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Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses, Horns whelk'd, and wav'd like the enridged sea; It was some fiend: Therefore, thou happy father, Think, that the clearest gods, who make them
Of men's impossibilities, have preserv'd thee.
Enter LEAR, fantastically dressed up with flowers. The safer sense will ne'er accommodate His master thus.
Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king himself.
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's above art in that respect.-There's your press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard. Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace;-this piece of toasted cheese will do't.-There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant.-Bring up the brown bills. ---O, well flown, bird!-i'the clout, i'the clout: hewgh! Give the word.
Edg. Sweet marjoram.
Glo. I know that voice.
Lear. Ha! Goneril-with a white beard! They flatter'd me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my beard, ere the black ones were there. To say, ay, and no, to every thing I said!Ay and no, too, was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I found them, there I smelt them out. Go to, they are not men o'their words; they told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie; I am not ague-proof.
Glo. The trick of that voice I do well remember: Is't not the king?
Ay, every inch a king: When I do stare, see, how the subject quakes. I pardon that man's life: What was thy cause?Adultery.
Thou shalt not die: Die for adultery! No:
Let copulation thrive, for Gloster's bastard son
To't, luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers.-
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to't
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Glo. O let me kiss that hand!
Lear. Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality. Glo. O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world Shall so wear out to nought.-Dost thou know me?
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid; I'll not love.-Read thou this challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glo. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one. Edg. I would not take this from report;-it is, And my heart breaks at it.
Glo. What, with the case of eyes?
Lear. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light: Yet you see how this world goes. Glo. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes, with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yon' justice rails upon yon' simple thief, Hark, in thine ear: Change places; and, handydandy, which is the justice, which is the thief!Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar! Glo. Ay, sir.
Lear. And the creature run from the car? There thou might'st behold the great image of anthority: a dog's obeyed in office.Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand: Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind,
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Edg. O, matter and impertinency mix'd!
Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloster: Thou must be patient; we came crying hither. Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, We wawl, and ory:-I will preach to thee; mark
Stew. A proclaim'd prize! Most happy! That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh To raise my fortunes. Thou old unhappy traitor, Briefly thyself remember :-The sword is out That must destroy thee. Glo.
Now let thy friendly hand Put strength enough to it. (Edgar opposes.) Stew. Wherefore, bold peasant, Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence; Lest that the infection of his fortune take Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.
Edg. Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion. Stew. Let go, slave, or thou diest. Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk pass. And ch'ad ha' been zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' been zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out, che vor'ye, or ise try whether your costard or my bat be the harder: Ch'ill be plain with you. Stew. Out, dunghill!
Edg. Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: Come; no matter for your foins.
(They fight; and Edgar knocks him down.) Stew. Slave, thou hast slain me:-Villain, take
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
Edg. I know thee well: A serviceable villain; As duteous to the vices of thy mistress, As badness would desire.
What, is he dead? Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.Let's see his pockets: these letters, that he speaks of,
May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry He had no other death's-man.-Let us see:Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not: To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts; Their papers, is more lawful.
(Reads.) Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him off; if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror: Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour.
Your wife, (so I would say,) and your affectionate servant, GONERIL.
O undistinguish'd space of woman's will! A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
And the exchange, my brother!-Here, in the sands,
I'the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?
Phys. Please you, draw near.-Louder the music there.
Cor. O my dear father! Restoration, hang Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss Repair those violent harms, that my two sisters Have in thy reverence made!
Had challeng'd pity of them. Was this a face
I am mightily abus'd.-I should even die with pity,
Pray, do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward; and, to deal plainly, I fear, I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks, I should know you, and know this man; Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant What place this is; and all the skill I have Remembers not these garments; nor I know not Where I did lodge last night: Do not laugh at me; For, as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia.
And so I am, I am. Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
Lear. Am I in France? Kent. In your own kingdom, sir. Lear. Do not abuse me. Phys. Be comforted, good madam: the great rage, You see, is cur'd in him: and yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in; trouble him no more, Till further settling.
Cor. Will't please your highness walk? Lear. You must bear with me: Pray now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish. [Exeunt Lear, Cordelia, Physician, and Attendants.
Gent. Holds it true, sir,
That the duke of Cornwall was so slain?
No cause, no cause.
The bastard son of Gloster.
Report is changeable.
"Tis time to look about; the powers o'the kingdom Approach apace.
Gent. The arbitrement is like to be a bloody. Fare you well, sir.
Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought, Or well, or ill, as this day's battle's fought. [Exit.
ACT V. SCENE I.-The Camp of the British Forces, near Dover.
Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Officers, Soldiers, and others.
Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried. Edm. 'Tis to be doubted, madam. Reg. Now, sweet lord, You know the goodness I intend upon you: Tell me.-but truly,-but then speak the truth, Do you not love my sister?
Edm. In honour'd love. Reg. But have you never found my brother's way To the forfended place?
Edm. Know of the duke, if his last purpose hold; Or, whether since he is advis'd by aught To change the course: He's full of alteration, And self-reproving:-bring his constant pleasure. (To an Officer, who goes out.)
