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Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land :
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate: Fine word,- legitimate !
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Enter GLOSTER.

Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler

parted! And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd' his power! Confin'd to exhibition !' All this done Upon the gad!2_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 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 overlooking

Glo. Give me the letter, sir.

,9 Yielded, surrendered.

1 Allowance. 2 Suddenly.

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

Glo. Let's see, 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 age, 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 4 bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as ịt hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-HumphConspiracy !-Sleep till I waked himyou should enjoy half his revenue ,—My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this ? a heart and 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 durst 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; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?

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Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter !-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, 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 testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare

pawn
down

my

life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence 7 of danger.

Glo. Think you so ?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where

you

shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular 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 so tenderly and entirely loves him.--Heaven and earth!- Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the bysiness after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.8

5 Whereas. The usual address to a lord. 7 Design.
* Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the truth.

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6

Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo. These late eclipses 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 scourged by the sequent effects : love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide : in cities, mutinies ; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between 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: Machinations, 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 truehearted Kent banished ! his offence, honesty! Strange! strange!

[Exit. Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars : as if we were villains by necessity: fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on : An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's

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tail; and my nativity was under ursa major ;3 so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut; I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar

Enter EDGAR. and pat 'he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy : My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o’Bedlam._0, these eclipses do portend these divisions ! fa, sol, la, mi.4

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 yourself with that?

Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent ; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, 2 nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical ?

Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father last?
Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with him ?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good terms ? Found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance ?

1

3 Great bear, the constellation so named.
4 These sounds are unnatural and offensive in musick.

s For cohorts some editors read courts.

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