Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)


    1 Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

    Enter Kent, Glouce ster, and Edmond.
    I thought the King had more affected the
    5Duke of Albany, then Cornwall.
    Glou. It did alwayes seeme so to vs: But
    now in the diui sion of the Kingdome, it ap-
    peares not which of the Dukes hee valewes
    mo st, for qualities are so weigh'd, that curio sity in nei-
    10ther, can make choise of eithers moity.
    Kent. Is not this your Son, my Lord?
    Glou. His breeding Sir, hath bin at my charge. I haue
    so often blu sh'd to acknowledge him, that now I am
    braz'd too't.
    15 Kent. I cannot conceiue you.
    Glou. Sir, this yong Fellowes mother could; where-
    vpon she grew round womb'd, and had indeede (Sir) a
    Sonne for her Cradle, ere she had husband for her bed.
    Do you smell a fault?
    20 Kent. I cannot wi sh the fault vndone, the i s s ue of it,
    being so proper.
    Glou. But I haue a Sonne, Sir, by order of Law, some
    yeere elder then this; who, yet is no deerer in my ac-
    count, though this Knaue came somthing sawcily to the
    25world before he was sent for: yet was his Mother fayre,
    there was good sport at his making, and the horson mu st
    be acknowledged. Doe you know this Noble Gentle-
    man, Edmond?
    Edm. No, my Lord.
    30 Glou. My Lord of Kent:
    Remember him heereafter, as my Honourable Friend.
    Edm. My seruices to your Lord ship.
    Kent. I mu st loue you, and sue to know you better.
    Edm. Sir, I shall study deseruing.
    35 Glou. He hath bin out nine yeares, and away he shall
    againe. The King is comming.

    Sennet. Enter King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Gonerill, Re-
    gan, Cordelia, and attendants.
    Lear. Attend the Lords of France & Burgundy, Glo ster.
    40 Glou. I shall, my Lord. Exit.
    Lear. Meane time we shal expre s s e our darker purpose.
    Giue me the Map there. Know, that we haue diuided
    In three our Kingdome: and 'tis our fa st intent,
    To shake all Cares and Bu sine s s e from our Age,
    45Conferring them on yonger strengths, while we
    Vnburthen'd crawle toward death. Our son of Cornwal,
    And you our no le s s e louing Sonne of Albany,
    We haue this houre a con stant will to publi sh
    Our daughters seuerall Dowers, that future strife
    50May be preuented now. The Princes, France & Burgundy,
    Great Riuals in our yonge st daughters loue,
    Long in our Court, haue made their amorous soiourne,
    And heere are to be answer'd. Tell me my daughters
    (Since now we will diue st vs both of Rule,
    55Intere st of Territory, Cares of State)
    Which of you shall we say doth loue vs mo st,
    That we, our large st bountie may extend
    Where Nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill,
    Our elde st borne, speake fir st.
    60 Gon. Sir, I loue you more then word can weild ye matter,
    Deerer then eye- sight, space, and libertie,
    Beyond what can be valewed, rich or rare,
    No le s s e then life, with grace, health, beauty, honor:
    As much as Childe ere lou'd, or Father found.
    65A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnable,
    Beyond all manner of so much I loue you.
    Cor. What shall Cordelia speake? Loue, and be silent.
    Lear. Of all these bounds euen from this Line, to this,
    With shadowie Forre sts, and with Champains rich'd
    70With plenteous Riuers, and wide-skirted Meades
    We make thee Lady. To thine and Albanies i s s ues
    Be this perpetuall. What sayes our second Daughter?
    Our deere st Regan, wife of Cornwall?
    Reg. I am made of that selfe-mettle as my Si ster,
    75And prize me at her worth. In my true heart,
    I finde she names my very deede of loue:
    Onely she comes too short, that I profe s s e
    My selfe an enemy to all other ioyes,
    Which the mo st precious square of sense profe s s es,
    80And finde I am alone felicitate
    In your deere Highne s s e loue.
    Cor. Then poore Cordelia,
    And yet not so, since I am sure my loue's
    More ponderous then my tongue.
    85 Lear. To thee, and thine hereditarie euer,
    Remaine this ample third of our faire Kingdome,
    No le s s e in space, validitie, and pleasure
    Then that conferr'd on Gonerill. Now our Ioy,
    Although our la st and lea st ; to whose yong loue,
    90The Vines of France, and Milke of Burgundie,
    Striue to be intere st. What can you say, to draw
    A third, more opilent then your Si sters? speake.
    Cor. Nothing my Lord.
    Lear. Nothing?