Page images

But not without that harmful stroke, which since
Hath pluck'd him after.

Alb. This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge!—But, O poor Gloster!
Lost he his other eye?

Mess. - Both, both, my lord.—
This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer;
"Tis from your sister.

Gon. [Aside.] "One way I like this well;
But being widow, and my Gloster with her,
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life: Another way,
The news is not so tart.—I'll read, and answer.

[Erit. Alb. Where was his son, when they did take his eyes?

Mess. Come with my lady hither.

Alb. He is not here.

Mess. No, my good lord; I met him back again.

Alb. Knows he the wickedness?

Mess. Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against


And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment Might have the freer course.

Alb. Gloster, I live To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king, And to revenge thine eyes.—Come hither, friend; Tell me what more thou knowest. [Ereunt.


The French Camp, near Dover.
Enter KENT, and a Gentleman.

Kent. Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back know you the reason? Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, Which since his coming forth is thought of; which Imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger, That his personal return was most requir’d, And necessary. Kent. Who hath he left behind him general? Gent. The Mareschal of France, Monsieur le Fer. Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief? Gent. Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence; And now and then an ample tear trill'd down Her delicate cheek: it seem’d, she was a queen Over her passion; who, most rebel-like, Sought to be king o'er her. Kent. O, then it mov'd her. Gent. Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove Who should express her goodliest. You have seen Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears Were like a better day: Those happy smiles, That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know

What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd.—In brief, sorrow
Would be a rarity most belov'd, if all
Could so become it.
Rent. Made she no verbal question?
Gent. 'Faith, once, or twice, she heav'd the name
of father
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Cry’d, Sisters! sisters!—Shame of ladies / sisters!
Kent / father sisters / What? i'the storm? i'the night?
Let pity not be believed!—There she shook -
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten’d: then away she started
To deal with grief alone.
Kent. It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate” could not beget
Such different issues, You spoke not with her since?
Gent. No.
Kent. Was this before the king return'd?
Gent. No, since.
Kent. Well, sir; The poor distress'd Lear is i'the
town :
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.
Gent. Why, good sir?
Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own
That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn’d her

To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting
His mind so venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.
Gent. Alack, poor gentleman!
Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you
heard not? -
Gent. "Tis so; they are afoot.
Kent. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master
And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up a while;
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
Along with me.] [Ereunt.


The Same. A Tent.

Enter CoRDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers.

Cor. Alack, 'tis he: why, he was met even now As mad as the vex'd sea: singing aloud; Crown'd with rank fumiter, and furrow weeds, With harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow In our sustaining corn.-A century send forth; Search every acre in the high-grown field, And bring him to our eye. [Erit an Officer.]—What

can man's wisdom do,

In the restoring his bereaved sense?
He, that helps him, take all my outward worth.

Phy. There is means, madam:
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

Cor. All bless'd secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears! be aidant, and remediate,
In the good man's distress!—Seek, seek for him;
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Madam, news; The British powers are marching hitherward.

Cor. 'Tis known before; our preparation stands In expectation of them.—O dear father, It is thy business that I go about; Therefore great France My mourning, and important tears, hath pitied. No blown ambition doth our arms incite, But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right: Soon may I hear, and see him! [Ereunt.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »