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Kent. Why, fare thee well, King; since thou art
yours; take her, or leave her. Burg. Pardon me, royal Lear, I but demand The dow'r yourself propos'd, and here I take Cordelia by the hand, Duchess of Burgundy.
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by a father's rage, I tell you
all her wealth.
(CORDELIA throws herself at LEAR's Feet. Away! Away! Away! (Flourish of Trumpets, &c.
[Exeunt all but CORDELIA.
Cord. Some comfort yet, that 'twas no vicious blot
As it deserves ; but use our father well,
Edg. O heav'nly maid! that art thyself thy dow'r,
Curd. Talk'd of love.
Edg. Then I've offended oft; Cordelia too Has oft permitted me so to offend.
Cord. When, Edgar, I permitted your addresses,
Edg. Thus majesty takes most state in distress.
Cord. This baseness of the ignoble Burgundy
Edg. Distress'd Cordelia !—but oh, more cruel! Edm. Hear me, sir; your life, your life's in danger. Edg. And yet, perhaps, 'twas but pretended cold
ness, To try how far my passion would pursue.
Edm. He hears me not; 'wake, 'wake, sir.
Edg. Say you, brotherNo tears, good Edmund; if thou bring'st me tidings To strike me dead, for charity delay not; That present will befit so kind a hand,
Edm. Your danger, sir, comes on so fast,
Edg. Pardon me, sir, a serious thought
[Exit Edgar. Edm. Ha ! ha! Fond man! Such credulous hoc
nesty Lessens the glory of my artifice; His nature is so far from doing wrongs, That he suspects none: if this letter speed, And pass for Edgar's, as himself would own The counterfeit, but for the foul contents, Then my designs are perfect.- -Here comes Gloster,
Enter GLOSTER. Glost. Stay, Edmund, turn; what paper were you
reading ? Edm. A trifle, sir. Glost. What needed then that terrible despatch
of it Into your pocket? Come, produce it, sir.
Edm. A letter from my brother, sir: I had just broke the seal, but knew not the contents;
Yet, fearing they might prove to blame,
Glost. This is Edgar's character.
[Reads.] This policy of fathers is intolerable, that keeps our fortunes from us 'till age will not suffer us to enjoy them; I am weary of the tyranny. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his possessions, and live beloved of your brother.
Sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy
[Erit GLOSTER. Edm. So, now my project's firm ; but, to make sure, I'll throw in one proof more, and that a bold one; I'll place old Gloster where he shall o’erhear us Confer of this design; whilst, to his thinking, Deluded Edgar shall accuse himself. Be honesty my int'rest, and I can Be honest too; and what saint so divine, That will successful villany decline? [Exit EDMUND.
The Court before the DUKE OF ALBANY's Palace.
Enter Kent, disguised.
duty, In this disguise, where thou dost stand condemn'd, Thy master Lear shall find thee full of labours.
Enter King LEAR, attended by his Knights.
[Exit First KNIGHT. Now, what art thou ?
Kent. A man, sir.
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly that puts me in trust, to love him that's honest, to converse with him that's wise and speaks little, to fight when I can't chuse, and to eat no fish.
Lear. I say, what art thou?
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough.-Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master. Lear. What's that? Kent. Authority: Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, mar a curious tale in the telling, deliver a plain message bluntly;