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O'ershoots itself, to plead in his behalf;
You are yourself a father, and may feel
The sting of disobedience from a son
First-born and best-belov'd.-0, villain Edgar!
Kent. Be not too rash; all may be forgery,
And time yet clear the duty of your son.
Glost. Plead with the seas, and reason down the
winds, Yet shalt thou ne'er convince me: I have seen His foul designs through all a father's fondness.
Edm. It works as I cou'd wish ; I'll show myself. Glost. Ha, Edmund! welcome, boy.- Kent !
Inverted nature, Gloster's shame and glory:
This bye-born, the wild sally of my youth,
Pursues me with all filial offices;
Whilst Edgar, begg'd of Heaven, and born in honour,
Draws plagues upon my head, that urge me still
To curse in age the pleasure of my youth.
Nay, weep not, Edmund, for thy brother's crimes.
O gen'rous boy! thou shar'st but half his blood,
Yet Jov'st beyond the kindness of a brother :
But I'll reward thy virtue. Follow me.
My lord, you wait the King, who comes resolv’d
To quit the toils of empire, and divide
His realms amongst his daughters. Heav'n succeed it!
But much I fear the change.
Kent. I grieve to see him.
With such wild starts of passion hourly seiz'd,
As render majesty beneath itself.
Glost. Alas! 'tis the infirmity of his
Yet has his temper ever been unfixt,
Cholric, and sudden. [Flourish of Trumpets.
Hark, they approach.
Exeunt GLOSTER, Kent, and EDMUND.
Enter CORDELIA and EDGAR.
Edg. Cordelia, royal fair, turn yet, once more,
And, ere successful Burgundy receive
The treasure of thy beauties from the King,
Ere happy Burgundy for ever fold thee,
Cast back one pitying look on wretched Edgar.
Cord. Alas! what wou'd the wretched Edgar with
The more unfortunate Cordelia,
Who, in obedience to a father's will,
Flies from her Edgar's arms to Burgundy's?
A Room of State in the Palace.
Flourish of Trumpets-Drums.
KING LEAR upon his Throne.
ALBANY, CornwALL, BURGUNDY, Kent, Gloster,
GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, CAPTAIN of the GUARD, KNIGHTS, PAGES, GENTLEMAN with the Map, Gentleman with the Crown, LORDS, LADIES, &c. &c. discovered.
Lear. Attend, my lords of Albany and Cornwall, With princely Burgundy.
Alb. We do, my liege.
Lear. Give me the map.-Know, Lords, we have
In three our kingdom, having now resolv'd
To disengage from our long toil of state,
Conferring all upon your younger years.
You, Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albany,
Long in our court have made your amorous sojourn,
And now are to be answer'd.
Tell me, my daughters, Which of you loves us most, that we may place Our largest bounty with the largest merit. Goneril,
our eldest born, speak first. Gon. Sir, I do love you more than words can utter, Beyond what can be valu'd rich or rare ; Nor liberty, nor sight, health, fame, or beauty, Are half so dear; my life for
you were vile; As much as child can love the best of fathers. Lear. Of all these bounds, e'en from this line to
With shady forests, and wide skirted meads,
We make thee lady; to thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual. —What says our second daughter,
Regan, wife to Cornwall ?
Reg. My sister, sir, in part, exprest my love;
For such as hers, is mine, though more extended :
Sense has no other joy that I can relish;
my dear liege's love.
Lear. Therefore, to thee and thine hereditary,
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom.
Cord. Now comes my trial.--How am I distrest, That must with cold speech tempt the chol'ric king, Rather to leave me dowerless, than condemn me To Burgundy's embraces ! Lear. Speak now our last, not least in our dear
love, So ends my task of state--Cordelia, speak;
,; What canst thou say to win a richer third, Than what thy sisters gain'd? Cord, Now must my love in words, fall short of
theirs, As much as it exceeds in truth.-Nothing, my Lord.
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing; speak again.
Cord. Unhappy am I that I can't dissemble:
Sir, as I ought, I love your Majesty,
No more, nor less.
Lear. Take heed, Cordelia ;
Thy fortunes are at stake; think better on't,
And mend thy speech a little.
Cord. O my liege!
You gave me being, bred me, dearly love me,
And I return my duty as I ought,
love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they love you all ?
Haply when I shall wed, the lord, whose hand
Shall take my plight, will carry half my love;
For I shall never marry
my sisters, To love my father all.
Lear. And goes thy heart with this?
"Tis said that I am cholric. Judge me, gods,
Is there not cause ? Now, minion, I perceive
The truth of what has been suggested to us,
Thy fondness for the rebel son of Gloster.
And, oh! take heed, rash girl, lest we comply
With thy fond wishes, which thou wilt too late
Repent, for know, our nature cannot brook
A child so young and so ungentle.
Cord. So young, my lord, and true.
Lear. Thy truth then be thy dower;
For, by the sacred sun and solemn night,
I here disclaim all my paternal care,
And, from this minute, hold thee as a stranger
Both to my blood and favour.
Kent. This is phrenzy.
Consider, good my liege
Lear. Peace, Kent;
Come not between a dragon and his rage.
I lov'd her most, and in her tender trust
Design'd to have bestow'd mine age at ease.
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
My heart from her, and with it all my
My Lords of Cornwall and of Albany,
I do invest you jointly with full right
In this fair third, Cordelia's forfeit dow'r.
Mark me, my lords, observe our last resolve ;
Ourself, attended by an hundred knights,
Will make abode with you in monthly course;
The name alone of King remain with me,
Yours be the execution and revenues.
This is our final will; and, to confirm it,
This coronet part between you.
Kent. [Kneels.] Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Lov'd as my father, as my master follow'd,
And, as my patron, thought on in my pray’rs,
Lear. Away! the bow is bent, make from the shaft.
Kent. [Rises.] No, let it fall, and drench within
Be Kent unmannerly when Lear is mad;
Thy youngest daughter-
Lear. On thy life, no more.
Kent, What wilt thou do, old man?
Lear. Out of my sight.
Kent. See better first.
Lear. Now, by the gods-
Kent. Now, by the gods, rash king, thou swear'st
Lear. Ha, traitor!
Kent. Do, kill thy physician, Lear;
Strike through my throat; yet, with my latest breath,
I'll thunder in thine ear my just complaint,
And tell thee to thy face, that thou dost ill.
Lear. Hear me, rash man; on thine allegiance
hear me: Since thou hast striven to make us break our vow, And press'd between our sentence and our pow'r, Which nor our nature, nor our place, can bear, We banish thee for ever from our sight And kingdom : If, when three days are expir'd, Thy hated trunk be found in our dominions, That moment is thy death.-Away.