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Court before the same.

Enter LEAR, KENT, and FOOL. Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these letters : acquaint my daughter no farther with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you.

Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your letter.

[Erit. Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, were 't not in danger of kibes :

Lear. Ay, boy.

Fool. Then, I pr’ythee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slipshod.

Lear. Ha, ha, ha!

Fool. Shalt see, thy other daughter will use thee kindly; for though she's as like this as a crab is like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.

Lear. Why, what canst thou tell, my boy?

Fool. She will taste as like this as a crab does to à crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i the middle of his face?

Lear. No.

Fool. Why, to keep his eyes on either side his nose; that what a man cannot smell out, he way spy into.

Lear. I did her wrong:

Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell ? Lear. No.

Fool. Nor I neither ; but I can tell why a snail has a house.

Lear. Why?

Fool. Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns without

a case.

Lear. I will forget my nature.-So kind a father!-Be


horses ready? Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven, is a pretty reason.

Lear. Because they are not eight?

Fool. Yes, indeed : thou wouldst make a good fool.

Lear. To take it again perforce !-Monster ingratitude !

Fool. If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.

Lear. How's that?

Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old before thou hadst been wise. Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet

Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!


How now? Are the horses ready?

Gen. Ready, my lord.

Lear. Come, boy.
Fool. She that is maid now, and laughs at my

departure, Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.




A court within the castle of the Earl of Gloster.

Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting. Edm. Save thee, Curan.

Curan. And you, sir. I have been with your father; and given him notice, that the duke of Cornwall, and Regan his duchess, will be here with him to-night.

Edm. How comes that?

Curan. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad; I mean, the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments ?

Edm. Not I: pray you, what are they?

Curan. Have you heard of no likely wars toward 'twixt the dukes of Cornwall and Albany?

Edm. Not a word.

Curan. You may then, in time. Fare you well, sir.

[Exit. Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better !





This weaves itself perforce into my business !
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy 1

question, Which I must act.—Briefness and fortune, work ! Brother, a word ;-descend :-brother, I say!

Enter EDGAR.

My father watches.-0 sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid ;
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the duke of Cornwall ?
He's coming hither ; now, i’ the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

Edg. I am sure on 't, not a word.

Edm. I hear my father coming.–Pardon me: In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you. Draw: seem to defend yourself: now quit you well. Yield : :-come before my father :-light, ho, here ! Fly, brother !—torches ! torches !-so, farewell.

[Exit Edgar. Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion

[wounds his arm. Of my more fierce endeavor : I have seen drunkards Do more than this in sport.-Father ! father! Stop, stop! No help?

1 Delicate.

? Consider, recollect yourself.

Enter GLOSTER, and Servants with torches. Glos. Now, Edmund, where's the villain ? Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword

out, Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon To stand his auspicious mistress. Glos.

But where is he? Edm. Look, sir, I bleed. Glos.

Where is the villain, Edmund ? Edm. Fled this way, sir, when by no means he

couldGlos. Pursue him, ho!-Go after. [Exit Ser

vant.] By no means,—what? Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lord

ship; But that I told him, the revenging gods 'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend; Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond The child was bound to the father. Sir, in fine, Seeing how loathly opposite I stood To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion, With his prepared sword, he charges home My unprovided body; lanced mine arm : But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits, Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter, Or whether gasted 1 by the noise I made, Full suddenly he fled.

1 Frighted.

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