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Excellent sybil! O my glowing blood !
Enter GLOSTER. Glost. I come to seek thee, Edmund, to impart a business of importance. I know thy loyal heart is touched to see the cruelty of these ungrateful daughters against our royal master.
Edm. Most savage and unnatural!
The commons repine aloud at their female tyrants; already they cry out for the re-instalment of their good old king, whose injuries, I fear, will inflame them into mutiny.
Edm, 'Tis to be hop'd, not fear'd.
Glost. Thou hast it, boy; tis to be hop'd indeed. On me they cast their eyes, and hourly court me To lead them on; and, whilst this head is mine, I'm theirs. A little covert craft, my boy, And then for open action; 'twill be employment Worthy such honest daring souls as thine. Thou, Edmund, art my trusty emissary. Haste on the spur, at the first break of day, With these dispatches to the duke of Cambray.
[Gives him Letters. You know what mortal feuds have always flam'd Between this Duke of Cornwall's family, and his; Full twenty thousand mountaineers Th' inveterate prince will send to our assistance. Despatch; commend us to his grace, and prosper.
[Exit GLOSTER. Edm. Yes, credulous old man, I will commend you to his grace, His grace the Duke of Cornwall instantly, I'll show him these contents in thy own character, And seald with thy own signet; then forthwith
The cholric duke gives sentence on thy life;
(Retires. GLOSTER returns, followed by CORDELIA and ARAN.
The, poorly dressed ;- EDMUND observing at a distance. Cord. Turn, Gloster, turn; by all the sacred
pow'rs, I do conjure you give my griefs a hearing: [Kneels. You must, you shall, nay, I am sure you will; For you were always styld the just and good. Glost. What wouldst thou, princess ? Rise, and
speak thy griefs.
[Raises her. For whom thou begg'st, 'tis for the king that wrong'
thee. Cord. O name not that; he did not, could not,
wrong me. Nay, muse not, Gloster; for it is too likely This injur'd king ere this is past your aid, And gone distracted with his savage wrongs. Edm. I'll gaze no more ;---and yet my eyes are
charm'd. Cord. Or, what if it be worse -Can there be
worse? Ab, 'tis too probable, this furious night Has pierc'd his tender body; the bleak winds And cold rain chill’d, or lightning struck, him dead ; If it be so, your promise is discharg'd, And I have only one poor boun to beg;
Glost. I have inform’d them so.
I tell thee Gloster,
Glost. Ay, my good lord.
and ATTENDANTS from the Castle. Oh! are you come ?
Corn. Health to the king !
Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what cause
I scarce can speak to thee.
[Kent is set at liberty by the ATTENDANTS. Reg. I pray you, sir, take pacience; I have hope That know less to value her desert, Than she to slack her duty.
Lear. Ha! How's that?
Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least Would fail in her respects; but if, perchance, She has restrain'd the riots of
your followers, "Tis on such grounds, and to such wholesome ends, As clear her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her !
Reg. O, sir, you're old, And should content you to be ruld and led By some discretion that discerns your state Better than you yourself; therefore, good sir, Return to our sister, and say you have wrongd her.
Lear. Ha! ask her forgiveness !
but mark how this becomes the house:
Reg. Good sir, no more of these unsightly passions ; Return back to our sister.
Lear. Never, Regan;
Reg. O the blest gods! thus will you wish on me, When the rash moodLear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have
my curse ; Thy tender nature cannot give thee o'er To such impiety; thou better know'st The offices of nature, bond of childhood, And dues of gratitude; thou bear'st in mind The half o'th' kingdom, which our love conferr'd On thee and thine.
Reg. Good sir, to th' purpose.
Lear. More torture still !
Corn. What means your grace!
Enter GONERIL and ATTENDANTS.
Who comes here? Oh, Heav'ns !
Lear. Heart, thou art too tough!
Reg. I pray you, sir, being old, confess you are so.