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King Lear: Act 2 Scene 1
Scene I GLOUCESTER's castle.
- [Enter EDMUND, and CURAN meets him]
- Save thee, Curan.
- And you, sir. I have been with your father, and
- given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan
- his duchess will be here with him this night.
- How comes that?
- Nay, I know not. You have heard of the news abroad;
- I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but
- ear-kissing arguments?
- Not I pray you, what are they?
- Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt the
- Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
- Not a word.
- You may do, then, in time. Fare you well, sir.
- The duke be here to-night? The better! best!
- This weaves itself perforce into my business.
- My father hath set guard to take my brother;
- And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
- Which I must act: briefness and fortune, work!
- Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
- [Enter EDGAR]
- My father watches: O sir, fly this place;
- Intelligence is given where you are hid;
- You have now the good advantage of the night:
- Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
- He's coming hither: now, i' the night, i' the haste,
- And Regan with him: have you nothing said
- Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
- Advise yourself.
- I am sure on't, not a word.
- I hear my father coming: pardon me:
- In cunning I must draw my sword upon you
- Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you well.
- Yield: come before my father. Light, ho, here!
- Fly, brother. Torches, torches! So, farewell.
- [Exit EDGAR]
- Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion.
- [Wounds his arm]
- Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen drunkards
- Do more than this in sport. Father, father!
- Stop, stop! No help?
- [Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches]
- Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
- Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out,
- Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
- To stand auspicious mistress,--
- But where is he?
- Look, sir, I bleed.
- Where is the villain, Edmund?
- Fled this way, sir. When by no means he could--
- Pursue him, ho! Go after.
- [Exeunt some Servants]
- By no means what?
- Persuade me to the murder of your lordship;
- But that I told him, the revenging gods
- 'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
- Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
- The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
- Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
- To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
- With his prepared sword, he charges home
- My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
- But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits,
- Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
- Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
- Full suddenly he fled.
- Let him fly far:
- Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
- And found--dispatch. The noble duke my master,
- My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
- By his authority I will proclaim it,
- That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
- Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
- He that conceals him, death.
- When I dissuaded him from his intent,
- And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
- I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
- 'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
- If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
- Of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee
- Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should deny,--
- As this I would: ay, though thou didst produce
- My very character,--I'ld turn it all
- To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise:
- And thou must make a dullard of the world,
- If they not thought the profits of my death
- Were very pregnant and potential spurs
- To make thee seek it.'
- Strong and fasten'd villain
- Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
- [Tucket within]
- Hark, the duke's trumpets! I know not why he comes.
- All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
- The duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
- I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
- May have the due note of him; and of my land,
- Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
- To make thee capable.
- [Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, and Attendants]
- How now, my noble friend! since I came hither,
- Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.
- If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
- Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord?
- O, madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd!
- What, did my father's godson seek your life?
- He whom my father named? your Edgar?
- O, lady, lady, shame would have it hid!
- Was he not companion with the riotous knights
- That tend upon my father?
- I know not, madam: 'tis too bad, too bad.
- Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
- No marvel, then, though he were ill affected:
- 'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
- To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
- I have this present evening from my sister
- Been well inform'd of them; and with such cautions,
- That if they come to sojourn at my house,
- I'll not be there.
- Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
- Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
- A child-like office.
- 'Twas my duty, sir.
- He did bewray his practise; and received
- This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
- Is he pursued?
- Ay, my good lord.
- If he be taken, he shall never more
- Be fear'd of doing harm: make your own purpose,
- How in my strength you please. For you, Edmund,
- Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
- So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
- Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
- You we first seize on.
- I shall serve you, sir,
- Truly, however else.
- For him I thank your grace.
- You know not why we came to visit you,--
- Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night:
- Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise,
- Wherein we must have use of your advice:
- Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
- Of differences, which I least thought it fit
- To answer from our home; the several messengers
- From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend,
- Lay comforts to your bosom; and bestow
- Your needful counsel to our business,
- Which craves the instant use.
- I serve you, madam:
- Your graces are right welcome.