3. Scene III. The British Camp near Dover.
[Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, Edmund; Lear and
Cordelia prisoners; Officers, Soldiers, &c.]
Some officers take them away: good guard
Until their greater pleasures first be known
That are to censure them.
We are not the first
Who with best meaning have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.--
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?
No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing I'll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,--
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;--
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon.
Take them away.
Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee?
He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven
And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
The goodyears shall devour them, flesh and fell,
Ere they shall make us weep: we'll see 'em starve first.
[Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded.]
Come hither, captain; hark.
Take thou this note [giving a paper]; go follow them to prison:
One step I have advanc'd thee; if thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes: know thou this,--that men
Are as the time is: to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword:--thy great employment
Will not bear question; either say thou'lt do't,
Or thrive by other means.
I'll do't, my lord.