Page images
PDF
EPUB

master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.—Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing Edgar

Enter Edgar. and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o’ Bedlam.—O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.

Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?

Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?

Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of, succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

Edm. Come, come; * when saw you my father Jast?

Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no . displeasure in him, by word, or countenance?

Edg. None at all.

Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him: and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.

Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear.

fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's my key:- If you do stir abroad, go arm’d.

Edg. Arm’d, brother?

Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go arm’d; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away. Edg. Shall I hear from

you

anon? Edm. I do serve you in this business.-

[E.rit Edgar. A credulous father, and a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy!-I see the business.

Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit.

[Exit.

SCENE III.

A ROOM IN THE DUKE OF ALBANY'S PALACE.

Enter Goneril and Steward. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

Stew. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every

hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle:—When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say, I am sick:-
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.

[Horns within. Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'd have it come to ques

tion: If he dislike it, let him to my sister, Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one, Not to be over-rul'd. Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities, That he hath given away!-Now, by my life, Old fools are babes again; and must be us’d

With checks, as flatteries,—when they are seen

abus'd. Remember what I have said. Stew.

Very well, madam. Gon. And let his knights, have colder looks

among you; What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows

SO:

I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak:—I'll write straight to my sister, To hold my very course:—Prepare for dinner.

[Eveunt.

SCENE IV.

:

A HALL IN THE SAME,

Enter Kent, disguised. Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse, my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue For which I raz’d my likeness.—Now, banish'd

Kent, If thou can'st serve where thou dost stand con

demn'd, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labours.

Horns within. Enter Lear, Knights, and Attendants.

Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now, what art

thou?

Kent. A man, sir.

Lear. What dost thou profess? What would'st thou with us?

Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.

Lear. What art thou?

Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king

Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What would'st thou?

Kent. Service.
Lear. Who would'st thou serve?
Kent. You.
Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?

Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.

Lear. What's that?
Kent. Authority.
Lear. What services canst thou do?

Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in; and the best of me is diligence.

Lear. How old art thou?

Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing:

: I have years on my back forty-eight.

Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I

« PreviousContinue »