The text comes from the first edition of 1681, and is transcribed from a copy in the Furness Collection at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a diplomatic transcription, preserving all the irregularities of Tate's text, including inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, and lineation. Formatting follows the first edition as closely as the limitations of HTML will allow.
The lines are numbered in each act. Tate's use of hemistiches is irregular (as is his meter generally); rather than try to guess which lines are supposed to be hemistiches and which incomplete lines of verse, I've numbered every line on its own. Prose lines in the original edition are included in the count, though the numbers appear only in passages of verse.
I hope to add commentary one of these days, but this will have to do for now. Meanwhile, send corrections and comments to Jack Lynch.
You have a natural Right to this Piece, since, by your Advice, I attempted the Revival of it with Alterations. Nothing but the Power of your Perswasion, and my Zeal for all the Remains of Shakespear, cou'd have wrought me to so bold an Undertaking. I found that the New-modelling of this Story, wou'd force me sometimes on the difficult Task of making the chiefest Persons speak something like their Character, on Matter whereof I had no Ground in my Author. Lear's real, and Edgar's pretended Madness have so much of extravagant Nature (I know not how else to express it) as cou'd never have started but from our Shakespear's Creating Fancy. The Images and Language are so odd and surprizing, and yet so agreeable and proper, that whilst we grant that none but Shakespear cou'd have form'd such Conceptions, yet we are satisfied that they were the only Things in the World that ought to be said on those Occasions. I found the whole to answer your Account of it, a Heap of Jewels, unstrung and unpolisht; yet so dazling in their Disorder, that I soon perceiv'd I had seiz'd a Treasure. 'Twas my good Fortune to light on one Expedient to rectifie what was wanting in the Regularity and Probability of the Tale, which was to run through the whole A Love betwixt Edgar and Cordelia, that never chang'd word with each other in the Original. This renders Cordelia's Indifference and her Father's Passion in the first Scene probable. It likewise gives Countenance to Edgar's Disguise, making that a generous Design that was before a poor Shift to save his Life. The Distress of the Story is evidently heightned by it; and it particularly gave Occasion of a New Scene or Two, of more Success (perhaps) than Merit. This Method necessarily threw me on making the Tale conclude in a Success to the innocent distrest Persons: Otherwise I must have incumbred the Stage with dead Bodies, which Conduct makes many Tragedies conclude with unseasonable Jests. Yet was I Rackt with no small Fears for so bold a Change, till I found it well receiv'd by my Audience; and if this will not satisfie the Reader, I can produce an Authority that questionless will. Neither is it of so Trivial an Undertaking to make a Tragedy end happily, for 'tis more difficult to Save than 'tis to Kill: The Dagger and Cup of Poyson are alwaies in Readiness; but to bring the Action to the last Extremity, and then by probable Means to recover All, will require the Art and Judgment of a Writer, and cost him many a Pang in the Performance. [Marginal note: "Mr. Dryd. Pref. to the Span. Fryar."]
I have one thing more to Apologize for, which is, that I have us'd less Quaintness of Expression even in the newest Parts of this Play. I confess 'twas Design in me, partly to comply with my Author's Style to make the Scenes of a Piece, and partly to give it some Resemblance of the Time and Persons here Represented. This, Sir, I submit wholly to you, who are both a Judge and Master of Style. Nature had exempted you before you went Abroad from the Morose Saturnine Humour of our Country, and you brought home the Refinedness of Travel without the Affectation. Many Faults I see in the following Pages, and question not but you will discover more; yet I will presume so far on your Friendship, as to make the Whole a Present to you, and Subscribe my self
Your obliged Friend
and humble Servant,
Since by Mistakes your best Delights are made,
(For ev'n your Wives can please in Masquerade)
'Twere worth our While t' have drawn you in this day
By a new Name to our old honest Play;
But he that did this Evenings Treat prepare
Bluntly resolv'd before-hand to declare
Your Entertainment should be most old Fare.
Yet hopes, since in rich Shakespear's soil it grew,
'Twill relish yet with those whose Tasts are True,
And his Ambition is to please a Few.
If then this Heap of Flow'rs shall chance to wear
Fresh Beauty in the Order they now bear,
Ev'n this Shakespear's Praise; each Rustick knows
'Mongst plenteous Flow'rs a Garland to Compose,
Which strung by his course Hand may fairer Show,
But 'twas a Pow'r: Divine first made 'em Grow.
Why shou'd these Scenes lie hid, in which we find
What may at Once divert and teach the Mind?
Morals were alwaies proper for the Stage,
But are ev'n necessary in this Age.
Poets must take the Churches Teaching Trade,
Since Priests their Province of Intrigue invade;
But We the worst in this Exchange have got,
In vain our Poets Preach, whilst Church-men Plot.
|King Lear,||Mr. Betterton.|
|Bastard,||Mr. Jo. Williams.|
K I N G
L E A R.
T R A G E D Y.
A C T I.
Enter Bastard solus.
Bast.Thou Nature art my Goddess, to thy Law
My Services are bound, why am I then
Depriv'd of a Son's Right because I came not
In the dull Road that custom has prescrib'd?
Why Bastard, wherefore Base, when I can boast
A Mind as gen'rous and a Shape as true
As honest Madam's Issue? why are we
Held Base, who in the lusty stealth of Nature
Take fiercer Qualities than what compound
The scanted Births of the stale Marriage-bed? 
Well then, legitimate Edgar, to thy right
Of Law I will oppose a Bastard's Cunning.
Our Father's Love is to the Bastard Edmund
As to Legitimate Edgar: with success
I've practis'd yet on both their easie Natures:
Here comes the old Man chaf't with th' Information
Which last I forg'd against my Brother Edgar,
A Tale so plausible, so boldly utter'd
And heightned by such lucky Accidents,
That now the slightest circumstance confirms him, 
And Base-born Edmund spight of Law inherits.
Enter Kent and Gloster.
Glost.Nay, good my Lord, your Charity
O'reshoots it self to plead in his behalf;
You are your self a Father, and may feel
The sting of disobedience from a Son
First-born and best Belov'd: Oh Villain Edgar!
Kent.Be not too rash, all may be forgery,
And time yet clear the Duty of your Son.
Glost.Plead with the Seas, and reason down the Winds,
Yet shalt thou ne're convince me, I have seen 
His foul Designs through all a Father's fondness:
But be this Light and Thou my Witnesses
That I discard him here from my Possessions,
Divorce him from my Heart, my Blood and Name.
Bast.It works as I cou'd wish; I'll shew my self.
Glost.Ha Edmund! welcome Boy; O Kent see here
Inverted Nature, Gloster's Shame and Glory,
This By-born, the wild sally of my Youth,
Pursues me with all filial Offices,
Whilst Edgar, begg'd of Heaven and born in Honour, 
Draws plagues on my white head that urge me still
To curse in Age the pleasure of my Youth.
Nay weep not, Edmund, for thy Brother's crimes;
O gen'rous Boy, thou shar'st but half his blood,
Yet lov'st beyond the kindness of a Brother.
But I'll reward thy Vertue. Follow me.
My Lord, you wait the King who comes resolv'd
To quit the Toils of Empire, and divide
His Realms amongst his Daughters, Heaven succeed it,
But much I fear the Change. 
Kent.I grieve to see him
With such wild starts of passion hourly seiz'd,
As renders Majesty beneath it self.
Glost.Alas! 'tis the Infirmity of his Age,
Yet has his Temper ever been unfixt,
Chol'rick and suddain; hark, They approach.
[Exeunt Gloster and Bast.
Flourish. Enter Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Burgundy, Edgar, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, Edgar speaking to Cordelia at Entrance.
Edgar.Cordelia, royal Fair, turn yet once more,
And e're successfull Burgundy receive
The treasure of thy Beauties from the King,
E're happy Burgundy for ever fold Thee, 
Cast back one pitying Look on wretched Edgar.
Cord.Alas what wou'd the wretched Edgar with
The more Unfortunate Cordelia;
Who in obedience to a Father's will
Flys from her Edgar's Arms to Burgundy's?
Lear.Attend my Lords of Albany and Cornwall
With Princely Burgundy.
Alb.We do, my Liege.
Lear.Give me the Mapp — know, Lords, We have divided
In Three our Kingdom, having now resolved 
To disengage from Our long Toil of State,
Conferring All upon your younger years;
You, Burgundy, Cornwall and Albany
Long in Our Court have made your amorous sojourn
And now are to be answer'd — tell me my Daughters
Which of you Loves Us most, that We may place
Our largest Bounty with the largest Merit.
Gonerill, Our Eldest-born, speak first.
Gon.Sir, I do love You more than words can utter,
Beyond what can be valu'd, Rich or Rare, 
Nor Liberty, nor Sight, Health, Fame, or Beauty
Are half so dear, my Life for you were vile,
As much as Child can love the best of Fathers.
Lear.Of all these Bounds, ev'n from this Line to this
With shady Forests and wide-skirted Meads,
We make Thee Lady, to thine and Albany's Issue
Be this perpetual — What says Our Second Daughter?
Reg.My Sister, Sir, in part exprest my Love,
For such as Hers, is mine, though more extended;
Sense has no other Joy that I can relish, 
I have my All in my dear Lieges Love!
Lear.Therefore to thee and thine Hereditary
Remain this ample Third of our fair Kingdom.
Cord.Now comes my Trial, how am I distrest,
[Aside.That must with cold speech tempt the chol'rick King
Rather to leave me Dowerless, than condemn me
To loath'd Embraces!
Lear.Speak now Our last, not least in Our dear Love,
So ends my Task of State, — Cordelia speak,
What canst Thou say to win a richer Third 
Than what thy Sisters gain'd?
Cord.Now must my Love in words fall short of theirs
As much as it exceeds in Truth — Nothing my Lord.
Lear.Nothing can come of Nothing, speak agen.
Cord.Unhappy am I that I can't dissemble,
Sir, as I ought, I love your Majesty,
No more nor less.
Lear.Take heed Cordelia,
Thy Fortunes are at stake, think better on't
And mend thy Speech a little. 
Cord.O my Liege,
You gave me Being, Bred me, dearly Love me,
And I return my duty as I ought,
Obey you, Love you, and most Honour you!
Why have my Sisters Husbands, if they love you All?
Happ'ly when I shall Wed, the Lord whose Hand
Shall take my Plight, will carry half my Love,
For I shall never marry, like my Sisters,
To Love my Father All.
Lear.And goes thy Heart with this? 
'Tis said that I am Chol'rick, judge me Gods,
Is there not cause? now Minion I perceive
The Truth of what has been suggested to Us,
Thy Fondness for the Rebel Son of Gloster,
False to his Father, as Thou art to my Hopes:
And oh take heed, rash Girl, lest We comply
With thy fond wishes, which thou wilt too late
Repent, for know Our nature cannot brook
A Child so young and so Ungentle.
Cord.So young my Lord and True. 
Lear.Thy Truth then be thy Dow'r,
For by the sacred Sun and solemn Night
I here disclaim all my paternal Care,
And from this minute hold thee as a Stranger
Both to my Blood and Favour.
Kent.This is Frenzy.
Consider, good my Liege —
Come not between a Dragon and his Rage.
I lov'd her most, and in her tender Trust 
Design'd to have bestow'd my Age at Ease!
So be my Grave my Peace as here I give
My Heart from her, and with it all my Wealth:
My Lords of Cornwall and of Albany,
I do invest you jointly with full Right
In this fair Third, Cordelia's forfeit Dow'r.
Mark me, My Lords, observe Our last Resolve,
Our Self attended with an hundred Knights
Will make Aboad with you in monthly Course,
The Name alone of King remain with me, 
Yours be the Execution and Revenues,
This is Our final Will, and to confirm it
This Coronet part between you.
Whom I have ever honour'd as my King,
Lov'd as my Father, as my Master follow'd,
And as my Patron thought on in my Pray'rs —
Lear.Away, the Bow is bent, make from the Shaft.
Kent.No, let it fall and drench within my Heart,
Be Kent unmannerly when Lear is mad: 
Thy youngest Daughter —
Lear.On thy Life no more.
Kent.What wilt thou doe, old Man?
Lear.Out of my sight!
Kent.See better first.
Lear.Now by the gods —
Kent.Now by the gods, rash King, thou swear'st in vain.
Lear.Ha Traytour —
Kent.Do, kill thy Physician, Lear,
Strike through my Throat, yet with my latest Breath 
I'll Thunder in thine Ear my just Complaint,
And tell Thee to thy Face that Thou dost ill.
Lear.Hear me rash Man, on thy Allegiance hear me;
Since thou hast striv'n to make Us break our Vow
And prest between our Sentence and our Pow'r,
Which nor our Nature nor our Place can bear,
We banish thee for ever from our Sight
And Kingdom; if when Three days are expir'd
Thy hated Trunk be found in our Dominions
That moment is thy Death; Away. 
Kent.Why fare thee well, King, since thou art resolv'd,
I take thee at thy word, and will not stay
To see thy Fall: the gods protect the Maid
That truly thinks, and has most justly said.
Thus to new Climates my old Truth I bear,
Friendship lives Hence, and Banishment is Here.
Lear.Now Burgundy, you see her Price is faln,
Yet if the fondness of your Passion still
Affects her as she stands, Dow'rless, and lost
In our Esteem, she's yours, take her or leave her. 
Burg.Pardon me, Royal Lear, I but demand
The Dow'r your Self propos'd, and here I take
Cordelia by the Hand Dutchess of Burgundy.
Lear.Then leave her Sir, for by a Father's rage
I tell you all her Wealth. Away.
Burg.Then Sir be pleas'd to charge the breach
Of our Alliance on your own Will
Not my Inconstancy.
[Exeunt. Manent Edgar and Cordelia.
Edg.Has Heaven then weigh'd the merit of my Love,
Or is't the raving of my sickly Thought? 
