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Edm. Sound.

Her. Again.
Her. Again.

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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 honor firmly.


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Alb. A herald, ho!
A herald, ho, a herald!
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue;1 for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name.
Took their discharge.


This sickness grows upon me

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Enter a Herald.

Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.

[Exit REGAN, led Come hither, herald.--Let the trumpet sound,And read out this.

Off. Sound, trumpet.

[A trumpet sounds.

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Herald reads.

If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, le. him appear at the third sound of the trumpet. He is bold in his defence.

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Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a trumpet.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' the trumpet.


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What are you?
Your name, your quality? And why you answer
This present summons ?

1 i. e. valor; a Roman sense of the word.

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1 trumpet. [2 trumpet. [3 trumpet. [Trumpet answers within.

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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.


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Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund, earl of

Edm. Himself;-what say'st thou to him?

That if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice; here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honors,
My oath, and my profession; I protest,-
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valor, 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 bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,

Thou liest.

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Draw thy sword ;

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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 breathes,
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 bruise,)
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest forever.-Trumpets, speak.
[Alarums. They fight; EDMUND falls.

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1 Because, if his adversary was not of equal rank, Edmund might have declined the combat.


2 Say, or assay, is a sample, a taste.

3 This seems to mean "What I might safely well delay, if I acted punctiliously." This line is omitted in the quartos.

4 To that place where they shall rest forever, i. e. thy heart.


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Alb. O, save him, save him!1
This is mere practice, Gloster
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquished,
But cozened and beguiled.


Shut your mouth, dame,
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?

Most monstrous!

Know'st thou this paper??

Alb. Go after her;

Edm. What you have

Ask me not what I know.
she's desperate; govern her.
[To an Officer, who goes out.
charged me with, that have I


Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wronged me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us.3

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The time will bring it out;
But what art thou,

And more, much more.
'Tis past, and so am I.
That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble,
I do forgive thee.

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


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


3 The folio reads "to plague us.'

1 Albany desires that Edmund's life may be spared at present, only to obtain his confession, and to convict him openly by his own letter.

2 "Knowest thou these letters?" says Leir to Regan, in the old anonymous play, when he shows her both her own and her sister's letters, which were written to procure his death; upon which she snatches the letters and tears them.

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

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Worthy prince, I know't
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 followed me so near, (O, our lives' sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die,'
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdained; and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair;
Never, (O fault!) revealed myself unto him,
Until, some half-hour past, when I was armed,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and, from first to last,
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flawed heart,
Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.


This speech of yours hath moved 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.


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To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,

This would have seemed a period

"That with the pain of death would hourly die."

2 The lines within crotchets are not in the folio.

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And top extremity.1


Whilst I was big in clamor, came there a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunned my abhorred society; but then finding
Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellowed out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear received; 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 tranced.

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But who was this? Edg. Kent, sir, the banished Kent; who in disguise Followed his enemy king, and did him service. Improper for a slave.]


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Enter a Gentleman, hastily, with a bloody knife.

Gent. Help! help! O, help!

Edg. What means that bloody knife?

It came even from the heart of


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1 Of this difficult passage, which is probably corrupt, Steevens gives the following explanation :-" This would have seemed a period to such as love not sorrow, but-another, i. e. but I must add another, i. e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told." It will be necessary, if we admit this interpretation, to point the passage thus:

What kind of help?

Speak, man.


but another:

(To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity,)

Whilst I was big," &c.


Malone's explanation is:-"This would have seemed the utmost completion of woe, to such as do not delight in sorrow; but another, of a different disposition, to amplify misery would give more strength to that which hath too much;'" "referring to the bastard's desiring to hear more, and to Albany's thinking that enough had been said.

The reading in the

2 The quartos read, "threw me on my father." text is certainly more likely to be correct.

'Tis hot, it smokes ;

Who, man? speak.

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