Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.


King Lear : Act 2, Scene 1



           Enter Bastard [EDMUND] and CURAN meets him.
and CURAN meets him: —Edmund and Curan just happen to run into one another. [Curan appears only in this scene.]


      EDMUND
  1   Save thee, Curan.
1. Save thee: God save thee.


      CURAN
  2   And you, sir. I have been with your father, and
2. your father: Gloucester.

  3   given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and
  4   Regan his duchess will be here with him this night.
4. here: Gloucester's house.


      EDMUND
  5   How comes that?

      CURAN
  6   Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news
  7   abroad; I mean the whisper'd ones, for they
  8   are yet but ear-bussing arguments?
8. ear-bussing: ear-kissing, ear-whispering. arguments: subject matter of discussions.


      EDMUND
  9   Not I. Pray you, what are they?

      CURAN
 10   Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt
10. toward: imminent.

 11   the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

      EDMUND
 12   Not a word.

      CURAN
 13   You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.

           Exit.

      EDMUND
 14   The duke be here tonight? The better! best!
 15   This weaves itself perforce into my business.
 16   My father hath set guard to take my brother;
16. hath . . . brother: is on the watch to catch Edgar in the act of plotting against his father.

 17   And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
17. of a queasy question: which may be difficult to pull off.

 18   Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
18. briefness and fortune, work!: i.e., may speedy action and good luck bring me success!

           [Loudly.]
 19   Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
           [Quietly, so Edgar can't hear.]
 20   My father watches—
19-20. Brother . . . watches: — Edmund calls for Edgar to come out of hiding, so that he can engage him in an incriminating conversation while their father, Gloucester, also in hiding, listens in. >>>


           Enter EDGAR.

 20                                     O sir, fly this place;
20. fly: flee.

 21   Intelligence is given where you are hid;
21. Intelligence is given where you are hid: i.e., your hiding place has been spied out.

 22   You have now the good advantage of the night:
 23   Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
 24   He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
 25   And Regan with him: have you nothing said
 26   Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
25-26. have . . . Albany?: have you said anything on the side of the Duke of Cornwall and against the Duke of Albany?  >>>

 27   Advise yourself.
27. Advise yourself: consider carefully.


      EDGAR
                                     I am sure on't, not a word.
27. sure on't: sure of it.


      EDMUND
 28   I hear my father coming: pardon me:
 29   In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
 30   Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well. —
30. quit you well: acquit yourself well; make a good show of fighting me off.

           [Very Loudly.]
 31   Yield! Come before my father! Light, ho, here! —
           [Softly, to Edgar.]
 32   Fly, brother.
           [Very Loudly.]
                             Torches, torches!
           [To Edgar? To the audience, with irony?]
                                                           So, farewell.

           Exit Edgar.

 33   Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
 34   Of my more fierce endeavour:
33-34. would beget opinion / Of my more fierce endeavour: would convince anyone that I fought very hard.

Self-Wounded Edmund
Max Bennet as Edmund
Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2014

           [Wounds his arm].
                                                         I have seen drunkards
 35   Do more than this in sport.
           [Shouting.]
                                                              Father, father!
 36   Stop, stop! No help?

           Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches.

      GLOUCESTER
 37   Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

      EDMUND
 38   Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
 39   Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
 40   To stand's auspicious mistress —
40. stand's auspicious mistress: stand as his auspicious mistress; i.e., give him good luck in his deeds of darkness.


      GLOUCESTER
                                                             But where is he?

      EDMUND
 41   Look, sir, I bleed.

      GLOUCESTER
                                      Where is the villain, Edmund?

      EDMUND
 42   Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could —

      GLOUCESTER
 43   Pursue him, ho! Go after.

           [Exeunt some Servants.]

                                                    By no means what?

      EDMUND
 44   Persuade me to the murder of your lordship,
 45   But that I told him, the revenging gods
45. But that: but when.

 46   'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend,
 47   Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
 48   The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
48. in fine: in sum.

 49   Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
49. loathly opposite: abhorrently opposed.

 50   To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
50. in fell motion: with a deadly thrust.

 51   With his prepared sword, he charges home
51. charges home: strikes to the heart of.

 52   My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
52. unprovided: unarmed. lanced: pierced.

 53   But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
53. alarum'd: called to arms, aroused to action.

 54   Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
54. quarrel's right: justice of the cause.

 55   Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
55. gasted: ghosted; scared.

