King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 7

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EDGAR

Some villain hath done me wrong.

EDGAR

Some villain has told lies about me.

EDMUND

155That’s my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower. And as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak. Pray ye, go. There’s my key. If you do stir abroad, go armed.

EDMUND

That’s what I’m afraid of. I suggest you lay low until his rage cools a little. In the meantime, come home with me, and when the time is right I’ll take you to talk to him. Please go. Here’s my key. If you go outside, arm yourself.

EDGAR

160Armed, brother?

EDGAR

Arm myself?

EDMUND

Brother, I advise you to the best. Go armed. I am no honest man if there be any good meaning towards you. I have told you what I have seen and heard—but faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray you, away.

EDMUND

Brother, I’m giving you good advice. Arm yourself. I’d be a liar if I told you nobody wanted to hurt you. I’ve told you what I’ve seen and heard, but I’ve toned it down a lot. I’ve spared you you the full extent of the horror that threatens you. Now please go.

EDGAR

165Shall I hear from you anon?

EDGAR

Will I hear from you soon?

EDMUND

I do serve you in this business.

EDMUND

I’ll help you through this business.
Exit EDGAR
EDGAR exits.
A credulous father, and a brother noble—
Whose nature is so far from doing harms
That he suspects none, on whose foolish honesty
170My practices ride easy. I see the business.
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit.
All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit.
A gullible father and a brother who’s so innocent that he can’t suspect anyone else of wanting to hurt him—these are the two fools I need for my plan to work. I know exactly how to proceed. If I can’t have an estate by birthright, then I’ll get it by being clever. Any trick that works is good for me.
Exit
He exits.