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ACT THE FIRST.
Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound: why am I then - or Deprived of a son's right, because I came not In the dull road that custom has prescribed? . Why bastard? Wherefore base? when I can boast A mind as gen’rous, and a shape as true” . . . . As honest madam’s issue? Why are we. : Held base, who, in the lustystealth of nature, Take fiercer qualities than what compound . . . The scanted births of the stale marriage-bed Well then, legitimate Edgar, to thy right: Of law I will oppose a bastard's cunning Our father's love is to the bastard Edi As to legitimate Edgar; with success I’ve practised yet on both their easyn Here comes the old man, chafed with the information, Which last I forged against my brother Edgar; A tale so plausible, so boldly utter'd, And heighten’d by such lucky accidents, That now the slightest circumstance confirms him, And base-born Edmund, spite of law, inherits.
Enter KENT and GlostER.
O'ershoots itself, to plead in his behalf; You are yourself a father, and may feel The sting of disobedience from a son -First-born and best-beloved.—O, villain Edgar ! Kent. Be not too rash; all may be forgery, And time yet clear the duty of your son. Glost. Plead with the seas, and reason down the winds, Yet shalt thou ne'er convince me: I have seen His foul designs through all a father's fondness. Edm. It works as I could wish; I'll show myself. Glost. Ha, Edmund ! welcome, boy.—O Kent see here Inverted nature, Gloster's shame and glory: This bye-born, the wild sally of my youth, Pursues me with all filial offices; Whilst Edgar, begg'd of Heaven, and born in honour, Draws plagues upon my head, that urge me still To curse in age the pleasure of my youth. Nay, weep not, Edmund, for thy brother's crimes. Oh gen’rous boy! thou shar'st but half his blood, Yet lov'st beyond the kindness of a brother: But I’ll reward thy virtue. Follow me. My lord, you wait the king, who comes resolved To quit the toils of empire, and divide His realms amongst his daughters. Heav'n succeed it! But much I fear the change. Kent. I grieve to see him With such wild starts of passion hourly seized, As render majesty beneath itself. Glost. Alas! 'tis the infirmity of his age: Yet has his temper ever been unfixt, Chol’ric, and sudden, [Flourish of trumpets. Hark, they approach. [Ereunt GlostER, KENT, and EDMUND.
Enter CoRDELIA and EDGAR.
And, ere successful Burgundy receive"
A Room of State in the Palace.
KING LEAR upon his Throne.
ALBANY, CoRNWALL BURGUNDY, KENT, GLosTER, GoNERIL, REGAN, Cordell A, CAPTAIN of the GUARD, KNIGHTs, PAGES, GENTLEMAN with the Map, GENTleMAN with the Crown, LoBDs, LAD1Es, &c. &c. discovered,
Lear. Attend my lords of Albany and Cornwall, With princely Burgundy ?
Alb. We do, my liege.
Lear. Give me the map.–Know, lords, we have
In three our kingdom, having now resolved
And now are to be answer'd.—Tell me, my daughters,
No more, nor less.
Lear. Take heed, Cordelia;
Cord, O my liegel -
Lear. And goes thy heart with this?
Cord. So young, my lord, and true.
Lear. Thy truth then be thy dower;
Kent. This is phrenzy.
Lear. Peace, Kent;