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Cordelia leaves you: I know what you are,
And, like a fifter, am most loth to call

Your faults, as they are nam'd. Love well our father:
To your profeffing bofoms I commit him;
But yet, alas! flood I within his grace,

I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewel to you both.

Reg. Prefcribe not us our duty.
Gon. Let your ftudy

Be to content your lord, who hath receiv'd you
At fortune's alms; you have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the Want that you have vaunted.
Cor. Time fhall unfold what plaited cunning hides,
Who covers faults, at last with fhame derides.
Well may you prosper!

France. Come, my fair-Cordelia.


[Exeunt France and Cordelia.

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ISTER, it is not little I've to fay,

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Of what most nearly appertains to us both; I think our father will go hence to-night.

Reg. That's certain, and with you; next month with us.

Gon. You fee how full of change his age is, the observation we have made of it hath not been little; he always lov'd our fifter moft, and with what poor judgment he hath now caft her off, appears too grofly. Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but flenderly known himfelf.

Gon. The beft and foundeft of his time hath been but rah; then must we look, from his age, to receive not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardnefs, that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconftant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.


Gon. There is further complement of leave-taking between France and him; pray you, let us hit together if our father carry Authority with fuch difpofition as he bears, this laft furrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We fhall further think of it.

Gon. We must do something, and i'th'heat. [Exeu, SCENE


Changes to a Caftle belonging to the Earl of Glo'fter. Enter Edmund, with a letter.


HOU, Nature, art my Goddefs; to thy

TH law

My fervices are bound; wherefore should I
Stand in the Plage of cuftom, and permit
The curtesy of nations to deprive me,

For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon-fhines
Lag of a Brother? Why baftard? wherefore base?
When my dimenfions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my fhape as true,
As honeft Madam's iffue? why brand they us
With bafe? with baseness ? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lufty ftealth of nature, take
More compofition and fierce quality;
Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed,
Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween a-fleep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I muft have your land;
Our father's love is to the baftard Edmund,
As to th' legitimate, fine word-legitimate-
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the bafe
Shall be th' legitimate.-I grow, I profper;
*Now, Gods, ftand up for baftards!

Now, Gods, ftand up for baftards !] For what Reason? He does not tell us; but the Poet alludes to the Debaucheries of the Pagan Gods, who made Heroes of all their Baftards.


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Glo. KENT banish'd thus ! and France in choler


And the King gone to-night! fubfcrib'd his pow'r! Confin'd to exhibition! all is gone

Upon the gad!-Edmund, how now? what news? Edm. So please your lordship, none.

[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why fo earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

Edm. I know no news, my lord.

Glo. What paper were you reading?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! what needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not fuch need to hide itself. Let's fee; come if it be nothing, I fhall not need spectacles.

Edm. I befeech you, Sir, pardon me, it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for fo much as I have perus'd, I find it not fit for your overlooking.

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I fhall offend, either to detain, or give it ; the contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

Glo Let's fee, let's fee.

Edm. I hope. for my brother's juftification, he wrote this but as an essay, or taste of my virtue.

Glo. reads.] This policy and reverence of ages makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, 'till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppreffion of aged tyranny; which ways, not as it hath power, but as it is fuffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would fleep, till I wak'd him, you should enjoy kalf his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your bro



ther Edgar.

I wake him

fleep, till

HumConfpiracy! you fhould enjoy half his revenue

My fon Edgar! had he a hand to write this! a heart and brain to breed it in! When came this to you? who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord; there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your brother's? Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durft fwear, it were his; but in respect of that, I would fain think, it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord; I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Has he never before founded you in this bufinefs ?

Edm. Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that fons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father fhould be as a ward to the fon, and the fon manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain! his very opinion in the letter. Abhorred villain! unnatural, detefted, brutifh villain! worse than brutish! Go, firrah, feek him; I'll apprehend him. Abominable villain, where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord; if it fhall please you to fufpend your indignation against my brother, 'till you can derive from him better teftimony of his intent, you fhould run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your Honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you fo ?

Edm. If your Honour judge it meet, I will place. you where you fhall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular

auricular affurance have your fatisfaction: and that, without any further delay than this very evening. Glo. He cannot be fuch a monster.

Edm. Nor is not, fure.

Glo. To his Father, that fo tenderly and entirely loves him- -Heav'n and Earth! Edmund feek him out; wind me into him, I pray you; frame the bufiness after your own wisdom. I would unflate myfelf, to be in a due resolution. Edm. I will feek him, Sir, presently, convey the bufinefs as I fhall find means, and acquaint you withal. Glo. Thefe late eclipfes in the fun and moon portend no good to us; tho' the wisdom of nature can reafon it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself fcourg'd by the fequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide. In cities, mutinies; in countries, difcord; in Palaces, treafon; and the bond crack'd 'twixt fon and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction, there's fon against father; the King falls from biafs of nature; there's father against child. We have feen the best of our time. Machinations, hollownefs, treachery, and all ruinous diforders follow us difquietly to our graves! Find out this villain, Edmund; it fhall lofe thee nothing, do it carefully and the noble and truehearted Kent banish'd! his offence, Honefty. 'Tis ftrange. [Exit.


Manet Edmund.

Edm.T that, when we are fick in fortune, (often THIS is the excellent foppery of the world,

the furfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our difafters, the fun, the moon and stars, as if we were villains on neceffity; fools, by heavenly compulfion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by fphe

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