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Burst smilingly. This
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.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.
Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
What kind of help?
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
This would have seem'd a period, &c.] The sense may probably be this: This would have seemed a period to such as love not sorrow; but-another, i. e. but I must add another, i. e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told.
It came even from the heart of
Who, man? speak. Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she confesses it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.
Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead!This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
'Tis hot, it smokes;
Alb. O! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Here comes Kent, sir.
Great thing of us forgot!Speak, Edmund, where's the king; and where's Cordelia?
See'st thou this object, Kent?
[The Bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in.
Kent. Alack, why thus? ·Edm. Yet Edmund was belov'd: The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.
Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life:-Some good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
This judgment, &c.] If Shakspeare had studied Aristotle all his life, he would not perhaps have been able to mark with more precision the distinct operations of terror and pity. TYŃWHITT.
Be brief in it,-to the castle; for my writ
Run, run, O, run-
Thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on; take my sword,
Give it the captain.
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR. Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and To lay the blame upon her own despair, That she fordid herself.2
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile. [EDMUND is borne off.
Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his Arms; EDGAR, Officer, and Others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!-O, you are men of stones;
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack:-O, she is gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
That she fordid herself.] To fordo, signifies to destroy.
3 Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror?] By the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world.
Fall, and cease!* Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so, It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows That ever I have felt.
O my good master! [Kneeling.
'Tis noble Kent, your friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever!Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha!
What is't thou say'st?-Her voice was ever soft,
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not, fellow? I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion I would have made them skip: I am old now, And these same crosses spoil me.-Who are you? Mine eyes are none o'the best :-I'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated, One of them we behold.5
Lear. This is a dull sight: Are you not Kent? Kent. The same; Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius? Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that; He'll strike, and quickly too:-He's dead and rotten. Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man;
4 Fall, and cease!] Albany, is looking with attention on the pains employed by Lear to recover his child, and knows to what miseries he must survive, when he finds them to be ineffectual. Having these images present to his eyes and imagination, he cries out, Rather fall, and cease to be, at once, than continue in existence only to be wretched.
5 If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.] i. e. If Fortune, to display the plenitude of her power, should brag of two persons, one of whom she had highly elevated, and the other she had wofully depressed, we now behold the latter.
Lear. I'll see that straight.
Kent. That, from your first of difference and
your sad steps.
You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark, and deadly.—
Your eldest daughters have fore-doom'd themselves, And desperately are dead.
Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him.
Enter an Officer.
Off. Edmund is dead, my lord. Alb. That's but a trifle here.You lords, and noble friends, know our intent. What comfort to this great decay may come, Shall be applied: For us, we will resign, During the life of this old majesty, To him our absolute power:-You, to your rights; [To EDGAR and KENT. With boot,' and such addition as your honours Have more than merited.-All friends shall taste The wages of their virtue, and all foes The cup of their deservings.-O, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd!' No, no, no
of difference and decay.] Decay for misfortunes.
↑ Nor no man else;] Kent means, I welcome! No, nor no man
this great decay may come,] This great decay is Lear,
this piece of decay'd royalty, this ruin'd majesty.
9 With boot,] With advantage, with increase.
1 And my poor fool is hang'd!] This is an expression of tenderness for his dead Cordelia (not his fool, as some have thought) on