[Enter Goneril and Edmund, the Bastard.]
Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
[Enter Oswald, the Steward.]
Now, where’s your master?
Madam, within, but never man so changed.
 I told him of the army that was landed;
He smiled at it. I told him you were coming;
His answer was “The worse.” Of Gloucester’s
And of the loyal service of his son
 When I informed him, then he called me “sot”
And told me I had turned the wrong side out.
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;
What like, offensive.
GONERIL , [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 names at home and give the distaff
Into my husband’s hands. This trusty servant
Shall pass between us. Ere long you are like to
If you dare venture in your own behalf—
 A mistress’s command. Wear this; spare speech.
[She gives him a favor.]
Decline your head. [She kisses him.] This kiss, if it
Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.
Conceive, and fare thee well.
Yours in the ranks of death. [He exits.]
GONERIL My most dear
O, the difference of man and man!
To thee a woman’s services are due;
 My fool usurps my body.
OSWALD Madam, here comes my lord. [He exits.]
I have been worth the whistle.
ALBANY O Goneril,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
 Blows in your face. I fear your disposition.
That nature which contemns its 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.
GONERIL No more. The text is foolish.
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.
Filths savor but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?
 A father, and a gracious agèd man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you
 Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
A man, a prince, by him so benefited!
If that the heavens do not their visible spirits
Send quickly down to tame these vile offenses,
It will come:
 Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.
GONERIL Milk-livered man,
That bear’st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs;
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
 Thine honor from thy suffering; that not know’st
Fools do those villains pity who are punished
Ere they have done their mischief. Where’s thy
France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,
 With plumèd helm thy state begins to threat,
Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
“Alack, why does he so?”
ALBANY See thyself, devil!
Proper deformity shows not in the fiend
 So horrid as in woman.
GONERIL O vain fool!
Thou changèd and self-covered thing, for shame
Bemonster not thy feature. Were ’t my fitness
To let these hands obey my blood,
 They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
Thy flesh and bones. Howe’er thou art a fiend,
A woman’s shape doth shield thee.
GONERIL Marry, your manhood, mew—
[Enter a Messenger.]
ALBANY What news?
O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall’s dead,
Slain by his servant, going to put out
The other eye of Gloucester.
ALBANY Gloucester’s eyes?
A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
 Opposed against the act, bending his sword
To his great master, who, thereat enraged,
Flew on him and amongst them felled him dead,
But not without that harmful stroke which since
Hath plucked him after.
ALBANY This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge. But, O poor Gloucester,
Lost he his other eye?
MESSENGER Both, both, my lord.—
 This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
[Giving her a paper.]
’Tis from your sister.
GONERIL , [aside] One way I like this well.
But being widow and my Gloucester with her
May all the building in my fancy pluck
 Upon my hateful life. Another way
The news is not so tart.—I’ll read, and answer.
Where was his son when they did take his eyes?
Come with my lady hither.
ALBANY He is not here.
No, my good lord. I met him back again.
ALBANY Knows he the wickedness?
Ay, my good lord. ’Twas he informed against him
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.
ALBANY Gloucester, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show’d’st the King,
And to revenge thine eyes.—Come hither, friend.
Tell me what more thou know’st.