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Enter KENT!
Edg.

Here comes Kent.
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-

delia ?Seest thou this object, Kent? [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 whom, my lord?- Who has the office ?

send Thy token of reprieve.

Edm. Well thought on : take my sword, Give it the captain

· Enter Kent.] In the folio the entrance of Kent is marked too early, and Edgar's speech,“ Here comes Kent,” is erroneously placed before “ Produce the bodies," &c. The folio also places the bringing out of the bodies of Goneril and Regan too early. The quartos are right in this respect.

30! it is he.] The folio “0! is this he ?"
• Give it the captain.] Steevens says that the quartos read,

“ Take my sword, the captain

Give it the captain." Only one quarto so reads : the others (without the publisher's address) have

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 fordid 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. — She's 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.
Kent.

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

Fall, and cease!
Lear. This feather stirs; she lives! if it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt.
Kent.

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

”Tis noble Kent, your friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!

the same text as the folio. One quarto omits the words “ That she fordid herself” at the close of Edmund's next speech ; but all assign “Haste thee for thy life,” to Albany, and not to Edgar as in the folio : Edgar was the person dispatched, and the words are, therefore, addressed to him.

5 Is this the promis'd end?) i. e. “ the promis'd end” of the world, according to the interpretation of Monck Mason, in which Steevens and Malone concur. Consistently with this notion, Edgar returns “Or image of that horror ?" namely doomsday.

6 — murderers, traitors all !) So the folio : the quartos “murderous 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 not 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. 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,
Ilave 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 fordone themselves?,

The same,

8

? I would have made them skip :) This is the reading of the quartos : the folio has him for “them."

she lov'd and hated,] The quartos " she lov'd or hated.” The meaning of this passage, says Monck Mason, appears to me to be this : 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, • This is a dull sight.] Words found only in the folio.

your first of difference] The quartos, obviously corruptly, “ your life of difference."

have FORDONE themselves ;) This is probably the true reading, and from the folio. We have before been told in this scene that Goneril " fordid herself,” or destroyed herself. One of the quartos has“ fordoome themselves," the other quartos print it fordoom'd. Nevertheless, only Goneril had, in fact, “ fordone” herself.

1

2

And desperately are dead.
Lear.

Ay, so I think.
Alb. He knows not what he says'; and vain is it,
That we present us to him.
Edg.

Very bootless.

Enter an Officer. Off. Edmund is dead, my lord. Alb.

That's but a trifle here. You lords, and noble friends, know our intent. What comfort to this great decay* may come, Shall be applied : for us, we will resign, During the life of this old majesty, To him our absolute power.—You, to your rights,

[To EDGAR and KENT. With boot, and such addition, as your honours Have more than merited. All friends shall taste The wages of their virtue, and all foes The cup of their deservings.-0! see, see!

Lear. And my poor fool is hang’d"! No, no, no life: Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never !Pray you, undo this button : thank you, sir.Do you see this?

see this? Look on her,-look,-her lips,Look there, look there ! Edg.

He faints !—My lord, my lord ! 3 He knows not what he says ;] Thus the folio : the quartos sees. 4 4

to this GREAT decay] Meaning Lear. The quartos omit “great.” • And my poor fool is hang’d!] It has been disputed whether, in these words, Lear refers to Cordelia or to his fool, of whom, in the two last acts, we have heard nothing. Sir Joshua Reynolds was of opinion that Shakespeare thus meant to inform the audience of the fate of the Fool; but it may be urged that, as Cordelia had been hanged, the poet would probably have chosen some other death for the Fool, in order to render the matter quite clear, supposing Lear to have allowed his thoughts to wander from his daughter, lying dead before him. On the other hand, if Shakespeare did not mean to revert to the Fool, he has certainly omitted to account for a prominent and important character.

6 Do you see this ? &c.] This line and the following hemistich are not in the quartos. After “thank you, sir,” they have only the interjection (! five times repeated.

[He dies. Edg.

Kent. Break, heart; I pr’ythee, break?!

Look up, my lord. Kent. Vex not his ghost: 0 ! let him pass: he hates

him,
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
Edg.

He is gone, indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long :
IIe but usurp'd his life.

Alb. Bear them from hence. Our present business Is general woe.—Friends of my soul, you twain

[To KENT and EDGAR. Rule in this realm®, and the gor'd state sustain.

Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go: My master calls me; I must not say, no'.

Alb. The weight of this sad time we must obey; Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most: we, that are young, Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

[Exeunt, with a dead March.

? Break, heart ; &c.] This line is in the quartos erroneously given to Lear, whose death is not there marked in the stage directions.

8 Rule in this REALM] “Rule in this kingdom” in the quartos ; and for “ gor'd state” one of them (that without the address) has “good state."

9 My master calls me, I must not say, no :) So the folio : the quartos “My master calls, and I must not say no." The second folio here adds Dics, as a stage-direction in the margin, but there is nothing in the older editions to warrant its introduction.

10 The weight of this sad time-] In the folio this speech is mistakenly assigned to Edgar. All the quartos concur in giving it to Albany.

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