Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)


Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.
2845
Enter with Drumme and Colours,Edmund,Regan.
Gentlemen,and Souldiers.
Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is aduis'd by ought
To change the course,he's full of alteration,
2850And selfereprouing,bring his constant pleasure.
Reg. Our Sisters man is certainely miscarried.
Bast. 'Tis to be doubted Madam.
Reg. Now sweet Lord,
You know the goodnesse I intend vpon you:
2855Tell me but truly,but then speake the truth,
Do you not loue my Sister?
Bast. In honour'd Loue.
Reg. But haue you neuer found my Brothers way,
To the fore-fended place?
2860Bast. No by mine honour,Madam.
Reg. I neuer shall endure her,deere my Lord
Be not familiar with her.
Bast. Feare not,she and the Duke her husband.
Enter with Drum and Colours,Albany, Gonerill,Soldiers.
2865Alb. Our very louing Sister, well be-met:
Sir,this I heard,the King is come to his Daughter
With others,whom the rigour of our State
Forc'd to cry out.
Regan. Why is this reasond?
2870Gone. Combine together 'gainst the Enemie:
For these domesticke and particurlar broiles,
Are not the question heere.
Alb. Let's then determine with th'ancient of warre
On our proceeding.
2875Reg. Sister you'le go with vs?
Gon. No.
Reg. 'Tis most conuenient,pray go with vs.
Gon. Oh ho,I know the Riddle, I will goe.
Exeunt both the Armies.
2880
Enter Edgar.
Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore,
Heare me one word.
Alb. Ile ouertake you,speake.
Edg. Before you fight the Battaile,ope this Letter:
2885If you haue victory,let the Trumpet sound
For him that brought it: wretched though Iseeme,
I can produce a Champion,that will proue
What is auouched there. If you miscarry,
Your businesse of the world hath so an end,
2890And machination ceases. Fortune loues you.
Alb. Stay till I haue read the Letter.
Edg. I was forbid it:
When time shall serue,let but the Herald cry,
And Ile appeare againe.
Exit.
2895Alb. Why farethee well,I will o're-looke thy paper.
Enter Edmund.
Bast. The Enemy's in view,draw vp your powers,
Heere is the guesse of their true strength and Forces,
By dilligent discouerie,but your hast
2900Is now vrg'd on you.
Alb. We will greet the time.
Exit.
Bast. To both these Sisters haue I sworne my loue:
Each iealous of the other,as the stung
Are of the Adder. Which of them shall I take?
2905Both? One? Or neither?Neither can be enioy'd
If both remaine aliue: To take the Widdow,
Exasperates,makes mad her Sister Gonerill,
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being aliue. Now then,wee'l vse
2910His countenance for the Battaile,which being done,
Let her who would be rid of him,deuise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercie
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The Battaile done,and they within our power,
2915Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state,
Stands on me to defend,not to debate.
Exit.