague, death, confusion!

“Fiery”? What “quality”? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,

I’d speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

 

LEAR

    Vengeance, plague, death, confusion!

“Fiery”? What “quality”? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,

I’d speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

 

GLOUCESTER

Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.

 

GLOUCESTER

Well, my good lord, I have informed them so.

 

LEAR

“Informed them”? Dost thou understand me, man?

 

LEAR

“Informed them”? Dost thou understand me, man?

 

GLOUCESTER

Ay, my good lord.

 

GLOUCESTER

Ay, my good lord.

 

LEAR

The king would speak with Cornwall. The dear father

Would with his daughter speak, commands, tends service.

tends service=expects service

Are they “informed” of this? My breath and blood!

“Fiery”? The “fiery” duke? Tell the hot duke that Lear—

No, but not yet. Maybe he is not well.

Infirmity doth still neglect all office

office=official duties

Whereto our health is bound. We are not ourselves

whereto=to which

When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind

To suffer with the body. I’ll forbear,

And am fallen out with my more headier will

To take the indisposed and sickly fit

to take=which takes

For the sound man.

(notices KENT again)

   Death on my state (royal power)! Wherefore

Should he sit here? This act persuades me

That this remotion of the duke and her

remotion=remoteness

Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.

Go tell the duke and ’s wife I’d speak with them—

Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,

presently=immediately

Or at their chamber door I’ll beat the drum

Till it cry sleep to death.

cry sleep to death=yelp enough to kill their sleep permanently

 

LEAR

The king would speak with Cornwall. The dear father

Would with his daughter speak, commands, tends service.

Are they “informed” of this? My breath and blood!

“Fiery”? The “fiery” duke? Tell the hot duke that Lear—

No, but not yet. Maybe he is not well.

Infirmity doth still neglect all office

Whereto our health is bound. We are not ourselves

When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind

To suffer with the body. I’ll forbear,

And am fallen out with my more headier will

To take the indisposed and sickly fit

For the sound man.

(notices KENT again)

   Death on my state! Wherefore

Should he sit here? This act persuades me

That this remotion of the duke and her

Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.

Go tell the duke and ’s wife I’d speak with them—

Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,

Or at their chamber door I’ll beat the drum

Till it cry sleep to death.

 

GLOUCESTER

   I would have all well betwixt you.

 

GLOUCESTER

   I would have all well betwixt you.

 

Exit GLOUCESTER

Exit GLOUCESTER

LEAR

O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down.

 

LEAR

O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down.

 

FOOL

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' th' paste (pastry) alive. She knapped 'em o' th' coxcombs (heads) with a stick and cried, “Down, wantons, down!” 'Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his (its) hay.

 

FOOL

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' th' paste alive. She knapped 'em o' th' coxcombs with a stick and cried, “Down, wantons, down!” 'Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

 

Enter the Duke of CORNWALL, REGAN,GLOUCESTER, and servants

Enter the Duke of CORNWALL, REGAN,GLOUCESTER, and servants

LEAR

Good morrow to you both.

 

LEAR

Good morrow to you both.

 

CORNWALL

Hail to your grace.

 

CORNWALL

Hail to your grace.

 

KENT here set at liberty

KENT here set at liberty

REGAN

I am glad to see your highness.

 

REGAN

I am glad to see your highness.

 

LEAR

Regan, I think you are. I know what reason

I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,

I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,

Sepulchring an adultress.

sepulchring=entombing

(to KENT) Oh, are you free?

Some other time for that (i.e., for talking).

 

LEAR

Regan, I think you are. I know what reason

I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,

I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,

Sepulchring an adultress.

(to KENT)     Oh, are you free?

Some other time for that.

 

Exit KENT

Exit KENT

Belovèd Regan,

Thy sister’s naught. O Regan, she hath tied

naught=worthless

Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.

(indicates his heart)

I can scarce speak to thee. Thou'lt not believe

With how depraved a quality— O Regan!

 

Belovèd Regan,

Thy sister’s naught. O Regan, she hath tied

Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.

(indicates his heart)

I can scarce speak to thee. Thou'lt not believe

With how depraved a quality— O Regan!

 

REGAN

I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope

You less know how to value her desert

desert=deserving

Than she to scant her duty.

 

REGAN

I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope

You less know how to value her desert

Than she to scant her duty.

 

LEAR

     Say, how is that?

 

LEAR

     Say, how is that?

 

REGAN

I cannot think my sister in the least

Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance

She have restrained the riots of your followers,

'Tis on such ground and to such wholesome end

As clears her from all blame.

 

REGAN

I cannot think my sister in the least

Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance

She have restrained the riots of your followers,

'Tis on such ground and to such wholesome end

As clears her from all blame.

 

LEAR

My curses on her!

