Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


Enter Bast. and Curan meeting.
Bast. Saue thee Curan.
Curan. And you Sir, I haue beene 930with your father, and giuen
him notice, that the Duke of Cornwall and his Dutches will bee
here with him to night.
Bast. How comes that?
Curan. Nay, I know not, you haue heard of the newes 935abroad,
I meane the whisperd ones, for there are yet but eare-bussing ar-
guments.
Bast. Not, I pray you what are they?
Curan. Haue you heard of no likely warres towards, twixt
the two Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
940Bast. Not a word.
Curan. You may then in time, fare you well sir.
Bast. The Duke be here to night! the better best, this weaues
Enter Edgarit selfe perforce into my busines, 945my father hath set gard to take
my brother, and I haue one thing of a quesie question, which
must aske breefnes and fortune helpe; brother, a word, discend
brother I say, 950my father watches, O flie this place, intelligence
is giuen where you are hid, you haue now the good aduantage
of the night, haue you not spoken gainst the Duke of Cornwall
ought, hee's coming hether now in the night, it'h hast, 955and Re-
gan with him, haue you nothing said vpon his partie against the
Duke of Albany, aduise your---
Edg. I am sure on't not a word.
Bast. I heare my father coming, pardon me 960in crauing, I must
draw my sword vpon you, seeme to defend your selfe, now quit
you well, yeeld, come before my father, light here, here, flie
brother flie, torches, torches, so farwell; some bloud drawne
on mee would beget opinion of my more fierce indeuour, I
haue seene drunckards doe more then this in sport, father, father,
stop, stop, no, helpe?
Enter Glost.
Glost. Now Edmund where is the villaine?
Bast. Here stood he in the darke, his sharpe sword out, warb-
ling of wicked charms, coniuring the Moone to stand's auspici-
ous Mistris.
Glost. 975But where is he?
Bast. Looke sir, I bleed.
Glost. Where is the villaine Edmund?
Bast. Fled this way sir, when by no meanes he could---
Glost. Pursue him, go after, by no meanes, what?
980Bast. Perswade me to the murder of your Lordship, but that
I told him the reuengiue Gods, gainst Paracides did all their
thunders bend, spoke with how many fould and strong a bond
the child was bound to the father, sir in a fine, 985seeing how loath-
ly opposite I stood, to his vnnaturall purpose, with fell motion
with his prepared sword, hee charges home my vnprouided bo-
dy, lancht mine arme, but when he saw my best alarumd spirits,
990bould in the quarrels, rights, rousd to the encounter, or whether
gasted by the noyse I made, but sodainly he fled.
Glost. Let him flie farre, not in this land shall hee remaine vn-
caught 995and found, dispatch, the noble Duke my maister, my
worthy Arch and Patron, comes to night, by his authoritie I will
proclaime it, that he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
bringing the murderous caytife to the stake, 1000hee that conceals
him, death.
Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent, and found him
pight to doe it, with curst speech I threatned to discouer him, he
replyed, thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke, 1005if I would
stand against thee, could the reposure of any trust, vertue, or
worth in thee make thy words fayth'd? no. what I should denie,
as this I would, I, though thou didst produce my very character,
id'e turne it all 1010to thy suggestion, plot, and damned pretence,
and thou must make a dullard of the world, if they not thought
the profits of my death, were very pregnant and potentiall
spurres to make thee seeke it.
1015Glost. Strong and fastned villaine, would he denie his letter,
I neuer got him, harke the Dukes trumpets, I know not why he
comes, all Ports ile barre, the villaine shall not scape, the Duke
must grant mee that, besides, his picture 1020I will send farre and
neere, that all the kingdome may haue note of him, and of my
land loyall and naturall boy, ile worke the meanes to make thee
capable.
Enter the Duke of Cornwall.
1025Corn. How now my noble friend, since I came hether, which
I can call but now, I haue heard strange newes.
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short which can
pursue the offender, how dost my Lord?
Glost. Madam my old heart is crackt, is crackt.
1030Reg. What, did my fathers godson seeke your life? he whom
my father named your Edgar?
Glost. I Ladie, Ladie, shame would haue it hid.
Reg. Was he not companion with the ryotous knights, that
tends vpon my father?
1035Glost. I know not Madam, tis too bad, too bad.
Bast. Yes Madam, he was.
Reg. No maruaile then though he were ill affected,
Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
To haue the wast and spoyle of his reuenues:
1040I haue this present euening from my sister,
Beene well inform'd of them, and with such cautions,
That if they come to soiourne at my house, ile not be there.
Duke. Nor I, assure thee Regan; Edmund, 1045I heard that you
haue shewen your father a child-like office.
Bast. Twas my dutie Sir.
Glost. He did betray his practise, and receiued
This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.
1050Duke. Is he pursued? Glost. I my good Lord.
Duke. If he be taken, he shall neuer more be feard of doing
harme, make your own purpose how in my strength you please,
for you Edmund, 1055whose vertue and obedience, doth this instant
so much commend it selfe, you shall bee ours, natures of such
deepe trust, wee shall much need you, we first seaze on.
Bast. I shall serue you truly, how euer else.
1060Glost. For him I thanke your grace.
Duke. You know not why we came to visit you?
Regan. Thus out of season, threatning darke ey'd night,
Ocasions noble Gloster of some prise,
Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise,
1065Our Father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of defences, which I best thought it fit,
To answer from our hand, the seuerall messengers
From hence attend dispatch, our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosome, & bestow 1070your needfull councell
To our busines, which craues the instant vse.
( Exeunt.
Glost. I serue you Madam, your Graces are right welcome.