SCENES FOR ACTORS

Iago & Lear—Act 3, Scene VI


ACT 3, SCENE VI

Castle of Aquitaine: a council chamber. 

Escorted by Captain of Royal Guard, enter Iago—washed, attired, called to serve. 

Exit Captain: to join guardsmen at attention outside the chamber doors.

KING LEAR 

I like thy counsel; well hast thou advised: 

And that thou mayst perceive how well I like it, 

I will dispatch you to Bohemia. 

IAGO

Tomorrow, may it please your Majesty. 

KING LEAR

Sweet love!  Sweet lamb!  Sweet life! 

Here is her hand; here is her oath for love.

O, that our fathers would applaud our loves,

To seal our happiness with their consents! 

IAGO

Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom: 

Let the groom render his bloody hand. 

KING LEAR

Honest, honest Iago,  this modest wisdom 

Plucks me from over-credulous haste, and

Hath from my soul wiped the black scruples; 

My daughter shall be Hamlet's, if he please. 

That is her ransom; I deliver her; 

And 'twixt two  great states  will I undertake 

To make a perfect period of peace. 

IAGO

(aside)

This news is not so tart,  but rotten sweet. 

To revoke this charge,  call up the father, 

Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight, 

And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, 

Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy,

Yet throw such changes of vexation on't 

As it may lose some color. 

KING LEAR

Let's purge this choler without letting blood: 

This we prescribe, though no physician; 

Deep malice makes too deep incision; 

Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed; 

Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.  

IAGO

I know your majesty has always loved her 

So dear in heart; yet not to deny that  

She is a woman, therefore to be won— 

Such as she is, in beauty, reason, birth— 

Tis very ample virtue in a father, 

And a king. 

KING LEAR 

Ay, and the best she shall have: 

And my favor to them: God forbid else. 

IAGO

'Faith, thou shalt be canonized, King Lear,

For being not mad but sensible in defeat. 

'Zounds, sir, you are robbed!  You see your daughter,

Your fair Juliet, all your life's delight,

In the gross clasps of a lascivious foe— 

KING LEAR

What tell'st thou me of robbing? This is Aquitaine;

My house is not a grange.

IAGO

(continues)

—Your heart is burst, 

You have lost half your soul; even now, now, 

Very now, a mad ass is tupping your 

Filly foal. 

KING LEAR

Now, Iago? What say'st thou? 

It is too true an evil. Gone she is, 

And what's to come of my despised time 

Is nought but bitterness. O, she deceives 

Me past thought! O heaven! How got she out? 

O unhappy girl! O treason of blood! 

Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds 

By what you see them act. Is there not charms 

By which the property of youth and maidhood

May be abused? Have you not read, Iago,

Of some such thing?

IAGO

 Yes, Sir, I have indeed. 

KING LEAR

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, an embossed carbuncle,

In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;

Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:

I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot, 

Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove: 

Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:

I can be patient; I can  wait for her,

To forsake this vile rascal. 

IAGO

You and your hundred knights. 

KING LEAR

We are no tyrant, but a Christian king. 

IAGO

Arise, arise! Awake the snorting King,

Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you! 

KING LEAR

Hear, nature, hear; dear Goddess, hear! 

Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend 

To make this creature fruitful! 

Into her womb convey sterility! 

Dry up in her the organs of increase; 

And from her derogate body never spring 

A babe to honor her! If she must teem, 

Create her child of spleen; that it may live, 

And be a thwart disnatured torment to her! 

Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth; 

With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks; 

Turn all her mother's pains and benefits 

To laughter and contempt; that she may feel

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child! 

IAGO

Do not believe 

That I would trifle with your reverence. 

Your daughter hath made a gross revolt, 

Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes 

To an extravagant and blood-soaked stranger. 

KING LEAR

All the stored vengeances of heaven fall

On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,

With lameness! Infect her beauty, to fall 

And blast her pride! My curses on her! 

IAGO

Most worthy King, the senate's in council.

KING LEAR

How? The senators of Bohemia

Are in council? Mine's not an idle cause. 

And my brother statesmen cannot but feel 

This wrong as 'twere their own; for if such  ill

Deeds  may have passage free,  bloody murderers  

Shall all our daughters wed.  And King Macbeth?

Shall he not have an heir?  Away, away! 

Saddle my horses! Call my train together! 

In action: exit Iago with Royal Guards.

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need! 

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, 

As full of grief as age; wretched in both! 

If it be you that stir this daughters' heart 

Against her father, fool me not so much 

To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger, 

And let not women's weapons, water-drops, 

Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hag, 

I will have such revenges on you both, 

That all the world shall—I will do such things—

What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be 

The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep? 

No, I'll not weep: 

I have full cause of weeping; but this heart

Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,

Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad! 

Exit King Lear.