 

LEAR

My curses on her!

 

REGAN

O sir, you are old.

Nature in you stands on the very verge

Of his confine. You should be ruled and led

his confine=Nature’s limit

By some discretion that discerns your state

some discretion=the discretion of someone

Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you

That to our sister you do make return.

Say you have wronged her, sir.

 

REGAN

O sir, you are old.

Nature in you stands on the very verge

Of his confine. You should be ruled and led

By some discretion that discerns your state

Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you

That to our sister you do make return.

Say you have wronged her, sir.

 

LEAR

     Ask her forgiveness?

Do you but mark how this becomes the house?—

mark=notice

becomes=is becoming to

house=house of Lear (his kingly lineage)

(kneels) “Dear daughter, I confess that I am old.

Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg

age is=aged people are

That you’ll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.”

vouchsafe=grant

 

LEAR

     Ask her forgiveness?

Do you but mark how this becomes the house?—

(kneels) “Dear daughter, I confess that I am old.

Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg

That you’ll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.”

 

REGAN

Good sir, no more. These are unsightly tricks.

unsightly=ugly

Return you to my sister.

 

REGAN

Good sir, no more. These are unsightly tricks.

Return you to my sister.

 

LEAR

(rising)     Never, Regan.

She hath abated me of half my train,

Looked black upon me, struck me with her tongue,

Most serpentlike, upon the very heart.

All the stored vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,

ingrateful top=ungrateful head

You taking airs, with lameness!

taking airs=walking outdoors (?)

 

LEAR

(rising)     Never, Regan.

She hath abated me of half my train,

Looked black upon me, struck me with her tongue,

Most serpentlike, upon the very heart.

All the stored vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,

You taking airs, with lameness!

 

CORNWALL

     Fie, sir, fie!

fie=interjection denoting disgust

 

CORNWALL

     Fie, sir, fie!

 

LEAR

You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames

Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,

You fen-sucked fogs drawn by the powerful sun,

fen-sucked fogs=fogs drawn from marshes

To fall and blister!

(cause her beauty to fall and blister)

 

LEAR

You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames

Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,

You fen-sucked fogs drawn by the powerful sun,

To fall and blister!

 

REGAN

   O the blessed gods!

So will you wish on me when the rash mood is on.

(thus you will curse me when you are in the mood to)

 

REGAN

   O the blessed gods!

So will you wish on me when the rash mood is on.

 

LEAR

No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.

Thy tender-hafted nature shall not give

tender-hafted=set in a delicate bodily frame

Thee o'er to harshness. Her eyes are fierce, but thine

Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in thee

To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,

To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,

sizes=allotments

And in conclusion to oppose the bolt

oppose the bolt=lock the door

Against my coming in. Thou better know’st

The offices of nature, bond of childhood,

Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude.

Thy half o' th' kingdom hast thou not forgot,

Wherein I thee endowed.

 

LEAR

No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.

Thy tender-hafted nature shall not give

Thee o'er to harshness. Her eyes are fierce, but thine

Do comfort and not burn. 'Tis not in thee

To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,

To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,

And in conclusion to oppose the bolt

Against my coming in. Thou better know’st

The offices of nature, bond of childhood,

Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude.

Thy half o' th' kingdom hast thou not forgot,

Wherein I thee endowed.

 

REGAN

   Good sir, to the purpose.

purpose=point

 

REGAN

   Good sir, to the purpose.

 

LEAR

Who put my man i' th' stocks?

 

LEAR

Who put my man i' th' stocks?

 

Tucket (trumpet) within

Tucket within

CORNWALL

     What trumpet’s that?

 

CORNWALL

     What trumpet’s that?

 

Enter OSWALD the steward

Enter OSWALD the steward

REGAN

I know ’t—my sister’s. This approves her letter

approves=is proof of

That she would soon be here. (to OSWALD)

Is your lady come?

 

REGAN

I know ’t—my sister’s. This approves her letter

That she would soon be here. (to OSWALD)

Is your lady come?

 

LEAR

This is a slave whose easy borrowed pride

easy borrowed=easy to borrow

Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.—

Out, varlet, from my sight!

 

LEAR

This is a slave whose easy borrowed pride

Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.—

Out, varlet, from my sight!

 

CORNWALL

   What means your grace?

 

CORNWALL

   What means your grace?

 

Enter GONERIL

Enter GONERIL

LEAR

Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope

Thou didst not know on ’t.—Who comes here? O heavens,

(to the heavens) If you do love old men, if your sweet sway

Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make it your cause. Send down, and take my part!

(to GONERIL) Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?—

O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

 

LEAR

Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope

Thou didst not know on ’t.—Who comes here? O heavens,

If you do love old men, if your sweet sway

Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,

Make it your cause. Send down, and take my part!

