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Or ere I'll weep—(rain—thunder—lightning) Q, 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
END of the second Act.
A CT III. . - e.
scene 1–a desert heath—rain—thunder—lightning. enter king LEAR and KENT.
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 can 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 Some shelter from this tempest.
Lear. I will forget my nature. What! so kind a father'— (rain—thunder—lightning) Ay, there's the point. Kent. 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? 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 behol it were blindness, and not to reward it, ingratitude. GONE R. 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,
I’m theirs. A little covert craft, my boy,
GLost ER returns. followed by cord ELIA and ARANTHF, poorly dressed—Edmund observing at a distance.
Cord. Turn, Gloster, turn; by all the sacred pow'rs, I do conjure you give my griefs a hearing: (kneels) You must, you shall, nay, I am sure you will ; For you were always styled the just and good. Glost. What would'st thou, princess P rise, and speak thy griefs. Cord. Nay, you shall promise to redress them too, Or here I’ll kneel for ever, I entreat Thy succor for a father, and a king, An injured father, and an injured king. Edm O charming sorrows! how her tears adorn her! Glost. Consider, princess, (raises her) For who,thou begg'st, tis for the king that wrong'd thee.
Cord. O name not that ; he did not, could not wrong me.
Nay, muse not, Gloster; for it is too likely This injured king ere this is past your aid, And gone distracted with his savage wrongs. Edm. I'll gaze no more ; and yet my eyes are charm’d, Cord. Or, what if it be worse?—can there be worse? Ah, tis too probable, this furious night Has pierced his tender body; the bleak winds And cold rain chill'd, or lightning struck, him dead; If it be so, your promise is discharged, And I have only one poor boon to beg; That you'd convey me to his breathless trunk, With my torn robes to wrap his hoary head, With my torn hair to bind his hands and feet, Then with a shower of tears To wash his clay-smear'd cheeks, and die beside him. Glost. Oh, fair Cordelia, thou hast piety Enough t'atone for both thy sisters' crimes; I have already plotted to restore My injured master, and thy virtue tells me We shall succeed, and suddenly. [exit Głoster Cord. Despatch, Aranthe; For in this disguise, we’ll instantly Go seek the king, and bring him some relief. Aran. How, madam are you ignorant That your most impious sisters have decreed Immediate death for any that relieve him? Cord. I cannot dread the furies in this case. Aran. In such a night as this consider, madam, For many miles about there’s scarce a bush To shelter in. Cord. Therefore no shelter for the king. And more our charity to find him out. What have not women dared for vicious love : And we'll be shining proofs that they can dare For piety as much. (thunder) Blow winds, and lightnings fall; Bold in my virgin innocence I'll fly
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