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Glo. You know the character to be your brother's ?
Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.
Glo. It is his.
Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is not in the contents.
Glo. Has he never before sounded you in this business?
Edm. Never, my lord: but I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declined, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
Glo. O villain, villain !—His very opinion in the letter! --Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain ! worse than brutish!-Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him abominable villain !- Where is he?
Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare .pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence of danger.
Glo. Think you so ?
Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.
Glo. He cannot be such a monster-
Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.—Heaven and earth!—Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom. I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.
Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us : though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects : love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide : in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves.—Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing ; do it carefully.—And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeit of our own behaviour), we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.Tut,(21) I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.
Enter EDGAR. Pat!— he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy: my cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o’ Bedlam.-0, these eclipses do portend these divisions ! fa, sol, la, mi.
Edg. How now, brother Edmund! what serious contemplation are you in ?
Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.
Edg. Do you busy yourself with that?
Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical ?
Edm. Parted you in good terms ? Found you no displeasure in him by word nor countenance ?
Edg. None at all.
Edm. Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended him: and at my entreaty forbear his presence till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.
Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: pray you, go; there's my key :-if you do stir abroad, go armed.
Edg. Armed, brother!
Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; I am no honest man if there be any good meaning toward you: I have told you what I have seen and heard but faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it: pray you, away.
Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
Edm. I do serve you in this business. [Exit Edgar.
SCENE III. A room in the Duke of Albany's palace.
Enter GONERIL and OSWALD. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool ?
Osw. Ay, madam.
Gon. By day and night, he wrongs me; every hour
Osw. He's coming, madam ; I hear him. (Horns within.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please,
SCENE IV. A hall in the same.
Enter Kent, disguised.
May carry through itself to that full issue
Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants. Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner ; go get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] How now! what art thou?
Kent. A man, sir.
Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?
Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Lear. What art thou?
Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
Lear. If thou be'st as poor for a subject as he's for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?
Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master.
Lear. What's that?
Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence.
Lear. How old art thou ?
Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.
Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no