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Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
Reg.

Sick, O, sick! Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison. [Aside. Edm. There's my exchange: [Throwing down a

Glove. what in the world he is
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies:
Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach,
On him, on you, (who not?) I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.

Alb. A herald, ho!
Edm.

A herald, ho, a herald!
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue;' for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.

This sickness grows upon me.

Reg.

Enter a Herald.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.

[Exit Regan, led.
Come hither, herald, -Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
Off. Sound, trumpet. [A Trumpet sounds.

Herald reads. If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet: He is bold in his defence. Edm. Sound.

[1 Trumpet. Her. Again.

T2 Trunipet.

2 Trum

13 Trumpet.

[Trumpet answers within. thy single virtue;) i. e. valour; a Roman sense of the

Her Again.

[Tru

word.

Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a Trumpet.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o’the trumpet.
Her.

What are you?
Your name, your quality and why you answer
This present summons ?
Edg.

Know, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I come to cope withal.
Alb.

Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of

Gloster?
Edm. Himself;—What say'st thou to him?
Edg.

Draw thy sword; .
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession:I protest,—
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart,—thou art a traitor:
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest.

Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name;

. Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,

My oath, and my profession:] The privilege of this oath means the privilege gained by taking the oath administered in the regular initiation of a knight professed.

But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes,"
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which, (for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise,)
This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever. S—Trumpets, speak.

[Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls. Alb. O save him, save him! Gon.

This is mere practice, Gloster: By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd, But cozen’d and beguild. Alb.

Shut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it:-Hold, sir:Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.

[Gives the Letter to EDMUND.
Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not thine:
Who shall arraign me fort?
All.

Most monstrous !
Know'st thou this paper ?
Gon.

Ask me not what I know.

: Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her : she's desperate ; govern her.

[To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have

I done; And more, much more: the time will bring it out ; 'Tis past, and so am I: But what art thou, That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble, I do forgive thee.

? 'say of breeding breathes,] Say is sample, a taste.

8 Where they shall rest for ever.) To that place, where they shall rest for ever ; i. e. thy heart.

Edg.

Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.

The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us :
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
Edm.

Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true; The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
A royal nobleness:-I must embrace thee;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!
Edg.

Worthy prince,
I know it well.
Alb.

Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.—List a brief

tale; And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness ! That with the pain of death we'd hourly die, Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift Into a mad-man's rags; to assume a semblance That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit Met I my father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost; became his guide, Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from despair; Never (O fault !) reveal'd myself unto him, Until some half hour past, when I was arm’d, Not sure, though hoping, of this good success, I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last Told him my pilgrimage: But his flaw'd heart, (Alack, too weak the conflict to support!) 'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,

Burst smilingly.

Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.

Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in; For I am almost ready to dissolve, Hearing of this. Edg.

This would have seem'd a period To such as love not sorrow; but another, To amplify too-much, would make much more, And top extremity. Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man, Who having seen me in my worst estate, Shunn'd my abhorr’d society; but then, finding Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms He fasten’d on my neck, and bellow'd out As he'd burst heaven; threw him on iny father : Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him, That ever ear receiv’d: which in recounting His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded, And there I left him tranc'd. Alb.

But who was this? Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
Gent. Help! help! O help!

What kind of help?
All.

Speak, man.
Edg. What means that bloody knife?"

Edg.

9- This would hare seem'd a period, &c.] The sense may probably be this: This would have seemed a period to such as lure not sorrow; but- another, i. e. but I must add another, i. e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told. VOL. IX.

LL

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