Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)

The Historie of King Lear.
defuse, my good intent may carry through it selfe to that full is-
sue for which I raz'd my likenes, now banisht Kent,535if thou canst
serue where thou dost stand condem'd, thy maister whom thou
louest shall find the full of labour.
Enter Lear.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, goe get it readie, 540how
now, what art thou?
Kent. A man Sir.
Lear. What dost thou professe? what would'st thou with vs?
Kent. I doe professe to be no lesse then I seeme, to serue 545him
truly that will put me in trust, to loue him that is honest, to con-
uerse with him that is wise,and sayes little, to feare iudgement,
to fight when I cannot chuse, and to eate no fishe.
Lear. What art thou?
550Kent. A very honest harted fellow, and as poore as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poore for a subiect,as he is for a King,thar't
poore enough, what would'st thou?
Kent. Seruice. Lear. 555Who would'st thou serue?
Kent. You. Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
Kent. No sir,but you haue that in your countenance,which
I would faine call Maister.
560Lear. Whats that? Kent. Authoritie.
Lear. What seruices canst doe?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message 565bluntly, that
which ordinarie men are fit for, I am qualified in, and the best
of me, is diligence.
Lear, How old art thou?
Kent. Not so yong to loue a woman for singing,nor so old to
dote on her for any thing, I haue yeares on 570my backe fortie
Lear. Follow mee, thou shalt serue mee, if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet, dinner, ho din-
ner,wher's my knaue, my foole, goe you and call my foole he-
ther,you sirra,whers my daughter?
Enter Steward.
Steward. So please you,
Lear. What say's the fellow there, call the clat-pole backe,