Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Modern, Quarto)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Modern, Quarto)

    [Scene 22]
    2845Enter Edmund [the Bastard], Regan, and their powers.
    [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?
    Ay, honored love.
    But have you never found my brother's way
    To the forfended place?
    That thought abuses you.
    I am doubtful that you have been conjunct and
    Bosomed with her, as far as we call hers.
    No, by mine honor, madam.
    I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
    Be not familiar with her.
    Fear me not.--
    She and the Duke her husband.
    Enter Albany and Goneril with troops.
    [Aside] I had rather
    Lose the battle than that sister should loosen
    Him and me.
    Our very loving sister, well be-met.
    For this I hear: the King is come to his daughter
    With others, whom the rigor of our state
    Forced to cry out. 2868.1Where I could not be honest,
    I never yet was valiant. For this business,
    It touches us as France invades our land,
    Not bolds the king, with others, whom I fear
    2868.5Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
    Sir, you speak nobly.
    Why is this reasoned?
    Combine together 'gainst the enemy,
    For these domestic-door particulars
    Are not to question here.
    Let us then determine
    With the ensign of war on our proceedings.
    I shall attend you presently at your tent.
    [Exit the Bastard with his men.]
    Sister, you'll go with us?
    'Tis most convenient. Pray you go with us.
    [Aside] Oh ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.
    2880Enter Edgar, [disguised, speaking to Albany as he is leaving.]
    If ere your grace had speech with man so poor,
    Hear me one word.
    Exeunt [all but Albany and Edgar].
    [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.
    2890Fortune love 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 the paper.
    Exit [Edgar].
    Enter Edmund [the Bastard].
    The enemy's in view. Draw up your powers.
    Hard is the guess of their great 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 that would be rid of him devise
    His speedy taking off. As for his 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.