ACT 3, SCENE 7: Gloucester's castle.


CORNWALL: Post speedily to my lord
your husband; show him this letter: the army of
France is landed. Seek out the
villain Gloucester.

[Exeunt some of the Servants.]

REGAN: Hang him instantly.                                                                             [5]

GONERIL: Pluck out his eyes.

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                       [10]
going, to a most festinate preparation: we are bound
to the like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my lord of
How now! where's the king?                                                                 [15]

OSWALD: My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd 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 lords dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast                       [20]
To have well-armed friends.

CORNWALL:                           Get horses for your mistress.

GONERIL: Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

CORNWALL: Edmund, farewell.
                           Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
[Exeunt other Servants.]
Though well we may not pass upon his life                                        [25]
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.

REGAN: Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

CORNWALL: Bind fast his corky arms.                                                           [30]

GLOUCESTER: What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

CORNWALL: Bind him, I say.

[Servants bind him.]

REGAN:                           Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

GLOUCESTER: Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

CORNWALL: To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find--             [35]

[REGAN plucks his beard.]

GLOUCESTER: By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.

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:                                  [40]
With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

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

REGAN: Be simple answerer, for we know the truth.

CORNWALL: And what confederacy have you with the traitors              [45]
Late footed in the kingdom?

REGAN: To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?

GLOUCESTER: I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,                                 [50]
And not from one opposed.

CORNWALL:                           Cunning.

REGAN:                           And false.

CORNWALL: Where hast thou sent the king?


REGAN: Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril--

CORNWALL: Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.                [55]

GLOUCESTER: I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

REGAN: Wherefore to Dover, sir?

GLOUCESTER: Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.                                              [60]
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up,
And quench'd the stelled fires:
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,                                [65]
Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
All cruels else subscribed: but I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.

CORNWALL: See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.                                              [70]

GLOUCESTER: He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!

REGAN: One side will mock another; the other too.

CORNWALL: If you see vengeance,--

First Servant:                           Hold your hand, my lord:
I have served you ever since I was a child;                                          [75]
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

REGAN:                           How now, you dog!

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!                                                                                    [80]

[They draw and fight.]

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

REGAN: Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!
[Takes a sword, and runs at him behind.]

First Servant: O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O!

CORNWALL: Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!                          [85]
Where is thy lustre now?

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!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he                                    [90]
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!

REGAN: Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell                               [95]
His way to Dover.
[Exit one with GLOUCESTER.]
                           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.                                  [100]

[Exit CORNWALL, led by REGAN.]

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,
Women will all turn monsters.

Second Servant: Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam                   [105]
To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
Allows itself to any thing.

Third Servant: Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

[Exeunt severally.]

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