Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the restoring his bereaved sense P
He that helps him, take all my outward worth.

Phy. There is means, madam.
Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,
The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

Cor. All blessed secrets,
All you unpublished virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears be aidant, and remediate,
In the good man’s distress —Seek, seek for him ;
Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it."

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Madam, news; The British powers are marching hitherward.

Cor. 'Tis known before ; our preparation stands In expectation of them.—O dear father, It is thy business that I go about; Therefore great France My mourning, and important* tears hath pitied. No blown " ambition doth our arms incite, But love, dear love, and our aged father’s right. Soon may I hear and see him. [Eveunt

SCENE W. A Room in Gloster’s Castle.

Enter REGAN and Steward.

Reg. But are my brother's powers set forth

Stew. Ay, madam.

Reg. Himself In person there P

Stew. Madam, with much ado;

Your sister is the better soldier.

1 i. e. the reason which should guide it
* Important for importunate.
8 No inflated, no swelling pride.

Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home f Stew. No, madam. Reg. What might import my sister's letter to him P Stew. I know not, lady. Reg. 'Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter. 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 of his misery, to despatch His mighted life; moreover, to descry The strength o' the enemy. Stew. I must needs after him, madam, with my letter. Reg. Our troops set forth to-morrow; stay with us; The ways are dangerous. Stew. I may not, madam : My lady charged my duty in this business. Reg. Why should she write to Edmund f Might not you Transport her purposes by word P Belike, Something—I know not what.—I’ll love thee much, Let me unseal the letter. Stew. Madam, I had rather Reg. I know your lady does not love her husband; I am sure of that ; and, at her late being here, She gave strange oeiliads," and most speaking looks To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom. Stew. I, madam P Reg. I speak in understanding; you are, I know it; Therefore, I do advise you, take this note.” My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked; And more convenient is he for my hand, Than for your lady’s –you may gather more.” If you do find him, pray you, give him this;"

1 CEillade (Fr.), a cast or significant glance of the eye.

2 That is, observe what I am saying.

3 You may infer more than I have directly told you.

4 Perhaps a ring, or some token, is given to the steward by Regan to be conveyed to Edmund.

And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
So, fare you well. .
If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
Stew. "Would I could meet him, madam | I would

show What party I do follow. Reg. Fare thee well. [Eveunt.

SCENE WI. The Country near Dover.

Enter GLosTER and EDGAR, dressed like a Peasant.

Glo. When shall we come to the top of that same hill P

Edg. You do climb up it now; look, how we labor.

Glo. Methinks the ground is even.

Edg. Horrible steep. Hark, do you hear the seaf Glo. No, truly.”

Edg. Why, then your other senses grow imperfect By your eyes' anguish. lo. So may it be, indeed. Methinks thy voice is altered;’ and thou speak'st In better phrase, and matter, than thou didst. Edg. You are much deceived; in nothing am I changed But in my garments. . Glo. Methinks you are better spoken. Edg. Come on, sir; here’s the place; stand still. —How fearful

1 This scene, and the stratagem by which Gloster is cured of his desperation, are wholly borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia, book ii.

* Something to complete the measure seems wanting in this or the foregoing hemistich. The quartos read, as one line:—

“Horrible steep: hark, do you hear the sea?”

3. Edgar alters his voice in order to pass afterwards for a malignant spirit.

And dizzy 'tis, to cast one’s eyes so low
The crows, and choughs, that wing the midway air,
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire;’ dreadful trade
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice; and yon’ tall, anchoring bark,
Diminished to her cock;" her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge,
That on the unnumbered idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I’ll look no more :
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
Glo. Set me where you stand.
Edg. Give me your hand. You are now within a
foot
Of the extreme verge; for all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.
Glo. - - Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies, and gods,
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
Edg. Now fare you well, good sir. . . [Seems to go.
Glo, With all my heart,
Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his despair,
is done to cure it. -
Glo. O, you mighty gods !
This world I do renounce; and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great, opposeless wills,
My snuff, and loathed part of nature, should

1 “Samphire grows in great plenty on most of the sea-cliffs in this country: it is terrible to see how people gather it, hanging by a rope several fathom from the top of the impending rocks, as it were in the air.”—Smith's History of Waterford, p.315, edit. 1774.—Doyer cliff was particularly resorted to for this plant. It is still eaten as a pickle in those parts of England bordering on the southern coast.

2 i.e. her cock-boat. Hence the term cockswain.

[ocr errors]

Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him —
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
[He leaps, and falls along.
Edg. Gone, sir P farewell.—
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life, when life itself
Yields to the theft." Had he been where he thought,
By this, had thought been past.—Alive, or dead f
Ho, you sir! friend!—Hear you, sir?—Speak!
Thus might he pass indeed.”—Yet he revives.
What are you, sir?
Glo. Away, and let me die.
Edg. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feath-
- erS, alr, .
So many fathom down precipitating,
Thou hadst shivered like an egg: but thou dost
breathe ;
Hast heavy substance ; bleed'st not; speak'st ; art
sound.
Ten masts at each * make not the altitude,
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell;
Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.
Glo. But have I fallen, or no f
Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn."
Look up a-height;-the shrill-gorged lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard : do but look up.
Glo. Alack, I have no eyes.—
Is wretchedness deprived that benefit,
To end itself by death P 'Twas yet some comfort,
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage,
And frustrate his proud will.
Edg. Give me your arm;
Up.–So ;-how is't P Feel you your legs? You stand.

1 That is, “when life is willing to be destroyed.” 2 “Thus might he die in reality.” 3 i. e. drawn out, at length, or each added to the other. “IEche, exp. draw out, ab Anglo-Saxon elcan, elcian, Diferre, vel a verb. to eak.” Skinner, Etymolog. Skinner is right in his last derivation; it is from the Anglo-Saxon eacan, to add. Pope changed this to attacht; Johnson would read on end; Steevens proposes at reach. 4 i. e. this chalky boundary of England.

« PreviousContinue »