King Lear : Act 2, Scene 2

           Enter KENT [disguised as Caius]
severally separately

art of this house? are you a servant here?
           and Steward [OSWALD], severally.  

  1   Good dawning to thee, friend: art of this
  2   house?

  3   Ay.

  4   Where may we set our horses?

mire wet, soggy, muddy ground; a bog

if thou lovest me a conventional phrase equivalent to a "my friend" addressed to a stranger
  5   I' the mire.

  6   Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

  7   I love thee not.

  8   Why, then, I care not for thee.

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

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

 13   Fellow, I know thee.

 14   What dost thou know me for?

broken meats kitchen scraps
three-suited Servants were commonly given three suits of clothes per year.
action-taking knave a rascal who loves to sue people finical affectedly fastidious
bawd pimp | in way of good service i.e., in order to please his masters
composition combination

thy addition the titles (of abuse) I have given you
 15   A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base,
 16   proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-
 17   pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered,
 18   action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-
 19   serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave;
 20   one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service,
 21   and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar,
 22   coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch:
 23   one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou
 24   deniest the least syllable of thy addition.

 25   Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to
 26   rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows
 27   thee!

varlet a servant; a menial

Draw i.e., draw your sword
 28   What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou
 29   knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up
 30   thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you
 31   rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon
 32   shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you:
cullionly rascally | barber-monger frequenter of barber-shops, fop
 33   draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

           [Drawing his sword.]

 34   Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

 35   Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against
vanity the puppet the doll vanity; i.e., Goneril
carbonado hack
Come your ways i.e., Come on, fight!
 36   the king; and take vanity the puppet's part against
 37   the royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so
 38   carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal!
 39   Come your ways.

 40   Help, ho! murder! help!

stand stand still; quit dodging | neat foppish
 41   Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat
 42   slave, strike.

           [Beating him.]

 43   Help, ho! murder! murder!

           Enter Bastard [EDMUND.]

Part! Stop fighting! Back off!

With you, goodman boy, an you please! i.e., I'll take you on, punk, if you like!
flesh initiate into fighting (with a flesh wound)
 44   How now! What's the matter? Part!

      KENT [To Edmund.]
 45   With you, goodman boy, an you please!
 46   Come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master.

           and Servants.

 47   Weapons! arms! What 's the matter here?

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

 50   The messengers from our sister and the king.

 51   What is your difference? speak.

 52   I am scarce in breath, my lord.

 53   No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour.
disclaims in thee denies that she had any hand in creating you
 54   You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee:
 55   a tailor made thee.

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

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

 61   Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

 62   This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared
 63   at suit of his gray beard —

zed the letter z, unnecessary because its sound could usually be represented by s. unbolted coarse, like unsifted ("unbolted") flour jakes outhouse | wagtail puppy?

beastly beastlike (because he shows no proper respect for rank)
 64   Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My
 65   lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this
 66   unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of
 67   a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?

 68   Peace, sirrah!
 69   You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

 70   Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.

 71   Why art thou angry?

 72   That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
honesty honorable character
holy cords i.e., bonds of natural affection
t' intrinse too intricately knotted | smooth humor, flatter
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
 74   Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
 75   Which are t' intrinse t' unloose; smooth every passion
 76   That in the natures of their lords rebel;
 77   Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege ... masters i.e., say "aye" and "nay" as the wind blows ...more...
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
 79   With every gale and vary of their masters,
 80   Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
epileptic grimacing
Smile you do you smile at | as as if
Sarum plain Salisbury? — See the discussion in the New Variorum.
Camelot the site of King Arthur's court
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
 82   Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
 83   Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
 84   I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

 85   Why, art thou mad, old fellow?

How fell you out? How did the quarrel start?
 86   How fell you out? say that.

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

 89   Why dost thou call him a knave? What is his fault?

likes pleases
 90   His countenance likes me not.

