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Edm. What you have charg'd me with, that have I done;
And more, much more: the time will bring it out;
'Tis past, and so am I: But what art thou,
That hath this fortune on me? If thou art noble,
I do forgive thee.
Edg.

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 scourge us :
The dark and vicious place where thee he got,
Cost him his eyes.
Edm.

Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true ;
The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophecy
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 it well.

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

Edg. By nursing them, my lord.—List a brief tale ;
And, when 'tis told, 0, that my heart would burst !
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That follow'd me so near, (O our lives' sweetness !
That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,
Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift
Into a mad-man's rags; to 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!) 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

b I knew it well] The adverb well was added by Sir Thomas Hanmer for the sake of the metre.-STEEVENS.

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.

Edm. This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good: but speak you on;

You look as you had something more to say.
. Alb. If there be more, more woeful, hold it in;

For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.
Edg.

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.
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 'twas that so endur’d, with his strong arms
He fasten’d on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw him 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
Began to crack: Twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranc’d.
Alb.

But who was this?
Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave.

Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
Gent. Help! help! O help!
Edg.

What kind of help?
Alb.

Speak, man.
Edg. What means that bloody knife ?

This would have seem'd a period, &c.] The sense may probably be this: This would have seemed a period to such as love not sorrow; but-another, i.e. but I must add another, i.e. another period, another kind of conclusion to my story such as will increase the horrors of what has already been told.-MALONE.

Gent.

'Tis hot, it smokes ; It came even from the heart of· Alb.

Who, man? speak. Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison’d; she confesses it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead ! This judgments of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.

[Exit Gentleman.

Enter Kent. Edg. .

Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. O! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,
Which very manners urges.
Kent.

I am come
To bid my king and master aye good night;
Is he not here?
Alb.

Great thing of us forgot !-
Speak, Edmund, where's the king; and where's Cor-
See'st thou this object, Kent?

[delia ?. [The Bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are

brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus? Edm.

Yet Edmund was belov’d: The one the other poison'd for my sake, And after slew herself.

Alb. Even so.—Cover their faces.

Edm. 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 writ
Is on the life of Lear, and on Cordelia :-
Nay, send in time.
Alb.

Run, run, 0, run-
Edg. To who, my lord ?-Who has the office ? send
Thy token of reprieve.

d This judgment, &c.] If Shakspeare had studied Aristotle all his life, he would not perhaps have been able to mark with more precision the distiuct operations of terror and pity.--TYRWHITT.

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 fordide 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 others. Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !—0, you are men of

stones; Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack :-0, she is 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,
Why, then she lives.

Is this the promis'd end ?
Edg. Or image of that horror ?
Alb.

Fall, and cease !8
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,

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e - fordid,] i.e. Destroyed. Kent. Is this the promis'd end?

Edg. Or image of that horror ?] By the promised end Kent does not mean that conclusion which the state of their affairs seemed to promise, but the end of the world. In St. Mark's gospel, when Christ foretels to his disciples the end of the world, and is describing to them the signs that were to precede, and mark the approach of our final dissolution, he says, “ For in those days shall be affliction such as wus not from the beginning of the creation which God created, unto this time, neither shall be ;” and afterwards he says, “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son ; and children shah rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death." Kent, in contemplating the unexampled scene of affliction before him, recollects these passages, and asks, whether that was the end of the world that had been foretold to us : to wbich Edgar adds, only a representative or resemblance of that horror.M. Mason. This note deserves the highest praise.-STEEVENS.

& Fall and cease | Albany is looking with attention on 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 be, at once, than continue in existence only to be wretchell. ---STEEVENS.

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

O my good master! [Kneeliny.
Lear. Pr’ythee, away.
Edg.

'Tis 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.

Off. 'Tis 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.—Who are you?
Mine eyes are none o'the best :-I'll tell you straight.

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

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

The same; Your servant Kent: Where is your servant Caius?

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

Kent. No, my good lord; I am the very man ;-
Lear. I'll see that straight.

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

You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else;" all's cheerless, dark, and

deadly,—.
Your eldest daughters have fore-doom'd themselves,
And desperately are dead.
Lear.

Ay, so I think

b If fortune brug of two she lovd and hated,

One of them we behold., i.e. If Fortune, to display the plenitude of her power, should brag of two persons, one of whom she had highly elevated, and the other she had wofully depressed, we now behold the latter.-M. MASON.

difference“) i. e. Reverse of fortune. k Nor no man else ; ] Kent means, I welcome! No, nor no man else.—MALONE.

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