Puslapio vaizdai

France. Faireft Cordelia, that art moft rich, being poor, Moft choice, forfaken; and most lov'd, defpis'd! Thee and thy virtues here I feize upon, Be't lawful I take up what's caft away.

Gods, Gods! 'tis ftrange, that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to enflam'd respect.

Thy dowreless daughter, King, thrown to my chance,
Is Queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the Dukes of watʼrifh Burgundy
Can buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.
Bid them farewel, Cordelia, though unkind;
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou haft her, France, let her be thine, for we
Have no fuch daughter, nor fhall ever fee
That face of hers again; therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benizon:
Come, noble Burgundy. [Flourish. Exeunt Lear and Burg.

France. Bid farewel to your fifters.

Cor. Ye jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know what you are,

And like a fifter am moft loth to call

Your faults as they are nam'd. Love well our father:
Το your profeffing bofoms I commit him;

But yet, alas, ftood I within his grace,

I would prefer him to a better place.

So farewel to you both.

Reg. Prescribe not us our duty.

Gon. Let your study


Be to content your Lord, who hath receiv'd
At fortune's alms; you have obedience scanted,

And well are worthy to want that you have wanted.
Cor. Time fhall unfold what plaited cunning hides,
Who 'cover'd` faults at laft with fhame derides.
Well may you profper!

France. Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt France and Cor.

2 covers



Gon. Sifter, it is not little I've to fay, Of what most nearly appertains to us both; I think our father will go hence to-night.


Reg. That's certain, and with you; next month with

Gon. You fee how full of changes his age is, the obfervation we have made of it hath not been little; he always lov'd our fifter moft, and with what poor judgment he hath now caft her off, appears too grofly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but flenderly known himself.

Gon. The beft and foundeft of his time hath been but rash; then must we look from his age to receive not alone. the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardnefs, that infirm and cholerick years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconftant ftarts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.

Gon. There is further complement of leave-taking between 'Burgundy and him; pray you, let us fit together: if our father carry authority, with fuch difpofition as he bears, this laft furrender of his will but offend us. Reg. We fhall further think of it.

Gon. We must do fomething, and i' th' heat. [Exeunt!

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A Caftle belonging to the Earl of Glo'ster.

Enter Baftard with a letter.

Hou, Nature, art my Goddess, to thy law
My services are bound; wherefore should I
Stand 'to the plague of custom, and permit

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The courtesy of nations to deprive me,
For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moonfhines
Lag of a brother? a6 and why baftard? bafe?`
When my dimenfions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my fhape as true,
As honeft Madam's iffue? why brand they us
With base? with baseness? baftardy? bafe, bafe?
Who in the lufty stealth of nature, take
More compofition and fierce quality,

Than doth within a dull, ftale, tired bed,
Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,

Got 'tween a-fleep and wake? 7/Well then, good brother,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land,

Our father's love is to the baftard Edmund,
As to th' legitimate; fine word

Well, my legitimate, if this letter fpeed
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall toeb th' legitimate: I grow, I profper;
Now, Gods, ftand



up for baftards!


To him, enter Glo'fter.

Glo. Kent banifh'd thus! and France in choler parted! And the King gone to-night! fubfcrib'd his pow'r, Confin'd to exhibition! all is gone


(a) Edmund is here inveighing against the tyranny of cuftom of which be produces two diftin& inftances, one with respect to younger brothers, the other with respect to baftards. In the former he must not be unders flood to mean bimself though he speaks in the first perfon, but according to a common mode of Speech to suppose the cafe his own, and as in his own perfon to exclaim against the unreasonableness and injuftice of the thing: the argument thus becomes general implying more than is faid, namely wherefore fhould I or any man &c.

(b) As the treading upon another's heels is an expression ased to fignify the being not far behind him; fo to toe another means to come up to and be upon even ground with him.

5 curiofity ... old edit. Theob. emend.

6 Why baftard? wherefore base?

7 Well then, 8 to or be

Upon the gad! - Edmund, how now? what news?
Baft. So please your Lordship, none.

Glo. Why fo earnestly feek you to put up that letter?
[Putting up the letter.
Baft. I know no news, my Lord.

Glo. What paper were you reading?
Baft. Nothing, my Lord.

Glo. No! what needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's fee; come, if it be nothing, I fhall not need spectacles.

Baft. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me; it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; and for fo much as I have perus'd, I find it not fit for your o'erlooking.

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Baft. I fhall offend, either to detain, or give it; the contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame. Glo. Let's fee, let's fee.

Baft. I hope, for my brother's juftification, he wrote this but as an effay, or tafte of my virtue.

Glo. reads.] This policy 9 'in reverence of age makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, 'till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppreffion of aged tyranny; which fways, not as it hath power, but as it is fuffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would fleep 'till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother. Edgar. Confpiracy! Humfleep 'till I wake him you fhould enjoy half his revenue to write this! a heart and a brain to breed it in! When My fon Edgar! had he a hand came this to you? who brought it?

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Baft. It was not brought me, my Lord; there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the cafement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your brother's?



Baft. If the matter were good, my Lord, I durft fwear it were his; but in refpect of that, I would fain think it

were not.

Glo. It is his.

Baft. It is his hand, my Lord; I hope his heart is not in the contents.


Glo. Has he never before founded you in this bufinefs? Baft. Never, my Lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that 'fons being at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father fhould be as a ward to the fon, and the fon manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain! his very opinion in the letter. Abhorred villain! unnatural, detefted, brutish villain! worfe than brutish! Go, Sirrah, feek him; I'll apprehend him. Abominable villain! where is he?

Baft. I do not well know, my Lord; if it fhall please you to fufpend your indignation against my brother, 'till you can derive from him better teftimony of his intent, you fhould run a certain courfe; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpofe, it would make a great gap in your honour, and fhake in pieces the heart of his obedience, I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you fo?

Baft. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you fhall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular affurance have your fatisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very evening.

Glo. He cannot be fuch a monfter, Edmund, feek him out; wind me into him, I pray you; frame the business after your own wifdom. I would unftate my felf, to be in a due refolution.

Baft. I will feek him, Sir, prefently, convey the bu finefs as I fhall find means, and acquaint you withal. Glo. Thefe late eclipfes in the fun and moon portend no good to us; though the wisdom of mankind` can VOL. III.



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