Cou'd Burgundy forgoe so rich a Prize
And leave her to despairing Edgar's Arms?
Have I thy Hand Cordelia, do I clasp it,
The Hand that was this minute to have join'd
My hated Rivals? do I kneel before thee
And offer at thy feet my panting Heart?
Smile, Princess, and convince me, for as yet
I doubt, and dare not trust the dazling Joy.
Cord.Some Comfort yet that 'twas no vicious Blot
That has depriv'd me of a Father's Grace, 
But meerly want of that that makes me rich
In wanting it, a smooth professing Tongue:
O Sisters, I am loth to call your fault
As it deserves; but use our Father well,
And wrong'd Cordelia never shall repine.
Edg.O heav'nly Maid that art thy self thy Dow'r,
Richer in Vertue than the Stars in Light,
If Edgar's humble fortunes may be grac't
With thy Acceptance, at thy feet he lays 'em. 
Ha my Cordelia! dost thou turn away?
What have I done t'offend Thee?
Cord.Talk't of Love.
Edg.Then I've offended oft, Cordelia too
Has oft permitted me so to offend.
Cord.When, Edgar, I permitted your Addresses,
I was the darling Daughter of a King,
Nor can I now forget my royal Birth,
And live dependent on my Lover's Fortune.
I cannot to so low a fate submit,
And therefore study to forget your Passion, 
And trouble me upon this Theam no more.
Edg.Thus Majesty takes most State in Distress!
How are we tost on Fortune's fickle flood!
The Wave that with surprising kindness brought
The dear Wreck to my Arms, has snatcht it back,
And left me mourning on the barren Shore.
Cord.This Baseness of th' ignoble Burgundy
[Aside.Draws just suspicion on the Race of Men,
His Love was Int'rest, so may Edgar's be
And He but with more Complement dissemble; 
If so, I shall oblige him by Denying:
But if his Love be fixt, such Constant flame
As warms our Breasts, if such I find his Passion,
My Heart as gratefull to his Truth shall be,
And Cold Cordelia prove as Kind as He.
Enter Bastard hastily.
Bast.Brother, I've found you in a lucky minute,
Fly and be safe, some Villain has incens'd
Our Father against your Life.
Edg.Distrest Cordelia! but oh! more Cruel!
Bast.Hear me Sir, your Life, your Life's in Danger. 
Edg.A Resolve so sudden
And of such black Importance!
Bast.'Twas not sudden,
Some Villain has of long time laid the Train.
Edg.And yet perhaps 'twas but pretended Coldness,
To try how far my passion would pursue.
Bast.He hears me not; wake, wake Sir.
Edg.Say ye Brother? —
No Tears good Edmund, if thou bringst me tidings
To strike me dead, for Charity delay not, 
That present will befit so kind a Hand.
Bast.Your danger Sir comes on so fast
That I want time t'inform you, but retire
Whilst I take care to turn the pressing Stream.
O gods! for Heav'ns sake Sir.
Edg.Pardon me Sir, a serious Thought
Had seiz'd me, but I think you talkt of danger
And wisht me to Retire; must all our Vows
End thus! — Friend I obey you — O Cordelia!
Bast.Ha! ha! fond Man, such credulous Honesty 
Lessens the Glory of my Artifice,
His Nature is so far from doing wrongs
That he suspects none: if this Letter speed
And pass for Edgar's, as himself wou'd own
The Counterfeit but for the foul Contents,
Then my designs are perfect — here comes Gloster.
Glost.Stay Edmund, turn, what paper were you reading?
Bast.A Trifle Sir.
Glost.What needed then that terrible dispatch of it
Into your Pocket, come produce it Sir. 
Bast.A Letter from my Brother Sir, I had
Just broke the Seal but knew not the Contents,
Yet fearing they might prove to blame
Endeavour'd to conceal it from your sight.
Glost.'Tis Edgar's Character.
Slept till I wake him, you shou'd enjoy
Half his possessions — Edgar to write this
'Gainst his indulgent Father! Death and Hell!
Fly, Edmund, seek him out, wind me into him 
That I may bite the Traytor's heart, and fold
His bleeding Entrals on my vengefull Arm.
Bast.Perhaps 'twas writ, my Lord, to prove my Vertue.
Glost.These late Eclipses of the Sun and Moon
Can bode no less; Love cools, and friendship fails,
In Cities mutiny, in Countrys discord,
The bond of Nature crack't 'twixt Son and Father:
Find out the Villain, do it carefully
And it shall lose thee nothing.
Bast.So, now my project's firm, but to make sure
I'll throw in one proof more and that a bold one; 
I'll place old Gloster where he shall o're-hear us
Confer of this design, whilst to his thinking,
Deluded Edgar shall accuse himself.
Be Honesty my Int'rest and I can
Be honest too, and what Saint so Divine
That will successfull Villany decline!
Enter Kent disguis'd.
Kent.Now banisht Kent, if thou canst pay thy duty
In this disguise where thou dost stand condemn'd,
Thy Master Lear shall find thee full of Labours.
Enter Lear attended.
Lear.In there, and tell our Daughter we are here 
Now; What art Thou?
Kent.A Man, Sir.
Lear.What dost thou profess, or wou'dst with us?
Kent.I do profess to be no less then I seem, to serve him truly that puts me in Trust, to love him that's Honest, to converse with him that's wise and speaks little, to fight when I can't choose; and to eat no Fish.
Lear.I say, what art Thou?
Kent.A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King.
Lear.Then art thou poor indeed — What can'st thou do?
Kent.I can keep honest Counsel, marr a curious Tale in the telling, deliver a plain Message bluntly, that which ordinary Men are fit for I am qualify'd in, and the best of me is Diligence.
Lear.Follow me, thou shalt serve me.
Enter one of Gonerill's Gentlemen.Now Sir?
[Exit; Kent runs after him.
Lear.What says the fellow? Call the Clatpole back.
Att.My Lord, I know not, but methinks your Highness is entertain'd with slender Ceremony.
Servant.He says, my Lord, your Daughter is not well. 
Lear.Why came not the Slave back when I call'd him?
Serv.My Lord, he answer'd me i'th' surliest manner,
That he wou'd not.
Re-enter Gentleman brought in by Kent.
Lear.I hope our Daughter did not so instruct him:
Now, who am I Sir?
Gent.My Ladies Father.
Lear.My Lord's Knave —
[Gonerill at the Entrance.
Gent.I'll not be struck my Lord.
Kent.Nor tript neither, thou vile Civet-box.
[Strikes up his heels.
Gon.By Day and Night this is insufferable, 
I will not bear it.
Lear.Now, Daughter, why that frontlet on?
Speak, do's that Frown become our Presence?
Gon.Sir, this licentious Insolence of your Servants
Is most unseemly, hourly they break out
In quarrels bred by their unbounded Riots,
I had fair hope by making this known to you
T'have had a quick Redress, but find too late
That you protect and countenance their out-rage;
And therefore, Sir, I take this freedom, which 
Necessity makes Discreet.
Lear.Are you our Daughter?
Gon.Come, Sir, let me entreat you to make use
Of your discretion, and put off betimes
This Disposition that of late transforms you
From what you rightly are.
Lear.Do's any here know me? why this is not Lear.
Do's Lear walk thus? speak thus? where are his Eyes?
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Gon.Come, Sir, this Admiration's much o'th' savour 
Of other your new humours, I beseech you
To understand my purposes aright;
As you are old, you shou'd be staid and wise,
Here do you keep an hundred Knights and Squires,
Men so debaucht and bold that this our Palace
Shews like a riotous Inn, a Tavern, Brothel;
Be then advised by her that else will take
The she beggs, to lessen your Attendance,
Take half a way, and see that the remainder
Be such as may befit your Age, and know 
Themselves and you.
Lear.Darkness and Devils!
Saddle my Horses, call my Train together,
Degenerate Viper, I'll not stay with Thee;
I yet have left a Daughter — Serpent, Monster,
Lessen my Train, and call 'em riotous?
All men approv'd of choice and rarest Parts,
That each particular of duty know —
How small, Cordelia, was thy Fault? O Lear,
Beat at this Gate that let thy Folly in, 
And thy dear Judgment out; Go, go, my People.
[Going off meets Albany entring.Ingratefull Duke, was this your will?
Lear.Death! fifty of my Followers at a clap!
Alb.The matter Madam?
Gon.Never afflict your self to know the Cause,
But give his Dotage way.
Lear.Blasts upon thee,
Th' untented woundings of a Father's Curse
Pierce ev'ry Sense about Thee; old fond Eyes 
Lament this Cause again, I'll pluck ye out
And cast ye with the Waters that ye lose
To temper Clay — No, Gorgon, thou shalt find
That I'll resume the Shape which thou dost think
I have cast off for ever.
Gon.Mark ye that.
Dear Goddess hear, and if thou dost intend
To make that Creature fruitfull, change thy purpose;
Pronounce upon her Womb the barren Curse, 
That from her blasted Body never spring
A Babe to honour her — but if she must bring forth,
Defeat her Joy with some distorted Birth,
Or monstrous Form, the Prodigy o'th' Time,
And so perverse of spirit, that it may Live
Her Torment as 'twas Born, to fret her Cheeks
With constant Tears, and wrinkle her young Brow.
Turn all her Mother's Pains to Shame and Scorn,
That she may curse her Crime too late, and feel
How sharper than a Serpent's Tooth it is 
To have a Thankless Child! Away, away.
[Exit cum suis.
Gon.Presuming thus upon his numerous Train
He thinks to play the Tyrant here, and hold
Our Lives at will.
Alb.Well, you may bear too far.
End of the First Act.
A C T I I.
S C E N E, Gloster's House.
Bast.The Duke comes here to night, I'll take advantage
Of his Arrival to compleat my project,
Brother a Word, come forth, 'tis I your Friend,
Enter Edgar.My Father watches for you, fly this place,
Intelligence is giv'n where you are hid,
Take the advantage of the Night, bethink ye
Have not spoke against the Duke of Cornwall
Something might shew you a favourer of
Duke Albany's Party?
Edg.Nothing, why ask you? 
Bast.Because he's coming here to Night in haste
And Regan with him — heark! the Guards, Away.
Ed.Let 'em come on, I'll stay and clear my self.
Bast.Your Innocence at leisure may be heard,
But Gloster's storming Rage as yet is deaf,
And you may perish e're allow'd the hearing.
[Ex. Edgar.Gloster comes yonder: now to my feign'd scuffle —
Yield, come before my Father! Lights here, Lights!
Some Blood drawn on me wou'd beget opinion
[Stabs his Arm.Of our more fierce Encounter — I have seen 
Drunkards do more than this in sport.
[Enter Gloster and Servants.
Glost.Now, Edmund, where's the Traytour?
Bast.That Name, Sir,
Strikes Horrour through me, but my Brother, Sir,
Stood here i'th' Dark.
Glost.Thou bleed'st, pursue the Villain
And bring him piece-meal to me.
Bast.Sir, he's fled.
Glost.Let him fly far, this Kingdom shall not hide him:
The noble Duke, my Patron, comes to Night, 
By his Authority I will proclaim
Rewards for him that brings him to the Stake,
And Death for the Concealer.
Then of my Lands, loyal and natural Boy,
I'll work the means to make thee capable.
Enter Kent (disguis'd still) and Goneril's Gentleman, severally.
Gent.Good morrow Friend, belong'st thou to this House?
Kent.Ask them will answer thee.
Gent.Where may we set our Horses?
Gent.I am in haste, prethee an' thou lov'st me, tell me. 
Kent.I love thee not.
Gent.Why then I care not for Thee.
Kent.An' I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I'd make thee care for me.
Gent.What dost thou mean? I know thee not.
Kent.But, Minion, I know Thee.
Gent.What dost thou know me for?
Kent.For a base, proud, beggarly, white-liver'd, Glass-gazing, superserviceable finical Rogue; one that wou'd be a Pimp in way of good Service, and art nothing but a composition of Knave, Beggar, Coward, Pandar —.
Gent.What a monstrous Fellow art thou to rail at one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee?
Kent.Impudent Slave, not know me, who but two days since tript up thy heels before the King: draw, Miscreant, or I'll make the Moon shine through thee.
Gent.What means the Fellow? — Why prethee, prethee; I tell thee I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent.I know your Rogueship's Office, you come with Letters against the King, taking my young Lady Vanity's part against her royal Father; draw Rascal.
Gent.Murther, murther, help Ho!
Kent.Dost thou scream Peacock, strike Puppet, stand dappar Slave.
Gent.Help Hea'! Murther, help.
[Exit. Kent after him.
Flourish. Enter Duke of Cornwal, Regan, attended, Gloster, Bastard.
Glost.All Welcome to your Graces, you do me honour.
Duke.Gloster w'ave heard with sorrow that your Life
Has been attempted by your impious Son,
But Edmund here has paid you strictest Duty.
Glost.He did betray his Practice, and receiv'd 
The Hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Duke.Is He pursu'd?
Glost.He is, my Lord.
Reg.Use our Authority to apprehend
The Traytour and do Justice on his Head;
For you, Edmund, that have so signaliz'd
Your Vertue, you from henceforth shall be ours;
Natures of such firm Trust we much shall need.
A charming Youth and worth my further Thought.
Duke.Lay comforts, noble Gloster, to your Breast, 
As we to ours, This Night be spent in Revels,
We choose you, Gloster, for our Host to Night,
A troublesome expression of our Love.
On, to the Sports before us — who are These?
Enter the Gentleman pursu'd by Kent.
Glost.Now, what's the matter?
Duke.Keep peace upon your Lives, he dies that strikes.
Whence and what are ye?
Att.Sir, they are Messengers, the one from your Sister,
The other from the King.
Duke.Your Difference? speak. 
