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Edg. Bear free and patient thoughts. But who comes here? 80

Enter LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild

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. 93 Edg. Sweet marjoram. Lear. Pass.

Glou. I know that voice.

Lear. Ha! Goneril, with a white beard! They flattered 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 'em, there I smelt 'em 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.

Glou. The trick of that voice I do well remember:

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I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,
My masters, know you that?

Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you. Lear. Then there's life in 't. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa. Exit; Attendants follow. Gent. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,

Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter,

Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

Edg. Hail, gentle sir!


Gent. Sir, speed you: what's your will? Edg. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

Gent. Most sure and vulgar; every one hears that,

Which can distinguish sound.

But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?
Gent. Near, and on speedy foot; the main

Stands on the hourly thought.


Edg. I thank you, sir: that's all. Gent. Though that the queen on special cause is here, Her army is mov'd on. Edg. I thank you, sir. Glou. You ever-gentle gods,

from me:

Exit Gentleman. take my breath

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Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you. Let's see these pockets: the 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.

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 -
Affectionate servant,

O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life,
And the exchange my brother! Here, in the

Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified

Of murderous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd duke. For him 'tis

That of thy death and business I can tell.

Glou. The king is mad: how stiff is my vile


That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my

And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves. Drum afar off
Give me your hand
Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.


SCENE VII.-A Tent in the French Camp. Enter CORDELLA, KENT, Doctor, and Gentleman. Cor. O thou good Kent! how shall I live and work

To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,

And every measure fail me.

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Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'er- I am mightily abus'd. I should e'en die with paid.

All my reports go with the modest truth,

Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.
Be better suited:
These weeds are memories of those worser

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Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untun'd and jarring senses, O! wind up
Of this child-changed father.
So please your majesty
That we may wake the king? he hath slept long.
Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and

I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd? 20

Enter LEAR in a chair carried by Servants. Doct. Ay, madam; in the heaviness of sleep We put fresh garments on him.

Kent. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;

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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


For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
And so I am, I am. 70
Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray,
weep not:

If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.

Lear. Am I in France?

No cause, no cause.

In your own kingdom, sir.

Lear. Do not abuse me.
Doct. Be comforted, good madam; the great


You see, is kill'd in him; and yet it is danger
To make him even o'er the time he has lost. 80
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
Till further settling.

Cor. Will 't please your highness walk?
You must bear with me.
Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and
Doctor, and Attendants.
sir, that the Duke of

Gent. Holds it true, Cornwall was so slain ? Kent. Most certain, sir. Gent. Who is conductor of his people? Kent. As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.


Gent. They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl of Kent in Germany.

Kent. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of the kingdom approach


Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you well, sir. Exit.

Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought,

Or well or ill, as this day's battle 's fought. Exit.


SCENE I.-The British Camp near Dover.

Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Officers, Soldiers, and Others.

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.
Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
Edm. 'Tis to be doubted, madam.
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?


In honour'd love.

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


What is avouched there. If you miscarry,
I can produce a champion that will prove
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you!
Alb. Stay till I have read the letter.
I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.

Alb. Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy

Re-enter EDMUND.

Edm. The enemy's in view; draw up your


Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery; but your haste

Reg. But have you never found my brother's Is now urg'd on you.


To the forfended place? Edm.


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.

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We will greet the time.


Alb. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love;

Each jealous of the other, as the stung

Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?

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Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, His countenance for the battle; which being

and Soldiers.


Let her who would be rid of him devise

Gon. Aside. I had rather lose the battle than His speedy taking off. As for the mercy

that sister

Should loosen him and me.


Alb. Our very loving sister, well be-met. Sir, this I heard; the king is come to his daughter,

With others whom the rigour of our state
Forc'd to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
It toucheth 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.
Why is this reason'd?
Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.

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SCENE III.-The British Camp near Dover.

Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, EDMUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, etc.

Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard,

Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
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

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Who loses and who wins; who's in, who 's out; In his own grace he doth exalt himself
And take upon 's the mystery of things,
More than in your addition.
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out, Reg.
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 thee?

He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven,
And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
The goujeres shall devour them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see 'em
starve first.

Come. Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded.
Edm. Come hither, captain; hark.
Take thou this note;

Giving a paper.
Go follow them to prison.
One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes; know thou this, that men
Are as the time is; to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword; thy great employment
Will not bear question; either say thou 'lt do 't,
Or thrive by other means.


I'll do 't, my lord.


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In my rights, By me invested, he compeers the best. Alb. That were the most, if he should husband

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On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,
This gilded serpent.

Pointing to GONERIL.
For your claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife;
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will marry, make your loves to me,
My lady is bespoke.


An interlude !

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloucester; let the trumpet sound:


If none appear to prove upon thy person
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge;
Throws down a glove.
I'll prove it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.


Sick! O, sick! Gon. Aside. If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine. Edm. There's my exchange:

Throws down a glove. What in the world he is

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