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My services are bound: Wherefore should I
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his power!
Confin'd to exhibition! All this done
waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-Humph-Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue,—My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in ?-When cate 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 durst 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, but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him
Upon the gad!-Edmund! how now? what Abominable villain !-Where is he?
Edm. So please your lordship, none.
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. No? What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'erread; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking.
Glo. Give me the letter, sir.
Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.
Glo. Let's see, 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 age, 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 oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our futher would sleep till I VOL. II.
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 testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any farther delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find meaus, 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 find itself scourged by the sequent effects: love
have offended him: and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time bath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong. Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; 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 stir abroad, go armed. Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go
cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between 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: Machinations, 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 banished! his offence, honesty!-Strange! strange! [Exit. Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (of-armed; I am no honest man, if there be any ten the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make good meaning towards you: I have told you guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothe stars as if we were villains by necessity; thing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, away. and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar
And pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi. 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; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and Í know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?
Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father last?
Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
SCENE III.-A room in the Duke of ALBANY's palace.
Enter GONERIL and Steward. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gron. By day and night! he wrongs me;
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question:
If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
Remember what I have said,
Stew. Very well, madam.
Gon. And let his knights have colder looks
Enter KENT, disguised.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
If thou canst serve where thou dost stand con-
Knight. My lord, I know not what the mat
(So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, ter is; but, to my judgment, your highness is Shall find thee full of labours.
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant. How now, what art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? what would'st thou with us?
no entertained with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.
Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?
Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wronged.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; own conception: I have perceived a most faint to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as to love him that is honest; to converse with mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very prehim that is wise, and says little; to fear judg-tence and purpose of unkindness: I will look ment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to further into't.-But where's my fool? I have eat no fish. not seen him this two days.
Lear. What art thou?
Lear. What services canst thou do? Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in ; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part
Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.
Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.
Fool. Let me hire him too ;-Here's my coxcomb. Giving Kent his cup. Lear. How now, my pretty knave? how dost hou?
Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why? for taking one's part, that is out of favour: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why this fellow has banished two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How now, nuncle? 'Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!
Lear. Why, my boy?
Fool. If I gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg another of thy daughters.
Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; he must be whipped out, when Lady, the brach, may stand by the fire and stink.
Lear. A pestilent gall to me!
Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle:
Have more than thou showest,
Than two tens to a score. Lear. This is nothing, fool. Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
Fool. Pry'thee, tell him, so much the rent of his land comes to; he will not believe a fool. [To Kent.
Lear. A bitter fool. Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool? Lear. No, lad; teach me.
Fool. That lord, that counsel'd thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me,-
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy? Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't: and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns.
Lear. What two crowns shall they be?
Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i'the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou be rest thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Theu had'st little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so.
Fools had ne'er less grace in a year; [Singing.
And know not how their wits to wear,
Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?
Fool. I have used it, nuncle, ever since then madest thy daughters thy mother: for when thou gavest them the rod, and put'st down thine own breeches,
Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing. And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.
Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a school-master that can teach thy fool to lie; I would fain learn to lie. Lear. If you lie, sírrah, we'll have you whipped.
Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipped for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one o' the parings.
Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou had'st no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.-Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face To Gon.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep;
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had its head bit off by its young. So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.
Fool. May not an ass know, when the cart draws the horse?-Whoop, Jug! I love thee. Lear. Does any here know me?-Why this is not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied.-Sleeping or waking?-Ha! sure 'tis not so.-Who is it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow? I would learn that; for by the marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters.
Fool. Which they will make an obedient fa-
Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman?
This admiration is much o' the favour
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:
For instant remedy: Be then desir'd
By her, that else will take the thing she begs, disquantity your train ;
A little to
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
Lear. Woe, that too late repents.-O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? To Alb. Speak, sir.-Prepare my horses.
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,
Alb. Pray, sir, be patient.
Lear. Detested kite! thou liest:
[To Goneril. My train are men of choice and rarest parts, That all particulars of duty know; And in the most exact regard support The worships of their name.-Omost small fault, How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show! Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of
From the fix'd place; drew from my heart all love, And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in,
[Striking his head. And thy dear judgment out!-Go, go, my people.
Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant Of what hath mov'd you.
Lear. It may be so, my lord.-Hear, nature, hear;
Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if
Alb. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this?
Gon. Never afflict yourself to know the cause; But let his disposition have that scope, That dotage gives it.
Lear. What, fifty of my followers, at a clap! Within a fortnight?