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.
I like thy counsel; well hast thou advised:
And that thou mayst perceive how well I like it,
I will dispatch you to Bohemia.
Tomorrow, may it please your Majesty.
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!
Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom:
Let the groom render his bloody hand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ay, and the best she shall have:
And my favor to them: God forbid else.
'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—
What tell'st thou me of robbing? This is Aquitaine;
My house is not a grange.
—Your heart is burst,
You have lost half your soul; even now, now,
Very now, a mad ass is tupping your
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?
Yes, Sir, I have indeed.
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.
You and your hundred knights.
We are no tyrant, but a Christian king.
Arise, arise! Awake the snorting King,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you!
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!
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.
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!
Most worthy King, the senate's in council.
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.