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Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.-
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France : let her be thine :

for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again :- Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.2
Come, noble Burgundy.
(Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Cornwall,

Albany, Gloster, and Attendants.
France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father :
To your professed bosoms I commit him :
But yet, alas ! stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better plaće.
So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Reg.

Let your study Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted. Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited3 cunning

hides; Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well

may you prosper! France.

Come, my fair Cordelia.

(Exeunt France and Cordelia. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. think, our father will hence to-night.

Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is ; the observation we have made of it hath not been

(1) Place. (2) Blessing. (3) Folded, doubled

little: he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judyment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age : yet he hath ever but slenderly known bimself.

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.

Gon. There is further compliment of leavetaking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together: If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but oflend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We inust do something, and i'the heat.2

[Exeunt. SCENE II.-A hall in the Earl of Gloster's

castle. Enter Edmund, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound: Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom; and permit
The curiosity4 of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen inoon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard ? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness ? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,

(1) Qualities of mind.
(2) Strike while the iron is hot.
(3) The injustice.
(4) The nicety of civil institution.

Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate: Fine word,- legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund ihe base
Shall top the legitimate. . I grow ; I prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Enter Gloster.
Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler

parted!

And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd' his power!
Confin'd to exhibition !2 All this done
Upon the gad!3-Edmund! How now? what news?
Edm. So please your lordship, none.

(Putting up the letter. Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?

Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading ?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No? What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see : Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking

Glu. Give me the letter, sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.

Glo. Let's see, let's see.

(2) Allowance.

(1) Yielded, surrendered. (3) Suddenly.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay? or taste of my virtue.

Glo. (Reads.) This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, bill our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond? bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If. our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.—Humph-Conspiracy !--Sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue, -My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in ?When came this to you? Who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your bro ther's?

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?

Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage bis revenue.

Glo. Oʻvillain, villain His very opinion in the letter !-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :-Abominable vilain!—Where is he?

(1) Trial. VOL. VIII.

(2) Weak and foolish.

B

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare

pawn
down my

life for hir, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you so ?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.

Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.--Heaven and earth 5-Edmund, see him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.4

Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently ; conveys the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us : Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself • scourged by the sequen:6 effects : lore cools, friend. ship falls off, brothers divide : in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason : and the bond cracked between son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction ; there's son

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(1) Whereas. (2) The usual address to a lord. (3) Design

(4) Give all that I am possessed of, to be cerlain of the truth.

(5) Manage. (6) Following.

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