Imagens das páginas

The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell,1 Ere they shall make us weep; we'll see them starve first.


[Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain; hark.

Take thou this note; 2 [Giving a paper.] go, follow them to prison.

One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes. Know thou this,-that men
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded

Does not become a sword.-Thy great employment
Will not bear question; 3 either say, thou❜lt do't,
Or thrive by other means.


I'll do't, my lord.

Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast


Mark, I say instantly; and

As I have set it down.


it so,

Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;

If it be man's work, I will do it.

[Exit Officer.

Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers, and Attendants.

Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain, And fortune led you well. You have the captives, Who were the opposites of this day's strife. We do require them of you; so to use them, As we shall find their merits and our safety May equally determine.


Sir, I thought it fit

To send the old and miserable king

To some retention, and appointed guard;

1 "The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell." The goujeers, i. e. morbus Gallicus. The quartos have good yeares, the common corruption in Shakspeare's time. Flesh and fell is flesh and


2 This was a warrant signed by the bastard and Goneril, for the execution of Lear and Cordelia, referred to in a subsequent scene by Edmund. 3 i. e. admit of debate.

[blocks in formation]

Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impressed lances in our eyes


Which do command them. With him I sent the queen;
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear

Where you shall hold your session. [At this time.
We sweat and bleed; the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are cursed
By those that feel their sharpness.-

The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.2]


I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.


Sir, by your patience,

That's as we list to grace him.

Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission 3 of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.


Not so hot:

In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.


In my rights,

By me invested, he compeers the best.

Gon. That were the most, if he should husband


Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.


Holla, holla!

That eye that told you so looked but asquint.7

1 That is, the lancemen we have hired by giving them press-money. 2 i. e. the determination of what shall be done with Cordelia and her father should be reserved for greater privacy. This is not in the folio. 3 Commission for authority.

4 Immediacy, says Malone, is close and immediate connection with me, and direct authority from me. Immediate is the reading of the quartos. 5 Grace here means noble deportment. The folio has addition, instead of advancement, in the next line.

6 "If he were married to you, you could not say more than this, nor could he enjoy greater power." In the folio this line is given to Albany. 7 Alluding to the proverb, "Love, being jealous, makes a good eye look asquint."

Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer From a full-flowing stomach.-General,

Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine.1
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.

Mean you to enjoy him?
Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.2
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.


Half-blooded fellow, yes. Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.3 [TO EDMUND. Alb. Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee On capital treason; and, in thine, attaint1

This gilded serpent. [Pointing to GoN.]-For your claim, fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife;

'Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
you will marry, make your love to me,


My lady is bespoke.


An interlude!

Alb. Thou art armed, Gloster.-Let the trumpet sound ;

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

Then I have here proclaimed thee.


Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison.

Sick, O, sick!


Edm. There's my exchange. [Throwing down a glove.] What in the world he is

1 A metaphor taken from the camp, and signifying to surrender at discretion. This line is not in the quartos.

2 To obstruct their union lies not in your good pleasure."

3 It appears, from this speech, that Regan did not know that Albany had discharged her forces. This line is given to Edmund in the quartos 4 The folio reads "thy arrest."

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.



A herald, ho!

A herald, ho, a herald!

Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers, All levied in my name, have in my name

Took their discharge.


This sickness grows upon me

Enter a Herald.

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

Come hither, herald. Let the trumpet sound,

And read out this.

[Exit REGAN, led

Off. Sound, trumpet.

[A trumpet sounds.

Herald reads.


If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of 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.

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.


What are you?

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

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


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.


Which is that adversary?

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


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

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 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.



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 3 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.

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.

« AnteriorContinuar »