Page images

ACT V. SCENE I. The Camp of the British Forces, near Dover Enter, with Drums and Colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Officers, Soldiers ,

and Others.'
Edmund. Know of the duke, if his last purpose hold;
Or whether, since, he is advis'd by aught 1
To change the course. He 's full of alteration,
And self-reproving: bring his constant pleasure.?

[To an Officer, who goes out.
Regan. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
Edm. 'T is to be doubted, 3 Madam.

Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you:
Tell me, - but truly, — but then speak the truth,
Do you not love my sister ?

In honour'd love.
Reg. But have you never found my


way To the forefended 4 place? Edm.

That thought abuses you." Reg. I am doubtful 6 that you have been conjunct, And bosóm'd with her, as far as we call hers. 8

Edm. No, by mine honour, Madam.

Reg. I never shall endure her. 9 Dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.

Fear me not.
She and the duke her husband!

Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers. Goneril. I had rather lose the battle, than that sister Should loosen him and me.

(Aside. Albany. Our very loving sister, well be-met. Sir, this I hear, - the king is come to his daughter, With others, whon the rigour of our state

1. Or whether, since then, anything you; that is a suspicion without founrenders it advisable, in his opinion, &c. dation. Compare note 1, page 96. 2. i. e. his settled resolution.

6. See note 3, of this page. 3. To doubt, to fear; sometimes also

7. Conjunct, conjoined, united, i. e.

intimately connected. See note 7, page 37. to believe, to doubt not.

8. i. e. as far as is possible. 4. Forefended, prohibited, forbidden. 9. i. e. I never all re being 5. i. e. That thought imposes on on terms of such intimacy with you, King Lear.




Forc'd 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.

Edmund. Sir, you speak nobly.

Why is this reason'd?
Göneril. Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.

Let us, then, determine
With the ancient of war . 4

on our proceedings."
Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent.
Reg. Sister, you 'll go with us?
Gon. No.
Reg. 'T is most convenient; pray you, go with us.
Gón. O, ho! I know the riddle. 6 (Aside.] I will go.

Enter EDGAR, disguised.
Edgar. If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.
I 'll overtake you.

(Eseunt EDMUND, REGAN, GONERIL, Officers, Sol-

diers, 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.


1. Gave cause of complaint.

4. i. e. experienced generals, men 2. As regards this business (i. e. the old in war. pending battle), it concerns me in one 5. Presently, immediately. particular only, that France invades 6. Meaning, she perceives her sister's our land; not in respect to the king intention to prevent her being together being emboldened to re-assert bis title, with Edmund. assisted by others, whom, I fear, most 7. This last word only is addressed just and heavy causes have driven to to Edgar. oppose us.

8. i. e. all designs against your life 3. This is to be understood ironi- will have an end. cally.


I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,.. And I 'll appear again.

[Exit. Albany. Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.

Re-enter EDMUND.

Edmund. 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 urg'd on you. Alb.

We will greet the time.2 [Exit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; Each jealous of the other, as the stung Are of the adder.3 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 5 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. 8


1. Edmund gives a paper containing , to become partners in a game; to pull the reports of the spies.

or pluck down a side was to lose the 2. i. e. be ready to meet the occasion. game.

5. Countenance, patronage, support. 3. The word jealous, besides its particular meaning of suspicious in love,

6. Taking off, removal (i.e. by death). also bears the signification of suspi 7. i. e. it shall not be in his (Alcious in a wider and general sense. bany's) power to pardon.

4. This is a metaphor from the card 8. For the position which I occupy table, where to carry out a side meant renders it incumbent on me to defend to carry out a game with your partner it and myself by deeds, not to delibersuccessfully. So to set up a side was late as to what I shall do.


A Field between the two Camps. Alarum within. Enter, with Drum and Colours, LEAR, CORDELIA, and

their Forces; and exeunt.

Edgar. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good hosta; pray that the right may thrive.
If ever I return to you again,
I 'll bring you comfort.


you, Sir! [Exit EDGAR. Alarum; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter EDGAR. Edg. Away, old man! give me thy hand: away! King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en. Give me thy hand; come on.

Glos. No farther, Sir: a man may rot even here.

Edg. What! in iúl thoughts again? Men must endure Their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all.2 Come on. Glos. And that 's true too.


Grace go


The British Camp near Dover. Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, EDMUND; LEAR and CORDELIA

as Prisoners; Captain, Officers, Soldiers, &c. Edmund. Some officers take them away: good guard, 3 Until their greater pleasures first be known, That are to censure Cordelia.

We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.

4 them.

1. The tree is hospitably to receive, 3. i. e. let them be put under good or entertain, Gloster, and in that sense guard. becomes his good host.

4. To censure, to judge, to pass sen2. i. e. It is not allowed to man to tence upon. See note 2, page 63. anticipate the time of his death any Their greater pleasures means the more than that of his birth: he must pleasures, or wills, of those persons of await patiently either event till he is greater rank than himself. ripe, when it will come as a natural consequence.

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;l
And take upon 's 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 ebb and flow by the moon.2

Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee? He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence like foxes,3 Wipe thine eyes; The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fel1,4 Ere they shall make us weep: we 'll see them starve first. Come.

Eceunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain; hark. Take thou this note; [Giving a paper.] go, follow them to

prison. One step I have advanc'd 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 'lt do it, Or thrive by other means. Captain.

I 'll do ’t, my lord.

1. In politics it is usual to say, which, like the tide, rise and fall, as if such and such a party is in or out, as influenced by the moon. the case may be; or it may be applied

3. An allusion to the manner in to court favour, in or out of which foxes are driven from their favour.

holes. To fire means here to drive by 2. And we, being within the walls fire. of a prison, and uninfluenced by out 4. The goujeers, or goujeres , is the ward events, will outlive the intrigues morbus gallicus, or French disease. and parties of the great people at court, Fell, skin, hide. Not in use,

« PreviousContinue »