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Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion, that will prove
What is avouched there: If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you!

Alb. Stay till I have read the letter.
Edg.

I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.

[Erit. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy

paper.

Re-enter Edmund. Edm. The enemy's in view, draw up your powers. Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery;—but your haste Is now urg'd on you. Alb.

We will greet the time. (Exit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love; Each jealous of the other, as the stung Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take? Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy’d, If both remain alive: To take the widow, Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril; And hardly shall I carry out my side, Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use His countenance for the battle ; which being done, Let her, who would be rid of him, devise His speedy taking off. As for the mercy Which he intends to Lear, and to Cordelia,

The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon: for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate. [Exit.

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SCENE II.

A FIELD BETWEEN THE TWO CAMPS.

Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours, Lear,

Cordelia, and their forces; and exeunt.

Enter Edgar and Glo'ster.
Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host; pray that the right may thrive:
If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.
Glo.

Grace go with you, sir !

[Exit Edgar.

Alarums; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter Edgar.

Edg. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away;
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en:
Give me thy hand, come on.

Glo. No further, sir; a man may rot even here,
Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must

endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all; Come on.
Glo.

And that's true too.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

THE BRITISH CAMP NEAR DOVER,

Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, Edmund;

Lear and Cordelia, as prisoners ; Officers, Sol-
diers, fc.
Edm. Some officers take them away: good

guard;
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
Cor.

We are not the first,
Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.-
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to

prison : We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel downl, And ask of thee forgiveness : So we'll live, And

pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;And take upon us the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies : And we'll wear out, In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon.

Edm.

Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught

thee? He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes; The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell, Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve

first. Come.

[Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain ; hark. Take thou this note; (giving a paper.] go, follow

them to prison:

I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way To noble fortunes : Know thou this,—that men Are as the time is : to be tender-minded Does not become a sword:-Thy great employment Will not bear question ; either say, thou'lt do't, Or thrive by other means. Off.

I'll do’t, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou

hast done. Mark,-1 say, instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.

Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work I will do it. [Exit Officer.

One step

Flourish. Enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Officers,

and Attendants. Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant

strain,

And fortune led you well: You have the captives
Who were the opposites of this day's strife:
We do require them of you; so to use them,
As we shall find their merits and our safety
May equally determine.
Edm.

Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention, and appointed guard;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them. With him I sent the

queen;
My reason all the same; and they are ready
To-morrow, or at further space, to appear
Where you shall hold your

session. At this time,
We sweat, and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs’d
By those that feel their sharpness :-
The question of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.
Alb.

Sir, by your patience, I hold you but a subject of this war, Not as a brother. Reg.

That's as we list to grace him. Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded, Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers; Bore the commission of my place and person; The which immediacy may well stand up, And call itself your Gon.

Not so hot: In his own grace he doth exalt himself,

your brother.

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