 56   Full suddenly he fled.

      GLOUCESTER
                                            Let him fly far:
 57   Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
 58   And found — dispatch. The noble duke my master,
58. And found — dispatch: And once found, killed.

 59   My worthy arch and patron, comes tonight:
59. arch: lord; chief; i.e., the Duke of Cornwall.

 60   By his authority I will proclaim it,
 61   That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
 62   Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
 63   He that conceals him, death.

      EDMUND
 64   When I dissuaded him from his intent,
 65   And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
65. pight: pitched, determined. curst: angry.

 66   I threaten'd to discover him; he replied,
66. discover: expose; reveal.

 67   'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
67. unpossessing: without land or status.

 68   If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
68. reposal: placing.

 69   Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
 70   Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny, —
70. faith'd: credible; believed.

 71   As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
 72   My very character, —I'ld turn it all
72. My very character: i.e., incriminating evidence in my own handwriting.

 73   To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
73. suggestion: instigation. practise: plot.

 74   And thou must make a dullard of the world,
74. make a dullard of the world: think people very stupid.

 75   If they not thought the profits of my death
75. profits of my death Edgar's death might open the way for Edmund to become Gloucester's hier.
76. pregnant and potential: ready and powerful.

 76   Were very pregnant and potential spurs
 77   To make thee seek it.'

      GLOUCESTER
                                   O strange and fasten'd villain!
77. strange: unnatural. fasten'd: incorrigible.

 78   Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
78. got: begot.


           Tucket within.
Tucket: trumpet flourish.


 79   Hark, the Duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
 80   All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
80. All ports I'll bar: i.e., I'll close every town in the dukedom to him.

 81   The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
 82   I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
 83   May have the due note of him; and of my land,
 84   Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
84. natural: loving; illegitimate.

 85   To make thee capable.
85. capable: legally able to inherit.


           Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.

      CORNWALL
 86   How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
 87   Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.

      REGAN
 88   If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
88. vengeance comes too short: i.e., vengeance is not enough.

 89   Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

      GLOUCESTER
 90   O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!

      REGAN
 91   What, did my father's godson seek your life?
 92   He whom my father named? your Edgar?

      GLOUCESTER
 93   O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!

      REGAN
 94   Was he not companion with the riotous knights
 95   That tend upon my father?

      GLOUCESTER
 96   I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad.

      EDMUND
 97   Yes, madam, he was of that consort.

      REGAN
 98   No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
98. ill affected: i.e., negatively affected.

 99   'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
99. have put him on: i.e., have put him up to; incited.

100   To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
100. To . . . revenues. : i.e., in order to loot Gloucester's estate once Edgar has inherited it.

101   I have this present evening from my sister
102   Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
103   That if they come to sojourn at my house,
104   I'll not be there.

      CORNWALL
104                               Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
105   Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
106   A child-like office.
106. A child-like office: a service that is natural to an affectionate child.


      EDMUND
                                   It was my duty, sir.

      GLOUCESTER
107   He did bewray his practise; and received
107. bewray his practise: disclose his (Edgar's) plot.

108   This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
108. This hurt you see: i.e., the bloody wound that Edmund gave himself.


      CORNWALL
109   Is he pursued?

      GLOUCESTER
                              Ay, my good lord.

      CORNWALL
110   If he be taken, he shall never more
111   Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
110-111. he . . . harm: i.e., no one will will ever again have anything to fear from him.

112   How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
111-112. make . . . please: i.e., pursue and punish Edgar however you like, and I will back you up with my power and authority.

113   Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
114   So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
115   Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
116   You we first seize on.

      EDMUND
                                          I shall serve you, sir,
117   Truly, however else.
117. however else: if nothing else. — Edmund is making a show of modesty.


      GLOUCESTER
                                          For him I thank your grace.
117. For him on his (Edmund's) behalf.


      CORNWALL
118   You know not why we came to visit you, —

      REGAN
119   Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night?
120   Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
120. poise: weight, importance.

121   Wherein we must have use of your advice:
122   Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
123   Of differences, which I best thought it fit
122-123. Our . . . differences: i.e., both King Lear and Goneril have written to us of their dispute over King Lear's knights.

124   To answer from our home; the several messengers
124. from our home: from a location away from our home.

125   From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
125. attend dispatch: wait to be dispatched.

126   Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
127   Your needful counsel to our business,
127. needful: badly needed.

128   Which craves the instant use.
128. craves the instant use: demands immediate attention.


      GLOUCESTER
                                                        I serve you, madam:
129   Your graces are right welcome.

           Exeunt.