Page images

So speedily can venge !-But, O poor Glofter !
Loft he his other eye!

Both, both, my lord. This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer; 'Tis from


Gon. [ Afide.] One way I like this well ;
But being widow, and my Glofter with her,'
May all the building in my fancy pluck
Upon my hateful life : Another way,
The news is not so tart.-I'll read, and answer. [Exit.

Alb. Where was his son, when they did take his eyes ?
Mef. Come with my lady hither.

He is not here.
Mes. No, my good lord; I met him back again.
Alb. Knows he the wickedness ?

Mef. Ay, my good lord ; 'twas he inform’d against him;
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment
Might have the freer course.

Gloster, I live
To thank thee for the love thou show’dst the king,
And to revenge thine eyes.-Come hither, friend;
Tell me what more thou knoweft.



The French Camp, near Dover.

Enter Kent, and a Gentleman.

Kent. Why the king of France is so suddenly gone back know you the reason ?

Gent. Somethi g he left in perfect in the state, Which since his coming forth is thought of; which Imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger,


That his personal return was most requird,
And necessary.

Kent. Who hath he left behind him general ?
Gent. The Mareschal of France, Monsieur le Fer.

Kent. Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief?

Gent. Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
Her delicate cheek: it seem'd, she was a queen
Over her passion ; who, most rebellike,
Sought to be king o'er her.

O, then it mov'd her.
Gent. Not to a rage : patience and sorrow strove
Who should express her goodlieft. You have seen
Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
Were like a better day: Those happy smiles,
That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
As pearls from diamonds droppid.-In brief, sorrow
Would be a rarity most belov’d, if all
Could so become it.

Made lhe no verbal question ?
Gent. 'Faith, once, or twice, the heav'd the name of father
Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart;
Cry'd, Sisters! fifters !-Shame of ladies! hifters !
Kent! father! fisters! What? i' the storm ? i' the night?
Let pity not be believed !—There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
To deal with grief alone.

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions ;
Else one self mate and mate could not beget
Such different issues. You spoke not with her since ?

G 2


Gent. No.
Kent. Was this before the king return’d?

No, since.
Kent. Well, fir; The poor distress’d Lear is i' the town:
Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
What we are come about, and by no means
Will yield to see his daughter.

Why, good fir?
Kent. A sovereign Thame so elbows him : his own un-

That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
To his dog-hearted daughters,—these things sting
His mind fo venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from Cordelia.

Alack, poor gentleman !
Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?
Gent. 'Tis so; they are afoot.

Kent. Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear,
And leave you to attend him: fome dear cause
Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
Along with me.



The same. A Tent.
Enter CORDELIA, Physician, and Soldiers.
Cor. Alack, 'tis he; why, he was met even now
As mad as the vex'd sea : singing aloud ;
Crown'd with rank funiter, and furrow weeds,
With harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,


Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.-A century send forth;
Search every acre in the high-grown field,
And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer.]-What can

man's wisdom do,
In the restoring his bereaved sense?
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 hiin,
Are many simples operative, whose power
Will close the eye of anguish.

All bless'd secrets,
All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth,
Spring with my tears ! be aidant, and remediate,
In the good man's distress I-Seek, seek for him;
Left his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life
That wants the means to lead it.

Enter a Messenger. Mer.

Madam, news;
The British powers are marching hitherward.

Cor. 'Tis known before; our preparation lands
In expectation of them.- dear father,
It is thy business that I

Therefore great France
My mourning, and important tears, hath pitied.
No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
But love, dear love, and our ag'd father's right:
Soon may I hear, and see him!



[blocks in formation]


A Room in GLOSTER's Castle.

Enter REGAN and Steward.

[ocr errors]

Reg. But are my brother's powers set forth ?

Ay, madam.

In person there?

Madam, with much ado:
Your filter is the better soldier.

Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
Stew. No, madam.
Reg. What might import my sister's letter to him?
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 nighted 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.

I may not, madam;
My lady charg'd my duty in this business.

Reg. Why should she write to Edmund ? Might not you
Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
Something—I know not what :-I'll love thee much,
Let me unseal the letter.

Madam, I had rather
Reg. I know, your lady does not love her husband;

I am

« PreviousContinue »