King Lear and Kent Essay example

Submitted By robe-full
Words: 4723
Pages: 19

Beating him

Help, ho! murder! murder!
Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants

How now! What's the matter?
With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master.
Weapons! arms! What 's the matter here?
Keep peace, upon your lives:
He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
The messengers from our sister and the king.
What is your difference? speak.
I am scarce in breath, my lord.
No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made thee.
Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or painter could not have made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.
Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at suit of his gray beard,--
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?
Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.
Why art thou angry?
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;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, 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'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Why, art thou mad, old fellow?
How fell you out? say that.
No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.
Why dost thou call him a knave? What's his offence?
His countenance likes me not.
No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.
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.
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!
An 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.
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,--
What mean'st by this?
To go out of my dialect, 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.
What was the offence you gave him?
I never gave him any:
It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
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 dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.
None of these rogues and cowards
But Ajax is their fool.
Fetch forth the stocks!
You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,
We'll teach you--
Sir, I am too old to learn:
Call not your stocks for me: I serve the…