ACT 4, SCENE 2: Before the Duke of ALBANY's palace.


GONERIL: Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
                           Now, where's your master?

OSWALD: Madam, within; but never man so changed.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it: I told him you were coming:                                     [5]
His answer was 'The worse:' of Gloucester's treachery,
And of the loyal service of his son,
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot,
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;                      [10]
What like, offensive.

GONERIL: [To EDMUND] Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way                      [15]
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us: ere long you are like to hear,                        [20]
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech;
[Giving a favour.]
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:
Conceive, and fare thee well.                                                                  [25]

EDMUND: Yours in the ranks of death.

GONERIL:                           My most dear Gloucester!
[Exit EDMUND.]
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.

OSWALD:                           Madam, here comes my lord.

[Enter ALBANY.]

GONERIL: I have been worth the whistle.                                                       [30]

ALBANY:                           O Goneril!
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
That nature, which contemns it origin,
Cannot be border'd certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch                                            [35]
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

GONERIL: No more; the text is foolish.

ALBANY: Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?                     [40]
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?
A father, and a gracious aged man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded.
Could my good brother suffer you to do it?                                         [45]
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,
It will come,
Humanity must perforce prey on itself,                                                [50]
Like monsters of the deep.

GONERIL:                           Milk-liver'd man!
That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
Thine honour from thy suffering; that not know'st
Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd                                    [55]
Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land;
With plumed helm thy state begins threats;
Whiles thou, a moral fool, sit'st still, and criest
'Alack, why does he so?'                                                                           [60]

ALBANY:                           See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity seems not in the fiend
So horrid as in woman.

GONERIL:                           O vain fool!

ALBANY: Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame,
Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,                                                         [65]
They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend,
A woman's shape doth shield thee.

GONERIL: Marry, your manhood now--

Enter a Messenger.

ALBANY: What news?                                                                                        [70]

Messenger: O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead:
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.

ALBANY:                           Gloucester's eye!

Messenger: A servant that he bred, thrill'd with remorse,
Opposed against the act, bending his sword                                         [75]
To his great master; who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him, and amongst them fell'd him dead;
But not without that harmful stroke, which since
Hath pluck'd him after.

ALBANY:                           This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes                                         [80]
So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he his other eye?

Messenger:                           Both, both, my lord.
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
'Tis from your sister.

GONERIL: [Aside]                           One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,                                  [85]
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: another way,
The news is not so tart.--I'll read, and answer.

ALBANY: Where was his son when they did take his eyes?

Messenger: Come with my lady hither.                                                            [90]

ALBANY:                           He is not here.

Messenger: No, my good lord; I met him back again.

ALBANY: Knows he the wickedness?

Messenger: Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.                                                                   [95]

ALBANY:                           Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king,
And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend:
Tell me what more thou know'st.


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