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Enter Edgar, l.h., at the end of the second sound. Alb. (c.) Ask him his purposes, why he appears Upon this call o' the trumpet.

Her. What are you?

Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?

Edg. (l.h.) Know, my name is lost :

By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit;
Yet am I noble as the adversary
I came to cope withal.

(Herald retires up.)

Alb. (A little up Stage, in c.) Which is that adversary? Edg. What's he that speaks for Edmund, Earl of


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 honors,
My oath, and my profession, I protest-
Maugre thy strength, youth, place and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valor 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 the head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou no,
This sword, this arm, and 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 to 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 forever. Trumpets, speak ! (Alarums.—They fight.—Edmund falls.)

What you have charged me with, that have I done;
And more, much more: the time will bring it out;
'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 wronged 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.

Alb. Where have you hid yourself?

How have you known the mis'ries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.

The bloody proclamation to escape,

That followed me so near, taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags; became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair;
Never (oh, fault !) revealed myself unto him,
Until some half hour past, when I was armed.
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage but his flawed heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.

Edm. (Raised by Officers.) I pant for life: some good
I mean to do,

Despite of my own nature. Quickly send-
Be brief in it—to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia.

Edg. Who has the office? Send thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Take my sword—give it the captain.
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life!

[Exit Edgar, r.h.

The gods defend her!—Bear him hence awhile. [Flourish.—Edmund is led off, l.h.—Albany and others exeunt, r.h.

SCENE V.—A Prison.

Enter Lear, through opening in r.h. with Cordelia, dead, in his arms.—Officer enters, l.h.u.e., as on guard—he remains at back, l.h.

Lear. (Advancing, c.) Howl, howl, howl, howl! Oh, ye are men of stones!

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

That heaven's vault should crack.—Oh, she is gone forever! (Lear kneels on right knee, and places Cordei across his left, her feet towards r.h.)

I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth :—Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.

Enter Edgar, Albany, Kent, OFFICER, and Soldiers, r.h., Officer marches the Soldiers up r.h., and back

Kent. Is this the promised end?

Edg. Or image of that horror? (Crosses behind Lear.) 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. (r.h.C., kneeling.) Oh, my good master!
Lear. Prythee, away!

Edg. (l.h.C.) 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.
Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors, all!
I might have saved her; now she's gone forever!
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little !—Ha!
What is't thou say'st? Her voice was ever soft,
entle, and low; but I did kill the slave

That was a-hanging thee!

Offi. (l.h., Advancing a little.) 'Tis true, my lords, he did. Lear. Did I not, fellow ?

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?
My eyes are none o' the best :—I'll tell you straight.

Kent, (r.h.c.) If fortune brag of two she loved 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;
He'll strike, and quickly, too :—He's dead and rotten.
Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man.
Lear. I'll see that straight.

Kent. That, from your first of deference and decay, Have followed your sad steps.

Lear. You are welcome hither.

Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark and deadly Your eldest daughters have foredoomed themselves, And desperately are dead.

Lear. Ay, so I think.

Kent. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him. Oh, see I see !

Lear. And my poor fool is hanged! No, no, no life : Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all?

(Laying Cordelia on the ground, and kneeling on both knees.) Oh, thou wilt come no more! Never, never, never, never! Pray you, undo this button. throat, as if choking.) Do you see this? Look on her—look—her lips

(Placing his hand on his Thank you, sir,

(Kisses her.)

Look there—look there!

Edg. Break heart, I pr'ythee break!

(Lear gives a convulsive gasp, and falls back. He is supported on the r.h. by Kent, and on the l.h. by Edgar.—Curtain falls to slow music.)



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