Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


The Historie of King Lear.
Glost. No, what needes then that terribe dispatch of it into
>your pocket, the qualitie of nothing hath not such need to hide
it selfe, lets see, come if it bee no370thing I shall not neede specta-
cles.
Ba. I beseech you Sir pardon me, it is a letter from my brother,
that I haue not all ore read, for so much as I haue perused, I find it
not fit for your liking.
375Glost. Giue me the letter sir.
Bast. I shall offend either to detaine or giue it, the contents
as in part I vnderstand them, are too blame.
Glost. Lets see, lets see?
380Bast. I hope for my brothers iustification, he wrot this but
as an essay, or tast of my vertue.
A Letter.
Glost. This policie of age makes the world bitter to the best
of our times, keepes our fortunes from vs till our oldnes cannot
relish them, I begin to find an idle 385and fond bondage in the op-
pression of aged tyranny, who swaies not as it hath power, but as
it is suffered, come to me, that of this I may speake more, if our
father would sleepe till I wakt him, you should inioy halfe his
reuenew for euer, and liue the beloued of your brother Ed-
gar.
390Hum, conspiracie, slept till I wakt him, you should enioy halfe
his reuenew, my sonne Edgar, had hee a hand to write this, a
hart, and braine to breed it in, when came this to you, who
brought it?
Bast. It was not brought me my Lord, ther's the 395cunning of
it, I found it throwne in at the casement of my closet.
Glost. You know the Caractar to be your brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good, my Lord I durst sweare it were
his but in respect, of that I would faine thinke it 400were not,
Glost. It is his?
Bast. It is his hand my Lord, but I hope his heart is not in
the contents.
Glost. Hath he neuer heretofore soũded you in this busines?
405Bast. Neuer my Lord, but I haue often heard him maintaine
it to be fit, that sons at perfit age, & fathers declining, his father
should be as ward to the sonne, and the sonne mannage the re-
uenew.
Glost.