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Enter Edgar, armed, preceded by a Trumpet.

Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o’the trumpet.

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

Know, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I come to cope withal.

Which is that adversary ?
Edg. What’s he, that speaks for Edmund earl of

Gloster ?
Edm. Himself;- What say'st thou to him ?

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, –
Maugrel 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,

1 Notwithstanding, 2 Because if his adversary was not of equal rank, Ed

mund might have declined the combat.

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And that thy tongue some 'says 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 for ever.- Trumpets, speak.

[Alarums. They fight. EDMUND falls. Alb. O save him, save him ! Gon.

This is mere practice4, Gloster : By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd But cozen's and beguil'd. Alb.

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? Alb.

Most monstrous ! Know'st thou this paper ? Gon.

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; 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.

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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 prophecy
A royal nobleness : - I must embrace thee;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father!

Worthy prince,
I know it well.

Where have you hid yourself? How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord — Lists a brief 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 !) reveald 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,


5 Hear.

(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, Shupn'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. 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!

What kind of help?

Speak, mian.
Edg. What means that bloody knife ?



'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. [Exit Gentleman.

Enter KENT.

Here comes Kent, sir.
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 6 good night;
Is he not here?

Great thing of us forgot ! Speak, Edmund, where's the king ? and where's

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.

Alb. Even 80, - Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life: Some good I mean to do,

6 For ever.

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