William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of King Lear

2. Scene II. Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

[Enter Goneril and Edmund; Oswald meeting them.]

Welcome, my lord: I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.--Now, where's your master?

Madam, within; but never man so chang'd.
I told him of the army that was landed;
He smil'd at it: I told him you were coming;
His answer was, 'The worse': Of Gloster's treachery
And of the loyal service of his son
When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out:--
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.

[To Edmund.] Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terror of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he'll not feel wrongs
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother;
Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
I must change arms at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us; ere long you are like to hear,
If you dare venture in your own behalf,
A mistress's command. [Giving a favour.]
Wear this; spare speech;
Decline your head: this kiss, if it durst speak,
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air:--
Conceive, and fare thee well.

Yours in the ranks of death!

[Exit Edmund.]

My most dear Gloster.
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman's services are due:
My fool usurps my body.

Madam, here comes my lord.


[Enter Albany.]

I have been worth the whistle.

O Goneril!
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face! I fear your disposition:
That nature which contemns it origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

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