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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1608)

    The Hi storie of King Lear.
    Giue it the Captaine? 3210 Duke. Ha st thee for thy life.
    Ba st . He hath Commi s sion from thy wife and me,
    To hang Cordelia in the prison, and to lay
    The blame vpon her owne despaire,
    That she fordid her selfe.
    3215 Duke. The Gods defend her, beare him hence a while.
    Enter Lear with Cordelia in his armes.
    Lear. Howle, howle, howle, howle, O you are men of stones,
    Had I your tongues and eyes, I would vse them so,
    That heauens vault should cracke, shees gone for euer,
    3220 I know when one is dead and when one liues,
    Shees dead as earth, lend me a looking gla s s e,
    If that her breath will mi st or staine the stone,
    Why then she liues. Kent. Is this the promi st end.
    3225 Edg. Or image of that horror. Duke. Fall and cease.
    Lear. This feather stirs she liues, if it be so,
    It is a chance which do's redeeme all sorowes
    That euer I haue felt. Kent. A my good mai ster.
    Lear. Prethe away? Edg. Tis noble Kent your friend.
    Lear. A plague vpon your murderous traytors all,
    I might haue saued her, now shees gone for euer,
    3235 Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little, ha,
    What i st thou saye st, her voyce was euer soft,
    Gentle and low, an excellent thing in women,
    I kild the slaue that was a hanging thee.
    Cap. Tis true my Lords, he did.
    3240 Lear. Did I not fellow? I haue seene the day,
    With my good biting Fauchon I would
    Haue made them skippe, I am old now,
    And these same cro s s es spoyle me, who are you?
    Mine eyes are not othe be st, ile tell you straight.
    3245 Kent. If Fortune bragd of two she loued or hated,
    One of them we behold. Lear. Are not you Kent?
    Kent. The same your seruant Kent, where is your seruant Caius ,
    3250 Lear. Hees a good fellow, I can tell that,
    Heele strike and quickly too, hees dead and rotten.
    Kent. No my good Lord, I am the very man.
    Lear. Ile see that straight.