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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 trnly think'st, and has most justly said. Thus to old climates my old truth I bear; Friendship lives hence, and banishment is here. [Erit KENT. 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, &c. [Ereunt all but CortDelia.
Edg., Has Heav'n then weigh'd the merit of my love,
Or is it the raving of a sickly thought
Cord. Some comfort yet, that 'twas no vicious blot
As it deserves; but use our father well,
[Erit CoRDELIA. 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 Cordelial—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 To strike me dead, for charity delay not; That present will befit so kind a hand. Edm. Your danger, sir, comes on so fast, That I want time to inform you? but retire, Whilst I take care to turn the pressing stream. O gods! for Heaven's sake, sir, Edg. Pardon me, sir, a serious thought Had seiz'd me; but I think you talk'd of danger, And wish'd me to retire.-Must all our vows End thus –Friend, I obey you.-O Cordelia | [Erit EDGAR. Edm. Ha! ha' Fond man! Such credulous honesty 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
I'll place old Gloster where he shall o'erhear us :
Be honesty my int'rest, and I can
SCEN E III, The Court before the Duke of ALBANY's Palace.
Enter Kent, disguised.
Kent. Now, banish’d Kent, if thou canst pay thy duty In this digie, where thou dost stand condemn'd, Thy master Lear shall find thee full of labours.
Enter KING LEAR, attended by his KNIGHTs.
Lear. In there, and tell our daughter we are here. [Exit First KNIGHT. Now, what art thou ? Kent. A man, sir. Lear. What dost thou profess, or wouldst with us? Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly that puts me in trust, to love him that's honest, to converse with him that's wise and speaks little, to fight when I can't chuse, and to eat no fish. Lear. I say, what art thou? Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king. Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough.--Dost thou know me, fellow Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master. Lear. What's that? Kent. Authority. Lear. What services canst thou do Kent. I can keep honest counsel, mar a curious tale in the telling, deliver a plain message bluntly;