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-Maugre thy strength, place, youth, and eminence,
Despite thy victor-sword, and tire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart-thou art a traitor:
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father ;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious Prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.

Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name;
But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood I disdain and spurn.
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which--for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise-
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever.-Trumpets, speak.

[Alarums. They fight, EDMUND falls.
Alb. Oh, save him, save him?
Gon.

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 beguild.
Alb.

Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it.-Hold, sir!
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil.-
No tearing, lady; 1 perceive you know it.

[Gives the Letter to EDMUND.
Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not thine.
Who shall arraign me fort?
Alh.

Most monsterous !
Know'st thou this paper ?
Edm.

Ask me not what I know.
Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her.

[To an Officer, who goes out.

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[Exit.

Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that hare

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.
Edg.

Let us exchange charity,
I am no less in blood than thou art

, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wronged me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The god's are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us in their time.
The dark and vicious place where thee be got
Cost him his eyes.
Edm.

Thou'st spoken right; 'tis true.
The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did propbesy
A royal nobleness; I must embrace thee.
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!

Edg.

Alb. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father!

Edg. By nursing them, my lord.—List a brief
And, when''tis told, oh, that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape, :
That follow'd me so near-Oh, our lives' sweetness!
That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once !--taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd: and in this babit
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

KING LEAR.

623
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:

Edm. This speech of yours hath mor'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.
[Eds.

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 ahhorr'd society; but tben, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with bis strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As be'd burst heaven; threw bim! on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv'd; wbich in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
Aib.

But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis-
Follow'd his enemy King, and did bim service
Improper for a slave.]

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
Gent. Help! help! O help!
Fdg.
Alb.
Eag. What means that bloody knife?

Speak, man.
It came even from the heart of

Alb.

Worthy prince, I know?

tale;

guise

What kind of help?

Gent.

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Who, man? speak.

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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.

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 wotul, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
(Eds.

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 ahhorr’d society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with bis strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him 19 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
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
Alb.

But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis-

guise
Follow'd his enemy King, and did him service
Improper for a slave.]

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

What kind of help?

Speak, man.
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
Gent.

'Tis hot, it smokes;
It came even from heart of
Alb.

Who, man? speak.

Edg.

Alh.

V.

[Exit Gentleman.

626

KING LEAR
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
By her is poisoned; she bath confess'd it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three
Now marry in an instant.
Alb. Produce their bodies

, be they alive or dead.-
This judgement of the Heavens, that makes us

tremble,
Touches us not with pity.

Enter Kent.
Edg.

Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. Oh! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which very manners urges.
Kent.

I am come
To bid my King and master aye good night.
Is be not here?
Alb.

Great thing of us forgot !-
Speak, Edmund, where's the King and where's

Cordelia ? –
Seest thou this object, Kent?

[The Bodies of Goveril and Recas are
Kent.

Edm. Yet Edmund was belor'd! The one the other Poison'd for my sake, and after slew herself.

Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.

Edm. 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 writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia.-
Nay, send in time.

Run, run, O run ...
Thy token of reprieve.
Edg. To wbom, my lord? who has the office! send

Well thought on; take my sword,

Haste thee, for thy life.

KING LEAR.

627
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay ibe blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid berself.
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

[EDMUND is borne off.
Enter Lear, with CORDELIA dead in his Arms ;

Edgar, Officer, and Others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, bowl!—Oh! you are men

of stones.
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That beaven'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,
Wby, then she lives.
Kent.

Is this the Promis'd End?
Edg. Or image of that borror ?
Alb.

Fall, and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives. If it be so,
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
Kent,

O my good master! [Kneeling.
Lear. ?Pr’ythee, away.

"Tis 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.

Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear.

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting fálchion
I would have made them skip. I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.- Who are you?
Mine eyes are none o' the best. - I'll tell

you straight.

brought in.
Alack! why thus !

Edg.

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Alb.

Edm.
Give it the Captain.

Alb.

(Exit EDGAR.

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Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid herself.
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

[Edmund is borne off. Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his Arms;

EDGAR, Officer, and Others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!--Oh! you are men

of stones.
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for

ever !
I know wben 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.
Kent,

Is this the Promis'd End ?
Edg. Or image of that borror?
Alb.

Fall, and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives. If it be so,
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
Kent.

O my good master! [Kneeling.
Lear. 'Pr’ythee, away;
Edg.

'Tis 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.

Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear.

Did I not, fellow ?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip. I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.--

- Who are you? Mine eyes are none o' the best.--I'll tell you straight.

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