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To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion
With his prepared sword he charges home
My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm :
Put, when he saw my best alarum'd spirits

Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encounter,
Or whether gasted1 by the noise I made,

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Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;

And, found, dispatch. The noble Duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
By his authority I will proclaim it,

That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;

He that conceals him, death.

EDM. When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discover him. He replied,
Thou unpossessing Bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee

Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce

My very character) I'ld turn it all

To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.


Strong and fasten'd Villain! Would he deny his letter? I never got him.

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[Tucket within.

Hark, the Duke's trumpets! I know not why he


All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture

I will send far and near, that all the Kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural Boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.

1 frightened.


Sc. I


Sc. I

Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants.
CORN. How now, my noble Friend! since I came hither
(Which I can call but now) I have heard strange news.
REG. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short

Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my Lord?
GLOU. O Madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
REG. What, did my father's godson seek your

He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?
GLOU. O Lady, Lady, shame would have it hid!
REG. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

GLOU. I know not, Madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad.
EDM. Yes, Madam, he was of that consort.
REG. No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
That, if they come to sojourn at my house,

I'll not be there.


Nor I, assure thee, Regan.

Edmund, I hear that you have shewn your father

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GLOU. He did bewray his practice;1 and receiv'd

This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
CORN. Is he pursued?

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CORN. If he be taken, he shall never more

Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant

So much commend itself, you shall be our's:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need ;
You we first seize on.


Truly, however else.


I shall serve you, Sir,

For him I thank your Grace.

CORN. You know not why we came to visit you




1 plotting.

REG. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd night:
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from1 our home: the several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old Friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow

Your needful counsel to our business,

Which craves the instant use.


Your Graces are right welcome.


I serve you, Madam:



Enter KENT and OSWALD, severally.

Osw. Good dawning to thee, Friend: art of this house?

Osw. Where may we set our horses?

KENT. I' the mire.

Osw. Pr'ythee, if thou lovest me, tell me.

KENT. I love thee not.

Osw. Why, then I care not for thee.

KENT. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make

thee care for me.

Osw. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not. 10
KENT. Fellow, I know thee.

Osw. What dost thou know me for?

KENT. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundredpound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that would'st be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.


Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to

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Sc. I

Sc. II

rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee! KENT. What a brazen-fac'd varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days since I tripp'd up thy heels and beat thee before the King? Draw, you Rogue! for, though it be night, yet the Moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you. [drawing his sword.] Draw, you whoreson cullionly Barbermonger, draw!


Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee.
KENT. Draw, you Rascal! you come with letters against
the King, and take Vanity the puppet's part against
the royalty of her father. Draw, you Rogue, or I'll so
carbonado your shanks: draw, you Rascal! come your


Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!

KENT. Strike, you Slave! stand, Rogue, stand; you neat1
Slave, strike!

Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder!

[beating him.


Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL,
REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants.

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KENT. With you, goodman Boy, if you please: come,
I'll flesh ye; come on, young Master.

GLOU. Weapons? arms? what's the matter here?
CORN. Keep peace, upon your lives;

He dies that strikes again. What is the matter?
REG. The messengers from our sister and the King.
CORN. What is your difference? speak.

Osw. I am scarce in breath, my Lord.


KENT. No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your valour. You cowardly Rascal, Nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made thee.

CORN. Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a


KENT. Ay, a tailor, Sir: a stone-cutter or a painter could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours o' the trade.

CORN. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?



1 finical.

Osw. This ancient ruffian, Sir, whose life I have spar'd at ACT II

suit of his gray beard

KENT. Thou whoreson Zed! thou unnecessary Letter!

My Lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you Wagtail? CORN. Peace, sirrah!

You beastly Knave, know you no reverence? KENT. Yes, Sir; but anger hath a privilege.

CORN. Why art thou angry?



KENT. That such a slave as this should wear a sword,
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain

Which are too intrinse1 to unloose; smooth every passion
That in the natures of their Lords rebel;

Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage!
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
CORN. What, art thou mad, old Fellow?
GLOU. How fell you out? say that.

KENT. No contraries hold more antipathy

Than I and such a knave.


CORN. Why dost thou call him knave? What's his


KENT. His countenance likes me not.

CORN. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor her's.

KENT. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain :

I have seen better faces in my time

Than stands on any shoulder that I see
Before me at this instant.


This is some fellow,

Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affect

A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb2
Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he;

An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!

1 tightly drawn.


2 outward address.



Sc. II

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