Act II, Scene 4
Before Gloucester’s castle.
- Enter Lear, Fool, and First Gentleman. Kent, disguised as
- Caius, in the stocks.
Lear1 - 2
- ’Tis strange that they should so depart from home,
- And not send back my messenger.
First Gentleman3 - 5
- As I learn’d,
- The night before there was no purpose in them
- Of this remove.
- Hail to thee, noble master!
Lear7 - 8
- Mak’st thou this shame thy pastime?
- No, my lord.
Fool10 - 13
- Hah, ha, he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied by the
- heads, dogs and bears by th’ neck, monkeys by th’ loins, and
- men by th’ legs. When a man’s overlusty at legs, then he
- wears wooden nether-stocks.
Lear14 - 15
- What’s he that hath so much thy place mistook
- To set thee here?
Kent16 - 17
- It is both he and she,
- Your son and daughter.
- No, I say.
- I say yea.
- No, no, they would not.
- Yes, they have.
- By Jupiter, I swear no.
- By Juno, I swear ay.
Lear26 - 31
- 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.
Kent32 - 50
- 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,
- Stew’d in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
- From Goneril his mistress salutations;
- Deliver’d letters, spite of intermission,
- Which presently they read; on those contents
- They summon’d 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 perceiv’d had poison’d mine—
- Being the very fellow which of late
- Display’d so saucily against your Highness—
- Having more man than wit about me, drew.
- He rais’d the house with loud and coward cries.
- Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
- The shame which here it suffers.
Fool51 - 59
- 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.
Lear60 - 62
- O how this mother swells up toward my heart!
- Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
- Thy element’s below.—Where is this daughter?
- With the Earl, sir, here within.
Lear64 - 65
- Follow me not,
- Stay here.
- Made you no more offense but what you speak of?
Kent67 - 68
- How chance the King comes with so small a number?
Fool69 - 70
- And thou hadst been set i’ th’ stocks for that question,
- thou’dst well deserv’d it.
- Why, Fool?
Fool72 - 88
- 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; but the great one that goes upward, 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.
- Where learn’d you this, Fool?
- Not i’ th’ stocks, fool.
- Enter Lear and Gloucester.
Lear91 - 94
- Deny to speak with me? They are sick? They are weary?
- They have travel’d all the night? Mere fetches,
- The images of revolt and flying off.
- Fetch me a better answer.
Gloucester95 - 98
- My dear lord,
- You know the fiery quality of the Duke,
- How unremovable and fix’d he is
- In his own course.
Lear99 - 101
- Vengeance! Plague! Death! Confusion!
- Fiery? What quality? Why, Gloucester, Gloucester,
- I’ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.
- Well, my good lord, I have inform’d them so.
- ‘Inform’d them?’ Dost thou understand me, man?
- Ay, my good lord.
Lear105 - 124
- The King would speak with Cornwall, the dear father
- Would with his daughter speak, commands, tends service.
- Are they inform’d of this? My breath and blood!
- ‘Fiery?’ The fiery Duke? Tell the hot Duke that—
- No, but not yet, may be he is not well:
- Infirmity doth still neglect all office
- Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
- When nature, being oppress’d, commands the mind
- To suffer with the body. I’ll forbear,
- And am fallen out with my more headier will,
- To take the indispos’d and sickly fit
- For the sound man.
- Looking on Kent.
- 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’ld 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.
- I would have all well betwixt you.
- O me, my heart! My rising heart! But down!
Fool127 - 131
- Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she
- put ’em i’ th’ paste alive; she knapp’d ’em o’ th’ coxcombs
- with a stick, and cried, “Down, wantons, down!” ’Twas her
- brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, butter’d his
- Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.
- Good morrow to you both.
- Hail to your Grace!
- Kent here set at liberty.
- I am glad to see your Highness.
Lear135 - 145
- 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 adult’ress.
- To Kent.
- O, are you free?
- Some other time for that.
- Exit Kent.
- Beloved Regan,
- Thy sister’s naught. O Regan, she hath tied
- Sharp-tooth’d unkindness, like a vulture, here.
- Points to his heart.
- I can scarce speak to thee; thou’lt not believe
- With how deprav’d a quality—O Regan!
Regan146 - 148
- I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope
- You less know how to value her desert
- Than she to scant her duty.
- Say? How is that?
Regan150 - 154
- I cannot think my sister in the least
- Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance
- She have restrain’d the riots of your followers,
- ’Tis on such ground and to such wholesome end
- As clears her from all blame.
