Imatges de pÓgina
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My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear

Where you shall hold your session. At this time,
We sweat, and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs'd
By those that feel their sharpness:-

The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.

Alb.

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Reg.

Sir, by your patience,

That's as we list to grace him.

Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.

Gon.

Not so hot:

In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.

Reg.

In my rights,

By me invested, he compeers the best.

Gon. That were the most, if he should husband you. Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.

Gon.

Holla, holla!
That eye, that told you so, look'd but a-squint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach.-General,

Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony;
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
Witness the world, that I create thee here

My lord and master.

Gon.

Mean you to enjoy him? Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will. Edm. Nor in thine, lord.

Alb.

Half-blooded fellow, yes. Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.

[To Edmund. Alb. Stay yet; hear reason:-) -Edmund, I arrest thee On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,

This gilded serpent: [Pointing to Gon.]—for your clai:n,

fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife;

"Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your banns.
If you will marry, make your love to me,
My lady is bespoke.

Gon.

An interlude!

[sound:

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloster:-Let the trumpet If none appear to prove upon thy person, Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,

There is my pledge; [Throwing down a Glove] I'll prove it on thy heart,

Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less

Than I have here proclaim'd thee.

Reg.

Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison.

Sick, O, sick!

[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.

Reg.

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

This sickness grows upon me.

Enter a Herald.

[Exit Regan, led.

[A Trumpet sounds.

Herald reads.

Come hither, herald,—Let the trumpet sound,-

And read out this.

Off. Sound, trumpet.

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.

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[1 Trumpet.

[2 Trumpet.

[3 Trumpet.

[Trumpet answers within.

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; 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, 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.-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 beguil❜d.

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 for't?

Alb.

Know'st thou this paper?
Gon.

Most monstrous!

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.

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 prophesy
A royal nobleness:-I must embrace thee;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I

Did hate thee, or thy father!

Edg.

I know it well.

Worthy prince,

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 madman'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,

G

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