Imagens das páginas
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Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it.
None does offend, none,-I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem

To see the things thou dost not.-Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots:-harder, harder; so.

Edg. O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!

Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloster: Thou must be patient; we came crying hither. Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee; mark me. Glo. Alack! alack the day!

Lear. When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools,-this' a good block:-
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe

A troop of horse with felt: I'll put it in proof;
And when I have stolen upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Enter a Gentleman, with Aendants.
Gent. O, here he is; lay hand upon him.-Sir,
Your most dear daughter-

Lear. No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even The natural fool of fortune.-Use me well;

You shall have ransom.

I am cut to the brains.

Let me have a surgeon,

Gent. You shall have anything.
Lear. No seconds? All myself?

Why, this would make a man a mar of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and for laying autumn's dust.

Gent. Good Sir,

Lear. I will die bravely, like a bridegroom. What? I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king,

My masters, know you that?

Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you. Lear. Then there's life in it. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.

[Exit, running; Attendants follow. Gent. A sight most piti) in the meanest wretch; Past speaking of in a king!-Thou hast one daughter, Who redeems nature from the general curse Which twain have brought her to.

Edg. Hail, gentle Sir!

Gent. Sir, speed you: what's your will?

Edg. Do you hear aught, Sir, of a battle toward?

Gent. Most sure, and vulgar: every one hears that,

Which can distinguish sound.

Edg. But, by your favour,

How near's the other army?

Gent. Near, and on speedy foot; the main descry

Stands on the hourly thought.

Edg. I thank you, Sir: that's all.

Gent. Though that the queen on special cause is here,

Her army is moved on.

Edg. I thank you, Sir.

[Exit Gent.

Glo. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me; Let not my worser spirit tempt me again

To die before you please!

Edg. Well pray you, father.

Glo. Now, good Sir, what are you?

Edg. A most poor man, made tame by fortune's blows;

Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.

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Stew. Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

Edg. Ch'ill not let go, Zir, without vurther 'casion.
Stew. Let go, slave, or thou diest.

Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk pass. And ch'ud ha' been zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' been zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out, che vor' ye, or Ise try whether your costard or my bat be the harder. Ch'ill be plain with you.

Stew. Out, dunghill!

Edg. Ch'ill pick your teeth, Zir: come; no matter vor your foins.

[They fight, and EDGAR knocks him down. Stew. Slave, thou hast slain me:-villain, take my If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body; [purse: And give the letters which thou find'st about me To Edmund earl of Gloster; seek him out Upon the British party :-0, untimely death! Edg. I know thee well: a serviceable villain; As duteous to the vices of thy mistress, As badness would desire.


Glo. What, is he dead?

Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.—

Let's see his pockets: these letters that he speaks of
May be my friends.-He's dead; I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman.-Let us see:-
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful.

[Reads.] "Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror: then am I the prisoner, and his bed my jail; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour.

"Your wife, (so I would say,) and
"your affectionate servant,

O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!—
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life:
And the exchange, my brother!-Here, in the sands,
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers: and, in the mature time,
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practised duke: for him 'tis well,
That of thy death and business I can tell.

[Exit EDGAR, dragging out the body
Glo. The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs;
And woes, by wrong imaginations, lose
The knowledge of themselves.

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Cor. Then be it so, my good lord.-[To the Phys.] The bastard son of Glester.

How does the king?

Phys. Madam, sleeps still.

Cor. O you kind gods,

Cure this great breach in his abusèd nature!

The untuned and jarring senses, 0, wind up

Of this child-changed father!

Phys. 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?

Gent. Ay, Madam; in the heaviness of his sleep,

We put fresh garments on him.

Phys. Be by, good Madam, when we do awake him; I doubt not of his temperance.

Cor. Very well.


Phys. Please you, draw near.-Louder the music 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!

Kent. 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 exposed 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.
Phys. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.


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

Cor. Sir, do you know me?

Lear. You are a spirit, I know; when did you die? Cor. Still, still, far wide.

Phys. He's scarce awake: let him alone a while. Lear. Where have I been?-Where am I?-Fair daylight?

I am mightily abused.-I should even 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!

Cor. O look upon me, Sir,

And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:-
No, Sir, you must not kneel.

Lear. Pray, do not mock me:

I am a very foolish fond old man,

Fourscore and upward; 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.

Cor. And so I am, I am.

Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, 'faith. I pray, weep If you have poison for me, I will drink it.

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.

Cor. No cause, no cause.

Lear. Am I in France?

Kent. In your own kingdom, Sir.

