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  Act 5 Scene 3

page Act 5 Scene 3 Page 10

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That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!—taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags, t' assume a semblance
200That very dogs disdained. And in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost, became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair.
Never—O fault!—revealed myself unto him
205Until some half-hour past, when I was armed.
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flawed heart—
Alack, too weak the conflict to support—
210'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.
to death, I disguised myself as a madman beggar and became a creature despised even by dogs.—Oh, how sweet our lives must be if we prefer to die gradually by debasing ourselves rather than dying all at once!—In that disguise I met up with my father with bloody sockets where his beautiful eyes used to be. I became his guide, I led him and begged for him, and kept him from suicide. I never—oh, what a mistake!—revealed myself to him until half an hour ago, when I was in my armor. With hope in my heart I asked him for his blessing, not sure that he’d give it to me. He did. I told him everything that had happened on my journey. But his frail heart, too weak to grapple with such a conflict between joy and sadness, gave out.

EDMUND

   This speech of yours hath moved me,
And shall perchance do good. But speak you on.
You look as you had something more to say.

EDMUND

Your words have moved me, and maybe it’ll do some good. But go on. You look like you have something more to say.

ALBANY

If there be more, more woeful, hold it in.
215For I am almost ready to dissolve,
Hearing of this.

ALBANY

If there’s anything more sorrowful left to add, keep it to yourself. I’m almost ready to break down hearing this much.

EDGAR

   This would have seemed a period
To such as love not sorrow, but another
To amplify too much would make much more
And top extremity.
220Whilst I was big in clamor came there in a man
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunned my abhorred society, but then, finding
Who ’twas that so endured, with his strong arms
He fastened on my neck, and bellowed out
225As he’d burst heaven, threw him on my father,
Told the most piteous tale of Lear and him
That ever ear received—which in recounting

EDGAR

This may have seemed like the pinnacle of sadness, but if I went on I could outdo it. While I was sobbing loudly, a man came in. He had seen me in my ragged clothes and shunned me, but when he found out who I was, he clasped my neck with his strong arms and cried to high heaven. He threw himself on my father and told the saddest story you’ve ever heard about Lear and him. As he was telling that story he grieved more and