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  • Title: King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)
  • Author: Nahum Tate
  • Editor: Lynne Bradley

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: Nahum Tate
    Editor: Lynne Bradley
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Adapted by Nahum Tate) (Modern)

    1385The palace.
    Enter Cornwall, Regan, Bastard, servants. Cornwall with Gloster's letters.
    I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
    Regan, see here, a plot upon our state.
    'Tis Gloster's character, that has betrayed
    1390His double trust of subject and of host.
    Then double be our vengeance. This confirms
    The intelligence that we now received,
    That he has been this night to seek the king.
    But who, sir, was the kind discoverer?
    Our eagle, quick to spy, and fierce to seize,
    Our trusty Edmund.
    'Twas a noble service.
    Oh, Cornwall, take him to thy deepest trust,
    And wear him as a jewel at thy heart.
    Think, sir, how hard a fortune I sustain,
    That makes me thus repent of serving you!
    O that this treason had not been, or I
    Not the discoverer.
    Edmund, thou shalt find
    A father in our love, and from this minute
    We call thee Earl of Gloster. But there yet
    Remains another justice to be done,
    And that's to punish this discarded traitor.
    1410But lest thy tender nature should relent
    At his just sufferings, nor brook the sight,
    We wish thee to withdraw.
    The grotto, sir, within the lower grove,
    To Edmund aside
    1415Has privacy to suit a mourner's thought.
    And there I may expect a comforter,
    Ha, madam?
    What may happen, sir, I know not.
    But 'twas a friend's advice.
    1420Exit Bastard.
    Bring in the traitor.
    Gloster brought in.
    Bind fast his arms.
    What mean your graces?
    1425You are my guests, pray do me no foul play.
    Bind him, I say. Hard, harder yet.
    Now, traitor, thou shalt find --
    Speak, rebel, where hast thou sent the king?
    Whom spite of our decree thou saw'st last night.
    I'm tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.
    Say where and why thou hast concealed him.
    Because I would not see thy cruel hands
    Tear out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
    Carve his anointed flesh. But I shall see
    1435The swift-winged vengeance overtake such children.
    See't shalt thou never. Slaves, perform your work.
    Out with those treacherous eyes. Dispatch, I say,
    If thou seest vengeance --
    He that will think to live 'till he be old,
    1440Give me some help – Oh, cruel! Oh! Ye gods.
    They put out his eyes.
    Hold, hold, my lord, I bar your cruelty.
    I cannot love your safety and give way
    To such a barbarous practice.
    Ha, my villain.
    I have been your servant from my infancy,
    But better service have I never done you
    Then with this boldness --
    Take thy death, slave.
    Nay, then revenge whilst yet my blood is warm.
    Help here -- are you not hurt, my lord?
    Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
    To quit this horrid act.
    Out, treacherous villain,
    Thou call'st on him that hates thee. It was he
    That broached thy treason, showed us thy dispatches.
    There -- read, and save the Cambrian prince a
    1460If thy eyes fail thee call for spectacles.
    O my folly!
    Than Edgar was abused. Kind gods forgive me that.
    How is it, my lord?
    Turn out that eyeless villain, let him smell
    1465His way to Cambrai. Throw this slave upon a dunghill.
    I bleed apace, give me your arm.
    All dark and comfortless!
    1470Where are those various objects that but now
    Employed my busy eyes? Where those eyes?
    Dead are their piercing rays that lately shot
    Over flowery vales to distant sunny hills,
    And drew with joy the vast horizon in.
    1475These groping hands are now my only guides,
    And feeling all my sight.
    O misery! What words can sound my grief?
    Shut from the living whilst among the living.
    Dark as the grave amidst the bustling world.
    1480At once from business and from pleasure barred.
    No more to view the beauty of the spring,
    Nor see the face of kindred, or of friend.
    Yet still one way the extremest fate affords,
    And even the blind can find the way to death.
    1485Must I then tamely die, and unrevenged?
    So Lear may fall. No, with these bleeding rings
    I will present me to the pitying crowd,
    And with the rhetoric of these dropping veins
    Enflame them to revenge their king and me.
    1490Then when the glorious mischief is on wing,
    This lumber from some precipice I'll throw,
    And dash it on the ragged flint below.
    Whence my freed soul to her bright sphere shall fly,
    Through boundless orbs, eternal regions spy,
    1495And like the sun, be all one glorious eye.