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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    But that I told him the reuenging Gods,
    'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend,
    Spoke with how manifold, and strong a Bond
    The Child was bound to'th'Father; Sir in fine,
    985Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
    To his vnnaturall purpose, in fell motion
    With his prepared Sword, he charges home
    My vnprouided body, latch'd mine arme;
    And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
    990Bold in the quarrels right, rouz'd to th'encounter,
    Or whether gasted by the noyse I made,
    Full sodainely he fled.
    Glost. Let him fly farre:
    Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
    995And found; dispatch, the Noble Duke my Master,
    My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night,
    By his authoritie I will proclaime it,
    That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
    Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
    1000He that conceales him death.
    Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent,
    And found him pight to doe it, with curst speech
    I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied,
    Thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke,
    1005If I would stand against thee, would the reposall
    Of any trust, vertue, or worth in thee
    Make thy words faith'd? No, what should I denie,
    (As this I would, though thou didst produce
    My very Character) I'ld turne it all
    1010To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise :
    And thou must make a dullard of the world,
    If they not thought the profits of my death
    Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
    To make thee seeke it.
    Tucket within.
    1015Glo. O strange and fastned Villaine,
    Would he deny his Letter, said he?
    Harke, the Dukes Trumpets, I know not wher he comes.;
    All Ports Ile barre, the villaine shall not scape,
    The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
    1020I will send farre and neere, that all the kingdome
    May haue due note of him, and of my land,
    (Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
    To make thee capable.

    Enter Cornewall, Regan, and Attendants.

    1025Corn. How now my Noble friend, since I came hither
    (Which I can call but now,) I haue heard strangenesse.
    Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
    Which can pursue th'offender; how dost my Lord?
    Glo. O Madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd.
    1030Reg. What, did my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
    He whom my Father nam'd, your Edgar?
    Glo. O Lady, Lady, shame would haue it hid.
    Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
    That tended vpon my Father?
    1035Glo. I know not Madam, 'tis too bad, too bad.
    Bast. Yes Madam, he was of that consort.
    Reg. No maruaile then, though he were ill affected,
    'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
    To haue th'expence and wast of his Reuenues :
    1040I haue this present euening from my Sister
    Beene well inform'd of them, and with such cautions,
    That if they come to soiourne at my house,
    Ile not be there.
    Cor. Nor I, assure thee Regan;
    1045Edmund, I heare that you haue shewne yout Father
    A Child-like Office.
    Bast. It was my duty Sir.
    Glo. He did bewray his practise, and receiu'd
    This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.
    1050Cor. Is he pursued?
    Glo. I my good Lord.
    Cor. If he be taken, he shall neuer more
    Be fear'd of doing harme, make your owne purpose,
    How in my strength you please: for you Edmund,
    1055Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
    So much commend it selfe, you shall be ours,
    Nature's of such deepe trust, we shall much need:
    You we first seize on.
    Bast. I shall serue you Sir truely, how euer else.
    1060Glo. For him I thanke your Grace.
    Cor. You know not why we came to visit you?
    Reg. Thus out of season, thredding darke ey'd night,
    Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize,
    Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
    1065Our Father he hath writ, so hath our Sister,
    Of differences, which I best though it fit
    To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
    From hence attend dispatch, our good old Friend,
    Lay comforts to your bosome, and bestow
    1070Your needfull counsaile to our businesses,
    Which craues the instant vse.
    Glo. I serue you Madam,
    Your Graces are right welcome.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Kent, aad Steward seuerally.

    Stew. Good dawning to thee Friend, art of this house?
    Kent. I.
    Stew. Where may we set our horses?
    Kent. I'th'myre.
    1080Stew. Prythee, if thou lou'st me, tell me.
    Kent. I loue thee not.
    Ste. Why then I care not for thee.
    Kent. If I had thee in Lipsbury Pinfold, I would make
    thee care for me.
    1085Ste. Why do'st thou vse me thus? I know thee not.
    Kent. Fellow I know thee.
    Ste. What do'st thou know me for?
    Kent. A Knaue, a Rascall, an eater of broken meates, a
    base, proud, shallow, beggerly, three-suited-hundred
    1090pound, filthy woosted-stocking knaue, a Lilly-liuered,
    action-taking, whoreson glasse-gazing super-seruiceable
    finicall Rogue, one Trunke-inheriting slaue, one that
    would'st be a Baud in way of good seruice, and art no-
    thing but the composition of a Knaue, Begger, Coward,
    1095Pandar, and the Sonne and Heire of a Mungrill Bitch,
    one whom I will beate into clamours whining, if thou
    deny'st the least sillable of thy addition.
    Stew. Why, what a monstrous Fellow art thou, thus
    to raile on one, that is neither knowne of thee, nor
    1100knowes thee?
    Kent. What a brazen-fac'd Varlet art thou, to deny
    thou knowest me ? Is it two dayes since I tript vp thy
    heeles, and beate thee before the King? Draw you rogue,