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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Bast. and Curan meeting.
    Bast. Saue thee Curan.
    Curan. And you Sir, I haue beene 930with your father, and giuen
    him notice, that the Duke of Cornwall and his Dutches will bee
    here with him to night.
    Bast. How comes that?
    Curan. Nay, I know not, you haue heard of the newes 935abroad,
    I meane the whisperd ones, for there are yet but eare-bussing ar-
    guments.
    Bast. Not, I pray you what are they?
    Curan. Haue you heard of no likely warres towards, twixt
    the two Dukes of Cornwall and Albany?
    940Bast. Not a word.
    Curan. You may then in time, fare you well sir.
    Bast. The Duke be here to night! the better best, this weaues
    Enter Edgar
    it selfe perforce into my busines, 945my father hath set gard to take
    my brother, and I haue one thing of a quesie question, which
    must aske breefnes and fortune helpe; brother, a word, discend
    brother I say, 950my father watches, O flie this place, intelligence
    is giuen where you are hid, you haue now the good aduantage
    of the night, haue you not spoken gainst the Duke of Cornwall
    ought, hee's coming hether now in the night, it'h hast, 955and Re-
    gan with him, haue you nothing said vpon his partie against the
    Duke of Albany, aduise your---
    Edg. I am sure on't not a word.
    Bast. I heare my father coming, pardon me 960in crauing, I must
    draw my sword vpon you, seeme to defend your selfe, now quit
    you well, yeeld, come before my father, light here, here, flie
    brother flie, torches, torches, so farwell; some bloud drawne
    on mee would beget opinion of my more fierce indeuour, I
    haue seene drunckards doe more then this in sport, father, father,
    stop, stop, no, helpe? Enter Glost.
    Glost. Now Edmund where is the villaine?
    Bast. Here stood he in the darke, his sharpe sword out, warb-
    ling of wicked charms, coniuring the Moone to stand's auspici-
    ous Mistris. Glost. 975But where is he?
    Bast. Looke sir, I bleed.
    Glost. Where is the villaine Edmund?
    Bast.
    The Historie of King Lear.
    Bast. Fled this way sir, when by no meanes he could---
    Glost. Pursue him, go after, by no meanes, what?
    980Bast. Perswade me to the murder of your Lordship, but that
    I told him the reuengiue Gods, gainst Paracides did all their
    thunders bend, spoke with how many fould and strong a bond
    the child was bound to the father, sir in a fine, 985seeing how loath-
    ly opposite I stood, to his vnnaturall purpose, with fell motion
    with his prepared sword, hee charges home my vnprouided bo-
    dy, lancht mine arme, but when he saw my best alarumd spirits,
    990bould in the quarrels, rights, rousd to the encounter, or whether
    gasted by the noyse I made, but sodainly he fled.
    Glost, Let him flie farre, not in this land shall hee remaine vn-
    caught 995and found, dispatch, the noble Duke my maister, 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 caytife to the stake, 1000hee that conceals
    him, death.
    Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent, and found him
    pight to doe it, with curst speech I threatned to discouer him, he
    replyed, thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke, 1005if I would
    stand against thee, could the reposure of any trust, vertue, or
    worth in thee make thy words fayth'd? no. what I should denie,
    as this I would, I, though thou didst produce my very character,
    id'e turne it all 1010to thy suggestion, plot, and damned pretence,
    and thou must make a dullard of the world, if they not thought
    the profits of my death, were very pregnant and potentiall
    spurres to make thee seeke it.
    1015Glost. Strong and fastned villaine, would he denie his letter,
    I neuer got him, harke the Dukes trumpets, I know not why he
    comes, all Ports ile barre, the villaine shall not scape, the Duke
    must grant mee that, besides, his picture 1020I will send farre and
    neere, that all the kingdome may haue note of him, and of my
    land loyall and naturall boy, ile worke the meanes to make thee
    capable.
    Enter the Duke of Cornwall.
    1025Corn. How now my noble friend, since I came hether, which
    I can call but now, I haue heard strange newes.
    Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short which can
    pursue
    The Historie of King Lear.
    pursue the offender, how dost my Lord?
    Glost. Madam my old heart is crackt, is crackt.
    1030Reg. What, did my fathers godson seeke your life? he whom
    my father named your Edgar?
    Glost. I Ladie, Ladie, shame would haue it hid.
    Reg. Was he not companion with the ryotous knights, that
    tends vpon my father?
    1035Glost. I know not Madam, tis too bad, too bad.
    Bast. Yes Madam, he was.
    Reg. No maruaile then though he were ill affected,
    Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
    To haue the wast and spoyle 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.
    Duke. Nor I, assure thee Regan; Edmund, 1045I heard that you
    haue shewen your father a child-like office.
    Bast. Twas my dutie Sir.
    Glost. He did betray his practise, and receiued
    This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.
    1050Duke. Is he pursued? Glost. I my good Lord.
    Duke. If he be taken, he shall neuer more be feard of doing
    harme, make your own purpose how in my strength you please,
    for you Edmund, 1055whose vertue and obedience, doth this instant
    so much commend it selfe, you shall bee ours, natures of such
    deepe trust, wee shall much need you, we first seaze on.
    Bast. I shall serue you truly, how euer else.
    1060Glost. For him I thanke your grace.
    Duke. You know not why we came to visit you?
    Regan. Thus out of season, threatning darke ey'd night,
    Ocasions noble Gloster of some prise,
    Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise,
    1065Our Father he hath writ, so hath our sister,
    Of diferences, which I lest thought it fit,
    To answer from our home, the seuerall messengers
    From hence attend dispatch, our good old friend,
    Lay comforts to your bosome, & bestow 1070your needfull councell
    To our busines, which craues the instant vse. (Exeunt.
    Glost.
    The Historie of King Lear.
    Glost. I serue you Madam, your Graces are right welcome.