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Reg. I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
Fear me not; -
Enter ALBANY, GONEril, and Soldier. Gon. I had rather lose the battle, than that sister Should loosen him and me.
Edm. Sir, you speak nobly.]
Why is this reasoned?
Let us then determine
Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent.”
As they are going out, enter Edgar, disguised.
1 « This business (says Albany) touches us, as France invades our land, not as it emboldens or encourages the king to assert his former title.” There are several examples of this use of the verb bold in old writers. 2 The quartos have it :
“ For these domestic doore particulars.” The folio reads in the subsequent line :
“ Are not the question here." 3 This speech, and the lines above in brackets, are wanting in the folio.
I'll overtake you.—Speak. [Exeunt EdmunD, REGAN, GONERIL, Officers,
Soldiers, and Attendants.
Alb. Stay till I have read the letter.
I was forbid it.
[Exit. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy paper.
Re-enter EDMUND. Edm. The enemy's in view ; draw up your powers: Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery ; 2-but
haste Is now urged on you. Alb.
We will greet the time.3 [Exit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; Each jealous of the other, as the stung, Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take ? Both! one ? or neither? Neither can be enjoyed, If both remain alive. To take the widow, Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril; And hardly shall I carry out my side, Her husband being alive. Now, then, we'll use His countenance for the battle ; which being done, Let her, who would be rid of him, devise His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
1 i. e. all designs against your life will have an end. These words are not in the quartos.
2 i. e. the conjecture, or what we can gather by diligent espial, of their strength.
3 i. e. be ready to meet the occasion.
4 Hardly shall I be able to make my side (i. e. my party) good; to maintain the game. It was a phrase commonly used at cards.
Which he intends to Lear, and to Cordelia,-
SCENE II. A Field between the two Camps. .
Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colors, LEAR,
CORDELIA, and their Forces ; and exeunt.
Enter EDGAR and GLOSTER.
Alarums ; afterwards a retreat. Re-enter EDGAR.
Edg. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away; King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en. Give me thy hand ; come on.
Glo. No further, sir; a man may rot even here.
And that's true too.
1 Those who are curious to know how far Shakspeare was indebted to the Arcadia, will find a chapter entitled " The Pitifull State and Storie of the Paphlagonian unkinde King, and his kinde Sonne; first related by the Sonne, then by the blinde Father," at p. 141, of the edition of 1590, 4to.
2 i. e. to be ready, prepared, is all.
The British Camp near Dover.
Enter, in conquest, with drum and colors, 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. Cor.
We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurred the worst.2 For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else outfrown 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 walled prison, packs and sects * of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon. Edm.
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, And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
1 i. e. to pass sentence or judgnient on them.
3“ As if we were angels, endowed with the power of prying into the original motives of action, and the mysteries of conduct.”
4 Packs and sects are combinations and parties.
The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell,
first. 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 advanced 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't, Or thrive by other means. Off
I'll do't, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast
done. Mark, I say instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.
Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I will do it. [Exit Officer.
Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers,
Sir, I thought it fit
1 “The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell.” The goujeers, i. e. morbus Gallicus. The quartos have good yeares, the common corruption in Shakspeare's time. Flesh and fell is flesh and skin.
2 This was a warrant signed by the bastard and Goneril, for the execution of Lear and Cordelia, referred to in a subsequent scene by Edmund. 3 i. e. admit of debate. VOL. VII.