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SCENE III.—The British camp near Dover. Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, Ed
MUND; 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 incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down ; Myself could else out-frown 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 wall’d 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 ; The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell, Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve
first. Come. [Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded.
Edm. Come hither, captain; bark.
Take thou this note; [Giving a paper.] go, follow
them to prison:
One step I have advanc'd 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
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, and Attendants.
Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant
And fortune led you well : You have the captives,
Who were the opposites of this day's strife :
We do require them of you; so to use them,
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.
Edm. Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention, and appointed guard;
has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do conmand them. With him I sent the
My reason all the same; and they are ready
Tomorrow, or at farther space, to appear
session. At this time,
We sweat, and bleed: the friend bath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs’d
By those that feel their sharpness :-
The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.
Alb. Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.
Reg. That's as we list to grace
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanned,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person ;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your
Gon. Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in our advancement.
Reg. In my rights,
By me invested, he compeers the best.
Gon. That were the most, if he should husband
Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.
Gon. Holla, holla!
That eyė, that told you so, look'd but a-squint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach.-General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.
Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?
Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.
Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.
Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
Alb. Stay yet; hear reason :-Edmund, I arrest
thee On capital treason; and, in thy arrest, This gilded serpent : [Pointing to Gon.]--for your
claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife :
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will marry, make your love to me,
My lady is bespoke.
Gon. An interlude!
Alb. Thou art arm’d, Gloster :-Let the trumpet
If none appear to prove upon thy person,
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge; [Throwing down a glove.] I'll
prove it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have bere proclaim'd thee.
Reg. Sick, 0, sick!
Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison. [Aside.
Edm. There's my exchange: [Throwing down a
glove.) wbat in the world he is,
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies :
Call by thy trumpet : he, that dares approach,
On him, on you, (who not?) I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.
Alb. A herald, ho!
Edm. A herald, ho, a herald !
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.
Reg. This sickness grows upon me.
Enter a Herald.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
[Exit Regan, led.
Come hither, herald, Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
Off. Sound, trumpet. [A trumpet sounds.
Herald reads. If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet : He is bold in his defence. Edm. Sound.
[1 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[2 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[Trumpet answers within. Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a trumpet.
Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o'the trumpet.
Her. What are you?
Your name, your quality ? and why you answer
This present summons?
Edg. Know, my name is lost ;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit :
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I come to cope
witlal. Alb. Which is that adversary? Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of
Edm. Himself ;-What say'st thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy sword;
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arın may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of inine honours,
My oath, and iny profession: I protest,
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart,—thou art a traitor: