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between France and him; pray you, let us hit together: if our father carry authority with such difposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Regan. We fhall further think of it.
Gon. We must do fomething; ay, and suddenly.


Scene changes to a castle belonging to the earl of


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 courtesy of nations to deprive me, For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as gen'rous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? why brand they us With base ? with baseness? bastardy? base, base? Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund, As to th'legitimate Edgar; fine word— legitimateWell, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my

invention thrive, Edinund the base Shall be th' legitimate-I grow, I profper;


Now, gods, stand up for bastards !

To him enter Glocefter. Gloc, Edmund, how now? what paper were you reading ?

Edm. Nothing, my lord. [putting up the letter.

Gloc. No ? what needed then that terrible difpatch of it into your pocket ? let me fee.

Edm. I beseeeh you, Sir, pardon me; it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'erread; and for fo much as I have perus’d, I find it not fit for your o'er-looking.

Gloc. 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.

Gloc. Let's fee, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an assay, or taste, of my virtue.

Gloc. [reads.]
s. This policy and reverence of ages

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 the oppression of aged " tyranny; which fways, not as it hath power, “ but as it is fuffered. Come to me, that of this

I 4

I may

"I may speak more. If our father would sleep « till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half his re

venue for ever, and live the beloved of your “ brother,

EDGAR." Sleep till I wake 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?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord; there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the cafe ment of my closet.

Gloc. 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. ,

Gloc. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord; I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Gloc. Haş he never before sounded you in this business?

ini vpral Edm. Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that fons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as a ward to the fon, and the son manage his revenue. Gloc. Oh, villain, villain ! his very opinion in


the letter. Abhorred villain! Go, seek him; I'll apprehend him. Abominable villain! where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. 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.

Gloc. Think you fo?

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 further delay than this very, evening.

Gloc. He cannot be such a monster, Edm. Nor is not, fure. Gloc. 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 feek him, Sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Gloc. These late eclipfes in the sun and moon portend no good to us; tho' the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourg'd by the frequent effects. Love cools,


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'friendship falls off, brothers divide.

In cities, mutinies ; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond crack'd 'twixt son and father. We have feen the best of our time. Find out this villain, Edmund; and it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully—and the noble and true-hearted Kent banished ! his offence, honesty. 'Tis strange.

[Exit. Manet Edmund. Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are fick in fortune, (often the surfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon and stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulfion; knäves, thieves, and treacherous, by fpherical predominance; drunkards, liars and adulterers, by an enforce'd 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 on the charge of a star! I should have been what I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.

To him enter Edgar. Pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old

comedy ;

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