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That follow'd me so near, (0, 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,

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 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? Gent.

'Tis hot, it smokes; It came even from the heart of

Alb. 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. Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or

dead! This judgment of the heavens, that makes us

tremble, Touches us not with pity.

[Erit Gent.

Enter Kent.

Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. O! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,

my sake,

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?

[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 And after slew herself.

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

send Thy token of reprieve.

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

Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit Edgar.

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. Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence a-while.

[Edmund is borne off: Enter Lear, with Cordelia dead in his arms; Edgar,

Officer, and Others.

Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !--0, you are men

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

, That heaven's vault should crack:-0, she is gone

for ever!-
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.

Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror?.

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.

O my good master! [kneeling.
Lear. Pr'ythee, away.

'Tis noble Kent, your friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! 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.

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,

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And these same crosses spoil me.—Who are you? Mine eyes are none o' the best: — I'll tell you

straight. Kent. If fortune brag of two she loy'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; 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 difference and

decay, Have follow'd

your Lear.

You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else; all's cheerless, dark,

and deadly:Your eldest daughters have fore-doom'd them

selves, And desperately are dead. Lear.

Ay, so I think. Alb. He knows not what he says; and vain it is That we present us to him. Edg

Very bootless.

sad steps.

Enter an Officer. Of 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,


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