« AnteriorContinuar »
I find she names my very deed of love;
Lear. To thee and thine hereditary ever
Lear. Nothing will come of nothing: speak
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany, 129
Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thy enemies; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Hold thee, from this, for ever. (The barbarous Which we durst never yet, and with strain'd
Or he that makes his generation messes
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime daughter.
Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain
Now, by Apollo, king,
O, vassal! miscreant! [Laying his hand on his sword. Corn Dear sir, forbear.
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
To come between our sentence and our power,
This shall not be revoked.
Kent. Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear. Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. [To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
Hear me, recreant!
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!
That good effects may spring from words of love.
Lear. My lord of Burgundy, We first address towards you, who with this king
France. Is it but this, a tardiness in nature
Glou. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
Hath rivall'd for our daughter: what, in the least,
Most royal majesty, I crave no more than what your highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less.
I know no answer. Lear. Will you, with those infirmities she
owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?
I tell you all her wealth. [To France] For you,
I would not from your love make such a stray,
To avert your liking a more worthier way
This is most strange, That she, that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
I'll do't before I speak, that you make known
Hath lost me in your liking.
Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Exeunt all but France, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. France. Bid farewell to your sisters. Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And like a sister am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Use well our father:
To your professed bosoms I commit him:
Prescribe not us our duties.
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt France and Cordelia. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say of
Gon. There is further compliment of leavetaking between France and him. Pray you, let's 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 on't. Gon. We must do something, and i' the heat. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. The Earl of Gloucester's castle. Enter EDMUND, with a letter
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glou. Kent banish'd thus! and France choler parted! And the king gone to-night! subscribed power!
Confined to exhibition! All this done Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news? Edm. So please your lordship, none. [Putting up the letter. Glou. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.
Glou. No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'erread; and for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o'er-looking. 40
Glou. Give me the letter, sir.
Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
Glou. 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. Glou. [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.' Hum-conspiracy-Sleep till I 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.
Glou. You know the character to be your
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.
It is his.
heart is not in the contents. Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his
Glou. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: but I have heard him oft 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.
Glou. 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 wrote this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no further pretence of danger.
Glou. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, 30 and by an auricular assurance have your satis
faction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glou. He cannot be such a monster-
Glou. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom. I would 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.
Glow 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 bond cracked 'twixt son and father. This villain of 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! 'Tis 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 whoremaster 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
and pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund! what serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edg. Do you busy yourself about that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of 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 presence 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. 180
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 ye, 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 ain 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 you anon? 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. The Duke of Albany's palace. Enter GONERIL, and OSWALD, her steward. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Osiv. Yes, madam.
Gon. By day and night he wrongs me; every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'ld have it come to ques
If he dislike it, let him to our sister,
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master. 30 Lear. What's that? Kent. Authority.
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet. Dinner, ho, dinner! Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither. [Exit an Attendant.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back. [Exit a Knight.] Where's my fool, ho? I think the world's asleep.
How now! where's that mongrel?
Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.
Knight. Sir, he answered 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 judgement, your highness is not entertained 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! sayest 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 wronged.
Lear. Thou but rememberest 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. [Exit an Attendant.] Go you, call hither my fool. [Exit an Attendant.
O, you sir, you, come you hither, sir: who am I, sir?
Osw. My lady's father.
Lear. My lady's father'! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!..
Osw. I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your pardon.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal? [Striking him. Osw. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither, you base foot-ball player. [Tripping up his heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences: away, away! If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away! go to; have you wisdom? so. [Pushes Oswald out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.
[Giving Kent money.