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Gon. That were the most, if he should hus- | lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund,

band you.

Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.

Gon. Holla, holla!

That eye, that told you so, look'd but a-squint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should an-

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My lord and master.

Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?

supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold
traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the
trumpet: He is bold in his defence.
Edm. Sound.
Her. Again.
Her. Again.

[1 Trumpet.

2 Trumpet. [3 Trumpet.

[Trumpet answers within.

Enter EDGAR armed, preceded by a trumpet.
Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' the trumpet.
Her. What are you?

Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will. Your name, your quality? and why you anEdm. Nor in thine, lord.

Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

To Edmund.

Alb. Stay yet; hear reason:-Edmund, I ar-
rest thee

On capital treason; and in thy arrest,
This gilded serpent: [Pointing to Gon.]-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 love to me,
My lady is bespoke.

Gon. An interlude!

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloster :-Let trumpet sound:


This present summons?

Edg. Know, my name is lost;

By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I come to cope withal.

Alb. Which is that adversary?

Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund
earl of Gloster?

Edm. Himself;-What say'st thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy sword;

That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,-
the Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart,-thou art a traitor:
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are

If none appear to prove upon thy person,
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge: [Throwing 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.

Reg. Sick, O, sick!

Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison. [Aside.
Edm. There's my exchange: [Throwing
down a glove. what in the world he is,
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies:
Call by thy trumpet: he, that dares approach,
On him, on you, (who not ?) I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.

Alb. A herald, ho!

Edm. A herald, ho, a herald!

Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy sol-

All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.

Reg. This sickness grows upon me.

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To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.

Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name;
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding

What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which, (for they yet glance by, and scarcely

This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak.
[Alarums. They fight. Edmund falls.

Alb. O save him, save him!

Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster :
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to an-


An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguil'd.

Alb. Shut your mouth, dame,

If any man of quality, or degree, within the Or with this paper shall I stop it:-Hold, sir :

Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil :

No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it. [Gives the letter to Edmund.

Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not thine:

Who shall arraign me for't?

Alb. Most monstrous!

Know'st thou this paper?

Gon. Ask me not what I know.

[Exit Goneril. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern [To an Officer who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;


And more, much more: the time will bring it out;

'Tis past, and so am I: But what art thou, That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble, I do forgive thee.

Edg. Let's exchange charity.

I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us:

The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.

Edm. Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true; The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought thy very gait did prophecy A royal nobleness :-I must embrace thee; Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I Did hate thee, or thy father! Edg. Worthy prince,

I know it well.

Alb. Where have you hid yourself?

How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;

And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!

The bloody proclamation to escape,

That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness!

That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from de-

Never (O fault!) reveal'd myself unto him,
Until some half hour past, when I was arm'd,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage: But his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
"Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.

Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in; For I am almost ready to dissolve, Hearing of this.

Edg. This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too-much, would make much more,
And top extremity.

Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv'd: which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.

Alb. But who was this?

Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who is disguise

Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife.

Gent. Help! help! O help!

Edg. What kind of help?

Alb. Speak, man.

Edg. What means that bloody knife?
Gent. 'Tis hot, it smokes ;

It came even from the heart of

Alb. Who, man? speak.

Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she confesses it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three

Now marry in an instant.

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or


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To hang Cordelia in the prison, and

To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid herself.

Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence
[Edmund is borne off.

Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms ;
EDGAR, Officer, and Others.

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!-O, you are

men of stones;

Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is
gone for ever!

I know, when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror?

Alb. Fall, and cease!

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Your eldest daughters have foredoom'd themselves,

And desperately are dead.

Lear. Ay, so I think.

Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain
it is,

That we present us to him.
Edg. Very bootless.

Enter an Officer.

Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
Alb. That's but a trifle here.-

You lords, and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come,
Shall be applied: For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,
To him our absolute power:-You, to your
[To Edgar and Kent.
With boot, and such addition as your honours

Lear. This ather stirs ; she lives! If it be Have more than merited. All friends shall taste

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The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings.—0 sec, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no,

no life:

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come
no more,

Never, never, never, never, never!--
Pray you, undo this button: Thank you, sir.-
Do you see this? Look on her,-look,-her

Look there, look there!—

[He dies.
Edg. He faints !-My lord, my lord,-
Kent. Break, heart; I pr'ythee, break!
Edg. Look up, my lord.

Kent. Vex not his ghost: O let him pass! he

hates him,

That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

Edg. O, he is gone, indeed.

Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long: He but usurp'd his life.

2 I

Alb. Bear them from hence.-Our present business

Is general woe. Friends of my soul, you twain [To Kent and Edgar. Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain. Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go; My master calls, and I must not say, no.

Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey;

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we, that are young,
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
[Exeunt, with a dead march.

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SCENE,―during the greater part of the Play, in Verona: once in the fifth Act, at Mantua.

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