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For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
This would have seem'd a period
To amplify too-much, would make much more,
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.
Enter a Gentleman hastily with a bloody knife.
Gent. Help, help, O, help!
What kind of help?
"Tis hot, it smokes;
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
It came even from the heart of — O, she's dead!
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both: all three Now marry in an instant.
Here comes Kent.
Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead: This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
O, is this he?
The time will not allow the compliment
I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night:
Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's Cordelia? [The bodies of Goneril and Regan are brought in.
See'st thou this object, Kent?
Kent. Alack, why thus?
Yet Edmund was belov'd:
The one the other poison'd for my sake,
some good I mean to do,
Edm. I pant for life:
Despite of mine own nature.
Be brief in it to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia:
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.
Haste thee, for thy life.
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.
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
[Edmund is borne off. Re-enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms; EDGAR, Officer, and others following.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!
O, you are men of
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. — She's gone for ever! -
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror?
Fall, and cease! Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so, It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
O my good master!
Lear. Prithee, away.
"Tis noble Kent, your friend.
What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft,
Off. 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
Lear. This is a dull sight. Are you not Kent?
Your servant Kent.
Where is your servant Caius? Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that; He'll strike, and quickly too:
he 's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man,
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your sad steps.
Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves,
Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain is it That we present us to him.
Enter an Officer.
That's but a trifle here.
Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
[To Edgar and Kent] you, to
With boot, and such addition as your honours
O, see, see!
Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no,
Do you see this? Look on her,
thank you, sir. look,
Look up, my lord.
Kent. Break, heart; I prithee, break!
Kent. Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
He is gone indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long: He but usurp'd his life.
Alb. Bear them from hence.
Is general woe.
Our present business
-[To Kent and Edgar] Friends of my soul, you twain
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
The weight of this sad time we must obey;
[Exeunt, with a dead march.
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