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Edg. Yet better thus, and known to be con

Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest, and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance", lives not in fear :
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then,
Thou unsubstantial air, that I embrace !
The wretch, that thou hast blown unto the worst,
Owes nothing to thy blasts. But who comes


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Enter GLOSTER, led by an Old Man.
My father, poorly led? - World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.

Old Man. O my good lord, I have been your te-
nant, and your father's tenant, these fourscore
Glo. Away, get thee away ; good friend, be

gone : Thy comforts can do me no good at all, Thee they may

hurt. Old Mån. Alack, sir, you cannot see your way. Glo. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes ;

6 In hope.

I stumbled when I saw : Full oft ’tis seen,
Our mean secures us'; and our mere defects
Prove our commodities.

Ah, dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I'd say, I bad eyes again!
Old Man.

How now? Who's there? Edg. [Aside.] O gods! Who is ’t can say, I am

at the worst?
I am worse than e'er I was.
Old Man.


mad Tom. Edg. [ Aside.] And worse I may be yet: The

worst is not,
So long as we can say, This is the worst.

Old Man. Fellow, where goest ?

Is it a beggar-man?
Old Man. Madman and beggar too.

Glo. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
l' the last night's storm I such a fellow saw;
Which made me think a man a worm: My son
Came then into



yet my mind Was then scarce friends with him: I have heard

more since. Edg

How should this be? — Bad is the trade must play the fool to sorrow, Ang’ring itself and others. [Aside.] — Bless thee,

Glo. Is that the naked fellow?
Old Man.

Ay, my lord.
Glo. Then, pr'y thee, get thee gone : If, for my

Thou wilt o'ertake us, hence a mile or twain,
l' the way to Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for this naked soul,
Whom I'll entreat to lead me.
Old Man.

Alack, sir, he's mad.
Glo. 'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead

the blind.
Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure ;

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Above the rest, be

Old Man. I'll bring him the best 'parel that I

Come on 't what will.

Glo. Sirrah, naked fellow.
Edg. Poor Tom 's a-cold : I cannot daub? it

[ Aside.
Glo. Come hither, fellow.
Edg. [Aside.] And yet I must. - Bless thy sweet

eyes, they bleed
Glo. Know'st thou the way to Dover ?

Edg. Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-
path. Poor Tom hath been scared out of his good
wits : Bless the good man from the foul fiend! Five
fiends have been in poor Tom at once. So, bless
thee, master !
Glo. Here, take this purse, thou whom the

heaven's plagues
Have humbled to all strokes : that I am wretched,
Makes thee the happier : – Heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous, and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he doth not feel, feel your power quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. — Dost thou know

Doyer ?
Edg. Ay, master.
Glo. There is a cliff, whose high and bending

Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear,
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading need.

Give me thy' arm;
Poor Tom shall lead thee.


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7 Disguise.


Before the Duke of Albany's Palace.

Enter GONERIL and EDMUND; Steward meeting

them. Gon. Welcome, my lord: I marvel, our mild

husband Not met us on the way:- Now, where's your

master? Stew. Madam, within ; but never man so changd: I told him of the army that was landed ; He smil'd at it: I told him, you were coming : His answer was, The worse : of Gloster's treachery, And of the loyal service of his son, When I inform’d him, then he call’d me sot ; And told me, I had turn'd the wrong

side out: What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to


What like, offensive.

Then shall you go no further.

[To EDMUND. It is the cowish terror of his spirit, That dares not undertake : he'll not feel wrongs, Which tie him to an answer; Our wishes, on the

way, May prove effects. 8 Back, Edmund, to my brother ; Hasten his musters, and conduct his powers : I must change arms at home, and give the distaff Into

my husband's hands. This trusty servant Shall

pass between us : ere long you are like to hear, If you dare venture in your own behalf, A mistress's command. Wear this; spare speech ;

[Giving a Favour. Decline your head : this kiss, if it durst speak,

• i. e. Our wishes on the road may be completed.

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Would stretch thy spirits up into the air ;
Conceive, and fare thee well.

Edm. Yours in the ranks of death.

My most dear Gloster!

[Exit EDMUND. 0, the difference of man, and man! To thee A woman's services are due; my fool Usurps my bed. Stew. Madam, here comes my lord.

[Exit Steward,


Gon. I have been worth the whistle. 9

O Goneril,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. - I fear your disposition:
That nature, which contemns its origin,
Cannot be border'd certain in itself;
She that herself will sliver ' and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither,
And come to deadly use.

Gon.' No more; the text is foolish,

Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile Filths savour but themselves.

What have you done ? Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform’d? A father, and a gracious aged man, Whose reverence the head-lugg'd bear would lick, Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded. Could my good brother suffer you to do it? A man, a prince, by him so benefited ? If that the heavens do not their visible spirits Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,

'Twill come,

Humanity must perforce prey on itself,
Like monsters of the deep.

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