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King Lear
by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 7 Easiest-to-Read Edition

Gloucester's castle

 

 

 

 



King Lear Act 3, Scene 7


 

King Lear Act 3 Scene 7

Enter CORNWALL, and REGAN, and GONERIL, and EDMUND the bastard, and servants

Enter CORNWALL, and REGAN, and GONERIL, and EDMUND the bastard, and servants

CORNWALL

(to GONERIL) Post speedily to my lord your husband. Show him this letter. The army of France is landed. — (to servants) Seek out the traitor Gloucester.

 

CORNWALL

(to GONERIL) Post speedily to my lord your husband. Show him this letter. The army of France is landed. — (to servants) Seek out the traitor Gloucester.

 

Exeunt some servants

Exeunt some servants

REGAN

     Hang him instantly.

 

REGAN

     Hang him instantly.

 

CORNWALL

Leave him to my displeasure.—Edmund, keep you our sister (Goneril) company. The revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke (Albany) where you are going, to a most festinate (hasty) preparation (military preparation). We are bound to the like (military preparation). Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.—Farewell, dear sister. (to EDMUND) Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

 

CORNWALL

Leave him to my displeasure.—Edmund, keep you our sister company. The revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke where you are going, to a most festinate preparation. We are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.—Farewell, dear sister. (to EDMUND) Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

 

Enter OSWALD the steward

Enter OSWALD the steward

How now? Where’s the king?

How now? Where’s the king?

OSWALD

My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.

Some five or six and thirty of his knights,

Hot (hot on his trail) questrists (seekers) after him (Lear), met him at gate,

Who with some other of the lord’s dependants

lord’s=Gloucester’s

Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast

To have well-armèd friends.

 

OSWALD

My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.

Some five or six and thirty of his knights,

Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,

Who with some other of the lord’s dependants

Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast

To have well-armèd friends.

 

CORNWALL

Get horses for your mistress.

 

CORNWALL

Get horses for your mistress.

 

Exit OSWALD

Exit OSWALD

GONERIL

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

 

GONERIL

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

 

CORNWALL

Edmund, farewell.

 

CORNWALL

Edmund, farewell.

 

Exeunt GONERIL and EDMUND the bastard

Exeunt GONERIL and EDMUND the bastard

Go seek the traitor Gloucester.

Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

pinion=shackle

Go seek the traitor Gloucester.

Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

 

Exeunt some servants

Exeunt some servants

Though well we may not pass upon his life

Without the form of justice, yet our power

Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men

May blame, but not control.—Who’s there? The traitor?

 

Though well we may not pass upon his life

Without the form of justice, yet our power

Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men

May blame, but not control.—Who’s there? The traitor?

 

Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three servants

Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three servants

REGAN

Ingrateful fox, ’tis he.

 

REGAN

Ingrateful fox, ’tis he.

 

CORNWALL

   Bind fast his corky (withered) arms.

 

CORNWALL

   Bind fast his corky arms.

 

GLOUCESTER

What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider

You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.

 

GLOUCESTER

What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider

You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.

 

CORNWALL

Bind him, I say.

 

CORNWALL

Bind him, I say.

 

Servants bind GLOUCESTER

Servants bind GLOUCESTER

REGAN

   Hard, hard.—O filthy traitor!

 

REGAN

   Hard, hard.—O filthy traitor!

 

GLOUCESTER

Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.

none=not a traitor

 

GLOUCESTER

Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.

 

CORNWALL

To this chair bind him.—Villain, thou shalt find—

 

CORNWALL

To this chair bind him.—Villain, thou shalt find—

 

REGAN plucks GLOUCESTER’s beard

REGAN plucks GLOUCESTER’s beard

GLOUCESTER

By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done

To pluck me by the beard.

 

GLOUCESTER

By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done

To pluck me by the beard.

 

REGAN

So white (white-haired, old) and such a traitor?

 

REGAN

So white, and such a traitor?

 

GLOUCESTER

Naughty lady,

These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin

Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host.

quicken=come to life

With robbers' hands my hospitable favors

You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

ruffle=handle roughly

 

GLOUCESTER

Naughty lady,

These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin

Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host.

With robbers' hands my hospitable favors

You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

 

CORNWALL

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

 

CORNWALL

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

 

REGAN

Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.

 

REGAN

Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.

 

CORNWALL

And what confederacy have you with the traitors

Late footed (recently set foot) in the kingdom?

 

CORNWALL

And what confederacy have you with the traitors

Late footed in the kingdom?

 

REGAN

     To whose hands

You have sent the lunatic king. Speak.

 

REGAN

     To whose hands

You have sent the lunatic king. Speak.

 

GLOUCESTER

I have a letter guessingly set down,

guessingly=conjecturally

Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,

And not from one opposed.

 

GLOUCESTER

I have a letter guessingly set down,

Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,

And not from one opposed.

 

CORNWALL

   Cunning.

 

CORNWALL

   Cunning.

 

REGAN

     And false.

 

REGAN

     And false.

 

CORNWALL

Where hast thou sent the king?

 

CORNWALL

Where hast thou sent the king?

o:p> 

GLOUCESTER

     To Dover.

