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He that parts us, shall bring a brand from heav'n,
And fire us hence, like foxes; wipe thine eye,
The good-jers shall devour them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep; we'll see 'em starv'd first.
(Ex. Lear and Cordelia guarded.
Edm. Come hither, Captain, hark.
Take thou this note; go, follow them to prison.
One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou doft make thy way
To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men
Are as the time is; to be tender-minded
Do's not become a sword; My great employment (58)
Will not bear queftion; either say, thou’lt do't;
Or thrive by other means.
Capt. I'll do't, my Lord.
Edm. About it, and write happy, when thou'st done. Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.
[Exit Captain. Flourish. Enter Albany, Gonerill, Regan, and Soldiers.
Alb. Sir, you have shew'd to day your valiant ftrain,
And fortune led you well : you have the captives,
Who were the opposites of this day's strife :
We do require them of you, so to use them,
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.
Edm. Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable King
To fome retention, and appointed guard;
has charms in it, whose title more, To pluck the common bosoms on his fide; And turn our impreft launces in our eyes, Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen;
(58) -thy great employment Will not bear question ;]. All the copies concur in reading thus; but; without doubt, erroneously. The person, whom Edmund is here speaking to, was of no higher degree than a captain; and therefore, certainly, accountable to his superiors. Edmund, 'tis plain, must mean; I leading one of the conquerors' forces, and having ema ploy'd thee in this business, will be thy sufficient warrant, and w wiló secure thee from being question’d about it."
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, t'appear
you shall hold your feffion. At this time,
We sweat and bleed; the friend hath loft his friend ;
And the beft quarrels, in the heat, are curft
By those that feel their sharpness.
The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place. (59)
Alb. Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.
Reg. That's as we list to grace
Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our pow'rs;
Bore the commission of my place and person ;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself
Gon. Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.
Reg. In my right,
By me invested, he compeers the best.
Alb. That were the most, if he should husband you.
Reg. Jefters do oft prove prophets.
Gon. Holla, holla!
That eye, that told you fo, look'd but a-squint.
Reg. Lady, I am not well, else I should answer
From a full-flowing ftomach. General,
Take thou my soldiers, prisoners, patrimony,
Dispose of them, of me; the walls are thine:
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My Lord and master.
Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?
(59) at this time We sweat and bleed; &c.] These very necessary lines I 'have restor'd from the old 4to. and they were, certainly, first left out by the indiscretion of the players, merely for the sake of shortning. But without them, as Edmund's speech is made to end, 'tis plain, he does not pretend to advise, but submits the whole process to Albany. How absurdly then does the other reply, that be bolds Edmund but a subject of the war
Alb. The lett alone lyes not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, Lord.
Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.
Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine,
Alb. Stay yet; hear reason : Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,
This gilded ferpent: for your claim, fair fifter,
I bar it in the interest of my wife ;
'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your banes.
If you will marry, make your loves to me,
My Lady is bespoke.
Gon. An enterlude!
Alb. Thou art arm’d, Glo'fter; let the trumpet found:
If none appear to prove upon thy person
Thy heinous, manifeft, and many treasons,
There is my pledge: I'll prove it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou ari in nothing less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
Reg. Sick, O fick.
Gon. If not, I'll ne'er truft poison. [Afide.
Edm. There's my exchange; what in the world he is,
That names me traitor, villain-like he lies;
Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach,
On him, on you, (who not ?) I will maintain
My truth and honour firmly.
Alb. A herald, ho!
Enter a Herald
Trust to thy single virtue; for thy foldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.
Reg. This sickness grows upon me.
Alb. She is not well, convey her to my tent.
[Exit Reg, led. Come hither, herald, let the trumpet found, And read out this.
[ A trumpet founds.