Page images
[blocks in formation]

Edm. Himself:-What say'st thou to him? Edg. Draw thy sword; That, if my speech offend a noble heart, Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine. Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours, My oath, and my profession: I protest,Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence, Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune, Thy valour, and thy heart,-thou art a traitor : False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father; Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince: And, from the extremest upward of thy head, To the descent and dust beneath thy feet, A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No, This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,

Thou liest.

Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name; But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike, And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes, What safe and nicely I might well delay By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn: Back do I toss these treasons on thy head; With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart; Which (for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise,) This sword of mine shall give them instant way, Where they shall rest for ever.-' -Trumpets, speak, [alarums. They fight. Edmund falls. Alb. O save him, save him! Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster: By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

And more, much more: the time will bring it
'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. Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true; The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophesy A royal nobleness:-I must embrace thee; Let sorrow 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? [ther? How have you known the miseries of your fa Edg. By nursing them, my lord.-List a brief tale ;[burst!And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would 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 this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost! became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'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 speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.

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

Edg. This would have seem'd 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,
Shunn'd 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 car receiv'd: which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.

Alb. But who was this?

Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis-

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!

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, sir, your lady: and her sisBy her is poison'd; she confesses it. [ter

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

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead! This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble,

[exit Gentleman.

Touches us not with pity.
Enter Kent.
Edg. Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. O 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?

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 sake,

And after slew herself.

I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.-Who are you'
Mine eyes are none o'the best:-I'll tell you

Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold.

Lear. This is a dull sight: Are you not Kent?
Kent. The same;

Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that;

Alb. Great thing of us forgot!

Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's He'll strike, and quickly too :-He's dead and


Alb. Even so.- -Cover their faces.

Edm. I pant for life. Some good I mean to do.
Despite of mine own nature.-Quickly send,—
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, O, run!

Edg. To who, my lord?-Who has the office?


Thy token of reprieve.

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

-O, she is gone

I know when one is dead, and when one iives;
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?

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life.

[exit Edgar.

Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and
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. Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms; Edgar, Officer, and others.

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl!-O, you are men of stones;

Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so

That heaven's vault should crack:-
for ever!-

Edg. Or image of that horror?

Alb. Fall, and cease!

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


Kent. O my good master!

Lear. Pr'ythee, away.

Edg. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.

Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors,


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?


Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;-
Lear. I'll see that straight.

Kent. That from your first of difference and


Have follow'd your sad steps.

Lear. You are welcome hither.

Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark,
and deadly.-

Your eldest daughters have foredoom'd themselves,
And desperately are dead.

Lear. Ay, so I think.

Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it
That we present us to him.
Edg. Very bootless.

Enter an Officer.
Off. Edmund is dead, my lord.
Alb. That's but a trifle here.-

You lords, and noble friends, know our intent.
What comfort to this great decay may come,
Shall be applied: For us, we will resign,
During the life of this old majesty,

To him our absolute power:-You, to your rights;
[to Edgar and Kent.
With boot, and such addition as your honours
Have more than merited.-All friends shall tnsta
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings.-O, sce, see!

Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no,

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come no

Never, never, never, never, never!—

Pray you, undo this button: Thank you, sir.-
Do you see this? Look on her,-look,-her lips,-
Look there, look there!—
[he dies.

Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long: He but usurp'd his life.

Alb. Bear them from hence.-Our present busi


Is general woe. Friends of my soul, you tw ain
[to Kent and Edg ar.
Rule in this realm, and the gor'd state sustain.
Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls, and I must not say, no.

Edg. He faints!-My lord, my lord,—
Kent. Break, heart: I pr'ythee, break!
Edg. Look up, my lord.

Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey;

Kent. Vex not his ghost:-O, let him pass! Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we, that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
[ereunt, with a dead march.

he hates him,

That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

Edg. O, he is gone, indeed.


Duke of Milan, Father to Silvia.

Gentlemen of Verona.




