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Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
REG. Why should she write to Edmund ? Might The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
not you Are many simples operative, whose power
Transport her purposes by word ? Belike, Will close the eye of anguish.
Something * -I know not what :-I'll love thee COR. All bless'd secrets,
much, All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Let me unseal the letter. Spring with my tears! be aidant and remediate
Madam, I had ratherIn the good man's distress! *_Seek, seek for him; Reg. I know your lady does not love her husLest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
band; That wants the means to lead it.
I'm sure of that: and at her late being here
She gave strange æiliads and most speaking looks Enter a Messenger.
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.
Osw. I, madam ? Mess.
News, madam! | Reg. I speak in understanding; you are, I The British powers are marching hitherward.
know't; CoR. 'Tis known before ; our preparation stands Therefore I do advise you, take this note: In expectation of them.-0 dear father,
My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd; It is thy business that I go about;
And more convenient is he for my hand Therefore great France
Than for your lady's :-you may gather more. My mourning, and importanta tears hath pitied.
If you do find him, pray you, give him this ; No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
And when your mistress hears thus much from you, But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right: I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her. Soon may I hear and see him ! [Exeunt. So, fare you well.
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off. SCENE V.-A Room in Gloucester's Castle. Osw. Would I could meet him,+ madam! I
would $ show
What party I do follow.
Fare thee well. [Exeunt.
SCENE VI.—The Country near Dover.
Peasant. Osw. No, madam. Reg. What might import my sister's letter to Glo. When shall I come to the top of that him ?
same bill ? Osw. I know not, lady.
Edg. You do climb up it now: look, how we REG. Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
labour. It was great ignorance, Gloster's eyes being out, Glo. Methinks the ground is even. To let him live; where he arrives he moves
Horrible steep. All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone, Hark, do you hear the sea ? In pity of his misery, to despatch
No, truly. His nighted life ; moreover, to descry
EDG. Why, then, your other senses grow imThe strength o’the enemy.
perfect Osw. I must needs after him, madam, with my By your eyes’ anguish. letter.
So may it be, indeed : Reg. Our troops set forth to-morrow : stay Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st with us;
In better phrase and matter than thou didst. The ways are dangerous.
Edg. You're much deceiv'd; in nothing am I I may not, madam ;
chang'd, My lady charg'd my duty in this business. But in my garments.
(*) First folio, desires. 8 - important tears-) Important for importunate; the folio has importun'd.
Glo. Methinks you're better spoken. | Thou ’d'st shiver'd like an egg : but thou dost Edo. Come on, sir; here's the place :-stand
breathe ; still. How fearful
Hast heavy substance ; bleed'st not; speak’st; and dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
Glo. But have I fall'n, or no ?
Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
bourn! Diminish'd to her cock ; her cock, a buoy
Look up a-height;—the shrill-gorg'd lark so far Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge, | Cannot be seen or heard : do but look up. That on the unnumber'd idle pebblest chafes, Glo. Alack, I have no eyes.Cannot be heard so high.-I'll look no more, Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit, Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
To end itself by death ? 'Twas yet some comfort, Topple down headlong.
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage, Set me where you stand. And frustrate his proud will. Edg. Give me your hand:—you are now within EDG.
Give me your arm : a foot
Up:-50.--How is't ? Feel you your legs? You Of the extreme verge : for all beneath the moon
stand. Would I not leap upright.
Glo. Too well, too well.
This is above all strangeness.
A poor unfortunate beggar. Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off ;
Edg. As I stood here below, methought his Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
eyes EDG. Now fare you well, good sir.
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,
[Seems to go. | Horns whelk’d and wav'd like the enridged * sea : Glo.
With all my heart. It was some fiend; therefore, thou happy father, Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his despair Think that the clearest gods, who make them Is done to cure it.
honours Glo. O, you mighty gods !
Of men's impossibilities, have preserv'd thee. This world I do renounce; and, in your sights, Glo. I do remember now: henceforth I'll Shake patiently my great affliction off : If I could bear it longer, and not fall
Affliction till it do cry out itself, To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, Enough, enough, and die. That thing you speak My snuff and loathed part of nature should
of, Burn itself out. If Edgar live, 0, bless him ! I took it for a man ; often 't would say, Now, fellow, fare thee well.
The fiend, the fiend ! he led me to that place. Gone, sir :—farewell. Edg. Bear free and patient thoughts.-But who [GLOUCESTER leaps, and falls along.
His master thus.
Away, and let me die. LEAR. No, they cannot touch me for coining ; † Edg. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, I am the king himself. feathers, air,
Edg. O thou side-piercing sight! So many fathom down precipitating,
LEAR. Nature's above art in that respect.
| Glo. Were all the* letters suns, I could not Glo. I know that voice. LEAR. Ha! Goneril !- with a white beard !
. I would not take this from report ;They flattered me like a dog ; and told me I had * It is, and my heart breaks at it. white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were LEAR. Read. there. To say ay, and no, to every thing that I Glo. What, with the case of eyes ? said !--Ay and no too was no good divinity. LEAR. O, ho ! are you there with me? No eyes When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind in your head, nor no money in your purse ? Your to make me chatter ; when the thunder would not eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light : peace at my bidding, there I found 'em, there I yet you see how this world goes. smelt 'em out. Go to, they are not men o' their Glo. I see it feelingly. words: they told me I was every thing ; 't is a LEAR. What, art mad ? A man may see how lie ;-I am not ague-proof.
ber: this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine Glo. The trick of that voice I do well remem ears : see how yond justice rails upon yond simple Is 't not the king ?
thief. Hark, in thine ear : change places; and, LEAR.