That thought abuses you. Reg. I am doubtful, that you have been conjunct And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers. Edm. No, by mine honour, madam.
Reg. I never shall endure her: Dear my lord, Be not familiar with her.
Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers.
Gon. I had rather lose the battle, than that sister Should loosen him and me. (Aside.)
Alb. Our very loving sister, well be met.— Sir, this I hear, The king is come to his daughter, With others, whom the rigour of our state Forc'd to cry ont. Where I could not be bonest, I never yet was valiant: for this business, It touches us as France invades our land, Not bolds the king; with others, whom, I fear, Most just and heavy causes make oppose. Edm. Sir, you speak nobly.
Reg. Why is this reason'd? Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy: For these domestic and particular broils Are not to question here.
Alb. Let us then determine With the ancient of war on our proceedings. Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent. Reg. Sister, you'll go with us? Gon. No,
Reg. 'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us. Gon. O, ho, I know the riddle: (Aside.)-I will go.
As they are going out, enter EDGAR, disguised. Edg. If e'er your grace had speech with man so Hear me one word. [poor, Alb. I'll overtake you.-Speak. [Exeunt Edmund, Regan, Goneril, "Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.
Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter. If you have victory, let the trumpet sound For him that brought it: wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion, that will prove What is avouched there: If you miscarry, Your business of the world hath so an end, And machination ceases. Fortune love you! Alb. Stay till I have read the letter. Edg. I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again. [Exil. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy
Edm. The enemy's in view, draw up your powers,
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
We will greet the time. [Erit.
Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use
Which he intends to Lear, and to Cordelia,The battle done, and they within our power, Shall never see his pardon for my state Stands on me to defend, not to debate.
SCENE II-A Field betweeen the two Camps. Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours, Lear, Cordelia, and their Forces; and exeunt. Enter EDGAR and GLOSTER.
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard; Until their greater pleasures first be known, That are to censure them.
Cor. We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.— Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters? Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds i'the cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;And take upon us the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies: And we'll wear out, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon.
Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught
He that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven,
Come. [Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded.
One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost
I'll do't, my lord. Edm. About it, and write happy, when thou hast done.
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.
Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I will do it. [Exit Officer. Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers, and Attendants.
Alb. Sir, you have shewn to-day your valiant And fortune led you well: You have the captives, strain, Who were the opposites of this day's strife: We do require them of yon; so to use them, As we shall find their merits and our safety May equally determine.
Sir, I thought it fit
My reason all the same; and they are ready
Sir, by your patience, I hold you but a subject of this war, Not as a brother.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
Gon. Not so hot: In his own grace he doth exalt himself, More than in your advancement.
In my rights,
Reg. By me invested, he compeers the best. [you. Gon. That were the most, if he should husband Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets. Gon. Holla, holla! That eye, that told you so, look'd but a-squint. Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer From a full-flowing stomach.-General, Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony; Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine: Witness the world, that I create thee here My lord and master.
Gon. Mean you to enjoy him? Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will. Edm. Nor in thine, lord. Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes. Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine. (To Edmund.) Alb. Stay yet; hear reason:-Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thy arrest, This gilded serpent: (Pointing to Gon.)—for your claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife:
Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloster :-Let the trumpet sound:
If none appear to prove upon thy person,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison.
Sick, O, sick! (Aside.)
Edm. There's my exchange: (Throwing down a glove) what in the world he is, That names me traitor, villain-like he lies: Call by thy trumpet: he, that dares approach, On him, on you, (who not?) I will maintain My truth and honour firmly.
Alb. A herald, ho! Edm. A herald, ho, a herald! Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers, All levied in my name, have in my name Took their discharge. Reg.
This sickness grows upon me. Enter a Herald.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
Of. Sound, trumpet.
If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet: He is bold in his defence. Edm. Sound, Her. Again. Her. Again.
(A trumpet sounds.)
(1 Trumpet.) (2 Trumpet. (3 Trumpet.) (Trumpet answers within.)
Edm. Himself;-what say'st thou to him?
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name; But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike, And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes, What safe and nicely I might well delay By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn: Back do I toss these treasons to thy head; With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart; Which, (for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise,) This sword of mine shall give them instant way, Where they shall rest for ever.-Trumpets, speak. (Alarums. They fight. Edmund falls.) Alb. O save him, save him! Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster: By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd, But cozen'd and beguil'd.
No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.
Know'st thou this paper?
Shut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it :-Hold, sir:Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:
And more, much more; the time will bring it out;
Let's exchange charity. I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund; If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me. My name is Edgar, and thy father's son. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to scourge us: The dark and vicious place where thee he got, Cost him his eyes.
Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true; The wheel is come full circle; I am here. Alb. Methought thy very gait did prophesy A royal nobleness :-I must embrace thee; Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I Did hate thee, or thy father!
Edg. I know it well. Alb. Where have you hid yourself? How have you known the miseries of your father! Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!—
That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness!
Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you en; You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in; For I am almost ready to dissolve, Hearing of this.
This would have seem'd a period
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Alb. But who was this? Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who, in disguise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.