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Know, my name is lost;
Which is that adversary?
Draw thy sword;
prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak, Thou liest.
Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name; But, since thy outside looks so fair and warlike, And that thy tongue some 'say? of breeding breathes, What safe and nicely 3 I might well delay By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn. Back do I toss these treasons to thy head; With the hell-hated lie o’erwhelm thy heart; Which, (for they yet glance by, and scarcely bruise,) This sword of mine shall give them instant way, Where they shall rest forever."— Trumpets, speak.
[Alarums. They fight; Edmund falls. 1 Because, if his adversary was not of equal rank, Edmund might have declined the combat. 2 Say, or assay, is a sample, a taste. 3 This seems to mean “What I might safely well delay, if I acted punctiliously.” This line is omitted in the quartos.
4 To that place where they shall rest forever, i. e. thy heart.
Alb. O, save him, save him! 1
This is mere practice, Gloster.
Shut your mouth, dame, Or with this paper shall I stop it.-Hold, sir ;Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil. No tearing, lady; I perceive you know it.
[Gives the letter to EDMUND.
Most monstrous !
Ask me not what I know.
[Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her; she's desperate; govern her.
[To an Officer, who goes out. Edm. What you have charged me with, that have I
done ; And more, much more. The time will bring it out; 'Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou, That hast this fortune on me? If thou art noble, I do forgive thee. Edg.
Let's exchange charity.
Thou hast spoken right; 'tis true ; The wheel is come full circle : I am here.
1 Albany desires that Edmund's life may be spared at present, only to obtain his confession, and convict him openly by his own letter.
2 « Knowest thou these letters ? ” says Leir to Regan, in the old anonymous play, when he shows her both her own and her sister's letters, which were written to procure his death ; upon which she snatches the letters and tears them.
3 The folio reads “ to plague us.”
Alb. Methought thy very gait did prophesy
Worthy prince, I know't.
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.List a brief
And, when 'tis told, O that my heart would burst !
This speech of yours hath moved me, And shall, perchance, do good. But speak you on; You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in ;
? [Edg. This would have seemed a period To such as love not sorrow; but another, To amplify too much, would make much more,
1 The quartos read :
“That with the pain of death would hourly die.” 2 The lines within crotchets are not in the folio.
And top extremity.
But who was this?
Enter a Gentleman, hastily, with a bloody knife.
What kind of help? Alb.
Speak, man. Edg. What means that bloody knife ? Gent.
'Tis hot, it smokes; It came even from the heart of Alb.
Who, man? speak.
1 Of this difficult passage, which is probably corrupt, Steevens gives the following explanation :-“This would have seemed a period to such as love not sorrow, but-another, i. e. but I must add another, i. e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told.” It will be necessary, if we admit this interpretation, to point the passage thus :
Whilst I was big,” &c. Malone's explanation is :-“ This would have seemed the utmost completion of woe, to such as do not delight in sorrow; but another, of a different disposition, to amplify misery would give more strength to that which hath too much;'” referring to the bastard's desiring to hear more, and to Albany's thinking that enough had been said.
2 The quartos read, “ threw me on my father.” The reading in the text is certainly more likely to be correct.
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady; and her sister By her is poisoned; she hath confessed it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.
Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead !This judgment of the Heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
Here comes Kent, sir.
I am come
Great thing of us forgot!
delia ? Seest thou this object, Kent? [The bodies of GONERIL and Regan are
brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus ? Edm.
Yet Edmund was beloved. The one the other poisoned for my sake, And after slew herself.
Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life :—Some good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature. Quickly sendBe brief in it-to the castle, for my writ Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia.Nay, send in time. Alb.
Run, run, 0, runEdg. To whom, my lord?-Who has the office? send Thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on; take my sword, Give it the captain.
1 Thus the quarto. The folio reads " she confesses it.” VOL. VII.