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The Tragedy of King Lear

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Act IV, Scene 5

Gloucester’s Castle.


Enter Regan and [Oswald the] Steward.

  • Regan. But are my brother's pow'rs set forth?
  • Regan. Himself in person there?
  • Oswald. Madam, with much ado.
    Your sister is the better soldier. 2555
  • Regan. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
  • Regan. What might import my sister's letter to him?
  • Regan. Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter. 2560
    It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out,
    To let him live. Where he arrives he moves
    All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone,
    In pity of his misery, to dispatch
    His nighted life; moreover, to descry 2565
    The strength o' th' enemy.
  • Oswald. I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.
  • Regan. Our troops set forth to-morrow. Stay with us.
    The ways are dangerous.
  • Oswald. I may not, madam. 2570
    My lady charg'd my duty in this business.
  • Regan. Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
    Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
    Something- I know not what- I'll love thee much-
    Let me unseal the letter. 2575
  • Regan. I know your lady does not love her husband;
    I am sure of that; and at her late being here
    She gave strange eyeliads and most speaking looks
    To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom. 2580
  • Regan. I speak in understanding. Y'are! I know't.
    Therefore I do advise you take this note.
    My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talk'd,
    And more convenient is he for my hand 2585
    Than for your lady's. You may gather more.
    If you do find him, pray you give him this;
    And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
    I pray desire her call her wisdom to her.
    So farewell. 2590
    If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
    Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
  • Oswald. Would I could meet him, madam! I should show
    What party I do follow.
  • Regan. Fare thee well. Exeunt. 2595