Page images
PDF
EPUB

Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
Lear.

Kent, on thy life, no more.
Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.
Lear.

Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.

Lear. Now, by Apollo,-
Kent.

Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
Lear.

O, vassal! recreant !

Laying his hand upon his sword.
Alb., Corn. Dear sir, forbear.

Kent. Do;
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee, thou dost evil.
Lear.

Hear me, recreant !
On thine allegiance, hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and, with strained pride,
To come betwixt our sentence and our power,
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Our potency made good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee for provision
To shield thee from disasters of the world ;
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom : if, on the tenth day following,
Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked.

Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.—
(To CORDELIA.] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said !-
[To Regan and GONERIL) And your large speeches may your

ft.

[ocr errors]

deeds approve,

F

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 and BURGUNDY,

Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Lear. My Lord of Burgundy,
We first address toward you, who with this king
Hath rivalled for our daughter. What, in the least,
Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love ?
Bur.

Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness offered,
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 fallin. Sir, there she stands :
If aught within that little-seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.
Bur.

I know no answer.
Lear. Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new adopted to our hate,
Dowered with our curse, and strangered with our oath,
Take her,

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.--[To FRANCE.) For you, great king, 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 Than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed Almost to acknowledge hers. France.

This is most strange, That she who even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time

Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouched affection
Fall into taint, which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.
Cor.

I yet beseech your majesty
If for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
I'll do 't before I speak; that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonoured step,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear.

Better thou
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleased 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's not love,
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her ?
She is herself a dowry.
Bur.

Royal king,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing I have sworn : I am firm.

Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.
Cor.

Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor ;
Most choice, forsaken ; and most loved, despised ;
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon :

[merged small][ocr errors]

Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods ! 't is strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is Queen of us, of ours, and our fair France :
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Shall buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind :
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

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.

[Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL,

ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants.
France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with washed eyes
Cordelia leaves you. I know you what you are,
And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Love well our father :
To your professéd bosoms I commit him ;
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Reg. Prescribe not us our duty.
Gon.

Let your study
Be, to content your lord, who hath received you
At fortune's alms: you have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.

Cor. Time shall unfold what pleated cunning hides ;
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper !
France.

fair Cordelia.

Come, my

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.
Act V., SCENE II.—A HALL IN THE CASTLE.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO.
Ham. So much for this, sir : now let me see the other ;
You do remember all the circumstance?

Hor. Remember it, my lord ?

Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
That would not let me sleep : methought, I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
And praise be rashness for it, let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall; and that should teach us,
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will
Hor.

That is most certain.
Ham. Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them : had my desire ;
Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrew
To mine own room again : making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission ; where I found, Horatio,
O royal knavery! an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reason,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.
Hor.

Is't possible?
Ham. Here's the commission; read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed ?

Hor. Ay, 'beseech you.

Ham. Being thus be-netted round with villanies,
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play—I sat me down ;
Devised a new commission ; wrote it fair :
I once did hold it, as our statists do,

« PreviousContinue »