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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 .
    The knowledge of themselues.
    2740Edg. Giue me your hand:
    Farre off methinkes I heare the beaten Drumme.
    Come Father, Ile bestow you with a Friend.

    Scæna Septima.

    Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Gentleman.

    2745Cor. O thou good Kent,
    How shall I liue and worke
    To match thy goodnesse?
    My life will be too short,
    And euery measure faile me.
    2750Kent. To be acknowledg'd Madam is ore-pai'd,
    All my reports go with the modest truth,
    Nor more, nor clipt, but so.
    Cor. Be better suited,
    These weedes are memories of those worser houres:
    2755I prythee put them off.
    Kent. Pardon deere Madam,
    Yet to be knowne shortens my made intent,
    My boone I make it, that you know me not,
    Till time and I, thinke meet.
    2760Cor. Then be't so my good Lord:
    How do's the King?
    Gent. Madam sleepes still.
    Cor. O you kind Gods!
    Cure this great breach in his abused Nature,
    2765Th'vntun'd and iarring senses, O winde vp,
    Of this childe-changed Father.
    Gent. So please your Maiesty,
    That we may wake the King, he hath slept long?
    Cor. Be gouern'd by your knowledge, and proceede
    2770I'th'sway of your owne will: is he array'd?

    Enter Lear in a chaire carried by Seruants

    Gent. I Madam: in the heauinesse of sleepe,
    We put fresh garments on him.
    Be by good Madam when we do awake him,
    2775I doubt of his Temperance.
    Cor. O my deere Father, restauratian hang
    Thy medicine on my lippes, and let this kisse
    Repaire those violent harmes, that my two Sisters
    Haue in thy Reuerence made.
    2780Kent. Kind and deere Princesse.
    Cor. Had you not bin their Father, these white flakes
    Did challenge pitty of them. Was this a face
    To be oppos'd against the iarring windes?
    Mine Enemies dogge, though he had bit me,
    2785Should haue stood that night against my fire,
    And was't thou faine (poore Father)
    To houell thee with Swine and Rogues forlorne,
    In short, and musty straw? Alacke, alacke,
    'Tis wonder that thy life and wits, at once
    2790Had not concluded all. He wakes, speake to him.
    Gen. Madam do you, 'tis fittest.
    Cor. How does my Royall Lord?
    How fares your Maiesty?
    Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o'th'graue,
    2795Thou art a Soule in blisse, but I am bound
    Vpon a wheele of fire, that mine owne teares
    Do scal'd, like molten Lead.
    Cor. Sir, do you know me?
    Lear. You are a spirit I know, where did you dye?
    2800Cor. Still, still, farre wide.
    Gen. He's scarse awake,
    Let him alone a while.
    Lear. Where haue I bin?
    Where am I? Faire day light?
    2805I am mightily abus'd; I should eu'n dye with pitty
    To see another thus. I know not what to say:
    I will not sweare these are my hands: let's see,
    I feele this pin pricke, would I were assur'd
    Of my condition.
    2810Cor. O looke vpon me Sir,
    And hold your hand in benediction o're me,
    You must not kneele.
    Lear. Pray do not mocke me:
    I am a very foolish fond old man,
    2815Fourescore and vpward,
    Not an houre more, nor lesse:
    And to deale plainely,
    I feare I am not in my perfect mind.
    Me thinkes I should know you, and know this man,
    2820Yet I am doubtfull: For I am mainely 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. Do not laugh at me,
    For (as I am a man) I thinke this Lady
    2825To be my childe Cordelia.
    Cor. And so I am: I am.
    Lear. Be your teares wet?
    Yes faith: I pray weepe not,
    If you haue poyson for me, I will drinke it:
    2830I know you do not loue me, for your Sisters
    Haue (as I do remember) done me wrong.
    You haue some cause, they haue not.
    Cor. No cause, no cause.
    Lear. Am I in France?
    2835Kent. In your owne kingdome Sir.
    Lear. Do not abuse me.
    Gent. Be comforted good Madam, the great rage
    You see is kill'd in him: desire him to go in,
    Trouble him no more till further setling.
    2840Cor. Wilt please your Highnesse walke?
    Lear. You must beare with me:
    Pray you now forget, and forgiue,
    I am old and foolish.

    Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.

    Enter with Drumme and Colours, Edmund, Regan.
    Gentlemen, and Souldiers.

    Bast. Know of the Duke if his last purpose hold,
    Or whether since he is aduis'd by ought
    To change the course, he's full of alteration,
    2850And selfe reprouing, bring his constant pleasure.
    Reg. Our Sisters man is certainely miscarried.
    Bast. 'Tis to be doubted Madam.
    Reg. Now sweet Lord,