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Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Should never plant in me.

Cor. I yet beseech your Majesty,
(If, for I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not ; since what I well intend,
I'll do't before I speak.) that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murther, or foulness,
No unchafte action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath depriv'd

me of your grace and favour :
But ev'n for want of that, for which I'm richer,
A ftill folliciting eye, and such a tongue,
That I am glad I've not; though, not to have it,
Hath loft me in your liking.

Lear. Better thou
Hadft not been born, than not have pleas’d me better.

France. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature,
Which often leaves the history unspoke,
That it intends to do? my lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady ? love's not love,
When it is mingled with regards, that stand
Aloof from th intire point. Say, will you have her?
She is her self a dowry.

Bur. Royal King,
Give but that portion which your self propos’d,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Dutchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing: -I've fworn.
Bur. I'm sorry then, you have so loft a father,
That you

must lose a husband.
Cor. Peace be with Burgundy,
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
France. Fairest Cordelia, that art moft rich, being

poor, Most choice, forsaken ; and most lov'd, despis'd ! Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon : Be't lawful, I take up what's cast away: Gods, Gods! 'tis ftrange, that from their cold'ft neglect My love should kindle to enflam'd respect. Thy dow'rless daughter, King, thrown to my chance,

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Is Queen of us, of ours, and our fair France :
Not all the Dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Can buy this unpriz'd, precious, maid of me.
Bid them farewel, Cordelia, tho' unkind;
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou haft her, France; let her be thine, for wa
Have no such daughter; nor shall ever see
That face of hers again; therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benizon :
Come, noble Burgundy.

(Flourish. Exeunt Lear and Burgundy. France. Bid farewel to your sisters.

Cor. Ye jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know what you are, And, like a sister, am most loth to call Your faults, as they are nam’d. Love well our father : To your profeffing bosoms I commit him; But yet, alas! ftood I within his grace, I would prefer him to a better place. So farewel to you both.

Reg. Prescribe not us our duty.

Gon. Let your study Be to content your lord, who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms; you have obedience scanted, And well are worth the Want that you have wanted. (2)

Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides, Who covers faults, at last with shame derides. Well may you prosper ! France. Come, my fair Cordelia.

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

(2) And well are worth the Want that you have wanted. This is a very obscure Expression, and must be piec'd out with an implied Sense, to be understood. This I take to be the Poet's Meaning, stript of the Jingle which makes it dark: « You well deserve to meet with that Want of Love from

your Husband, which you have profess'd to want for our Father."


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

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the observation we have made of it hath not been little ; he always lov'd our sister most, and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

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

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

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

Gon. There is further complement of leave-taking between France and him; pray you, let us hit together : father

carry authority with fuch disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We must do something, and i'th' heat. [Exeunt.

if our

SCENE changes to a Castle belonging to the

Earl of Glo'iter.

Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.
Hou, Nature, art my Goddess ; to thy law

Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curtefie of nations to deprive me,_(3)
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-fhines

(3) The Nicety of Nations] This is Mr. Pope's Reading, ex Cathedrâ ; for it has the Sanction of none of the Copies, that I have met with. They all, indeed, give it Us, by a foolish Corruption, the Curiosity of Nations; but I fome time ago prov'd, that our Author's Word was, Curtefie. Nor muft we forget that Tenure in our Laws, whereby some Lands are held by the Curtefie of England,


Lag of a brother ? Why baflard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my shape as true,
As honest Madam's issue? why brand they us
With bafe? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality ;
Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed,
Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween a-lleep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land;
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to th' legitimate ; fine word —legitimate
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall be th' legitimate. I grow, I prosper ;
Now, Gods, stand up for baitards !

To bim, Enter Glo'fter.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted!
And the King gone to night! subscrib'd his pow'r !
Confin’d to exhibition ! all is gone
Upon the gad! Edmund, how now? what news ?
Edm. So please your lordihip, none.

[Putting up the letter.
Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading ?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

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

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

Gl. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain, or give it; the contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.


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my closet.

Glo. Let's see, let's fee.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay, or taste of my virtue.

Glo. reads.] This policy and reverence of ages makes the world bitter to the best of our times ; keeps our fortunes from us, 'till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny ; which fways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would

sleep, till I wak'd him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the be'loved of your brother Edgar. — Hum Conspiracy!

sleep, till I wake him -you should enjoy half his revenue My son Edgar! had he a hand to write this! a heart and brain to breed it in! When came this to you? who brought it?

Edw. It was not brought me, my lord ; there's the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of Glo. You know the character to be


brother's ? Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durft swear, it were his; but in respect of that, I would fain think, it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord ; I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Has he never before founded you in this business?

Edm. Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as a ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

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

Edm. I do not well know, my lord ; if it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, 'till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if


violently proceed against him, miftaking his purpose, it would


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