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Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Set me where you stand. Edg. Give me your hand :-you're now within a
foot Of th' extreme verge : for all beneath the moon Would I not leap upright.
Let go my hand.
Edg. Now fare you well, good sir.
With all my heart. Edg. [Aside.] Why I do trifle thus with his
Glo. [Kneeling.] O you mighty gods!
[GLOSTER is about to leap, when EDGAR
Away, and let me die. Edg. Had'st thou been aught but gossamer,
feathers, air, So many fathom down precipitating, Thoud'st shiver'd like an egg: but thou dost
breathe ; Thy life's a miracle.
Hold! Who comes here?
Enter LEAR, fantastically dressed with wild flowers.
Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king himself.
Edg. (A side.] O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear. Nature's above art in that respect.-There's your press-money. That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's yard. Look, look, a mouse! Peace, peace;—this piece of toasted cheese will do't.—There's my gauntlet; I'll prove it on a giant.-Bring up the brown bills.O, well flown, bird !-i' the clout, i' the clout : hewgh !–Give the word.
Edg. Sweet marjoram.
Lear. Ha! Goneril,—with a white beard !—They flatter'd me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there.To say “ay” and “no” to every thing that I said “ay" and "no" to, was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they are not men o' their words: they told me I was every thing ; 'tis a lie,I am not ague-proof.
Glo. The trick of that voice I do well remember : Is't not the king! Lear.
Ay, every inch a king : When I do stare, see how the subject quakes! I pardon that man's life.—What was thy cause ?-Adultery ? Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No: For Gloucester's bastard son Was kinder to his father than my daughters. Down from the waist they are Centaurs.
Fie, fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination: there's money for thee.
Glo. O, let me kiss that hand !
Lear. Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
Glo. O ruin'd peace of nature !--Dost thou know me?
Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me ? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid ; I'll not love.-Read thou this challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glo. Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.
Lear. O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse ? Yet you see how this world goes. Glo. I see it feelingly.
Lear. What, art mad ? A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears : see how yond justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handydandy, which is the justice, which is the thief ?Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar? Glo. Ay, sir.
Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou might'st behold the great image of authority : A dog's obey'd in office.The usurer hangs the cozener. Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Get thee glass eyes; And, like a scurvy politician, seem Tosee the things thou dost not.—Now, now, now, now: Pull off my boots: harder, harder; so.
Edg. (Aside.? O, matter and impertinency mix'd Reason in madness!
Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. I know thee well enough! thy name is Gloster: Thou must be patient; we came crying hither: Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air,
We waul and cry.-I will preach to thee: mark.
Glo. Alack, alack the day!
come To this great stage of fools. This' a good block;
[Taking EDGAR's hat. It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe A troop of horse with felt : I'll put 't in proof; And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law, Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill !
Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants.
Gent. O, here he is : lay hand upon him.—Sir, Your most dear daughter
Lear. No rescue ? What, a prisoner? I am even The natural fool of fortune.-Use me well ; You shall have ransom. Let me have a surgeon; I am cut t' the brains. Gent.
You shall have anything. Lear.
What! I will be jovial: come, come; I am a king, My masters, know you that?
Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Lear. Then there's life in't. Nay, an You get it, you shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa.
[Exit. Gent. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch, Past speaking of in a king!
[Exeunt Gentleman and Attendants. Glo. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from
me; Let not my worser spirit tempt me again To die before you please!
Enter OswALD. Osw.
A proclaim'd prize!
Thou old unhappy traitor,
Now, let thy friendly hand Put strength enough to't. (EDGAR interposes. Osw.
Wherefore, bold peasant, Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor ? Hence; Let go his arni.
Edg. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther'casion. Osw. Let go, slave, or thou diest !
Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk pass. An chud ha' been zwaggered out of my life, 'twould not ha' been zo long as 'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; or ise try whether your costard or my bat be the harder. Osw. Out, dunghill !
(They fight. Edg. Chill pick your teeth, zir. [OSWALD falls
Osw. Slave, thou hast slain me.
[Dies. Edg. I know thee well- a serviceable villain. Glo. What, is he dead ?
Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.Let's see his pockets: these letters that he speaks of May be my friends.--He's dead ; I'm only sorry He had no other death's-man.—Let'us see :
[Reads.] “ Let our reciprocal vows be remember'd. You have many opportunities to cut him off : if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offer'd. There is nothing done, if he return the conqueror; theri am I the prisoner, and his bed my gaol. “ Your—wife, so I would say—affectionate servant,
“GONERIL." O undistinguish'd space of woman's will ! A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;