Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


The Historie of King Lear.
Whose reuerence euen the head-lugd beare would lick.
Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded,
Could my good brother suffer you to doe it?
A man, a Prince, by him so beniflicted,
.15If that the heauens doe not their visible spirits
Send quickly downe to tame the vild offences, it will
Humanity must perforce pray on it self like monsters of
Gon. Milke liuerd man
2305That bearest a cheeke for bloes, a head for wrongs,
Who hast not in thy browes an eye deseruing thine honour,
From thy suffering, that not know'st fools, do those vilains pitty
2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
Wher's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noystles land,
With plumed helme, thy slayer begin threats
Whil'st thou a morall foole sits still and cries
.5Alack why does he so?
Alb. See thy selfe deuill, proper deformity seemes not in the
fiend, 2310so horid as in woman.
Gon. O vaine foole!
2311.1Alb. Thou changed, and selfe-couerd thing for shame
Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnes
To let these hands obay my bloud,
They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
A womans shape doth shield thee.
Gon. Marry your manhood now---
Alb. What newes. Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. O my good Lord the Duke of Cornwals dead, slaine by
his seruant, going to put out 2315the other eye of Gloster.
Alb. Glosters eyes?
Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
To his great maister, who thereat inraged
2320Flew on him, and amongst them, feld him dead,
But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
Hath pluckt him after.
Alb. This shewes you are aboue you Iustices,
That these our nether crimes 2325so speedely can venge.
But