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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 3, Scene 7



           Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GONERIL,
           EDMUND, and Servants.

      CORNWALL
  1   Post speedily to my lord your husband; show him
1. Post: Ride with a letter.  my lord your husband: i.e., Goneril's husband, the Duke of Albany.

  2   this letter: the army of France is landed. Seek
  3   out the villain Gloucester.

      REGAN
  4   Hang him instantly.

      GONERIL
  5   Pluck out his eyes.

      CORNWALL
  6   Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
  7   sister company: the revenges we are bound to take
6-7. our sister: i.e., Cornwall's sister-in-law, Goneril. we are bound: i.e., I am bound by duty.

  8   upon your traitorous father are not fit for your
  9   beholding. Advise the duke, where you are going, to
 10   a most festinate preparation: we are bound to the
10. festinate preparation: i.e., speedy preparation for war with France.  are bound : are committed.

 11   like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent
11. posts: messengers.  intelligent: well-informed.

 12   betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister: farewell, my
 13   lord of Gloucester.
12-13. my lord of Gloucester: i.e., Edmund, now the recipient of his father's forfeited title and estate.


           Enter Steward [OSWALD].

 14   How now! where's the king?

      OSWALD
 15   My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence:
15. my lord of Gloucester: Gloucester.

 16   Some five or six and thirty of his knights,
16. his knights: Lear's knights.

 17   Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
17. questrists: searchers.

 18   Who, with some other of the lord's dependants,
18. the lord's: Gloucester's.

 19   Are gone with him towards Dover; where they boast
 20   To have well-armed friends.

      CORNWALL
                                               Get horses for your mistress.

      GONERIL
 21   Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

      CORNWALL
 22   Edmund, farewell.

           Exeunt [GONERIL, EDMUND, and OSWALD].

 22                                 Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
 23   Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
23. Pinion him: tie his hands and arms.Pinion Torture


           [Exeunt some Servants.]

 24   Though well we may not pass upon his life
 25   Without the form of justice, yet our power
24-25. Though well . . . justice: though rightly I may not pass sentence upon his life without a legal trial.

 26   Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
26. do a courtesy to: bow to.

 27   May blame, but not control. Who's there? the traitor?
27. control: openly oppose.


           Enter GLOUCESTER, [brought in by two or
            three] Servants.

      REGAN
 28   Ingrateful fox! 'tis he.

      CORNWALL
 29   Bind fast his corky arms.
29. corky: withered with age.


      GLOUCESTER
 30   What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
Gloucester being bound
Illustrator: H.C. Selous

 31   You are my guests: do me no foul play, friends.

      CORNWALL
 32   Bind him, I say.

           [Servants bind him.]

      REGAN
 32                                 Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

      GLOUCESTER
 33   Unmerciful lady as you are, I'm none.
33. I'm none: I'm not one [a "filthy traitor"].


      CORNWALL
 34   To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find—

           [REGAN plucks his beard.]
plucks his beard: This is an act of extreme contempt.


      GLOUCESTER
 35   By the kind gods, 'tis most ignobly done
 36   To pluck me by the beard.

      REGAN
 37   So white, and such a traitor!
37. white: white-haired; venerable.


      GLOUCESTER
                                                    Naughty lady,
Naughty: Wicked.

 38   These hairs, which thou dost ravish from my chin,
38. ravish: tear.

 39   Will quicken, and accuse thee: I am your host:
39. quicken: come to life.

 40   With robbers' hands my hospitable favours
40. my hospitable favours: i.e., my welcoming face.

 41   You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
41. ruffle: snatch at roughly.


      CORNWALL
 42   Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?
42. late: lately.


      REGAN
 43   Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth.
43. simple-answer'd : straightforward.


      CORNWALL
 44   And what confederacy have you with the traitors
 45   Late footed in the kingdom?
45. Late footed: recently landed.


      REGAN
 46   To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?
 47   Speak.

      GLOUCESTER
                  I have a letter guessingly set down,
47. guessingly set down: written without confirmation; speculative.

 48   Which came from one that's of a neutral heart,
 49   And not from one opposed.

      CORNWALL
                                                  Cunning.

      REGAN
                                                                 And false.

      CORNWALL
 50   Where hast thou sent the king?

      GLOUCESTER
 51   To Dover.

      REGAN
 52   Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

      CORNWALL
 53   Wherefore to Dover? Let him first answer that.

      GLOUCESTER
 54   I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.
54. Bear baiting I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course: Gloucester compares his plight to that of the bear in a bear-baiting, in which the bear was tied to a stake had to fight off a pack of dogs. >>>


      REGAN
 55   Wherefore to Dover, sir?

      GLOUCESTER
 56   Because I would not see thy cruel nails
 57   Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
 58   In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
58. anointed: sanctified; consecrated with holy oils [as part of the king's coronation].

