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!
'Twas a rough honesty.

Kent. I was that Caius,
Disguis'd in that coarse dress to follow you.

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.

Sound ;—again;—again.

[The Trumpet sounds at each Order; and is then answered from within.

Enter Edgar.

Alb. Lord Edgar!

Edm. Ha! my brother!
This is the only combatant I could fear;
For in my breast guilt duels on his side.
But, conscience, what have I to do with thee?
Awe thou thy dull legitimate slaves; but I
Was born a libertine, and so I keep me.

Edg. My noble prince, a word;—Ere we engage,
Into your highness' hands I give this paper;
It will the truth of my impeachment prove,
Whatever be my fortune in the fight.

Alb. We shall peruse it.

Edg. Now, Edmund, draw thy sword,
That, if my speech has wrong'd a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here, i'th'presence
Of this high prince,

I brand thee with the spotted name of traitor,
False to thy gods, thy father, and thy brother,
And, what is more, thy friend, false to this prince;
If then thou shar'st a spark of Gloster's virtue,
Acquit thyself; or, if thou shar'st his courage,
Meet this defiance bravely.

Edm. And dares Edgar,

The beaten, routed Edgar, brave his conqueror?
From all thy troops and thee I forc'd the field;
Thou hast lost the gen'ral stake, and art thou now
Come with thy petty single stock to play
This after-game?

Edg. Half blooded man,
Thy father's sin first, then his punishment,
From thy licentious mother
Thou draw'st thy villany; but, for thy part
Of Gloster's blood, I hold thee worth my sword.

Edm. Thou bear'st thee on thy mother's piety,
Which I despise; thy mother being chaste,
Thou art assur'd thou art but Gloster's son;
But mine, disdaining constancy, leaves me
To hope that I am sprung from nobler blood,
And possibly a king might be my sire:
But be my birth's uncertain chance as 'twill,
Who 'twas that had the hit to father me
I know not; 'tis enough that I am I;
Of this one thing I'm certain, that I have
A daring soul, and so have at thy heart,

[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.


A Prison.

King Lear asleep, with his Head on Cordelia's Lap.

Cord. What toils, thou wretched king, hast thou

To make thee draw, in chains, a sleep so sound!
Thy better angel charm thy ravish'd mind
With fancied freedom! Peace is us'd to lodge
On cottage straw; thou hast the beggar's bed;
Therefore shouldst have the beggar's careless

And now, my Edgar, I remember thee:
What fate has seized thee in this general wreck
I know not, but I know thou must be wretched,
Because Cordelia holds thee dear.—

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!
For your soul's sake, dear sir, and for the gods',—
Offi. No tears, good lady; no pleading against gold
and preferment,
Come, sirs, make ready your cords.

Cord. You, sir, I'll seize,
You have a human form; and, if no prayers
Can touch your soul to spare a poor king's life,
If there be any thing that you hold dear,
By that I beg you to despatch me first.

Capt. Comply with her request; despatch her first.
Lear. Off, hell-hounds! by the gods I charge you,
spare her;
'Tis my Cordelia, my true pious daughter;—
No pity ?—Nay, then take an old man's vengeance.

[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?
I've seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I could have made them skip; I am old now,
And these vile crosses spoil me; out of breath,
Tie, oh! quite out of breath, and spent.

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