(to GONERIL) Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?—

O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

 

GONERIL

Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended?

All’s not offense that indiscretion finds

finds=finds so

indiscretion=poor judgment

And dotage terms so.

 

GONERIL

Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended?

All’s not offense that indiscretion finds

And dotage terms so.

 

LEAR

   O sides, you are too tough.

Will you yet hold (and not explode)?—How came my man i' th' stocks?

 

LEAR

   O sides, you are too tough.

Will you yet hold?—How came my man i' th' stocks?

 

CORNWALL

I set him there, sir, but his own disorders

Deserved much less advancement.

(ironic, as if being in the stocks was an advancement)

 

CORNWALL

I set him there, sir, but his own disorders

Deserved much less advancement.

 

LEAR

     You! Did you?

 

LEAR

     You! Did you?

 

REGAN

I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.

If, till the expiration of your month,

You will return and sojourn with my sister,

Dismissing half your train, come then to me.

I am now from home, and out of that provision

Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

 

REGAN

I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.

If, till the expiration of your month,

You will return and sojourn with my sister,

Dismissing half your train, come then to me.

I am now from home, and out of that provision

Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

 

LEAR

Return to her, and fifty men dismissed?

No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose

To be a comrade with the wolf and owl—

To wage against the enmity o' th' air—

wage=wage war

Necessity’s sharp pinch! Return with her?

Why, the hot-blooded France that dowerless took

Our youngest born—I could as well be brought

To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg

to knee=to bend my knee at

squire=attendant

To keep base life afoot. Return with her?

Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter

sumpter=pack horse

To this detested groom. (indicates OSWALD)

 

LEAR

Return to her, and fifty men dismissed?

No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose

To be a comrade with the wolf and owl—

To wage against the enmity o' th' air—

Necessity’s sharp pinch! Return with her?

Why, the hot-blooded France that dowerless took

Our youngest born—I could as well be brought

To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg

To keep base life afoot. Return with her?

Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter

To this detested groom. (indicates OSWALD)

 

GONERIL

   At your choice, sir.

 

GONERIL

   At your choice, sir.

 

LEAR

Now, I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad.

mad=insane

I will not trouble thee, my child. Farewell.

We’ll no more meet, no more see one another.

But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter—

Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh,

Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil,

A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle

embossed=bulging

In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee.

Let shame come when it will. I do not call it.

call it=call it that

I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,

shoot=shoot lightning bolts

Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.

Mend when thou canst. Be better at thy leisure.

I can be patient. I can stay with Regan,

I and my hundred knights.

 

LEAR

Now, I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad.

I will not trouble thee, my child. Farewell.

We’ll no more meet, no more see one another.

But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter—

Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh,

Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil,

A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle

In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee.

Let shame come when it will. I do not call it.

I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,

Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.

Mend when thou canst. Be better at thy leisure.

I can be patient. I can stay with Regan,

I and my hundred knights.

 

 

REGAN

   Not altogether so, sir.

I looked not for you yet, nor am provided

For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister.

For those that mingle reason with your passion

Must be content to think you old, and so—

But she knows what she does.

 

REGAN

   Not altogether so, sir.

I looked not for you yet, nor am provided

For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister.

For those that mingle reason with your passion

Must be content to think you old, and so—

But she knows what she does.

 

LEAR

     Is this well spoken now?

(do you mean what you say?)

 

LEAR

     Is this well spoken now?

 

REGAN

I dare avouch it, sir. What, fifty followers?

Is it not well (don’t you already have enough)? What should you need of more—

Yea, or so many—sith that both charge and danger

charge and danger=cost and risk of rebellion

Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,

Should many people under two commands

Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

 

REGAN

I dare avouch it, sir. What, fifty followers?

Is it not well? What should you need of more—

Yea, or so many—sith that both charge and danger

Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,

Should many people under two commands

Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.

 

GONERIL

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance

From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

 

GONERIL

Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance

From those that she calls servants, or from mine?

 

REGAN

Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you,

We could control them. If you will come to me—

For now I spy a danger—I entreat you

To bring but five and twenty. To no more

Will I give place or notice.

notice=recognition

 

REGAN

Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you,

We could control them. If you will come to me—

For now I spy a danger—I entreat you

To bring but five and twenty. To no more

Will I give place or notice.

 

LEAR

I gave you all—

 

LEAR

I gave you all—

 

REGAN

And in good time you gave it.

in good time=not too soon

 

REGAN

And in good time you gave it.

 

 

 

LEAR

[I] Made you my guardians, my depositaries,

But kept a reservation to be followed

With [just] such a number. What, must I come to you

(you are the trustees of my kingdom with the understanding that I would keep 100 knights)

With five and twenty, Regan? Said you so?

