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Lear. Come, boy.

She that's a maid now, and laughs at my departure,

Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter. [Exeunt.


SCENE I. The Earl of Gloucester's castle. Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him. Edm. Save thee, Curan.

Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father, and given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan his duchess will be here with him this night.

Edm. How comes that ?

Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad; I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?

Edm. Not I: pray you, what are they? 10 Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany ?

Edm. Not a word.

Cur. You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir. [Exit.

Edm. The duke be here to-night? The better! best!

This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act briefness and fortune,
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
Enter EDGAR.

My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night:
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Corn-

He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,


And Regan with him have you nothing said Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany? Advise yourself.


I am sure on't, not a word 29 Edm. I hear my father coming: pardon me; In cunning I must draw my sword upon you: Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.

Yield come before my father. Light, ho, here!

Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell. [Exit Edgar.

Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion [Wounds his arm.

Of my more fierce endeavor: I have seen drunkards

Do more than this in sport. Father, father! Stop, stop! No help?

Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches.

Glou. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?

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Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Where is the villain, Edmund ?
Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no
means he could-

Glou Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt some Servants.] By no means what? Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lordship

But that I told him, the revenging gods


'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword, he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm :
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the en-

Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.

Glou. Let him fly far: Not in this land shall he remain uncaught; And found-dispatch. The noble duke my master, 60

My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night :
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our

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Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?

Glou. O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!

Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life?

He whom my father named ? your Edgar? Glou. O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid !

Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous knights

That tend upon my father?

[too bad. Glou. I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort. Reg. No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:


'Tis they have put him on the old man's death, To have the expense and waste of his revenues. I have this present evening from my sister Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,

That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.


Nor I, assure thee, Regan. Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father

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This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him. Corn. Is he pursued?

111 Glou. Ay, my good lord. Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own


How in my strength you please. For you,

Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much
You we first seize on.
Truly, however else.

I shall serve you, sir,

For him I thank your grace,

Corn. You know not why we came to visit you,

120 Reg. Thus out of season, threading darkeyed night:

Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
Wherein we must have use of your advice:
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I least thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several mes-

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Osw. Why dost thou use me thus ? I know thee not.

Kent. Fellow, I know thee.

Osw. What dost thou know me for ?

Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lil-livered, actiontaking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the conposition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.

Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!


Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you: draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.

[Drawing his sword. Osw. Away! I have nothing to do with thee

Kent. Draw, you rascal: you come with etters against the king, and take vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways

Osw. Help, ho! murder! help!

Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; yon neat slave, strike. [Beating him Osw. Help, ho! murder! murder ! Enter EDMUND, with his rapier drawn, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and Servants. Edm. How now! What's the matter? Kent. With you, goodman boy, an you please come, I'll flesh ye; come on, young master.

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Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives: He dies that strikes again. What is the matter? Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.

Corn. What is your difference? speak. Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord. Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valor. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee: a tailor made thee. 60

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow : a tailor make a man?

Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter or a painter could not have made him so ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade.

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel? Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared at suit of his gray beard,

Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and au the wall of a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail? Corn. Peace, sirrah!

You beastly knave, know you no reverence? Kent. Yes, sir; but anger hath a privilege. Corn. Why art thou angry?

a sword,

Kent. That such a slave as this should wear [as these, Who wears n honesty. Such smiling rogues Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain Which are too intrinse t' unloose; smooth

every passion


That in the natures of their lords rebel;
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods;
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters,
Knowing nought, like ags, but following.
A plague upon your epileptic visage !
Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool?
Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain,
I'ld drive ye cackling home to Camelot.
Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow?
Glou. How fell you out? say that.
Kent. No coutraries hold more antipathy
Than I and such a knave.


Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What's his offence?

Kent. His countenance likes me not. Corn. No more, perchance, does mine, nor his, nor hers.

Kent. Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain: I have seen better faces in my time Than stands on any shoulder that I see 100 Before me at this instant. Corn. This is some fellow, Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect

A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb Quite from his nature: he cannot flatter, he, An honest mind and plain, he must speak


An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain. These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness

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What mean'st by this?

Kent. To go out of my dialect, which you discommend so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer he that beguiled you in a plain accent was a plain knave; which for my part I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to entreat me to 't. 120 Corn. What was the offence you gave him? Osw. I never gave him any:

It pleased the king his master very late
To strike at me, upon his misconstruction;
When he, conjunct, and flattering his dis-

Tripp'd me behind; being down, insulted, rail'd,

And put upon him such a deal of man,
That worthied him, got praises of the king
For him attempting who was self-subdued ;
And, in the fleshment of this dread exploit,
Drew on me here again.


Kent. None of these rogues and cowards But Ajax is their fool.


Fetch forth the stocks!

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To have her gentleman abused, assaulted,
For following her affairs. Put in his legs.
[Kent is put in the stocks
Come, my good lord, away.

[Exeunt all but Gloucester and Kent Glou. I am sorry for thee, friend; 'tis the duke's pleasure,

Whose disposition, all the world well knows, Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd: I'll entreat for thee. 161

Kent. Pray, do not, sir: I have watched

and travell'd hard ;.

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I will preserve myself: and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with


Blanket my loins: elf all my hair in knots;
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary;
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with


Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod! poor


That's something yet: Edgar I nothing am.




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Lear. What 's he that hath so much thy place mistook

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Do make their children blind; But fathers that bear bags

Shall see their children kind. Fortune, that arrant whore,

Ne'er turns the key to the poor.


But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for thy daughters as thou canst tell in a year.

Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward

my heart!

Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element's below! Where is this daughter?
Kent. With the earl, sir, here within."
Follow me not;

Stay here,

[Exit. 60

Gent. Made you no more offence but what you speak of?

Kent. None

How chance the king comes with so small a


Fool. And thou hadst been set i' the stocks for that question, thou hadst well deserved it. Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no laboring i' the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking. Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.

That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,

Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.

But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly :

The knave turns fool that runs away;

The fool no knave, perdy.

Kent. Where learned you this, fool?
Fool. Not i' the stocks, fool.

Re-enter LEAR, with GLOUCESTER,


Lear. Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?

They have travell'd all the night? Mere


The images of revolt and flying off. Fetch me a better answer

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You know the fiery quality of the duke; How unremoveable and fix'd he is

In his own course.


Lear. Vengeance! plague ! death! con


Fiery? what quality? Why, Gloucester; Gloucester,

I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife.

Glou. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so.

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