King Lear
Background on King Lear: King Leir the Play: Scene 30

The Gallian King, apparently addressing a group, pledges them no harm if they re-subscribe to Lier, explaining the daughters’ betrayal of their father.  A nobleman says, in effect, you should have told us sooner, and we would not have greeted you with arms.  They will gladly return to Lier, for they are sorely taxed under the new regime.  He will send to the word to all, and all will “come apace.”

Leir thanks everyone, including the Lord.  Mumford says something silly about meeting naked women instead of armed men. Cordella, Lier, and Perillus wish for strength but pray instead. As the Gallian King is bestirred to further the quest, the villains come in.  Cornwall challenges the king’s right to attack a sovereign state.  The Gallian King claims the right of revenge for Leir wronged by his daughters.  Cambria rejects the claim, and orders the king away.  Mumford promises to hunt him ceaselessly.

Gonorill and Ragan basically call the claims lies, and Cordella shames them.  But Leir has proof, the letters captured from the assassin.  They review the attempt, yell epithets at each other, and then repair to their respective camps for war.

Scene 29 . . . Directory . . . Scene 31

Scene 30

Enter the Gallian King, Leir, Mumford, Cordella, Perillus, and soldiers, with the chief of the town bound.

KING: Fear not, my friends, you shall receive no hurt,
If you’ll subscribe unto your lawful King,
And quite revoke your fealty from Cambria,
And from aspiring Cornwall too, whose wives
Have practiced treason ‘gainst their father’s life.
We come in justice of your wronged King,
And do intend no harm at all to you,
So you submit unto your lawful King.

LEIR: Kind Countrymen, it grieves me, that perforce,
I am constrained to use extremities. … [30.10]

NOBLE: Long have you here been looked-for, good my Lord,
And wished-for by a general consent:
And had we known your Highness had arrived,
We had not made resistance to your Grace:
And now, my gracious Lord, you need not doubt,
But all the Country will yield presently,
Which since your absence have him greatly taxed,
For to maintain their over-swelling pride.
We’ll presently send word to all our friends;
When they have notice, they will come apace. … [30.20]

LEIR: Thanks, loving subjects; and thanks, worthy son,
Thanks, my kind daughter, thanks to you, my Lord,
Who willingly adventured have your blood,
(Without desert) to do me so much good.

MUMFORD: O, say no so:
I have been much beholding to your Grace:
I must confess, I have been in some skirmishes,
But I was never in the like to this:
For where I was wont to meet with armed men,
I was now encountered with naked women. … [30.30]

CORDELLA: We that are feeble, and want use of Arms,
Will pray to God, to shield you from all harms.
LEIR: The while your hands do manage ceaseless toil,
Our hearts shall pray, the foes may have the foil.

PERILLUS: We’ll fast and pray, whilst you for us do fight,
That victory may prosecute the right.

KING: Me thinks, your words do amplify (my friends)
And add fresh vigor to my willing limbs: [Drum.]
But hark, I hear the adverse Drum approach.
God and our right, Saint Denis, and Saint George. … [30.40]

Enter Cornwall, Cambria, Gonorill, Ragan, and the army.

CORNWALL: Presumptuous King of Gauls, how darest thou
Presume to enter on our British shore?
And more than that, to take our towns perforce,
And draw our subjects’ hearts from their true King?
Be sure to buy it at as dear a price,
As ere you bought presumption in your lives.

KING: O’er-daring Cornwall, know, we came in right,
And just revengement of the wronged King,
Whose daughters there, fell vipers as they are,
Have sought to murder and deprive of life: … [30.50]
But God protected him from all their spite,
And we are come in justice of his right.

CAMBRIA: Nor he nor thou have any interest here,
But what you win and purchase with the sword.
Thy slanders to our noble virtuous Queenes,
We’ll in the battle thrust them down thy throat,
Except for fear of our revenging hands,
Thou fly to sea, as not secure on lands.

MUMFORD: Welshman, I’ll so ferret you ere night for that word,
That you shall have no mind to crake so well this twelve-month. … [30.60]

GONORILL: They lie, that say, we sought our father’s death.

RAGAN: Tis merely forged for a color’s sake,
To set a gloss on your invasion.
Me thinks, an old man ready for to die,
Should be ashamed to broach so foul a lie.

CORDELLA: Fie, shameless sister, so devoid of grace,
To call our father liar to his face.

GONORILL: Peace (Puritan) dissembling hypocrite,
Which art so good, that thou wilt prove stark naught:
Anon, when as I have you in my fingers, … [30.70]
I’ll make you wish yourself in Purgatory.

PERILLUS: Nay, peace thou monster, shame unto thy sex:
Thou fiend in likeness of a human creature.

RAGAN: I never heard a fouler-spoken man.

LEIR: Out on thee, viper, scum, filthy parricide,
More odious to my sight than is a Toad.
Knowest thou these letters? She snatches them & tears them.

RAGAN: Think you to outface me with your paltry scrolls?
You come to drive my husband from his right,
Under the color of a forged letter. … [30.80]

LEIR: Who ever heard the like impiety?

PERILLUS: You are our debtor of more patience:
We were more patient when we stayed for you,
Within the thicket two long hours and more.

RAGAN: What hours? what thicket?

PERILLUS:
There, where you sent your servant with your letters,
Sealed with your hand, to send us both to heaven,
Where, as I think, you never mean to come.

RAGAN: Alas, you are grown a child again with age,
Or else your senses dote for want of sleep. … [30.90]

PERILLUS: Indeed you made us rise betimes, you know,
Yet had a care we should sleep where you bade us stay,
But never wake more till the latter day.

GONORILL: Peace, peace, old fellow, thou art sleepy still.

MUMFORD: Faith, and if you reason till to morrow,
You get no other answer at their hands.
Tis pity two such good faces
Should have so little grace between them.
Well let us see if their husbands with their hands,
Can do as much, as they do with their tongues. … [30.100]

CAMBRIA: Aye, with their swords they’ll make your tongue unsay
What they have said, or else they’ll cut them out.

KING: To’t, gallants, to’t, let’s not stand brawling thus.

Exeunt both armies.

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