Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)


Enter Cordelia, Kent and Doctor.
2745Cord. O thou good Kent how shall I liue and worke to match
My life will be too short and euery measure faile me.
2750Kent. To be acknowlegd madame is ore payd,
All my reports go with the modest truth,
Nor more, nor clipt, but so.
Cor. Be better suited these weeds are memories of those
Worser howers, 2755I prithe put them off.
Kent. Pardon me deere madame,
Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
My boone I make it that you know me not,
Till time and I thinke meete.
2760Cord. Then beet so, my good Lord how does the king.
Doct. Madame sleepes still.
Cord. O you kind Gods cure this great breach in his abused
2765The vntund and hurrying sences, O wind vp
Of this child changed father.
Doct. So please your Maiestie that we may wake the king,
He hath slept long.
Cord. Be gouernd by your knowledge and proceed,
2770Ith sway of your owne will is he arayd,
Doct. I madam, in the heauinesse of his sleepe,
We put fresh garments on him,
Gent. Good madam be by, when we do awake him
2775I doubt not of his temperance.
2775.1Cord. Very well.
Doct. Please you draw neere, louder the musicke there,
Cor. O my deer father restoratiõ hang thy medicin on my lips,
And let this kis repaire those violent harmes that my two sisters
Haue in thy reuerence made.
2780Kent. Kind and deere Princesse,
Cord. Had you not bene their father these white flakes,
Had challengd pitie of them, was this a face
To be exposd against the warring winds,
2783.1To stand against the deepe dread bolted thunder,
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick crosse lightning to watch poore Per du,
With this thin helme mine iniurious dogge,
Though he had bit me, 2785should haue stood that night
Against my fire, and wast thou faine poore father,
To houill thee with swine and rogues forlorne,
In short and mustie straw, alack, alack,
Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
2790Had not concluded all, he wakes speake to him.
Doct. Madam do you, tis fittest.
Cord. How does my royall Lord, how fares your maiestie.
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out ath graue,
2795Thou art a soule in blisse, but I am bound
Vpon a wheele of fire, that mine owne teares
Do scald like molten lead.
Cord. Sir know me.
Lear. Yar a spirit I know, where did you dye.
2800Cord. Still, still, farre wide.
Doct. Hees scarce awake, let him alone a while.
Lear. Where haue I bene, where am I faire day light,
2805I am mightily abusd, I should ene dye with pitie,
To see another thus, I know not what to say,
I will not sweare these are my hands, lets see,
I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd of my condition.
2810Cord. O looke vpon me sir, and hold your hands in benedicti-
on or'e me, no sir you must not kneele.
Lear. Pray doe not mocke,
I am a very foolish fond old man,
2815Fourescore and vpward, and to deale plainly
I feare I am not in my perfect mind,
Mee thinks I should know you, and know this man;
2820Yet I am doubtfull, for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is, and all the skill I haue
Remembers not these garments, nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night, doe not laugh at me,
For as I am a man, I thinke this Ladie
2825To be my child Cordelia.
Cord. And so I am.
Lear. Be your teares wet, yes faith, I pray weep not,
If you haue poyson for mee I will drinke it,
2830I know you doe not loue me, for your sisters
Haue as I doe remember, done me wrong,
You haue some cause, they haue not.
Cord. No cause, no cause. Lear. Am I in France?
2835Kent. In your owne kingdome sir.
Lear. Doe not abuse me?
Doct. Be comforted good Madame, the great rage you see is
cured in him, and yet it is danger to make him euen ore the time
hee has lost, desire him to goe in, trouble him no more till fur-
ther setling:
2840 Cord. Wilt please your highnes walke?
Lear. You must beare with me, pray now forget and forgiue,
I am old and foolish.
Exeunt.
Manet Kent and Gent.
2843.1Gent. Holds it true sir that the Duke of Cornwall was so slaine?
Kent. Most certaine sir.
Gent. Who is conductor of his people?
Kent. As tis said, the bastard sonne of Gloster.
.5Gent. They say Edgar his banisht sonne is with the Earle of
Kent in Germanie.
Kent. Report is changeable, tis time to looke about,
The powers of the kingdome approach apace.
Gent. The arbiterment is like to be bloudie, fare you well sir.
.10Kent. My poynt and period will be throughly wrought,
Or well, or ill, as this dayes battels fought.
Exit.