Lear. Do not abuse me.


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Gent. They say Edgar,

His banish'd son, is with the earl of Kent
In Germany.

Kent. Report is changeable.

'Tis time to look about; the powers o' the kingdom Approach apace.

Gent. The arbitrement is like to be a bloody.

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Reg. But have you never found my brother's way To the forefended place?

Edm. That thought abuses you.

Reg. I am doubtful that you have been conjunct And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers. Edm. No, by mine honour, Madam.

Reg. I never shall endure her: dear my lord, Be not familiar with her.

Edm. Fear me not:

She, and the duke her husband.

Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers.
Gon. [Aside I had rather lose the battle, than that
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.

Reg. Why is this reason'd?

Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not to question here.

Alb. Let us then determine

With the ancient of war on our proceedings.
Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent.
Reg. Sister, you'll go with us?

Gon. No.

Reg. 'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us. Gon. [Aside.] O, ho 1 I know the riddle.-I will go. As they are going out, enter EDGAR, disguised. Edg. If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor, Hear me one word.

Alb. I'll overtake you.-Speak.

[Exeunt EDMUND, REGAN, GONERIL, Officers,
Soldiers, and Attendants.
Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If 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.

Re-enter EDMUND.

Edm. The enemy's in view; draw up your powers Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery;-but your haste

Is now urged on you.

Alb. We will greet the time.


Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; 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.


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

Edm. Take them away.

Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,

The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught
He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven, [thee?
And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell, [first.
Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve
[Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded.
Edm. Come hither, captain; hark. [to prison:
Take thou this note; [Giving a paper.] go, follow them
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; either say thou 'It do't,
Or thrive by other means.

Off. I'll do 't, my lord.

Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast Mark, I say instantly; and carry it so,

As I have set it down.


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 shewn 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.

Edm. Sir, I thought it fit

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 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.

Alb. Sir, by your patience,

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

Reg. 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.

Gon. Not so hot:

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That eye, that told you so, look'd but 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:
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.

Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?

Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.

Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Reg. [To EDMUND.] Let the drum strike, and prove

my title thine.

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I come to cope withal.

Alb. Which is that adversary?

Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund earl of
Edm. Himself;-what say'st thou to him? [Gloster?
Edg. 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,
Thy valour 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.

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,
Where they shall rest for ever.-Trumpets, speak!
[Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls.

Alb. O save him, save him!

Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster:

By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,

But cozen'd and beguiled.

Alb. Shut your mouth, dame,

Or with this paper shall I stop it:-hold, Sir;

Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:-
No tearing, lady; I perceive you know it.

[Gives the letter to EDMUND.

Gon. Say, if I do,-the laws are mine, not thine: Who shall arraign me for 't?

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Gon. Ask me not what I know. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her. [To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charged me with, that have I done;

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 art noble,

I do forgive thee.

Edg. 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 scourge 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!

Edo. Worthy prince,

I know it well.

Alb. Where have you hid yourself?

How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord.-List a brief tale;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 with the pain of death we'd 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,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, saved him from despair;
Never (0 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.

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.

Alb. If there be more, more woful, 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,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.

Whilst I was big in clamour, came there 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'd 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 trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranced.

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I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion,
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.-Who are you?
Mine eyes are none o' the best:-I'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,
One of them we behold.

Lear. This is a dull sight:-are you not Kent?
Kent. The same;

Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;
He'll strike, and quickly too:-he's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man,-
Lear. I'll see that straight.

Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your sad steps.

Lear. You are welcome hither.

Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark, and


Your eldest daughters have foredoom'd themselves,

And desperately are dead Lear. Ay, so I think.

Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him. Edg. Very bootless.

Enter an Officer.

Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.

Alb. That's but a trifle here.

You lords and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come,
Shall be applied: for us, we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,

To him our absolute power:-you, to your rights;
With boot, and such addition as your honours
Have more than merited.-All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes

The cup of their deservings.-O, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'di No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,

And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!-

Pray you, undo this button: thank you, Sir.-
Do you see this? Look on her,-look,-her lips,-
Look there, look there!-

Edg. He faints!-My lord, my lord!-
Kent. Break, heart; I pr'ythee, break!
Edg. Look up, my lord.

[He dies

Kent. Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates That would upon the rack of this tough world [him Stretch him out longer.

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Alb. Bear them from hence.-Our present business Is general woe.-[TO KENT and EDGAR.] Friends of my soul, you twain

Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, Sir, shortly to go;

My master calls, and I must not say no.

Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

[Exeunt with a dead march

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