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

[Gives the letters to EDMUND.
Goneril. Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not thine:
Who can arraign me for 't?

Most monstrous!
Know'st thou this paper ?

Ask me not what I know.

[Excit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her: she 's desperate; govern her.

[Exit an Officer. Edmund. What you have charg'd me with, that have

I done,
And more, much more; the time will bring it out:
”T is past, and so am I. But what art thou,
That hast this fortune on me? If thou 'rt noble,
I do forgive thee.

Edgar. 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 plague us:
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.

Edmund. Thou hast spoken right, 't is 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.

Worthy prince, I know ’t.
Alb. Where have you bid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord. -- List? a brief tale; And, when 't is told, 0, that my heart would burst! The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness ! That we with the pain of death would hourly die, Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift

1. i. e. Goneril's letter found upon Oswald.

2. To list, to listen to, to hearken to.

Into a madman's rags, t 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, sav'd him from despair;
Never (O fault!) reveald myself unto him,
Until some half hour past, 2 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.

Edmund This speech of yours hath mov'd me,-
And shall, perchance, đo good; but speak you on:
You look as you had something more to say.

Albany. If there be more, more woful, hold it in,
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

Edgar. 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 't was that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd 5 burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv’d; which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life

1. O fault ! O misfortune!

tives. The sense in plain language 2. Until about half-an-hour ago. is therefore, This would be enough 3. i. e. as if you had.

for any one who does not love to hear 4. This would have seemed a period of human sorrows, but I have still (i. e. conclusion) to such as love not another sorrowful tale to add, such sorrow; but I must add another period, as will increase the horrors of what to increase what was already too-much, has been already told. • To top, see which will make much, more (i. e. note 8, page 11. more than much) and surpass even 5. i. e. As if he would. the extremity of sorrow. Too much 6. i. e. himself. and much have the power of substan

Began to crack: twice, then, the trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.

But who was this?
Edịar. Kent, Sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Follow' his enemy king, and did him service
Impropr for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
Ontleman. Help! help! O help!

What kind of help?

Speak, man.
dg. What means that bloody knife?

"T is hot, it smokes; It me even from the heart of 0! she's dead!

176. Who dead? speak, man.

Jent. Your lady, Sir, your lady: and her sister
Byer is poison’d; she hath confess'd it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both: all three
N marry in an instant.

Here comes Kent.
Alb. Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead!
T judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,
Tches us not with pity.

[Exit Gentleman.

Enter KENT.

0! is this he? e time will not allow the compliment, hich very manners urges. 1 Kent.

I am come bid my king and master aye? good night: he not here? Alb.

Great thing of us forgot! peak, Edmund, where's the king? and where 's Cordelia? eest thou this object, Kent ?

[The bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in. Kent. Alack! why thus? Edm.

Yet Edmund was belov'd:

1. Which even manners (i e. po-ceived as one idea, and govern the teness) itself dictates. Manners, like verb in the singular. news and some other words, although 2. i. e. for aye, for ever. constructed in the plural, may be con

The one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew herself.
Even so.

Cover their faces.
Edmund. I pant for life: some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
Be brief in it, - to the castle; for my writi
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia.
Nay, send in time.

Run, run! 0, run!
Edgar. To whom, my lord ? Who has the office ? send
Thy token of reprieve.

Edın. Well thought on: take my sword,
Give it the captain.

Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR.
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To'lay the blame


her own despair, That she fordid 2 herself. Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

[EDMUND is borne off. Enter LEAR, with CORDELJA dead in his Arms; EDGAR, Officer, and

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl! O! you are men of

Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever.
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She 's dead as earth. Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

Is this the promis'd end? 4
Edg. Or image of that horror?

Fall, and cease !5
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives ! if it be so,


1. i. e. for my written order has to recover his child, and knows to gone forth touching the life of, &c. what miseries he must survive, when

2. To fordo, or foredo, to destroy. he finds them to be ineffectual. Having Obsolete.

these images present to his eyes and 3. It must be recollected that mirrors imagination, he cries out, Rather of polished metal were formerly used. fall, and cease to be, at once, than 4. i. e. end of the world.

continue in existence only to be 5. Albany is looking with atten- wretched. tion at the pains employed by Lear

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It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
0, my good master!

Lear. Pr’ythee, away.

'T is noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have sav'd her; now, she's gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little. Ha!
What is 't thou say’st? Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low an excellent thing in woman.
I kill'd the slave that was a hanging thee.

Officer. 'T is true, my, lords, he did.

Did I not, fellow?
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 not o' the best: – I 'll tell you straight.

Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold. ?
Lear. This is a dull sight. Are

you not Kent?
Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius ? 3
Lear. He is a good fellow,

good fellow, I can tell you that;
He 'll strike, and quickly too. 4 He's dead and rotten.

Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very mán
Lear. I 'll see that straight.

Kent. That from your first of difference and decay,5
Have follow'd your sad steps.

You are welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else. 6 All's cheerless, dark, and deadly:
Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves,
And desperately are dead.

Ay, so I think.

The same,


1. And these distresses deprive me

3. Kent seems to have borne this of my wonted activity.

name when disguised as Lear's ser2. If Fortune, to display the pleni- vant. tude of her power, should boast of 4. Alluding to Kent's officiousness in two persons, one of whom she had his service. highly elevated, and the other she had 5. i. e. from the first moment of your wofully depressed, we now behold the changed fortunes and sorrows. latter.

6. Continuing his former speech.

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