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  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 9

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Tucket within
Trumpets play offstage.

CORNWALL

     What trumpet’s that?

CORNWALL

What’s that trumpet?
Enter OSWALD the steward
OSWALD enters.

REGAN

I know ’t—my sister’s. This approves her letter
That she would soon be here. (to OSWALD)
Is your lady come?

REGAN

I know it. It’s my sister’s. She’ll be here soon, just like her letter said. (to OSWALD) Has my sister arrived?

LEAR

180This is a slave whose easy borrowed pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.—
Out, varlet, from my sight!

LEAR

This is a lowlife who basks in the reflection of the fading glory of the woman he works for.—Get out of my sight, scoundrel!

CORNWALL

   What means your grace?

CORNWALL

What do you mean, your highness?
Enter GONERIL
GONERIL enters.

LEAR

Who stocked my servant? Regan, I have good hope
Thou didst not know on ’t.—Who comes here? O heavens,
185If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause. Send down, and take my part!
(to GONERIL) Art not ashamed to look upon this beard?—
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?

LEAR

Who put my servant in the stocks? Regan, I hope you didn’t know anything about that.—Ah, who’s this? Dear gods, if you love old men like me, if you believe in obedience, if you yourselves are old, then please send me down some help! (to GONERIL) Aren’t you ashamed to look at me after the way you’ve treated me in my old age?—Oh, Regan, are you taking her by the hand?

GONERIL

190Why not by th' hand, sir? How have I offended?
All’s not offense that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.

GONERIL

Why shouldn’t she take my hand, father? How exactly have I offended you? Just because a senile man with poor judgment calls something an insult doesn’t necessarily mean it is one.

LEAR

   O sides, you are too tough.
Will you yet hold?—How came my man i' th' stocks?

LEAR

Oh, how can the sides of my body hold in my grieving heart?—How did my messenger wind up in the stocks?