(Line differences from Q1 are in brackets, lines in F1 only are in italics)


    Act II, scene ii

    Outside Gloucester's residence
    Enter KENT and OSWALD

OSWALD
Good dawning [even] to thee, friend. Art of this house?

KENT
Ay.

OSWALD
Where may we set our horses?

KENT
I' th' mire.

OSWALD
Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

KENT
I love thee not.

OSWALD
Why, then, I care not for thee.

KENT
If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee
care for me.

OSWALD
Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.

KENT
Fellow, I know thee.

OSWALD
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, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
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, pander,
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.

OSWALD
Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail
on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee.

KENT
What 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.
Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw!

OSWALD
Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

KENT
Draw, you rascal! You come with [bring] letters against the
king. and take Vanity the puppet's part against the
royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so
carbonado your shanks. Draw, you rascal; come your ways.

OSWALD
Help, ho! Murder! Help!

KENT
Strike, you slave! Stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike!

OSWALD
Help, ho! murder! murder!

    Enter EDMUND with sword, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER

EDMUND
How now! What's the matter? Part! (comes between them)

KENT
With you, goodman boy, if you please. Come, I'll
flesh ye; come on, young master.

GLOUCESTER
Weapons! Arms! What 's the matter here?

CORNWALL
Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?

REGAN
The messengers from our sister and the king.

CORNWALL
What is your difference? Speak.

OSWALD
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.

CORNWALL
Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?

KENT
Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could
not have made him so ill, though he had been but two
years [hours] at the trade.

CORNWALL
Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

OSWALD
This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
at suit of his gray beard--

KENT
Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter! My
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?

CORNWALL
Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know [have] you no reverence?

KENT
Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

CORNWALL
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 a-twain
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;
Revenge [Renege], affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gall [gale] and vary of their masters,
Knowing naught, like dogs [days], 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'd drive [send] ye cackling home to Camelot.

CORNWALL
What, art thou mad, old fellow?

GLOUCESTER
How fell you out? Say that.

KENT
No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

CORNWALL
Why dost thou call him a knave? What's his fault [offence]?

KENT
His countenance likes me not.

CORNWALL
No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

KENT
Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain.
I have seen better faces in my time
Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.

CORNWALL
This 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;
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
If 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 observants
That stretch their duties nicely.

KENT
Sir, 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--

CORNWALL
What mean'st by this?

KENT
To go out of my dialect [dialogue], 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 part
I will not be, though I should win your displeasure
to entreat me to 't.

CORNWALL
What was the offence you gave him?

OSWALD
I never gave him any.
It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, compact [conjunct] and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, railed,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And, in the fleshment of this dead [dread] exploit,
Drew on me here again.

KENT
None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.

CORNWALL
Fetch forth the stocks.
You stubborn ancient [miscreant] knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you.

KENT
Sir, I am too old to learn.
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king,
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 [stopping] his messenger.

CORNWALL
Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life and honour,
There shall he sit till noon.

REGAN
Till noon? till night, my lord, and all night too.

KENT
Why, madam, if I were your father's dog
You should not use me so.

REGAN
Sir, being his knave, I will.

CORNWALL
This is a fellow of the self-same colour [nature]
Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!

GLOUCESTER
Let me beseech your grace not to do so.
[His fault is much, and the good king his master
Will check him for 't. Your purposed low correction
Is such as basest and condemned wretches
For pilferings and most common trespasses
Are punish'd with.] 
The king his master must take it ill,
That he's so slightly valued in his messenger,
Should have him thus restrained.

CORNWALL
I'll answer that.

REGAN
My sister may receive it much more worse
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
[For following her affairs. Put in his legs.]

CORNWALL [REGAN]
Come, my lord, away.

     Exit all but GLOUCESTER and KENT

GLOUCESTER
I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,
Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubbed nor stopp'd. I'll entreat for thee.

KENT
Pray, do not, sir. I have watched and traveled hard.
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels.
Give you good morrow.

GLOUCESTER
The duke's to blame in this; 'twill be ill taken.

     Exit

KENT
Good king, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven's benediction comest
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 [my wrack]
But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
Who hath most fortunately been informed
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 behold
This shameful lodging.
Fortune, good night: smile once more: turn thy wheel.

     Sleeps

 


Commentary on Act II, scene ii

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