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SCENE I.-A Room of State in King Lear's Palace.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weigh'd, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sír, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship. [better. Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away be shall again:-The king is coming.
(Trumpets sound within.) Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege. [Exeunt Glo, and Edm. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker
[divided, Give me the map there. - Know, that we have In three, our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Carnwall
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour: As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found. A love, that makes breath poor, and speech unable; Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. (Aside.) Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd; With plenteous rivers, and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart 1 find, she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short,-that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses; And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Čor. Then poor Cordelia! (Aside.) And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever, Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom; No less in space, validity, and pleasure, Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy, Although the last, not least; to whose young love The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy, Strive to be interess'd; what can you say, to draw A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak. Cor. Nothing, my lord. Lear. Nothing?
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again.
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
To love my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath: I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery.-Hence, and avoid my sight! (To Cordelia.)
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
[course, by monthly
Call Burgundy.--Cornwall, and Albany,
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old
Alb. & Corn. Dear sir, forbear.
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me !-Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd pride,
To come betwixt our sentence and our power;
Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble
Nor will you tender less.
I know no answer.
Will you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, [oath, Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our Take her, or leave her?
Bur. Pardon me, royal sir; Election makes not up on such conditions. Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power
that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king.
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Had'st not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature, Which often leaves the history unspoke, That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady? Love is not love, When it is mingled with respects, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife. [ing poor; France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, beMost choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, desnis'd!
Thee and thy virtaes here I seize upon :
My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.—
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Corn-
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties. Reg. Let your study Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted. Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning bides; Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper! France.
Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt France and Cordelia. Gon. Sister, it is not alittle I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness, that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to bave from him, as this of Kent's banishment.
Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit tegether: If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We must do something, and i' the beat. [Exeunt SCENE II.-A Hall in the Earl of Gloster's Castle. Enter EDMUND, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? why brand they as With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base! Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler
And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his power!
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. No? what needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves! Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!-Strange! strange!
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disGlo. (Reads.) This policy, and reverence of age, asters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly comour fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish pulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My fafor ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR. ther compounded with my mother under the dragon's -Humph!-Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him,—tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. EdgarEnter EDGAR.
you should enjoy half his revenue,—My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in?-When came this to you? who brought it?
Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's And pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the case-comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a ment of my closet.
Glo. You know the character to be your brother's? Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.
Glo. It is his.
Edm. It is his hand, my lord, but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Glo. O villain, villain!-His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable villain! Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testímony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mis
sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses. Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?
Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical? [last? Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father Edg. Why, the night gone by. Edm. Spake you with him? Edg. Ay, two hours together.
Edm. Parted you in good terms! Found you no displeasure in him, by word, or countenance? Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have
offended him: and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon? Edm. I do serve you in this business.[Exit Edgar. A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy!-I see the business.Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit: All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit. SCENE III.A Room in the Duke of Albany's
Enter GONERIL and Steward.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
SCENE IV.-A Hall in the same.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse, my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue, For which I raz'd my likeness.-Now, banish'd Kent, [demn'd, If thou can'st serve where thou dost stand con(So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labours.
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants. Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now, what art Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? what would'st thon with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish. Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou? Kent. Service.
Lear. Who would'st thou serve?
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master. Lear. What's that?
Lear. What services canst thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence. Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!-Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:" Enter Steward.
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back. Where's my fool, ho?-I think the world's asleep.-How now? where's that mongrel! Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well. [I call'd him? Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not enter tain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the dake himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, ifI be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception: I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and parpose of unkindness: I will look further into t But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.
O, you sir, you sir, come you hither: Who am I, Stew. My lady's father. [sir? Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.
Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal! (Striking him.) Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base foot-ball player. (Tripping up his heels.) Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.