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LEAR. Let it be so,—thy truth, then, be thy Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, dower :
When power to flattery bows ? To plainness For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
honour's bound, The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; When majesty stoops * to folly. Reverse thy By all the operation of the orbs
doom ; + From whom we do exist, and cease to be,
And, in thy best consideration, check [ment, Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgPropinquity and property of blood,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; stranger to my heart and me
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound Hold thee, from this, for ever! The barbarous Reverbs I no hollowness. Scythian,
Kent, on thy life no more! Or he that makes his generation messes
KENT. My life I never held but as a g pawn To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
To wage against thine enemies ; ne'er fear to lose it, Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd, Thy safety being the || motive. As thou my sometime daughter :
Out of my sight! KENT.
Good my liege, - KENT. See better, Lear; and let me still LEAR. Peace, Kent !
LEAR. Now, by Apollo ! -
Now, by Apollo, king, sight !
[To CORDELIA. Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. So be my grave my peace, as here I give
0, vassal! miscreant ! Her father's heart from her !--Call France.
[Laying his hand on his sword. Who stirs ?
ALB. CORN. Dear sir, forbear. Call Burgundy.—Cornwall and Albany,
KENT, Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow With my two daughters' dowers digest this * third : Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift ; Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat, I do invest you jointly with my power,
I'll tell thee thou dost evil. Pre-eminence, and all the large effects [course, LEAR,
Hear me, recreant ! That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly On thine allegiance hear me ! With reservation of an hundred knights,
Since ** thou hast sought to make us break our By you to be sustain’d, shall our abode [retain
[pride, Make with you by due turns.f Only we still I (Which we durst never yet) and, with strain'd The name, and all the additions to a king ; To come betwixt our sentence II and our power, The sway, revènue, execution of the rest,
(Which nor our nature nor our place can bear) Beloved sons,
be yours: which to confirm, Our potency made good, take thy reward. This coronet part between you.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision
[Giving the crown. To shield thee from diseasesd of the world ; KENT,
Royal Lear, And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Upon our kingdom : if, on the tenth day following, Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd, Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions, As my great patron thought on in my prayers,— The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter, LEAR. The bow is bent and drawn, make from This shall not be revok'd ! the shaft.
KENT. Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou KENT. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart : be Kent unmannerly, Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
(*) First folio, the.
(+) First folio, turne. (1) First folio, shall.
($) First folio, addition. 1 The mysteries of Hecate,-) The quartos read mistresse, the first folio, miseries: the correction was made in the second folio.
b To CORDELIA.) This direction is modern, and some editors contend that the words,
-Hence, and avoid my sight!"
e Dear sir, forbear.-) Omitted in the quartos.
(*) First folio, falls.
() First folio, reserve thy state. (1) First folio, sounds Reverbe. (9) First folio omits, a. (D) First folio omits, the. (1) First folio, thy. (**) First folio, That.
(tt) First folio, vowes.
(11) First folio, sentences. the folio has_"disasters of the world.” Diseases, in its old and literal sense of discomforts, hardships, and the like, is, however, much the more appropriate word.
e Freedom lives hence, -] The quartos have Friendship for “Freedom;" and in the next line, instead of "dear shelter,' they read protection.
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said !- Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
[To REGAN and GONERIL. Must be of such unnatural degree, That good effects may spring from words of love. That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu ;
Fall into taint; which to believe of her,
[Exit. Should never plant in me.
I yet beseech your majesty,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well *
intend, Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble
I'll do't before I speak,—that you make known lord.
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness, LEAR. My lord of Burgundy,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step, We first address toward you, who with this king That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour ; Hath rivallid for our daughter: what, in the But even for want of that for which I am richer, least,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue Will you require in present dower with her,
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it Or cease your quest of love?
Hath lost me in your liking.
Right noble Burgundy, FRANCE. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature, When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; Which often leaves the history unspoke, But now her price is fall’n. Sir, there she stands ; That it intends to do ?—My lord of Burgundy, If aught within that little seeming substance,
What say you to the lady ? Love's not love, Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,
When it is mingled with respects, that stand
She is herself a dowry.
