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the observation we have made of it hath not been | read; for so much as I have perused, I find is little he always loved our sister most; and with not fit for your over-looking. what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, Glo. Give me the letter, sir. appears too grossly.
Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame. 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 brings
Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.
Gon. There is further compliment of leavetaking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together; 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 heat. [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 moon-shines 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 us 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, Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops, Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land: Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, As to the legitimate: fine word,-legitimate! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :— Now, gods, stand up for bastards! Enter Gloster.
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. the world bitter, to the best of our times; keeps our forThis and reverence of makes tunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suf fered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your Humph-Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him,— 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 the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement 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. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler
And the king gone to night! subscrib'd his power!
Glo. What paper were you reading?
Glo. No? What needed then that 'terrible
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 testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
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 | presence, till some little time hath qualified the the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
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 surfcit of our own behaviour), we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar-Enter Edgar.
and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund ? 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, dissolations of antient 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?
Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father Edg. Why, the night gone by. [last? 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. Nene at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him and at my entreaty, forbear his
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. [erit.
SCENE III. A ROOM IN THE DUKE OF ALBANY'S PALACE.
Enter Goneril and Steward.
Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
[hour Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every He flashes into one gross crime or other, That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it: His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle :-When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him; say, I am sick:— If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him. [horns. Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question: If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Stew. Very well, madam.
Gon. And let his knights have colder looks among you; [so;
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak :-I'll write straight to my sister,
To hold my very course :-Prepare for dinner. [exeunt.
SCENE IV.A HALL IN THE SAME.
Enter Kent, disguised.
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 [Kent, For which I raz'd my likeness.-Now, banish'd
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand con-
(So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st,
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What would'st thou 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 sir? as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldest thou?
Lear. Who wouldest 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.
[exit. 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.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I called him?
Knight. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wronged.
Lear. Thou but rememberest 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 pur pose of unkindness. I will look further into it.But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
Knight. Since my young lady's going into
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well-
• Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is not entertained 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 duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! sayest thou so?
O, you sir, you sir, come you hither; Who am I,
Stew. My lady's father.
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'H love thee.
Kent. Come, sir, arise, away: I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; have you wisdom? so.
[pushes the Steward out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service. [giving Kent money. Enter Fool. Fool. Let me hire him too. -Here's my coxcomb. [giving Kent his cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost thou?
Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.
Fool. Why? For taking one's part that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banished two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters! Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, Fd keep my coxcombs myself: there's mine, beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah, the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipped out, when Lady, the brach, inay stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle:
Have more than thou showest,
To give away thy land,
Or do thou for him stand:
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
times, I am whipped for holding my peace.
Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.-Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face [to Goneril] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum,
That's a sheal'd peascod.
He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
I had thought, by makingthis well known unto you,
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching.Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
So, out went the candle, and we were left dark-
Gon. Come, sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are
Lear. What two crowns shall they be? Fool. Why, after I have cat the egg f'the mid-fraught; and put away these dispositions, which dle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt thou had'st little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so.
of late transform you from what you rightly are. Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse ?-Whoop, Jug! I love thee.
Fools had ne'er less grace in a year;
Lear. Does any here know me ?—Why this is not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakeris, or his discernings are lethargied.-Sleeping or Eanging waking ?-Ha! sure 'tis not so,-Who is it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow? I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
For wise men are grown foppish;
Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mother: for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
Fool. Which they will make an obedient father
This admiration is much o'the favour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you,
Then they for sudden joy did weep,
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise
Lear. If you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipped. Fool. I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipped for speaking
true, thou❜lt have me whipped for lying; and, some-Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: Be then desir'd
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
Lear. Darkness and devils !
Saddle my horses; call my train together.-
Gon. You strike my people; and your disorMake servants of their betters. [der'd rabble
Lear. Woe, that too late repents,—O, sir, are you come? [my horses. Is it your will? [to Albany] Speak, sir.-Prepare Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child, Than the sea-monster!
Alb. Pray, sir, be patient.
Lear. Detested kite! thou liest: [to Goneril. My train are men of choice and rarest parts, That all particulars of duty know;
And in the most exact regard support
From the fix'd place: drew from my heart all And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in, [strikes his head. And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go my people. Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant of what hath mov'd you. [hear!
Lear. It may be so, my lord.-Hear, Nature, Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if Thou didst intend to make this creature fruitful, Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Gon. Pray you, content.--What, Oswald, ho!You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master. Fool. Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry, and take the fool with thee.
A fox, when one has caught her,
Should sure to the slaughter,
If my cap would buy a halter;
Lexit. Gon. This man hath had good counsel;-A hundred knights!
'Tis politic, and safe, to let him keep [dream,
Let me still take away the harms I fear,
Alb. How far your eyes may pierce, I cannot Striving to better, oft we mar what's well. [tell; Gon. Nay, then
Alb. Well, well; the event.
SCENE V. COURT BEFORE THE SAME.
Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.
Lear. Go you before to Gloster with these let ters: acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know, than comes from her demand out of the letter: If your diligence be not speedy, I shall be there before you.
Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have de livered your letter. [exit. Fool. If a man's brains were in his heels, were't not in danger of kibes?