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Enter CORDELIA and Aranthe.
Aran. Dear madam, rest you here, our search is vain;
Look here's a shed; 'beseech you, enter here.
Cord. Pr'ythee, go in thyself, seek thy own ease; Where the mind's free, the body's delicate; This tempest but diverts me from the thought Of what would hurt me more.
Enter Two Ruffians.
1 Ruff. We've dogg'd them far enough; this place is private; I'll keep them prisoners here within this hovel, whilst you return, and bring Lord Edmund hither: but help me first to house them.—Now, despatch. [They seize Cordelia mid Aranthe. Cord. Help!—murder!—help.—Gods, some kind
To strike me dead!
Aran. Help! help!—
Enter Edgar, from the Hotel.
Edg. What cry was that?—Ha! women seiz'd by
Is this a time and place for villany?
Avaunt, ye bloodhounds!
[Drives them off with his Quarter-staff.
O, speak, what are ye, that appear to be
O'th' tender sex, and yet unguarded wander
Through the dead mazes of this dreadful night,
Where, though at full, the clouded moon scarce darts Imperfect glimmerings?
Cord. First, say, what art thou?
Our guardian angel, that were pleas'd to assume
We'll kneel to thee.
Edg. O, my tumultuous blood!
By all my trembling veins, Cordelia's voice!
"Tis she herself!—My senses, sure, conform
wild garb, and I am mad indeed.
Cord. Whate'er thou art, befriend a wretched virgin, And, if thou canst, direct our weary search.
Edg. Who relieves poor Tom, that sleeps on the nettle, with the hedgehog for his pillow?
Whilst Smug ply'd the bellows,
Was a blouze and a drab,
Yet Swithin made Oberon jealous.—O, torture!
Aran. Alack, madam! a poor wand'ring lunatic. Cord. And yet his language seem'd but now, well temper'd.
Speak, friend, to one more wretched than thyself;
Inform us, if thou canst, where we may find
A poor old man, who through this heath hath stray'd
The tedious night.—Speak, saw'st thou such a one?
Yes, fair one, such a one was lately here,
Cord. Blessings on them!
Let's find him out, Aranthe; for thou seest
We are in Heaven's protection.
Edg. O, Cordelia !
Cord. Ha!- -Thou know'st my name. you did once know Edgar's.
Edg. The poor remains of Edgar, what Your scorn has left him.
Cord. Do we wake, Aranthe ?
Edg. My father seeks my life: which I preserv'd, In hope of some blest minute to oblige Distrest Cordelia, and the gods have given it; That thought alone prevail'd with me to take This frantic dress, to make the earth my bed, With these bare limbs all change of seasons 'bide, Noon's scorching heat, and midnight's piercing cold, To feed on offals, and to drink with herds, To combat with the winds, and be the sport Of clowns, or what's more wretched yet, their pity. Cord. Was ever tale so full of misery!
Edg. But such a fall as this, I grant, was due
For, well you know, I wore my flame conceal'd,
Edg. What do I challenge more?
Such vanity agrees not with these rags:
When in my prosp'rous state, rich Gloster's heir,
Such as the shouts
Of succouring forces to a town besieg'd.
Edg. Ah! what new method now of cruelty? Cord. Come to my arms, thou dearest, best of men, And take the kindest vows, that e'er were spoke By a protesting maid.
Edg. Is't possible?
Cord. By the dear vital stream, that bathes
These hallow'd rags of thine, and naked virtue,
Edg. Generous, charming maid!
The gods alone, that made, can rate thy worth!
Cord. Cold and weary,
We'll rest a while, Aranthe, on that straw,
Edg. Look, I have flint and steel, the implements, Of wand'ring lunatics; I'll strike a light,
And make a fire beneath this shed, to dry
Thy storm-drench'd garments, ere thou lie to rest
Then, fierce and wakeful as th' Hesperian dragon,
Meanwhile the stars shall dart their kindest beams,
ACT THE FOURTH.
An Apartment in the Earl of Gloster's Castle.
Enter the Duke of Cornwall, Regan, Edmund, Edward, and Servants.
Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his
Regan, see here, a plot upon our state;
Reg. Then double be our vengeance; this con
Th' intelligence that we but now receiv'd,
That he has been this night to seek the king.
Corn. Our eagle, quick to spy, and fierce to seize, Our trusty Edmund.
Reg. "Twas a noble service:
o Cornwall, take him to thy deepest trust,
Edm. Think, sir, how hard a fortune I sustain,
Corn. Edmund, thou shalt find
A father in our love, and from this minute
Reg. The grotto, sir, within the lower grove
Edm. And there I may expect a comforter— Ha, madam?
Reg. What may happen, sir, I know not;
But 'twas a friend's advice.
Corn. Bring in the traitor.
Enter Gloster, brought in by Two Servants.
Bind fast his arms,
Glost. What mean your graces ?
You are my guests; pray, do me no foul play.