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King Lear Act 1, Scene 3 (Part 4)

The Complete Text to King Lear Act 1, Scene 3 (Part 4)

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[Enter ALBANY]


KING LEAR

Woe, that too late repents, --

[To ALBANY]

O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? Speak, sir. Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!


ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.


KING LEAR

[To GONERIL]

Detested kite! thou liest.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know,
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!
That, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fix'd place; drew from heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,

[Striking his head]

And thy dear judgment out! Go, go, my people.


ALBANY

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant
Of what hath moved you.


KING LEAR

It may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!

[Exit]


ALBANY

Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this?


GONERIL

Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.

[Re-enter KING LEAR]


KING LEAR

What, fifty of my followers at a clap!
Within a fortnight!


ALBANY

What's the matter, sir?


KING LEAR

I'll tell thee:

[To GONERIL]

Life and death! I am ashamed
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus;
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out,
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay. Yea, it is come to this?
Let is be so: yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable:
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find
That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever: thou shalt,
I warrant thee.

[Exeunt KING LEAR, KENT, and Attendants]


GONERIL

Do you mark that, my lord?


ALBANY

I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you, --


GONERIL

Pray you, content. What, Oswald, ho!

[To the Fool]

You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.


Fool

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool
with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
And such a daughter,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter:
So the fool follows after.

[Exit]


GONERIL

This man hath had good counsel: -- a hundred knights!
'Tis politic and safe to let him keep
At point a hundred knights: yes, that, on every dream,
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy. Oswald, I say!


ALBANY

Well, you may fear too far.


GONERIL

Safer than trust too far:
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Not fear still to be taken: I know his heart.
What he hath utter'd I have writ my sister
If she sustain him and his hundred knights
When I have show'd the unfitness, --

[Re-enter OSWALD]

How now, Oswald!
What, have you writ that letter to my sister?


OSWALD

Yes, madam.


GONERIL

Take you some company, and away to horse:
Inform her full of my particular fear;
And thereto add such reasons of your own
As may compact it more. Get you gone;
And hasten your return.

[Exit OSWALD]

No, no, my lord,
This milky gentleness and course of yours
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.


ALBANY

How far your eyes may pierce I can not tell:
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.


GONERIL

Nay, then --


ALBANY

Well, well; the event.

[Exeunt]

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