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  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 4

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By his authority I will proclaim it
65That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks,
Bringing the murderous coward to the stake.
He that conceals him, death.
justice will be rewarded. Whoever helps Edgar hide will die.

EDMUND

When I dissuaded him from his intent,
And found him pight to do it, with cursed speech
70I threatened 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 faithed? No. What I should deny—
75As this I would, ay, though thou didst produce
My very character—I’d turn it all
To thy suggestion, plot, and damnèd practice.
And thou must make a dullard of the world,
If they not thought the profits of my death
80Were very pregnant and potential spirits
To make thee seek it.”

EDMUND

After I urged him not to kill you, I saw that he was still determined to do it. Enraged, I threatened to expose him. He answered, “You penniless bastard! Do you really think that if it came down to my word against yours, anyone would believe you? No. I’d deny whatever evidence you had against me—even if it were in my own handwriting—and turn it all into evidence against you and your plans for treachery. And you must think people are stupid if you believe they wouldn’t realize all the motives you have for trying to kill me.”
Tucket within
Trumpets play offstage.

GLOUCESTER

   O strange and fastened villain!
Would he deny his letter, said he? I never got him.—
Hark, the duke’s trumpets. I know not why he comes.
All ports I’ll bar. The villain shall not ’scape.
85The duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom
May have the due note of him.—And of my land,
Loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means
To make thee capable.

GLOUCESTER

Oh, how monstrously evil! He said he would deny that he wrote his letter? He cannot truly be my son.—Listen. The duke’s trumpets. I don’t know why he’s come here. I’ll forbid all ships from leaving our harbors. The villain won’t escape. The duke will agree with me on that. And I’ll send his picture everywhere so that the whole kingdom will know what he looks like.—And as for you, my loyal and true son, I’ll find some way to make you my heir.
Enter the Duke of CORNWALL, REGAN, and attendants
The Duke of CORNWALL enters with REGAN and attendants.

CORNWALL

90How now, my noble friend? Since I came hither,
Which I can call but now, I have heard strange news.

CORNWALL

How are you, my friend? Ever since I arrived here, just now, I’ve been hearing strange rumors.