Imatges de pÓgina

alone the imperfections of long-ingrafted condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have 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 together : if our father carry authority with such disposition 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'th' heat. [Excunts.

Changes to a castle belonging to the Earl of Glo'stero.

Enter Edmund, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound; wherefore should I
Stand in the plage of custom, and permit
The courtesy of nations to deprive me,
For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon-fhines
Lag of a brother +? Why baftard? wherefore bafe??


dimenfions are as well compact, My mind as gen'rons, and my shape as true, Aš honest Madam's issue? why brand thy us With base? with baseness? bastard? base, base? “ Who, in the lufty stealth of nature, take « More composition and fierce quality, “ Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed, “ Go to creating a whole tribe of fops, “ Got 'tween a-sleep and wake? Well then, good brom Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land; [ther, Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, As to th' legitimate ; fine word legitimate

Well, + Edmund is here inveighing against the tyranny of custom, of which he produces two diftinct instances;one with respect to younger brothers, the other with respect to bastards. In the former, he must not be understood to mean himself, though he speaks in the first perfon, but according to a cominon node of speech to suppose the case his own, and as in his own person to exclaini against the unreasonableness and injustice of the thing. The argạment thus becomes general, implying more than is said, namely, Wberefore. Pild. I, or any mun, &c.

Well, my legitimate, if this letter fpeed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall be th' legitimate.I grow, I prosper ;
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

SCENE VII. To him, enter Glofler.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus ! and France in choler parted?
And the King gone to-night! subscrib'd * his pow'r !
Confin'd to exhibition ! all is gone
Upon the gad !_Edmund, how now? what news ?
Edm. So please your Lordship, Bone.

[Putting up the letter, Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter? Edm. I know no news, my Lord. Glo. What paper were you reading ? Edm. Nothing, my Lord.

Glo. No! what needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket ? the quality of nothing hath not {uch need to hide itself. Let's see ; come, if it be nothing, I shall not need fpectacles.

Edm. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me; it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for so much as I have perus’d, I find it not fit for your overlooking

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain, or give it. The contents, as in part I underftand then, are to blame.

Glo. Let's sec, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay, or taste of my virtue.

Glo. [reads. ] This policy and reverence of ages makes the world bitter to the best of our times ; keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppresion of aged tyranny ; which fways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. , Come to me, that of this I may speak more.. If

, our father would

seep till I wakd him, you fhould enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, EDGAR.

Hum-----Conspiracy !-Sleep till I wake him -you should enjoy half his revenue

My son Ed.


fubfirib’d, for transferred, alienatid. t ages fignifies former times.

gar! had he a hand to write this ! a heart and a 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 durft 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; I hope his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Has he never before founded you on this business?

Edm. Never, my Lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that fons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as a ward to the fon, and the fon manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain! his very opinion in the letter. Abhorred villain! unnatural, detefted, brutis villain ! worse than brutifh! Go, firrah, 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 teftimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against hisn, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare



life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your Honour, and to no other pretence of danger t.

Glo. Think you fo?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auri. cular assurance have your satisfaction ; and that without any further delay than this very evening.

Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that fo tenderly and entirely loves him.--Heav'n and earth ? Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you ; frame the business af


t.pretence, for puriose; danger, for suickednefs.

ter your own wisdom. I would unftate myfelf, to be in a due resolution.

Edm. I will seek him, Sir, presently, convey + the bu. siness 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 scourg'd by the sequent effects.

“ Love cools, friendship falls off, bro" thers divide. In cities, mutinies; in countries, dif“ cord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd “ 'twixt 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. Machina“ tions, 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 banish'd!. his offence, honesty. 'Tis strange.


SCENE VIII. Manet Edmund. Edm. “ This is the excellent foppery of the world, " that when we are fick in fortune, (often the surfeits “ of our own behaviour), we make guilty of our dif“ afters, the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were “ villains on neceffity; fools, by heavenly compulfion; "knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical pre“ dominance ; drunkards, lyars, and adulterers, by an “ infore'd obedience of planetary influence ; and all " that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An ad“ mirable evasion of whoremaster man,

to lay his " goatish disposition on the change of a star! My father

compounded with my mother under the Dragon's " tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; fo " that it follows I am rough and lecherous. I should « have been what I am, had the maidenliest star in the

firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Vol. VI.



+ Convey, for introduce : but convey is a fine word, as alluding to the practice of clandestine conveying goods, so as not to be founci upon the selon,

SCENE IX. To bim, enter Edgar. Pat!" He comes like the catastrophe of the old co“ medy;" my cue is villanous melancholy, with a figh like Tom o' Bedlam -0, these eclipses portend these divisions ! fa, fol, la, me

[Humming 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. When saw you my father laft?

Edg. The night gone by:
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edlg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good terpis, found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance ?

Edg. None at all.

Edm. Bethink yourself wherein you have offended him : and, at my intreaty, forbear his presence, until fome little time hath qualified the heat of his displeafure ; which at this instant fo rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.

Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's

fear. I

pray you have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes fower; 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 ftir abroad, go arm’d. Edg. Arm'd, brother! · Edm. Brother, I advise you to the beft ; I am no honeft man, if there be any good meaning toward you. I have told


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: A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms,


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