home contact

King Lear

Please see the bottom of this page for helpful resources.
ACT II SCENE I Gloucester's castle. 
[Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him]
EDMUNDSave thee, Curan.
CURANAnd you, sir. I have been with your father, and
given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
his duchess will be here with him this night.
EDMUNDHow comes that?5
CURANNay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
ear-kissing arguments?
EDMUNDNot I pray you, what are they?
CURANHave you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the10
Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
EDMUNDNot a word.
CURANYou may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
EDMUNDThe duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.15
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
[Enter EDGAR]
My father watches: O sir, fly this place;20
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him: have you nothing said25
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.
EDGARI am sure on't, not a word.
EDMUNDI hear my father coming: pardon me:
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you30
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.
[Exit EDGAR]
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.
[Wounds his arm]
Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards35
Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?
[Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches]
GLOUCESTERNow, Edmund, where's the villain?
EDMUNDHere stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon40
To stand auspicious mistress,--
GLOUCESTERBut where is he?
EDMUNDLook, sir, I bleed.
GLOUCESTERWhere is the villain, Edmund?
EDMUNDFled this way, sir. When by no means he could--45
GLOUCESTERPursue him, ho! Go after.
[Exeunt some Servants]
By no means what?
EDMUNDPersuade me to the murder of your lordship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;50
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home55
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.60
GLOUCESTERLet him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And found--dispatch. The noble duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
By his authority I will proclaim it,65
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
EDMUNDWhen I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech70
I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--75
As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,--I'ld turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death80
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
GLOUCESTERStrong and fasten'd villain
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
[Tucket within]
Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.85
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 the due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means90
To make thee capable.
[Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants]
CORNWALLHow now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.
REGANIf it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?95
GLOUCESTERO, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
REGANWhat, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?
GLOUCESTERO, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
REGANWas he not companion with the riotous knights100
That tend upon my father?
GLOUCESTERI know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.
EDMUNDYes, madam, he was of that consort.
REGANNo marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,105
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.110
CORNWALLNor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
EDMUND'Twas my duty, sir.
GLOUCESTERHe did bewray his practise; and received115
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
CORNWALLIs he pursued?
GLOUCESTERAy, my good lord.
CORNWALLIf he be taken, he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,120
How in my strength you please. 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.125
EDMUNDI shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
GLOUCESTERFor him I thank your grace.
CORNWALLYou know not why we came to visit you,--
REGANThus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:130
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers135
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.
GLOUCESTERI serve you, madam:140
Your graces are right welcome.

King Lear, Act 2, Scene 2

Related Articles

 King Lear Overview
 King Lear: Analysis by Act and Scene
 Blank Verse in King Lear
 King Lear Lecture Notes and Study Topics
 Difficult Passages in King Lear

 King Lear Summary
 King Lear Character Introduction
 King Lear Study Questions
 Sources for King Lear

 Representations of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear
 King Lear: FAQ
 Famous Quotations from King Lear
 Pronouncing Shakespearean Names

 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes

 Shakespeare's Reputation in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 Why Study Shakespeare?