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Enter a Herald.
Alb. She is not well ; convey her to my tent.
[Exit REGAN, led.
Come hither, herald, -Let the trumpet sound,-
And read out this.
Off. Sound, trumpet.
[.A trumpet sounds.
Herald reads. If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet : He is bold in his defence. Edm. Sound.
[1 Trumpet. Her. Again.
12 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[Trumpet answers within.
Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a Trumpet.
Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o’the trumpet.
Her. What are you?
Your name, your quality ? and why you answer
This present summons
Edg. Know, my name is lost ;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit :
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I am come to cope withal.
Alb. Which is that adversary?
Edg. What's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of
Edm. Himself ;-What say'st thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy sword ;
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice : here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession :: I protest,-
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor-sword, and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour, and thy heart, -thou art a traitor ;
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father ;
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince ;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust beneath thy feet,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, No,
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
 The privilege of this oath means the privilege gained by taking the oath administered in the regular initiation of a knight professed. JOHNS.
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name ;
But, sir.ce thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some 'say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely 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 for ever.- Trumpets, speak.
[Alarume. They fight. EDMUND falls. Alb. O save him, save him !
Gon. This is mere practice, Gloster :
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite ; thou art not vanquish’d,
But cozen’d and beguil'd.
Alb. 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. Gon. Say, if I do; the laws are mine, not thine : Who shall arraign me for't ?
Alb. Most monstrous !
Know'st thou this paper ?
Gon. Ask me not what I know.
[Exit. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate ; govern her.
[To an Officer, who goes out. Edm.What you have charg'd 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.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund ;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us :
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
Edm. Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true ;
 'Say for esszy, some shew or probability, POLE. -Say is sampit, &
The wheel is come full circle ; I am here.
Alb.-Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
A royal nobleness :- I must embrace thee ;
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father !
Edg. Worthy prince,
I know it well.
Alb. Where have you hid yourself!
How have you known the miseries of your father!
Edg. By nursing them, my lord.List a brief tale ;-
And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst !-
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness !
That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift
Into a mad-man's rags ; to assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd : and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rir
Their precious stones new lost ; became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from despair ;
Never (O fault !) reveal'd inyself unto him,
Until some half hour past, when I was armid,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
1 ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage : But his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
Twixt two extremes of passion, joy, and grief,
Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd 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 ;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
Edg. This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow ; but another,
To amplify too-much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society ; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven ; threw him on my father :
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear receiv’d, which in recounting
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack : Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
Alb. But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent ; who in disguise
Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.
Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife.
Gent. Help! help ! O help!
Edg. 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.
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she confesses 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.
Edg. Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. O ! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment
Which very manners urges.
Kent. I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night ;
Is he not here?
Alb. Great thing of us forgot ! -
Speak, Edmund, where's the king and where's Cordelia ?
See'st thou this object, Kent ?
[The bodies of Gon. and Reg. are brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus?
Edm. Yet Edmund was belov'd : The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.
Alb. Even so.-Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life :-Some good I mean do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
Be 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, O, run
Edg To who, my lord ?-Who has the office ? send Thy token of reprieve.
Edm. Well thought on ; take my sword. Give it the captain.
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. (Exit EDGAR.
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me
To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid herself.2
Alb. The gods defend her ! Bear him hence awhile.
[EDMUND is borne off. Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms ; ED
GAR, Officers, and others.
Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !-O, you are men of
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is gone for
I know when one is dead, and when one lives ;
She's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass ;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
Edg. Or image of that horror ? 3
 To fordo signifies to destroy by suicide. STEEVENS.
(3) it appears to me that by the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world. In St. Mark's Gospel, when Christ foretels to his disciples the end of the world, and is describing to them the signs which were to precede, and mark the approach of, our final dissolution, he says, “ For in those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be :" and afterwards he says, “ Now the brother shall betray, the brother to death, and the father the son ; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Kent in contemplating the unexampled scene of exquisite affliction which was then before him, and the unnatural attempt of Goneril and Regan against their father's life, recollects these passages, and asks, whether that was the end of the world that had been foretold to us? To which Edgar adds, or only a representation or resemblance of that horror ?
So Macbeth, when he calls apon Banquo, Malcolm, &c. to view Duncan
mur dered, says-
-up, up, and see
“The great doom's image. ! Malcolm! Banquo !
“ As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprights,
“ To countenance this horror."
There is evidently an allusion to the same passages in scripture, in a
speech of Gloster's, which he makes in the second scene of the first Act :
" These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us ;-love cools; friendship falls off"; brothers divide ; 'in cities, mutinies ; in coun. tries, discord ; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son