ACT 5, SCENE 1: The British camp, near Dover.

Enter, with drum and colours, EDMUND, REGAN, Gentlemen, and Soldiers.

EDMUND: 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.
[To a Gentleman, who goes out.]

REGAN: Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.                                         [5]

EDMUND: '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,
Do you not love my sister?

EDMUND:                           In honour'd love.

REGAN: But have you never found my brother's way                                [10]
To the forfended place?

EDMUND:                           That thought abuses you.

REGAN: I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.

EDMUND: No, by mine honour, madam.

REGAN: I never shall endure her: dear my lord,                                          [15]
Be not familiar with her.

EDMUND:                           Fear me not:
She and the duke her husband!

Enter, with drum and colours, ALBANY, GONERIL, and Soldiers.

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

ALBANY: Our very loving sister, well be-met.                                              [20]
Sir, this I hear; the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigour of our state
Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest,
I never yet was valiant: for this business,
It toucheth us, as France invades our land,                                         [25]
Not bolds the king, with others, whom I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

EDMUND: Sir, you speak nobly.

REGAN:                           Why is this reason'd?

GONERIL: Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils                                               [30]
Are not the question here.

ALBANY:                           Let's then determine
With the ancient of war on our proceedings.

EDMUND: I shall attend you presently at your tent.

REGAN: Sister, you'll go with us?

GONERIL: No.                                                                                                        [35]

REGAN: 'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.

GONERIL:[Aside] O, ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.

As they are going out, enter EDGAR disguised.

EDGAR: If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.

ALBANY: I'll overtake you. Speak.                                                                  [40]

[Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR.]

EDGAR: 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
What is vouched there. If you miscarry,                                             [45]
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.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.                                                                                [50]

ALBANY: Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.

[Exit EDGAR.]

Re-enter EDMUND.

EDMUND: The enemy's in view; draw up your powers.
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces
By diligent discovery; but your haste
Is now urged on you.                                                                                 [55]

ALBANY:                           We will greet the time.

EDMUND: To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive: to take the widow                                               [60]
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side,
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                                              [65]
His speedy taking off. As for the mercy
Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
The battle done, and they within our power,
Shall never see his pardon; for my state
Stands on me to defend, not to debate.                                                 [70]


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