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  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 10

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CORNWALL

I set him there, sir, but his own disorders
195Deserved much less advancement.

CORNWALL

I sent him there, sir, but his crimes deserved a worse punishment.

LEAR

     You! Did you?

LEAR

You! You did it?

REGAN

I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me.
200I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.

REGAN

Please, father, since you’re weak, act like it. Get rid of half your knights and go back to spend the rest of your month with my sister. Afterward, you can stay with me. Right now I’m away from home and I can’t provide you with proper care.

LEAR

Return to her, and fifty men dismissed?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl—
205To wage against the enmity o' th' air—
Necessity’s sharp pinch! Return with her?
Why, the hot-blooded France that dowerless took
Our youngest born—I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and, squirelike, pension beg
210To keep base life afoot. Return with her?
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom. (indicates OSWALD)

LEAR

Go back with her? Send away fifty of my knights? No. I’d rather renounce living in a house, and wander in the open air in the hardships of poverty, as a friend of the wolf and the owl. Go back with her? I might as well go before the King of France, who took my youngest daughter without a dowry, kneel before his throne, and beg him to give me a tiny pension to stay alive. Go back with her? I’d rather be a slave or a packhorse for this hateful stablehand here. (he points to OSWALD)

GONERIL

   At your choice, sir.

GONERIL

As you wish, sir.

LEAR

Now, I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad.
I will not trouble thee, my child. Farewell.
215We’ll no more meet, no more see one another.
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter—
Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil,
A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle
220In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee.
Let shame come when it will. I do not call it.

LEAR

I beg you, daughter, don’t make me crazy. I won’t bother you. We’ll never see each other again. But you’re still my child, my flesh and blood—or rather you’re a disease in my flesh, a disease I still have to call my own. You’re a pustule, a sore, a tumor digesting my bloodline. But I’ll stop rebuking you. You’ll feel shame when the time is right, and I don’t urge you to be ashamed now. I won’t beg the gods to punish you, or caution you to fear their judgment. Become a better