Imatges de pÓgina
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Their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all: Come on.

Glo.

And that's true too. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. The British Camp near Dover.

Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, EDMUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, as Prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, &c.

Edm. Some officers take them away; good guard;

Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.

Cor.

We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the

worst.

For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else outfrown false fortune's frown. Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters ?

Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:

We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;-
And take upon us the mystery of things,

As if we were God's spies: And we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

Edm. Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee? [ven, He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaAnd fire us bence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes; The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell, Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve first.

Come. [Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain; hark.

Take thou this note; [Giving a Paper.] go, follow them to prison:

VOL. VIII.

H

One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes: Know thou this,-that men
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword:-Thy great employ-

ment

Will not bear question: either say, thou'lt do't, Or thrive by other means.

Off.

I'll do't, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast done.

Mark, I say instantly; and carry it so,
As I have set it down.

Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats: If it be man's work, I will do it. [Exit Officer. Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers, and Attendants.

Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,

And fortune led you well: You have the captives
Who were the opposites of this day's strife:
We do require them of you; so to use them,
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.

Edm.

Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king

To some retention, and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the
queen;

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.

Sir, by your patience,

I hold you but a subject of this war,

Not as a brother.

Reg.

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
Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.

[you.
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 thine, attaint This gilded serpent: [Pointing to GON.]-for your claim, fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife;

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

Gon.

An interlude!

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloster:-Let the trumpet sound:

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.
Sick, O, sick!
Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison. [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.

This sickness grows upon me.

Enter a Herald.

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

[Exit REGAN, led.

Come hither, herald.-Let the trumpet sound,

And read out this.

Off. Sound, trumpet.

[A Trumpet sounds. Herald reads.

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.

[blocks in formation]

[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.

Which is that adversary?

Alb.
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, I disdain and spurn:
Back do I toss these treasons to thy head;
With the bell-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, EDM. 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?

Most monstrous!

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