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King Lear

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ACT II SCENE II Before Gloucester's castle. 
[Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally]
OSWALDGood dawning to thee, friend: art of this house?
KENTAy.
OSWALDWhere may we set our horses?
KENTI' the mire.
OSWALDPrithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.5
KENTI love thee not.
OSWALDWhy, then, I care not for thee.
KENTIf I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
care for me.
OSWALDWhy dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.10
KENTFellow, I know thee.
OSWALDWhat dost thou know me for?
KENTA knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a15
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,20
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.
OSWALDWhy, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!25
KENTWhat 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:30
draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.
[Drawing his sword]
OSWALDAway! I have nothing to do with thee.
KENTDraw, 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 so35
carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.
OSWALDHelp, ho! murder! help!
KENTStrike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
slave, strike.
[Beating him]
OSWALDHelp, ho! murder! murder!40
[ Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants ]
EDMUNDHow now! What's the matter?
KENTWith you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll
flesh ye; come on, young master.
GLOUCESTERWeapons! arms! What 's the matter here?
CORNWALLKeep peace, upon your lives:45
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
REGANThe messengers from our sister and the king.
CORNWALLWhat is your difference? speak.
OSWALDI am scarce in breath, my lord.
KENTNo marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You50
cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a
tailor made thee.
CORNWALLThou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
KENTAy, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
not have made him so ill, though he had been but two55
hours at the trade.
CORNWALLSpeak yet, how grew your quarrel?
OSWALDThis ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
at suit of his gray beard,--
KENTThou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My60
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?
CORNWALLPeace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?65
KENTYes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.
CORNWALLWhy art thou angry?
KENTThat 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-twain70
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,75
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.80
CORNWALLWhy, art thou mad, old fellow?
GLOUCESTERHow fell you out? say that.
KENTNo contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
CORNWALLWhy dost thou call him a knave? What's his offence?85
KENTHis countenance likes me not.
CORNWALLNo more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
KENTSir, 'tis my occupation to be plain:
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see90
Before me at this instant.
CORNWALLThis is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,95
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly ducking observants100
That stretch their duties nicely.
KENTSir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
Under the allowance of your great aspect,
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
On flickering Phoebus' front,--105
CORNWALLWhat mean'st by this?
KENTTo go out of my dialect, which you
discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no
flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain
accent was a plain knave; which for my part110
I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
to entreat me to 't.
CORNWALLWhat was the offence you gave him?
OSWALDI never gave him any:
It pleased the king his master very late115
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king120
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
KENTNone of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.125
CORNWALLFetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you--
KENTSir, I am too old to learn:
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;130
On whose employment I was sent to you:
You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.
CORNWALLFetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,135
There shall he sit till noon.
REGANTill noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.
KENTWhy, madam, if I were your father's dog,
You should not use me so.
REGANSir, being his knave, I will.140
CORNWALLThis is a fellow of the self-same colour
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!
[Stocks brought out]
GLOUCESTERLet me beseech your grace not to do so:
His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will cheque him for 't: your purposed low correction145
Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punish'd with: the king must take it ill,
That he's so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrain'd.150
CORNWALLI'll answer that.
REGANMy sister may receive it much more worse,
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
[KENT is put in the stocks]
Come, my good lord, away.155
[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER and KENT]
GLOUCESTERI am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee.
KENTPray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd hard;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.160
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
Give you good morrow!
GLOUCESTERThe duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.
[Exit]
KENTGood king, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven's benediction comest165
To the warm sun!
Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
That by thy comfortable beams I may
Peruse this letter! Nothing almost sees miracles
But misery: I know 'tis from Cordelia,170
Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
Of my obscured course; and shall find time
From this enormous state, seeking to give
Losses their remedies. All weary and o'erwatch'd,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold175
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel!
[Sleeps]


King Lear, Act 2, Scene 3
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