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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    You know the goodne s s e I intend vpon you:
    2855Tell me but truly, but then speake the truth,
    Do you not loue my Si ster?
    Ba st . In honour'd Loue.
    Reg. But haue you neuer found my Brothers way,
    To the fore-fended place?
    2860 Ba st . No by mine honour, Madam.
    Reg. I neuer shall endure her, deere my Lord
    Be not familiar with her.
    Ba st . Feare not, she and the Duke her husband.

    Enter with Drum and Colours, Albany, Gonerill, Soldiers.

    2865 Alb. Our very louing Si ster, well be-met:
    Sir, this I heard, the King is come to his Daughter
    With others, whom the rigour of our State
    Forc'd to cry out.
    Regan. Why is this reasond?
    2870 Gone. Combine together 'gain st the Enemie:
    For these dome sticke and particurlar broiles,
    Are not the que stion heere.
    Alb. Let's then determine with th'ancient of warre
    On our proceeding.
    2875 Reg. Si ster you'le go with vs?
    Gon. No.
    Reg. 'Tis mo st conuenient, pray go with vs.
    Gon. Oh ho, I know the Riddle, I will goe.
    Exeunt both the Armies.

    2880 Enter Edgar.
    Edg. If ere your Grace had speech with man so poore,
    Heare me one word.
    Alb. Ile ouertake you, speake.
    Edg. Before you fight the Battaile, ope this Letter:
    2885If you haue victory, let the Trumpet sound
    For him that brought it: wretched though I seeme,
    I can produce a Champion, that will proue
    What is auouched there. If you miscarry,
    Your bu sine s s e of the world hath so an end,
    2890And machination ceases. Fortune loues you.
    Alb. Stay till I haue read the Letter.
    Edg . I was forbid it:
    When time shall serue, let but the Herald cry,
    And Ile appeare againe. Exit .
    2895 Alb. Why farethee well, I will o're-looke thy paper.

    Enter Edmund.

    Ba st . The Enemy's in view, draw vp your powers,
    Heere is the gue s s e of their true strength and Forces,
    By dilligent discouerie, but your ha st
    2900Is now vrg'd on you.
    Alb. We will greet the time. Exit.
    Ba st . To both these Si sters haue I sworne my loue:
    Each iealous of the other, as the stung
    Are of the Adder. Which of them shall I take?
    2905Both? One ? Or neither? Neither can be enioy'd
    If both remaine aliue: To take the Widdow,
    Exasperates, makes mad her Si ster Gonerill,
    And hardly shall I carry out my side,
    Her husband being aliue. Now then, wee'l vse
    2910His countenance for the Battaile, which being done,
    Let her who would be rid of him, deuise
    His speedy taking off. As for the mercie
    Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia,
    The Battaile done, and they within our power,
    2915Shall neuer see his pardon: for my state,
    Stands on me to defend, not to debate. Exit.

    Scena Secunda.

    Alarum within. Enter with Drumme and Colours , Lear,
    Cordelia, and Souldiers, ouer the Stage, and Exeunt.

    2920 Enter Edgar , and Glo ster.

    Edg. Heere Father, take the shadow of this Tree
    For your good hoa st : pray that the right may thriue:
    If euer I returne to you againe,
    Ile bring you comfort.
    2925 Glo. Grace go with you Sir. Exit.
    Alarum and Retreat within.
    Enter Edgar.
    Egdar. Away old man, giue me thy hand, away:
    King Lear hath lo st, he and his Daughter tane,
    2930Giue me thy hand : Come on.
    Glo. No further Sir, a man may rot euen heere.
    Edg. What in ill thoughts againe?
    Men mu st endure
    Their going hence, euen as their comming hither,
    2935Ripene s s e is all come on.
    Glo. And that's true too. Exeunt.

    Scena Tertia.

    Enter in conque st with Drum and Colours , Edmund, Lear,
    and Cordelia, as prisoners , Souldiers , Captaine.

    2940 Ba st . Some Officers take them away: good guard,
    Vntill their greater pleasures fir st be knowne
    That are to censure them.
    Cor. We are not the fir st,
    Who with be st meaning haue incurr'd the wor st :
    2945For thee oppre s s ed King I am ca st downe,
    My selfe could else out-frowne false Fortunes frowne.
    Shall we not see these Daughters, and these Si sters?
    Lear. No, no, no, no: come let's away to prison,
    We two alone will sing like Birds i'th'Cage :
    2950When thou do st aske me ble s sing, Ile kneele downe
    And aske of thee forgiuene s s e: So wee'l liue,
    And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
    At gilded Butterflies: and heere (poore Rogues)
    Talke of Court newes, and wee'l talke with them too,
    2955Who looses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;
    And take vpon's the my stery of things,
    As if we were Gods spies: And wee'l weare out
    In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
    That ebbe and flow by th'Moone.
    2960 Ba st . Take them away.
    Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia,
    The Gods themselues throw Incense.
    Haue I caught thee?
    He that parts vs, shall bring a Brand from Heauen,
    2965And fire vs hence, like Foxes: wipe thine eyes,
    The good yeares shall deuoure them, fle sh and fell,