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This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
Where they shall rest for ever.- Trumpets, fpeak.

[ Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls.
Alb. O fave him, fave him!
Gon.

This is mere practice, Gloster;
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguild.
Alb.

Shut your mouth, dame,
Or with this paper shall I stop it: Hold, fir :
Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil :-
No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.

[Gives the letter to Edmund.
Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not thine :
Who shall arraign me for’t?
Alb.

Most monstrous !
Know'st thou this paper?
Gon.

Ask me not what I know.

[Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate : govern her.

[To an Officer, who goes out.
Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;
And more, much more: the time will bring it out;
'Tis past, and so am I: But what art thou,
That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble,
I do forgive thee.
Edg.

Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us :
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.

Edm.

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Edm.

Thou haft spoken right, 'tis true;
The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
A royal nobleness :- I must embrace thee;
Let forrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!
Edg.

Worthy prince,
I know it well.

Alb. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father ?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale ;--
And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burft!-
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness!
That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd: and in tbis habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, fav’d him from despair ;
Never (o fault!) reveal'd myself unto him,
Until some half hour past, when I was arm’d,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage : But his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me,
And shall, perchance, do good : but fpeak you on ;
You look as you had something more to fay.

Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in ;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

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Edg. This would have seemd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunnd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him on my father :
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv’d: which in recounting,
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack : Twice then the trumpet founded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
Alb.

But who was this?
Edg. Kent, fir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Followed his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a Nave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife.
Gent. Help! help! O help!
Edg.

What kind of help?
Alb.

Speak, man.
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
Gent.

'Tis hot, it smokes;
It came even from the heart of -
Alb.

Who, man? speak. Gent. Your lady, fir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; se confesses it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead !This judgement of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.

[Exit Gent. 9

Enter

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Enter Kent.
Edg.

Here comes Kent, fir.
Alb. 0! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which

very manners urges. Kent.

I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night;
Is he not here ?
Alb.

Great thing of us forgot!--
Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's Cordelia ?-
See'st thou this object, Kent?

[The bodies of GONERIL and Regan are brought in.
Kent. Alack, why thus ?
Edm.

Yet Edmund was belov'd :
The one the other poison'd for my fake,
And after few herself.

Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.

Edm. I pant for life :-Some good I mean to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly fend, -
Be brief in it, to the castle ; for

my

writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia :
Nay, send in time.
Alb.

Run, run, 0, run
Edg. To who, my lord ?--Who has the office ? send
Thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Well thought on; take my sword,
Give it the captain.

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR

Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid herself.

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Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.

[EDMUND is borne off. Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR,

Officer, and Others. Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !-0, you are men of

stones; Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is gone for

ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
Kent.

Is this the promis'd end ?
Edg. Or image of that horror ?
Alb.

Fall, and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs ; she lives! if it be fo,
It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
Kent.

O my good master! (kneeling.
Lear. Prythee, away.
Edg.

'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all !
I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever!-
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha!
What is't thou say'st ? --Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman :-
I kill'd the slave that was a hanging thee.

Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Lear.

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,

And

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