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Lear. Right noble Burgundy, When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; But now her price is fallen : Sir, there she stands; If aught within that little, seeming substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd, And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, She's there, and she is yours.
Bur. I know no answer.
Bur. Pardon me, royal sir ;
Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that
I tell you all her wealth.--For you, great king,
[To France. I would not from your love make such a stray, To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you To avert your liking a more worthier way, Than on a wretch, whom nature is asham'd Almost to acknowledge hers.
France. This is most strange! That she, that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence Must be of such unnatural degree, That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection Fall into taint: which to believe of her, Must be a faith, that reason without miracle Could never plant in me.
Cor. I yet beseech your majesty, If for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend,
Lear. Better thou
Bur. Royal Lear,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy!
what's cast away. Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st ne
glect My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
[Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Corn
wall, Albany, Gloster, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes, Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call Your faults, as they are nam’d. Use well our father : To your professed bosoms I commit him : But yet, alas! stood I within his grace, I would prefer him to a better place. So farewell to you
both.' Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Reg. Let your study Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want, that you have wanted.
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides; Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper! France. Come, my fair Cordelia.
[Exeunt France and Cordelia. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little : he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too . grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash ; then must we look to receive from bis age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness, that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.
Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking between Prance and him. Pray you, let us hit together : If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
Reg. We shall further thiuk of it.
SCENE II.-A hall in the Earl of Gloster's
Enter EDMUND, with a letter. Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom ; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard ? wherefore base ? When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
[Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that
letter? Edm. I know no news, my lord. Glo. What paper were you reading? Edm. Nothing, my lord. Glo. No? What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking.