Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

LEAR

   No, no, they would not.

LEAR

No, no, they wouldn’t.

KENT

     Yes, they have.

KENT

Yes, they have.

LEAR

15By Jupiter, I swear “No.”

LEAR

By the god Jupiter above, I swear “No.”

KENT

By Juno, I swear “Ay.”

KENT

By Jupiter’s wife Juno, I swear “Yes.”

LEAR

   They durst not do ’t.
They could not, would not do ’t. 'Tis worse than murder
To do upon respect such violent outrage.
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
20Thou mightst deserve or they impose this usage,
Coming from us.

LEAR

They wouldn’t dare. They couldn’t, they wouldn’t. It’s worse than murder to humiliate a king’s messenger like this. Tell me as quickly and clearly as you can what you did to deserve this punishment, or what made them think they could inflict it on you.

KENT

   My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them.
Ere I was risen from the place that showed
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post,
25Stewed in his haste, half breathless, panting forth
From Goneril his mistress salutations,
Delivered letters spite of intermission,
Which presently they read, on whose contents
They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse,
30Commanded me to follow and attend
The leisure of their answer, gave me cold looks.
And meeting here the other messenger,
Whose welcome I perceived had poisoned mine—
Being the very fellow which of late
35Displayed so saucily against your highness—
Having more man than wit about me, drew.
He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
Your son and daughter found this trespass worth
The shame which here it suffers.

KENT

My lord, when I arrived at their home I gave them your letter. Before I had a chance to get up from my respectful kneeling position, Goneril’s messenger arrived, stinky, sweaty, and out of breath. He interrupted me, spouted out greetings from her, and delivered her letter, which they opened immediately. After reading it, they gathered their entourage together and got on their horses to go. They glared at me and ordered me to follow them and wait for their answer. After we arrived here, I ran into that other messenger who made them give me the cold shoulder—the very same guy who was so rude to you, King. I admit it was foolish to draw my sword on him, but I had to act like a man. He woke up the whole house with his loud and cowardly screams. That’s why your daughter and son-in-law are punishing me shamefully.