Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Modern, Folio)

2845Enter, with drum and colors, Edmund [the Bastard], Regan, gentlemen, and soldiers.
[To an officer] Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is advised by aught
To change the course. He's full of alteration
2850And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure.
[Exit officer.]
Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
'Tis to be doubted, madam.
Now, sweet lord,
You know the goodness I intend upon you.
2855Tell me but truly--but then speak the truth--
Do you not love my sister?
In honored love.
But have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?
No, by mine honor, madam.
I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her.
Fear not.--
She and the Duke her husband.
Enter, with drum and colors, Albany, Goneril, [and] soldiers.
Our very loving sister, well be-met.
Sir, this I heard: the King is come to his daughter
With others whom the rigor of our state
Forced to cry out.
Why is this reasoned?
Combine together 'gainst the enemy,
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.
Let's then determine with th'ensign of war
On our proceeding.
Sister, you'll go with us?
'Tis most convenient. Pray go with us.
[Aside] Oh ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.
Exeunt both the armies.
2880Enter Edgar, [disguised, speaking to Albany as he is leaving].
If ere your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.
[To those leaving] I'll overtake you. [To Edgar] Speak.
Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
2885If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
For him that brought it. Wretched though I seem,
I can produce a champion that will prove
What is avouchèd there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
2890And machination ceases. Fortune loves you.
Stay till I have read the letter.
I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.
Why fare thee well, I will o'erlook thy paper.
Exit [Edgar].
Enter Edmund [the Bastard].
The enemy's in view. Draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery, but your haste
2900Is now urged on you.
We will greet the time.
To both these sisters have I sworn my love,
Each jealous of the other as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
2905Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enjoyed
If both remain alive. To take the widow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
Her husband being alive. Now then, we'll use
2910His countenance for the battle; which, being done,
Let her who would be rid of him devise
His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battle done, and they within our power,
2915Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.