Ay, every inch a king! handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the When I do stare, see how the subject quakes. thief ?—Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a I pardon that man's life.- What was thy cause ? - beggar? Adultery
Glo. Ay, sir. Thou shalt not die : die for adultery! No:
LEAR. And the creature run from the cur? The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly There thou mightst behold the great image of Does lecher in my sight.
authority: a dog's obeyed in office.Let copulation thrive, for Gloster's bastard son Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand ! Was kinder to his father than my daughters Why dost thou lash that whore ? Strip thine * Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
own back ; To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers. Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind Behold yond simpering dame,
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs Whose face between her forks presages snow;
the cozener. That mincesa virtue, and does shake the head Through tatter'd clothes small + vices do appear ; To hear of pleasure's name ;—.
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sino with The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
gold, With a more riotous appetite.
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks : Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it. Though women all above :
None does offend, none,-I say, none; I'll able a But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
'em : Beneath is all the fiends'; there's hell, there's | Take that of me, my friend, who have the power darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning, To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes ; scalding, 'stench, consumption !—fie, fie, fie ! pah, | And, like a scurvy politician, seem pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, To see the things thou dost not.-Now, now, now, tot sweeten my imagination : there's money for
Pull off my boots :-harder, harder ;-80. Glo. O, let me kiss that hand !
EDG. O, matter and impertinency mix'd ! LEAR. Let me wipe it first; it smells of Reason in madness! mortality.
LEAR. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my Glo. O ruin'd piece of nature! This great world
I know thee well enough, thy name is Gloster: Shall so wear out to nought.-Dost thou know Thou must be patient; we came crying bither : me?
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, LEAR. I remember thine eyes well enough. | We wawl and cry.--I will preach to thee; mark! Dost thou squiny at me? No, do thy worst, blind Glo. Alack, alack the day! . Cupid, I'll not love.-Read thou this challenge ; LEAR. When we are born, we cry that we are mark but the penning of it.
come (*) First folio inserts, the. (+) First folio omits, to. (*) First folio, thy.
(1) First folio, great.
a That minces virtue,-) That affects the coy timidity of virtue.
D I would not take this from report, &c.) There is some obscurity here. What is it Edgar would not take from report? He must have been aware of his father's deprivation of sight; because it is mentioned in the previous scene. We are, perhaps, to suppose the poor King exhibits the proclamation for the killing
Plate sin with gold,-) A correction by Pope and Theobald ; the old text having, “ Place sinnes." This passage down to, " To seal the accuser's lips," inclusive, is only in the folio.
d -- able 'em.] Qualify them.
To this great stage of fools—This a good / EDG.
I thauk you, sir : that's all.. block :
GENT. Though that the queen on special cause It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe
is here, A troop of horse with felt: I'll put 't in proof; Her army is mov'd on. And when I have stoln upon these sons-in-law,* EDG.
I thank you, sir. [Exit Gent. Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill !b
Glo. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath
from me ;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
Well pray you, father. Gent. O, here he is; lay hand upon him.-Sir, Glo. Now, good sir, what are you? Your most dear daughter
EDG. A most poor man, made tame to fortune's
I'll lead you to some biding.
Hearty thanks : . LEAR. No seconds ? All myself ?
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot !
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
Briefly thyself remember :—the sword is out
Now let thy friendly hand get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa ! Put strength enough to it. [EDGAR interposes. [Exit, running ; Attendants follow. Osw.
Wherefore, bold peasant, GENT. A sight most pitiful in the meanest Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor ? Hence? wretch,
Lest that the infection of his fortune take Past speaking of in a king !—Thou hast one|| Like hold on thee. Let go his arm. daughter,
EDG. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther Who redeems nature from the general curse
'casion, Which twain have brought her to.
Osw. Let go, slave, or thou diest ! Eng. Hail, gentle sir.
EDG. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let GENT. Sir, speed you : what's your will ? poor volk pass. An chud ha' been zwagger'd EDG. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward ? out of my life, 't would not ha' been zo long as Gent. Most sure and vulgar, every one hears 'tis by a vortnight.–Nay, come not near th' old that,
man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether Which can distinguish sound.
your costard or my ballow' be the harder : chill EDG.
But, by your favour, be plain with you. How near's the other army ?
Osw. Out, dunghill ! Gent. Near and on speedy foot; the main EDG. Chill pick your teeth, zir: come; no descry
matter vor your foins.8 Stands on the hourly thought.
[They fight; and EDGAR fells him.
(*) First folio, Son in Lawes. (1) First folio inserts, smugge. it Pirst folio omits, My.
() Pirst folio, Come.
(0) First folio, a. A This a good block :-) "Upon the king's saying, I will preach to thee, the poet seems to have meant him to pull off his hat, and keep turning it and feeling it, in the attitude of one of the preachers of those times (whom I have seen so represented in ancient prints), till the idea of felt, which the good hat or block was made of, raises the stratagem in his brain of shoding a troop of horse with a substance soft as that which he held and moulded between his hands. This makes him start from his preachment." -STEEVENS.
b -- kill, kill! &c.) This was the ancient cry of assault in the English army. Shakespeare introduces it again in “Coriolanus," Act V. Sc. 5; when the conspirators attack Coriolanus.
Ay, and laying autumn's dust.
the main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.] The meaning appears to be, the sight of the main body is expected hourly; but the expression is as harsh and disagreeable as the speaker's “Most sure and vulgar" just before.
e-'t would not ha' been zo long as 't is by a vortnight.Steevens has remarked, but the reason is unexplained, that when our ancient writers have occasion to introduce a rustic, they commonly allot him this Somersetshire dialect.
f - ballow-) In some of the provincial dialects, ballow means a pole or staff.
8 - foins.) Thrusts,