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alone the imperfections of long-ingrafted condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardncis that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Rez. Such unconitant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banithinent.

Gon. There is further compliment of leare-taking between France and him; pray you, let us bit together: if our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, this lait surrender of his will but ofend as.

Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We muft do something, and i'th' heat. [Exeunt,

Changes to a castle belonging to the Earl of Glu'hier..

Enter Edmund, with a letter. Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound; wherefore should I Stand in the plage of custom, and permit The courtesy of nations to deprive me, For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother +? Why baftard? wherefore base ? When my dimenfions are as well compact, My mind as gen’rous, and my shape as true, As honest Madam's issue? why brand thy us With base? with baleness? baitard? base, base ? “ Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take « More composition and fierce quality, “ Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed, a Go to creating a whole tribe of fops, “ Got 'tween alleep and wake? Well then, good brod Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land; [ther, Our father's love is to the bakard Edmund, As to th’ legitimate ; fine word-legitimate

Well, + Edmund is here inveighing against the tyranny of custom, of which he produce two diftina instances; one with respet to younger brothers, the other with respect to bastards. In the former, he must not be understood to mean himself, though he speaks in the first person, but according to a common mode of Ipeech to suppose the case his own, and as in his own person to exclaini against the unreasonableness and injustice of the thing. The argnment thus becomes general, implying more than is said, namely, W berefore

ild 1, or any mun, &c.

Well, my legitimate, if this letter fpeed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall be th' legitimate.--I grow, I prosper ;
Now, gods, stand up for bastards !

SCENE VII. To him, enter Glo'ster.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus ! and France in choler parted ?
And the King gone to-night! subscrib'd * his pow'r !
Confin'a to exhibition ! all is gone
Upon the gad!—Edmund, how now? what news ?
Edm. So please your Lordship, none.

[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 dispatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not {ucho need to hide itself. Let's see; come, if it be nothing, I shall not need fpectacles.

Edm. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me; it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for so much as I have perus’d, I find it not fit for -verlooking

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain, or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

Glo. Let's sec, let's see..

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay, or taste of my virtue.

Glo. [reads.] This policy and reverence of ages makes the world bitter to the best of our times ; keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppreffon of aged tyranny ; which fways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would feep till I wak’d him, you fhould enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR.

Hum-Conspiracy !--Sleep till I wake him -you should enjoy half his revenue -My son Ed

your o


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gar! had he a hand to write this ! a heart and a brain to breed it in! When came this to you? who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my Lord; there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of

my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be

your brother's ? Edm. If the matter were good, my Lord, I durft swear it were his ; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my Lord; I hope his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Has he never before founded you on this business?

Edm. Never, my Lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that fons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as a ward to the fon, and the fon manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain! his very opinion in the letter. Abhorred villain! unnatural, detefted, brutis villain ! worse than brutifh! Go, firrah, seek him ; I'll apprehend him. Abominable villain, where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my Lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better teftimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against hisn, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare



life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your Honour, and to no other pretence of danger t.

Glo. Think you fo?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auri. cular assurance have your satisfaction ; and that without any further delay than this very evening.

Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that fo tenderly and entirely loves him.--Heav'n and earth ? Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you ; frame the business af


t.pretence, for puriose; danger, for suickednefs.

ter your own wisdom. I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.

Edm. I will seek him, Sir, presently, convey + the bu. siness as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo. These late eclipfes in the sun and moon portend, no good to us ; though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourg'd by the fequent effects. “Love cools, friendship falls off, bro" thers divide. In cities, mutinies; in countries, dis“ cord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 66 'twixt son and father.” This villain of mine comes under the prediction, There's son against father ; the King falls from bias of nature, there's father against child. “ We have seen the best of our time. Machina“ tions, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, “ follow us disquietly to our graves !” Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing, do it carefully. And the noble and true-hearted Kent banish'd!. his offence, honesty. "Tis strange.


SCENE VIII. Manet Edmund. Edm. “ This is the excellent foppery of the world, " that when we are fick in fortune, (often the surfeits “ of our own behaviour), we make guilty of our dis" afters, the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were “ villains on neceflity; fools, by heavenly compullion ;

knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical pre“ dominance ; drunkards, lyars, and adulterers, by an “ inforc'd obedience of planetary influence ; and all " that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An ad66 mirable evasion of whoremafter man,

to lay his s6 goatish disposition on the change of a star! My father “ compounded with my mother under the Dragon's " tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major ; so " that it follows I am rough and lecherous. I should « have been what I am, had the maidenlieft ftar in the " firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. VOL. VI.



t. Convey, for introduce : but convey is a fine word, as alluding to the practice of clandestine couveying goods, so as not to be founai upon the selon.

SCENE IX. To him, enter Edgar. Pat!" He comes like the catastrophe of the old co“ medy;" my cue is villanous melancholy, with a figh like Tom o' Bedlam -0, these eclipses portend these divisions ! fa, sol, la, me

[Humming. Edg. How now, brother Edmund, what serious contemplation are you in?

Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

Edg. Do you busy yourfelf with that?

Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily." When faw you my father laft?

Edg. The night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with hiin?
Eilg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good ternis, found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance ?

Edg. None at all.

Edm. Bethink yourself wherein you have offended him : and, at my intreaty, forbear his presence, until some little time hath qualified the heat of his difpleafure ; which at this inftant fo rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.

Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's

fear. I

pray you have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes Nower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my Lord speak. Pray you, go; there's my key. If

you do stir abroad, go arm’d.
Edg. Arm'd, brother!
· Edm. Brother, I advise you to the beft ; I am no he-
neft man, if there be any good meaning toward you.
I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly,
nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray you a-
Edg. Shall I hear from

you anon


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Edm. I do serve you in this business:
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,


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