 

GLOUCESTER

     To Dover.

 

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

 

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

 

CORNWALL

Wherefore to Dover?—Let him first answer that.

 

CORNWALL

Wherefore to Dover?—Let him first answer that.

 

GLOUCESTER

I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.

(I must endure being tortured like a bear tied to a stake and set upon by dogs)

 

GLOUCESTER

I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.

 

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover, sir?

 

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover, sir?

 

GLOUCESTER

Because I would not see thy cruèl nails

Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister

In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.

anointed=kingly

The sea, with such a storm as his bare head

In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up

buoyed up=swelled

And quenched the stellèd fires.

stelled fires=heavenly stars

Yet poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.

holp=helped

If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,

stern=grim

Thou shouldst have said, “Good porter, turn the key,”

shouldst=would

turn the key=lock the door

All cruèls else subscribed. But I shall see

all cruels else subscribed=all other varieties of cruelty agree with you

The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.

 

GLOUCESTER

Because I would not see thy cruèl nails

Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister

In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.

The sea, with such a storm as his bare head

In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up

And quenched the stellèd fires.

Yet poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.

If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,

Thou shouldst have said, “Good porter, turn the key,”

All cruèls else subscribed. But I shall see

The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.

 

CORNWALL

“See” ’t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.—

Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

 

CORNWALL

“See” ’t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.—

Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

 

GLOUCESTER

He that will think to live till he be old,

Give me some help!

 

GLOUCESTER

He that will think to live till he be old,

Give me some help!

 

CORNWALL plucks out one of GLOUCESTER’s eyes and stamps on it

CORNWALL plucks out one of GLOUCESTER’s eyes and stamps on it

O cruel! O you gods!

O cruel! O you gods!

REGAN

One side will mock another—th' other too.

 

REGAN

One side will mock another—th' other too.

 

CORNWALL

If you see vengeance—

 

CORNWALL

If you see vengeance—

 

FIRST SERVANT

Hold your hand, my lord!

I have served you ever since I was a child,

But better service have I never done you

Than now to bid you hold.

 

FIRST SERVANT

Hold your hand, my lord!

I have served you ever since I was a child,

But better service have I never done you

Than now to bid you hold.

 

REGAN

   How now, you dog?

 

REGAN

   How now, you dog?

 

FIRST SERVANT

(to Regan) If you did wear a beard upon your chin,

I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

 

FIRST SERVANT

If you did wear a beard upon your chin,

I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?

 

CORNWALL

My villain (peasant)!

 

CORNWALL

My villein!

 

FIRST SERVANT

Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

 

FIRST SERVANT

Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

 

FIRST SERVANT and CORNWALL draw and fight CORNWALL is wounded

FIRST SERVANT and CORNWALL draw and fight CORNWALL is wounded

REGAN

(to another servant)

Give me thy sword.—A peasant stand up thus?

(takes a sword, runs at FIRST SERVANT behind, and kills him)

 

REGAN

(to another servant)

Give me thy sword.—A peasant stand up thus?

(takes a sword, runs at FIRST SERVANT behind, and kills him)

 

FIRST SERVANT

Oh, I am slain!—My lord, you have one eye left

To see some mischief on him. Oh!

(dies)

 

FIRST SERVANT

Oh, I am slain!—My lord, you have one eye left

To see some mischief on him. Oh!

(dies)

 

CORNWALL

Lest it see more, prevent it.—Out, vile jelly!

 

CORNWALL

Lest it see more, prevent it.—Out, vile jelly!

 

(plucks out GLOUCESTER’s other eye)

Where is thy luster now?

 

(plucks out GLOUCESTER’s other eye)

Where is thy luster now?

 

GLOUCESTER

All dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?

Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature

To quit this horrid act.

quit=revenge

 

GLOUCESTER

All dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?

Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature

To quit this horrid act.

 

REGAN

   Out, treacherous villain!

out=out of the question

Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he

That made the overture of thy treasons to us,

overture=disclosure

Who is too good to pity thee.

 

REGAN

   Out, treacherous villain!

Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he

That made the overture of thy treasons to us,

Who is too good to pity thee.

 

GLOUCESTER

O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.

Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

 

GLOUCESTER

O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.

Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

 

REGAN

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell

His way to Dover.

 

REGAN

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell

His way to Dover.

 

Exeunt some servants with GLOUCESTER

Exeunt some servants with GLOUCESTER

(to CORNWALL) How is ’t, my lord? How look you?

(to CORNWALL) How is ’t, my lord? How look you?

CORNWALL

I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.—

Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave

Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace.

Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.

 

CORNWALL

I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.—

Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave

Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace.

Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.

 

Exit CORNWALL with REGAN

Exit CORNWALL with REGAN

SECOND SERVANT

I’ll never care what wickedness I do,

If this man come to good.

 

SECOND SERVANT

I’ll never care what wickedness I do,

If this man come to good.

 

THIRD SERVANT

If she live long,

And in the end meet the old course of death,

old=normal

Women will all turn monsters.

 

THIRD SERVANT

If she live long,

And in the end meet the old course of death,

Women will all turn monsters.

 

 

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