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If ever I return to you again,
I'll bring you comfort. [Exit Edgar.
Glost. Thanks, friendly sir; The fortune, your good cause deserves, betide you!
[An Alarm within.
And crush thee into rest.
O, dark despair! When, Edgar, wilt thou come To pardon, and dismiss me to the grave ?
[A Retreat sounded. Hark! a retreat; the king, I fear, has lost.
Edg. Away, old man; give me your hand; away! King Lear has lost; he and his daughter ta'en: And this, ye gods, is all that I can save Of this most precious wreck. Give me your hand.
Glost. No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.
Edg. What! in ill thoughts again? Men must endure Their going hence, ev'n as their coming hither.
Glost. And that's true too. [Exeunt.
The Field of Battle.
Enter the Duke Of Albany, Goneril, Regan,
Alb. It is enough to have conquer^ ; cruelty Should ne'er survive the fight. Captain o' the guards, Treat well your royal prisoners, till you have Our farther orders, as you hold our pleasure.
Gon. Hark, sir, not as you hold our husbands' pleasure, [To the Captain, aside.
But as you hold your life, despatch your pris'ners.
Capt. I shall obey your orders.
Edm. Sir, I approve it safest to pronounce
Alb. Sir, by your favour,
Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
Gon. Not so hot;
Enter Edgar, disguised.
Alb. What art thou ?
Edg. Pardon me, sir, that I presume to stop A prince and conq'ror ; yet, ere you triumph, Give ear to what a stranger can deliver Of what concerns you more than triumph can. I do impeach your general there of treason, Lord Edmund, that usurps the name of Gloster, Of foulest practice 'gainst your life and honour: This charge is true; and, wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion that will prove, In single combat, what I do avouch, If Edmund dares but trust his cause and sword,
Edm. What will not Edmund dare? My lord, I beg The favour that you'd instantly appoint The place where I may meet this challenger, Whom I will sacrifice to my wrong'd fame: Remember, sir, that injur'd honour's nice, And cannot brook delay.
Alb. Anon, before our tent, i' th' army's view, There let the herald cry.
Edg. I thank your highness in my champion's name: He'll wait your trumpet's call. [Exit Edgar.
Alb. Lead. [Exeunt.
Manent King Lear, Kent, Cordelia, Captain Of The Guard, and Soldiers.
Lear. o Kent! Cordelia!
Cord. This language, sir, adds yet to our affliction.
Lear. Thou, Kent, didst head the troops that fought my battle, Exposed'st thy life and fortunes for a master, That had, as I remember, banish'd thee
Kent. Pardon me, sir, that once I broke your orders: Banish'd by you, I kept me here disguis'd To watch your fortunes, and protect your person: You know you entertain'd a rough, blunt fellow, One Caius, and you thought he did you service.
Lear. My trusty Caius, I have lost him too!
Kent. I was that Caius,
Lear. My Caius too! Wer't thou my trusty Caius? Enough, enough
Kent. Ah me, he faints! his blood forsakes his cheek! Help, Kent,
Lear. No, no, they shall not see us weep, We'll see them rot first.—Guards, lead away to prison. Come, Kent; Cordelia, come.—Ha! have I caught
you? He, that parts us, must bring a brand from heav'n: Together we'll out-toil the spite of hell, And die the wonders of the world.—Away. [Exeunt.
The Duke Of Albany's Tent.
Enter the Duke Of Albany, Edmund, Herald, Attendants, and Soldiers.
Alb. Now, Gloster, trust to thy single virtue; for thy soldiers,
All levied in my name, have in my name
Ta'en their discharge. Now let our trumpets speak,
And, herald, read out this. [herald reads.
If any man of quality within the lists of the army will maintain upon Edmund, supposed Earl ofGloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear by the third sound of the trumpet; he is bold in his defence.
[The Trumpet sounds at each Order; and is then answered from within.
Alb. Lord Edgar!
Edm. Ha! my brother!
Edg. My noble prince, a word;—Ere we engage,
Alb. We shall peruse it.
Edg. Now, Edmund, draw thy sword,
I brand thee with the spotted name of traitor,
Edm. And dares Edgar,