 59   The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
 60   In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up,
60. buoy'd up: risen high.

 61   And quench'd the stelled fires:
61. stelled fires: stars' fires.

 62   Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
62. holp: helped. Lear added to the rain by weeping.

 63   If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that dearn time,
63. dearn : dire; dread.

 64   Thou shouldst have said 'Good porter, turn the key,'
64. turn the key: i.e., open the door and let them in.

 65   All cruels else subscribe: but I shall see
65. All cruels else subscribe: i.e., all other cruel beings would have yielded to pity, but you do not.

 66   The winged vengeance overtake such children.
66. winged : swooping down from heaven; swift.


      CORNWALL
 67   See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
67. Fellows: servants.

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

      GLOUCESTER
 69   He that will think to live till he be old,
69. will think: hopes.
boot decdending on face of Gloucester

 70   Give me some help!

           [Cornwall stomps out one of
           Gloucester's eyes.]

 70                                 O cruel! O you gods!

      REGAN
 71   One side will mock another; the other too.
71. BlindingOne . . . too: i.e., one side will make the other look bad, so let's do the other one too!


      CORNWALL
 72   If you see vengeance,—

      First Servant
                                        Hold your hand, my lord:
72. Hold your hand : i.e., stop what you are doing; do not attack Gloucester again.

 73   I have served you ever since I was a child;
 74   But better service have I never done you
 75   Than now to bid you hold.

      REGAN
 75                                             How now, you dog!

      First Servant  [To Regan.]
 76   If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
 77   I'd shake it on this quarrel.
77. shake it: shake your beard; i.e., spit in your face. on this quarrel: in this cause.


      REGAN
                                                 What do you mean?
What do you mean?: i.e., What do you think you are doing?; How dare you!


      CORNWALL
 78   My villain!
78. villain: serf.


           [Cornwall draws his sword.]

      First Servant
 79   Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
79. Nay, then, come on: i.e., OK, let's fight. take the chance of anger: take your chances in an angry quarrel.


           [The Servant draws his sword. They fight
           and the Servant wounds Cornwall.]

      REGAN
 80   Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus!

           [Takes a sword, stabs the servant
           in the back, and so] kills him.

      First Servant
 81   O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
 82   To see some mischief on him. O!
82. To see some mischief on him: i.e., to see the injury that I have done him.


           [Dies.]

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

           [Plucks out Gloucester's remaining eye.]

 84   Where is thy lustre now?
84. lustre: luster, gloss.


      GLOUCESTER
 85   All dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund?
 86   Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature,
86. enkindle . . . nature: i.e., turn your natural love for your father into a blaze of righteous anger.

 87   To quit this horrid act.
87. To quit : to requite; avenge.


      REGAN
                                          Out, treacherous villain!
Out: An exclamation of anger or impatience.

 88   Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he
 89   That made the overture of thy treasons to us;
89. overture : revelation; disclosure.

 90   Who is too good to pity thee.

      GLOUCESTER
 91   O my follies! then Edgar was abused.
91. follies: stupidities. abused: wronged; slandered.

 92   Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!
92. prosper him: cause him to prosper.


      REGAN
 93   Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
 94   His way to Dover.
94. Dover Dover: Dover's white cliffs face France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. This is the place where King Lear has been taken, and where the King of France will land with his army.


           Exit [one] with GLOUCESTER.
           [REGAN sees that Cornwall is
           wounded.]

                                     How is't, my lord? how look you?
How is't, my lord? how look you? : How is it with you? How do you feel?


      CORNWALL
 95   I have received a hurt: follow me, lady.
95. a hurt : an injury.

 96   Turn out that eyeless villain; throw this slave
96. this slave: i.e., the servant that Regan killed.

 97   Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace:
97. apace: at a considerable pace; fast and getting faster.

 98   Untimely comes this hurt: give me your arm.

           Exit [CORNWALL, assisted by REGAN.]

      Second Servant
 99   I'll never care what wickedness I do,
100   If this man come to good.

      Third Servant
                                               If she live long,
101   And in the end meet the old course of death,
101. old: customary; natural.

102   Women will all turn monsters.
102. Women will all turn monsters.: Because they will not fear punishment for their crimes.


      Second Servant
103   Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam
103. the old earl: Gloucester [Edmund is the new earl]. Bedlam: Madman; i.e., Edgar, disguised as "Poor Tom." his roguish madness / Allows itself to any thing.: i.e., the fact that he is a vagabond madman allows him to get away with anything. [Perhaps the servant thinks that in the company of a madman Gloucester will be relatively safe from detection by his enemies.]

104   To lead him where he would: his roguish madness
105   Allows itself to any thing.

      Third Servant
106   Go thou: I'll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
107   To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!

           Exeunt [in different directions].