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His fault is much, and the good king, his master,
Will check him fo|’t; but needs must take it ill
To be thus slighted in his messenger.
Corn. We'll answer that;
Our sister may receive it worse to have
Her gentleman assaulted. To our business, lead.
[Exeunt all but GI.oster into the Castle.
Glost. I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's
Whose disposition will not be controll'd ;
But I'll intreat for thee.
Kent. Pray do not, sir.--
I have watched and travell'd hard ;
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle °
Farewell t'ye, sir. [Exit Gloster into the Castle.
Good king, that must approve the common saw I
Thou out of Heaven's benediction com'st
To the warm sun.—All weary and o'erwatch'd,
lfeel the drowsy guest steal on me; take
Advantage, heavy eyes, of this kind slumber,
Not to behold this vile and shameful lodging.
Edg. I heard myself proclaim'd, And by the friendly hollow of a tree, Escap'd the hunt. No port is free, no place, Where guards and most unusal vigilance Do not attend to take me.--How easy now Twere to defeat the malice of my trail, And leave my griefs on my sword's reeking point; But love detains me from death's peaceful cell, Still whispering me, Cordelia's in distress:
Unkind as she is, I cannot see her wretched,
But must be near to wait upon her fortune. .
Who knows but the blest minute yet may come,
When Edgar may do service to Cordelia?
That charming hope still ties me to the oar
Of painful life, and makes me too submit
To th' humblest shifts to keep that life afoot.
My face I will besmear, and knit my locks;
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortify'd bare arms
Pins, iron spikes, thorns, sprigs of rosemary;
And thus from sheep cotes, villages and mills,
Sometimes with pray'rs, sometimes with lunatic bans,
Enforce their charity. Poor Tyrligood ! poor Tom!
That's something yet. Edgar I am no more. [Exit.
Before the Earl Of Gloster's Castle.
Kent discovered, in the Stochs still.
Enter King Lear and his Knights.
Lear. Tis strange, that they should 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. They durst not do't:
They could not, would not do't.—
Resolve me with all modest haste, which way
Thou may'st deserve, or they impose this usage
Kent. My lord, when at their home
I did commend your highness' letters to them,
Ere I was ris'n, arrived another post,
Stew'd in his haste, breathless and panting forth
From Goneril, 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 here that other messenger,
Whose welcome I perceiv'd had poison'd mine,
Being the very fellow that of late
Had shown 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 ! this spleen swells upwards to my heart, And heaves for passage !—Down, thou climbing rage, Thy element's below. Where is this daughter?
Enter Gloster,fro»i the Castle.
Kent. Within, sir, at a masque.
Lear. Now Gloster?—Ha!
[gloster whispers Lear. Deny to speak with me? Th'are sick, th'are weary,
They've travell'd hard to-night Mere fetches, sir,
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 Cornwall and his wife.
Glost. I have inform'd them so.
Lear. Inform'd them! dost thou understand me, man? I tell thee Gloster,——
Glost. Ay, my good lord.
Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father Would with his daughter speak, commands her service. Are they inform'd of this i My breath and blood!
Fiery? The fiery duke? Tell the hot duke,
No, but not yet; may be, he is not well;
Infirmity doth 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 Corn Wall, Regan, Captain of the Guards, and Attendants from the Castle.
Oh! are you come?
Corn. 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. Shouldst thou not be glad, I would divorce me from thy.mother's tomb, Sepulch'ring an adultress.— Beloved Regan, thou wilt shake to hear What I shall utter;—thou coud'st ne'er ha' thought
it; Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she has ty'd Ingratitude like a keen vulture here;
I scarce can speak to thee.
[kent is set at liberty by the /\'rrItN DAN-rs.
Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope
That you know less to value her desert,
Than 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 wholesome ends,
As clear her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her !
Reg. O, sir, you're old,
And should content you to be rul'd and led
By some discretion that discerns your state
Better than you yourself; therefore, good sir,
Return to our sister, and say you have wrong'd her.
Lear. Ha ! ask her forgiveness !
Do you but mark how this becomes the house:
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary; on my knees I beg,
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.
Reg. Good sir, no more of these unsightly passions;
Return back to our sister. -
Lear. Never, Regan;
She hath abated me of half my train,
Look'd black upon me, stabb'd me with her tongue:
All the stor'd vengeances of Heav'n fall
On her ingrateful head ! Strike her young bones,
Ye taking airs, 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'er
To such impiety thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
And dues of gratitude; thou bear'st in mind
The half o'th' kingdom, which our love conferr'd
On thee and thine.