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LEAR King of Britain.
EARL OF GLOSTER.
EDGAR, Som to Gloster.
EDMUND, Bastard Son to Gloster
CURAN, a Courtier.
Old Man, Tenant to Gloster.
OSWALD, Steward to Goneril.
Servants to Cornwall.
SCENE I-A Room of State in King Lear's
Enter KENT, GLOSTER, and EDMUND.
Kent. I thought the king had more affected the duke of Albany, than Cornwall.
Glo. It did always seem so to us; but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weigh'd that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.2
Kent. Is this your son, my lord? Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge; I lave so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now
I am brazed to it.
Most scrupulo as nicety.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed: and had, indeed, sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. But I have, sir, a son, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair: there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.-Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving. Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again:-The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within. Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, iloster.
2 Part or division.
Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor:
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as in sister
Glo. I shall, my hege.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided,
In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent
We have this hour a constant will to publish
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside.
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again. Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more nor less. Lear. How, how, Cordelia? mend your speech a
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I Return those duties back as are right fit, Obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say, They love you all! Haply, when I shall wed, Thatlord,whose hand must takemy plight,shallcarry Half my love with him, half my care, and duty: Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Or he that makes his generation? messes
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Good my liege,
Come not between the dragon and his wrath: I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my [TO CORDELIA. So be my grave my peace, as here I give Her father's heart from her!-Call France;-Who stirs!
Call Burgundy.-Cornwall, and Albany,
That troop with majesty.-Ourself, by monthly
With reservation of an hundred knights,
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Whom I have ever honor'd as my king,
Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me !--Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd pride,
To come betwixt our sentence and our power;
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.-
Pardon me, royal sir; such conditions.
The mark to shoot at.
Lear. 'Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,
This is most strange!
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
I yet beseech your majesty, (If for3 I want that glib and oily art, To speak and purpose not; since what I well intend, I'll do't before I speak,) that you make known It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness, No unchaste action or dishonor'd step, That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favor: But even for want of that, for which I am richer; A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue That I am glad I have not, though not to have it, Hath lost me in your liking.
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.
France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature, Which often leaves the history unspoke, That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady! Love is not love, When it is mingled with respects, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd!
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.-
Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine;
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides;
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL,
Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Let your study
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I bave to say, o' what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.
Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Gon. You see how full of changes his age is: the observation we have made of it hath not been little: he always lov'd our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.
Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly way. wardness that infirm and choleric years bring with
Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base! When my dimensions are as well compact My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us With base? with baseness? bastardy! base, base? Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality, Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops, Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land: Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, As to the legitimate: Fine word,-legitimate! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed. And 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!
Contined to exhibition!! All this done
Upon the gad!2-Edmund! How now! what news?
Edm. So please your lordship, none. [Putting up the Letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. No! What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality or nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Court, 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'er read: 100 so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for you* 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 tɔ blame.
Qualities of mind. Yielded, surrendered.
The nicety of cistitution. Allowance. Suddenly
Glo. Let's see, let's see.
Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay3 or taste of my virtue. Gle. [Reads.] This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, fill 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 father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue forever, 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 came this to you? Who brought it?
Elm. 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? Elm. 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.
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 honor, 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 honor, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so?
Edm. If your honor judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us conter of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very
Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
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 means, 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 finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love 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 fisquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, Edmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully: -And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! nis offence, honesty!-Strange! strange! Exit. Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by pherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary in• Whereas,
Weak and foolish. 1 Following.
3 Trial. • Manage.
fluence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whoremas ter man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mothe under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was un der 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. EdgarEnter EDGAR.
and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the oll comedy: My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O. these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.9
Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?
read this other day, what should follow these Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I 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 I 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?"
Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance? Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him: and, at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath 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. tinent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a conslower; 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 iny key:-If you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother?
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best: go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away. Edg. Shall I hear from you anon? Edm. I do serve you in this business.[Exit EDGAR.
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every hour,
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
Not to be overruled. Idle old man,
Remember what I have said.
Very well, madam. Gon. And let his knights have colder looks among you:
What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so: I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak.-I'll write straight to my sister, To hold my very course:-Prepare for dinner.
SCENE IV.-A Hall in the same.
Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
Ifthou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labors.
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants.
Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner: go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant. How now, what
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst
thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
Lear. Who wouldst thou serve?
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
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 from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!-Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:
You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?
Stew. So please you,
Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.--Where's my fool, ho?-I think the world's asleep.-How now, where's that mongrel? Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.
Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call'd him?
Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.
Lear. He would not!
I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.
Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most taint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence," and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.
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 hit er my fool.—
Enter Fool. Fool. Let me hire him too;-Here's my coxcomb. [Giving KENT his Cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave! how dost thou? Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?
Fool. Why, for taking one's part that is out of favor: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against bis 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; be must be whipp'd 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. Lear. Do.
Fool. Mark it, nuncle: