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Speeches (Lines) for Edgar
in "King Lear"

Total: 98

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Edmund. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are
sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make
guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if
we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion;
knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance;
drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine
thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-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. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the
maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.
[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.

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



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

Edgar. Do you busy yourself with that?



Edmund. 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.

Edgar. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?



Edmund. Come, come! When saw you my father last?

Edgar. The night gone by.



Edmund. Spake you with him?

Edgar. Ay, two hours together.



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

Edgar. None at all.



Edmund. Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended him; and at my
entreaty forbear his presence until 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.

Edgar. Some villain hath done me wrong.



Edmund. That's my 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 ye, go! There's my key. If you do stir abroad,
go arm'd.

Edgar. Arm'd, brother?



Edmund. Brother, I advise you to the best. Go arm'd. I am no honest man
if there be any good meaning toward you. I have told you what I
have seen and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image and
horror of it. Pray you, away!

Edgar. Shall I hear from you anon?



Edmund. The Duke be here to-night? The better! best!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act. Briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word! Descend! Brother, I say!
[Enter Edgar.]
My father watches. O sir, fly this place!
Intelligence is given where you are hid.
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither; now, i' th' night, i' th' haste,
And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

Edgar. I am sure on't, not a word.



(stage directions). Enter Edgar.

Edgar. I heard myself proclaim'd,
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escap'd the hunt. No port is free, no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may scape,
I will preserve myself; and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast. My face I'll grime with filth,
Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots,
And with presented nakedness outface
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheepcotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers,
Enforce their charity. 'Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!'
That's something yet! Edgar I nothing am. Exit.



Lear. Prithee go in thyself; seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
[To the Fool] In, boy; go first.- You houseless poverty-
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep. [Exit Fool]
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.

Edgar. [within] Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!



(stage directions). Enter Edgar [disguised as a madman].

Edgar. Away! the foul fiend follows me! Through the sharp hawthorn
blows the cold wind. Humh! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.



Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daughters, and art thou come
to this?

Edgar. Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o'er
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and
halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud
of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inch'd
bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. Bless thy five
wits! Tom 's acold. O, do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from
whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity,
whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him now- and there-
and there again- and there!



Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have subdu'd nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'Twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.

Edgar. Pillicock sat on Pillicock's Hill. 'Allow, 'allow, loo, loo!



Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

Edgar. Take heed o' th' foul fiend; obey thy parents: keep thy word
justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not
thy sweet heart on proud array. Tom 's acold.



Lear. What hast thou been?

Edgar. A servingman, proud in heart and mind; that curl'd my hair,
wore gloves in my cap; serv'd the lust of my mistress' heart and
did the act of darkness with her; swore as many oaths as I spake
words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven; one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and wak'd to do it. Wine lov'd
I deeply, dice dearly; and in woman out-paramour'd the Turk.
False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox
in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray
thy poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothel, thy hand
out of placket, thy pen from lender's book, and defy the foul
fiend. Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind; says
suum, mun, hey, no, nonny. Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let
him trot by.



(stage directions). Enter Gloucester with a torch.

Edgar. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet. He begins at curfew,
and walks till the first cock. He gives the web and the pin,
squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat,
and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Withold footed thrice the 'old;
He met the nightmare, and her nine fold;
Bid her alight
And her troth plight,
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!



Earl of Gloucester. What are you there? Your names?

Edgar. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the todpole,
the wall-newt and the water; that in the fury of his heart, when
the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets, swallows the
old rat and the ditch-dog, drinks the green mantle of the
standing pool; who is whipp'd from tithing to tithing, and
stock-punish'd and imprison'd; who hath had three suits to his
back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapons to
But mice and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
Beware my follower. Peace, Smulkin! peace, thou fiend!



Earl of Gloucester. What, hath your Grace no better company?

Edgar. The prince of darkness is a gentleman!
Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.



Earl of Gloucester. Our flesh and blood is grown so vile, my lord,
That it doth hate what gets it.

Edgar. Poor Tom 's acold.



Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban.
What is your study?

Edgar. How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin.



Lear. O, cry you mercy, sir.
Noble philosopher, your company.

Edgar. Tom's acold.



Earl of Gloucester. No words, no words! hush.

Edgar. Child Rowland to the dark tower came;
His word was still
Fie, foh, and fum!
I smell the blood of a British man.



(stage directions). Exit [Gloucester].

Edgar. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the
lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.



Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits
Come hizzing in upon 'em-

Edgar. The foul fiend bites my back.



Lear. It shall be done; I will arraign them straight.
[To Edgar] Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer.
[To the Fool] Thou, sapient sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes!

Edgar. Look, where he stands and glares! Want'st thou eyes at trial,
Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me.



Fool. Her boat hath a leak,
And she must not speak
Why she dares not come over to thee.

Edgar. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale.
Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring. Croak
not, black angel; I have no food for thee.



Lear. I'll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence.
[To Edgar] Thou, robed man of justice, take thy place.
[To the Fool] And thou, his yokefellow of equity,
Bench by his side. [To Kent] You are o' th' commission,
Sit you too.

Edgar. Let us deal justly.
Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd?
Thy sheep be in the corn;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Thy sheep shall take no harm.
Purr! the cat is gray.



Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
Arms, arms! sword! fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her scape?

Edgar. Bless thy five wits!



Earl of Kent. O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
That you so oft have boasted to retain?

Edgar. [aside] My tears begin to take his part so much
They'll mar my counterfeiting.



Lear. The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.

Edgar. Tom will throw his head at them. Avaunt, you curs!
Be thy mouth or black or white,
Tooth that poisons if it bite;
Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Bobtail tyke or trundle-tail-
Tom will make them weep and wail;
For, with throwing thus my head,
Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled.
Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market
towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.



(stage directions). Exeunt [all but Edgar].

Edgar. When we our betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers suffers most i' th' mind,
Leaving free things and happy shows behind;
But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip
When grief hath mates, and bearing fellowship.
How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the King bow,
He childed as I fathered! Tom, away!
Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,
In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
What will hap more to-night, safe scape the King!
Lurk, lurk. [Exit.]



(stage directions). Enter Edgar.

Edgar. Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts.
[Enter Gloucester, led by an Old Man.]
But who comes here?
My father, poorly led? World, world, O world!
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee,
Life would not yield to age.



Old Man. How now? Who's there?

Edgar. [aside] O gods! Who is't can say 'I am at the worst'?
I am worse than e'er I was.



Old Man. 'Tis poor mad Tom.

Edgar. [aside] And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'



Earl of Gloucester. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
I' th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.
They kill us for their sport.

Edgar. [aside] How should this be?
Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow,
Ang'ring itself and others.- Bless thee, master!



Earl of Gloucester. Sirrah naked fellow-

Edgar. Poor Tom's acold. [Aside] I cannot daub it further.



Earl of Gloucester. Come hither, fellow.

Edgar. [aside] And yet I must.- Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.



Earl of Gloucester. Know'st thou the way to Dover?

Edgar. Both stile and gate, horseway and footpath. Poor Tom hath been
scar'd out of his good wits. Bless thee, good man's son, from
the foul fiend! Five fiends have been in poor Tom at once: of
lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of
stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and
mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and waiting women. So,
bless thee, master!



Earl of Gloucester. Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues
Have humbled to all strokes. That I am wretched
Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still!
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he does not feel, feel your pow'r quickly;
So distribution should undo excess,
And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover?

Edgar. Ay, master.



Earl of Gloucester. There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
Looks fearfully in the confined deep.
Bring me but to the very brim of it,
And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear
With something rich about me. From that place
I shall no leading need.

Edgar. Give me thy arm.
Poor Tom shall lead thee.



Earl of Gloucester. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?

Edgar. You do climb up it now. Look how we labour.



