Imatges de pÓgina

And turn our impressed 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 cursed

By those that feel their sharpness.

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


Sir, by your patience,

I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.


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.


Not so hot: In his own grace he doth exalt himself, More than in your advancement.


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.


Holla, holla!

That eye that told you so looked but asquint.

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.


Mean you to enjoy him?

Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.


Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.


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,

marry, make your

love to me,

And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will
My lady is bespoke.


An interlude!

Alb. Thou art armed, 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 proclaimed thee.


Sick, O, sick!


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

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!


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.


This sickness grows upon me.

Enter a Herald.

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

Come hither, herald. Let the trumpet sound,—

And read out this.

Off. Sound, trumpet.

Herald reads.

[Exit REGAN, led.

[A trumpet sounds.

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.
Her. Again.

[1 trumpet. trumpet. [3 trumpet.

[Trumpet answers within.

Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a trumpet.

Her. Again.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears

Upon this call o' the trumpet.


What are you?

Your name, your quality? And why you answer

This present summons?


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?

Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund, earl of Gloster?
Edm. Himself;-what sayst thou to him?

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 honors,
My oath, and my profession; I protest,-
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valor, 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 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 forever.-Trumpets, speak.

[Alarums. They fight; EDMUND falls.

Alb. O, save him, save him!

This is mere practice, Gloster.
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquished,
But cozened and beguiled.

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?


Know'st thou this paper?

Most monstrous!

Ask me not what I know.


Alb. Go after her; she's desperate; govern her.

Edm. What you have And more, much more. 'Tis past, and so am I.

[To an Officer, who goes out.
charged me with, that have I done;
The time will bring it out;
But what art thou,

That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble,
I do forgive thee.


Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wronged 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.

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.


Worthy prince, I know't. 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 followed me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdained; and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair;
Never, (O fault!) revealed myself unto him,
Until, some half-hour past, when I was armed,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and, from first to last,
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flawed heart,

(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

This speech of yours hath moved 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.


This would have seemed 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 clamor, came there a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,

Shunned my abhorred society; but then finding
Who 'twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellowed out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear received; which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack. Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranced.


But who was this?

Edg. Kent, sir, the banished Kent; who in disguise Followed his enemy king, and did him service

Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman, hastily, with a bloody knife.

Gent. Help! help! O, help!



Edg. What means that bloody knife?

What kind of help?

Speak, man.

'Tis hot, it smokes;

Who, man? speak.

It came even from the heart of


Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady; and her sister By her is poisoned; she hath confessed 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. [Exit Gentleman.

« AnteriorContinua »