Antonio, Father to Proteus.

Thurlo, a foolish rival to Valentine.

Eglamour, Agent for Silvia, in her escape.
Speed, a clownish Servant to Valentine.
Launce, Servant to Proteus.

Julia, a Lady of Verona, beloved by Proteus,'
Silvia, the Duke's daughter, beloved by Valentina.
Lucetta, waiting woman to Julia,

Panthino, Servant to Antonio.

Servants, Musicians,

SCENE.-Sometimes in Verona; sometimes in Milan; and on the Frontiers of Mantua.


Enter Valentine and Proteus.


Val. CEASE to persuade, my loving Proteus ;
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits:
Were't not, affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company,
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
Even as I would, when I to love begin.

Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine,

adieu !

Think on thy Proteus, when thou, haply, seest
Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel:
Wish me partaker in thy happiness,
When thou dost meet good hap; and in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy beads-man, Valentine.

Val. And on a love-book pray for my success.
Pro. Upon some book, I'll love, I'll pray for


Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.

Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love, For he was more than over shoes in love.

Host, where Julia lodges in Milan.

Val. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swom the Hellespont.
Pro. Over the boots? nay, give me not the boots.
Val. No, I'll not, for it boots thee not.
Pro. What?
Val. To be


In love, where scorn is bought with groans; coy
With heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's mirth,
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps, a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.

Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

Val So, by your circumstance, I fear, you'n

Pro. 'Tis love you cavil at, I am not Love.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you:
And he, that is so yoked by a fool,
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.

Pro. Yet writers say, As in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

Val. And writers say, As the most forward bud
Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
Even so by love the young and tender wit
Is turn'd to folly; blasting in the bud,
Losing his verdure even in the prime,
And all the fair effects of future hopes.
But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee,
That art a votary to fond desire?
Once more adieu: my father at the road
Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.

Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Val. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our

At Milan, let me hear from thee by letters,
Of thy success in love, and what news else
Betideth here, in absence of thy friend;
And I likewise will visit thee with mine.

Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Val. As much to you at home! and so, fare-

Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love:
He leaves his friends, to dignify them more;
I leave myself, my friends, and all, for love.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me:
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with

Enter Speed. Speed. Sir Proteus, save you: saw you my master? [Milan. Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Speed. Twenty to one then, he is shipp'd already;

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains: what said she [her. Speed. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win Pro. Why? could'st thou perceive so much from her?


Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: what said she?


Speed. Open your purse, that the money, the matter, may be both at once delivered.

Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her: no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter; and being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear, she'll prove as hard to you in telling her mind. Give her no token but stones,

for she's as hard as steel.

Pro. What, said she nothing

Speed. No, not so much as-take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.

Pro. Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, [wreck; Being destin'd to a drier death on shore:I must go send some better messenger; I fear, my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post.



Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Would'st thou then counsel me to fall in love?

Luc. Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedJul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, [fully. That every day with parle encounter me, In thy opinion, which is worthiest love?

Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I'll show According to my shallow simple skill. [my mind, Jul. What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?

Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine, But, were I you, he never should be mine.

Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio? Luc. Well, of his wealth; but of himself, so, so. Jul. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus? Luc. Lord, lord! to see what folly reigns in us! Jul. How now! what means this passion at his name?

Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 'tis a passing shame, That I, unworthy body as I am, Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen. •Jul. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest? Luc. Then thus,-of many good I think him Jul. Your reason? [best.


Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason; I think him so, because I think him so. [on him? Jul. And would'st thou have me cast my love Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast away. [me. Jul. Why, he of all the rest hath never mov'd Luc. Yet he of all the rest, I think, best loves [small. Jul. His little speaking shows his love but Luc. Fire, that is closest kept, burns most of all. [love. Jul. They do not love, that do not show their Luc. O, they love least, that let men know their Jul. I would, I knew his mind. [love. Luc. Peruse this paper, madam. Jul. To Julia,-Say, from whom?

« PreviousContinue »