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Treat well your royal prisoners, 'till you have
Our further orders, as you hold our pleasure.

Edm. Sir, I approve it safest to pronounce
Sentence of death upon this wretched king,
Whose

age

has charms in it, his title more, To draw the commons once more to his fide ; 'Twere best prevent

Alb. Sir, by your favour,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.

Regan. That's as we list to grace him.
Have you forgot that he did lead our pow'rs?
Bore the commission of our place and person?
And that authority may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.

Gon. Not so hot!
In his own merit he exalts himself,
More than in your addition.

Enter Edgar disguis’d. Alb. What art thou ?

Edgar. Pardon me, Sir, that I presume to stop A prince and conqueror ; yet ere you triumph, Give ear to what a stranger can deliver Of what concerns you more than triumph can. I do impeach your general there of treason,

Lord

G L E A R. 199
Lord Edmund, that usurps the name of Glo'ster,
Of foulest practice 'gainst your life and honour;
This charge is true : and wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
In single combat what I do avouch,
If Edmund dares but trust his cause and sword.

Edm. What will not Edmund dare?
My lord, I beg you'd instantly appoint
The place where I may meet this challenger,
Whom I will facrifice to my wrong'd fame :
Remember, Sir, that injur'd honour's nice,
And cannot brook delay !

Alb. Anon, before our tent, i'th' army's view,
There let the herald cry!
Edgar. I thank your highness in my champion's

name : He'll wait your trumpet's call. Alb. Lead!

[Exeunt Alb. and train. Edm. Come hither, captain, hark! take thou this note;

[Giving a paper. One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way To nobler fortunes : know thou this, that men Are as the time is; to be tender-minded Does not become a sword; my great employment Will not bear question ; either say, thou'lt do't; 04

• Or

Or thrive by other means.

Capt. I'll do't, my lord.

Edm. About it, and write happy when thou'st done.

[Exit,

Manent Lear, Kent, Cordelia, guarded. Lear. Oh, Kent! Cordelia ! You are the only pair that e'er I wrong'd, And the just gods have made you witnesses Of my disgrace; the very shame of fortune, To fee me chain’d and shackled at these years ! Yet were you but spectators of my woes, Not fellow-fufferers, all were well. Cord. This language, Sir, adds yet to our

affliction. Lear. Thou, Kent, didst head the troops that

fought my battle; Expos’d thy life and fortunes for a master That had (as I remember) banish'd thee. Kent. Pardon me, Sir, that once I broke your

orders. Banish'd by you, I kept me here disguis’d To watch your fortunes, and protect your person! You know you entertain’d a rough blunt fellow, One Caius, and you thought he did you service. Lear. My trusty Caius, I have lost him too!

'Twas

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'Twas a rough honesty.

[Weeps.
Kent. I was that Caius,
Disguis'd in that coarse dress, to follow you.
Lear. My Caius too! wert thou my trusty

Caius?
Enough, enough.
Cord. Ah, me, he faints! his blood forsakes his

cheek.
Help, Kent !

Lear. No, no, they shall not fee us weep,
We'll see them rot first.-Guards, lead away to

prison,
Come, Kent; Cordelia, come ;
We two will fit alone, like birds i'th' cage :
When thou dost ask my blessing, I'll kneel down
And alk of thee forgiveness ; thus we'll live and

pray,
And take upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were Heay'n's fpies.

Cord. Upon such sacrifices
The gods themselves throw incense.

Lear. Have I caught you?
He that parts us, must bring a brand from Heav'n:
Together we'll out-toil the spite of hell,
And die the wonders of the world; away!

[Exeunt guarded.

Flourish.

1

Flourish. Enter before the tents, Albany, Edmund,

Guards and Attendants.
Alb. Now, Glo'ster, trust to thy single virtue:

for thy soldiers, All levied in my na

have in

my name Took their discharge: now let our trumpets speak, And herald read out this.

[Herald reads. If any man of quality within the lists of the « army will maintain upon Edmund, suppos'd earl c. of Glo'fter, that he is a manifold traitor, let him

appear by the third sound of the trumpet; he is « bold in his defence.Again, again.”

[Trumpet answers from within.

Enter Edgar arm’d.
Alb. Lord Edgar!

Edm. Ha! my brother!
The only combatant that I could fear,
For in my breast guilt duels on his fide:
But, conscience, what have I to do with thee
Awe thou the dull legitimate flaves : bu
Was born a libertine, and so I keep me,

Edgar. My noble prince, a word;--ere we engage,
Into your highness' hands I give this paper;
It will the truth of my impeachment prove,
Whatever be my fortune in the fight.

Alb.

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