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Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my gaol; from
which deliver me, and supply the place for your la-
Your wife, (so I would say,) and your
affectionate servant,

O undistinguish'd space of woman's will!.
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
And the exchange, my brother!- Here, in the sands,
Thee I'll rake up 7, and, in the mature time,
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd duke: For him 'tis well,
That of thy death and business I can tell.

[Exit EDGAR, dragging out the Body.
Glo. The king is mad: How stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs;
And woes, by wrong imaginations, lose
The knowledge of themselves.

Re-enter EDGAR.


Give me your hand: Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum. Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.


[Exeunt. A Tent in the French Camp. LEAR on a Bed, asleep: Physician, Gentleman, and others, attending. Enter CORDELIA and KENT. Cor. Othou good Kent, how shall I live, and work, To match thy goodness? My life will be too short, And every measure fail me.

Kent. To be acknowledg'd, madam, is o'erpaid. All my reports go with the modest truth; Nor more, nor clipp'd, but so.

Cor. Be better suited 8: These weeds are memories of those worser hours; I pr'ythee, put them off.

Kent. Pardon me, dear madam; Yet to be known, shortens my made intent : My boon I make it, that you know me not, Till time and I think meet. Cor. Then be it so, my good lord. How does the king? [To the Physician.

Phys. Madam, sleeps still.

Cor. O you kind gods,

Cure this great breach in his abused nature! 'Th' untun'd and jarring senses, O, wind up, Of this child-changed father!

Phys. So please your majesty, That we may wake the king? he hath slept long. Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?

Gent. Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep, We put fresh garments on him.

Phys. Beby, good madam, when we do awake him; I doubt not of his temperance.


Very well.

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Was this a face

Had challeng'd pity of them.
To be expos'd against the warring winds?
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick, cross lightning? to watch (poor perdu !9)
With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire; And wast thou fain, poor father,
To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn,
In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
'Tis wonder, that thy life and wits at once
Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him.
Phys. Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.
Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares your

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Pray do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward; and, to deal plainly, I fear, I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks, I should know you, and know this man : Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant What place this is; and all the skill I have Remembers not these garments; nor I know not Where I did lodge last night: Do not laugh at me; For, as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia.


And so I am, I am. Lear. Be your tears wet? Yes, 'faith. I pray,

weep not:

If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know, you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.


Lear. Am I in France? Kent.

No cause, no cause.

In your own kingdom, sir.

Lear. Do not abuse me. Phys. Be comforted, good madam: the great rage, You see, is cur'd in him: and yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in; trouble him no more, Till further settling.

Cor. Will't please your highness walk? Lear. You must bear with me: Pray now, forget and forgive: I am old, and foolish. [Exeunt LEAR, CORDELIA, Physician, and Attendants.

The allusion is to the forlorn hope in an army, called in French, enfans perdus. Thin covering of hair.

2 To reconcile it to his apprehension.

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The Camp of the British Forces, near

Enter, with Drums and Colours, EDMUND, REGAN,
Officers, Soldiers, and others.

Edm. Know of the duke, if his last purpose hold; Or, whether since he is advis'd by aught To change the course: And self-reproving

He's full of alteration, Bring his constant pleasure.3 [To an Officer, who goes out. Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried. Edm. 'Tis to be doubted, madam.

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She, and the duke her husband,

Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers. Gon. I had rather lose the battle, than that sister Should loosen him and me. [Aside.

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Alb. Our very loving sister, well be met. Sir, this I hear, The king is come to his daughter, With others, whom the rigour of our state, Forc'd to cry out. Where I could not be honest, I never yet was valiant: for this business, It toucheth us as France invades our land, Not bolds the king; with others, whom, I fear, Most just and heavy causes make oppose.5 Edm. Sir, you speak nobly. Reg. Why is this reason'd? Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy: For these domestick and particular broils

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Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter. If you have victory, let the trumpet sound I can produce a champion, that will prove For him that brought it: wretched though I secm, What is avouched there: If you miscarry, Your business of the world hath so an end, And machination ceases. Fortune love you! Alb. Stay till I have read the letter. Edg.

I was forbid it. When time shall serve, let but the herald cry, And I'll appear again.

[Est. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy paper.

Re-enter EDMUND.

Edm. The enemy's in view, draw up your powers, Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery; - but your haste Is now urg'd on you.

Alb. We will greet the time.7 [Erit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; Each jealous of the other, as the stung Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take? Both! one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd, If both remain alive: To take the widow, Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril; And hardly shall I carry out my side, Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use His countenance for the battle: which being done, Let her, who would be rid of him, devise His speedy taking off. As for the mercy Which he intends to Lear, and to Cordelia,The battle done, and they within our power, Shall never see his pardon: for my state Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

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SCENE II. - A Field between the two Camps. Alarum within. Enter, with Drum and Colours, LEAR, CORDELIA, and their Forces; and excunt. Enter EDGAR and GLOSTER.

Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree thrive. For your good host; pray that the right may If ever I return to you again, I'll bring you comfort.




sir! with you, [Exit EDGAR. Alarums: afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter EDGAR Edg. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away; King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en: Give me thy hand, come on.

Glo. No further, sir; a man may rot even here. 6 Decision. 7 Be ready to meet the occasion 8 i. c. Make my part good.

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Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must | To send the old and miserable king


Their going hence, even as their coming hither:

Ripeness is all: Come on.


And that's true too.
The British Camp near Dover.

To some retention, and appointed guard;
Whose age
has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the


My reason all the same; and they are ready
Enter, in Conquest, with Drum and Colours, ED-To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
MUND; LEAR and CORDELIA, as Prisoners;
Officers, Soldiers, &c.

Edm. Some officers take them away: good guard;
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure 9 them.
We are not the first,
Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown. -
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: So we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news: and we'll talk with them too-
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out ;-
And take upon us the mystery of things,

As if we were Heaven's spies: And we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.


Take them away.
Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught

He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven,
And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
They shall not make us weep: we'll see them starve

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Where you shall hold your session. At this time,
We sweat, and bleed; the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs'd
By those that feel their sharpness: —
The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.


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

That's as we list to grace him.
Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded,
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother.


Not so hot:

In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.

In my rights,

By me invested, he compeers the best.
Gon. That were the most, if he should husband


Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.

Holloa, holloa!
That eye, that told you so, look'd but a-squint.

Reg. Lady, I am not well; else I should answer
From a full-flowing stomach. - 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,
Mean you to wed him?
Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.


Half-blooded fellow, yes.

Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title [To EDMUND. Edmund, I arrest


Alb. Stay yet; hear reason:


On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,
This gilded serpent: [Pointing to GoN.] — for your
claim, fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife;

'Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your banns.
If you will marry, make your love to me,
My lady is bespoke.


An interlude !

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