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If you do love old men ; if your sweet sway
Gon. wo not by th’ hand, sir? how have I offend.
All's not offence that indiscretion finds,
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell;
Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance From those whom she calls servants, or from mine * Reg. Why not, my lord P if then they chance to slack you, we could control them. If you come to me, For now I see the danger, I intreat you To bring but five and twenty ; to no more Will I give place." ' Lear. I gave you all! Reg. And in good time you gave it. Lear. Hold, now, my temper 1 stand this bolt unmoved And I am thunder proof. The wicked, when compared with the more wicked, Seem beautiful; and not to be the worst, Stands in some rank of praise. Now, Goneril, Thou art innocent again, I’ll go with thee; Thy fifty yet does double five and twenty, And thou art twice her love. Gon. Hear me, my lord. (it begins to rain) What need you five and twenty, ten, or five, To follow in a house, where twice so many Have a command t'attend you ? Reg. What need one P (distant thunder) Lear. Heav'ns drop your patience down | You see me here, ye gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age, wretched in both ! If it be you that stir these daughters’ hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely touch me with noble anger O, let not women's weapons, water drops, Stain my man's cheek —no, you unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you both, That all the world shall—I will do such things, tWhat they are, yet I know not ; but they shall be The terrors of the earth.-You think I’ll weep ; No, I'll not weep:— I have full cause of weeping; but this heart ‘Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere Pll weep —(rain—thunder—lightning) 9, gods, I shall go mad! [e reunt king Lear, Kent, and the knights—Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Gloster, Oswald, captain of the guards, and attendants, into the castle
Ilear. Blow, winds, and burst your cheeks : rage louder yet! Fantastic lightning, singe, singe my white head Spout cataracts, and hurricanoes fall, Till you have drown'd the towns and palaces Of proud, ingrateful man Kent. Not all my best intreaties ean persuade him Into some needful shelter, or to 'bide This poor slight cov’ring on his aged head, Exposed to this wild war of earth and heaven. (thunder) Lear. Rumble thy fill ! fight whirlwind, rain and fire! Not fire, wind, rain, or thunder, are my daughters: I tax not you, ye elements, with unkindness: I never gave you kingdoms, call'd you children; You owe me no obedience. Then let fall Your horrible pleasure?—here I stand your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man. (rain—thunder—lightning) Yet I will call you servile ministers, That have with two pernicious daughters join'd Your high engender'd battle 'gainst a head So old and white as this. Oh! oh! tis foul. Kent Hard by, sir, is a hovel, that will lend 8ome shelter from this tempest.
Lear. I will forget my nature. What! so kind a father!— (rain—thunder—lightning) Ay, there's the oint. Aent. Consider, good my liege, things, that love night, Love not such nights as this ; these wrathful skies Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, And make them keep their caves: such drenching rain, Such sheets of fire, such claps of horrid thunder, Such groans of roaring winds, have ne'er been known. (thunder) Lear. Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pother o’er our heads, Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch, That hast within these undiscover'd crimes — Hide, hide, thou murd’rer, hide thy bloody hand – Thou perjured villain, holy hypocrite, That drink'st the widow’s tears, sigh now, and ask These dreadful summoners’ grace —I am a man More sinn’d against, than sinning. Rent, Good sir, to th’ hovel. Lear. My wits begin to turn.— Come on, my boy ; how dost, my boy 2 art cold 2 I’m cold myself; show me this straw, my fellow ; The art of our necessity is strange, And can make vile things precious.-My poor knave, Cold as I am at heart, I've one place there That’s sorry yet for thee. [rain—thunder—lightning—exeunt
scene 11—a room in Gloster’s castle.
Edm. The storm is in our louder rev'lings drown'd. Thus would I reign, could I but mount a throne. The riots of these proud imperial sisters Already have imposed the galling yoke Of taxes, and hard impositions, on The drudging peasant’s neck, who bellows out
His loud complaints in vain. Triumphant queens ! With what assurance do they tread the crowd Oh' for a taste of such majestic beauty, Which none but my hot veins are fit to engage; Nor are my wishes desperate ; for even now, During the banquet, I observed their glances Shot thick at me; and, as they left the room, Each cast, by stealth, a kind inviting smile," The happy earnest—ha! (two pages, from several entrances, deliver him each a letter, and eteunt) . (reads) Where merit is so transparent, not to behold it were blindness, and not to reward it, ingratitude. GON ER. L.
Enough blind and ungrateful should I be, Not to obey the summons of this oracle. Now for the second letter. (reads) If modesty be not your enemy, doubt not te find me your friend. REGA. N.
Excellent sybil! o my glowing blood!
Glost. I come to seek thee, Edmund, to impart a business of importance. I know thy loyal heart is touched to see the cruelty of these ungrateful daughters against our royal master.
Edm. Most savage and unnatural
Glost. This change in the state sits uneasy. The commons repine aloud at their female tyrants; already they cry out for the re instalment of their good old king, whose injuries, I fear, will inflame them into mutiny.
Edm. Tis to be hoped, not fear'd.
Glost. Thou hast it, boy; tis to be hoped indeed. On me they cast their eyes, and hourly court me To lead them on; and, whilst this head is mine,