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'King Lear' Act 1, Scene 2 (Part 2)

The Complete Text to 'King Lear' Act 1, Scene 2 (Part 2)

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GLOUCESTER

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?


EDMUND

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 wrote this to feel my
affection to your honour, and to no further
pretence of danger.


GLOUCESTER

Think you so?


EDMUND

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.


GLOUCESTER

He cannot be such a monster --


EDMUND

Nor is not, sure.


GLOUCESTER

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.


EDMUND

I will seek him, sir, presently: convey the
business as I shall find means and acquaint you withal.


GLOUCESTER

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! 'Tis strange.

[Exit]


EDMUND

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune, -- often the surfeit
of our own behavior, -- 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, I should have been that I am,
had the maidenliest star 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.


EDGAR

How now, brother Edmund! what serious
contemplation are you in?


EDMUND

I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read
this other day, what should follow these eclipses.


EDGAR

Do you busy yourself about that?


EDMUND

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.


EDGAR

How long have you been a sectary astronomical?


EDMUND

Come, come; when saw you my father last?


EDGAR

Why, the night gone by.


EDMUND

Spake you with him?


EDGAR

Ay, two hours together.


EDMUND

Parted you in good terms? Found you no
displeasure in him by word or countenance?


EDGAR

None at all.


EDMUND

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.


EDGAR

Some villain hath done me wrong.


EDMUND

That's my fear. I pray you, have a continent
forbearance till the spied 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.


EDGAR

Armed, brother!


EDMUND

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 have seen
and heard; but faintly, nothing like the image
and horror of it: pray you, away.


EDGAR

Shall I hear from you anon?


EDMUND

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 practises 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]

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