Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil:
No tearing, lady; I perceive, you know it.

[Gives the letter* to EDMUND. Goneril. Say, if I do, the laws are mine, not thine: Who can arraign me for 't?

Albany. Most monstrous!

Know'st ,thou this paper?

Gon.' Ask me not what I know.

[Exit Goneril. Alb. Go after her: she 's desperate; govern her.

[Exit an Officer.

Edmund. 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.

Edgar. 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.

Edmund. 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.

Edg. Worthy prince, I know 't.

Alb. Where have you bid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?

Edg. By nursing them, my lord. — List2 a brief tale';
And, when 't is told, 0, that my heart would burst! —
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness!
That we with the pain of death would hourly die,
Bather than die at once!) taught me to shift

1. i. e. Gooeril's letter found upon j 2. To list, to listen to, to hearken to. Oswald. J

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!)1 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.

Edmund. This speech of yours hath mov'd me,
And "shall, perchance, do good; but speak you on:
You look as you had3 something more to say.

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.4

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 't was that so endur'd, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he 'd5 burst heaven; threw him6 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

1. 0 fault! 0 misfortune!

2. Until about half-an-hour ago.

3. i. e. as if you had.

4. This would have seemed a period (i. e. conclusion) to such as love not sorrow; but I must add another period, to increase what was already too-much, which will make much, more (i. e. more than much) and surpass even the extremity of sorrow. Too-much and much have the power of substan

tives. •— The sense in plain language is therefore, — This would be enough for any one who does not love to hear of human sorrows, but I have still another sorrowful tale to add, such as will increase the horrors of what has been already told. — To top, see note 8, page 11.

5. i. e. As if he would. . 6. t. e. himself.

- - -

--" "
- * --~~~~- - - - - - - -

ACT V. SC. III. 109 Began to crack: twice, then, the trumpets sounded, * And there I left him tranc'd. Alany. But who was this?

Edlar. Kent, Sir, the banish’d Kent; who in disguise
Follow' his enemy king, and did him service
Impropr for a slave. *

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.

tleman. Help! help! O help!
9. What kind of help?

Speak, man. ,

'g. What means that bloody knife? 7\t. - 'T is hot, it smokes; e even from the heart of – O! she ’s dead! lb. Who dead? speak, man. ent. Your lady, Sir, your lady: and her sister Byer is poison’d; she hath confess'd it. dm. I was contracted to them both: all three N] marry in an instant. 2dg. Here comes Kent. Alb. Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead! — judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble, hes us not with pity. [Exit Gentleman.

Enter RENT.

- O! is this he?
time will not allow the compliment,
ich very manners urges."

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Kent. I am come bid my king and master aye” good night: he not here? • Alb. Great thing of us forgot! —

eak, Edmund, where's the king? and where 's Cordelia? — est thou this object, Kent?

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

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1. Which even manners (i. e. po- ceived as one idea, and govern the l liteness) itself dictates. Manners, like verb in the singular. ews and some other words, although 2. i. e. for aye, for ever.

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The one the other poison'd for my sake,
And after slew herself.

Albany. Even so. — Cover their faces.

Edmund. 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 writ1
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia. —
Nay, send in time.

Alb. Kun, run! O, run!

Edgar. To whom, my lord? — Who has the office? send Thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Well thought on: take my sword, Give it the captain.

Alb. 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 fordid2 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


Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl! — O! you are men of


Had I your tongues and eyes, 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,3

Why, then she lives.

Kent. Is this the promis'd end?4

Edg. Or image of that horror?

Alb. Fall, and cease!5

Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,

1. i. e. for my written order has gone forth touching the life of, Sec.

2. To fordo, or foredo, to destroy. Obsolete.

3. It must be recollected that mirrors of polished inetal were formerly used.

4. i. e. end of the world.

5. Albany is looking with attention at the pains employed by Lear

to recover his child, and knows to what miseries he must survive, when he finds them to be ineffectual. Having these images present to his eyes and imagination, he cries out, — Rather fall, and cease to he, at once, than continue in existence only to be wretched.

It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.

Kent. O, my good master! [Kneeling.

Lear. Pr'ythee, away.

Edgar. '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.

Officer. 'T is true, my, lords, he did.

Lear. 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.1 — Who are you?
Mine eyes are not o' the Dest: — I 'll tell you straight.

Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated,
One of them we behold. 2

Lear. This is a dull sight. — Are you not Kent?

Kent. The same,

Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?3

Lear. He 's a good fellow, I can tell you that; He 'll strike, and quickly too.4 — He 's dead and rotten.

Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man —

Lear. I 1l see that straight.

Kent. That from your first of difference and decay,5 Have follow'd your sad steps. v

Lear. You are welcome hither.

Kent. Nor no man else.6 All's cheerless, dark, and deadly: Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves, And desperately are dead.

Lear. Ay, so I think.

1. And these distresses deprive me of niy wonted activity.

2. If Fortune, to display the plenitude of her power, should boast of two persons, one of whom she had highly elevated, and the other she had wofully depressed, we now behold the latter.

3. Kent seems to have borne this name when disguised as Lear's servant.

4. Alluding to Kent's offieiousness in his service.

5. i. e. from the first moment of your changed fortunes and sorrows.

6. Continuing his former speech.

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