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

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

 95                                               This is some fellow,
 96   Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
constrains the garb / Quite from his nature i.e., wears the garb of a truth-teller in an over-the-top manner An if | so well and good

silly ducking observants obsequious attendants nicely with excessive concern for every detail
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
 98   Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
 99   An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
100   An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
101   These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
102   Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
103   Than twenty silly ducking observants
104   That stretch their duties nicely.

sooth truth; reality
aspect (1) countenance; (2) astrological position of a planet
Phoebus' front the sun-god's forehead
105   Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity,
106   Under the allowance of your great aspect,
107   Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire
108   On flickering Phoebus' front —

108                                                       What mean'st by this?

dialect manner of speech
he that / beguiled you in a plain accent the plain-speaking man who fooled you (and so made you distrust plain-speakers) | though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't i.e., even though it would be tempting to make you angry by being a plain knave
109   To go out of my dialect, which you discommend
110   so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer: he that
111   beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave;
112   which for my part I will not be, though I should
113   win your displeasure to entreat me to 't.

114   What was the offence you gave him?

115   I never gave him any:
very late recently
upon his misconstruction because he misunderstood me compact leagued (with the King)

put upon him such a deal of man struck such macho attitudes That worthied him made him appear worthy (to the King) For ... self-subdued for assaulting one who restrained himself from fighting back
fleshment of wild excitement produced by | dread exploit —Oswald is being very sarcastic.

None ... fool villains of this kind always boast that they are braver than Ajax
reverend i.e., aged
It pleas'd the king his master very late
117   To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
118   When he, compact, and flattering his displeasure,
119   Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
120   And put upon him such a deal of man
121   That worthied him, got praises of the King
122   For him attempting who was self-subdued,
123   And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
124   Drew on me here again.

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

125                                     Fetch forth the stocks!
126   You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend braggart,

127   We'll teach you —

127                             Sir, I am too old to learn:
128   Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
129   On whose employment I was sent to you:
130   You shall do small respect, show too bold malice
grace and person royal and personal honor 
131   Against the grace and person of my master,
132   Stocking his messenger.

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

135   Till noon! till night, my lord; and all night too.

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

137                                         Sir, being his knave, I will.

of the self-same colour with exactly the same character sister i.e., sister-in-law, Goneril | away along
138   This is a fellow of the self-same colour
139   Our sister speaks of. Come, bring away the stocks!

           Stocks brought out.

140   Let me beseech your Grace not to do so:
141   His fault is much, and the good king his master
check rebuke
Will check him for't. Your purpos'd low correction
143   Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches
144   For pilf'rings and most common trespasses
145   Are punish'd with. The King must take it ill,
146   That he, so slightly valued in his messenger,
147   Should have him thus restrain'd.

answer answer for
147                                                       I'll answer that.

148   My sister may receive it much more worse,
149   To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs i.e., for carrying out his duties on her behalf
150   For following her affairs. Put in his legs.

           [KENT is put in the stocks.]

151   Come, my good lord, away.

           Exit [with all but GLOUCESTER and KENT.]

152   I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the Duke's pleasure,
153   Whose disposition, all the world well knows,
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd i.e, will not allow even the slightest opposition.
154   Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee.

watched i.e., stayed awake and alert
sleep out sleep through
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels i.e., a good man's good luck may just wear out, like shoes or socks.
155   Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd hard;
156   Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
157   A good man's fortune may grow out at heels:
158   Give you good morrow!

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


approve the common saw prove the (following) proverb true out of heaven's ... sun! i.e., go from better to worse
beacon to this under globe i.e., the moon comfortable aiding
160   Good King, that must approve the common saw,
161   Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st
162   To the warm sun!
163   Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,
164   That by thy comfortable beams I may
165   Peruse this letter.

           [Takes out letter.]

Nothing almost sees miracles / But misery. almost none but those suffering misery are granted miracles
obscured course i.e., my attempts to look after Lear in this disguise enormous state monstrous state of affairs
165                                 Nothing almost sees miracles
166   But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia,
167   Who hath most fortunately been inform'd
168   Of my obscured course; and shall find time
169   From this enormous state, seeking to give
170   Losses their remedies.

           [Puts away letter.]

170                                           All weary and o'er-watch'd,
Take vantage take advantage (of sleep)
This shameful lodging i.e., the stocks
171   Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
172   This shameful lodging.
173   Fortune, good night: smile once more; turn thy wheel!