King Lear By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 6

LEAR.
When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools — This' a good block: —
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt: I'll put't in proof,;
And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

[Enter a Gentleman, with Attendants].

GENTLEMAN.
O, here he is: lay hand upon him. — Sir,
Your most dear daughter, —

LEAR.
No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even
The natural fool of fortune. — Use me well;
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;
I am cut to the brains.

GENTLEMAN.
You shall have anything.

LEAR.
No seconds? all myself?
Why, this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots,
Ay, and for laying Autumn's dust.

GENTLEMAN.
Good sir, —

LEAR.
I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom. What!
I will be jovial: come, come, I am a king,
My masters, know you that.

GENTLEMAN.
You are a royal one, and we obey you.

LEAR.
Then there's life in't. Nay, an you get it, you shall get it
by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa!

[Exit running. Attendants follow.]

GENTLEMAN.
A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,
Past speaking of in a king! — Thou hast one daughter
Who redeems nature from the general curse
Which twain have brought her to.

EDGAR.
Hail, gentle sir.

GENTLEMAN.
Sir, speed you. What's your will?

EDGAR.
Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward?

GENTLEMAN.
Most sure and vulgar: every one hears that
Which can distinguish sound.

EDGAR.
But, by your favour,
How near's the other army?

GENTLEMAN.
Near and on speedy foot; the main descry
Stands on the hourly thought.

EDGAR.
I thank you sir: that's all.

GENTLEMAN.
Though that the queen on special cause is here,
Her army is mov'd on.

EDGAR.
I thank you, sir.

[Exit Gentleman.]

GLOUCESTER.
You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!

EDGAR.
Well pray you, father.

GLOUCESTER.
Now, good sir, what are you?

EDGAR.
A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows;
Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand,
I'll lead you to some biding.

GLOUCESTER.
Hearty thanks:
The bounty and the benison of heaven
To boot, and boot!

[Enter Oswald.]

OSWALD.
A proclaim'd prize! Most happy!
That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh
To raise my fortunes. — Thou old unhappy traitor,
Briefly thyself remember: — the sword is out
That must destroy thee.

GLOUCESTER.
Now let thy friendly hand
Put strength enough to it.

[Edgar interposes.]

OSWALD.
Wherefore, bold peasant,
Dar'st thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

EDGAR.
Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.

OSWALD.
Let go, slave, or thou diest!

EDGAR.
Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor voke pass. An chud
ha' bin zwaggered out of my life, 'twould not ha' bin zo long as
'tis by a vortnight. Nay, come not near the old man; keep out,
che vore ye, or ise try whether your costard or my bat be the
harder: chill be plain with you.

OSWALD.
Out, dunghill!

EDGAR.
Chill pick your teeth, zir. Come! No matter vor your foins.

[They fight, and Edgar knocks him down.]

OSWALD.
Slave, thou hast slain me: — villain, take my purse:
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earl of Gloucester; seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!
[Dies.]

EDGAR.
I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

GLOUCESTER.
What, is he dead?

EDGAR.
Sit you down, father; rest you. —
Let's see these pockets; the letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. — He's dead; I am only sorry
He had no other death's-man. Let us see: —
Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts;
Their papers is more lawful.
[Reads.] 'Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many
opportunities to cut him off: if your will want not, time and
place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done if he
return the conqueror: then am I the prisoner, and his bed my
gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the
place for your labour.
'Your (wife, so I would say) affectionate servant,
'Goneril.'
O indistinguish'd space of woman's will!
A plot upon her virtuous husband's life;
And the exchange my brother! — Here in the sands
Thee I'll rake up, the post unsanctified
Of murderous lechers: and in the mature time
With this ungracious paper strike the sight
Of the death-practis'd duke: for him 'tis well
That of thy death and business I can tell.

[Exit Edgar, dragging out the body.]

GLOUCESTER.
The king is mad: how stiff is my vile sense,
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling
Of my huge sorrows! Better I were distract:
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs,
And woes by wrong imaginations lose
The knowledge of themselves.

EDGAR.
Give me your hand:
[A drum afar off.]
Far off methinks I hear the beaten drum:
Come, father, I'll bestow you with a friend.

[Exeunt.]

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