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'King Lear' Act 2, Scene 2 (Part 1)

The Complete Text to 'King Lear' Act 2, Scene 2 (Part 1)

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Scene 2

[Before Gloucester's castle.]

[Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally]


OSWALD

Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?


KENT

Ay.


OSWALD

Where may we set our horses?


KENT

I' the mire.


OSWALD

Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.


KENT

I love thee not.


OSWALD

Why, then, I care not for thee.


KENT

If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
care for me.


OSWALD

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


KENT

Fellow, I know thee.


OSWALD

What dost thou know me for?


KENT

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
the least syllable of thy addition.


OSWALD

Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!


KENT

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up
thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you
rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon
shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you:
draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

[Drawing his sword]


OSWALD

Away! I have nothing to do with thee.


KENT

Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the
king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the
royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so
carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.


OSWALD

Help, ho! murder! help!


KENT

Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
slave, strike.

[Beating him]


OSWALD

Help, ho! murder! murder!

[Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants]


EDMUND

How now! What's the matter?


KENT

With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll
flesh ye; come on, young master.


GLOUCESTER

Weapons! arms! What 's the matter here?


CORNWALL

Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?


REGAN

The messengers from our sister and the king.


CORNWALL

What is your difference? speak.


OSWALD

I am scarce in breath, my lord.


KENT

No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a
tailor made thee.


CORNWALL

Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?


KENT

Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
not have made him so ill, though he had been but two
hours at the trade.


CORNWALL

Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?


OSWALD

This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
at suit of his gray beard, --


KENT

Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this
unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of
a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?


CORNWALL

Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?


KENT

Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.


CORNWALL

Why art thou angry?


KENT

That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.


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