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If I would stand against thee, would thev reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee
Make thy words faith'd? 1 No: what I should deny,
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character)2 I 'd turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs3
To make thee seek it."
Gloster. 0 strong and fasten'd villain!5
Would he deny his letter? — I never got him
Hark! the duke's trumpets. • I know not why he comes. —
All ports I 'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I 'll work the means
To make thee capable.5
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.
Cornwall. How now, my noble friend! since I came hither, (Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.
Regan. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short, Which can pursue th' offender. How dost, my lord? i Glos. O, Madam! my old heart is crack'cf, it 's crack'd.
Reg. What! did my father's godson seek your life? He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?
Glos. O, lady, lady! shame would have it hid.
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights That tend upon my father?
Glos. I know not, Madam: 't is too bad, too bad. —
Edmund. Yes, Madam, he was of that consort.
Reg. No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
1. Faith'd, believed. | 4. 0 determined and fixed villain!
2. Character, hand-writing. 5. i. e. capable of succeeding to my
3. Spurs, incitements. j land.
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
Cornwall. Nor I, assure thee. Regan. —'
Edmund. 'T was my duty, Sir.
Gloster. He did bewray his practice ;1 and receiv'd This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Corn. Is he pursued?
Glos. Ay, my good lord.
• Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose, How in my strength you please;2 — For you, Edmund, Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant So much commend itself, you shall be ours: Natures of such deep trust we shall much need; You we first seize on.
Edm. I shall serve you, Sir,
Truly, however else. «
Glos. For him I thank your grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you.
Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night. Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poize,3 Wherein we must have use of your advice. Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister, Of differences, which I best thought it fit To answer from our home:4 the several messengers From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend, Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow Your needful counsel to our business, Which craves the instant use.
Glos. I serve you, Madam.
Your graces are right welcome. [Exeunt.
1. i. e. betray, discover his practice, in the execution of them make what Practice is always used by Shakspeare use you please of my power.
for insidious mischief. See note 4, 3. Poize, weight, moment.
page 44. 4. i. e. away from home, elsewhere.
2. i. e. form your own plans, and
SCENE H. Before Gloster's Castle.
Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally.
Oswald. Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?
Osw. Where may we set our horses?
Osw.f Why, then I care not for thee. «
Kent. If 1 had thee in Lipsbury pinfold,11 would make thee care for me.
Osw. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
Kent. Fellow, I know thee.
Osw. 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,2 filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd,3 action-taking knave;4 a whoreson glass-gazing,5 superserviceable, finical rogue; one trunk-inheriting slave;6 one that wouldest 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.1
Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on8 one, that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee.
Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou to deny thou knowest me. It is two days 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 sop9
1. A pinfold, is a place in which beasts are confined.
2. This term hundred-pound, from various quotations cited by the commentators, seems to have been used as an epithet of reproach.
3. Lily-liver'd , white-livered, cowardly.
4. i. e. a fellow, who, if you beat him, would bring an action for the assault, because the courage fails him to oppose himself like a man.
5. i. e. who employs< his time before the looking-glass. ,
6. i. e. who possesses but one trunk in the world; whose whole worldly effects are contained in one trunk.
7. Addition, titles.
8. We should now say, to rail at.
9. Afop is anything steeped into liquor, commonly to be eaten; i. e. Kent will beat him to such a jelly that he shall appear like a sop steeped in the moonshine.
o' the moonshine of you: [Drawing his sword.] Draw, you whoreson cullionly 1 barbermonger, draw.
Oswald. Away! I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king, and take Vanity,2 the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I 'll so carbonado3 your shanks: — draw, you rascal; come your ways.
Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave: stand, rogue, stand; you neat4 slave, strike. [Beating him.
Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder!
Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, EDMUND, and Servants.
Edmund. How now! What 's the matter?
Kent. With you,5 goodman boy, if you please: come I 'll flesh you; come on, young master.
Gloster. Weapons! . arms! What 's the matter here?
Cornwall. Keep peace, upon your lives:
Regan. The messengers from our sister and the king.
Corn. What is your difference? speak.
Osw. 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.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, Sir: a stone-cutter, or a painter, could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
Osiv. This ancient ruffian, Sir, whose life I have spar'd At suit of his grey beard, —
1. A cullion is a scoundrel, a mean wretch. Cullionly, scoundrelly, mean, base.
2. Alluding to the old plays called Moralities, in which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices were personified.
3. To carbonado, to cut, or hack: a carbonado signifying meat cut across to be broiled upon the coals.
4. The meaning of this epithet neat may be gathered from a passage in "Winter's Tale", Act I., Sc. 2:
"— Come, captain, We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain;
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf,
Are all call'd neat." 5. i. e. The matter is with you, I will deal with you; goodman boy is an ironical mode of address; / '/(flesk you means, I 'll give you a first lesson in the use of the sword. See note 3*, page 38.
Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! — My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted 1 villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes2 with him. — Spare my grey beard, you wagtail?
Cornwall. Peace, sirrah!
Kent. Yes, Sir; but anger hath a privilege.
Corn. 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 atwain. Which are too intrinse a t' unloose; smooth" every passion That in the natures of their lords rebels; Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods; Renege,4 affirm, and turn their halcyon5 beaks With every gale and vary of their masters, Knowing nought, like dogs, but following. — A plague upon your epileptic visage!6 Smile you my speeches,1 as I were a fool? Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,8 I 'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot.9
Com. What! art thou mad, old fellow?
Gloster. How fell you out?10 say that.
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy, Than I and such a knave.
Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What 's his offence?
Kent. His countenance likes me not.11
Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
1. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime, and therefore to break the lumps it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes. This unbelted villain, is therefore this caarse rascal.
2. Jakes, a back-house, or privy.
3. Intrinse for intrinsecate, perplexed, entangled. Not in use.
4. Renege, to disown.
5. The halcyon is the bird otherwise called the king-fisher. The vulgar opinion was, that this bird, if hung up, would vary with the wind, and by
that means show from which point it blew.
6. Meaning, the frighted countenance of a man ready to fall into a fit.
7. i. e. at my speeches.
8. Salisbury was called New Sarum in distinction from Old Sarum, an ancient borough two miles distant from the new city.
9. Camelot was the place where the romances say King Arthur kept his court in the West.
10. To fall out, to quarrel.
11. t. e. pleases me not, does not please m$.