Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

Toolbox




Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Gonorill and Bastard.
    Gon. Welcome my Lord, I maruaile our mild husband
    Not met vs on the way, now wher's your maister?
    2269.1Enter Steward.
    Stew.
    The Historie of King Lear.
    2270Stew. Madame within, but neuer man so chang'd, I told him
    of the army that was landed, he smild at it, I told him you were
    coming, his answere was the worse, of Glosters treacherie, and of
    the loyall seruice of his sonne 2275when I enform'd him, then hee
    cald me sott, and told me I had turnd the wrong side out, what
    hee should most desire seemes pleasant to him, what like offen-
    siue.
    Gon. Then shall you goe no further,
    2280It is the cowish terrer of his spirit
    That dares not vndertake, hele not feele wrongs
    Which tie him to an answere, our wishes on the way
    May proue effects, backe Edgar to my brother,
    Hasten his musters, and conduct his powers
    2285I must change armes at home, and giue the distaffe
    Into my husbands hands, this trusty seruant
    Shall passe betweene vs, ere long you are like to heare
    If you dare venture in your owne behalfe
    A mistresses command, weare this, spare speech,
    2290Decline your head: this kisse if it durst speake
    Would stretch thy spirits vp into the ayre,
    Conceaue and far you well.
    Bast. Yours in the ranks of death.
    Gon. My most deere Gloster, to thee womans seruices(are dew
    A foole vsurps my bed.
    Stew. Madam here comes my Lord. Exit Stew.
    2300Gon. I haue beene worth the whistlling.
    Alb. O Gonoril, you are not worth the dust which the(rude wind
    Blowes in your face, I feare your disposition
    2303.1That nature which contemnes ith origin
    Cannot be bordered certaine in it selfe,
    She that her selfe will sliuer and disbranch
    From her materiall sap, perforce must wither,
    2303.5And come to deadly vse.
    Gon. No more, the text is foolish.
    Alb. Wisedome and goodnes, to the vild seeme vild,
    Filths sauor but themselues, what haue you done?
    Tigers, not daughters, what haue you perform'd?
    2303.10A father, and a gracious aged man
    Whose
    The Historie of King Lear.
    Whose reuerence euen the head-lugd beare would lick.
    Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded,
    Could my good brother suffer you to doe it?
    A man, a Prince, by him so benifited,
    2303.15If that the heauens doe not their visible spirits
    Send quickly downe to tame the vild offences, it will(come
    Humanity must perforce pray on it self like monsters of (the deepe.
    Gon. Milke liuerd man
    2305That bearest a cheeke for bloes, a head for wrongs,
    Who hast not in thy browes an eye deseruing thine honour,
    From thy suffering, that not know'st, fools do those vilains pitty
    2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
    Wher's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noyseles land,
    With plumed helme, thy state begin thereat
    Whil'st thou a morall foole sits still and cries
    2307.5Alack why does he so?
    Alb. See thy selfe deuill, proper deformity shews not in the
    fiend, 2310so horid as in woman.
    Gon. O vaine foole!
    2311.1Alb. Thou changed, and selfe-couerd thing for shame
    Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnes
    To let these hands obay my bloud,
    They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
    2311.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
    A womans shape doth shield thee.
    Gon. Marry your manhood mew---
    Alb. What newes. Enter a Gentleman.
    Gent. O my good Lord the Duke of Cornwals dead, slaine by
    his seruant, going to put out 2315the other eye of Gloster.
    Alb. Glosters eyes?
    Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
    Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
    To his great maister, who thereat inraged
    2320Flew on him, and amongst them, feld him dead,
    But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
    Hath pluckt him after.
    Alb. This shewes you are aboue you Iustisers,
    That these our nether crimes 2325so speedely can venge.
    But
    The Historie of King Lear.
    But O poore Gloster lost he his other eye.
    Gent. Both, both my Lord, this letter Madam craues a speedy(answer,
    Tis from your sister.Gon. One way I like this well,
    But being widow and my Gloster with her,
    May all the building on my fancie plucke,
    Vpon my hatefull life, another way the newes is not so tooke,
    Ile reade and answer. Exit.
    2335Alb. Where was his sonne when they did take his eyes.
    Gent. Come with my Lady hither. Alb. He is not here.
    Gent. No my good Lord I met him backe againe.
    2340Alb. Knowes he the wickednesse.
    Gent. I my good Lord twas he informd against him,
    And quit the house on purpose that there punishment
    Might haue the freer course.
    Alb. Gloster I liue 2345to thanke thee for the loue thou shewedst the(King,
    And to reuenge thy eyes, come hither friend,
    Tell me what more thou knowest. Exit.