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Cor. Be better suited: These weeds are memories of those worser hours: I prithee, put them off. Kent. Pardon me, dear madam; Yet to be known shortens my made intent: My boon I make it, that you know me not Till time and I think meet.

Cor. Then be't so, my good lord. [To the
Doctor] How does the king?

Doct. Madam, sleeps still.
Cor. O you kind gods,

Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up
Of this child-changed father!


So please your majesty That we may wake the king: he hath slept long. Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed

I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd? 20 Gent. Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep

We put fresh garments on him. Doct. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;

I doubt not of his temperance.
Very well.
Doct. Please you, draw near. Louder the
music there!

Cor. O my dear father! Restoration hang Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss Repair those violent harms that my two sisters Have in thy reverence made!


Kind and dear princess! Cor. Had you not been their father, these white flakes


Had challenged pity of them.

Was this a face To be opposed against the warring winds? To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder? In the most terrible and nimble stroke Of quick, cross lightning? to watch-poor perdu!

With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog, Though he had bit me, should have stood that night Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father, To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn, In short and musty straw? Alack, alack! 'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him. Doct. Madam, do


you; 'tis fittest.

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Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:

Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.



Sir, do you know me? You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?


Cor. Still, still, far wide! Doct. He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

Lear. Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?

I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,

To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!

O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:
No, sir, you must not kneel.


Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,

I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man ;
Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh

at me;

For, as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia.


I am.


And so I am, Lear. Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray,

weep not:

If have poison for me, I will drink it. you

I know you do not love me; for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong: You have some cause, they have not.


Leur. Am I in France?
In your own kingdom, sir.
Lear. Do not abuse me.
Doct. Be comforted, good madam: the great

No cause, no cause.


You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in; trouble him no more Till further settling.

Cor. Will't please your highness walk? Lear. You must bear with me: Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.

Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you well, sir. [Exit. Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought, Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.

[Exeunt all but Kent and Gentleman. Gent. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so slain?

Kent. Most certain, sir.

Gent. Who is conductor of his people? Kent. As'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester. Gent. They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl of Kent in Germany.


Kent. Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the powers of the kingdom approach apace.


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Should loosen him and me.

Alb. Our very loving sister, well be-met.
Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigour of our state
Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
It toucheth us, as France invades our land,
Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
Edm. Sir, you speak nobly.


Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers.


Gon. [Aside] I had rather lose the battle than that sister


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Hear me one word. Alb.

I'll overtake you. Speak. [Exeunt all but Albany and Edgar. Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.



you have victory, let the trumpet sound For him that brought it: wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion that will prove What is avouched there. If you miscarry, Your business of the world hath so an end, And machination ceases. Fortune love you! Alb. Stay till I have read the letter. Edg. I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again. Alb. Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper. [Exit Edgar. 50

Re-enter EDMUND.

Edm. The enemy's in view; draw up your


Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
Is now urged on you.

We will greet the time. [Exit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my


Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive: to take the widow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use
His countenance for the battle; which being done,

Let her who would be rid of him devise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate. [Exit. 69


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Their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all: come on.


And that's true too. [Exeunt. SCENE III. The British camp near Dover. Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, EDMUND: LEAR and CORDELIA, prisoners; Captain, Soldiers, &c.

Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard,

Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.

Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure


Cor. We are not the first Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown. Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters? Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:


We two alone will sing like birds i'the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,

As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,


Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, 20 The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?

He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes; The good-years shall devour them, flesh and fell, Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see 'em starve first.

Come. [Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded.
Edm. Come hither, captain; hark.
Take thou this note [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
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men
Does not become a sword: thy great employment
Will not bear question; 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 done.
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so
As I have set it down.

Capt. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I'll do 't. [Exit. Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, another Captain, and Soldiers.

Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,


And fortune led you well: you have the captives
That 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

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To send the old and miserable king
To some retention and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the



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

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.

Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.

That's as we list to grace him.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the, commission 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 addition.

In my rights,
By me invested, he compeers the best.
Gon. That were the most, if he should hus-
band you.

Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.
Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so look'd but a-squint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should


From a full-flowing stomach. General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
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.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.

Half-blooded fellow, yes. 80 Reg. [To Edmund] Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

Edmund, I ar

Alb. Stay yet; hear reason. rest thee

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 loves to me,
My lady is bespoke.

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!

Enter a Herald.

Come hither, herald,-Let the trumpet sound,60 And read out this.

If none appear to prove upon thy head
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.

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.

Sick, O, sick!
Gon. [Aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.



My sickness grows upon me. Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent. [Exit Regan, led.

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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 honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,


On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,

This gilded serpent [pointing to Gon.]. For your Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a traitor; claim, fair sister,

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 below thy foot,
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,


Enter EDGAR, at the third sound, armed, with a trumpet before him.


An interlude!

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloucester: let the Thon liest.

trumpet sound:


Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' the trumpet.
What are you? 119
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?

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.

Which is that adversary?

Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?

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,

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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'rt noble,
I do forgive thee.

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 plague 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 prophesy 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't. Alb. Where have you hid yourself? 179 How have you known the miseries of your father? Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief


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 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 disdain'd: and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings, 189
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, saved him from despair;
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.


To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour came there in a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'ld 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 trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranced.

Edm. 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. 201 Alb. If there be more, more woeful, 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,

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I am come

To bid my king and master aye good night:
Is he not here?

Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's

See'st thou this object, Kent?
[The bodies of Goneriland Regan are brought in.
Kent. Alack, why thus?

Yet Edmund was beloved: The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.


Alb. Even so. Cover their faces.

Edm. I pant for life: some good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send, Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia : Nay, send in time.


Run, run, O, run!

Edg. To who, my lord? Who hath the office? send

Thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Well thought on: take my sword, 250 Give it the captain.

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit Edgar. Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and

To lay the blame upon her own despair,

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