- My curses on her!
Regan156 - 162
- O sir, you are old,
- Nature in you stands on the very verge
- Of his confine. You should be rul’d 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 wrong’d her.
Lear163 - 167
- Ask her forgiveness?
- Do you but mark how this becomes the house!
- “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.”
Regan168 - 169
- Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks.
- Return you to my sister.
Lear170 - 176
- Never, Regan:
- She hath abated me of half my train;
- Look’d black upon me, struck me with her tongue,
- Most serpent-like, upon the very heart.
- All the stor’d vengeances of heaven fall
- On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
- You taking airs, with lameness!
- Fie, sir, fie!
Lear178 - 181
- You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
- Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
- You fen-suck’d fogs, drawn by the pow’rful sun,
- To fall and blister!
Regan182 - 183
- O the blest gods! So
- Will you wish on me, when the rash mood is on.
Lear184 - 195
- No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.
- Thy tender-hefted 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 endow’d.
- Good sir, to th’ purpose.
- Who put my man i’ th’ stocks?
- Tucket within.
- Enter Steward Oswald.
- What trumpet’s that?
Regan199 - 201
- I know’t, my sister’s. This approves her letter,
- That she would soon be here.
- To Oswald.
- Is your lady come?
Lear202 - 204
- This is a slave whose easy-borrowed pride
- Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.
- Out, varlet, from my sight!
- What means your Grace?
- Enter Goneril.
Lear206 - 212
- Who stock’d 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 you yourselves are old,
- Make it your cause; send down, and take my part.
- To Goneril.
- Art not asham’d to look upon this beard?
- O Regan, will you take her by the hand?
Goneril213 - 215
- Why not by th’ hand, sir? How have I offended?
- All’s not offense that indiscretion finds
- And dotage terms so.
Lear216 - 217
- O sides, you are too tough!
- Will you yet hold? How came my man i’ th’ stocks?
Cornwall218 - 219
- I set him there, sir; but his own disorders
- Deserv’d much less advancement.
- You? Did you?
Regan221 - 226
- 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.
Lear227 - 237
- Return to her? And fifty men dismiss’d?
- No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
- To wage against the enmity o’ th’ air,
- To be a comrade with the wolf and owl—
- Necessity’s sharp pinch. Return with her?
- Why, the hot-bloodied 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.
- Pointing at Oswald.
- At your choice, sir.
Lear239 - 252
- 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 bile,
- A plague-sore, or embossed 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.
Regan253 - 258
- Not altogether so,
- I look’d 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.
- Is this well spoken?
Regan260 - 265
- 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.
Goneril266 - 267
- Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
- From those that she calls servants or from mine?
Regan268 - 272
- Why not, my lord? If then they chanc’d to slack ye,
- 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.
- I gave you all—
- And in good time you gave it.
Lear275 - 278
- 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?
- And speak’t again, my lord, no more with me.
Lear280 - 285
- Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favor’d
- 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.
Goneril286 - 289
- 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?
- What need one?
Lear291 - 314
- O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
- Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
- Allow not nature more than nature needs,
- Man’s life is 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 stirs 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.
- I have full cause of weeping, but this heart
- Storm and tempest.
- Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
- Or ere I’ll weep. O Fool, I shall go mad!
- Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, First Gentleman, and Fool.
- Let us withdraw, ’twill be a storm.
Regan316 - 317
- This house is little, the old man and ’s people
- Cannot be well bestow’d.
Goneril318 - 319
- ’Tis his own blame hath put himself from rest,
- And must needs taste his folly.
Regan320 - 321
- For his particular, I’ll receive him gladly,
- But not one follower.
Goneril322 - 323
- So am I purpos’d.
- Where is my Lord of Gloucester?
Cornwall324 - 325
- Followed the old man forth.
- Enter Gloucester.
- He is return’d.
- The King is in high rage.
- Whither is he going?
- He calls to horse, but will I know not whither.
- ’Tis best to give him way, he leads himself.
- My lord, entreat him by no means to stay.
Gloucester331 - 333
- Alack, the night comes on, and the bleak winds
- Do sorely ruffle; for many miles about
- There’s scarce a bush.
Regan334 - 339
- O sir, to willful 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 abus’d, wisdom bids fear.
Cornwall340 - 341
- Shut up your doors, my lord, ’tis a wild night,
- My Regan counsels well. Come out o’ th’ storm.