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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.

Enter EDGAR.

Edg., Has Heav'n then weigh'd the merit of my love,

Or is it the raving of a sickly thought
Could Burgundy forego so rich a prize,
And leave her to despairing Edgar's arms ?
Have l thy hand, Cordelia Do I clasp it
The hand that was this minute to have join'd
My hated rival's Do I kneel before thee,
And offer at thy feet my panting heart
Smile, princess, and convince me; for, as yet, -
I doubt, and dare not trust the dazzling joy.

Cord. Some comfort yet, that 'twas no vicious blot
That has depriv'd me of a father's grace;
But merely want of that, that makes me rich
In wanting it; a smooth professing tongue.
O sisters! I am loath to call your fault

C

As it deserves; but use our father well,
And wrong'd Cordelia never shall repine.
Edg. O heav'nly maid! that art thyself thy dow'r,
Richer in virtue than the stars in light;
If Edgar's humble fortunes may be grac'd
With thy acceptance, at thy feet he lays them.
Ha! my Cordelia, dost thou turn away?
What have I done to offend theef
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,
I was the darling daughter of a king;
Nor can I now forget my royal birth,
And live dependent on my lover's fortune;
I cannot to so low a fate submit;
And therefore study to forget your passion,
And trouble me upon this theme no more.
Edg. Thus majesty takes most state in distress.
How are we tost on fortune's fickle flood | *
The wave that, with surprising kindness, brought
The dear wreck to my arms, has snatch'd it back,
And left me mourning on the barren shore.
Cord. This baseness of the ignoble Burgundy
Draws just suspicion on the race of men;
His love was int’rest, so may Edgar's be,
And he but with more compliment dissemble;
If so, I shall oblige him by denying;
But, if his love be fix’d, such constant flame
As warms my breast, if such I find his passion,
My heart as grateful to his truth shall be,
And cold Cordelia prove as kind as he.

[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,

Enter 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,
Endeavour'd to conceal it from your sight.
Glost. This is Edgar's character.

[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
Half his possessions!—Edgar to write this
'Gainst his indulgent father Death and hell!
Fly, Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him,
That I may bite the traitor's heart, and fold
His bleeding entrails on my vengeful arm.
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, [Erit 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? [Erit EDMUND, .

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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;

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