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Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
Alb. Stay till I have read the letter.
I was forbid it.
[Erit. Alb. Why, fare thee well; I will o'erlook thy
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,
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.
Grace go with you, sir !
Alarums; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter Edgar.
Edg. Away, old man, give me thy hand, away;
Glo. No further, sir; a man may rot even here,
And that's true too.
THE BRITISH CAMP NEAR DOVER,
Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, Edmund;
Lear and Cordelia, as prisoners ; Officers, Sol-
We are not the first,
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.
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
[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.
Flourish. Enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Officers,
and Attendants. Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant
And fortune led you well: You have the captives
Sir, I thought it fit
session. At this time,
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,