Act 5 Scene 1


Scene 1

[Enter, with Drum and Colors, Edmund, Regan,
Gentlemen, and Soldiers.]

EDMUND , [to a Gentleman] 
 Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
 Or whether since he is advised by aught
 To change the course. He’s full of alteration
 And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure.
[A Gentleman exits.]

 Our sister’s man is certainly miscarried.

 ’Tis to be doubted, madam.

REGAN   Now, sweet lord,
 You know the goodness I intend upon you;
 Tell me but truly, but then speak the truth,
[10]  Do you not love my sister?

EDMUND   In honored love.

 But have you never found my brother’s way
 To the forfended place?

EDMUND  That thought abuses you.

 I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
 And bosomed with her as far as we call hers.

EDMUND  No, by mine honor, madam.

 I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,
 Be not familiar with her.

 Fear me not. She and the Duke, her husband.

[Enter, with Drum and Colors, Albany, Goneril, Soldiers.]

GONERIL , [aside] 
 I had rather lose the battle than that sister
 Should loosen him and me.

 Our very loving sister, well bemet.—
 Sir, this I heard: the King is come to his daughter,
[25]  With others whom the rigor of our state
 Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
 I never yet was valiant. For this business,
 It touches us as France invades our land,
 Not bolds the King, with others whom, I fear,
[30]  Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

 Sir, you speak nobly.

REGAN   Why is this reasoned?

 Combine together ’gainst the enemy,
 For these domestic and particular broils
[35]  Are not the question here.

ALBANY   Let’s then determine
 With th’ ancient of war on our proceeding.

 I shall attend you presently at your tent.

REGAN  Sister, you’ll go with us?

[40]GONERIL  No.

 ’Tis most convenient. Pray, go with us.

GONERIL , [aside] 
 Oho, I know the riddle.—I will go.
[They begin to exit.]

[Enter Edgar dressed as a peasant.]

EDGAR , [to Albany] 
 If e’er your Grace had speech with man so poor,
 Hear me one word.

ALBANY , [to those exiting] 
[45]  I’ll overtake you.—Speak.
[Both the armies exit.]

EDGAR , [giving him a paper] 
 Before you fight the battle, ope this letter.
 If you have victory, let the trumpet sound
 For him that brought it. Wretched though I seem,
 I can produce a champion that will prove
[50]  What is avouchèd there. If you miscarry,
 Your business of the world hath so an end,
 And machination ceases. Fortune love you.

ALBANY  Stay till I have read the letter.

EDGAR  I was forbid it.
[55]  When time shall serve, let but the herald cry
 And I’ll appear again. [He exits.]

 Why, fare thee well. I will o’erlook thy paper.

[Enter Edmund.]

 The enemy’s in view. Draw up your powers.
[Giving him a paper.]
 Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
[60]  By diligent discovery. But your haste
 Is now urged on you.

ALBANY   We will greet the time.
[He exits.]

 To both these sisters have I sworn my love,
 Each jealous of the other as the stung
[65]  Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?

 Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enjoyed
 If both remain alive. To take the widow
 Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril,
 And hardly shall I carry out my side,
[70]  Her husband being alive. Now, then, we’ll use
 His countenance for the battle, which, being done,
 Let her who would be rid of him devise
 His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
 Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
[75]  The battle done and they within our power,
 Shall never see his pardon, for my state
 Stands on me to defend, not to debate.
[He exits.]

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