And here I take Cordelia by the hand, Dowerd with our curse, and stranger'd with our Duchess of Burgundy. oath,
LEAR. Nothing : I have sworn; I am firm. Take her, or leave her ?
Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father BUR.
Pardon me, royal sir ; That you must lose a husband. Election makes not up on * such conditions.
Peace be with Burgundy! LEAR. Then leave her, sir ; for, by the power Since that respects of fortune are his love, that made me,
I shall not be his wife. I tell you all her wealth. For you, great king, FRANCE. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich,
being poor; I would not from your love make such a stray, Most choice, forsaken ; and most lov’d, despis'd ! To match you where I hate ; therefore beseech Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon, you
Be it lawful I take up what's cast away. To avert your liking a more worthier way, Gods, gods ! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st Than on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
neglect Almost to acknowledge hers.
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.FRANCE.
This is most strange, Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my That she, who even but now was your best t object,
chance, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France : Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy time
Shall buy this unpriz’d precious maid of me.
(*) First folio, in.
(t) First folio omits, best. (1) First folio, The best, the. & It is no ricious blot, murder, or foulness,–) Mr. Collier's an notator changes this to,
"no vicious blot, nor other foulness," which is certainly a very plausible substitution.
(*) First folio, will.
(+) First folio, King. (1) First folio, respect and Fortunes. b When it is mingled with respects,-) The folio reads,
“When it is mingled with regards," &c. By "respects” is meant considerations, scruples, &c.
I know you
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind,“ been but rash ; then must we look to receive from Thou losest here, a better-where to find.
his age,* not alone the imperfections of longLEAR. Thou hast her, France: let her be engraffed condition, but, therewithal, the unruly thine ; for we
waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring Have no such daughter, nor shall ever sce
with them. That face of hers again :—therefore be gone,
REG. Such unconstant starts are we like to have Without our grace, our love, our benison.
from him, as this of Kent's banishment. Come, noble Burgundy.
Gon. There is further compliment of leave[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORN- taking between France and him. Pray you, let WALL, ALBANY, GLOUCESTER, and Attendants. us hit + together: if our father carry authority FRANCE. Bid farewell to your sisters.
with such disposition as he bears, this last surCon. The jewels of our father, with washd render of his will but offend us. eyes
Reg. We shall further think of it. Cordelia leaves you :
you are ; Gon. We must do something, and i' the heat. And, like a sister, am most loth to call
[Exeunt. Your faults as they are nam’d. Use* well our
father : To your professed bosoms I commit him :
SCENE II.-A Hall in the Earl of Gloucester's But yet, alas ! stood I within his grace,
Enter EDMUND, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy REG.
Let your study
law Be to content your lord: who hath receiv'd you My services are bound. Wherefore should I At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, Stand in the plague of custom, and permit And well are worth the want that you have wanted. The curiosity of nations to deprive' me, Cor. Time shall unfold what plighted cunning for that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother ? Why bastard ? wherefore Who coverf faults, at last shame them & derides.
base ? Well may you prosper !
dimensions are as well compact, FRANCE. Come, my fair Cordelia.
My mind as generous, and my shape as true, [Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us Gon. Sister, it is not little I have to say of With base? with baseness ? bastardy ? base, base? what most nearly appertains to us both. I think Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take our father will hence to-night.
More composition and fierce quality, REG. That's most certain, and with you ; next Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, month with us.
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops, Gon. You see how full of changes his age is ; Got 'tween asleep and wake ?—Well, then, the observation we have made of it hath not || been Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land: little: he always loved our sister most ; and with Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, what poor judgment he hath now cast her off As to the legitimate: fine word,—legitimate ! appears too grossly.
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age : yet he And
invention thrive, Edmund the base hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath Now, gods, stand up for bastards !
(*) First folio, Love. (+) First folio, dutie.
(II) First folio omits, not.
b A better where to find.) In note (a), p. 120, Vol. I. otherwhere is explained other place; but where in these compounds had perhaps a significance now lost. See the old ballad,
"I HAVE HOUSE AND LAND IN KENT".
