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We will greet the time.1 [Exit. Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn iny

love ; Each jealous of the other, as the stung Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take ? Both, one, or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd, If both remain alive : to take the widow, Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril ; And hardly shall I carry out my side, 2 Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use His countenance for the battle ; which being done, Let her, who would be rid of him, devise His speedy taking off. As for the mercy Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia, The battle done, and they within our power, Shall never see his pardon : for my state Stands on me to defend, not to debate. [Exit.


A field between the two camps. Alarums within. Enter, with drum and colors, LEAR, CORDELIA, and their forces; and exeunt.

Enter EDGAR and GLOSTER. Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree For your good host; pray that the right may


1 Be ready to meet the occasion. 2 Make my party good.

If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort.


Grace go


you, sir!

[Exit Edgar.

Alarums ; afterwards a retreat. Re-enter EDGAR.

Edg. Away, old man; give me thy hand; away: King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en : Give me thy hand; come on.

Glos. No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.
Edg. What, in ill thoughts again? Men must

Their going hence, even as their coming hither :
Ripeness 1 is all. Come on.

And that's true too.



The British camp, near Dover. Enter, in conquest, with drum and colors, EDMUND;

LEAR and CORDELIA as prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, &c. Edm. Some officers take them away: good

guard; Until their greater pleasures first be known That are to censure them.?

1 i. e. to be ready, prepared.

Pass judgment on them.


We are not the first, Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst. For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; Myself could else outfrown false Fortune's frown.Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters ? Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to

prison. We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage. When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness : so we 'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we 'll talk with them

too,Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;And take upon us the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies : and we'll wear out, In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon. Edm.

Take them away. Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught

thee? He, that parts us, shall bring a brand from heaven, And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes : The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and fell,1 Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see them starve


i Skin.


[Ereunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded. Edm. Come hither, captain ; hark. Take thou this note; [giving a paper.] go, follow

them to prison. One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way To noble fortunes. Know thou this ;—that men Are as the time is : to be tender-minded Does not become a sword: thy great employment Will not bear question; either say, thou ’lt do't, Or thrive by other means. Off

I'll do ’t, my lord. Edm. About it; and write happy, when thou

hast done. Mark, I say, instantly; and carry it so, As I have set it down.

Off. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats : If it be man's work, I will do it. [Erit Officer

Florish. Enter ALBANY, GONBRIL, REGAN, Officers,

and Attendants.

Alb. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant

strain, And Fortune led you well : you have the captives Who were the opposites of this day's strife : We do require them of you; so to use them, As we shall find their merits and our safety May equally determine. Edm.

Sir, I thought it fit To send the old and miserable king

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To some retention, and appointed guard ;
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes
Which do command them: with him I sent the

queen ;
My reason all the same: and they are ready,
To-morrow, or at farther space, to appear
Where you shall hold your session. At this time
We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his

And the best quarrels, in the heat, are cursed
By those that feel their sharpness.
The question of Cordelia and her father
Requires a fitter place.

Sir, by your patience,
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Not as a brother.
That's as we list to


him. Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded, Ere you

had spoke so far. He led our powers ;
Bore the commission of my place and person ;
The which immediacy · may well stand up,
And call itself


brother. Gon.

Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
More than in your advancement.

In my rights,


· Plenary delegation of authority.

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