William Shakespeare: King Lear, Act III, Scene VII
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Edmund, and Servants
Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek out the villain Gloucester.
Exeunt some of the Servants
Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our sister company: the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my lord of Gloucester.
How now! where's the king?
My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence:
Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Who, with some other of the lords dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
To have well-armed friends.
Exeunt Goneril, Edmund, and Oswald
Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
Exeunt other Servants
Though well we may not pass upon his life
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
May blame, but not control. Who's there? the traitor?
Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three
What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.
Servants bind him
Regan plucks his beard
These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.
Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up,
And quench'd the stelled fires:
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
All cruels else subscribed: but I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.
Hold your hand, my lord:
I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I'd shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean?
They draw and fight
Takes a sword, and runs at him behind
All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
To quit this horrid act.
Out, treacherous villain!
Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
Who is too good to pity thee.
Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover.
Exit one with Gloucester
How is't, my lord? how look you?
I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.
Exit Cornwall, led by Regan
If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
Allows itself to any thing.
Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!