" Wherefore cease off, make no delay,
And if you'll love me, love me now,
For I cannot come every day to woo."
(*) First folio, from his age to receive. (t) First folio, sit.
d - what plighted cunning hides ;] Plighted, or, as the quartos give it, plealed cunning, means involved, complicated cunning.
e-plague of custom, - ) Plague may here possibly signify place, or boundary, from plaga; but it is a very suspicious word.
f To deprive me,-) To deprive, in Shakespeare's day, was sometimes synonymous to disinherit, as Steevens has shown, and also to-take away, as in “Hamlet," Act I. Scene 4,
"And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sov'reignty of reason,” &c. & Shall top the legitimate.) In the old editions we find tool" and to'th'. The present reading was first promulgated in Edwards' “ Canons of Criticism," having been communicated to the autbor of that pungent satire by Capell. (See “Notes and various Readings to Shakespeare," by the latter, I. 146.)
(*) First folio, Prescribd. * Exhibition !) That is, allowance. The word, in this sense,
is still employed in our universities.
b. Upon the gad !-] Perhaps means, upon the spur or point, at the instant.
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
the letter! - Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, Glo. What paper were you reading ?
brutish villain! worse than brutish !-Go, sirrah, Edm. Nothing, my lord.
seek him ; I'll apprehend him :-abominable Glo. No? What needed, then, that terrible dis- villain !- Where is he? patch of it into your pocket ? the quality of nothing Edm. I do not well know, my lord. It it hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see : shall please you to suspend your indignation come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles. against my brother, till you can derive from him
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me : it is a better testimony of his intent, you shall* run a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er- certain course; where, if you violently proceed read; and for so much as I have perused, I find it against him, mistaking his purpose, it would not fit for your o'er-looking.
make a great gap in your own honour, and shake Glo. Give me the letter, sir.
in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. down
my life for him, that he hath writ this to The contents, as in part I understand them, are to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other blame.
pretence of danger. Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Glo. Think you so ? Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue. place you where you shall hear us confer of this,
Glo. [Reads.] This policy and reverence of age and by an auricular assurance have your satisfacmakes the world bitter to the best of our times ; tion; and that without any further delay than this keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot very evening. relish them. I begin to find an idle and fondb Glo. He cannot be such a monster. bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who Edm. Nor is not, sure. sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If entirely loves him !-Heaven and earth !Cour father would sleep till I waked him, you Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live pray you: frame the business after your own the beloved of your brother, EDGAR.—
wisdom. I would unstate myself, to be in a due Hum-Conspiracy !-Sleep till I waked him, resolution. you should enjoy half his revenue,—My son
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey Edgar! Had he a hand to write this ? a heart and the business as I shall find means, and acquaint brain to breed it in ?—When came this to you? who brought it ?
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon EDM. It was not brought me, my lord,—there's | portend no good to us : though the wisdom of the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the Nature can reason it thus and thus, yet Nature casement of my closet.
finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love Glo. You know the character to be your cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide : in brother's ?
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son and swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would father. This villain of mine comes under the fain think it were not.
prediction ; there's son against father : the king Glo. It is his.
falls from bias of nature; there's father against Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his child. We have seen the best of our time: maheart is not in the contents.
chinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous Glo. Hath* he never heretoforet sounded you disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves !! in this business?
Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee Edm. Never, my lord : but I have heard him oft nothing; do it carefully. And the noble and maintain it to be fit, that sons at perfect age, and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty! fathers declining, the father should be as ward to _”T is strange!
Exit. the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the Glo. O villain, villain !—his very opinion in world, that when we are sick in fortune, (often
(*) First folio, Has.
(+) First folio, before. (1) First folio, declined. à An essay or taste of my virtue.) Essay was commonly used in old language for assay, as taste not unfrequently was for test. See note (a), p. 763, Vol. II.
b An idle and fond bondage-] That is, a vain and foolish bondage.
(*) First folio, shold. c Epm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him! Heaven and earth!) These lines are only found in the quarto copies.
a This villain of mine-disquietly to our graves.] This passage is omitted in the quartos.