King Lear

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gonerill, Edmund, and



(to Gonerill)
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast

Post speedily to my lord your

husband, show him this letter. The army of France is

landed. – Seek out the traitor Gloucester.

Exeunt some servants


Hang him instantly!


Pluck out his eyes!


Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep

you our sister company; the revenges we are bound to
bound (adj.) 4 ready, prepared

take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding.

Advise the Duke where you are going to a most
advise, avise (v.) 2 warn, counsel, caution

festinate preparation; we are bound to the like. Our
bound (adj.) 2 obliged, required, forced
festinate (adj.) speedy, hasty, hurried
like, the the same

posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell,
intelligent (adj.) 1 bearing intelligence, giving inside information
post (n.) 1 express messenger, courier See Topics: Frequency count

dear sister. Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

Enter Oswald

How now? Where's the King?


My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.

Some five- or six-and-thirty of his knights,

Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
hot (adj.) 2 enthusiastic, ardent, eager, keen
questrist (n.) one who goes in quest of another, seeker

Who with some other of the lord's dependants

Are gone with him toward Dover, where they boast

To have well-armed friends.


Get horses for your mistress.

Exit Oswald


Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.


Edmund, farewell.

Exeunt Gonerill and Edmund

                         Go seek the traitor Gloucester.

Pinion him like a thief; bring him before us.

Exeunt servants

Though well we may not pass upon his life
pass (v.) 17 pass sentence, adjudicate

Without the form of justice, yet our power
form (n.) 6 formal procedure, due process, formality
power (n.) 5 exercise of power, authoritative action

Shall do a curtsy to our wrath, which men
curtsy, curtsey (n.) 1 act of courteous respect, deferential action, bow

May blame but not control.

Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or three servants
control (v.) 1 curb, restrain, hold back

                         Who's there? The traitor?


Ingrateful fox, 'tis he!
ingrateful (adj.) 1 ungrateful, unappreciative


Bind fast his corky arms.
corky (adj.) dry, withered, sapless


What means your graces? Good my friends, consider

You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.


Bind him, I say.

Servants tie his hands


                         Hard, hard! O filthy traitor!


Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.


To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find –

Regan plucks his beard
ignobly (adv.) dishonourably, shamefully, badly


By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done

To pluck me by the beard.


So white, and such a traitor!
naughty (adj.) 1 wicked, evil, vile


                         Naughty lady,

These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
ravish (v.) 2 snatch from, tear from

Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host;
quicken (v.) 1 revive, rejuvenate, give life [to]

With robbers' hands my hospitable favours

You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
ruffle (v.) 2 handle roughly, treat with outrage


Come, sir; what letters had you late from France?


Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.
simple-answered (adj.) straight in reply, direct in answer


And what confederacy have you with the traitors

Late footed in the kingdom –
foot (v.) 2 gain a foothold, land
late (adv.) recently, a little while ago / before


To whose hands you have sent the lunatic King? Speak!


I have a letter guessingly set down
guessingly (adv.) as conjecture, by guesswork

Which came from one that's of a neutral heart

And not from one opposed.
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count




                                                         And false.


Where hast thou sent the King?


                         To Dover.


Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril –
charge (v.) 1 order, command, enjoin
peril, at at risk of punishment


Wherefore to Dover? Let him answer that.


I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
course (n.) 7 [in bear-baiting] attack by a set of dogs
stand (v.) 14 withstand, endure, stand up to


Wherefore to Dover?


Because I would not see thy cruel nails

Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister

In his anointed flesh rash boarish fangs.
rash (v.) force, drive; or: slash with

The sea, with such a storm as his bare head

In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up
buoy up (v.) surge, swell, rise up

And quenched the stelled fires;
stelled (adj.) starry, stellar, heavenly

Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.

If wolves had at thy gate howled that dern time
dern, dearn, dearne (adj.) 2 dread, dark, sombre

Thou shouldst have said, ‘ Good porter, turn the key;

All cruels else subscribe.’ But I shall see
cruel (n.) [unclear meaning] form of cruelty, cruel creature
subscribe (v.) 1 concur, consent, give assent

The winged Vengeance overtake such children.


See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.

Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot.


He that will think to live till he be old,

Give me some help! – O, cruel! O, you gods!


One side will mock another. Th' other too!


If you see Vengeance –


                         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.


                         How now, you dog!


If you did wear a beard upon your chin

I'd shake it on this quarrel.

(Cornwall draws his sword)
mean (v.) 1 intend, purpose, mean to act
shake (v.) 1 seize, grasp, move

                         What do you mean?


My villain!
villain (n.) 1 serf, servant, bondman

He lunges at him
chance (n.) 5 fortune, lot, destiny


(drawing his sword)

Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

He wounds Cornwall
stand up (v.) confront boldly, make a stand


Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!

She takes a sword and runs at him behind


O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left

To see some mischief on him. O!
mischief (n.) 3 harm, injury, damage

He dies


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

Where is thy lustre now?


All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?

Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature

To quit this horrid act.
quit (v.) 6 avenge, requite, take vengeance [on]


                         Out, treacherous villain!

Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he

That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
overture (n.) 1 disclosure, revelation

Who is too good to pity thee.


O my follies! Then Edgar was abused.
abuse (v.) 2 misuse, maltreat, treat badly, wrong

Kind gods, forgive me that and prosper him.


Go thrust him out at gates and let him smell

His way to Dover.

Exit a servant 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.
apace (adv.) quickly, speedily, at a great rate See Topics: Frequency count

Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
untimely (adv.) 2 inopportunely, at a bad time

Exit Cornwall, supported by Regan


I'll never care what wickedness I do

If this man come to good.


                         If she live long,

And in the end meet the old course of death,
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure
old (adj.) 5 normal, usual, commonplace

Women will all turn monsters.


Let's follow the old Earl, and get the Bedlam
bedlam (n.) mad beggar, madman/woman, lunatic

To lead him where he would; his roguish madness
roguish (adj.) characteristic of vagabonds, wild

Allows itself to anything.
allow (v.) 5 permit to indulge, surrender, give over


Go thou. I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs

To apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!

Exeunt by opposite doors

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