Earl of Gloucester. Methinks the ground is even.

Edgar. Horrible steep.
Hark, do you hear the sea?



Earl of Gloucester. No, truly.

Edgar. Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect
By your eyes' anguish.



Earl of Gloucester. So may it be indeed.
Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st
In better phrase and matter than thou didst.

Edgar. Y'are much deceiv'd. In nothing am I chang'd
But in my garments.



Earl of Gloucester. Methinks y'are better spoken.

Edgar. Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.



Earl of Gloucester. Set me where you stand.

Edgar. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.



Earl of Gloucester. Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods
Prosper it with thee! Go thou further off;
Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

Edgar. Now fare ye well, good sir.



Earl of Gloucester. With all my heart.

Edgar. [aside]. Why I do trifle thus with his despair
Is done to cure it.



Earl of Gloucester. O you mighty gods! He kneels.
This world I do renounce, and, in your sights,
Shake patiently my great affliction off.
If I could bear it longer and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
My snuff and loathed part of nature should
Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!
Now, fellow, fare thee well.
He falls [forward and swoons].

Edgar. Gone, sir, farewell.-
And yet I know not how conceit may rob
The treasury of life when life itself
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought,
By this had thought been past.- Alive or dead?
Ho you, sir! friend! Hear you, sir? Speak!-
Thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives.
What are you, sir?



Earl of Gloucester. Away, and let me die.

Edgar. Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,
So many fadom down precipitating,
Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg; but thou dost breathe;
Hast heavy substance; bleed'st not; speak'st; art sound.
Ten masts at each make not the altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell.
Thy life is a miracle. Speak yet again.



Earl of Gloucester. But have I fall'n, or no?

Edgar. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn.
Look up a-height. The shrill-gorg'd lark so far
Cannot be seen or heard. Do but look up.



Earl of Gloucester. Alack, I have no eyes!
Is wretchedness depriv'd that benefit
To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage
And frustrate his proud will.

Edgar. Give me your arm.
Up- so. How is't? Feel you your legs? You stand.



Earl of Gloucester. Too well, too well.

Edgar. This is above all strangeness.
Upon the crown o' th' cliff what thing was that
Which parted from you?



Earl of Gloucester. A poor unfortunate beggar.

Edgar. As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses,Horns whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours
Of men's impossibility, have preserv'd thee.



Earl of Gloucester. I do remember now. Henceforth I'll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself
'Enough, enough,' and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man. Often 'twould say
'The fiend, the fiend'- he led me to that place.

Edgar. Bear free and patient thoughts.
Enter Lear, mad, [fantastically dressed with weeds].
But who comes here?
The safer sense will ne'er accommodate
His master thus.



Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coming;
I am the King himself.

Edgar. O thou side-piercing sight!



Lear. Nature 's above art in that respect. There's your press
money. That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper. Draw me
a clothier's yard. Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace; this piece
of toasted cheese will do't. There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it
on a giant. Bring up the brown bills. O, well flown, bird! i'
th' clout, i' th' clout! Hewgh! Give the word.

Edgar. Sweet marjoram.



Earl of Gloucester. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.

Edgar. [aside] I would not take this from report. It is,
And my heart breaks at it.



Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold
the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back.
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind
For which thou whip'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pygmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none- I say none! I'll able 'em.
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal th' accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now!
Pull off my boots. Harder, harder! So.

Edgar. O, matter and impertinency mix'd!
Reason, in madness!



Gentleman. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king! Thou hast one daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

Edgar. Hail, gentle sir.



Gentleman. Sir, speed you. What's your will?

Edgar. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?



Gentleman. Most sure and vulgar. Every one hears that
Which can distinguish sound.

Edgar. But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?



Gentleman. Near and on speedy foot. The main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

Edgar. I thank you sir. That's all.



Gentleman. Though that the Queen on special cause is here,
Her army is mov'd on.

Edgar. I thank you, sir



Earl of Gloucester. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!

Edgar. Well pray you, father.



