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Lear. Thou, Kent, didst head the troops that fought my battle, Exposed'st thy life and fortunes for a master, That had, as I remember, banish'd thee
Kent. Pardon me, sir, that once I broke your orders: Banish'd by you, I kept me here disguis'd To watch your fortunes, and protect your person: You know you entertain'd a rough, blunt fellow, One Caius, and you thought he did you service.
Lear. My trusty Caius, I have lost him too!
Kent. I was that Caius,
Lear. My Caius too! Wer't thou my trusty Caius? Enough, enough
Kent. Ah me, he faints! his blood forsakes his cheek! Help, Kent,
Lear. No, no, they shall not see us weep, We'll see them rot first.—Guards, lead away to prison. Come, Kent; Cordelia, come.—Ha! have I caught
you? He, that parts us, must bring a brand from heav'n: Together we'll out-toil the spite of hell, And die the wonders of the world.—Away. [Exeunt.
The Duke Of Albany's Tent.
Enter the Duke Of Albany, Edmund, Herald, Attendants, and Soldiers.
Alb. Now, Gloster, trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Ta'en their discharge. Now let our trumpets speak,
And, herald, read out this. [herald reads.
If any man of quality within the lists of the army will maintain upon Edmund, supposed Earl ofGloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the trumpet; he is bold in his defence.
[The Trumpet sounds at each Order; and is then answered from within.
Alb. Lord Edgar!
Edm. Ha! my brother!
Edg. My noble prince, a word;—Ere we engage,
Alb. We shall peruse it.
Edg. Now, Edmund, draw thy sword,
I brand thee with the spotted name of traitor,
Edm. And dares Edgar,
The beaten, routed Edgar, brave his conqueror?
Edg. Half blooded man,
Edm. Thou bear'st thee on thy mother's piety,
[Trumpet sounds;—they fight;—Edmund falls. Tis past,—and so am I.
Edg. As thou art my father's son, Exchange we charity on thy repentance.
Edm. Thy sword has prov'd thy truth.—Forgive me, Edgar.— Oh! ere life leaves me, let me do some good, Despight of my own nature:—Quickly send, Be brief, into the castle; for my order Is on the life of Lear, and of Cordelia.
Edg. O, let us fly, my lord, to save their lives!
Jib. The heav'ns defend them!—Bear him hence a while. [Exeunt the Duke Of Albany and Edgar, with a Part of the Soldiers, and the other Part bear Edmund away.
King Lear asleep, with his Head on Cordelia's Lap.
Cord. What toils, thou wretched king, hast thou
O gods! a sudden gloom o'erwhelms me, and the
image Of death o'erspreads the place.—Ha! who are these?
Enter Captain Of The Guard, another Officer, and Soldiers, with Cords.
Capt. Now, sirs, despatch ; already you are paid In part, the best of your reward's to come.
Lear. Charge, charge upon their flank; their left wing halts; Push, push the battle, and the day's our own; Their ranks are broken; down, down with Albany.— Who holds my hands ?—O, thou deceiving sleep,
I was this very minute on the chase,
And now a pris'ner here!—What mean the slaves ? You will not murder me r
Cord. Help, earth and heaven!
Cord. You, sir, I'll seize,
Capt. Comply with her request; despatch her first.
[king Lear snatches a Sword from the OfFicer, and strikes down the Two Soldiers, who had seized Cordelia.
Enter Edgar, the Duke Of Albany, and King Lear's Knights.
Edg. Death! hell! ye vultures, hold your impious hands, Or take a speedier death than you would give.
Alb. Guards, seize those instruments of cruelty.
Cord. Oh, my Edgar!
Edg. My dear Cordelia! lucky was the minute Of our approach ; the gods have weigh'd our suff'rings; We've pass'd the fire, and now must shine to ages.
Knight. Look here, my lord; see, where the generous king Has slain two of them.
Lear. Did I not, fellow?