 

LEAR

Made you my guardians, my depositaries,

But kept a reservation to be followed

With such a number. What, must I come to you

With five and twenty, Regan? Said you so?

 

REGAN

And speak ’t again, my lord. No more with me.

 

REGAN

And speak ’t again, my lord. No more with me.

 

LEAR

Those wicked creatures yet do look well favored

When others are more wicked. Not being the worst

Stands in some rank of praise.

(to GONERIL) I’ll go with thee.

Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,

And thou art twice her love.

 

LEAR

Those wicked creatures yet do look well favored

When others are more wicked. Not being the worst

Stands in some rank of praise.

(to GONERIL) I’ll go with thee.

Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,

And thou art twice her love.

 

GONERIL

   Hear me, my lord.

What need you five and twenty, ten, or five

To follow in a house where twice so many

Have a command to tend you?

 

GONERIL

   Hear me, my lord.

What need you five and twenty, ten, or five

To follow in a house where twice so many

Have a command to tend you?

 

REGAN

     What need one?

 

REGAN

     What need one?

 

LEAR

O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars

Are in the poorest thing superfluous.

(have things that are superfluous)

Allow not nature more than nature needs,

[and then] Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady.

If only to go warm were gorgeous,

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st,

Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need—

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need.

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,

As full of grief as age, wretched in both.

If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts

Against their father, fool me not so much

To bear it tamely. Touch me with noble anger.

And let not women’s weapons, water drops,

Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,

I will have such revenges on you both

That all the world shall—I will do such things—

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?

No, I’ll not weep.

 

LEAR

O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars

Are in the poorest thing superfluous.

Allow not nature more than nature needs,

Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady.

If only to go warm were gorgeous,

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st,

Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need—

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need.

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,

As full of grief as age, wretched in both.

If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts

Against their father, fool me not so much

To bear it tamely. Touch me with noble anger.

And let not women’s weapons, water drops,

Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,

I will have such revenges on you both

That all the world shall—I will do such things—

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?

No, I’ll not weep.

 

Storm and tempest

Storm and tempest

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart

Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,

Or ere I’ll weep.—O Fool, I shall go mad!

or ere=before

 

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart

Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,

Or ere I’ll weep.—O Fool, I shall go mad!

 

Exeunt LEAR, GENTLEMAN, FOOL, andGLOUCESTER

Exeunt LEAR, GENTLEMAN, FOOL, andGLOUCESTER

CORNWALL

Let us withdraw. 'Twill be a storm.

 

CORNWALL

Let us withdraw. 'Twill be a storm.

 

REGAN

This house is little. The old man and his people

(at the time, little meant not huge)

Cannot be well bestowed (located).

 

REGAN

This house is little. The old man and his people

Cannot be well bestowed.

 

GONERIL

'Tis his own blame. Hath put himself from rest,

hath – [he] hath . .  .

And must needs taste his folly.

 

GONERIL

'Tis his own blame. Hath put himself from rest,

And must needs taste his folly.

 

REGAN

For his particular I’ll receive him gladly,

his particular=himself

But not one follower.

 

REGAN

For his particular I’ll receive him gladly,

But not one follower.

 

GONERIL

   So am I purposed.

Where is my lord of Gloucester?

 

GONERIL

   So am I purposed.

Where is my lord of Gloucester?

 

CORNWALL

Followed the old man forth. He is returned.

 

CORNWALL

Followed the old man forth. He is returned.

 

Enter GLOUCESTER

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

The king is in high rage.

 

GLOUCESTER

The king is in high rage.

 

CORNWALL

   Whither is he going?

 

CORNWALL

   Whither is he going?

 

GLOUCESTER

He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.

 

GLOUCESTER

He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.

 

CORNWALL

'Tis best to give him way. He leads himself.

 

CORNWALL

'Tis best to give him way. He leads himself.

 

GONERIL

(to GLOUCESTER) My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

 

GONERIL

(to GLOUCESTER) My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.

 

GLOUCESTER

Alack, the night comes on, and the high winds

Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about

sorely ruffle=severely bluster

There’s scarce a bush.

 

GLOUCESTER

Alack, the night comes on, and the high winds

Do sorely ruffle. For many miles about

There’s scarce a bush.

 

REGAN

   O sir, to wilful men,

The injuries that they themselves procure

Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors.

He is attended with a desperate train.

And what they may incense him to, being apt

being apt=he being apt

To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

 

REGAN

   O sir, to wilful men,

The injuries that they themselves procure

Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors.

He is attended with a desperate train.

And what they may incense him to, being apt

To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.

 

CORNWALL

Shut up your doors, my lord. 'Tis a wild night.

My Regan counsels well. Come out o' th' storm.

 

CORNWALL

Shut up your doors, my lord. 'Tis a wild night.

My Regan counsels well. Come out o' th' storm.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

 

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