The Camp of the British Forces near Dover.
[Enter, with drum and colours, Edmund, Regan, Officers, Soldiers,
Know of the duke if his last purpose hold,
Or whether since he is advis'd by aught
To change the course: he's full of alteration
And self-reproving:--bring his constant pleasure.
[To an Officer, who goes out.]
Our sister's man is certainly miscarried.
Tis to be doubted, madam.
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?
In honour'd love.
But have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?
That thought abuses you.
I am doubtful that you have been conjunct
And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.
No, by mine honour, 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 colours, Albany, Goneril, and Soldiers.]
[Aside.] I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.
Our very loving sister, well be-met.--
Sir, this I heard,--the king is come to his daughter,
With others whom the rigour of our state
Forc'd 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,
Not bolds the king, with others whom, I fear,
Most just and heavy causes make oppose.
Sir, you speak nobly.
Why is this reason'd?
Combine together 'gainst the enemy;
For these domestic and particular broils
Are not the question here.
Let's, then, determine
With the ancient of war on our proceeding.
I shall attend you presently at your tent.
Sister, you'll go with us?
'Tis most convenient; pray you, go with us.
[Aside.] O, ho, I know the riddle.--I will go.
[As they are going out, enter Edgar disguised.]
If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,
Hear me one word.
I'll overtake you.--Speak.
[Exeunt Edmund, Regan, Goneril, Officers, Soldiers, and
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 avouched there. If you miscarry,
Your business of the world hath so an end,
And machination ceases. Fortune love you!
Stay till I have read the letter.
I was forbid it.
When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,
And I'll appear again.
Why, fare thee well: I will o'erlook thy paper.
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 urg'd on you.
We will greet the time.
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
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
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.