King Lear : Act 3, Scene 7



           Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL,
           EDMUND, and Servants.

      CORNWALL
Post Ride | my lord your husband i.e., Goneril's husband, the Duke of Albany
  1   Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him
  2   this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek
  3   out the villain Gloucester.

      REGAN
  4   Hang him instantly.

      GONERIL
  5   Pluck out his eyes.

      CORNWALL
  6   Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
our sister i.e., Cornwall's sister-in-law, Goneril
we are bound i.e., I am bound by duty

  7   sister company: the revenges we are bound to take
  8   upon your traitorous father are not fit for your
  9   beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to
festinate speedy | are bound are committed
posts messengers | intelligent well-informed
 10   a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
 11   like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
 12   betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my
my lord of Gloucester i.e., Edmund, now the recipient of his father's forfeited title and estate
 13   lord of Gloucester.

           Enter Steward [OSWALD].

 14   How now! where's the king?

      OSWALD
my lord of Gloucester Gloucester
 15   My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence:
his knights Lear's knights
 16   Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
questrists searchers
 17   Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
the lord's Gloucester's
 18   Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,
 19   Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
 20   To have well-armed friends.

      CORNWALL
 20                                            Get horses for your mistress.

      GONERIL
 21   Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

      CORNWALL
 22   Edmund, farewell.

           Exeunt [GONERIL, EDMUND, and OSWALD].
Pinion him Tie his arms

 22                                 Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
 23   Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

           [Exeunt some Servants.]

Though well ... justice though rightly I may not pass sentence upon his life without a trial
do a courtesy to bow to
control openly oppose
 24   Though well we may not pass upon his life
 25   Without the form of justice, yet our power
 26   Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
 27   May blame, but not control. Who's there? the traitor?

           Enter GLOUCESTER, [brought in by two or
            three] Servants.

      REGAN
 28   Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

      CORNWALL
corky withered with age
 29   Bind fast his corky arms.

      GLOUCESTER
 30   What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
 31   You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

      CORNWALL
 32   Bind him, I say.

           [Servants bind him.]

      REGAN
 32                                 Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

      GLOUCESTER
I'm none I'm not one (a "filthy traitor")
 33   Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.

      CORNWALL
 34   To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find—

plucks his beard This is an act of extreme contempt.
           [REGAN plucks his beard.]

      GLOUCESTER
 35   By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
 36   To pluck me by the beard.

      REGAN
white white-haired; venerable
 37   So white, and such a traitor!

      GLOUCESTER
Naughty Wicked
 37                                                 Naughty lady,
ravish tear
 38   These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
quicken come to life
 39   Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
my hospitable favours i.e., the face of me, your host
ruffle snatch at roughly
 40   With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
 41   You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

      CORNWALL
late lately
 42   Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

      REGAN
simple-answer'd straightforward
 43   Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.

      CORNWALL
 44   And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed recently landed
 45   Late footed in the kingdom?

      REGAN
 46   To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?
 47   Speak.

      GLOUCESTER
guessingly set down written without confirmation; speculative
 47               I have a letter guessingly set down,
 48   Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
 49   And not from one opposed.

      CORNWALL
 49                                               Cunning.

      REGAN
 49                                                              And false.

      CORNWALL
 50   Where hast thou sent the king?

      GLOUCESTER
 51   To Dover.

      REGAN
Wherefore Why | charged commanded
 52   Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

      CORNWALL
 53   Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

      GLOUCESTER
I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course. This is an image from bear-baiting, in which a bear tied to a stake had to fight off a pack of dogs.
 54   I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

      REGAN
 55   Wherefore to Dover, sir?

