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Nor can I now forget my royal birth,
And therefore study to forget your passion,
Cord. This baseness of the ignoble Burgundy
Enter Edmund, hastily, l.h.
Edm. Brother, I've found you in a lucky minute
Edg. Distrest Cordelia !—but oh, more cruel! Edm. Hear me, sir; your life, your life's in danger. 'Wake, 'wake, sir.
Edg. Say you brother?
No tears, good Edmund; if thou bring'st me tidings
Edm. Your danger, sir, comes on so fast,
Edg. Pardon me, Edmund;
But you talk'd of danger,
And wish'd me to retire.—Must all our vows
End thus?—Friend, I obey you.—O Cordelia ! [Exit, r.h. Edm. Ha ha! Fond man! Such credulous honesty
Lessons the glory of my artifice;
His nature is so far from doing wrongs,
That he suspects none :—( Takes out a Letter.)—If this letter speed,
And pass for Edgar's, as himself would own
Then my designs are perfect.- -Here comes Gloster.
Enter Gloster, l. H.
Glost. Stay, Edmund, turn; what paper were you reading? Edm. A trifle, sir.
Glost. What needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? Come, produce it, sir.
Edm. A letter from my brother, sir: I had Just broke the seal, but know not the contents:
(Gives the Letter to Gloster.)
Yet, fearing they might prove to blame,
Glost. This is Edgar's character.
(Reads.)—This policy of father's is intolerable, that keeps our fortunes from us 'till age will not suffer us to enjoy them; I am weary of the tyranny. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his possessions, and live belov'd of your brother. Sleep till I wak'd him, you should enjoy Half his possessions Edgar to write this !'Gainst his indulgent father! Death and hell!
(Crosses to r.h. Fly, Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, (1) That I may bite the traitor's heart, and fold His bleeding entrails on my vengeful arm.
Edm. Perhaps 'twas writ, my lord, to prove my virtue.
The bond of nature crack'd 'twixt son and father.-
And it shall lose thee nothing.
Edm. So, now my project's firm, but, to make sure,
I'll throw in one proof more, and that a bold one;
Be honest too; and what saint, so divine.
SCENE III-The Court before the Duke of
Enter Kent, disguised, l.h.
Kent. Now, banish'd Kent, if thou can'st pay thy duty, In this disguise, where thou dost stand condemn'd, Thy master Lear shall find thee full of labors.
(Retires a little, r.h.)
Enter King Lear, attended by his Physician and
Lear. In there, and tell our daughter we are here. [Exit 1st Knight, r.h. Now, hat art t ou? (
ent dvan es, r.h.)
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess, or would'st with us? Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly that puts me in trust, to love him that's honest, to converse with him that's wise and speaks little, to fight when I can't chose, and to eat no fish.
Lear. I say, what art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough-Dost thou know me, fellow ?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Lear. What services can'st thou do?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, mar a curious tale in the telling, deliver a plain message bluntly; that which or
dinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me, is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing; I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Thy name?
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me.
Enter Oswald, l.h., singing, and passing King Lear carelessly.
(Kent goes to R.H. of 2d Knight.)
Osw. Sir !—Tol de rol, &c.
[Exit singing, r.h. Lear. What says the fellow? call the clodpole back. [Exeunt Kent and 2d Knight, r.h. 3d Knight. My lord, I know not; but, methinks, your highness is entertain'd with slender ceremony.
Lear. Say'st thou so?
Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception.
Now, who am I sir?
Re-enter 1st Knight, r.h.
Why came not that slave back when I call'd him?
1st Knight. My lord, he answered i'th' surliest manner, that he would not. (Goes to his former place.) Lear. I hope our daughter did not so instruct him. Oswald brought in by Kent and 2d Knight, r.h. 1st and 2d Knight go behind, l.h.—2d Knight goes to his former place.—Kent puts Oswald next the King.
Osw My lady's father.
Lear. My ladies' father! My lord's knave. (Strikes him.) Osw. I'll not be struck, my lord.
Kent. Nor tript, neither, you vile civet-box.
(Trips up his heels.) Lear. I thank thee, fellow: thou serv'st me. Kent. Come, sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences. [Exit Oswald, crying out, r.h.u.e. (Kent pursues him with his staff till he is off the stage, then returns to the Knights, l.h.)
Gon. (Within, r.h.) By day and night! this is insufferable; I will not bear it.
Enter Goneril, r h., attended by Page and two Ladies.
Lear Now, daughter, why that frontlet on?
Gon. Sir, this licentious insolence of your servants
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gon. Come, sir, let me entreat you to make use
This disposition that of late transforms you
Lear. Does any here know me? Why, this is not Lea. ! Does Lear walk thus? Speak thus ! Where are his eyes? Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Gon. Come, sir, this admiration's much o'th' savour (1) Of other your new humors; I beseech you To understand my purposes aright; As you are old, you should be staid and wise: Here do you keep an hundred knights and 'squire. Men so debauch'd and bold, that this our palace Shews like a riotous inn, a tavern, brothel : Be then advis'd by her, that else will take That which she begs, to lessen your attendants; Take half away, and see that the remainder Be such as may befit your age, and know Themselves and you.
Lear. Darkness and devils !
Saddle my horses, call my train together.
(1) Of the complexion