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'Tis wonder, that thy life and wits at once Had not concluded all.
He wakes; speak to him. Phys. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest. Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?
Lear. You do me wrong, to take me out o'the grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Sir, do you know me? Lear. You are a spirit, I know; When did you die?
Cor. Still, still, far wide!
Phys. He's scarce awake; let him alone awhile. Lear. Where have I been? Where am I? - Fair day-light? I am mightily abus'd.—I should even die with pity, To see another thus. I know not what to say. I will not swear, these are my hands: ―― let's see; I feel this pin prick. 'Would I were assur'd Of my condition.
Cor. O, look upon me, sir, And hold your hands in benediction o'er me : --No, sir, you must not kneel.
Lear Pray, do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward; and, to deal plainly, I fear, I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks, I should know you, and know this man ; Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant What place this is: and all the skill I have Remembers not these garments; nor I know not Where I did lodge last night: Do not laugh at me; For, as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia. Cor.
And so I am, I am.
- The Camp of the British Forces, near Dover.
Enter, with drums and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Officers, Soldiers, and others.
Edm. Know of the duke, if his last purpose hold;
Or, whether since he is advis'd by aught
To change the course: He's full of alteration,
Edm. In honour'd love. Reg. But have you never found my brother's way To the forefended place?
Edm. That thought abuses you. Reg. I am doubtful that you have been conjunct And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, 'faith. weep not:
Edm. No, by mine honour, madam.
Reg. I never shall endure her: Dear my lord, Be not familiar with her.
you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know, you do not love me; for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong: You have some cause, they have not.
No cause, no cause.
In your own kingdom, sir.
Lear. Am I in France? Kent. Lear. Do not abuse me. Phys. Be comforted, good madam: the great rage, You see, is cur'd in him: and yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in; trouble him no more, Till further settling.
Cor. Will't please your highness walk?
Pray now, forget and forgive: I am old, and foolish. [Exeunt LEAR, CORDELIA, Physician, and Attendants.
Gent. Holds it true, sir,
That the duke of Cornwall was so slain?
As 'tis said,
The bastard son of Gloster.
Report is changeable.
'Tis time to look about; the powers o'the kingdom Approach apace.
Gent. The arbitrement is like to be a bloody. Fare you well, sir.
[Exit. Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well, or ill, as this day's battle's fought. [Exit.
As they are going out, enter EDGAR, disguised. Edg. If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor, Hear me one word. Alb.
I'll overtake you. Speak. [Exeunt EDMUND, REGAN, GONERIL, Officers, Soldiers, 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. Edg. I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again. [Exit. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy
Edm. The enemy's in view, draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use
SCENE II. -A Field between the two Camps. Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours, LEAR, CORDELIA, and their Forces; and exeunt.
SCENE III.-The British Camp near Dover. Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, EDMUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, as prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, &c.
Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard; Until their greater pleasures first be known That are to censure them.
And that's true too. [Exeunt.
Cor. We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst. 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;And take upon us 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.
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,
Come. [Exeunt 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',
Or thrive by other means.
I'll do't, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast done.
Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so,
Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,
And fortune led you well: You have the captives
Edm. Sir, I thought it fit To send the old and miserable king To some retention and appointed guard; Whose age has charms in it, whose title more, To pluck the common bosom on his side, And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes Which do command them. With
Not so hot : In his own grace he doth exalt himself, More than in your advancement.
In my rights,
Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.
Half-blooded fellow, yes.
claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife;
Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloster: Let the trumpet sound:
If none appear to prove upon thy person,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Sick, O, sick!
All levied in my name, have in my name
Alb. A herald, ho?
This sickness grows upon me.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
Off. Sound, trumpet. [A trumpet sounds.
If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet: He is bold in his defence.
Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of
On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,
This gilded serpent: [Pointing to GoN.]-for your Thy valour, and thy heart, - thou art a traitor :
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
In wisdom, I should ask thy name;
[2 Trumpet. [3 Trumpet.
[Trumpet answers within.
Know, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare gnawn, and canker-bit :
I come to cope withal.
This is mere practice, Gloster : By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd, But cozen'd and beguil'd.
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil :
Most monstrous !
Know'st thou this paper?
Ask me not what I know. (Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her she's desperate; govern her. [To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done; And more, much more: the time will bring it out; 'Tis past, and so am I: But what art thou, That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble, I do forgive thee.
Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Did hate thee, or thy father!
Alb. Where have you hid yourself? How have you known the miseries of your father? Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale ; And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!— The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness! That with the pain of death we'd hourly die, Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift Into a mad-man's rags; to 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!) reveal'd myself unto him, Until some half hour past, 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.
I know it well.
Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in; For I am almost ready to dissolve, Hearing of this.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him.
Enter an Officer. Off. Edmund is dead, my lord. Alb. That's but a trifle here.. You lords, and noble friends, know our intent. What comfort to this great decay may come, Shall be applied: For us, we will resign, During the life of this old majesty, To him our absolute power:
You, to your rights; [To EDGAR and KENT. With boot, and such addition as your honours Have more than merited. — All friends shall taste The wages of their virtue, and all foes The cup of their deservings. ·O, see, see! Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life:
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,