My oath, and my professiona ; I protest,-
Maugre thy strength, place, youth, 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 the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust below thy feet,
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,

Thou liest.
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-hated 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. Save him, save him ! Gon.

This is practice, Gloster: By the law of ward, thou wast not bound to answer An unknown opposite ; thou art not vanquish'd,

But cozen'd and beguild. ALB.

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 cane arraign me for 't?


Most monstrous! O! Know 'st thou this paper ?

a We print as in the folio. The quartos read,

“ Behold, it is the privilege of my tongue,

My oath and profession.” The modern reading is

“ Behold, it is the privilege of mine honoure,

My oath and my profession.” • Say—assay. (See note on Act I., Scene 2.) Practice—the quartos, mere practice. d War-the quartos, arms.

Can—the quartos, shall.


Ask me not what I know a.
ALB. Go after her: she's desperate; govern her. [To an Officer, who goes out.
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 bast this fortune on me? If thou art noble

I do forgive thee.

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 plagueb 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


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 (O our lives' sweetness!
That we the pain of death would hourly die,
Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift
Into a mad-man's rags; to 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;

a We place the exit of Goneril as in the folio. The exclamation of Albany—“Most monstrous!" is the natural result of her unyielding haughtiness. The question of Albany“ Know'st thou this paper ?” is, in the folio, answered by Edmund—“Ask me not what I know.” In the quartos, however, which have been followed by the modern editors, this reply is given to Goneril. But why should Albany address this question to Goneril, when he has previously said to her—" No tearing, lady; I perceive you know it ?

Plague—the quartos, scourge.
• We print this line as in the folio. The quarto, which is the ordinary reading, has

“ That with the pain of death we'd hourly die.”

Not sure, though hoping, of this good success,
I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last
Told him our pilgrimage: but his flaw'd heart,
(Alack, too weak the conflict'to support!)
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,

Burst smilingly.

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 in a man,
Who, having seen me in my worse estate,
Shunn'd my abhorrid 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 him 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 trumpet 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

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody knife.
GENT. Help! help! O help!

What kind of help?

Speak, man.
Edg. What means this bloody knife ?

'T is hot, it smokes;
It came even from the heart of- she's dead.
Alb. Who dead? speak, man b.

a The lines in brackets, beginning—“ This would have seem'd a period,” are omitted in the folio. b We give the passage as in the folio. The quarto reads

“ It came even from the heart of ALB.

Who, man? speak!"

Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister

By her is poison'd; she confesses it.
EDM. I was contracted to them both; all three

Now marry in an instant.

Here comes Kent.
ALB. Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead !--

This judgment of the heavens that makes us tremble,
Touches us not with pity.

[Exit Gentleman. Enter KENT.

0, is this hea ? 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 ?-
See'st thou this object, Kent?

[The bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus ? EDM.

Yet Edmund was belov'd :
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
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia :-

Nay, send in time.

Run, run, O run
Edg. To who, my lord ?-Who has the office ? send

Thy token of reprieve.
EDM. Well thought on; take my sword,

Give it the captain.
Haste thee, for thy life.

[Exit EDGAR. Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me

To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,

That she fordid herself.
ALB. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile. [EDMUND is borne off

Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his arms: EDGAR, Officer, and others. LEAR. Howl, howl, howl !--0, you are men of stones;

a The quartos, 0! it is he.




Had I
your tongues and


I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack:-She 's gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She 's dead as earth :-Lend me a looking-glass ;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,

Why, then she lives.

Is this the promis'd end a ?
Eng. Or image of that horror ?

Fall, and cease!
LEAR. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,

It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows

That ever I have felt.

O my good master!
LEAR. Prithee, away.

'T is noble Kent, your friend. LEAR. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!

I might have sav'd her; now she 's gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha!
What is 't thou say'st ?-Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman :-

I kill'd the slave that was a hanging thee.
OFF. 'T is true, my lords, he did.

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting faulchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.—Who are you?

Mine eyes are not o' the best :-I 'll tell you straight.
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,

One of them we behold.
LEAR. This is a dull sight. Are you not Kent?

The same;
Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius ?
LEAR. He 's a good fellow, I can tell you

He 'll strike, and quickly too : He's dead and rotten.
KENT. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;-
LEAR. I 'll see that straight.
Kent. That, from your first of difference and decay,

Have follow'd your sad steps.

You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else; all 's cheerless, dark, and deadly.

Your eldest daughters have fore-done themselves,

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* The promis'd end-the end of the world foretold in the Scriptures. The " image of that horror" is the same as “the great doom's image" of Macbeth.

Fore-done-the quartos, fore-doom'd. We have previously had for-did used in the same sense of destroy.

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