Gent.I'm scarce in breath, my Lord.
Kent.No marvel, you have so bestirr'd your Valour.
Nature disclaims the Dastard, a Taylor made him.
Duke.Speak yet, how grew your Quarrel?
Gent.Sir this old Ruffian here, whose Life I spar'd
In pity to his Beard —
Kent.Thou Essence Bottle!
In pity to my Beard? — Your leave, my Lord,
And I will tread the Muss cat into Mortar.
Duke.Know'st thou our Presence? 
Kent.Yes, Sir, but Anger has a Privilege.
Duke.Why art thou angry?
Kent.That such a Slave as this shou'd wear a Sword
And have no Courage, Office and no Honesty.
Not Frost and Fire hold more Antipathy
Than I and such a Knave.
Glost.Why dost thou call him Knave?
Kent.His Countenance likes me not.
Duke.No more perhaps does Mine, nor His or Hers.
Kent.Plain-dealing is my Trade, and to be plain, Sir, 
I have seen better Faces in my time
Than stands on any Shoulders now before me.
Reg.This is some Fellow that having once been prais'd,
For Bluntness, since affects a sawcy Rudeness,
But I have known one of these surly Knaves
That in his Plainness harbour'd more Design
Than twenty cringing complementing Minions.
Duke.What's the offence you gave him?
Gent.Never any, Sir.
It pleas'd the King his Master lately 
To strike me on a slender misconstruction,
Whilst watching his Advantage this old Lurcher
Tript me behind, for which the King extold him;
And, flusht with th' honour of this bold exploit,
Drew on me here agen.
Duke.Bring forth the Stocks, we'll teach you.
Kent.Sir I'm too old to learn;
Call not the Stocks for me, I serve the King,
On whose Employment I was sent to you,
You'll shew too small Respect, and too bold Malice 
Against the Person of my royal Master,
Stocking his Messenger.
Duke.Bring forth the Stocks, as I have Life and Honour,
There shall he sit till Noon.
Reg.Till Noon, my Lord? till Night, and all Night too.
Kent.Why, Madam, if I were your Father's Dog
You wou'd not use me so.
Reg.Sir, being his Knave I will.
Glost.Let me beseech your Graces to forbear him,
His fault is much, and the good King his Master 
Will check him for't, but needs must take it ill
To be thus slighted in his Messenger.
Duke.Wee'l answer that;
Our Sister may receive it worse to have
Her Gentleman assaulted: to our business lead.
Glost.I am sorry for thee, Friend, 'tis the Duke's pleasure
Whose Disposition will not be controll'd,
But I'll entreat for thee.
Kent.Pray do not, Sir —
I have watcht and travell'd hard, 
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle:
Fare-well t'ye, Sir.
[Ex. Glost.All weary and o're-watcht,
I feel the drowzy Guest steal on me; take
Advantage heavy Eyes of this kind Slumber,
Not to behold this vile and shamefull Lodging.
Edg.I heard my self proclaim'd,
And by the friendly Hollow of a Tree
Escapt the Hunt, no Port is free, no place
Where Guards and most unusual Vigilance 
Do not attend to take me — how easie now
'Twere to defeat the malice of my Trale,
And leave my Griefs on my Sword's reeking point;
But Love detains me from Death's peacefull Cell,
Still whispering me Cordelia's in distress;
Unkinde as she is I cannot see her wretched,
But must be neer to wait upon her Fortune.
Who knows but the white minute yet may come
When Edgar may do service to Cordelia,
That charming Hope still ties me to the Oar 
Of painfull Life, and makes me too, submit
To th' humblest shifts to keep that Life a foot;
My Face I will besmear and knit my Locks,
The Country gives me proof and president
Of Bedlam Beggars, who with roaring Voices
Strike in their numm'd and mortify'd bare Arms
Pins, Iron-spikes, Thorns, sprigs of Rosemary,
And thus from Sheep-coats Villages and Mills,
Sometimes with Prayers, sometimes with Lunatick Banns
Enforce their Charity, poor Tyrligod, poor Tom 
That's something yet, Edgar I am no more.
Kent in the Stocks still; Enter Lear attended.
Lear.'Tis strange that they shou'd so depart from home
And not send back our Messenger.
Kent.Hail, noble Master.
Lear.How? mak'st thou this Shame thy Pastime?
What's he that has so much mistook thy Place
To set thee here?
Kent.It is both He and She, Sir, your Son and Daughter.
Lear.No I say.
Kent.I say yea:
Lear.By Jupiter I swear no.
Kent.By Juno I swear, I swear I.
Lear.They durst not do't
They cou'd not, wou'd not do't, 'tis worse then Murder
To doe upon Respect such violent out-rage.
Resolve me with all modest haste which way
Thou mayst deserve, or they impose this usage?
Kent.My Lord, when at their Home 
I did commend your Highness Letters to them,
E'er I was Ris'n, arriv'd another Post
Steer'd in his haste, breathless and panting forth
From Gonerill his Mistress Salutations,
Whose Message being deliver'd, they took Horse,
Commanding me to follow and attend
The leisure of their Answer; which I did,
But meeting that other Messenger
Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine,
Being the very Fellow that of late 
Had shew'n such rudeness to your Highness, I
Having more Man than Wit about me, Drew,
On which he rais'd the House with Coward cries:
This was the Trespass which your Son and Daughter
Thought worth the shame you see it suffer here.
Lear.Oh! how this Spleen swells upward to my Heart
And heaves for passage — down thou climing Rage
Thy Element's below; where is this Daughter?
Kent.Within, Sir, at a Masque.
Lear.Now Gloster? — ha! 
Deny to speak with me? th'are sick, th'are weary,
They have travell'd hard to Night — meer fetches;
Bring me a better Answer.
Glost.My dear Lord,
You know the fiery Quality of the Duke —
Lear.Vengeance! Death, Plague, Confusion,
Fiery? what Quality — why Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the Duke of Cornwal and his Wife.
Glost.I have inform'd 'em so.
Lear.Inform'd 'em! dost thou understand me, Man, 
I tell thee Gloster —
Glost.I, my good Lord.
Lear.The King wou'd speak with Cornwal, the dear Father
Would with his Daughter speak, commands her Service.
Are they inform'd of this? my Breath and Blood!
Fiery! the fiery Duke! tell the hot Duke —
No, but not yet, may be he is not well:
Infirmity do's still neglect all Office;
I beg his Pardon, and I'll chide my Rashness
That took the indispos'd and sickly Fit 
For the sound Man — but wherefore sits he there?
Death on my State, this Act convinces me
That this Retiredness of the Duke and her
Is plain Contempt; give me my Servant forth,
Go tell the Duke and's Wife I'd speak with 'em.
Now, instantly, bid 'em come forth and hear me,
Or at their Chamber door I'll beat the Drum
Till it cry sleep to Death —
Enter Cornwall and Regan.Oh! are ye come?
Duke.Health to the King. 
Reg.I am glad to see your Highness.
Lear.Regan, I think you are, I know what cause
I have to think so; should'st thou not be glad
I wou'd divorce me from thy Mother's Tomb?
Beloved Regan, thou wilt shake to hear
What I shall utter: Thou coud'st ne'r ha' thought it,
Thy Sister's naught, O Regan, she has ty'd
Ingratitude like a keen Vulture here,
[Kent here set at liberty.I scarce can speak to thee.
Reg.I pray you, Sir, take patience; I have hope 
That you know less to value her Desert,
Then 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 wholsome Ends
As clears her from all Blame.
Lear.My Curses on her.
Reg.O Sir, you are old 
And shou'd content you to be rul'd and led
By some discretion that discerns your State
Better than you yourself, therefore, Sir,
Return to our Sister, and say you have wrong'd her.
Lear.Ha! ask her Forgiveness?
No, no, 'twas my mistake thou didst not mean so,
Dear Daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary, but thou art good,
And wilt dispense with my Infirmity.
Reg.Good Sir, no more of these unsightly passions, 
Return back to our Sister.
She has abated me of half of my Train,
Lookt black upon me, stabb'd me with her Tongue;
All the stor'd Vengeances of Heav'n fall
On her Ingratefull Head; strike her young Bones
Ye taking Ayrs with Lameness.
Reg.O the blest Gods! Thus will you wish on me
When the rash mood —
Lear.No, Regan, Thou shalt never have my Curse, 
Thy tender Nature cannot give thee o're
To such Impiety; Thou better know'st
The Offices of Nature, bond of Child-hood,
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, toth' purpose.
Lear.Who put my Man i'th' Stocks?
Duke.What Trumpet's that?
Reg.I know't, my Sister's, this confirms her Letters. 
Sir, is your Lady come?
Enter Gonerill's Gentleman.
Lear.More Torture still?
This is a Slave whose easie borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle Grace of her he follows;
A Fashion-fop that spends the day in Dressing,
And all to bear his Ladie's flatt'ring Message,
That can deliver with a Grace her Lie,
And with as bold a face bring back a greater.
Out Varlet from my sight.
Duke.What means your Grace? 
Lear.Who stockt my Servant? Regan, I have hope
Thou didst not know it.
Enter Gonerill.Who comes here! oh Heavens!
If you do love Old men, if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if your selves are Old,
Make it your Cause, send down and take my part;
Why, Gorgon, dost thou come to haunt me here?
Art not asham'd to look upon this Beard?
Darkness upon my Eyes they play me false,
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the Hand? 
Gon.Why not by th' Hand, Sir, how have I offended?
All's not Offence that indiscretion finds,
And Dotage terms so.
Lear.Heart thou art too tough.
Reg.I pray you, Sir, being old confess you are so,
If till the expiration of your Month
You will return and sojourn with your Sister,
Dismissing half your Train, come then to me,
I am now from Home, and out of that Provision
That shall be needfull for your Entertainment. 
Lear.Return with her and fifty Knights dismist?
No, rather I'll forswear all Roofs, and chuse
To be Companion to the Midnight Wolf,
My naked Head expos'd to th' merciless Air
Then have my smallest wants suppli'd by her.
Gon.At your choice, Sir.
Lear.Now I prithee Daughter do not make me mad;
I will not trouble thee, my Child, farewell,
Wee'l meet no more, no more see one another;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it, 
I do not bid the Thunder-bearer strike,
Nor tell Tales of thee to avenging Heav'n;
Mend when thou canst, be better at thy leisure,
I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
I, and my hundred Knights.
Reg.Your Pardon, Sir.
I lookt not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome.
Lear.Is this well spoken now?
Reg.My Sister treats you fair; what fifty Followers 
Is it not well? what shou'd you need of more?
Gon.Why might not you, my Lord, receive Attendance
From those whom she calls Servants, or from mine?
Reg.Why not, my Lord? if then they chance to slack you
We cou'd controll 'em — if you come to me,
For now I see the Danger, I entreat you
To bring but Five and Twenty; to no more
Will I give place.
Lear.Hold now my Temper, stand this bolt unmov'd
And I am Thunder-proof; 
The wicked when compar'd with the more wicked
Seem beautifull, and not to be the worst,
Stands in some rank of Praise; now, Gonerill,
Thou art innocent agen, I'll go with thee;
Thy Fifty yet, do's double Five and Twenty,
And thou art twice her Love.
Gon.Hear me, my Lord,
What need you Five and Twenty, Ten, or Five,
To follow in a House where twice so many
Have a Command t'attend you?
Reg.What need one?
Lear.Blood, Fire! hear — Leaprosies and bluest Plagues! 
Room, room for Hell to belch her Horrors up
And drench the Circes in a stream of Fire;
Heark how th' Infernals eccho to my Rage
Their Whips and Snakes —
Reg.How lewd a thing is Passion!
Gon.So old and stomachfull.
[Lightning and Thunder.
Lear.Heav'ns drop your Patience down;
You see me here, ye Gods, a poor old Man 
As full of Griefs as Age, wretched in both —
I'll bear no more: no, you unnatural Haggs,
I will have such Revenges on you both,
That all the world shall — I will do such things
What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
The Terrors of the Earth; you think I'll weep,
[Thunder again.This Heart shall break into a thousand pieces
Before I'll weep — O Gods! I shall go mad.
Duke.'Tis a wild Night, come out o'th' Storm.
End of the Second Act.
A C T I I I.
S C E N E, A Desert Heath.
Enter Lear and Kent in the Storm.
Lear.Blow Winds and burst your Cheeks, rage louder yet,
Fantastick Lightning singe, singe my white Head;
Spout Cataracts, and Hurricanos fall
Till you have drown'd the Towns and Palaces
Of proud ingratefull Man.
Kent.Not all my best intreaties can perswade him
Into some needfull shelter, or to 'bide
This poor slight Cov'ring on his aged Head
Expos'd to this wild war of Earth and Heav'n.
Lear.Rumble thy fill, fight Whirlwind, Rain and Fire: 
Not Fire, Wind, Rain or Thunder are my Daughters:
I tax not you ye Elements with unkindness;
I never gave you Kingdoms, call'd you Children,
You owe me no Obedience, then let fall
Your horrible pleasure, here I stand your Slave,
A poor, infirm, weak and despis'd old man;
Yet I will call you servile Ministers,
That have with two pernicious Daughters join'd
Their high-engendred Battle against a Head
So Old and White as mine, Oh! oh! 'tis Foul. 
Kent.Hard by, Sir, is a Hovel that will lend
Some shelter from this Tempest.
Lear.I will forget my Nature, what? so kind a Father,
I, there's the point.
Kent.Consider, good my Liege, Things that love Night
Love not such Nights as this; these wrathfull Skies
Frighten the very wanderers o'th' Dark,
And make 'em keep their Caves; such drenching Rain,
Such Sheets of Fire, such Claps of horrid Thunder,
Such Groans of roaring Winds have ne're been known. 
