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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    2355Darnell, and all the idle weedes that grow
    In our su staining Corne. A Centery send forth;
    Search euery Acre in the high-growne field,
    And bring him to our eye. What can mans wisedome
    In the re storing his bereaued Sense; he that helpes him,
    2360Take all my outward worth.
    Gent. There is meanes Madam:
    Our fo ster Nurse of Nature, is repose,
    The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
    Are many Simples operatiue, whose power
    2365Will close the eye of Angui sh.
    Cord. All ble st Secrets,
    All you vnpubli sh'd Vertues of the earth
    Spring with my teares; be aydant, and remediate
    In the Goodmans de sires: seeke, seeke for him,
    2370Lea st his vngouern'd rage, di s s olue the life
    That wants the meanes to leade it.
    Enter Me s s enger.
    Mes . Newes Madam,
    The Britti sh Powres are marching hitherward.
    2375 Cor. 'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
    In expectation of them. O deere Father,
    It is thy bu sine s s e that I go about: Therfore great France
    My mourning, and important teares hath pittied:
    No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite,
    2380But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd Fathers Rite:
    Soone may I heare, and see him. Exeunt.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Regan , and Steward.
    Reg. But are my Brothers Powres set forth?
    2385 Stew. I Madam,
    Reg. Himselfe in person there?
    Stew. Madam with much ado:
    Your Si ster is the better Souldier.
    Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?
    2390 Stew. No Madam.
    Reg. What night import my Si sters Letter to him?
    Stew. I know not, Lady.
    Reg. Faith he is poa sted hence on serious matter:
    It was great ignorance, Glou sters eyes being out
    2395To let him liue. Where he arriues, he moues
    All hearts again st vs: Edmund, I thinke is gone
    In pitty of his misery, to dispatch
    His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
    The strength o'th'Enemy.
    2400 Stew. I mu st needs after him, Madam, with my Letter.
    Reg. Our troopes set forth to morrow, stay with vs:
    The wayes are dangerous.
    Stew. I may not Madam:
    My Lady charg'd my dutie in this bu sines.
    2405 Reg. Why should she write to Edmund ?
    Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike,
    Some things, I know not what. Ile loue thee much
    Let me vnseale the Letter.
    Stew. Madam, I had rather----
    2410 Reg. I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband,
    I am sure of that: and at her late being heere,
    She gaue strange Eliads, and mo st speaking lookes
    To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome.
    Stew. I, Madam?
    2415 Reg. I speake in vnder standing: Y'are: I know't,
    Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
    My Lord is dead: Edmond, and I haue talk'd,
    And more conuenient is he for my hand
    Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
    2420If you do finde him, pray you giue him this;
    And when your Mi stris heares thus much from you,
    I pray de sire her call her wisedome to her.
    So fare you well:
    If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor,
    2425Preferment fals on him, that cuts him off.
    Stew. Would I could meet Madam, I should shew
    What party I do follow.
    Reg. Fare thee well. Exeunt

    Scena Quinta.

    2430 Enter Glouce ster, and Edgar.
    Glou. When shall I come to th'top of that same hill?
    Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor.
    Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen.
    Edg. Horrible steepe.
    2435Hearke, do you heare the Sea?
    Glou. No truly.
    Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
    By your eyes angui sh.
    Glou. So may it be indeed.
    2440Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak' st
    In better phrase, and matter then thou did' st.
    Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
    But in my Garments.
    Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken.
    2445 Edg. Come on Sir,
    Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
    And dizie 'tis, to ca st ones eyes so low,
    The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
    Shew scarse so gro s s e as Beetles. Halfe way downe
    2450Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
    Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
    The Fi shermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
    Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
    Dimini sh'd to her Cocke: her Cocke, a Buoy
    2455Almo st too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
    That on th'vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
    Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
    Lea st my braine turne, and the deficient sight
    Topple downe headlong.
    2460 Glou. Set me where you stand.
    Edg. Giue me your hand :
    You are now within a foote of th'extreme Verge:
    For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright.
    Glou. Let go my hand:
    2465Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
    Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
    Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
    Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
    Edg. Now fare ye well, good Sir.
    2470 Glou. With all my heart.
    Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
    Is done to cure it.
    Glou. O you mighty Gods!
    This world I do renounce, and in your sights