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SC. II.]

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.


SCENE II. A Field between the two Camps.

Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colors, LEAR,
CORDELIA, and their Forces; and exeunt.


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


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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.

Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all. Come on.



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Glo. No further, sir; a man may rot even here. Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure


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Grace go with you, sir!
[Exit EDGAR.

1 Those who are curious to know how far Shakspeare was indebted to the Arcadia, will find a chapter entitled "The Pitifull State and Storie of the Paphlagonian unkinde King, and his kinde Sonne; first related by the Sonne, then by the blinde Father," at p. 141, of the edition of 1590, 4to.

2 i. e. to be ready, prepared, is all.

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SCENE III. The British Camp near Dover.

Enter, in conquest, with drum and colors, Edmund ; 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 censure1 them.

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We are not the first,
Who, with best meaning, have incurred the worst.2
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else outfrown 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 God's spies. And we'll wear out,
In a walled prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

1 i. e. to pass sentence or judgment on them.

2 That is, "the worst that fortune can inflict.”


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'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;


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3 "As if we were angels, endowed with the power of prying into the original motives of action, and the mysteries of conduct."

4 Packs and sects are combinations and parties.

5 Alluding to the old practice of smoking foxes out of their holes.

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The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell,1

Ere they shall make us weep; we'll see them starve first.

Come. [Exeunt LEAR and CORDELIA, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain; hark.

Take thou this note ; 2 [Giving a paper.] go, follow them to prison.

One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes. Know thou this,-that men
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword.-Thy great employment
Will not bear question; either say, thou'lt do't,
Or thrive by other means.


Mark,-I say instantly; and carry it so,

As I have set it down.


I'll do't, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou hast done.

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Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I will do it.

[Exit Officer. Flourish. Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, Regan, Officers, REGAN, and Attendants.


Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention, and appointed guard;


Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain, And fortune led you well. You have the captives, Who were the opposites of this day's strife. We do require them of you; so to use them, As we shall find their merits and our safety May equally determine.

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1 "The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell.” The goujeers, i. e. morbus Gallicus. The quartos have good yeares, the common corruption in Shakspeare's time. Flesh and fell is flesh and


2 This was a warrant signed by the bastard and Goneril, for the execution of Lear and Cordelia, referred to in a subsequent scene by Edmund. 3 i. e. admit of debate.



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Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impressed lances1 in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the queen;
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
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 cursed
By those that feel their sharpness.-
The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.2]


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 5 he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.

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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.


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Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so looked but asquint."

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1 That is, the lancemen we have hired by giving them press-money.
2 i. e. the determination of what shall be done with Cordelia and her
father should be reserved for greater privacy. This is not in the folio.
3 Commission for authority.

4 Immediacy, says Malone, is close and immediate connection with me,
and direct authority from me. Immediate is the reading of the quartos.

5 Grace here means noble deportment. The folio has addition, instead of advancement, in the next line.

6 "If he were married to you, you could not say more than this, nor could he enjoy greater power." In the folio this line is given to Albany. 7 Alluding to the proverb, "Love, being jealous, makes a good eye look asquint."

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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.1
Witness the world, that I create thee here
My lord and master.

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Mean you to enjoy him?
Alb. The let-alone lies not in your good will.2
Edm. Nor in thine, lord.


Half-blooded fellow, yes.
Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.3

Alb. Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine, attaint a


This gilded serpent. [Pointing to GoN.]-For your
claim, fair sister,

I bar it in the interest of my wife

'Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,

And I, her husband, contradict your bans.

If you will marry, make your love to me,
My lady is bespoke.


An interlude!

Alb. Thou art armed, Gloster.-Let the trumpet

If none appear to prove upon thy person,

Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,

There is my pledge; [Throwing down a glove ;] I'll
prove it on thy heart,

Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less
Then I have here proclaimed thee.


Sick, O, sick!

Gon. If not, I'll ne'er trust poison.
Edm. There's my exchange. [Throwing down a
glove.] What in the world he is

1 A metaphor taken from the camp, and signifying to surrender at discretion. This line is not in the quartos.

2 «To obstruct their union lies not in your good pleasure."

3 It appears, from this speech, that Regan did not know that Albany

had discharged her forces. This line is given to Edmund in the quartos
4 The folio reads "thy arrest."

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