      GLOUCESTER
 56   Because I would not see thy cruel nails
 57   Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
anointed flesh consecrated with holy oils (as part of the king's coronation)
 58   In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
 59   The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
buoy'd up risen high
 60   In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up,
stelled fires stars' fires
 61   And quench'd the stelled fires:
holp helped
 62   Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
dearn dire; dread
 63   If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that dearn time,
turn the key i.e., open the door and let them in | All cruels else subscribe all other cruel beings would yield thus to pity, but you do not winged swooping down from heaven; swift
 64   Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
 65   All cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
 66   The winged vengeance overtake such children.

      CORNWALL
Fellows servants
 67   See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
 68   Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.

      GLOUCESTER
will think hopes
 69   He that will think to live till he be old,
 70   Give me some help!

           [Cornwall stomps out one of Gloucester's eyes.]

 70                                 O cruel! O you gods!

      REGAN
the other too i.e., do the other one too!
 71   One side will mock another; the other too.
Blinding

      CORNWALL
 72   If you see vengeance,—

      First Servant
Hold your hand i.e., stop what you are doing; do not attack Gloucester again
 72                                     Hold your hand, my lord:
 73   I have served you ever since I was a child;
 74   But better service have I never done you
 75   Than now to bid you hold.

      REGAN
 75                                             How now, you dog!

      First Servant  [To Regan.]
 76   If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
shake it shake your beard; i.e., spit in your face | on this quarrel in this cause
 77   I'd shake it on this quarrel.

      REGAN
What do you mean? i.e., What do you think you are doing?; How dare you!
 75                                              What do you mean?

      CORNWALL
villain serf
 78   My villain!

           [Cornwall draws his sword.]

      First Servant
Nay, then, come on i.e., OK, let's fight.
take the chance of anger take your chances in an angry quarrel
 79   Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

           [The Servant draws his sword. They fight
           and the Servant wounds Cornwall.]

      REGAN
 80   Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!

           [Takes a sword, stabs the servant
           in the back, and so] kills him.

      First Servant
 81   O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him i.e., to see the injury that I have done him
 82   To see some mischief on him. O!

           [Dies.]

      CORNWALL
 83   Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!

           [Plucks out Gloucester's remaining eye.]

lustre luster, gloss
 84   Where is thy lustre now?

      GLOUCESTER
 85   All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
sparks of nature sparks of filial feeling
 86   Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
To quit to requite; avenge
 87   To quit this horrid act.

      REGAN
Out An exclamation of anger or impatience.
 87                                       Out, treacherous villain!
 88   Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
overture revelation; disclosure
 89   That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
 90   Who is too good to pity thee.

      GLOUCESTER
follies stupidities | abused wronged; slandered
prosper him cause him to prosper
 91   O my follies! then Edgar was abused.
 92   Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

Dover
Dover Dover's white cliffs face France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. This is the place where King Lear has been taken, and where the King of France will land with his army.
      REGAN
 93   Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
 94   His way to Dover.

           Exit [one] with GLOUCESTER.
           [REGAN sees that Cornwall is
           wounded.]

How is't, my lord? how look you? How is it with you? How do you feel?
 94                                  How is't, my lord? how look you?

      CORNWALL
a hurt an injury
 95   I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
this slave i.e., the servant that Regan killed
 96   Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
apace at a considerable pace; fast and getting faster
 97   Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
 98   Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.

           Exit [CORNWALL, assisted by REGAN.]

      Second Servant
 99   I'll never care what wickedness I do,
100   If this man come to good.

      Third Servant
100                                             If she live long,
old customary; natural
101   And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters. Because they will not fear punishment for their crimes.
102   Women will all turn monsters.

      Second Servant
the old earl Gloucester (Edmund is the new earl.) | Bedlam madman; i.e., Edgar, disguised as "Poor Tom."
his roguish madness / Allows itself to any thing. i.e., the fact that he is a vagabond madman allows him to get away with anything —Perhaps the servant thinks that in the company of a madman Gloucester will be relatively safe from detection by his enemies.
103   Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
104   To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
105   Allows itself to any thing.

      Third Servant
106   Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
107   To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

           Exeunt [in different directions].