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King Lear: Act 2, Scene 2

King Lear
Act 2, Scene 2

Before Gloucester’s castle.

  1. Enter Kent disguised as Caius and Steward Oswald severally.

Oswald

2
  1. Good dawning to thee, friend. Art of this house?

Kent

3
  1. Ay.

Oswald

4
  1. Where may we set our horses?

Kent

5
  1. I’ th’ mire.

Oswald

6
  1. Prithee, if thou lov’st me, tell me.

Kent

7
  1. I love thee not.

Oswald

8
  1. Why then I care not for thee.

Kent

9 - 10
  1. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care
  2. for me.

Oswald

11
  1. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

Kent

12
  1. Fellow, I know thee.

Oswald

13
  1. What dost thou know me for?

Kent

14 - 22
  1. A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud,
  2. shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy
  3. worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver’d, action-taking,
  4. whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue;
  5. one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in
  6. way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of
  7. a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a
  8. mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining,
  9. if thou deni’st the least syllable of thy addition.

Oswald

23 - 24
  1. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one
  2. that is neither known of thee nor knows thee?

Kent

25 - 31
  1. What a brazen-fac’d varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest
  2. me? Is it two days since I tripp’d up thy heels, and beat
  3. thee before the King? Draw, you rogue, for though it be
  4. night, yet the moon shines;
  5. Drawing his sword.
  6. I’ll make a sop o’ th’ moonshine of you, you whoreson
  7. cullionly barber-monger, draw!

Oswald

32
  1. Away, I have nothing to do with thee.

Kent

33 - 36
  1. Draw, you rascal! You come with letters against the King,
  2. and take Vanity the puppet’s part against the royalty of her
  3. father. Draw, you rogue, or I’ll so carbonado your shanks!
  4. Draw, you rascal! Come your ways.

Oswald

37
  1. Help ho! Murder, help!

Kent

38 - 39
  1. Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue, stand, you neat slave!
  2. Strike!
  1. Beating him.

Oswald

41
  1. Help ho! Murder, murder!
  1. Enter Bastard Edmund, with his rapier drawn.

Edmund

43
  1. How now, what’s the matter? Part!

Kent

44 - 45
  1. With you, goodman boy, and you please! Come, I’ll flesh ye,
  2. come on, young master.
  1. Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, Servants.

Gloucester

47
  1. Weapons? Arms? What’s the matter here?

Cornwall

48 - 49
  1. Keep peace, upon your lives!
  2. He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?

Regan

50
  1. The messengers from our sister and the King.

Cornwall

51
  1. What is your difference? Speak.

Oswald

52
  1. I am scarce in breath, my lord.

Kent

53 - 54
  1. No marvel, you have so bestirr’d your valor. You cowardly
  2. rascal, Nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made thee.

Cornwall

55
  1. Thou art a strange fellow. A tailor make a man?

Kent

56 - 58
  1. A tailor, sir; a stone-cutter or a painter could not have
  2. made him so ill, though they had been but two years o’ th’
  3. trade.

Cornwall

59
  1. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

Oswald

60 - 61
  1. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spar’d at suit
  2. of his grey beard

Kent

62 - 65
  1. Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if
  2. you’ll give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain
  3. into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him. Spare my
  4. grey beard, you wagtail?

Cornwall

66 - 67
  1. Peace, sirrah!
  2. You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

Kent

68
  1. Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege.

Cornwall

69
  1. Why art thou angry?

Kent

70 - 82
  1. That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
  2. Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
  3. Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
  4. Which are t’ intrinse t’ unloose; smooth every passion
  5. That in the natures of their lords rebel,
  6. Being oil to fire, snow to the colder moods;
  7. Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
  8. With every gale and vary of their masters,
  9. Knowing nought (like dogs) but following.
  10. A plague upon your epileptic visage!
  11. Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
  12. Goose, and I had you upon Sarum plain,
  13. I’ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

Cornwall

83
  1. What, art thou mad, old fellow?

Gloucester

84
  1. How fell you out? Say that.

Kent

85 - 86
  1. No contraries hold more antipathy
  2. Than I and such a knave.

Cornwall

87
  1. Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

Kent

88
  1. His countenance likes me not.

