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Alb. A herald, ho!
A herald, hol a herald!
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Took their discharge.
My sickness grows upon me.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
[Exit REGAN, led.
Enter a Herald.
Come hither, herald. - Let the trumpet sound,
And read out this.
Capt. 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."
[1 Trumpet. Her. Again.
[2 Trumpet. Her. Again.
(3 Trumpet. [Trumpet answers within.
Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a Trumpet.
Alb. Ask him his purposes, why he appears
Upon this call o' the trumpet.
What are you?
Your name? your quality? and why you answer
This present summons ?
Know, my name is lost;
By treason's toolb bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Yet am I noble, as the adversary
I come to cope withal.
Which is that adversary?
Edg. What 's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of Gloster?
Edm. Himself: what say'st thou to him?
Draw thy sword,
That if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice; here is mine:
Behold, it is my privilege, 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 th’extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, “No,"
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Edm. In wisdom, I should ask thy name;
But, since 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-bated 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.
[Alarums. 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 beguild.
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 can arraigo me for 't?
Most monstrous !
Know'st thou this paper ?
Ask me not what I know.
[Exit GONERIL. Alb. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her.
(Exit an Officer
Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done,
And more, much more; the time will bring it out:
'T is past, and so am I. But what art thou,
That hast this fortune on me? If thou 'rt 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 plague us:
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
Thou hast spoken right, 't is true;
The wheel is come full circle: I am here.
Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness. I must embrace thee:
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee, or thy father.
Worthy prince, I know 't.
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 't is told, O, that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness!
That with the pain of death we 'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a madman's rags, t' assume a semblance
That very dogs disdain'd; and in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost: became his guide,
Led him, begg'd for him, sav'd him from despair;
Never (O fault !) reveal'd myself unto him,
Until some half hour past, when I was arm’d,
Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I 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,
Shupn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 't was that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw me 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 trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.
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!
What kind of help?
Edg. What means that bloody knife?
'T is hot, it smokes; It came even from the heart of -0! she's dead:
Alb. Who dead? speak, man.
Gent. Your lady, Sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she hath confess'd it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both: all three Now marry in an instant.
Alb. Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead! This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
Here comes Kent.
Alb. 0! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which very manners urges.
I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night:
Is he not here?
Great thing of us forgot!
Speak, Edmund, where's the king? and where's Cordelia?
Seest thou this object, Kent?
[The Bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in. Kent. Alack! why thus? Edm.
Yet Edmund was beloyd :
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 to do,
Despite of mine own nature. Quickly send,
Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