Page images
PDF
EPUB

SCENE VI.

The Country near Dover.

So

Enter Gloster, and EDGAR, dressed like a Peasant. Glo. When shall we come to the top of that same

hill ? Edg. You do climb up it now: look, how we

labour. Glo. Methinks, the ground is even. Edg.

Horrible steep : Hark, do you hear the sea ? Glo.

No, truly. Edg. Why, then your other senses grow imperfect By your eyes' anguish. Glo.

may it be, indeed : Methinks, thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak’st In better phrase, and matter, than thou didst. Edg. You are much deceiv’d; in nothing am I

chang'd, But in my garments. Glo.

Methinks, you are better spoken. Edg. Come on, sir ; here's the place :-stand still.

-How fearful And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low ! The crows, and choughs,8 that wing the midway air, Show scarce so gross as beetles : Half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire ;9 dreadful trade! Methinks, he seems no bigger than his head:

8 Daws.

2 A vegetable gathered for pickling.

G G

VOL. IX.

The fishermen, that walk

upon

the beach, Appear like mice; and yon' tall anchoring bark, Diminish'd to her cock;' her cock, a buoy Almost too small for sight: The murmuring surge, That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high :I'll look no more ; Lest

my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple2 down headlong. Glo.

Set me where

you

stand. Edg. Give me your hand: You are now within a

foot
Of the extreme verge : for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.
Glo.

Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking : Fairies, and gods,
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
· Edg. Now fare you well, good sir. [Seems to go.
Glo.

With all

my

heart. Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his despair, Is done to cure it. Glo.

O you mighty gods! This world I do renounce; and, in

your sights, Shake patiently my great affliction off: If I could bear it longer, and not fall To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, My snuff, and loathed part of nature, should Burn itself out. If Edgar live, 0, bless him ! Now fellow, fare thee well. [He leaps, and falls along. Edg.

Gone, sir ? farewell.

[blocks in formation]

And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft: Had he been where he thought,
By this, had thought been past.-Alive, or dead?
Ho, you sir ! friend !-Hear you, sir?---speak!
Thus might he pass indeed :3—Yet he revives :
What are you, sir ?
Glo.

Away, and let me die.
Edg. Had'st thou been aught but gossomer, fea-

thers, air, So many fathom down precipitating, Thou had’st shiver'd like an egg : but thou dost

breathe ; Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st ; art

sound.
Ten masts at leach make not the altitude,
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell ;
Thy life's a miracle : Speak yet again.

Glo. But have I fallen, or no ?

Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn:4 Look up a-height;-the shrill-gorg'ds lark so far Cannot be seen or heard : do but look up.

Glo. Alack, I have no eyes.-
Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit,
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage,
And frustrate his proud will.
Edg.

Give me your arm:
Up:-So;-How is't? Feel you your legs? You

stand.

3 Thus might he die in reality. 41.e. This chalky boundary of England. 5 Shrill-throated.

Glo. Too well, too well.
Edg.

This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o'the cliff, what thing was that
Which parted from you?
Glo.

A poor unfortunate beggar. Edg. As I stood here below, methought, his eyes Were two full moons ; he had a thousand noses, Horns whelk’d, and wav'd like the enridged sea; It was some fiend : Therefore, thou happy father, Think that the clearest" gods, who make them honours Of men's impossibilities, have preserv'd thee.

Glo. I do remember now: henceforth I'll bear Afiction, till it do cry out itself, Enough, enough, and, die. That thing you speak of, I took it for a.man; often 'twould say, The fiend, the fiend: he led me to that place. Edg. Bear free and patient thoughts.

But who

comes here?

Enter LEAR, fantastically dressed up with Flowers. . The safer sense will ne'er accommodate His master thus.

Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king himself.

Edg. O thou side-piercing sight!

Lear. Nature's above art in that respect. There's your press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard. 8—Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace;—this piece of toasted cheese will do't.-There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant.--Bring up the brown bills.9—0, well

6 Twisted, convolved.
8 An arrow of a cloth yard long,

7 The purest.

9 Battle-axes.

flown, bird !~i' the clout, i' the clout:' hewgh! Give the word.2

Edg. Sweet marjoram.
Lear. Pass.
Glo. I know that voice.

Lear. Ha! Goneril!_with a white beard!—They flatter'd me like a dog; and told me, I had white hairs in my beard, ere the black ones were there. To say ay, and no, to every thing I said !--Ay and no too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter ; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding ; there I found them, there I smelt them out. Go to, they are not men o'their words: they told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie; I am not ague-proof.

Glo. The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is't not the king?
Lear.

Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see, how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life: what was thy cause?
Adultery.
Thou shalt not die: Die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive, for Gloster's bastard son
Was kinder to his father, than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers.--
Behold yon' simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;

2 The watch word

I The white mark for archers to aim at.

3 Likeness, manner.

« PreviousContinue »