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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    225 Bur. Pardon me Royall Sir,
    Election makes not vp in such conditions.
    Le. Then leaue her sir, for by the powre that made me,
    I tell you all her wealth. For you great King,
    I would not from your loue make such a stray,
    230To match you where I hate, therefore beseech you
    T'auert your liking a more worthier way,
    Then on a wretch whom Nature is a sham'd
    Almo st t'acknowledge hers.
    Fra. This is mo st strange,
    235That she whom euen but now, was your obiect,
    The argument of your praise, balme of your age,
    The be st, the deere st, sh}ould in this trice of time
    Commit a thing so mon strous, to dismantle
    So many folds of fauour: sure her offence
    240Mu st be of such vnnaturall degree,
    That mon sters it: Or your fore-voucht affection
    Fall into taint, which to beleeue of her
    Mu st be a faith that reason without miracle
    Should neuer plant in me.
    245 Cor. I yet beseech your Maie sty.
    If for I want that glib and oylie Art,
    To speake and purpose not, since what I will intend,
    Ile do't before I speake, that you make knowne
    It is no vicious blot, murther, or foulene s s e,
    250No vncha ste action or di shonoured step
    That hath depriu'd me of your Grace and fauour,
    But euen for want of that, for which I am richer,
    A still soliciting eye, and such a tongue,
    That I am glad I haue not, though not to haue it,
    255Hath lo st me in your liking.
    Lear. Better thou had' st '
    Not beene borne, then not t haue pleas'd me better.
    Fra. Is it but this ? A tardine s s e in nature,
    Which often leaues the hi story vnspoke
    260That it intends to do: my Lord of Burgundy,
    What say you to the Lady? Loue's not loue
    When it is mingled with regards, that stands
    Aloofe from th'intire point, will you haue her?
    She is herselfe a Dowrie.
    265 Bur. Royall King,
    Giue but that portion which your selfe propos'd,
    And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
    Dutche s s e of Burgundie.
    Lear. Nothing, I haue sworne, I am firme.
    270 Bur. I am sorry then you haue so lo st a Father,
    That you mu st loose a husband.
    Cor. Peace be with Burgundie,
    Since that respect and Fortunes are his loue,
    I shall not be his wife.
    275 Fra. Faire st Cordelia, that art mo st rich being poore,
    Mo st choise forsaken, and mo st lou'd despis'd,
    Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon,
    Be it lawfull I take vp what's ca st away.
    Gods, Gods! 'Tis strange, that from their cold' st neglect
    280My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
    Thy dowrele s s e Daughter King, throwne to my chance,
    Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France :
    Not all the Dukes of watri sh Burgundy,
    Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
    285Bid them farewellCordelia, though vnkinde,
    Thou loose st here a better where to finde.
    Lear. Thou ha st her France, let her be thine, for we
    Haue no such Daughter, nor shall euer see
    That face of hers againe, therfore be gone,
    290Without our Grace, our Loue, our Benizon:
    Come Noble Burgundie. Flouri sh. Exeunt.
    Fra. Bid farwell to your Si sters.
    Cor. The Iewels of our Father, with wa sh'd eies
    Cordelia leaues you, I know you what you are,
    295And like a Si ster am mo st loth to call
    Your faults as they are named. Loue well our Father:
    To your profe s s ed bosomes I commit him,
    But yet alas, stood I within his Grace,
    I would prefer him to a better place,
    300So farewell to you both.
    Regn. Prescribe not vs our dutie.
    Gon. Let your study
    Be to content your Lord, who hath receiu'd you
    At Fortunes almes, you haue obedience scanted,
    305And well are worth the want that you haue wanted.
    Cor. Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides,
    Who couers faults, at la st with shame derides:
    Well may you prosper.
    Fra. Come my faire Cordelia. Exit France and Cor.
    310 Gon. Si ster, it is not little I haue to say,
    Of what mo st neerely appertaines to vs both,
    I thinke our Father will hence to night. (with vs.
    Reg. That's mo st certaine, and with you: next moneth
    Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the ob-
    315 seruation we haue made of it hath beene little; he alwaies
    lou'd our Si ster mo st, and with what poore iudgement he
    hath now ca st her off, appeares too gro s s ely.
    Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath euer but
    slenderly knowne himselfe.
    320 Gon. The be st and sounde st of his time hath bin but
    ra sh, then mu st we looke from his age, to receiue not a-
    lone the imperfections of long ingraffed condition, but
    therewithall the vnruly way-wardne s s e, that infirme and
    cholericke yeares bring with them.
    325 Reg. Such vncon stant starts are we like to haue from
    him, as this of Kents bani shment.
    Gon. There is further complement of leaue-taking be-
    tweene France and him, pray you let vs sit together, if our
    Father carry authority with such dispo sition as he beares,
    330this la st surrender of his will but offend vs.
    Reg. We shall further thinke of it.
    Gon. We mu st do something, and i'th'heate. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Ba stard.
    335 Ba st . Thou Nature art my Godde s s e, to thy Law
    My seruices are bound, wherefore should I
    Stand in the plague of cu stome, and permit
    The curio sity of Nations, to depriue me?
    For that I am some twelue, or fourteene Moon shines
    340Lag of a Brother? Why Ba stard? Wherefore base?
    When my Dimen sions are as well compact,
    My minde as generous, and my shape as true
    As hone st Madams i s s ue? Why brand they vs
    With Base? With basenes Bar stadie? Base, Base?
    345Who in the lu stie stealth of Nature, take
    More compo sition, and fierce qualitie,
    Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
    Goe to th'creating a whole tribe of Fops
    Got 'tweene a sleepe, and wake ? Well then,
    350Legitimate Edgar, I mu st haue your land,
    Our Fathers loue, is to the Ba stard Edmond,
    As to th'legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.