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SCENE I. A Room of State in King Lear's Palace.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weigh'd, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sír, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend. Edm. My services to your lordship. [better. Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
OSWALD, Steward to Goneril.
Servants to Cornwall.
Act IV. Scene 7
Daughters to Lear.
Knights attending on the King, Officers, Messengers, Soldiers, and Attendants.
Glo. He hath been ont nine years, and away he shall again :-The king is coming.
(Trumpets sound withis.) Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege. [Exeunt Glo. and Edn. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker purpose. [divided, Give me the map there. - Know, that we have In three, our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Carnwall
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd; With plenteous rivers, and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart 1 find, she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short,-that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys, Which the most precious square of sense possesses; And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Čor. Then poor Cordelia! (Aside.) And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever, Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom; No less in space, validity, and pleasure, Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy, Although the last, not least; to whose young love The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy, Strive to be interess'd; what can you say, to draw A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak. Cor. Nothing, my lord. Lear. Nothing?
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again. Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more, nor less,
Lear. How, how, Cordelia? mend your speech a little, Lest it may mar your fortunes. Cor. Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I Return those duties back as are right fit, Obey you, love you, and most honour you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say, They love you, all? Haply, when I shall wed, That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall
Half my love with him, half my care, and duty:
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Or he that makes his generation messes
Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath: I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.-Hence, and avoid my sight! (To Cordelia.)
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Call Burgundy.--Cornwall, and Albany,
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old man?
Think'st thon, that duty shall have dread to speak, When power to flattery bows? To plainness bonour's bound,
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive. Lear.
Out of my sight! Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye. Lear. Now, by Apollo,Kent. Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. Lear.
Now, by Apollo, king,
O, vassal! miscreant ! (Laying his hand on his sword.) Alb. & Corn. Dear sir, forbear. Kent. Do;
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Lear. Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me !-Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd pride,
To come betwixt our sentence and our power;
[appear, Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, (To Cordelia.) That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!— And your large speeches may your deeds approve, (To Regan and Goneril.) That good effects may spring from words of love. Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu; He'll shape his old course in a country new. [Exit.
Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble Lear. My lord of Burgundy, We first address towards you, who with this king Hath rivall'd for our daughter; What, in the least, Will you require in present dower with her, Or cease your quest of love? Bur. Most royal majesty, I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd, Nor will you tender less. Lear. Right noble Burgundy, When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; But now her price is fall'n: Sir, there she stands; If aught within that little, seeming substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd, And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, She's there, and she is yours.
I know no answer.
Will you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, [oath, Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our Take her, or leave her?
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king.
France. This is most strange! That she, that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence Must be of such unnatural degree, That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection Fall into taint: which to believe of her, Must be a faith, that reason without miracle Could never plant in me.
Cor. I yet beseech your majesty, (If for I want that glib and oily art, To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend, I'll do't before I speak,) that you make known It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness, No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step, That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour: But even for want of that, for which I am richer; A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue, That I am glad I have not, though not to have it, Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear. Better thou Had'st not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature, Which often leaves the history unspoke, That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady? Love is not love, When it is mingled with respects, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, beMost choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd'
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon :
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father:
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt France and Cordelia. Gon. Sister, it is not alittle I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, sppears too grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself."
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness, that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We must do something, and i' the beat. [Exeunt SCENE II.-A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's Castle. Enter EDMUND, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base! When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? why brand they us With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base? Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler parted! And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his power! Confin'd to exhibition! All this done Upon the gad!-Edmund! how now? what news? Edm. So please your lordship, none. (Putting up the letter.) Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. No? what needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking.
Glo. Give me the letter, sir. Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.
Glo. (Reads.) This policy, and reverence of age, 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 oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR. -Humph!-Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him,you should enjoy half his revenue,-My son 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 ment of my closet.
Glo. You know the character to be your brother's? Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear 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, but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
taking 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.
And pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old case-comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Glo. O villain, villain!-His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable villain-Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mis
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening. Glo. He cannot be such a monster. Edm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves! Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!-Strange! strange! [Exit.
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. EdgarEnter EDGAR.
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses. Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical? [last? Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father Edg. Why, the night gone by. Edm. Spake you with him? Edg. Ay, two hours together.
Edm. Parted you in good terms! Found you no displeasure in him, by word, or countenance? Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have
offended him: and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
SCENE III.A Room in the Duke of Albany's
Enter GONERIL and Steward.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every He flashes into one gross crime or other, That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it: His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle :-When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him; say, I am sick :If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer. Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him. (Horns within.)
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question: If he dislike it, let him to my sister, Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one, Not to be over-rul'd. Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities, That he hath given away!-Now, by my life, Old fools are babes again; and must be us'd With checks, as flatteries,-when they are seen Remember what I have said. [abus'd. Very well, madam. Gon. And let his knights have colderlooks among
[so: What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak :-I'll write straight to my sister, To hold my very course:-Prepare for dinner.
SCENE IV.-A Hall in the same.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants. Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now, what art Kent. A man, sir. [thou?
Lear. What dost thou profess? what would'st thon with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Lear. 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 be is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou? Kent. Service.
Lear. Who would'st thou serve?
Lear. 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?
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence. Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!-Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither: Enter Steward. You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter? Stew. So please you,
[Exit. Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back-Where's my fool, họ?—I think the world's asleep.-How now? where's that mongrel? Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well. call'd him? Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!