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Lear. Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me
The argument of your praise, balm of your
Since thou hast sought to make us break our [pride, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd To come betwixt our sentence and our power; (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,) Our potency make good, take thy reward. Five days we do allot thee, for provision To shield thee from diseases of the world; And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back' Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day follow-(If fort I want that glib and oily art, [intend,
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death: Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revok'd.
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, [To CORDELIA. That justly think'st, and has most rightly said!
And your large speeches may your deeds approve, [To REGAN and GONERIL. That good effects may spring from words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu; He'll shape his old course in a country new. [Exit. Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Cor. I yet beseech your majesty,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature, Which often leaves the history unspoke, That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady? Love is not love, When it is mingled with respects, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have She is herself a dowry. [her?
Bur. Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd, Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Lear. My lord of Burgundy,
We first address towards you, who with this
Hath rivall'd for our daughter; What, in the Will you require in present dower with her, Or cease your quest of love?t
Bur. Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less.
Lear. Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; But now her price is fall'n: Sir, there she stands;
If aught within that little seeming; substance,
Bur. I know no answer.
Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Take her, or leave her?
Bur. Pardon me, royal Sir; Election makes not up on such conditions. Lear. Then leave her, Sir; for, by the power that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king, [TO FRANCE.
I would not from your love make such a stray, To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way,
That she, that even but now was your best ob
Duchess of Burgundy.
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm. Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a That you must lose a husband.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy!
France. Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor [spis'd Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, deThee and thy virtues here I seize upon : Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away. Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be
thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see That face of hers again:-Therefore be gone, Without our grace, our love, our benison.¶— Come, noble Burgundy.
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters. Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes [are; Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you And, like a sister, am most loath to call Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father:
To your professed bosoms I commit him:
I would prefer him to a better place.
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd
And well are worth the want that you have
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
France. Come, my fair Cordelia.
[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you;
next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgement he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment. Gon. There is further compliment of leavetaking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together: If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
Reg. We shall further think of it.
Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound: Wherefore should I
And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his
Edm. So please your lordship, none.
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. No? What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me : it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'erread; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking.
Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.
Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.
Glo. [Reads.] This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times, keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond || bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-Humph --Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him you should enjoy half his revenue,—My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in?-When came this to you? Who brought it?
Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.
Glo. You know the character to be your brother's?
Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.
Glo. It is his.
Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish! -Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :Abominable villain !-Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. choler parted!
I dare pawn down my life for him, that he
* Yielded, surrendered. + Allowance.
| Weak and foolish.
↑ Suddenly, ¶ Whereas
hath writ this to feel my affection to your hon-
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, Sir, presently; conveys the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishmen of friends, dissipation of cohorts,* nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?
Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father last?
Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance? Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon mischief of your person it would scarcely allay. portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong. nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: continent forbearance, till the speed of his love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide:rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly palaces, treason; and the bond cracked be- bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, tween son and father, This villain of mine go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go comes under the prediction; there's son against armed. father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best: go the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, armed; I am no honest man, if there be any treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us good meaning towards you: I have told you disquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, what I have seen and heard, but faintly; noEdmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it care-thing like the image and horror of it: Pray fully-And the noble and true hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!-Strange! strange!
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predomi nance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major ;** so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. EdgarEnter EDGAR.
and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la,
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in + Design. Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the Manage. Following. Traitors. **Great bear, the constellation so named. ++ These sounds are unnatural and offensive in music.
The usual address to a lord.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
My practices ride easy!--I see the business.—
[Exit. SCENE III.-A Room in the Duke of ALBANY'S Palace.
Enter GONERIL and STEWARD. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; He flashes into one gross crime or other, every hour
That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids
For cohorts some editors read courts. + Temperate.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse,* my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgement, your highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be si
For which I raz'dt my likeness.-Now, ban-lent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand [lov'st, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thon
Shall find thee full of labours.
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, Sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!- Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own
conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretencer and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't.-But where's my fool! I have not seen him these two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, Sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well. -Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.-Re-enter STEWARD.
(), you Sir, you Sir, come you hither: Who am I, Sir?
Stew. My lady's father.
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur! Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base football player. [Tripping up his Heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, Sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so.
[Pushes the STEWARD out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.
[Giving KENT Money.
my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg an-
Lear. Take heed, Sirrah; the whip.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle:
Have more than thou showest,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.
Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made
Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of
Lear. A bitter fool!
Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy,
Fool. That lord, that counsel'd thee
To give away thy land,
The other found out there.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i'the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.
Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing
That such a king should play bo-peep,
Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that
Lear. If you lie, Sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd.
Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipp'd for speaking truc, thou❜lt have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o'both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one o'the parings.
Lear. How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet* on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O+ without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing. Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face [To GoN.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had its head bit off by its young. So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, Sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?--Whoop, Jug! I love thee.
not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus?
Fool. Which they will make an obedient fa-
* Part of a woman's head-dress, to which Lear compares her frowning brow. + A cypher.
↑ A mere husk which contains nothing.