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SCENE I. A Room of State in King
Enter KENT, GLOSTER, and EDMUND. Kent. I thought, the king had more affected the duke of Albany, than Cornwall.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety t.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord? Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault? Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper t.
Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONE-
Glo.. I shall, my liege.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND.
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
here are to be answer'd.-Tell me, my daughters,
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came some-(Since now we will divest us, both of rule, what saucily into the world before he was sent Interest of territory, cares of state,) for, yet was his mother fair; there was good Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most? sport at his making, and the whoreson must That we our largest bounty may extend be acknowledged.-Do you know this noble Where merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril, gentleman, Edmund? Our eldest-born, speak first. Gon. Sir, I [matter, hero-Do love you more than words can wield the Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty,
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him after as my honourable friend,
Edm. My services to your lordship. Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again:-The king is coming.
As much as child e'er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable
[Trumpets sound within. | Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
* Most scrupulous nicety.
+ Part or division.
› More secret.
Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. [Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, [rich'd, With shadowy forests and with champains * With plenteous rivers and wide skirted meads, We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside. And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever, Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom; No less in space, validity §, and pleasure, Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy, [love Although the last, not least; to whose young The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy, Strive to be interess'd: what can you say,to draw A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak. Cor. Nothing, my lord. Lear. Nothing? Cor. Nothing.
[again. Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty. According to my bond; nor more, nor less. Lear. How, how, Cordelia? mend your Lest it may mar your fortunes. [speech a little, Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: 1
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
* Open plains. + Comprehension.
Kindred. ** From this time.
Come not between the dragon and his wrath: I loved her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.-Hence, and avoid my sight![To CORDELIA.
So be my grave my peace, as here I give. Her father's heart from her!-Call France ;Who stirs ?
Call Burgundy.-Cornwall, and Albany, With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
Revenue, execution of the rest,
[Giving the Crown.
from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork inThe region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? [speak, Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound, [doom; When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy And, in thy best consideration, check This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sound Reverbs no hollowness.
TT The mark to shoot at.'
tt His children.
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift;
Hear me, recreant!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our
That she,thát even but now was your best object,
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adien;
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my no-
I know no answer.
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,
Follow his old mode of life.
tt Reproach or censure.
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich,
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.-
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
+ Amorous expedition.
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
France. Bid farewell to your sisters. [eyes
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
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 judgment 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-ingrafted 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. Gon. We must do something, and i'the heats. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's Castle.
Enter EDMUND, with a Letter. Edm.Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in
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'er-read; 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 it. 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 be gin 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 1 waked him-you should enjoy half his rerenue,-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?
• Blessing. + Folded, doubled. Qualities of mind. The nicety of civil institution. #Suddenly. $$ Trial.
§ Strike while the iron's hot. **Yielded, surrendered. Weak and foolish.
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?
lowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, Edmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true. hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty! I-Strange! strange! [Exit.
Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, 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, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honourt, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
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 predominance; drunkards, liars, and adul terers, 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. Edgar
and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-0, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mitt.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a predic tion I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will
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; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent¶ effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide in cities, mutinies; in countries, dis. cord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hol
Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness be tween the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment 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 mischief of your person it would scarcely allay. I Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
†The usual address to a lord. Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the truth. ** Traitors. tt Great bear, the constellation so named. and offensive in music. $$ For cohorts some
+ Design. JManage. ¶ Following. These sounds are unnatural editors read courts.