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Our meanes secure us; and our meer defects
Prove our commodities. O deare sonne Edgar,
The food of thy abused father's wrath ;
Might I but live to see thee in my touch, *
I'd say, I had eyes again.
Old Man. How now? who's there?
Edg. O gods! who is't can say, I am at the worst ?
I am worse, than e'er I was.
'Tis poore mad Tom. Edg. And worse I may be yet: the worst is not, So long as we can say, this is the worst.
Old Man. Fellow, where goest ?
Glo. Is it a beggar man?
Old Man. Madman, and beggar too.
Glo. He has some reason, else he could not beg.
l'th' last night's storme I such a fellow saw; †
Which made me think a man, a worme. My sonne,
Came then into my minde, and yet my minde
Was then scarce friends with him.
(I've heard more since.)
As flies to wanton boyes, are we to th' gods ;
They kill us for their sport.
Edg. How should this be ?
Bad is the trade that must play foole to sor
Ang’ring itself and others-Bless thee, master.
Glo. Is that the naked fellow ?
* “ I cannot but take notice, that these boldnesses of expres. sion are very infrequent in our English Poetry, though familiar with the Greeks and Latins.”—THEOBALD.
† We recollect an old blind organist who always used the ex. pression, “I beg pardon, I did not see you at first.”
Bind fast his arms.
Glo. What mean your graces ?
You are my guests; pray do me no foul play.
Corn. Bind him (they bind him], I say, hard, harder yet.
Reg. Now, traitor, thou shalt find
Corn. Speak, rebel, where hast thou sent the King ?
Whom, spite of our decree, thou saved’st last night.
Glo. I'm tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.
Reg. Say where and why, thou has conceal'd him, traitor.
Glo. Because I would not see thy cruel hands
Tear out his poor old eyes, nor the fierce sister
Carve his anointed flesh; but I shall see
The swift-wing'd vengeance overtake such children.
Corn. Sees't thou shalt never; slaves, perform your work.
[Servants take Gloster out. Out with those treacherous eyes; dispatch, I say.
Gló. (within). He that will think to live 'till he be old,
Give me some help–O cruel! oh ye gods !
Edw. Hold, hold, my lord, I bar your cruelty ;
I cannot love your safety, and give way
To such inhuman practice.
Corn. Ah, my villain !
Edw. I have been your servant from my infancy ;
But better service have I never done you,
Than with this boldness.
Corn. Take thy death, slave.
[Stabs Edward, and puts up his dagger. Edw. Nay, then, revenge, whilst yet my blood is warm !
[Draws his sword, runs Cornwall through the body,
and is carried off by two guards, R. A. Corn
wall is supported by servants. Reg. Help here—are you not hurt, my lord ?
Glo. (within). Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature To quit this horrid act.
Old Man. Ay, my lord.
Glo. Get thee away: If for my sake,
Thou wilt oretake us hence a mile or twaine
I'th' way tow'rd Dover, do it for ancient love;
And bring some covering for his naked soule,
Whom I'll intreate to leade me.
Old Man. Alack, sir, he is mad.
Glo. 'Tis the time's plague
(When madmen leade the blind) :
Do as I bid, or rather do thy pleasure;
Above the rest, be gone.
Old Man. I'le bring him the best Parrel that I have,
Come on't what will.
Glo. Sirrah, naked fellow.
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold ;-I cannot daub it further.
Glo. Come hither, fellow.
Edg. And yet I must;
Blesse thy sweete eyes, they bleede.
Glo. Know'st thou the way to Dover ?
Edg. Both style and gate, horseway, and footpath : poor Tom hath been scar'd out of his good wits. Blesse thee goodman's sonne, from the foul fiend.
Glo. Here, take this purse, thou whom the heav'ns plagues
Have humbled to all strokes : That I am wretched,
Makes thee the happier : Heavens deale so still:
Let the superfluous, and lust-dieted man,
That slaves your ordinance, that will not see
Because he do's not feele, feele your powre quickly :
So distribution should undoo excess,
And each inan have enough. Dost thou know Dover?
Edg. Ay, master.
Glo. There is a cliffe whose high and bending head
Reg. Out, treacherous villain,
Thou call'st on him that hates thee; it was he
That broach'd thy treason, show'd us thy dispatches ;
There-read, and save the Cambrian prince a labour,
[Throws the letter out to him.
Glo. (within). O my folly!
Then Edgar was abused; kind gods, forgive me that!
Reg. How is 't my lord ?
[To Cornwall. Corn. Turn out that eyeless villain, let him smell His
way to Cambray; throw this slave upon a dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace ; give me your arm.
[Exeunt Regan and Cornwall.
Enter EDGAR in disguise.
Edg. The lowest and most abject thing of furtune
Stands still in hope, and is secure from fear.
The lamentable change is from the best,
The worst returns to better. Who comes here?
[Retires a little up the stage.
Enter GLOSTER led by an OLD MAN.
My father poorly led ! deprived of sight,
The precious stones torn from their bleeding rings !
When will the measure of my woes be full ?
Old Man. O, my good lord, I have been your tenant
's tenant, these forescore years.
Glo. Away, get thee away ; good friend, be gone ;
Thy comforts can do me no good at all;
Thee they may
Old Man. You cannot see your way.
Glo. I have no way, and therefore want no eyes ;
I stumbled when I saw : 0 dear son Edgar!
The food of thy abused father's wrath,
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I had eyes again.
Edg. Alas! he's sensible that I was wronged,
Looks fearfully in the confined deep:
Bring me but to the very brimme of it,
And I'le repayre the misery thou do'st bear,
With something rich about me: from that place
I shall no leading neede.
Edg. Give me thy arme;
Poore Tom shall leade thee.
Enter GONERIL, BASTARD, and STEWARD.
Gon. Welcome, my lord. I marvell, our mild husband
Not met us on the way.
Now, where's your master ?
Stew. Madam, within ; but never man so chang'd;
I told him of the army that was landed:
He smil'd at it. I told him you were comming,
His answer was, the worse. Of Gloster's treachery,
And of the loyal service of his sonne
When I informed him, then he call’d me sot;
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out.
What most he should dislike, seems pleasant to him ;
What like, offensive.
Gon. Then shall you go no further.
It is the cowish terrour of his spirit,
That dares not undertake: he'll not feele wrongs
Which tye him to an answer; our wishes on the way
May prove effects. Backe, Edmund, to my brother ;
Hasten his musters, and conduct his powres,
I must change names at home, and give the distaff
Into my husband's hands. This trustie servant
Shall passe betweene us : e'er long you are like to heare
(If you dare venture in your owne behalfe)