Act 1 - Scene 2
The Earl of Gloucester's castle.
Enter EDMUND, with a letter
Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague
of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard
As to the legitimate: fine word, legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention
thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
Kent banish'd thus! and France in choler parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!
to exhibition! All this done
Upon the gad! Edmund, how now! what news?
So please your lordship, none.
Putting up the letter
Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
I know no news, my lord.
What paper were you reading?
Nothing, my lord.
No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch of
it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath
need to hide itself. Let's see: come,
if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.
I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letter
from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read;
and for so much
as I have perused, I find it not
fit for your o'er-looking.
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