Act II. Scene I.A Court within the Castle
of the EARL OF GLOUCESTER.
Enter EDMUND and CURAN, meeting.
Edm. Save thee, Curan.
Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your
father, and given him notice that the Duke of
Cornwall and Regan his duchess will be here with
Edm. How comes that?
Cur. Nay, I know not. You have heard of the
news abroad? I mean the whispered ones, for
they are yet but ear-kissing arguments?
Edm. Not I: pray you, what are they?
Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward,
'twixt the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
Edm. Not a word.
Cur. You may do then, in time. Fare you
well, sir. [Exit.
Edm. The duke be here to-night! The better!
This weaves itself perforce into my business.
My father hath set guard to take my brother;
And I have one thing, of a queasy question,
Which I must act. Briefness and fortune, work!
Brother, a word; descend: brother, I say!
My father watches: O sir! fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;
You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Corn-
He's coming hither, now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him; have you nothing said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Edg. I am sure on't, not a word.
Edm. I hear my father coming; pardon me;
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you;
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now 'quit you
Yield;come before my father. Light, ho! here!
Fly, brother. Torches! torches! So, farewell.
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion
[Wounds his arm.
Of my more fierce endeavour: I have seen
Do more than this in sport. Father! father!
Stop, stop! No help?
Enter GLOUCESTER, and Servants with torches.
Glo. Now, Edmund, where's the villain?
Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon
To stand auspicious mistress.
Glo. But where is he?
Edm. Look, sir, I bleed.
Glo. Where is the villain, Edmund?
Edm. Fled this way, sir. When by no means
Glo. Pursue him, ho! Go after. [Exeunt
some Servants.] 'By no means' what?
Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword he charges home
My unprovided body, lanc'd mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
Bold in the quarrel's right, rous'd to the encoun-
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.
Glo. Let him fly far:
Not in this land shall he remain uncaught;
And founddispatch. The noble duke my
My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night:
By his authority I will proclaim it,
That he which finds him shall deserve our
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake;
He that conceals him, death.
Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with curst speech
I threaten'd to discover him: he replied,
'Thou unpossessing bastard! dost thou think,
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal
Of any trust, virtue, or worth, in thee
Make thy words faith'd? No: what I should
As this I would; ay, though thou didst produce
My very character,I'd turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice:
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
Were very pregnant and potential spurs
To make thee seek it.'
Glo. Strong and fasten'd villain!
Would he deny his letter? I never got him.
Hark! the duke's trumpets. I know not why he
All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;
The duke must grant me that: besides, his pic-
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have due note of him; and of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means
To make thee capable.
Enter CORNWALL, BEGAN, and Attendants.
Corn. How now, my noble friend! since I
Which I can call but now,I have heard strange
Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my
Glo. O! madam, my old heart is crack'd, it 's
Reg. What! did my father's godson seek your
He whom my father nam'd? your Edgar?
Glo. O! lady, lady, shame would have it hid.
Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous
That tend upon my father?
Glo. I know not, madam; 'tis too bad, too
Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort.
Reg. No marvel then though he were ill
'Tis they have put him on the old man's death,
To have the expense and waste of his revenues.
I have this present evening from my sister
Been well-inform'd of them, and with such
That if they come to sojourn at my house,
I'll not be there.
Corn. Nor I, assure thee, Regan.
Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father
A child-like office.
Edm. 'Twas my duty, sir.
Glo. He did bewray his practice; and receiv'd
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him.
Corn. Is he pursu'd?
Glo. Ay, my good lord.
Corn. If he be taken he shall never more
Be fear'd of doing harm; make your own pur-
How in my strength you please. For you, Ed-
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant
So much commend itself, you shall be ours:
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need;
You we first seize on.
Edm. I shall serve you, sir,
Truly, however else.
Glo. For him I thank your Grace.
Corn. You know not why we came to visit
Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-ey'd
Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some prize,
Wherein we must have use of your advice.
Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
Of differences, which I best thought it fit
To answer from our home; the several messengers
From hence attend dispatch. Our good old
Lay comforts to your bosom, and bestow
Your needful counsel to our businesses,
Which craves the instant use.
Glo. I serve you, madam.
Your Graces are right welcome. [Exeunt.