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Alb. We shall peruse it.

Edgar. Now, Edmund, draw thy sword, That if my speech has wrong'd a noble heart, Thy arm may do thee justice : here i’th' presence Of this high prince, and this renowned list, I brand thee with the spotted name of traitor ; False to thy gods, thy father, and thy brother, And, what is more, thy friend; false to this prince: If then thou shar'ít a spark of Glo'ster's virtue, Acquit thyself; or if thou shar'st his courage, Meet this defiance bravely. Edm. I have a daring soul, and so have at thy

heart. Sound, trumpet.

[Fight, Edmund falls. What you have charg'd me with, that I have done; And more, much more; the time will bring it out. 'Tis past, and so am I.

Edgar. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to scourge us: My dear father! The dark and vicious place, where thee he got, Coft him his eyes.

Edm. Thou'st spoken right, 'tis true, Heav'n's justice has o'erta'en me; I am here: Yet, ere I die, fome good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send (Be brief,) into the castle ; for my order

Is on the life of Lear and Cordelia.
Nay, fend in time.

Edgar. Run, run, oh, run!
Ab. The gods defend them! bear him hence a

while. [Edm. is borne off. Exeunt.

Siene, a prison.

Lear asleep, with his head on Cordelia's lap. Cord. What toils, thou wretched king, hast thou

endur'd, To make thee draw, in chains, a sleep so found! Oh, gods! a sudden gloom o’erwhelms me, and

the image

Of death o'erspreads the place.-Ha! who are these?

Enter Captain and Officers, with cords. Capt. Now, Sirs, dispatch; already you are paid In part, the best of your reward's to come. Lear. Charge, charge, upon the flank; the left

wing halts. Push, push the battle, and the day's our own. Their ranks are broken, down, down, with Albany! Who holds my hands?-Oh, thou deceiving sleep; I was this very minute on the chace, And now a pris'ner here !--What mean the slaves?


You will not murder me?

Cord. Help, earth and Heaven !
For your souls' fake, dear Sirs, and for the gods'!

Offi. No tears, good fady ;
Come, Sirs, make ready your cords.

Cord. You, Sir, I'll seize,
You have a human form; and if no prayers
Can touch your soul to fpare a poor king's life,
If there be any thing that you hold dear,
By that I beg you to difpatch me first.

Capt. Comply with her request; dispatch her first.
Lear. Off, hell-hounds! by the gods I charge you

spare her; Tis my Cordelia, my true pious daughter; No pity ?-Nay, then take an old man's vengeance.

[Snatches a sword, and kills two of them;

the rest quit Cordelia, and turn upon him.

Enter Edgar, Albany, and Guards.
Edgar. Death! hell! ye vultures, hold your

impious hands,
Or take a speedier death than you would give.

Alb. Guards, seize those instruments of cruelty.
Gent. Look here, my lord; see where the good

old king

Has slain two of 'em.


Lear. Did I not, fellow ? I've seen the day, with my good biting faulchion I could have made 'em skip: I am old now, And these vile crosses spoil me; out of breath; Fy, oh! quite out of breath, and spent. Alb. Bring in old Kent; and, Edgar, guide you

hither Your father, who you said was near; [Ex. Edgar. He may be an ear-witness at the least Of our proceedings.

[Kent brought in. Lear. Who are you? My eyes are none o'th' best, I'll tell you straight: Oh, Albany! Well, Sir, we are your captives, And you are come to see death pass upon us. Why this delay ?-Or is’t your highness' pleasure To give us first the torture? say ye so? Why, here's old Kent and I, as tough a pair As e'er bore tyrant's stroke.-But, my Cordelia, My poor Cordelia here, oh, pity her!

Alb. Thou injur'd majesty, The wheel of fortune now has made her circle, And blessings yet stand 'twixt the grave and thee. Lear. Com'st thou, inhuman lord, to footh us

back To a fool's paradise of hope, to make Our doom more wretched ? Go to, we are too well


Acquainted with misfortune, to be gulld
With lying hope; no, we will hope no more.

Alb. Know, the noble Edgar
Impeach'd lord Edmund, since the fight, of treason,
And dar'd him for the proof to single combat,
In which the godsconfirm’d hischarge by conquest;
I left ev'n now the traitor wounded mortally.

Lear. And whither tends this story?

Alb. Ere they fought,
Lord Edgar gave into my hands this paper;
A blacker scroll of treason and of luft
Than can be found in the records of hell;
There, sacred Sir, behold the character
Of Gonerill, the worst of daughters, but
More vicious wife.

Cord. Could there be yet addition to their guilt?
What will not they that wrong a father dare ?
Alb. Since then my injuries, Lear, fall in with

I have resolv'd the same redress for both.

Kent. What says my lord ?

Cord. Speak, for methought I heard
The charming voice of a descending god.
Alb. The troops, by Edmund rais'd, I have dif-

Those that remain are under my command.



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