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Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;
Let's exchange charity.
Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true ;
Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
Where have you hid yourself?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.-List a brief tale ;And, when 'tis told, 0, that my heart would burst ! The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness ! That with the pain of death we'd hourly die, Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift Into a mad-man's rags; to assume a semblance That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit Met I my father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost; 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, though hoping, of this good success, I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
b I knew it well] The adverb well was added by Sir Thomas Hanmer for the sake of the metre.-STEEVENS.
Told him my pilgrimage: But his flaw'd heart,
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 woeful, hold it in;
This would have seem'd a period
But who was this?
Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
What kind of help?
Speak, man. 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 already been told.--MALONE.
"Tis hot, it smokes ; 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 judgments of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
Enter KENT. Edg.
Here comes Kent, sir. Alb. O! it is he. The time will not allow the compliment, Which
manners urges. Kent.
I am come
Great thing of us forgot!-
[delia ?[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.
Run, run, 0, run
a This judgment, &c.] If Shakspeare had studied Aristotle all his life, he would not perhaps have been able to mark with more precision the distiuct operations of terror and pily.---TYRWHITT.
Edm. Well thought on; take my sword,
Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR.
[EDMUND is borne off
Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR,
Officer, and others. Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !-0, you 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
Is this the promis'd end ?
Fall, and cease!
- fordid,] i.e. Destroyed. 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. In St. Mark's gospel, when Christ foretels to his disciples the end of the world, and is describing to them the signs that were to precede, and mark the approach of our final dissolution, he says, “ For in those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created, unto this time, neither shall be;" and afterwards he says, "Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son ; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Kent, in contemplating the unexampled scene of affliction before him, recollects these passages, and asks, whether that was the end of the world that had been foretold to us : to wbich Edgar adds, only a representative or resemblance of that horror.M. Mason. This note deserves the highest praise.-STEEVENS.
5 Fall and cease . ] Albany is looking with attention on the pains employed by Lear to recover his child, and knows to wł miserie 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. -STEEVENS.
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
[Kneeliny. Lear. Pr’ythee, away. Edg.
'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not fellow ?
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated, One of them we behold.h
Lear. This is a dull sight: Are you not Kent?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;
Kent. No, my good lord ; I am the very man;-
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay,
You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else ;k all's cheerless, dark, and
Ay, so I think.
b If fortune brug 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.-M. Mason.
difference- ) i. e. Reverse of fortune. k Nor no man else ;] Kent means, I welcome! No, nor no man else.—MALONs.