Lear.Let the Great Gods,
That keep this dreadfull pudder o're our Heads
Find out their Enemies now, tremble thou Wretch
That hast within thee undiscover'd Crimes.
Hide, thou bloody Hand,
Thou perjur'd Villain, holy, holy Hypocrite,
That drinkst the Widows Tears, sigh now and cry
These dreadfull Summoners Grace, I am a Man
More sin'd against than sinning.
Kent.Good Sir, to th' Hovell. 
Lear.My wit begins to burn,
Come on my Boy, how dost my Boy? art Cold?
I'm cold my Self; shew me this Straw, my Fellow,
The Art of our Necessity is strange,
And can make vile things precious; my poor Knave,
Cold as I am at Heart, I've one place There
[Lond. Storm.That's sorry yet for Thee.
Gloster's Palace. Enter Bastard.
Bast.The Storm is in our louder Rev'lings drown'd.
Thus wou'd I Reign cou'd I but mount a Throne.
The Riots of these proud imperial Sisters 
Already have impos'd the galling Yoke
Of Taxes, and hard Impositions on
The drudging Peasants Neck, who bellow out
Their loud Complaints in Vain — Triumphant Queens!
With what Assurance do they tread the Crowd.
O for a Tast of such Majestick Beauty,
Which none but my hot Veins are fit t' engage;
Nor are my Wishes desp'rate, for ev'n now
During the Banquet I observed their Glances
Shot thick at me, and as they left the Room 
Each cast by stealth a kind inviting Smile,
The happy Earnest — ha!
Two Servants from several Entrances deliver him each a Letter, and Ex.
Where merit is so Transparent, not to behold itEnough! Blind, and Ingratefull should I be
Not to Obey the Summons of This Oracle.
Now for a Second Letter.
[Opens the other.
If Modesty be not your Enemy, doubt not toExcellent Sybill! O my glowing Blood! 
I am already sick of expectation,
And pant for the Possession — here Gloster comes
With Bus'ness on his Brow; be husht my Joys.
Glost.I come to seek thee, Edmund, to impart a business of Importance; I knew thy loyal Heart is toucht to see the Cruelty of these ingratefull Daughters against our royal Master.
Bast.Most Savage and Unnatural.
Glost.This change in the State sits uneasie. The Commons repine aloud at their female Tyrants, already they Cry out for the re-installment of their good old King, whose Injuries I fear will inflame 'em into Mutiny.
Bast.'Tis to be hopt, not fear'd.
Glost.Thou hast it Boy, 'tis to be hopt indeed,
On me they cast their Eyes, and hourly Court me
To lead 'em on, and whilst this Head is Mine
I am 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 Combray;
[Gives him Letters.You know what mortal Feuds have alwaies flam'd
Between this Duke of Cornwall's Family, and his
Full Twenty thousand Mountaners
Th' invetrate Prince will send to our Assistance.
Dispatch; Commend us to his Grace, and Prosper.
Bast.Yes, credulous old Man,
[Aside.I will commend you to his Grace,
His Grace the Duke of Cornwall — instantly
To shew him these Contents in thy own Character, 
And Seal'd with thy own Signet; then forthwith
The Chol'rick Duke gives Sentence on thy Life;
And to my hand thy vast Revenues fall
To glut my Pleasure that till now has starv'd.
Gloster going off is met by Cordelia entring, Bastard observing at a Distance.
Cord.Turn, Gloster, Turn, by all the sacred Pow'rs
I do conjure you give my Griefs a Hearing,
You must, you shall, nay I am sure you will,
For you were always stil'd the Just and Good.
Glost.What wou'dst thou, Princess? rise and speak thy Griefs.
Cord.Nay, you shall promise to redress 'em too, 
Or here I'll kneel for ever; I intreat
Thy succour for a Father and a King,
An injur'd Father and an injur'd King.
Bast.O charming Sorrow! how her Tears adorn her
Like Dew on Flow'rs, but she is Virtuous,
And I must quench this hopeless Fire i'th' Kindling.
For whom thou begg'st, 'tis for the King that wrong'd Thee.
Cord.O name not that; he did not, cou'd not wrong me.
Nay muse not, Gloster, for it is too likely 
This injur'd King e're this is past your Aid,
And gone Distracted with his savage Wrongs.
Bast.I'll gaze no more — and yet my Eyes are Charm'd.
Cord.Or what if it be Worse? can there be Worse?
As '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 Boon to beg,
That you'd Convey me to his breathless Trunk, 
With my torn Robes to wrap his hoary Head,
With my torn Hair to bind his Hands and Feet,
Then with a show'r of Tears
To wash his Clay-smear'd Cheeks, and Die beside him.
Glost.Rise, fair Cordelia, thou hast Piety
Enough t' attone for both thy Sisters Crimes.
I have already plotted to restore
My injur'd Master, and thy Vertue tells me
We shall succeed, and suddenly.
Cord.Dispatch, Arante, 
Provide me a Disguise, we'll instantly
Go seek the King, and bring him some Relief.
Ar.How, Madam? are you Ignorant
Of what your impious Sisters have decreed?
Immediate Death for any that relieve him.
Cord.I cannot dread the Furies in this case.
Ar.In such a Night as This? Consider, Madam,
For many Miles about there's scarce a Bush
To shelter in.
Cord.Therefore no shelter for the King, 
And more our Charity to find him out:
What have not Women dar'd for vicious Love,
And we'll be shining Proofs that they can dare
For Piety as much; blow Winds, and Lightnings fall,
Bold in my Virgin Innocence, I'll flie
My Royal Father to Relieve, or Die.
Bast.Provide me a Disguise, we'll instantly
Go seek the King: — ha! ha! a lucky change,
That Vertue which I fear'd would be my hindrance
Has prov'd the Bond to my Design; 
I'll bribe two Ruffians that shall at a distance follow,
And seise 'em in some desert Place, and there
Whilst one retains her t' other shall return
T' inform me where she's Lodg'd; I'll be disguis'd too.
Whilst they are poching for me I'll to the Duke
With these Dispatches, then to th'Field
Where like the vig'rous Jove I will enjoy
This Semele in a Storm, 'twill deaf her Cries
Like Drums in Battle, lest her Groans shou'd pierce
My pittying Ear, and make the amorous Fight less fierce. 
Storm still. The Field Scene. Enter Lear and Kent.
Kent.Here is the place, my Lord; good my Lord enter;
The Tyranny of this open Night 's too rough
For Nature to endure.
Lear.Let me alone.
Kent.Good my Lord, enter.
Lear.Wilt break my Heart?
Kent.Beseech you, Sir.
Lear.Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious Storm
Invades us to the Skin so, 'tis to thee
But where the greater Malady is fixt 
The lesser is scarce felt: the Tempest in my Mind
Do's from my Senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there. Filial Ingratitude!
Is it not as this Mouth shou'd tear this Hand
For lifting Food to't? — but I'll punish home.
No, I will weep no more; in such a Night
To shut me out — pour on, I will endure
In such a Night as this: O Regan, Gonerill,
Your old kind Father whose frank heart gave All,
O that way madness lies, let me shun that, 
No more of that.
Kent.See, my Lord, here's the Entrance.
Lear.Well, I'll go in
And pass it all, I'll pray and then I'll sleep:
Poor naked Wretches wherefor'ere you are,
That 'bide the pelting of this pittiless Storm,
How shall your houseless Heads and unfed Sides
Sustain this Shock? your raggedness defend you
From Seasons such as These.
O I have ta'ne too little Care of this, 
Take Physick, Pomp,
Expose thy self to feel what Wretches feel,
That thou may'st cast the superflux to them,
And shew the Heav'ns more Just.
Edgar in the Hovell.Five Fathom and a half, poor Tom.
Kent.What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' Straw?
Edg.Away! The foul Fiend follows me — through the sharp Haw-thorn blows the cold Wind — Mum, Go to thy Bed and warm Thee. — ha! what do I see? by all my Griefs the poor old King beheaded,
[Aside.And drencht in this fow Storm, professing Syren,
Are all your Protestations come to this?
Lear.Tell me, Fellow, dist thou give all to thy Daughters?
Edg.Who gives any thing to poor Tom, whom the foul Fiend has led through Fire and through Flame, through Bushes and Boggs, that has laid Knives under his Pillow, and Halters in his Pue, that has made him proud of Heart to ride on a Bay-trotting Horse over four inch'd Bridges, to course his own Shadow for a Traytor. — bless thy five Wits, Tom's a cold [Shivers.] bless thee from Whirlwinds, Star-blasting and Taking: do poor Tom some Charity, whom the foul Fiend vexes — Sa, sa, there I could have him now, and there, and there agen.
Lear.Have his Daughters brought him to this pass?
Cou'dst thou save Nothing? didst thou give 'em All?
Kent.He has no Daughters, Sir.
Lear.Death, Traytor, nothing cou'd have subdu'd Nature
To such a Lowness but his unkind Daughters.
Edg.Pillicock sat upon Pillicock Hill; Hallo, hallo, hallo.
Lear.Is it the fashion that discarded Fathers
Should have such little Mercy on their Flesh?
Iudicious punishment, 'twas this Flesh begot
Those Pelican Daughters.
Edg.Take heed of the fow Fiend, obey thy Parents, keep thy Word justly, Swear not, commit not with Man's sworn Spouse, set not thy sweet Heart on proud Array: Tom's a Cold.
Lear.What hast thou been?
Edg.A Serving-man proud of Heart, that curl'd my Hair, us'd Perfume and Washes, that serv'd the Lust of my Mistresses Heart, and did the Act of Darkness with her. Swore as many Oaths as I spoke Words, and broke 'em all in the sweet Face of Heaven: Let not the Paint, nor the Patch, nor the rushing of Silks betray thy poor Heart to Woman, keep thy Foot out of Brothels, thy Hand out of Plackets, thy Pen from Creditors Books, and defie the foul Fiend — still through the Hawthorn blows the cold Wind — Sess, Suum, Mun, Nonny, Dolphin my Boy — hist! the Boy, Sesey! soft let him Trot by.
Lear.Death, thou wert better in thy Grave, than thus to answer with thy uncover'd Body this Extremity of the Sky. And yet consider him well, and Man's no more than This; Thou art indebted to the Worm for no Silk, to the Beast for no Hide, to the Cat for no Perfume — ha! here's Two of us are Sophisticated; Thou art the Thing it self, unaccommated Man is no more than such a poor bare forkt Animal as thou art.
Off, Off, ye vain Disguises, empty Lendings,
Kent.Defend his Wits, good Heaven!
Lear.One point I had forgot; what's your Name?
Edg.Poor Tom that eats the swimming Frog, the Wall-nut, and the Water-nut; that in the fury of his Heart when the foul Fiend rages eats Cow dung for Sallets, swallows the old Rat and the Ditch-dog, that drinks the green Mantle of the standing Pool that's whipt from Tithing to Tithing; that has Three Suits to his Back, Six Shirts to his Body,
Horse to Ride, and Weapon to wear,Beware, my Follower; Peace, Smulkin; Peace, thou foul Fiend.
Lear.One word more, but be sure true Councel; tell me, is a Madman a Gentleman, or a Yeoman?
Kent.I fear'd 't wou'd come to This, his Wits are gone.
Edg.Fraterreto calls me, and tells me, Nero is an Angler in the Lake of Darkness. Pray, Innocent, and beware the foul Fiend.
Lear.Right, ha! ha! was it not pleasant to have a Thousand with red hot Spits come hizzing in upon 'em?
Edg.My Tears begin to take his part so much
They marr my Counterfeiting.
Lear.The little Dogs and all, Trey, Blanch and Sweet-heart, see they Bark at me.
Edg.Tom will throw his Head at 'em; Avaunt ye Curs.
Be thy Mouth or black or white,Ud, de, de, de. Se, se, se. Come march to Wakes, and Fairs, and Market-Towns, — poor Tom, thy Horn is dry.
Lear.You Sir, I entertain you for One of my Hundred, only I do not like the fashion of your Garments, you'll say they're Persian, but no matter, let 'em be chang'd.
Edg.This is the foul Flibertigibet, he begins at Curfew and walks at first Cock, he gives the Web and the Pin, knits the Elflock, squints the Eye, and makes the Hair-lip, mildews the white Wheat, and hurts the poor Creature of the Earth;
Swithin footed Thrice the Cold,
Glost.What, has your Grace no better Company?
Edg.The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman; Modo he is call'd, and Mahu.
Glost.Go with me, Sir, hard by I have a Tenant.
My Duty cannot suffer me to obey in all your Daughters hard Commands, who have enjoyn'd me to make fast my Doors, and let this Tyrannous Night take hold upon you. Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out, and bring you where both Fire and Food is ready.
Kent.Good my Lord, take his offer.
Lear.First let me talk with this Philosopher,
Say, Stagirite, what is the Cause of Thunder.
Glost.Beseech you, Sir, go with me.
Lear.I'll talk a Word with this same Learned Theban.
What is your Study?
Edg.How to prevent the Fiend, and to kill Vermin.
Lear.Let me ask you a Word in private.
Kent.His Wits are quite unsetled; Good Sir, let's force him hence.
Glost.Canst blame him? his Daughters seek his Death; This Bedlam but disturbs him the more. Fellow, be gone.
Edg.Child Rowland to the dark Tow'r came,
His Word was still Fie, Fo, and Fum,
I smell the Bloud of a British Man. — Oh Torture!
Glost.Now, I prethee Friend, let's take him in our Arms, and carry him where he shall meet both Welcome, and Protection. Good sir, along with us.
Lear.You say right, let 'em Anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her Heart; is there any Cause in Nature for these hard Hearts?
Kent.Beseech your Grace.
Lear.Hist! — Make no Noise, make no Noise — so so; we'll to Supper i'th' Morning.
Enter Cordelia and Arante.
Ar.Dear Madam, rest ye here, our search is Vain,
Look here's a shed, beseech ye, enter here.
