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ACT THE FIRST.
An Antichamber in King LEAR's Palace.
Enter EDMUND. Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound : why am I then Depriv'd of a son's right, because I came not In the dull road that custom has prescrib'd ? Why bastard ? Wherefore base? when I can boast A mind as gen'rous, and a shape as true As honest madam's issue? Why are we Held base, who, in the lusty stealth of nature Take fiercer qualities than what compound The scanted births of the stale marriage-bed ? Well then, legitimate Edgar, to thy right Of law I will oppose a bastard's cunning. Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund As to legitimate Edgar; with success I've practis’d yet on both their easy natures.Here comes the old man, chaf’d with the information, Which last I forg'd against my brother Edgar ; A tale so plausible, so boldly utter'd, And heighten'd by such lucky accidents, That now the slightest circumstance confirms him, And base-born Edmund, spite of law, inherits.
Enter Kent and GLOSTER. Glost. Nay, good my Lord, your charity