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In this fair third, Cordelia's forfeit dow'r.
Kent. [Kneels.] Royal Lear,
Lear. Away! the bow is bent, make from the shaft.
Kent. [Rises.] No, let it fall, and drench within my heart: Be Kent unmannerly when Lear is mad; Thy youngest daughter
Lear. On thy life, no more.
Kent, What wilt thou do, old man?
Lear. Out of my sight.
Kent. See better first.
Lear. Now, by the gods
Kent. Now, by the gods, rash king, thou swear'st in vain.
Lear. Ha, traitor!
Kent. Do, kill thy physician, Lear; Strike through my throat; yet, with my latest breath, I'll thunder in thine ear my just complaint, And tell thee to thy face, that thou dost ill.
Lear. Hear me, rash man; on thine allegiance hear me: Since thou hast striven to make us break our vow, And press'd between our sentence and our pow'r, Which nor our nature, nor our place, can bear, We banish thee for ever from our sight And kingdom: If, when three days are expir'd, Thy hated trunk be found in our dominions, That moment is thy death.—Away.
Kent. Why, fare thee well, King; since thou art resolv'd, I take thee at thy word; I will not stay To see thy fall. The gods protect thee, maid, That truly think'st, and has most justly said. Thus to old climates my old truth I bear; Friendship lives hence, and banishment is here.
Lear. Now, Burgundy, you see her price is fall'n; Yet, if the fondness of your passion still Affect her as she stands, dow'rless, and lost In our esteem, she's yours; take her, or leave her.
Burg. Pardon me, royal Lear, I but demand The dow'r yourself propos'd, and here I take Cordelia by the hand, Duchess of Burgundy.
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by a father's rage, I tell you all her wealth.
[cordelia throws herself at Lear's Feet.
Away! Away! Away! [Flourish of Trumpets, etc.
[Exeunt all but Cordelia.
Edg. Has Heav'n then weigh'd the merit of my
The hand that was this minute to have join'd' • •"
Smile, princess, and convince me; for, as yet,
Cord. Some comfort yet, that 'twas no vicious blot
As it deserves ; but use our father well,
Edg. O heav'nly maid! that art thyself thy dow'r,
Cord. Talk'd of love.
Edg. Then I've offended oft; Cordelia too Has oft permitted me so to offend.
Cord. When, Edgar, I permitted your addresses,
Edg. Thus majesty takes most state in distress.
Cord. This baseness of the ignoble Burgundy
Enter Edmund, hastily. Edm. Brother, I've found you in a lucky minute Fly, and be safe; some villain has incens'd Our father against your life.
Edg. Distress'd Cordelia!—but oh, more cruel!
Edm. Hear me, sir; your life, your life's in danger.
Edg. And yet, perhaps, 'twas but pretended coldness, To try how far my passion would pursue.
Edm. He hears me not; 'wake, 'wake, sir.
Edg. Say you, brother?
No tears, good Edmund; if thou bring'st me tidings
Edm. Your danger, sir, comes on so fast,
Edg. Pardon me, sir, a serious thought
Edm. Ha! ha! Fond man! Such credulous ho» nesty Lessens the glory of my artifice; His nature is so far from doing wrongs, That he suspects none: if this letter speed, And pass for Edgar's, as himself would own The counterfeit, but for the foul contents, Then my designs are perfect. Here comes Gloster.
Glost. Stay, Edmund, turn; what paper were you
reading? Edm. A trifle, sir.
Glost. What needed then that terrible despatch of it Into your pocket? Come, produce it, sir.
Edm. A letter from my brother, sir: I had just broke the seal, but knew not the contents;
Yet, fearing they might prove to blame,
[Reads.] This policy of fathers is intolerable, that keeps our fortunes from us 'till age will not suffer us to enjoy them; I am weary of the tyranny. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his possessions, and live beloved of your brother.
Sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy
Edm. Perhaps 'twas writ, my lord, to prove my virtue.
Glost. These late eclipses of the sun and moon Can bode no less; love cools, and friendship fails; In cities mutiny, in countries discord; The bond of nature crack'd 'twixt son and father.— Find out the villain, do it carefully, And it shall lose thee nothing. [Exit Gloster.
Edm. So, now my project's firm; but, to make sure, I'll throw in one proof more, and that a bold one; I'll place old Gloster where he shall o'erhear us Confer of this design; whilst, to his thinking, Deluded Edgar shall accuse himself. Be honesty my int'rest, and I can Be honest too; and what saint so divine, That will successful villany decline? [Exit Edm UN D.