Cord.Prethee go in thy self, seek thy own Ease,
Where the Mind's free, the Body's Delicate:
This Tempest but diverts me from the Thought
Of what wou'd hurt me more.
Enter Two Ruffians.
1 Ruff.We have dog'd 'em far enough, this Place is private,
I'll keep 'em Prisoners here within this Hovell,
Whilst you return and bring Lord Edmund Hither;
But help me first to House 'em.
2 Ruff.Nothing but this dear Devil 
[Shows Gold.Shou'd have drawn me through all this Tempest;
But to our Work.
[They seize Cordelia and Arante, who Shriek out.Soft, Madam, we are Friends, dispatch, I say.
Cord.Help, murder, help! Gods! some kind Thunderbolt
To strike me Dead.
Edg.What Cry was That? — ha, Women seiz'd by Ruffians?
Is this a Place and Time for Villany?
Avaunt ye Bloud-hounds.
[Drives 'em with his Quarter-staff.
Both.The Devil, the Devil!
Edg.O speak, what are ye that appear to be 
O'th' tender Sex, and yet unguarded Wander
Through the dead Mazes of this dreadfull Night,
Where (tho' at full) the Clouded Moon scarce darts
Cord.First say what art thou
Our Guardian Angel, that wer't pleas'd t' assume
That horrid shape to fright the Ravishers?
We'll kneel to Thee.
Edg.O my tumultuous Bloud!
By all my trembling Veins Cordelia's Voice! 
'Tis she her self! — My Senses sure conform
To my wild Garb, and I am Mad indeed.
Cord.Whate're thou art, befriend a wretched Virgin,
And if thou canst direct our weary search.
Edg.Who relieves poor Tom, that sleeps on the Nettle, with the Hedge-pig for his Pillow.
Whilst Smug ply'd the Bellows
Ar.Alack, Madam, a poor wandring Lunatick.
Cord.And yet his Language seem'd but now well temper'd.
Speak, Friend, to one more wretched than thy self,
And if thou hast one Interval of sense,
Inform us if thou canst where we may find
A poor old Man, who through this Heath has stray'd
The tedious Night — Speak, sawest thou such a One?
Edg.The King, her Father, whom she's come to seek
[Aside.Through all the Terrors of this Night. O Gods! 
That such amazing Piety, such Tenderness
Shou'd yet to me be Cruel —
Yes, Fair One, such a One was lately here,
And is convey'd by some that came to seek him,
T' a Neighb'ring Cottage; but distinctly where,
I know not.
Cord.Blessings on 'em,
Let's find him out, Arante, for thou seest
We are in Heavens Protection.
Edg.O Cordelia! 
Cord.Ha! — Thou knowst my Name.
Edg.As you did once know Edgar's.
Edg.The poor Remains of Edgar, what your Scorn
Has left him.
Cord.Do we wake, Arante?
Edg.My Father seeks my Life, which I preserv'd
In hopes of some blest Minute to oblidge
Distrest Cordelia, and the Gods have giv'n it;
That Thought alone prevail'd with me to take 
This Frantick Dress, to make the Earth my Bed,
With these bare Limbs all change of Seasons bide,
Noons scorching Heat, and Midnights piercing Cold,
To feed on Offals, and to drink with Herds,
To Combat with the Winds, and be the Sport
Of Clowns, or what's more wretched yet, their Pity.
Ar.Was ever Tale so full of Misery!
Edg.But such a Fall as this I grant was due
To my aspiring Love, for 'twas presumptuous,
Though not presumptuously persu'd; 
For well you know I wore my Flames conceal'd,
And silent as the Lamps that Burn in Tombs,
'Till you perceiv'd my Grief, with modest Grace
Drew forth the Secret, and then seal'd my Pardon.
Cord.You had your Pardon, nor can you Challenge more.
Edg.What do I Challenge more?
Such Vanity agrees not with these Rags;
When in my prosp'rous State rich Gloster's Heir,
You silenc'd my Pretences, and enjoyn'd me
To trouble you upon that Theam no more; 
Then what Reception must Love's Language find
From these bare Limbs and Beggers humble Weeds?
Cord.Such as the Voice of Pardon to a Wretch Condemn'd;
Such as the Shouts
Of succ'ring Forces to a Town besieg'd.
Edg.Ah! what new Method now of Cruelty?
Cord.Come to my Arms, thou dearest, best of Men,
And take the kindest Vows that e're were spoke
By a protesting Maid.
Edg.Is't possible? 
Cord.By the dear Vital Stream that baths my Heart,
These hallow'd Rags of Thine, and naked Vertue,
These abject Tassels, these fantastick Shreds,
(Ridiculous ev'n to the meanest Clown)
To me are dearer than the richest Pomp
Of purple Monarchs.
Edg.Generous charming Maid,
The Gods alone that made, can rate thy Worth!
This most amazing Excellence shall be
Fame's Triumph, in succeeding Ages, when 
Thy bright Example shall adorn the Scene,
And teach the World Perfection.
Cord.Cold and weary,
We'll rest a while, Arante, on that Straw,
Then forward to find out the poor Old King.
Edg.Look I have Flint and Steel, the Implements
Of wandring Lunaticks, I'll strike a Light,
And make a Fire beneath this Shed, to dry
Thy Storm-drencht Garments, e're thou Lie to rest thee;
Then Fierce and Wakefull as th' Hesperian Dragon, 
I'll watch beside thee to protect thy Sleep;
Mean while, the Stars shall dart their kindest Beams,
And Angels Visit my Cordelia's Dreams
S C E N E, The Palace.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Bastard, Servants. Cornwall with Gloster's Letters.
Duke.I will have my Revenge e're I depart his house.
Regan, see here, a Plot upon our State,
'Tis Gloster's Character, that has betray'd
His double Trust of Subject, and of Ost.
Reg.Then double be our Vengeance, this confirms
Th'Intelligence that we now now receiv'd,
That he has been this Night to seek the King; 
But who, Sir, was the kind Discoverer?
Duke.Our Eagle, quick to spy, and fierce to seize,
Our trusty Edmund.
Reg.'Twas a noble Service;
O Cornwall, take him to thy deepest Trust,
And wear him as a Jewel at thy Heart.
Bast.Think, Sir, how hard a Fortune I sustain,
That makes me thus repent of serving you!
[Weeps.O that this Treason had not been, or I
Not the Discoverer. 
Duke.Edmund, Thou shalt find
A Father in our Love, and from this Minute
We call thee Earl of Gloster; but there yet
Remains another Justice to be done,
And that's to punish this discarded Traytor;
But least thy tender Nature shou'd relent
At his just Sufferings, nor brooke the Sight,
We wish thee to withdraw.
Reg.The Grotto, Sir, within the lower Grove,
[To Edmund Aside.Has Privacy to suit a Mourner's Thought. 
Bast.And there I may expect a Comforter,
Reg.What may happen, Sir, I know not,
But 'twas a Friends Advice.
Duke.Bring in the Traytour.
Gloster brought in.Bind fast his Arms.
Glost.What mean your Graces?
You are my Guests, pray do me no foul Play.
Duke.Bind him, I say, hard, harder yet.
Reg.Now, Traytor, thou shalt find — 
Duke.Speak, Rebel, where hast thou sent the King?
Whom spight of our Decree thou saw'st last Night.
Glost.I'm tide to th'Stake, and I must stand the Course.
Reg.Say where, and why thou hast conceal'd him.
Glost.Because I wou'd not see thy cruel Hands
Tear out his poor old Eyes, nor thy fierce Sister
Carve his anointed Flesh; but I shall see
The swift wing'd Vengeance overtake such Children.
Duke.See't shalt thou never, Slaves perform your Work,
Out with those treacherous Eyes, dispatch, I say, 
If thou seest Vengeance —
Glost.He that will think to live 'till he be old,
Give me some help — O cruel! oh! ye Gods.
[They put out his Eyes.
Serv.Hold, hold, my Lord, I bar your Cruelty,
I cannot love your safety and give way
To such a barbarous Practise.
Duke.Ha, my Villain.
Serv.I have been your Servant from my Infancy,
But better Service have I never done you
Then with this Boldness — 
Duke.Take thy Death, Slave.
Serv.Nay, then Revenge whilst yet my Bloud is Warm.
Reg.Help here — are you not hurt, my Lord?
Glost.Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of Nature
To quit this horrid Act.
Reg.Out, treacherous Villain,
Thou call'st on him that Hates thee, it was He
That broacht thy Treason, shew'd us thy Dispatches;
There — read, and save the Cambrian Prince a Labour,
If thy Eyes fail thee call for Spectacles. 
Glost.O my Folly!
Than Edgar was abus'd, kind Gods forgive me that.
Reg.How is't, my Lord?
Duke.Turn out that Eye-less Villain, let him smell
His way to Cambray, throw this Slave upon a Dunghill. Regan,
I Bleed apace, give me your Arm.
Glost.All Dark and Comfortless!
Where are those various Objects that but now
Employ'd my busie Eyes? where those Eyes?
Dead are their piercing Rays that lately shot
O're flowry Vales to distant Sunny Hills, 
And drew with Joy the vast Horizon in.
These groping Hands are now my only Guids,
And Feeling all my Sight.
O Misery! what words can sound my Grief?
Shut from the Living whilst among the Living;
Dark as the Grave amidst the bustling World.
At once from Business and from Pleasure bar'd;
No more to view the Beauty of the Spring,
Nor see the Face of Kindred, or of Friend. 
Yet still one way th' extreamest Fate affords,
And ev'n the Blind can find the Way to Death.
Must I then tamely Die, and unreveng'd?
So Lear may fall: No, with these bleeding Rings
I will present me to the pittying Crowd,
And with the Rhetorick of these dropping Veins
Enflame 'em to Revenge their King and me;
Then when the Glorious Mischief is on Wing,
This Lumber from some Precipice I'll throw,
And dash it on the ragged Flint below; 
Whence my freed Soul to her bright Sphear shall fly,
Through boundless Orbs, eternal Regions spy,
And like the Sun, be All one glorious Eye.
End of the Third Act.
A C T I V.
Edmund and Regan amorously Seated, Listning to Musick.
Bast.Why were those Beauties made Another's Right
Which None can prize like Me? charming Queen
Take all my blooming Youth, for ever fold me
In those soft Arms, Lull me in endless Sleep
That I may dream of pleasures too transporting
For Life to bear.
Reg.Live, live, my Gloster,
And feel no Death but that of swooning joy,
I yield thee Blisses on no harder Terms
Than that thou continue to be Happy. 
Bast.This Jealousie is yet more kind, is't possible
That I should wander from a Paradise
To feed on sickly Weeds? such Sweets live here
That Constancy will be no Vertue in me,
And yet must I forthwith go meet her Sister,
[Aside.To whom I must protest as much —
Suppose it be the same; why best of all,
And I have then my Lesson ready conn'd.
Reg.Wear this Remembrance of me — I dare now
[Gives him a Ring.Absent my self no longer from the Duke 
Whose Wound grows Dangerous — I hope Mortal.
Bast.And let this happy Image of your Gloster,
[Pulling out a Picture drops a Note.Lodge in that Breast where all his Treasure lies.
Reg.To this brave Youth a Womans blooming beauties
Are due: my Fool usurps my Bed — What's here?
Confusion on my Eyes.
Where Merit is so Transparent, not to behold it were Blindness, and not to reward it, Ingratitude.Vexatious Accident! yet Fortunate too,
My Jealousie's confirm'd, and I am taught
To cast for my Defence —
[Enter an Officer.Now, what mean those Shouts? and what thy hasty Entrance?
Off.A most surprizing and a sudden Change,
The Peasants are all up in Mutiny,
And only want a Chief to lead 'em on
To Storm your Palace.
Reg.On what Provocation?
Off.At last day's publick Festival, to which
The Yeomen from all Quarters had repair'd,
Old Gloster, whom you late depriv'd of Sight,
(His Veins yet Streaming fresh) presents himself,
Proclaims your Cruelty, and their Oppression, 
With the King's Injuries; which so enrag'd 'em,
That now that Mutiny which long had crept
Takes Wing, and threatens your Best Pow'rs.
Our Forces rais'd and led by Valiant Edmund,
Shall drive this Monster of Rebellion back
To her dark Cell; young Gloster's Arm allays
The Storm, his Father's feeble Breath did Raise.
The Field S C E N E, Enter Edgar.
Edg.The lowest and most abject Thing of Fortune
Stands still in Hope, and is secure from Fear, 
The lamentable Change is from the Best,
The Worst returns to Better — who comes here
[Enter Gloster, led by an old Man.My Father poorly led? depriv'd of Sight,
The precious Stones torn from their bleeding Rings!
Some-thing I heard of this inhumane Deed
But disbeliev'd it, as an Act too horrid
For the hot Hell of a curst Woman's fury,
When will the measure of my woes be full?
Glost.Revenge, thou art afoot, Success attend Thee.
Well have I sold my Eyes, if the Event 
Prove happy for the injur'd King.
Old M.O, my good Lord, I have been your Tenant, and your Father's Tenant these Fourscore years.
Glost.Away, get thee Away, good Friend, be gone,
Thy Comforts can do me no good at All,
Thee they may hurt.
Old M.You cannot see your Way.
Glost.I have no Way, and therefore want no Eyes,
I stumbled when I saw: O dear Son Edgar,
The Food of thy abused Father's Wrath, 
Might I but live to see thee in my Touch
I'd say, I had Eyes agen.
Edg.Alas, he's sensible that I was wrong'd,
And shou'd I own my Self, his tender Heart
Would break betwixt th' extreams of Grief and Joy.
Old M.How now, who's There?
Edg.A Charity for poor Tom. Play fair, and defie the foul Fiend.
