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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 the 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,
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 for ever. Trumpets, speak!
(Alarums.—They fight.-EDMUND falls, L. Edm. What you have charged me with, that have I 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.
Alb. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the mis’ries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; 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, tho' 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,
Edm. [Ruised by Oficers.] pant for life :--Some
good I mean to do,
Despite of my own nature. Quickly send-
Be brief in it-to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia.
Edg. Who has the office ? Send thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Take my sword-give it the captain.
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life! [Exit EDGAR, R.
The gods defend her !-Bear him hence awhile.
(Flourish.—EDMUND is led off L.--ALBANY and
others exeunt R.
Enter Lear through opening in R. Flat, with Cor.
DELIA, dead, in his arms.- -Officer enters L. U. E. as on guard; he remains at back, L. Lear. [Advancing to c.] Howl, howl, howl, howl !
0, ye are men of stones ! Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack.--0, she is gone for
ever! [Lear kneels on right knee, and places CORDELIA
across his left, her feet towards R.
I know when one is dead, and when one lives ;
She's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass ;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why then she lives.
Enter EDGAR, ALBANY, Kent, Officer, and Soldiers,
R.-Officer marches the Soldiers up R. and back.
Kent. Is this the promis'd end ?
Edg. Or image of that horror ?
[Crosses behind LEAR. Alb, 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.
Kent. (R. C.) (Kneeling.] 0, my good master!
Lear. Þr'ythee, away!
Edg. (L. C.) '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,
Gentle, and low ; but I did kill the slave
That was a hanging thee !
Officer. (L.) (Advancing a little.] 'Tis true, my
lords, he did. Lear. 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? My eyes are none o'the best:~I'll tell you straight. Kent. (R.c.) If fortune brag of two she levd and
One of them we behold.
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.
Lear. I'll see that straight.
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your sad steps.
Lear. You are welcome hither.
Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark, and
Your eldest daughters have foredoom'd themselves,
are dead. Lear. Ay, so I think.
Kent. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him. O see! see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life : Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all ? [Laying Cordelta on the
ground, and knecling on both knees.] 0, thou
wilt come no more ! Never, never, never, never !
Pray you, undo this button. [Placing his hand to his
throat, as if choaking.] Thank you, sir. Do you see this ? Look on her-look-her lips
[Kisses her. Look there-look there! [Gives a convulsive gasp, and falls back. He is supported on the R. by Kent, and on the L. by EDGAR.–Curtain falls to slow music.
POSITION OF THE CHARACTERS AT THE
FALL OF THE CURTAIN.
DOLBY Printer, 17, Catherine.street, Strand, London