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the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.


Glou. 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 120 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! 'Tis strange.

[Exit. 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 130 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 na- 140 tivity was under Ursa major ; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star 133. treachers, betrayers. 134. spherical, planetary. VOL. IX



in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar

Enter EDGAR.

and pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy my cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.

Edg. How now, brother Edmund! what serious 150 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 about 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 ; 160 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. Come, come; when saw you my father last?

Edg. Why, the night gone by.

Edm. Spake you with him?

Edg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him by word or countenance? Edg. None at all.

146. like the catastrophe of the old comedy. Probably a reference to the inartificial structure of many early plays, where the conclusion arrived, with little


preparation, when it was wanted.
157. succeed, ensue.
161. diffidences, suspicions.
164. sectary astronomical, a
devotee of astrology.

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 ye, go; there's my key if you do stir abroad, go armed.


Edg. Armed, brother!


Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed: I am no honest man if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I 190 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.

A credulous father! and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
My practices ride easy! I see the business.
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:

All with me's meet that I can fashion fit. [Exit.

178. with the mischief of, with harm to.

179. allay, be allayed.


181-188. Qq substantially omit this speech of Edmund's, reading 'That's my fear, brother, I advise you' etc.

SCENE III. The Duke of Albany's palace.

Enter GONERIL, and OSWALD, her steward.

Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

Osw. Yes, madam.

Gon. By day and night he wrongs me; every


He flashes into one gross crime or other,

That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it :

His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say I am sick :

If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.

Osw. He's coming, madam; I hear him.

[Horns within.

Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I'ld have it come to question:

If he distaste it, let him to our sister,

Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man,

That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again, and must be used
With checks as flatteries, when they are seen


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20. With reproof instead of, for [i.e. rather than] flatteries, when flatteries are found to feed their folly.'

Gon. And let his knights have colder looks


among you;



of it, no matter; advise your fellows

I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
That I may speak: I'll write straight to my sister,
To hold my very course.

Prepare for dinner.



A hall in the same.

Enter KENT, disguised.

Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech defuse, my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue

For which I razed my likeness. Now, banish'd Kent,

If thou canst serve where thou dost stand con



may it come, thy master whom thou lovest Shall find thee full of labours.

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 2. defuse, disorder, confuse.


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