O Gods! and must I still persue this Trade,
[Aside.Trifling beneath such Loads of Misery?
Old M.'Tis poor mad Tom. 
Glost.In the late Storm I such a Fellow saw,
Which made me think a Man a Worm,
Where is the Lunatick?
Old M.Here, my Lord.
Glost.Get thee now away, if for my sake
Thou wilt o're-take us hence a Mile or Two
I' th' way tow'rd Dover, do't for ancient Love,
And bring some cov'ring for this naked Wretch
Whom I'll intreat to lead me.
Old M.Alack, my Lord, He's Mad. 
Glost.'Tis the Time's Plague when Mad-men lead the Blind.
Do as I bid thee.
Old M.I'll bring him the best 'Parrel that I have
Come on't what will.
Glost.Sirrah, naked Fellow.
Edg.Poor Tom's a cold; — I cannot fool it longer,
And yet I must — bless thy sweet Eyes they Bleed,
Believe't poor Tom ev'n weeps his Blind to see 'em.
Glost.Know'st thou the way to Dover?
Edg.Both Stile and Gate, Horse-way and Foot-path, poor Tom has been scar'd out of his good Wits; bless every true Man's Son from the foul Fiend.
Glost.Here, take this Purse, that I am wretched
Makes thee the Happier, Heav'n deal so still.
Thus let the griping Userers Hoard be Scatter'd,
So Distribution shall undo Excess,
And each Man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
Glost.There is a Cliff, whose high and bending Head
Looks dreadfully down on the roaring Deep. 
Bring me but to the very Brink of it,
And I'll repair the Poverty thou bearst
With something Rich about me, from that Place
I shall no leading need.
Edg.Give me thy Arm: poor Tom shall guid thee.
Glost.Soft, for I hear the Tread of Passengers.
Enter Kent and Cordelia.
Cord.Ah me! your Fear's too true, it was the King;
I spoke but now with some that met him
As Mad as the vext Sea, Singing aloud,
Crown'd with rank Femiter and furrow Weeds, 
With Berries, Burdocks, Violets, Dazies, Poppies,
And all the idle Flow'rs that grow
In our sustaining Corn, conduct me to him
To prove my last Endeavours to restore him,
And Heav'n so prosper thee.
Kent.I will, good Lady.
Ha, Gloster here! — turn, poor dark Man, and hear
A Friend's Condolement, who at Sight of thine
Forgets his own Distress, thy old true Kent.
Glost.How, Kent? from whence return'd? 
Kent.I have not since my Banishment been absent,
But in Disguise follow'd the abandon'd King;
'Twas me thou saw'st with him in the late Storm.
Glost.Let me embrace thee, had I Eyes I now
Should weep for Joy, but let this trickling Blood
Suffice instead of Tears.
To whom shall I complain, or in what Language?
Forgive, O wretched Man, the Piety
That brought thee to this pass, 'twas I that caus'd it, 
I cast me at thy Feet, and beg of thee
To crush these weeping Eyes to equal Darkness,
If that will give thee any Recompence.
Edg.Was ever Season so distrest as This?
Glost.I think Cordelia's Voice! rise, pious Princess,
And take a dark Man's Blessing.
Cord.O, my Edgar,
My Vertue's now grown Guilty, works the Bane
Of those that do befriend me, Heav'n forsakes me,
And when you look that Way, it is but Just 
That you shou'd hate me too.
Edg.O wave this cutting Speech, and spare to wound
A Heart that's on the Rack.
Glost.No longer cloud thee, Kent, in that Disguise,
There's business for thee and of noblest weight;
Our injur'd Country is at length in Arms,
Urg'd by the King's inhumane Wrongs and Mine,
And only want a Chief to lead 'em on.
That Task be Thine.
Edg.Brave Britains then there's Life in 't yet. 
Kent.Then have we one cast for our Fortune yet.
Come, Princess, I'll bestow you with the King,
Then on the Spur to Head these Forces.
Farewell, good Gloster, to our Conduct trust.
Glost.And be your Cause as Prosp'rous as tis Just.
Gonerill's Palace. Enter Gonerill, Attendants.
Gon.It was great Ignorance Gloster's Eyes being out
To let him live, where he arrives he moves
All Hearts against us, Edmund I think is gone
In pity to his Misery to dispatch him.
Gent.No, Madam, he's return'd on speedy Summons 
Back to your Sister.
Gon.Ha! I like not That,
Such speed must have the Wings of Love; where's Albany.
Gent.Madam, within, but never Man so chang'd;
I told him of the uproar of the Peasants,
He smil'd at it, when I inform'd him
Of Gloster's Treason —
Gon.Trouble him no further,
It is his coward Spirit, back to our Sister,
Hasten her Musters, and let her know 
I have giv'n the Distaff into my Husband's Hands.
That done, with special Care deliver these Dispatches
In private to young Gloster.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess.O Madam, most unseasonable News,
The Duke of Cornwall's Dead of his late Wound,
Whose loss your Sister has in part supply'd,
Making brave Edmund General of her Forces.
Gon.One way I like this well;
But being Widow and my Gloster with her
May blast the promis'd Harvest of our Love. 
A word more, Sir, — add Speed to your Journey,
And if you chance to meet with that blind Traytor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
Field S C E N E. Gloster and Edgar.
Glost.When shall we come to th' Top of that same Hill?
Edg.We climb it now, mark how we Labour.
Glost.Methinks the Ground is even.
Edg.Horrible Steep; heark, do you hear the Sea?
Edg.Why then your other Senses grow imperfect,
By your Eyes Anguish. 
Glost.So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy Voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better Phrase and Matter than thou did'st.
Edg.You are much deceiv'd, in nothing am I Alter'd
But in my Garments.
Glost.Methinks y'are better Spoken.
Edg.Come on, Sir, here's the Place, how fearfull
And dizy 'tis to cast one's Eyes so Low.
The Crows and Choughs that wing the Mid-way Air
Shew scarce so big as Beetles, half way down 
Hangs one that gathers Sampire, dreadfull Trade!
The Fisher-men that walk upon the Beach
Appear like Mice, and yon tall Anch'ring Barque
Seems lessen'd to her Cock, her Cock a Buoy
Almost too small for Sight; the murmuring Surge
Cannot be heard so high, I'll look no more
Lest my Brain turn, and the disorder make me
Tumble down head long.
Glost.Set me where you stand.
Edg.You are now within a Foot of th'extream Verge. 
For all beneath the Moon I wou'd not now
Glost.Let go my Hand,
Here, Friend, is another Purse, in it a Jewel
Well worth a poor Man's taking; get thee further,
Bid me Farewell, and let me hear thee going.
Edg.Fare you well, Sir, — that I do Trifle thus
With this his Despair is with Design to cure it.
Glost.Thus, mighty Gods, this World I do renounce,
And in your Sight shake my Afflictions off; 
If I cou'd bear'em longer and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless Wills,
My Snuff and feebler Part of Nature shou'd
Burn it self out; if Edgar Live, O Bless him.
Now, Fellow, fare thee well.
Edg.Gone, Sir! Farewell.
And yet I know not how Conceit may rob
The Treasury of Life, had he been where he thought,
By this had Thought been past — Alive, or Dead?
Hoa Sir, Friend; hear you, Sir, speak — 
Thus might he pass indeed — yet he revives.
What are you, Sir?
Glost.Away, and let me Die.
Edg.Hadst thou been ought but Gosmore, Feathers, Air,
Falling so many Fathom down
Thou hadst Shiver'd like an Egg; but thou dost breath
Hast heavy Substance, bleedst not, speak'st, art sound;
Thy Live's a Miracle.
Glost.But have I faln or no?
Edg.From the dread Summet of this chalky Bourn: 
Look up an Height, the Shrill-tun'd Lark so high
Cannot be seen, or heard; do but look up.
Glost.Alack, I have no Eyes.
Is wretchedness depriv'd that Benefit
To End it self by Death?
Edg.Give me your Arm.
Up, so, how is't? feel you your Legs? you stand.
Glost.Too well, too well.
Edg.Upon the Crow o'th' Cliff, what Thing was that
Which parted from you? 
Glost.A poor unfortunate Begger.
Edg.As I stood here below, me-thought his Eyes
Were two Full Moons, wide Nostrils breathing Fire.
It was some Fiend, therefore thou happy Father,
Think that th'all-powerfull Gods who make them Honours
Of Mens Impossibilities have preserv'd thee.
Glost.'Tis wonderfull; henceforth I'll bear Affliction
Till it expire; the Goblin which you speak of,
I took it for a Man: oft-times 'twould say,
The Fiend, the Fiend: He led me to that Place. 
Edg.Bear free and patient Thoughts: but who comes here?
Enter Lear, a Coronet of Flowers on his Head. Wreaths and Garlands about him.
Lear.No, no, they cannot touch me for Coyning, I am the King Himself.
Edg.O piercing Sight.
Lear.Nature's above Art in that Respect; There's your Press-money: that Fellow handles his Bow like a Cow-keeper, — draw me a Clothier's yard. A Mouse, a Mouse; peace hoa: there's my Gauntlet, I'll prove it on a Giant: bring up the brown Bills: O well flown Bird; i' th' White, i' th' White — Hewgh! give the Word.
Glost.I know that Voice.
Lear.Ha! Gonerill with a white Beard! they flatter'd me like a Dog, and told me I had white Hairs on my Chin, before the Black ones were there; to say I and No to every thing that I said, I and No too was no good Divinity. When the Rain came once to wet me, and the Winds to make me Chatter; when the Thunder wou'd not Peace at my Bidding. There I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out; go too, they are not men of their words, They told me I was a King, 'tis a Lie, I am not Argue proof.
Glost.That Voice I well remember, is't not the King's?
Lear.I, every Inch a King, when I do Stare
See how the Subject quakes.
I pardon that Man's Life, what was the Cause?
Adultery? Thou shalt not Die. Die for Adultery!
The Wren goes to't, and the small gilded Flie
Engenders in my Sight: Let Copulation thrive,
For Gloster's Bastard Son was kinder to his Father
Than were my Daughters got i'th' lawfull Bed.
To't Luxury, pell mell, for I lack Souldiers. 
Glost.Not all my Sorrows past so deep have toucht me,
As the sad Accents: Sight were now a Torment —
Lear.Behold that simp'ring Lady, she that starts
At Pleasure's Name, and thinks her Ear profan'd
With the least wanton Word, wou'd you believe it,
The Fitcher nor the pamper'd Steed goes to't
With such a riotous Appetite: down from the Wast they are Centaurs, tho Women all Above; but to the Girdle do the Gods inherit, beneath is all the Fiends; There's Hell, there's Darkness, the Sulphurous unfathom'd — Fie! fie! pah! — an Ounce of Civet, good Apothecary, to sweeten my Imagination — There's Money for thee.
Glost.Let me kiss that Hand.
Lear.Let me wipe it first; it smells of Mortality.
Glost.Speak, Sir; do you know me?
Lear.I remember thy Eyes well enough: Nay, do thy worst, blind Cupid, I'll not Love — read me this Challenge, mark but the penning of it.
Glost.Were all the Letters Suns I cou'd not see.
Edg.I wou'd not take this from Report: wretched Cordelia,
What will thy Vertue do when thou shalt find
This fresh Affliction added to the Tale
Of thy unparrallel'd Griefs.
Glost.What with this Case of eyes?
Lear.O ho! are you there with me? no Eyes in your Head, and no money in your Purse? yet you see how this World goes.
Glost.I see it Feelingly.
Lear.What? art Mad? a Man may see how this World goes with no Eyes. Look with thy Ears, see how yon Justice rails on that simple Thief; shake'em together, and the first that drops, be it Thief or Justice, is a Villain. — Thou hast seen a Farmer's Dog bark at a Beggar.
Lear.And the Man ran from the Curr; there thou mightst behold the great Image of Authority, a Dog's obey'd in Office. Thou Rascal, Beadle, hold thy bloody Hand, why dost thou Lash that Strumpet? thou hotly Lust'st to enjoy her in that kind for which thou whipst her, do, do, the Judge that sentenc'd her has been before-hand with thee.
Glost.How stiff is my vile Sense that yields not yet?
Lear.I tell thee the Usurer hangs the Couz'ner, through tatter'd Robes small Vices do appear, Robes and Fur-gowns hide All: Place Sins with Gold, why there 'tis for thee, my Friend, make much of it, it has the Pow'r to seal the Accuser's Lips. Get thee glass Eyes, and like a scurvy Politician, seem to see the Things thou dost not. Pull, pull off my Boots, hard, harder, so, so.
Glost.O Matter and Impertinency mixt
Reason in Madness. 
Lear.If thou wilt weep my Fortunes take my Eyes,
I know thee well enough, thy Name is Gloster.
Thou must be patient, we came Crying hither
Thou knowst, the first time that We tast the Air
We Wail and Cry — I'll preach to thee, Mark.
Edg.Break lab'ring Heart.
Lear.When we are Born we Cry that we are come
To this great Stage of Fools. —
Enter Two or Three Gentlemen.
Gent.O here he is, lay hand upon him, Sir,
Your dearest Daughter sends — 
Lear.No Rescue? what, a Prisoner? I am even the natural Fool of Fortune: Use me well, you shall have Ransome — let me have Surgeons, Oh I am cut to th' Brains.
Gent.You shall have any Thing.
Lear.No Second's? all my Self? I will Die bravely like a smug Bridegroom, flusht and pamper'd as a Priest's Whore. I am a King, my Masters, know ye that?
Gent.You are a Royal one, and we Obey you.
Lear.It were an excellent Stratagem to Shoe a Troop of Horse with Felt, I'll put in proof — no Noise, no Noise — now will we steal upon these Sons in Law, and then — Kill, kill, kill, kill!
Glost.A Sight most moving in the meanest Wretch,
Past speaking in a King. Now, good Sir, what are you?
