Puslapio vaizdai

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!
This is mere practice, Gloster:
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguil❜d.


Shut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it: - Hold, sir: Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil: No tearing, lady; I perceive you know it.

[Gives the Letter to EDMUND. Gon. Say, if I do: the laws are mine, not thine: Who shall arraign me for't?

Most monstrous!


Know'st thou this paper?


Ask me not what I know. [Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her. [To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;


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.

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.

Where they shall rest for ever.] To that place, where they shall rest for ever; i. e. thy heart.

The wheel is come full circle; I am here.
Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
A royal nobleness:- I must embrace thee;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!

Worthy prince,

Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord. - List a brief tale; -
And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst!
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 mad-man'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.

Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;


I know it well. +

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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.

This would have seem'd a period

+"I know't." MALONE.

To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too-much, would make much more,
And top extremity.9

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 ear 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.


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?
Speak, man.

Edg. What means that bloody knife?

It came even from the heart of —


'Tis hot, it smokes ;

Who, man? speak.

Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she confesses it. +

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

9 This would have seem'd a period, &c.] The sense may probably be this: This would have seemed a period to such as love not sorrow; but-another, i. e. but I must add another, i. e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told.

+ "threw me on my father :- MALONE. +"she hath confess'd it."


Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead! — This judgment1 of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity. [Exit Gentleman.

Enter KENT.


Alb. O! it is he.

The time will not allow the compliment,

Which very manners urges.


I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night;
Is he not here?


Great thing of us forgot!

Speak, Edmund, where's the king; and where's Cordelia? See'st thou this object, Kent?

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Here comes Kent, sir.

[The Bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus?


Yet Edmund was belov'd: The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.

Alb. Even so. - Cover their faces.


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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 writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia:
Nay, send in time.

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Run, run, O, run

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.


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Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit Edgar.

This judgment, &c.] If Shakspeare had studied Aristotle all his life, he would not perhaps have been able to mark with more precision the distinct operations of terror and pity.


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. 2

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: - O, she is ever!

gone for

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.

Kent. Is this the promis'd end? Edg. Or image of that horror?3 Alb. Fall, and cease! 4 Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so, It is a chance that does redeem all sorrows

That ever I have felt.

Lear. Pr'ythee, away.

O my good master! [Kneeling.

'Tis noble Kent, your friend.

2 That she fordid herself.] To fordo signifies to destroy.

3 Kent. Is this the promis'd end?

Edg. Or image of that horror?] By the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world.

+ Fall, and cease!] Albany is looking with attention on the pains employed by Lear to recover his child, and knows to what miseries he must survive, when he finds them to be ineffectual. Having these images present to his eyes and imagination, he cries out, Rather fall, and cease to be, at once, than continue in existence only to be wretched.

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