Earl of Gloucester. Now, good sir, what are you?

Edgar. A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows,
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand;
I'll lead you to some biding.



Oswald. Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence!
Lest that th' infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

Edgar. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'cagion.



Oswald. Let go, slave, or thou diest!

Edgar. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor voke pass. An chud
ha' bin zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as
'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near th' old man. Keep out,
che vore ye, or Ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the
harder. Chill be plain with you.



(stage directions). They fight.

Edgar. Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come! No matter vor your foins.



(stage directions). He dies.

Edgar. I know thee well. A serviceable villain,
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.



Earl of Gloucester. What, is he dead?

Edgar. Sit you down, father; rest you.
Let's see his pockets; these letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead. I am only sorry
He had no other deathsman. Let us see.
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not.
To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts;
Their papers, is more lawful. Reads the letter.
'Let our reciprocal vows be rememb'red. You have many
opportunities to cut him off. If your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done, if he
return the conqueror. Then am I the prisoner, and his bed my
jail; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the
place for your labour.
'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant, 'Goneril.'
O indistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life,
And the exchange my brother! Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murtherous lechers; and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd Duke, For him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.



(stage directions). A drum afar off.

Edgar. Give me your hand.
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum.
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend. Exeunt.



Goneril. [aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.- I will go.
[As they are going out,] enter Edgar [disguised].

Edgar. If e'er your Grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.



(stage directions). Exeunt [all but Albany and Edgar].

Edgar. 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!



Duke of Albany. Stay till I have read the letter.

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



(stage directions). Enter, with Drum and Colours, the Powers of France over the stage, Cordelia with her Father in her hand, and exeunt. Enter Edgar and Gloucester.

Edgar. 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.



(stage directions). Alarum and retreat within. Enter Edgar,

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



Earl of Gloucester. No further, sir. A man may rot even here.

Edgar. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all. Come on.



Herald. What are you?
Your name, your quality? and why you answer
This present summons?

Edgar. Know my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit.
Yet am I noble as the adversary
I come to cope.



Duke of Albany. Which is that adversary?

Edgar. What's he that speaks for Edmund Earl of Gloucester?



Edmund. Himself. What say'st thou to him?

Edgar. Draw thy sword,
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice. Here is mine.
Behold, it is 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 beneath 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,
Thou liest.



Edmund. What, you have charg'd me with, that have I done,
And more, much more. The time will bring it out.
'Tis past, and so am I.- But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou'rt noble,
I do forgive thee.

Edgar. Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more th' 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 scourge us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.



Duke of Albany. 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!

Edgar. Worthy prince, I know't.



Duke of Albany. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edgar. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale;
And when 'tis told, O that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape
That follow'd me so near (O, our lives' sweetness!
That with the pain of death would 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,
Burst smilingly.



Duke of Albany. If there be more, more woful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

Edgar. 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,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellowed 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 trumpets sounded,
And there I left him tranc'd.



Duke of Albany. But who was this?

Edgar. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Followed his enemy king and did him service
Improper for a slave.



Gentleman. Help, help! O, help!

Edgar. What kind of help?



Duke of Albany. Speak, man.

Edgar. What means that bloody knife?



(stage directions). Enter Kent.

Edgar. Here comes Kent.



Duke of Albany. Run, run, O, run!

Edgar. To who, my lord? Who has the office? Send
Thy token of reprieve.



Earl of Kent. Is this the promis'd end?

Edgar. Or image of that horror?



Lear. Prithee away!

Edgar. 'Tis noble Kent, your friend.



Duke of Albany. He knows not what he says; and vain is it
That we present us to him.

Edgar. Very bootless.



Lear. And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you undo this button. Thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her! look! her lips!
Look there, look there! He dies.

Edgar. He faints! My lord, my lord!



Earl of Kent. Break, heart; I prithee break!

Edgar. Look up, my lord.



Earl of Kent. Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

Edgar. He is gone indeed.

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