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The wheel is come full circle: I am here.

Alb. Methought, thy very gait did prophesy
A royal nobleness.-I must embrace thee.
Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I
Did hate thee or thy father!

Worthy prince, I know 't.
Alb. Where have you hid yourself?
How have you known the miseries of your father?
Edg. By nursing them, my lord. List a brief

tale ; And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst! The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness ! That with the pair of death we'd hourly die, Rather than die at once !) taught me to shift Into a madman's rags; to assume a semblance That very dogs disdain'd: and in this habit Met I my father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost; became his guide, Led him, begg'd for him, saved him from despair ; Never (O fault !) reveal'd myself unto him, Until some half-hour past, when I was arm’d, Not sure, though hoping of this good success, I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last Told him my pilgrimage: but his flaw'd heart, (Alack, too weak the conflict to support !) ”Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief, Burst smilingly.

Edm. This speech of yours hath moved me, And shall, perchance, do good; but speak you on : You look as you had something more to say.

Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in;
For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

Edg. This would have seem'd a period
To such as love not sorrow; but another,
To amplify too much, would make much more,
And top extremity.
Whilst I was big in clamor, came there a man,
Who having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society; but then, finding
Who 'twas that so red, with his strong arms
He fasten'd on my neck, and bellow'd out
As he'd burst heaven; threw me on my father ;
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him,
That ever ear received; which in recounting,
His grief grew puissant, and the strings of life
Began to crack: twice then the trumpet sounded,
And there I left him tranced.

But who was this? Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in dis

guise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.


Enter GENTLEMAN hastily, with a bloody knife.
Gen. Help! help! O, help!

What kind of help? Alb.

Speak, man. Edg. What means that bloody knife? Gen.

'Tis hot, it smokes ;

It came even from the heart of-

Who, man? speak.
Gen. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
By her is poison'd; she hath confess’d it.

Edm. I was contracted to them both; all three Now marry in an instant.

Alb. Produce their bodies, be they alive or dead ! This judgment of the Heavens, that makes

tremble, Touches us not with pity.

[Erit Gen.


Enter KENT.


Here comes Kent, sir.
Alb. O! it is he.
The time will not allow the compliment,

very manners urges. Kent.

I am come
To bid my king and master aye 1 good night:
Is he not here?

Great thing of us forgot !-
Speak, Edmund, where 's the king, and where 's

Cordelia ?
Seest thou this object, Kent?

(the bodies of Goneril and Regan are brought in. Kent. Alack, why thus ? Edm.

Yet Edmund was beloved : The one the other poison’d for my sake,


1 For ever.

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.

Run, run, 0, runEdg. To who, my lord ?-Who has the office ?

send Thy token of reprieve.

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

Haste thee, for thy life. [Erit Edgar. Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and




To hang Cordelia in the prison, and
To lay the blame upon her own despair,
That she fordid 1 herself.
Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence

[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.—0, she is 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.

Is this the promised end ? 1
Edg. Or image of that horror ?

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

O, my good master! (kneeling. Lear. Pr'ythee, away. Edg.

'Tis noble Kent,


friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all ! I might have saved 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.

Did I not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip: I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.—Who are you?

1 i.e. the end of the world, foretold by our Saviour.

i. e. die. Albany here addresses Lear.

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