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(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour:
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.
Cor. 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, Although the last, not least; to whose young love 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.
Lest it may mar your fortunes. Cor.
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,
Good my lord,
That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall 寶 carry
Half my love with him, half my care, and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Lear. Let it be so,-Thy truth then be thy
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun;
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath :
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day fol- No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
I would not from your love make such a stray,
This is most strange!
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
I yet beseech your majesty,
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour:
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, be
Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd!
Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine;
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Ereunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
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.
A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
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
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 honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening. Glo. He cannot be such a monster. Edm. Nor is not, sure.
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 wou'd 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, 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; 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
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. Spake you with him? Edg. Ay, two hours together. 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 sence, 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.
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's my key: - If you do stir abroad, go armed.
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 ? Edm. I do serve you in this business. [Exit EDGAR. A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy! I see the business. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit: All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit. [Exit.
SCENE III. - A Room in the Duke of Albany's
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,
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou?
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call'd him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
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.
O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, sir?
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 - How 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