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  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 5

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LEAR

“Informed them”? Dost thou understand me, man?

LEAR

“Informed them”? Do you understand what I’m saying, man?

GLOUCESTER

90Ay, my good lord.

GLOUCESTER

Yes, my lord.

LEAR

The king would speak with Cornwall. The dear father
Would with his daughter speak, commands, tends service.
Are they “informed” of this? My breath and blood!
“Fiery”? The “fiery” duke? Tell the hot duke that Lear—
95No, but not yet. Maybe he is not well.
Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound. We are not ourselves
When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body. I’ll forbear,
100And am fallen out with my more headier will
To take the indisposed and sickly fit
For the sound man.
(notices KENT again)
   Death on my state! Wherefore
Should he sit here? This act persuades me
105That this remotion of the duke and her
Is practice only. Give me my servant forth.
Go tell the duke and ’s wife I’d speak with them—
Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,
Or at their chamber door I’ll beat the drum
110Till it cry sleep to death.

LEAR

The king wants to speak with Cornwall. The father wants to speak with his daughter. He orders them—he begs them. Did you inform them of that? This is unbelievable! “Passionate”? The “passionate” duke? Tell the hot-headed duke that I… But no, not yet. Maybe he’s not feeling well. When we’re ill we can’t carry out our duties as well as when we’re healthy. When our bodies are out of order, our minds can’t function properly. I’ll hold off, and subdue my impulsive temper, which makes me judge a sick man as if he were well. (he notices KENT again) A curse on my royal power! Why should he sit here like this? The fact that they punished him convinces me that Regan and the duke are avoiding me on purpose. I want my servant released. Go tell the duke and his wife I’ll speak to them right now, at once. Tell them to come here and hear me out, or else I’ll beat a drum at their bedroom door until they can’t sleep any more.

GLOUCESTER

   I would have all well betwixt you.

GLOUCESTER

I just want everything to be all right between you.
Exit GLOUCESTER
GLOUCESTER exits.

LEAR

O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down.

LEAR

Oh, my heart, my heart is rising into my throat! Stay down, heart.