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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 5, Scene 1



           Enter, with drum and colours,
colours: battle flag.

           EDMUND, REGAN, GENTLEMEN,
           and SOLDIERS.

      EDMUND
  1   Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,
1. Know . . . hold: Find out from the Duke of Albany if he is going to stick to the most recently announced decision.

  2   Or whether since he is advised by aught
  3   To change the course: he's full of alteration
2-3. Or . . . course: Or if since we last heard from him, anything has persuaded him to change his mind.

  4   And self-reproving: bring his constant pleasure.
4. bring . . . pleasure: bring me a report of his final decision.


           [Exit a Gentleman.]

      REGAN
  5   Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
5. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried: i.e., I'm quite sure that my sister's servant [Oswald] has met with an accident and is not going to show up.


      EDMUND
  6   'Tis to be doubted, madam.
6. 'Tis to be doubted: i.e., I suspect that you're right.


      REGAN
                                                  Now, sweet lord,
  7   You know the goodness I intend upon you:
  8   Tell me—but truly—but then speak the truth,
  9   Do you not love my sister?
9. my sister: i.e., Goneril


      EDMUND
                                                  In honour'd love.
honour'd: honorable, not romantic.


      REGAN
 10   But have you never found my brother's way
 11   To the forfended place?
11. forfended place: forbidden place; i.e., Goneril's bed.


      EDMUND
                                            That thought abuses you.
abuses: wrongs.


      REGAN
 12   I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
12. doubtful: suspicious. conjunct: joined together.

 13   And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
13. bosom'd: i.e., been intimate. as far as we call hers: i.e., to such an extent that I may call you hers.


      EDMUND
 14   No, by mine honour, madam.

      REGAN
 15   I never shall endure her: dear my lord,
15. I never shall endure her: I shall never endure [you being intimate with] her [Goneril].

 16   Be not familiar with her.

      EDMUND
                                                Fear me not:
Fear me: Doubt me.

 17   She and the duke her husband!

           Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY,
           GONERIL, Soldiers.

      GONERIL [Aside.]
 18   I had rather lose the battle than that sister
 19   Should loosen him and me.
18-19. I had rather lose the battle than that sister / Should loosen him and me: I would rather lose the battle than have my sister loosen the bonds between Edmund and me.


      ALBANY
 20   Our very loving sister, well bemet.
20. bemet: met.

 21   Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
 22   With others whom the rigor of our state
22. rigor of our state: harshness of our rule.

 23   Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
23. cry out: protest, rebel. honest: honorable.

 24   I never yet was valiant: for this business,
 25   It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
 26   Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear,
 27   Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
24-27. for this business . . . oppose: i.e., as for the landing of French forces, it concerns me only because France is invading our land, not because it emboldens King Lear and his remaining supporters, who oppose the current regime for very good and serious causes.


      EDMUND
 28   Sir, you speak nobly.

      REGAN
                                            Why is this reason'd?
28. Why is this reason'd?: Why are we discussing reasons for fighting instead of fighting?


      GONERIL
 29   Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
 30   For these domestic and particular broils
30. domestic and particular broils: family and personal quarrels.

 31   Are not the question here.
31. the question here: the issue now.


      ALBANY
                                                Let's then determine
 32   With the ancient of war on our proceedings.
32. ancient of war: experienced officers.


      EDMUND
 33   I shall attend you presently at your tent.

      REGAN
 34   Sister, you'll go with us?
34. Sister . . . us?: — Regan is trying to keep Goneril and Edmund apart.


      GONERIL
 35   No.

      REGAN
 36   'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.
36. convenient: suitable; fitting.


      GONERIL [Aside.]
 37   O, ho, I know the riddle.—I will go.
37. riddle: disguised meaning of Regan's request to accompany he.


           Exeunt both the armies.
           [As they are going out,
           enter EDGAR disguised.]

      EDGAR
 38   If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
 39   Hear me one word.

      ALBANY
                                  I'll overtake you, — Speak.
39. overtake you: catch up with you. — Albany calls to the others who are leaving and then tells Edgar that he will listen to him.


           [Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR.]

      EDGAR
 40   Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
40. letter: Goneril's letter to Edmund, which Edgar found on Oswald's body.

 41   If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
 42   For him that brought it: wretched though I seem,
 43   I can produce a champion that will prove
43. prove: defend in trial by combat.

 44   What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
44. avouched: what is maintained by the evidence of the letter. miscarry: perish.

 45   Your business of the world hath so an end,
 46   And machination ceases. Fortune love you.
46. machination: plotting.


      ALBANY
 47   Stay till I have read the letter.

      EDGAR
                                                                I was forbid it.
47. it: i.e., to stay while Albany reads the letter.

 48   When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
 49   And I'll appear again.

      ALBANY
 50   Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.
50. o'erlook: read over.


           Exit EDGAR.

           Enter EDMUND.

      EDMUND
 51   The enemy's in view; draw up your powers.
51. powers: troops.

 52   Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
52. guess: estimate.

 53   By diligent discovery; but your haste
53. discovery: scouting.

 54   Is now urged on you.

      ALBANY
                                          We will greet the time.
54. We will greet the time: I will be ready for what is coming.


           Exit [ALBANY].

      EDMUND
 55   To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
 56   Each jealous of the other, as the stung
56. jealous: suspicious.  stung: snake-bitten.

 57   Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
 58   Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
 59   If both remain alive: to take the widow
 60   Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
 61   And hardly shall I carry out my side,
61. hardly: with difficulty. side: plan.

 62   Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use
 63   His countenance for the battle; which being done,
63. countenance: authority, apparent backing.

 64   Let her who would be rid of him devise
64. him: Albany.

 65   His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
 66   Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
 67   The battle done, and they within our power,
 68   Shall never see his pardon; for my state
68. Shall: [they] shall.  state: situation

 69   Stands on me to defend, not to debate.
69. Stands . . . debate: i.e., requires me to defend myself at all costs, not to debate the rights and wrongs of anything.


           Exit.