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If ever I return to you again,

I'll bring you comfort.

Glost. Thanks, friendly sir;

[Exit EDGAR.

The fortune, your good cause deserves, betide you!
[An Alarm within.
The fight grows hot; the whole war's now at work,
And the gor'd battle bleeds in every vein,
Whilst drums and trumpets drown loud slaughter's


Where's Gloster now, that us'd to head the onset,
And scour the ranks where deadliest danger lay?
Here, like a shepherd, in a lonely shade,

Idle, unarm'd, and list'ning to the fight.

No more of shelter, thou blind worm, but forth
To th' open field; the war may come this way,
And crush thee into rest.-
O, dark despair! When, Edgar, wilt thou come
To pardon, and dismiss me to the grave?

[A Retreat sounded. Hark! a retreat; the king, I fear, has lost.

Enter Edgar.

Edg. Away, old man; give me your hand; away! King Lear has lost; he and his daughter ta'en: And this, ye gods, is all that I can save

Of this most precious wreck. Give me your hand. Glost. No farther, sir; a man may rot even here. Edg. What! in ill thoughts again? Men must en


Their going hence, ev'n as their coming hither.
Glost. And that's true too.



The Field of Battle.


Enter the Duke Of Albany, Goneril, Regan, Edmund, Captain Of The Guards, and Soldiers; with King Lear, Kent, and Cordelia, Prisoners.

Alb. It is enough to have conquer'd; cruelty Should ne'er survive the fight. Captain o' the guards, Treat well your royal prisoners, till you have Our farther orders, as you hold our pleasure.

Gon. Hark, sir, not as you hold our husbands' pleasure, [To the Captain, aside. But as you hold your life, despatch your pris'ners. Our empire can have no sure settlement But in their death.

Capt. I shall obey your orders.

Edm. Sir, I approve it safest to pronounce Sentence of death upon this wretched king, Whose age has charms in it, his title more, To draw the commons once more to his side; 'Twere best prevent

Alb. Sir, by your favour,

I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.

Reg. That's as we list to grace him.

Have you forgot that he did lead our pow'rs?
Bore the commission of our place and person?
And that authority may well stand up,

And call itself your

Gon. Not so hot;


In his own merits he exalts himself

More than in your addition.

Enter Edgar, disguised.

Alb. What art thou?

Edg. Pardon me, sir, that I presume to stop
A prince and conq'ror; yet, ere you triumph,
Give ear to what a stranger can deliver

Of what concerns you more than triumph can.
I do impeach your general there of treason,
Lord Edmund, that usurps the name of Gloster,
Of foulest practice 'gainst your life and honour:
This charge is true; and, wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove,
In single combat, what I do avouch,

If Edmund dares but trust his cause and sword,
Edm. What will not Edmund dare? My lord, I

The favour that you'd instantly appoint

The place where I may meet this challenger,
Whom I will sacrifice to my wrong'd fame:
Remember, sir, that injur'd honour's nice,
And cannot brook delay.

Alb. Anon, before our tent, i' th' army's view,
There let the herald cry.

Edg. I thank your highness in my champion's


He'll wait your trumpet's call.

Alb. Lear.

[Exit EDGAR.


Manent King Lear, Kent, Cordelia, Captain

Of The Guard, and Soldiers.

Lear. o Kent! Cordelia!

You are the only pair that I e'er wrong'd,
And the just gods have made you witnesses
Of my disgrace;—the very shame of fortune,
To see me chain'd and shackled at these years!
Yet were you but spectators of my woes,
Not fellow sufferers, all were well.

Cord. This language, sir, adds yet to our affliction.

Lear. Thou, Kent, didst head the troops that fought

my battle,

Exposed'st thy life and fortunes for a master,
That had, as I remember, banish'd thee

Kent. Pardon me, sir, that once I broke your or

Banish'd by you, I kept me here disguis'd

To watch your fortunes, and protect your person:
You know you entertain'd a rough, blunt fellow,
One Caius, and you thought he did you service.
Lear. My trusty Caius, I have lost him too!
'Twas a rough honesty.

Kent. I was that Caius,

Disguis'd in that coarse dress to follow you.

Lear. My Caius too! Wer't thou my trusty Caius ? Enough, enough

Kent. Ah me, he faints! his blood forsakes his cheek!

Help, Kent,

Lear. No, no, they shall not see us weep,

We'll see them rot first.—Guards, lead away to prison. Come, Kent; Cordelia, come.—Ha! have I caught you?

He, that parts us, must bring a brand from heav'n: Together we'll out-toil the spite of hell,

And die the wonders of the world.—Away. [Exeunt.


The Duke Of Albany's Tent.


Enter the Duke Of Albany, Edmund, Herald, Attendants, and Soldiers.

Alb. Now, Gloster, trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,

All levied in my name, have in my name
Ta'en their discharge. Now let our trumpets speak,
And, herald, read out this.

[herald reads.


If any man of quality within the lists of the army maintain upon Edmund, supposed Earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the trumpet; he is bold in his defence.

Sound; again;—again.

[The Trumpet sounds at each Order; and is then answered from within.

Alb. Lord Edgar.

Enter Edgar!

Edm. Ha! my brother!

This is the only combatant I could fear;
For in my breast guilt duels on his side.
But, conscience, what have I to do with thee?
Awe thou thy dull legitimate slaves; but I
Was born a libertine, and so I keep me.

Edg. My noble prince, a word;—Ere we engage,
Into your highness' hands I give this paper;
It will the truth of my impeachment prove,
Whatever be my fortune in the fight.

Alb. We shall peruse it.

Edg. Now, Edmund, draw thy sword,
That, if my speech has wrong'd a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here, i' th' presence
Of this high prince,

I brand thee with the spotted name of traitor,
False to thy gods, thy father, and thy brother,
And, what is more, thy friend, false to this prince;
If then thou shar'st a spark of Gloster's virtue,
Acquit thyself; or, if thou shar'st his courage,
Meet this defiance bravely.

Edm. And dares Edgar,

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