Cornwall

89
  1. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

Kent

90 - 93
  1. Sir, ’tis my occupation to be plain:
  2. I have seen better faces in my time
  3. Than stands on any shoulder that I see
  4. Before me at this instant.

Cornwall

94 - 103
  1.                            This is some fellow
  2. Who, having been prais’d for bluntness, doth affect
  3. A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
  4. Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he,
  5. An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
  6. And they will take’t, so; if not, he’s plain.
  7. These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
  8. Harbor more craft and more corrupter ends
  9. Than twenty silly-ducking observants
  10. That stretch their duties nicely.

Kent

104 - 107
  1. Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity,
  2. Under th’ allowance of your great aspect,
  3. Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
  4. On flick’ring Phoebus’ front

Cornwall

108
  1.                               What mean’st by this?

Kent

109 - 112
  1. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I
  2. know, sir, I am no flatterer. He that beguil’d you in a
  3. plain accent was a plain knave, which for my part I will not
  4. be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to’t.

Cornwall

113
  1. What was th’ offense you gave him?

Oswald

114 - 123
  1. I never gave him any.
  2. It pleas’d the King his master very late
  3. To strike at me upon his misconstruction,
  4. When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
  5. Tripp’d me behind; being down, insulted, rail’d,
  6. And put upon him such a deal of man
  7. That worthied him, got praises of the King
  8. For him attempting who was self-subdued,
  9. And in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
  10. Drew on me here again.

Kent

124 - 125
  1.                        None of these rogues and cowards
  2. But Ajax is their fool.

Cornwall

126 - 128
  1.                         Fetch forth the stocks!
  2. You stubborn ancient knave, you reverent braggart,
  3. We’ll teach you.

Kent

129 - 134
  1.                  Sir, I am too old to learn.
  2. Call not your stocks for me, I serve the King,
  3. On whose employment I was sent to you.
  4. You shall do small respects, show too bold malice
  5. Against the grace and person of my master,
  6. Stocking his messenger.

Cornwall

135 - 136
  1. Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honor,
  2. There shall he sit till noon.

Regan

137
  1. Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night too.

Kent

138 - 139
  1. Why, madam, if I were your father’s dog,
  2. You should not use me so.

Regan

140
  1.                           Sir, being his knave, I will.

Cornwall

141 - 142
  1. This is a fellow of the self-same color
  2. Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
  1. Stocks brought out.

Gloucester

144 - 151
  1. Let me beseech your Grace not to do so.
  2. His fault is much, and the good King his master
  3. Will check him for’t. Your purpos’d low correction
  4. Is such as basest and contemned’st wretches
  5. For pilf’rings and most common trespasses
  6. Are punish’d with. The King must take it ill
  7. That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
  8. Should have him thus restrained.

Cornwall

152
  1.                                  I’ll answer that.

Regan

153 - 157
  1. My sister may receive it much more worse
  2. To have her gentleman abus’d, assaulted,
  3. For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
  4. Kent is put in the stocks.
  5. Come, my good lord, away.
  1. Exit with all but Gloucester and Kent.

Gloucester

159 - 161
  1. I am sorry for thee, friend, ’tis the Duke’s pleasure,
  2. Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
  3. Will not be rubb’d nor stopp’d. I’ll entreat for thee.

Kent

162 - 165
  1. Pray do not, sir. I have watch’d and travel’d hard:
  2. Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I’ll whistle.
  3. A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels.
  4. Give you good morrow!

Gloucester

166
  1. The Duke’s to blame in this, ’twill be ill taken.
  1. Exit.

Kent

168 - 184
  1. Good King, that must approve the common saw,
  2. Thou out of heaven’s benediction com’st
  3. To the warm sun!
  4. Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
  5. That by thy comfortable beams I may
  6. Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles
  7. But misery. I know ’tis from Cordelia,
  8. Who hath most fortunately been inform’d
  9. Of my obscured course;
  10. Reads.
  11. “—and shall find time
  12. From this enormous stateseeking to give
  13. Losses their remedies.”—
  14. All weary and o’erwatch’d,
  15. Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
  16. This shameful lodging.
  17. Fortune, good night; smile once more, turn thy wheel.
  1. Sleeps.
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