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Edg. By nursing them, my lord.—List a brief tale; And, when 'tis told, O, that my heart would burst The bloody proclamation to escape, That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives' sweetness ! That with the pain of death we'd hourly die, Rather than die at once!) taught me to shift Into a madman's rags, t assume a semblance That very dogs disdain'd; and in this babit Met I my father with his bleeding rings, Their precious stones new lost; became his guide, Led him, begg’d for him, sav'd him from despair; Never (O fault !) reveal'd myself unto him, Until some half hour past, when I was arm’d, Not sure, though hoping, of this good success, I ask'd his blessing, and from first to last Told him my pilgrimage : but his flaw'd heart, (Alack! too weak the conflict to support) ”Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief, Burst smilingly. Edm.
This speech of yours hath mov'd me, And shall, perchance, do good; but speak you on: You look as you had something more to say.
Alb. If there be more more woful, hold it in,
This would have seem'd a period?
6 That with the pain of death we'd hourly die,] So the quartos, excepting that for “ we'd,” would is printed : the folio reads, “ That we the pain of death would hourly die.” Lower down the folio reads " our pilgrimage."
7 This would have seem'd a period] From hence, until the entrance of the Gentleman, is not in the folio.
He fasten’d on my neck, and bellow'd out
But who was this? Edg. Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service Improper for a slave.
Enter a Gentleman hastily, with a bloody Knife.
What kind of help?
'Tis hot, it smokes; It came even from the heart of—0! she's dead :
Alb. Who dead? speak, man'.
Gent. Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister By her is poison'd; she hath confess'd it.
Edm. I was contracted to them both: all three Now marry in an instant.
Alb. Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead ! This judgment of the heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity.
8 — threw me on my father ;] So every quarto ; but some modern editors read,“ threw him on my father," without assigning any reason for the unauthorised change. We adhere to the old text, admitting, however, that it is more likely that Kent, in grief, should have thrown himself upon Gloster, than that, in his awkward violence, he should have thrown Edgar upon his father's body.
9 Speak, man.] Only in the folio. 10 Who dead ? speak, man.) We follow the folio : the quartos read thus :“ Gent. It's hot, it smokes : it came from the heart of,—
Alb. Who, man ? speak.” In the next line but one, “she hath confess'd it” of the quarto seems more proper, than “she confesses it” of the folio.
I This JUDGMENT] The quartos “ This justice of the heavens.”
Here comes Kent.
I am come
Great thing of us forgot!-
delia ?Seest thou this object, Kent ? [The Bodies of GONERIL and REGAN are
Yet Edmund was belov’d:
Alb. Even so.—Cover their faces.
Edm. I pant for life :—some good I mean to do,
Run, run! 0, run!
Edm. Well thought on : take my sword, Give it the captain*.
? Enter Kent.] In the folio the entrance of Kent is marked too early, and Edgar's speech,“ Here comes Kent,” is erroneously placed before « Produce the bodies,” &c. The folio also places the bringing out of the bodies of Goneril and Regan too early. The quartos are right in this respect. 30! it is he.) The folio “0! is this he ?” + Give it the captain.] Steevens says that the quartos read,
- “Take my sword, the captain
Give it the captain." Only one quarto so reads : the others (without the publisher's address) have
Alb. Haste thee, for thy life. [Exit EDGAR.
Edm. He hath commission from thy wife and me To hang Cordelia in the prison, and To lay the blame upon her own despair, That she fordid herself. Alb. The gods defend her! Bear him hence awhile.
[EDMUND is borne off.
Enter LEAR, with CORDELIA dead in his Arms; EDGAR,
Officer, and Others. Lear. Howl, howl, howl, howl !-0! you are men of
stones; Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That heaven's vault should crack. — She's gone for
Is this the promis'd end"?
Fall, and cease!
O, my good master! [Kneeling.
'Tis noble Kent, your friend. Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors alle!
the same text as the folio. One quarto omits the words “ That she fordid herself” at the close of Edmund's next speech ; but all assign“ Haste thee for thy life,” to Albany, and not to Edgar as in the folio : Edgar was the person dispatched, and the words are, therefore, addressed to him.
5 Is this the promis'd end?) i. e.“the promis'd end” of the world, according to the interpretation of Monck Mason, in which Steevens and Malone concur. Consistently with this notion, Edgar returns “ Or image of that horror ?" namely doomsday.
6 -- murderers, traitors all !) So the folio : the quartos “murderous traitors all."
I might have sav'd her; now, she's gone for ever
Off: 'Tis true, my lords, he did.
Did I not, fellow?
Kent. If fortune brag of two she lov'd and hated”, One of them we behold.
Lear. This is a dull sight'.—Are you not Kent?
The same, Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius?
Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that; He'll strike, and quickly too.--He's dead and rotten.
kent. No, my good lord; I am the very manLear. I'll see that straight.
K’ent. That from your first of difference and decay, Have follow'd your sad steps. Lear.
You are welcome hither. Kent. Nor no man else. All's cheerless, dark, and
deadly: Your eldest daughters have fordone themselves?,
I would have made them skip :) This is the reading of the quartos : the folio has him for “ them."
8 — she lov'd and hated,] The quartos “she lov'd or hated." The meaning of this passage, says Monck Mason, appears to me to be this : If Fortune, to display the plenitude of her power, should brag of two persons, one of whom she had highly elevated, and the other she had wofully depressed, we now behold the latter.
9 This is a dull sight.] Words found only in the folio.
1 — your first of difference] The quartos, obviously corruptly, “your life of difference.”
? — have FORDONE themselves ;] This is probably the true reading, and from the folio. We have before been told in this scene that Goneril “fordid herself,” or destroyed herself. One of the quartos has “ fordoome themselves," the other quartos print it fordoom'd. Nevertheless, only Goneril had, in fact, “ fordone” herself.