Edg.A most poor Man made tame to Fortune's strokes,
And prone to Pity by experienc'd Sorrows; give me your Hand.
Glost.You ever gentle Gods take my Breath from me,
And let not my ill Genius tempt me more
To Die before you please.
Enter Gonerill's Gentleman Usher.
Gent.A proclaim'd Prize, O most happily met,
That Eye-less Head of thine was first fram'd Flesh 
To raise my Fortunes; Thou old unhappy Traytor,
The Sword is out that must Destroy thee.
Glost.Now let thy friendly Hand put Strength enough to't.
Gent.Wherefore, bold Peasant,
Darst thou support a publisht Traytor, hence,
Lest I destroy Thee too. Let go his Arm.
Edg.'Chill not Let go Zir, without 'vurther 'Casion.
Gent.Let go Slave, or thou Dyest.
Edg.Good Gentleman go your Gate, and let poor Volk pass, and 'Chu'd ha' bin Zwagger'd out of my Life it wou'd not a bin zo long as 'tis by a Vort-night — Nay, an' thou com'st near th' old Man, I'ce try whether your Costard or my Ballow be th' harder.
Edg.'Chill pick your Teeth, Zir; Come, no matter vor your Voines.
Gent.Slave, thou hast Slain me; oh untimely Death.
Edg.I know thee well, a serviceable Villain,
As duteous to the Vices of thy Mistress
As Lust cou'd wish. 
Glost.What, is he Dead?
Edg.Sit you, Sir, and rest you.
This is a Letter Carrier, and may have
Some Papers of Intelligence that may stand
Our Party in good stead, to know — what's here?
[Takes a Letter out of his Pocket, opens, and reads.
To Edmund Earl of Gloster.A Plot upon her Husband's Life,
And the Exchange my Brother — here i'th' Sands.
I'll rake thee up thou Messenger of Lust,
Griev'd only that thou hadst no other Deaths-man.
In Time and Place convenient I'll produce
These Letters to the Sight of th' injur'd Duke
As best shall serve our Purpose; Come, your Hand.
Far off methinks I hear the beaten Drum,
Come, Sir, I will bestow you with a Friend. 
A Chamber. Lear a Sleep on a Couch; Cordelia, and Attendants standing by him.
Cord.His Sleep is sound, and may have good Effect
To Cure his jarring Senses, and repair
This Breach of Nature.
Phys.We have employ'd the utmost Pow'r of Art,
And this deep Rest will perfect our Design.
Cord.O Regan, Gonerill, inhumane Sisters,
Had he not been your Father, these white Hairs
Had challeng'd sure some pity, was this a Face
To be expos'd against the jarring Winds?
My Enemy's Dog though he had bit me shou'd 
Have stood that Night against my Fire — he wakes, speak to him.
Gent.Madam, do you, 'tis fittest.
Cord.How do's my royal Lord? how fares your Majesty?
Lear.You do me wrong to take me out o'th' Grave.
Ha! is this too a World of Cruelty?
I know my Priviledge, think not that I will
Be us'd still like a wretched Mortal, no,
No more of That.
Cord.Speak to me, Sir, who am I?
Lear.You are a Soul in Bliss, but I am bound 
Upon a wheel of Fire, which my own Tears
Do scald like Molten Lead.
Cord.Sir, do you know me?
Lear.You are a Spirit, I know, where did you Die?
Cord.Still, still, far wide.
Phys.Madam, he's scarce awake; he'll soon grow more compos'd.
Lear.Where have I been? where am I? fair Day-light!
I am mightily abus'd, I shou'd ev'n Die with pity
To see Another thus. I will not swear
These are my Hands. 
Cord.O look upon me, Sir,
And hold your Hands in Blessing o're me, nay,
You must not kneel.
Lear.Pray do not mock me.
I am a very foolish fond Old Man,
Fourscore and upward, and to deal plainly with you,
I fear I am not in my perfect Mind.
Cord.Nay, then farewell to patience; witness for me
Ye mighty Pow'rs, I ne're complain'd till now!
Lear.Methinks I shou'd know you, and know this Man, 
Yet I am Doubtfull, for I am mainly Ignorant
What Place this is, and all the skill I have
Remembers not these Garments, nor do I know
Where I did Sleep last Night — pray do not mock me —
For, as I am a Man, I think that Lady
To be my Child Cordelia.
Cord.O my dear, dear Father!
Lear.Be your Tears wet? yes faith; pray do not weep,
I know I have giv'n thee Cause, and am so humbled
With Crosses since, that I cou'd ask 
Forgiveness of thee were it possible
That thou cou'dst grant it, but I'm well assur'd
Thou canst not; therefore I do stand thy Justice,
If thou hast Poyson for me I will Drink it,
Bless thee and Die.
Cord.O pity, Sir, a bleeding Heart, and cease
This killing Language.
Lear.Tell me, Friends, where am I?
Gent.In your own Kingdom, Sir.
Lear.Do not Abuse me. 
Gent.Be comforted, good Madam, for the Violence
Of his Distemper's past; we'll lead him in
Nor trouble him, till he is better Setled.
Wilt please you, Sir, walk into freer Air.
Lear.You must bear with me, I am Old and Foolish.
[They lead him off.
Cord.The Gods restore you — heark, I hear afar
The beaten Drum, Old Kent's a Man of's Word.
O for an Arm
Like the fierce Thunderer's, when th' earth-born Sons
Storm'd Heav'n, to fight this injur'd Father's Battle. 
That I cou'd shift my Sex, and die me deep
In his Opposer's Blood, but as I may
With Womens Weapons, Piety and Pray'rs,
I'll aid his Cause — You never-erring Gods
Fight on his side, and Thunder on his Foes
Such Tempest as his poor ag'd Head sustain'd;
Your Image suffers when a Monarch bleeds.
'Tis your own Cause, for that your Succours bring,
Revenge your Selves, and right an injur'd King.
End of the Fourth Act.
A C T V.
S C E N E, A Camp.
Enter Gonerill and Attendants.
Gon.Our Sisters Pow'rs already are arriv'd,
And She her self has promis'd to prevent
The Night with her Approach: have you provided
The Banquet I bespoke for her Reception
At my Tent?
Att.So, please your Grace, we have.
Gon.But thou, my Poysner, must prepare the Bowl
That Crowns this Banquet, when our Mirth is high,
The Trumpets sounding and the Flutes replying,
Then is the Time to give this fatal Draught 
To this imperious Sister; if then our Arms succeed,
Edmund more dear than Victory is mine.
But if Defeat or Death it self attend me,
'Twill charm my Ghost to think I've left behind me
[Trumpet.No happy Rival: heark, she comes.
Enter Bastard in his Tent.
Bast.To both these Sisters have I sworn my Love,
Each jealous of the other, as the Stung
Are of the Adder; neither can be held
If both remain Alive; where shall I fix?
Cornwall is Dead, and Regan's empty Bed 
Seems cast by Fortune for me, but already
I have enjoy'd her, and bright Gonerill
With equal Charms brings dear variety,
And yet untasted Beauty: I will use
Her Husband's Countenance for the Battail, then
Usurp at once his Bed and Throne.
[Enter Officers.My trusty Scouts y' are well return'd, have ye descry'd
The Strength and Posture of the Enemy?
Off.We have, and were surpriz'd to find
The banisht Kent return'd, and at their Head; 
Your Brother Edgar on the Rear; Old Gloster
(a moving Spectacle) led through their Ranks,
Whose pow'rfull Tongue, and more prevailing Wrongs,
Have so enrag'd their rustick Spirits, that with
Th' approaching Dawn we must expect their Battle.
Bast.You bring a welcome Hearing; Each to his Charge.
Line well your Ranks and stand on your Award,
To Night repose you, and i'th' Morn we'll give
The Sun a Sight that shall be worth his Rising.
S C E N E, A Valley near the Camp.
Enter Edgar and Gloster.
Edg.Here, Sir, take you the shadow of this Tree 
For your good Host, pray that the Right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again
I'll bring you Comfort.
Glost.Thanks, friendly Sir;
The Fortune your good Cause deserves betide you.
An Alarum, after which Gloster speaks.The Fight grows hot; the whole War's now at Work,
And the goar'd Battle bleeds in every Vein,
Whilst Drums and Trumpets drown loud Slaughter's Roar:
Where's Gloster now that us'd to head the Fray,
And scour the Ranks where deadliest Danger lay? 
Here like a Shepherd in a lonely Shade,
Idle, unarm'd, and listning to the Fight.
Yet the disabled Courser, Maim'd and Blind,
When to his Stall he hears the ratling War,
Foaming with Rage tears up the batter'd Ground,
And tugs for Liberty.
No more of Shelter, thou blind Worm, but forth
To th' open Field; the War may come this way
And crush thee into Rest. — Here lay thee down
And tear the Earth, that work befits a Mole. 
O dark Despair! when, Edgar, wilt thou come
To pardon and dismiss me to the Grave!
[A Retreat sounded.Heark! a Retreat, the King has Lost or Won.
Re-enter Edgar, bloody.
Edg.Away, old Man, give me your Hand, away!
King Lear has lost, He and his Daughter tane,
And this, ye Gods, is all that I can save
Of this most precious Wreck: give me your Hand.
Glost.No farther, Sir, a Man may Rot even here.
Edg.What? in ill Thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence ev'n as their coming hither. 
Glost.And that's true too.
Flourish. Enter in Conquest, Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Bastard. — Lear, Kent, Cordelia Prisoners.
Alb.It is enough to have Conquer'd, Cruelty
Shou'd ne're survive the Fight, Captain o'th' Guards
Treat well your royal Prisoners till you have
Our further Orders, as you hold our Pleasure.
Gon.Heark, Sir, not as you hold our Husbands pleasure
[To the Captain aside.But as you hold your Life, dispatch your Pris'ners.
Our Empire can have no sure Settlement
But in their Death, the Earth that covers them
Binds fast our Throne. Let me hear they are Dead. 
Capt.I shall obey your Orders.
Bast.Sir, I approve it safest to pronounce
Sentence of Death upon this wretched King,
Whose Age has Charms in it, his Title more,
To draw the Commons once more to his Side,
'Twere best prevent —
Alb.Sir, by your Favour,
I hold you but a Subject of this War,
Not as a Brother.
Reg.That's as we list to Grace him. 
Have you forgot that He did lead our Pow'rs?
Bore the Commission of our Place and Person?
And that Authority may well stand up
And call it self your Brother.
Gon.Not so hot,
In his own Merits he exalts himself
More than in your Addition.
Enter Edgar, disguised.
Alb.What art Thou?
Edg.Pardon me, Sir, that I presume to stop
A Prince and Conquerour, yet e'er you Triumph, 
Give Ear to what a Stranger can deliver
Of what concerns you more than Triumph can.
I do impeach your General there of Treason,
Lord Edmund, that usurps the Name of Gloster,
Of fowlest Practice 'gainst your Life and Honour;
This Charge is True, and wretched though I seem
I can produce a Champion that will prove
In single Combat what I do avouch;
If Edmund dares but trust his Cause and Sword. 
Bast.What will not Edmund dare, my Lord, I beg
The favour that you'd instantly appoint
The Place where I may meet this Challenger,
Whom I will sacrifice to my wrong'd Fame,
Remember, Sir, that injur'd Honour's nice
And cannot brook delay.
Alb.Anon, before our Tent, i'th' Army's view,
There let the Herald cry.
Edg.I thank your Highness in my Champion's Name,
He'll wait your Trumpet's call.
Manent, Lear, Kent, Cordelia, guarded.
Lear.O Kent, Cordelia!
You are the onely Pair that I e'er wrong'd,
And the just Gods have made you Witnesses
Of my Disgrace, the very shame of Fortune,
To see me chain'd and shackled at these years!
Yet were you but Spectatours of my Woes,
Not fellow-sufferers, all were well!
Cord.This language, Sir, adds yet to our Affliction.
Lear.Thou, Kent, didst head the Troops that fought my Battel,
Expos'd thy Life and Fortunes for a Master 
That had (as I remember) banisht Thee.
Kent.Pardon me, Sir, that once I broke your Orders,
Banisht by you, I kept me here disguis'd
To watch your Fortunes, and protect your Person,
You know you entertain'd a rough blunt Fellow,
One Cajus, and you thought he did you Service.
Lear.My trusty Cajus, I have lost him too!
[Weeps.'Twas a rough Honesty.
Kent.I was that Cajus,
Disguis'd in that course Dress to follow you. 
Lear.My Cajus too! wer't thou my trusty Cajus,
Enough, enough —
Cord.Ah me, he faints! his Blood forsakes his Cheek,
Help, Kent —
Lear.No, no, they shall not see us weep,
We'll see them rot first, — Guards lead away to Prison,
Come, Kent, Cordelia come,
We Two will sit alone, like Birds i'th Cage,
When Thou dost ask me Blessing, I'll kneel down
And ask of Thee Forgiveness; Thus we'll live, 
And Pray, and Sing, and tell old Tales, and Laugh
At gilded Butter-flies, hear Sycophants
Talk of Court News, and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses, and who wins, who's in, who's out,
And take upon us the Mystery of Things
As if we were Heav'ns Spies.
Cord.Upon such Sacrifices
The Gods themselves throw Incense.
Lear.Have I caught ye?
He that parts us must bring a Brand from Heav'n. 
Together we'll out-toil the spight of Hell,
And Die the Wonders of the World; Away.
Flourish: Enter before the Tents, Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Guards and Attendants; Gonerill speaking apart to the Captain of the Guards entring.
Gon.Here's Gold for Thee, Thou knowst our late Command
Upon your Pris'ners Lives, about it streight, and at
Our Ev'ning Banquet let it raise our Mirth
To hear that They are Dead.
Capt.I shall not fail your Orders.
