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"Tis she herself!—My senses, sure, conform
Whilst Smug ply'd the bellows,
She truck'd with her fellows;
Yet Swithin made Oberon jealous.-0, torture f
Aran. Alack, madam! a poor wand'ring lunatic. Cord. And yet his language seem'd but now, well temper'd. Speak, friend, to one more wretched than thyself; And if thou hast one interval of sense, Inform us, if thou canst, where we may find A poor old man, who through this heath hath stray'd The tedious night.—Speak, saw'st thou such a one Edg. The king, her father, whom she's come to seek Through all the terrors of this night: O gods 1 That such amazing piety, such tenderness, Should yet to me be cruel! Yes, fair one, such a one was lately here, And is convey'd by some that came to seek him To a neighbouring cottage; but distinctly where I know not. Cord. Blessings on them 1 Let's find him out, Aranthe; for thou seest
We are in Heaven's protection. [Going off.
Edg. As you did once know Edgar's.
Cord. Edgar !
Edg. The poor remains of Edgar, what Your scorn has left him.
Cord. Do we wake, Aranthe Edg. My father seeks my life: which I preserv'd, In hope of some blest minute to oblige Distrest Cordelia, and the gods have given it; That thought alone prevail'd with me to take This frantic dress, to make the earth my bed, With these bare limbs all change of seasons 'bide, Noon's scorching heat, and midnight's piercing cold, To feed on offals, and to drink with herds, To combat with the winds, and be the sport Of clowns, or what's more wretched yet, their pity. Cord. Was ever tale so full of misery ! Edg. But such a fall as this, I grant, was due To my aspiring love; for 'twas presumptuous, Though not presumptuously pusu'd; For, well you know, I wore my flame conceal’d, And silent, as the lamps that burn in tombs; Till you perceiv'd my grief, with modest grace Drew forth the secret, and then seal'd my pardon. Cord. You had your pardon, nor can you challenge - Inote. Edg. What do I challenge more? Such vanity agrees not with these rags: When in my prosp'rous state, rich Gloster's heir, You silenc'd my pretences, and enjoin'd me To trouble you upon that theme no more ; Then what reception must love's language find From these bare limbs, and beggar's humble weeds Cord. Such as a voice of pardon to a wretch condemn’d ; Such as the shouts Of succouring forces to a town besieg'd. Edg. Ah! what new method now of cruelty? Cord. Come to my arms, thou dearest, best of men, And take the kindest vows, that e'er were spoke By a protesting maid. Edg. Is’t possible
Cord. By the dear vital stream, that bathes my heart, These hallow'd rags of thine, and naked virtue, These abject tassels, these fantastic shreds, To me are dearer than the richest pomp Of purpled monarchs. Edg. Generous, charming maid! The gods alone, that made, can rate thy worth ! This most amazing excellence shall be Fame's triumph in succeeding ages, when Thy bright example shall adorn the scene, And teach the world perfection. Cord. Cold and weary, We'll rest a while, Aranthe, on that straw, Then forward to find out the poor old king. Edg. Look, I have flint and steel, the implements, Of wand'ring lunatics; I'll strike a light, And make a fire beneath this shed, to dry Thy storm-drench'd garments, ere thou lie to rest thee: Then, fierce and wakeful as th' Hesperian dragon, I'll watch beside thee to protect thy sleep : Meanwhile the stars shall dart their kindest beams, And angels visit my Cordelia's dreams. [Ereunt.
ACT THE FOURTH.
An Apartment in the EARL of GLosTER's Castle.
Enter the DUKE of CoRNw ALL, REGAN, EDMUND, EDw ARD, and SERVANTs.
Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
Regan, see here, a plot upon our state;
Enter GLosTER, brought in by Two SERVANTs.
Bind fast his arms.
Reg. Now, traitor, thou shalt find–– Corn. Speak, rebel, where hast thou sent the king P Whom, spite of our decree, thou saved'st last night. Glost. I'm tied to th' stake, a.d I must stand the course. Reg. Say where, and why, thou hast conceale him * Glost. Because I would not see thy cruel hands Tear out his poor old eyes, northy fierce sister Carve his anointed flesh; but I shall see The swift-wing'd vengeance overtake such children. Corn. See’t thou shalt never: slaves, perform your work; [The SERVANts take GLostER out. Out with those treacherous eyes; despatch, I say. Glost. [Within..] He, that will think to live till he be old, Give me some help.–—O, cruel! oh, ye gods! Edw. Hold, hold, my lord, I bar your cruelty; I cannot love your safety, and give way To such inhuman practice. Corn. Ah, my villain! Edw. I have been your servant from my infancy; But better service have I never done you, Than with this boldness.
Corn. Take thy death, slave. [Stabs Edward. Edw. Nay, then revenge, whilst yet my blood is warm
[Draws his Sword, runs CornwALL through the Body, and is carried off, dying, Reg. Help here, are you not hurt, my lord * Glost. [Within..] Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature, To quit this horrid act. Reg. Out, treacherous villain, Thou call'st on him that hates thee; it was he That broach'd thy treason, show'd us thy despatches; There—read, and save the Cambrian prince the labour. [Throws the Letters out to him.