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44

My worthy arch1 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 threatened to discover him. He replied,
Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal 3
Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee
Make thy words faithed? No; what I should deny,
(As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,4) I'd 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

5

To make thee seek it.

KING LEAR.

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[ACT II.

Glo.
Strong and fastened villain;
Would he deny his letter?-I never got him.

[Trumpets within.

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

2

comes.

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 i. e. chief; now only used in composition.

2 "And found him pight to do it, with curst speech." Pight is pitched, fixed, settled; curst is vehemently angry, bitter.

3 i. e. would any opinion that men have reposed in thy trust, virtue, &c. The old quarto reads, " could the reposure.”

4 i. e. my hand-writing, my signature.

5 The folio reads, "potential spirits." And in the next line but one, "O strange and fastened villain."-Strong is determined, resolute. Our ancestors often used it in an ill sense; as strong thief, strong whore, &c. 6 i. e. capable of succeeding to my land, notwithstanding the legal bar of thy illegitimacy.

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Enter CORNWALL, Regan, and Attendants.

Corn. How now, my noble friend? since I came
hither

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(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?

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Glo. O madam, my old heart is cracked, is cracked!
Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named? your Edgar?

Glo. O lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?

Glo.

I know not, madam;

It is too bad, too bad.-
Edm.

Yes, madam, he was.
Reg. No marvel, then, though he were ill-affected;
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the waste and spoil of his revenues.

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I have this present evening from my sister

Been well informed of them; and with such cautions,
That, if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.

Corn.
Nor I, assure thee, Regan.-
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.

45

Edm.

'Twas my duty, sir.

Glo. He did bewray his practice,1 and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.

Corn. Is he pursued?

Glo.

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Ay, my good lord, he is.
Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more
Be feared 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 ours;
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.

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1 "Bewray his practice." That is, he did betray or reveal his treacherous devices. The quartos read betray.

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Edm.

Truly, however else.
Glo.

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KING LEAR.

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I shall serve you, sir,

1

For him I thank your grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit you,
Reg. Thus out of season; threading dark-eyed night.
Occasions, noble Gloster, of some poize,
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 from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend despatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
Your needful counsel to our business,
Which craves the instant use.

2

Glo.
Your graces are right welcome.

Kent. Ay.

Stew. Where may we set our horses?

Kent. I'the mire.

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Stew. 'Pr'ythee, if thou love me, tell me.

Kent. I love thee not.

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I serve you, madam;
[Exeunt.

SCENE II. Before Gloster's Castle.

Enter KENT and Steward, severally.

Stew. Good dawning3 to thee, friend. Art of the house?

[ACT II

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Stew. Why, then I care not for thee.

4

Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.

Stew. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee

not.

Kent. Fellow, I know thee.

1 i. e. of some weight, or moment. The folio and quarto B. read prize.

2 That is, not at home, but at some other place.

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3 The quartos read "good even." It is clear, from various passages in this scene, that the morning is just beginning to dawn.

4 i. e. Lipsbury_pound. "Lipsbury pinfold" may, perhaps, like Lob's pound, be a coined name; but with what allusion does not appear.

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KING LEAR.

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SC. II.]

Stew. 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-livered, action-taking knave; a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst 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.1

Stew. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee!

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Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago, since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king? Draw, you rogue; for, though it be night, the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you. Draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

2

3

47

[Drawing his sword.

4

Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee. Kent. Draw, you rascal! you against the king; and take Vanity against the royalty of her father. or I'll so carbonado your shanks.-Draw, you rascal; come your ways.

come with letters the puppet's part, Draw, you rogue,

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Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave,5 strike.

[Beating him.

Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder !

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1 i. e. thy titles.

2 Probably alluding to some dish so called.

3 Barber-monger may mean dealer with the lower tradesmen.

4 Alluding to the moralities or allegorical shows, in which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices, were personified.

5 You finical rascal, you assemblage of foppery and poverty.

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Enter EDMUND, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and

Servants.

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Edm. How now? what's the matter? Part.

Kent. With you goodman boy, if you please; come,
I'll flesh you; come on, young master.

Glo. 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.

Stew. I am scarce in breath, my lord.

1

Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in 1 thee; a tailor made thee.

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[ACT 11.

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow; a tailor make a man?

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 at the trade.

You beastly knave, know you no reverence?
Kent. Yes, sir; but anger has a privilege.
Corn. Why art thou angry?.

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?

Stew. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have
spared,

At suit of his gray beard,

2

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?

3

Corn. Peace, sirrah!

1 To disclaim in, for to disclaim simply, was the phraseology of the Poet's age. See Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. iii. p. 264.

2 Zed is here used as a term of contempt, because it is the last letter in the English alphabet. Baret omits it in his Alvearie, affirming it to be rather a syllable than a letter. And Mulcaster says, "Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom seen. S is become its lieutenant-general.”

3 Coarse villain. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime; and therefore to break the lumps, it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes.

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