Albany, Gon. Reg. take their Seats.
Alb.Now, Gloster, trust to thy single Vertue, for thy Souldiers,
All levied in my Name, have in my Name
Took their Discharge; now let our Trumpets speak, 
And Herald read out This.
If any Man of Quality, within the Lists of the Army, will maintain upon Edmund, suppos'd Earl of Gloster, that he is manifold Traytour, let him appear by the third sound of the Trumpet; He is bold in his Defence. — Agen, Agen.
[Trumpet Answers from within.
Enter Edgar, Arm'd.
Bast.Ha! my Brother!
This is the onely Combatant that I cou'd fear;
For in my Breast Guilt Duels on his side,
But, Conscience, what have I to do with Thee? 
Awe Thou thy dull Legitimate Slaves, but I
Was born a Libertine, and so I keep me.
Edg.My noble Prince, a word — e'er we engage
Into your Highness's Hands I give this Paper,
It will the truth of my Impeachment prove
Whatever be my fortune in the Fight.
Alb.We shall peruse it.
Edg.Now, Edmund, draw thy Sword,
That if my Speech has wrong'd a noble Heart,
Thy Arm may doe thee Justice: here i'th' presence 
Of this high Prince, these Queens, and this crown'd List,
I brand thee with the spotted name of Traytour,
False to thy Gods, thy Father and thy Brother,
And what is more, thy Friend; false to this Prince:
If then Thou shar'st a spark of Gloster's Vertue,
Acquit thy self, or if Thou shar'st his Courage,
Meet this Defiance bravely.
Bast.And dares Edgar,
The beaten routed Edgar, brave his Conquerour?
From all thy Troops and Thee, I forc't the Field, 
Thou hast lost the gen'ral Stake, and art Thou now
Come with thy petty single Stock to play
Thy Father's Sin first, then his Punishment,
The dark and vicious Place where he begot thee
Cost him his Eyes: from thy licentious Mother
Thou draw'st thy Villany; but for thy part
Of Gloster's Blood, I hold thee worth my Sword.
Bast.Thou bear'st thee on thy Mother's Piety, 
Which I despise; thy Mother being chaste
Thou art assur'd Thou art but Gloster's Son,
But mine, disdaining Constancy, leaves me
To hope that I am sprung from nobler Blood,
And possibly a King might be my Sire:
But be my Birth's uncertain Chance as 'twill,
Who 'twas that had the hit to Father me
I know not; 'tis enough that I am I:
Of this one thing I'm certain — that I have
A daring Soul, and so have at thy Heart 
[Fight, Bastard falls.
Gon. and Reg.Save him, save him.
Gon.This was Practice, Gloster,
Thou won'st the Field, and wast not bound to Fight
A vanquisht Enemy, Thou art not Conquer'd
But couz'ned and betray'd.
Alb.Shut your Mouth, Lady,
Or with this Paper I shall stop it — hold, Sir,
Thou worse than any Name, reade thy own evil,
No Tearing, Lady, I perceive you know it. 
Gon.Say if I do, who shall arraign me for't?
The Laws are Mine, not Thine.
Alb.Most monstrous! ha, Thou know'st it too.
Bast.Ask me not what I know,
I have not Breath to Answer idle Questions.
Alb.I have resolv'd — your Right, brave Sir, has conquer'd,
[To Edgar.Along with me, I must consult your Father.
[Ex. Albany and Edgar.
Reg.Help every Hand to save a noble Life;
My half o'th' Kingdom for a Man of Skill
To stop this precious stream. 
Bast.Away ye Empericks,
Torment me not with your vain Offices:
The Sword has pierc't too far; Legitimacy
At last has got it.
Reg.The Pride of Nature Dies.
Gon.Away, the minutes are too precious,
Disturb us not with thy impertinent Sorrow.
Reg.Art Thou my Rival then profest?
Gon.Why, was our Love a Secret? cou'd there be
Beauty like Mine, and Gallantry like His 
And not a mutual Love? just Nature then
Had err'd: behold that Copy of Perfection,
That Youth whose Story will have no foul Page
But where it says he stoopt to Regan's Arms:
Which yet was but Compliance, not Affection;
A Charity to begging, ruin'd Beauty!
Reg.Who begg'd when Gonerill writ That? expose it
[Throws her a Letter.And let it be your Army's mirth, as 'twas
This charming Youth's and mine, when in the Bow'r
He breath'd the warmest ecstasies of Love, 
Then panting on my Breast, cry'd matchless Regan
That Gonerill and Thou shou'd e'er be Kin!
Gon.Die, Circe, for thy Charms are at an End,
Expire before my Face, and let me see
How well that boasted Beauty will become
Congealing Blood and Death's convulsive Pangs.
Die and be husht, for at my Tent last Night
Thou drank'st thy Bane, amidst thy rev'ling Bowls:
Ha! dost thou Smile? is then thy Death thy Sport
Or has the trusty Potion made thee Mad? 
Reg.Thou com'st as short of me in thy Revenge
As in my Gloster's Love, my Jealousie
Inspir'd me to prevent thy feeble Malice
And Poison Thee at thy own Banquet.
Bast.No more, my Queens, of this untimely Strife,
You both deserv'd my Love and both possest it.
Come, Souldiers, bear me in; and let
Your royal Presence grace my last minutes:
Now, Edgar, thy proud Conquest I forgive; 
Who wou'd not choose, like me, to yield his Breath
T'have Rival Queens contend for him in Death?
S C E N E, A Prison.
Lear asleep, with his Head on Cordelia's Lap.
Cord.What Toils, thou wretched King, hast Thou endur'd
To make thee draw, in Chains, a Sleep so sound?
Thy better Angel charm thy ravisht Mind
With fancy'd Freedom; Peace is us'd to lodge
On Cottage Straw, Thou hast the Begger's Bed,
Therefore shou'dst have the Begger's careless Thought.
And now, my Edgar, I remember Thee,
What Fate has seiz'd Thee in this general Wreck 
I know not, but I know thou must be wretched
Because Cordelia holds Thee Dear.
O Gods! a suddain Gloom o'er-whelms me, and the Image
Of Death o'er-spreads the Place. — ha! who are These?
Enter Captain and Officers with Cords.
Capt.Now, Sirs, dispatch, already you are paid
In part, the best of your Reward's to come.
Lear.Charge, charge upon their Flank, their last Wing haults;
Push, push the Battel, and the Day's our own.
Their Ranks are broke, down, down with Albany.
Who holds my Hands? — O thou deceiving Sleep, 
I was this very Minute on the Chace;
And now a Prisoner here — What mean the Slaves?
You will not Murder me?
Cord.Help Earth and Heaven!
For your Souls sake's, dear Sirs, and for the Gods.
Offic.No Tears, good Lady, no pleading against Gold and Preferment;
Come, Sirs, make ready your Cords.
Cord.You, Sir, I'll seize,
You have a humane Form, and if no Pray'rs
Can touch your Soul to spare a poor King's Life, 
If there be any Thing that you hold dear,
By That I beg you to dispatch me First.
Capt.Comply with her Request, dispatch her First.
Lear.Off Hell-hounds, by the Gods I charge you spare her;
'Tis my Cordelia, my true pious Daughter:
No Pity? — Nay then take an old Man's Vengeance.
Snatches a Partizan, and strikes down two of them; the rest quit Cordelia, and turn upon him. Enter Edgar and Albany.
Edg.Death! Hell! Ye Vultures hold your impious Hands,
Or take a speedier Death than you wou'd give.
Capt.By whose Command?
Edg.Behold the Duke your Lord. 
Alb.Guards, seize those Instruments of Cruelty.
Cord.My Edgar, Oh!
Edg.My dear Cordelia, Lucky was the Minute
Of our Approach, the Gods have weigh'd our Suffrings;
W' are past the Fire, and now must shine to Ages.
Gent.Look here, my Lord, see where the generous King
Has slain Two of 'em.
Lear.Did I not, Fellow?
I've seen the Day, with my good biting Faulchion
I cou'd have made 'em skip; I am Old now, 
And these vile Crosses spoil me; Out of Breath!
Fie, Oh! quite out of Breath and spent.
Alb.Bring in old Kent, and, Edgar, guide you hither
Your Father, whom you said was near,
[Ex. Edgar.He may be an Ear-witness at the least
Of our Proceedings.
[Kent brought in here.
Lear.Who are you?
My Eyes are none o' th' best, I'll tell you streight;
Oh Albany! Well, Sir, we are your Captives,
And you are come to see Death pass upon us. 
Why this Delay? — or is't your Highness pleasure
To give us first the Torture? Say ye so?
Why here's old Kent and I, as tough a Pair
As e'er bore Tyrant's Stroke: — but my Cordelia,
My poor Cordelia here, O pitty! —
Alb.Take off their Chains — Thou injur'd Majesty,
The Wheel of Fortune now has made her Circle,
And Blessings yet stand 'twixt thy Grave and Thee.
Lear.Com'st Thou, inhumane Lord, to sooth us back
To a Fool's Paradise of Hope, to make 
Our Doom more wretched? go too, we are too well
Acquainted with Misfortune to be gull'd
With Lying Hope; No, we will hope no more.
Alb.I have a Tale t' unfold so full of Wonder
As cannot meet an easy Faith;
But by that Royal injur'd Head 'tis True.
Kent.What wou'd your Highness?
Alb.Know the noble Edgar
Impeacht Lord Edmund since the Fight, of Treason,
And dar'd him for the Proof to single Combat, 
In which the Gods confirm'd his Charge by Conquest;
I left ev'n now the Traytor wounded Mortally.
Lear.And whither tends this Story?
Alb.E'er they fought
Lord Edgar gave into my Hands this Paper,
A blacker Scrowl of Treason, and of Lust
Than can be found in the Records of Hell;
There, Sacred Sir, behold the Character
Of Gonerill the worst of Daughters, but
More Vicious Wife. 
Cord.Cou'd there be yet Addition to their Guilt?
What will not They that wrong a Father doe?
Alb.Since then my Injuries, Lear, fall in with Thine:
I have resolv'd the same Redress for Both.
Kent.What says my Lord?
Cord.Speak, for me thought I heard
The charming Voice of a descending God.
Alb.The Troops by Edmund rais'd, I have disbanded;
Those that remain are under my Command.
What Comfort may be brought to cheer your Age 
And heal your savage Wrongs, shall be apply'd;
For to your Majesty we do Resign
Your Kingdom, save what Part your Self conferr'd
On Us in Marriage.
Kent.Hear you that, my Liege?
Cord.Then there are Gods, and Vertue is their Care.
Lear.Is 't Possible?
Let the Spheres stop their Course, the Sun make Hault,
The Winds be husht, the Seas and Fountains Rest;
All Nature pause, and listen to the Change. 
Where is my Kent, my Cajus?
Kent.Here, my Liege.
Lear.Why I have News that will recall thy Youth;
Ha! Didst Thou hear 't, or did th' inspiring Gods
Whisper to me Alone? Old Lear shall be
A King again.
Kent.The Prince, that like a God has Pow'r, has said it.
Lear.Cordelia then shall be a Queen, mark that:
Cordelia shall be Queen; Winds catch the Sound
And bear it on your rosie Wings to Heav'n. 
Cordelia is a Queen.
Re-enter Edgar with Gloster.
Alb.Look, Sir, where pious Edgar comes
Leading his Eye-less Father: O my Liege!
His wondrous Story will deserve your Leisure:
What He has done and suffer'd for your Sake,
What for the Fair Cordelia's.
Glost.Where is my Liege? Conduct me to his Knees to hail
His second Birth of Empire; my dear Edgar
Has, with himself, reveal'd the King's blest Restauration.
Lear.My poor dark Gloster; 
Glost.O let me kiss that once more sceptred Hand!
Lear.Hold, Thou mistak'st the Majesty, kneel here;
Cordelia has our Pow'r, Cordelia's Queen.
Speak, is not that the noble Suffring Edgar?
Glost.My pious Son, more dear than my lost Eyes.
Lear.I wrong'd Him too, but here's the fair Amends.
Edg.Your leave, my Liege, for an unwelcome Message.
Edmund (but that 's a Triflle) is expir'd;
What more will touch you, your imperious Daughters
Gonerill and haughty Regan, both are Dead, 
Each by the other poison'd at a Banquet;
This, Dying, they confest.
Cord.O fatal Period of ill-govern'd Life!
Lear.Ingratefull as they were, my Heart feels yet
A Pang of Nature for their wretched Fall; —
But, Edgar, I defer thy Joys too long:
Thou serv'dst distrest Cordelia; take her Crown'd:
Th' imperial Grace fresh Blooming on her Brow;
Nay, Gloster, Thou hast here a Father's Right;
Thy helping Hand t' heap Blessings on their Head. 
Kent.Old Kent throws in his hearty Wishes too.
Edg.The Gods and You too largely recompence
What I have done; the Gift strikes Merit Dumb.
Cord.Nor do I blush to own my Self o'er-paid
For all my Suffrings past.
Glost.Now, gentle Gods, give Gloster his Discharge.
Lear.No, Gloster, Thou hast Business yet for Life;
Thou, Kent and I, retir'd to some cool Cell
Will gently pass our short reserves of Time
In calm Reflections on our Fortunes past, 
Cheer'd with relation of the prosperous Reign
Of this celestial Pair; Thus our Remains
Shall in an even Course of Thought be past,
Enjoy the present Hour, nor fear the Last.
Edg.Our drooping Country now erects her Head,
Peace spreads her balmy Wings, and Plenty Blooms.
Divine Cordelia, all the Gods can witness
How much thy Love to Empire I prefer!
Thy bright Example shall convince the World
(Whatever Storms of Fortune are decreed) 
That Truth and Vertue shall at last succeed.
Inconstancy, the reigning Sin o' th' Age,