Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Modern, Folio)

Enter [the] Bastard, and Curan, separately.
Save thee Curan.
And you, sir. I have been 930with your father, and given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan his Duchess will be here with him this night.
How comes that?
Nay I know not. You have heard of the news abroad, 935I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but ear-kissing arguments.
Not I. Pray you what are they?
Have you heard of no likely wars toward, twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
Not a word.
You may do then in time. Fare you well, sir.
Exit [Curan].
The Duke be here tonight? The better--best.
This weaves itself perforce into my business,
945My father hath set guard to take my brother,
And I have one thing of a queasy question
Which I must act. Briefness, and fortune work.
Enter Edgar [above].
Brother, a word. Descend. Brother, I say,
950My father watches.
[Edgar descends.]
O sir, fly this place!
Intelligence is given where you are hid.
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither, now i'th'night, i'th'haste,
955And Regan with him. Have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.
I am sure on't. Not a word.
I hear my father coming. Pardon me--
960In cunning, I must draw my sword upon you.
Draw! Seem to defend yourself. Now quit you well.
[Shouting] Yield! Come before my father. Light, ho, here!
[To Edgar] Fly, brother.--[Shouting] Torches, torches! [To Edgar] So farewell.
965Exit Edgar.
[Wounding his arm] Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
Of my more fierce endeavor. I have seen drunkards
Do more than this in sport. [Shouting] Father, father!
Stop, stop! No help?
970Enter Gloucester and servants, with torches.
Now Edmund, where's the villain?
Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress.
But where is he?
Look sir, I bleed.
Where is the villain, Edmund?
Fled this way, sir, when by no means he could--
Pursue him, ho! Go after.
[Exit attendant(s).]
[To the Bastard] By no means what?
Persuade me to the murder of your lordship.
But that I told him the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all the thunder bend;
Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to'th'father. Sir, in fine,
985Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion
With his preparèd sword he charges home
My unprovided body, latched mine arm.
And when he saw my best alarumed spirits,
990Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to th'encounter--
Or whether gasted by the noise I made--
Full suddenly he fled.
Let him fly far.
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught--
995And found, dispatch! The noble Duke my master,
My worthy arch and patron, comes tonight.
By his authority I will proclaim it.
That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake.
1000He that conceals him, death.
When I dissuaded him from his intent
And found him pitched to do it, with curst speech
I threatened to discover him. He replied,
"Thou unpossessing bastard, dost thou think,
1005If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
Make thy words faithed? No. What should I deny,
As this I would, though thou didst produce
My very character, I'd turn it all
1010To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice.
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spirits
To make thee seek it."
Oh, strange and fastened villain!
Would he deny his letter, said he?
Tucket within.
Hark, the Duke's trumpets. I know not why he comes.
All ports I'll bar. The villain shall not scape;
The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
1020I will send far and near that all the kingdom
May have due note of him. And of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.
Enter Cornwall, Regan, and attendants.
How now, my noble friend. Since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strangeness.
If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
Which can pursue th'offender. How dost, my lord?
O madam, my old heart is cracked, it's cracked.
What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named, your Edgar?
O lady, lady, shame would have it hid.
Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tended upon my father?
I know not, madam. 'Tis too bad, too bad.
Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
No marvel, then, though he were ill affected,
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death
To have th'expense and waste of his revenues.
1040I have this present evening from my sister
Been well informed of them, and with such cautions,
That if they come to sojourn at my house
I'll not be there.
Nor I, assure thee Regan;
1045Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
It was my duty, sir.
He did bewray his practice, and received
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Is he pursued?
Ay, my good lord.
If he be taken, he shall never more
Be feared of doing harm. Make your own purpose
How, in my strength, you please. For you, Edmund,
1055Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours.
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need.
You we first seize on.
I shall serve you, sir, truly, however else.
For him I thank your grace.
You know not why we came to visit you?
Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night?
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some prize,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
1065Our father, he hath writ--so hath our sister--
Of differences which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home. The several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow
1070Your needful counsel to our businesses,
Which craves the instant use.
I serve you, madam. Your graces are right welcome.
Exeunt. Flourish.