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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Tragedie of King Lear.
    Ere they shall make vs weepe?
    Weele see e'm staru'd fir st : come. Exit.
    Ba st . Come hither Captaine, hearke.
    2970Take thou this note, go follow them to prison,
    One step I haue aduanc'd thee, if thou do' st
    As this in structs thee, thou do st make thy way
    To Noble Fortunes: know thou this, that men
    Are as the time is; to be tender minded
    2975Do's not become a Sword, thy great imployment
    Will not beare que stion: either say thou'lt do't,
    Or thriue by other meanes.
    Capt. Ile do't my Lord.
    Ba st . About it, and write happy, when th'ha st done,
    2980Marke I say in stantly, and carry it so
    As I haue set it downe. Exit Captaine.

    Flouri sh . Enter Albany , Gonerill, Regan, Soldiers.

    Alb. Sir, you haue shew'd to day your valiant straine
    And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
    2985Who were the oppo sites of this dayes strife:
    I do require them of you so to vse them,
    As we shall find their merites, and our safety
    May equally determine.
    Ba st . Sir, I thought it fit,
    2990To send the old and miserable King to some retention,
    Whose age had Charmes in it, whose Title more,
    To plucke the common bosome on his side,
    And turne our impre st Launces in our eies
    Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen:
    2995My reason all the same, and they are ready
    To morrow, or at further space, t' appeare
    Where you shall hold your Se s sion.
    Alb. Sir, by your patience,
    I hold you but a subiect of this Warre,
    3000Not as a Brother.
    Reg. That's as we li st to grace him.
    Methinkes our pleasure might haue bin demanded
    Ere you had spoke so farre. He led our Powers,
    Bore the Commi s sion of my place and person,
    3005The which immediacie may well stand vp,
    And call it selfe your Brother.
    Gon. Not so hot:
    In his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe,
    More then in your addition.
    3010 Reg. In my rights,
    By me inue sted, he compeeres the be st.
    Alb. That were the mo st, if he should husband you.
    Reg. Ie sters do oft proue Prophets.
    Gon. Hola, hola,
    3015That eye that told you so, look'd but a squint.
    Rega. Lady I am not well, else I should answere
    From a full flowing stomack. Generall,
    Take thou my Souldiers, prisoners, patrimony,
    Dispose of them, of me, the walls is thine:
    3020Witne s s e the world, that I create thee heere
    My Lord, and Ma ster.
    Gon. Meane you to enioy him?
    Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
    Ba st . Nor in thine Lord.
    3025 Alb. Halfe-blooded fellow, yes.
    Reg. Let the Drum strike, and proue my title thine.
    Alb. Stay yet, heare reason: Edmund, I arre st thee
    On capitall Treason; and in thy arre st,
    This guilded Serpent: for your claime faire Si sters,
    3030I bare it in the intere st of my wife,
    'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord,
    And I her husband contradict your Banes.
    If you will marry, make your loues to me,
    My Lady is bespoke.
    3035 Gon. An enterlude.
    Alb. Thou art armed Glo ster,
    Let the Trmpet sound:
    If none appeare to proue vpon thy person,
    Thy heynous, manife st, and many Treasons,
    3040There is my pledge: Ile make it on thy heart
    Ere I ta ste bread, thou art in nothing le s s e
    Then I haue heere proclaim'd thee.
    Reg. Sicke, O sicke.
    Gon. If not, Ile nere tru st medicine.
    3045 Ba st . There's my exchange, what in the world hes
    That names me Traitor, villain-like he lies,
    Call by the Trumpet: he that dares approach;
    On him, on you, who not, I will maintaine
    My truth and honor firmely.

    3050 Enter a Herald.

    Alb. A Herald, ho.
    Tru st to thy single vertue, for thy Souldiers
    All leuied in my name, haue in my name
    Tooke their discharge.
    3055 Regan. My sickne s s e growes vpon me.
    Alb. She is not well, conuey her to my Tent.
    Come hither Herald, let the Trumper sound,
    And read out this. A Tumpet sounds.
    Herald reads.
    3060 If any man of qualitie or degree, within the li sts of the Ar-
    my, will maintaine vpon Edmund, supposed Earle of Glo ster,
    that he is a manifold Traitor, let him appeare by the third
    sound of the Trumpet: he is bold in his defence. 1 Trumpet.
    Her. Againe. 2 Trumpet.
    3065 Her. Againe. 3 Trumpet.
    Trumpet answers within.

    Enter Edgar armed.
    Alb. Aske him his purposes, why he appeares
    Vpon this Call o'th'Trumpet.
    3070 Her. What are you?
    Your name, your quality, and why you answer
    This present Summons?
    Edg. Know my name is lo st
    By Treasons tooth: bare-gnawne, and Canker-bit,
    3075Yet am I Noble as the Aduersary
    I come to cope.
    Alb. Which is that Aduersary?
    Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of Glo- ( ster?
    Ba st . Himselfe, what sai st thou to him?
    3080 Edg. Draw thy Sword,
    That if my speech offend a Noble heart,
    Thy arme may do thee Iu stice, heere is mine:
    Behold it is my priuiledge,
    The priuiledge of mine Honours,
    3085My oath, and my profe s sion. I prote st,
    Maugre thy strength, place, youth, and eminence,
    Despise thy victor-Sword, and fire new Fortune,
    Thy valor, and thy heart, thou art a Traitor:
    False to thy Gods, thy Brother, and thy Father,
    3090Conspirant 'gain st this high illu stirous Prince,
    And from th'extreme st vpward of thy head,
    To the discent and du st below thy foote,