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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Tragedie of King Lear
    95 Cor. Nothing.
    Lear. Nothing will come of nothing, speake againe.
    Cor. Vnhappie that I am, I cannot heaue
    My heart into my mouth: I loue your Maie sty
    According to my bond, no more nor le s s e.
    100 Lear. How, how Cordelia? mend your speech a little,
    Lea st you may marre your Fortunes.
    Cor. Good my Lord,
    You haue begot me, bred me, lou'd me.
    I returne those duties backe as are right fit,
    105Obey you, Loue you, and mo st Honour you.
    Why haue my Si sters Husbands, if they say
    They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed,
    That Lord, whose hand mu st take my plight, shall carry
    Halfe my loue with him, halfe my Care, and Dutie,
    110Sure I shall neuer marry like my Si sters.
    Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
    Cor. I my good Lord.
    Lear. So young, and so vntender?
    Cor. So young my Lord, and true.
    115 Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre:
    For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
    The miseries of Heccat and the night :
    By all the operation of the Orbes,
    From whom we do exi st, and cease to be,
    120Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care,
    Propinquity and property of blood,
    And as a stranger to my heart and me,
    Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian,
    Or he that makes his generation me s s es
    125To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosome
    Be as well neighbour'd, pittied, and releeu'd,
    As thou my sometime Daughter.
    Kent. Good my Liege.
    Lear. Peace Kent,
    130Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath,
    I lou'd her mo st, and thought to set my re st
    On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight:
    So be my graue my peace, as here I giue
    Her Fathers heart from her ; call France, who stirres?
    135Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albanie,
    With my two Daughters Dowres, dige st the third,
    Let pride, which she cals plainne s s e, marry her:
    I doe inue st you ioyntly with my power,
    Preheminence, and all the large effects
    140That troope with Maie sty. Our selfe by Monthly course,
    With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
    By you to be su stain'd, shall our abode
    Make with you by due turne, onely we shall retaine
    The name, and all th'addition to a King: the Sway,
    145Reuennew, Execution of the re st,
    Beloued Sonnes be yours, which to confirme,
    This Coronet part betweene you.
    Kent. Royall Lear,
    Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
    150Lou'd as my Father, as my Ma ster follow'd,
    As my great Patron thought on in my praiers.
    Le. The bow is bent & drawne, make from the shaft.
    Kent. Let it fall rather, though the forke inuade
    The region of my heart, be Kent vnmannerly,
    155When Lear is mad, what woulde st thou do old man?
    Think' st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake,
    When power to flattery bowes?
    To plainne s s e honour's bound,
    When Maie sty falls to folly, reserue thy state,
    160And in thy be st con sideration checke
    This hideous ra shne s s e, answere my life, my iudgement:
    Thy yonge st Daughter do's not loue thee lea st,
    Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sounds
    Reuerbe no hollowne s s e.
    165 Lear. Kent, on thy life no more.
    Kent. My life I neuer held but as pawne
    To wage again st thine enemies, nere feare to loose it,
    Thy safety being motiue.
    Lear. Out of my sight.
    170 Kent. See better Lear, and let me still remaine
    The true blanke of thine eie.
    Kear. Now by Apollo,
    Lent. Now by Apollo, King
    Thou swear. st thy Gods in vaine.
    175 Lear. O Va s s all! Miscreant.
    Alb. Cor . Deare Sir forbeare.
    Kent. Kill thy Phy sition, and thy fee be stow
    Vpon the foule disease, reuoke thy guift,
    Or whil' st I can vent clamour from my throate,
    180Ile tell thee thou do st euill.
    Lea. Heare me recreant, on thine allegeance heare me;
    That thou ha st sought to make vs breake our vowes,
    Which we dur st neuer yet; and with strain'd pride,
    To come betwixt our sentences, and our power,
    185Which, nor our nature, nor our place can beare;
    Our potencie made good, take thy reward.
    Fiue dayes we do allot thee for proui sion,
    To shield thee from disa sters of the world,
    And on the sixt to turne thy hated backe
    190Vpon our kingdome; if on the tenth day following,
    Thy bani sht trunke be found in our Dominions,
    The moment is thy death, away. By Iupiter,
    This shall not be reuok'd,
    Kent. Fare thee well King, sith thus thou wilt appeare,
    195Freedome liues hence, and bani shment is here;
    The Gods to their deere shelter take thee Maid,
    That iu stly think' st, and ha st mo st rightly said:
    And your large speeches, may your deeds approue,
    That good effects may spring from words of loue:
    200Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adew,
    Hee'l shape his old course, in a Country new. Exit.

    Flouri sh. Enter Glo ster with France, and Bur-
    gundy, Attendants.

    Cor. Heere's France and Burgundy, my Noble Lord.
    205 Lear. My Lord of Bugundie,
    We fir st addre s s e toward you, who with this King
    Hath riuald for our Daughter; what in the lea st
    Will you require in present Dower with her,
    Or cease your que st of Loue?
    210 Bur. Mo st Royall Maie sty,
    I craue no more then hath your Highne s s e offer'd,
    Nor will you tender le s s e?
    Lear. Right Noble Burgundy,
    When she was deare to vs, we did hold her so,
    215But now her price is fallen: Sir, there she stands,
    If ought within that little seeming sub stance,
    Or all of it with our displeasure piec'd,
    And nothing more may fitly like your Grace,
    Shee's there, and she is yours.
    220 Bur. I know no answer.
    Lear. Will you with those infirmities she owes,
    Vnfriended, new adopted to our hate,
    Dow'rd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
    Take her or, leaue her.