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My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night;
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.

Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech, ?
I threatened to discover him. He replied,
Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal

Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee
Make thy words faithed ? No; what I should deny,
(As this I would ; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character, 4) I'd turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice;
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs 5
To make thee seek it.

Strong and fastened villain;
Would he deny his letter?-I never got him.

[Trumpets within. Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he


All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.


1 i. e. chief; now only used in composition.

2 « And found him pight to do it, with curst speech." Pight is pitched, fixed, settled; curst is vehemently angry, bitter.

3 i. e, would any opinion that men have reposed in thy trust, virtue, &c. The old quarto reads, “ could the reposure.

4 i. e, my hand-writing, my signature.

5 The folio reads, “potential spirits.And in the next line but one, 6 strange and fastened villain.”-Strong is determined, resolute. Our ancestors often used it in an ill sense; as strong thief, strong whore, &c.

6 i. e. capable of succeeding to my land, notwithstanding the legal bar of thy illegitimacy.

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SC. 1.]



Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.
Corn. How now, my noble friend ? since I came

hither (Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.

Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short, Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord ?

Glo. O madam, my old heart is cracked, is cracked !

Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life? He whom my father named ? your Edgar?

Glo. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid !

Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

I know not, madam;
It is too bad, too bad.-

Yes, madam, he was.
Reg. No marvel, then, though he were ill-affected ;
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the waste and spoil of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them; and with such cautions,
That, if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.

Nor I, assure thee, Regan.-
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.

'Twas my duty, sir.
Glo. He did bewray his practice,' and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

Corn. Is he pursued ?

Ay, my good lord, he is.
Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more
Be feared of doing harm: make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. --For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours;
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.

1 6 Bewray his practice.” That is, he did betray or reveal his treacherous devices. The quartos read betray.

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I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.

For him I thank your grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you,

Reg. Thus out of season ; threading dark-eyed night.
Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poize,
Wherein we must have use of your advice :
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home; 2 the several messengers
From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend, ,
Lay comforts to your bosom ; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.

I serve you, madam ; Your graces are right welcome.


SCENE II. Before Gloster's Castle.

Enter KENT and Steward, severally. Stew. Good dawning 3 to thee, friend. Art of the house?

Kent. Ay.
Stew. Where may we set our horses ?
Kent. I'the mire.
Stew. 'Prythee, if thou love me, tell me.
Kent. I love thee not.
Stew. Why, then I care not for thee.

Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold,4 I would make thee care for me.

Stew. Why dost thou use me thus ? I know thee not.

Kent. Fellow, I know thee.

1 i. e. of some weight, or moment. The folio and quarto B. read prize.
2 That is, not at home, but at some other place.

3 The quartos read “ good even.". It is clear, from various passages in this scene, that the morning is just beginning to dawn.

4 i. e. Lipsbury pound." Lipsbury pinfoldmay, perhaps, like Lob's pound, be a coined name; but with what allusion does not appear.

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Stew. What dost thou know me for?

Kent. A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundredpound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a 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, pander, 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.

Stew. 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, 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, the moon shines; Í'll make a sop o' the moonshine" of you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

[Drawing his sword Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee.

Kent. Draw, you rascal! you come with letters against the king; and take Vanity 4 the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks.--Draw, you rascal; come your ways.

Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave,5 strike.

[Beating him. Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder!

1 i. e. thy titles.
2 Probably alluding to some dish so called.
3 Barber-monger may mean dealer with the lower tradesmen.

Alluding to the moralities or allegorical shows, in which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices, were personified.


5 You finical rascal, you assemblage of foppery and poverty.

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Edm. How now ? what's the matter? Part.

Kent. With you goodman boy, if you please ; come, I'll flesh you ; come on, young master.

Glo. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?

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.
Stew. I am scarce in breath, my lord.

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

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow; a tailor make a


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

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel ?
Stew. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have

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 3 villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him.---Spare my gray beard, you wagtail ?

Corn. Peace, sirrah!
You beastly knave, know you no reverence?

Kent. Yes, sir ; but anger has a privilege.
Corn. Why art thou angry?


1 To disclaim in, for to disclaim simply, was the phraseology of the Poet's age. See Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. iii. p. 264.

2 Zed is here used as a term of contempt, because it is the last letter in the English alphabet. Baret omits it in his Alvearie, affirming it to be rather a syllable than a letter. And Mulcaster says, “ Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom seen. S is become its lieutenant-general."

3 Coarse villain. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime and therefore to break the lumps, it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes.


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