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Osw. What dost thou know me for?

Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, threesuited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; lily livered, action- taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one - trunk - inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.

Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!


Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, 30

to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up thy heels and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you: draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

[Drawing his sword. Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee.

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Kent. Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father: draw, you 40 rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike.

[Beating him.

Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder!

Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORN-

Edm. How now! What's the matter?

Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please: come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master. Glou. Weapons! arms! What's the matter so


Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives:

He dies that strikes again. What is the matter? Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.

Corn. What is your difference? speak.

Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord.

Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made thee.

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow : make a man?

a tailor

Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a painter could not have made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.

39. vanity the puppet's part. 'Vanity' was a frequent personage in the Moralities.

41. carbonado, slash across, like a piece of meat for grilling.



45. neat, spruce, finical.
48. With you, etc.
pretends to understand 'matter
as 'ground of quarrel.'

59. disclaims in, disowns.
65. hours; so Qq. Ff 'years.'

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Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel? Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at suit of his gray beard,

Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the walls of a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?

Corn. Peace, siŕrah !

You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
Kent. Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege.
Corn. Why art thou angry?

Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a

Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain
Which are too intrinse to unloose; smooth every

That in the natures of their lords rebel;

Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage !
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.

69. unnecessary letter. 'Z' was proverbially said to be ' often heard' in English (being written s) but seldom seen.'

71. unbolted, unsifted, coarse. 72. jakes, privy.

81. intrinse, tightly knotted. 84. Renege, deny.

ib. turn their halcyon beaks; alluding to the famous 'vulgar error,' that the kingfisher 'being hanged up in the air by the



90 neck, his nebbe or bill will be always direct or straight against the wind' (T. Lupton, Notable Things, bk. x.).

87. epileptic, distorted with a forced grin, as by epilepsy.

88. Smile, smile at.

90. to Camelot; probably because of the flocks of geese bred in the neighbourhood of Cadbury, the traditional site of Camelot.

Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow?
Glou. How fell you out? say that.

Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.

Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What is his fault?

Kent. His countenance likes me not.

Corn. No more perchance does mine, nor his, nor hers.

Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain :
I have seen better faces in my time

Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.


This is some fellow,

Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he,
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly ducking observants

That stretch their duties nicely.

Kent. Sir, in good sooth, in sincere verity, Under the allowance of your great aspect, Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire On flickering Phoebus' front,


What mean'st by this? Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer: he that beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave; which for my part I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't.

109. observants, obsequious courtiers.

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110. nicely, with punctilious nicety.

Corn. What was the offence you gave him?
Osw. I never gave him any:

It pleased the king his master very late

To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his displeasure,
Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,
And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.


None of these rogues and cowards But Ajax is their fool.

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Call not your stocks for me: I serve the king;
On whose employment I was sent to you:

You shall do small respect, show too bold

Against the grace and person of my master,
Stocking his messenger.

Corn. Fetch forth the stocks! As I have life
and honour,

There shall he sit till noon.

Reg. Till noon! till night, my. lord; and all night too.

Kent. Why, madam, if I were your father's dog, You should not use me so.


Sir, being his knave, I will

Corn. This is a fellow of the self-same colour

124. upon his misconstruction, through his misunderstanding


130. in the fleshment of, being

fleshed with.



132. Ajax is their fool, a fool in comparison with them. 145. colour, sort.

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