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Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses; And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again. 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 speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Good my lord,
That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun;
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Good my liege,
Call Burgundy. Cornwall, and Albany,
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still
The name, and all the additions to a king;
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part between you. [Giving the crown.
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old
On thine allegiance hear me !
To come betwixt our sentence and our power;
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
[TO CORDELIA. That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!And your large speeches may your deeds approve, [To REGAN and GONERIL. 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. [Erit.
Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
Lear. My lord of Burgundy,
We first address towards you, who with this king
Most royal majesty, I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd,
That she, that even but now was your best object,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
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 dishonour'd step, That hath depriv'd 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. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Cor. Peace be with Burgund! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, be ing poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd!
Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away.
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father:
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper !
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-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and cholerick 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 leave-taking 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 heat.
[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-shines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base? Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality, Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops, Got 'tween asleep and wake? - Well then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land: Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, As to the legitimate: Fine word, — legitimate! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler parted:
And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his power!
Edm. So please your lordship, none.
[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading?
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 begin 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 revenue, — 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?
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? Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I 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
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; fame 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.
| 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
Edg. Why, the night gone by.
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.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon por- slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, tend no good to us: Though the wisdom of nature from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself speak: Pray you, go; there's my key: If you do scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friend-stir abroad, go armed. ship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the ond cracked between son and father. This villain f 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, hollowness, 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! Strange! strange! [Exit. 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; SCENE III. - A Room in the Duke of Albany's knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore-master 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 villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses. Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?
Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Enter GONERIL and Steward.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
That still would manage those authorities,
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly; that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in: and the best of me is diligence. Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner, ho, dinner. Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't. But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days. Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well. Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her. Go you, call hither my fool. Re-enter Steward.
Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal? [Striking him.
Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player. [Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so. [Pushes the Steward out.
Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service. [Giving KENT money.
Fool. Let me hire him too;-Here's my coxcomb. [Giving KENT his cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb. How now, nuncle? 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my