Page images
PDF
EPUB

Stew.

Ay, madam. Reg.

Himself In person there? Stew.

Madam, with much ado: Your sister is the better soldier. Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at

home? Stew. No, madam. Reg. What might import my sister's letter to

him? Stew. I know not, lady.

Reg. 'Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter. It was great ignorance, Gloster's eyes being out, To let him live; where he arrives, he moves All hearts against us: Edmund, I think, is gone, In pity of his misery, to despatch His nighted life;' moreover, to descry The strength o'the enemy. Stew. I must needs after him, madam, with my

letter. Reg. Our troops set forth to-morrow; stay with us; The ways are dangerous. Stew.

I may not, madam; My lady charg'd my duty in this business. Reg. Why should she write to Edmund? Might

not you Transport her purposes by word? Belike, Something I know not what:—I'll love thee much, Let me unseal the letter. Stew.

Madam, I had ratherReg. I know, your lady does not love her husband; I am sure of that: and, at her late being here, She gave strange ciliads, and most speaking looks

s His nighted life ;] i. e. His life made dark as night, by the extinction of his eyes.

She gave strange ciliads,] Oeillade, Fr, a cast, or significant glance of the eye.

To noble Edmund: I know, you are of her bosom.

Stew. I, madam?

Reg. I speak in understanding; you are, I know it: Therefore, I do advise you, take this note: My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd; And more convenient is he for my hand, Than for your lady's:-You may gather more. If you do find him, pray you, give him this; And when your mistress hears thus much from you, I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her. So, fare you well. If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor, Preferment falls on him that cuts him off. Stew. 'Would I could meet him, madam! I would

show What party I do follow.

Fare thee well. [Exeunt.

Reg.

SCENE VI.

The Country near Dover.

OSTEN

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 ?

No, truly.
Edg. Why, then your other senses grow imper-

Glo.

fect

'- I do advise you, take this note:] Note means in this place not a letter, but a remark. Therefore observe what I am saying.

By your eyes' anguish.
Glo.

So 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, that wing the midway air, Show scarce so gross as beetles: Half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! Methinks, he seems no bigger than his head: The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, Appear like mice; and yon' tall anchoring bark, Diminish'd to her cock;8 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 Topple 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.

[blocks in formation]

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, O, bless him!-
Now, fellow, fare thee well.

[He leaps, and falls along. Edg.

Gone, sir? farewell. 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: -Yet he revives: What are you, sir ?

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

da. Had'sers, air, srecipitating.. but the

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 each make not the altitude,
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell;
Thy life's a miracle: Speak yet again.

Glo. But have I fallen, or no?

9 — when life itself
Yields to the theft:] When life is willing to be destroyed.

Thus might he pass indeed:] Thus might be die in reality. 2 Had'st thou been aught but gossomer,-) Gossomore, the white and cobweb-like exhalations that fly about in hot sunny weather.

Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky

bourn: Look up a-height;—the shrill-gorg'd 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:-30;-How is't? Feel you your legs? You

stand. 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 bo

nours Of men's impossibilities, have presery'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?

clo. I do rememocrv out itself, ino you speak ot,

+ — chalky bourn :] Bourn seems here to signify a hill. Its common signification is a brook. But in Milton and Sbakspeare it means only a boundary, and here certainly means “ this chalky boundary of England, towards France."

5 Hörns whelk’d,] Whelkd, signifies varied with protuberances; or twisted, convolved.

6 — the clearest gods,] The purest; the most free from evil.

« PreviousContinue »