Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Editor: Andrew Griffin
Peer Reviewed

The History of King Leir (Modern)

1293.1[Scene 17] [Video Sc.17]
Enter Messenger [alone]
1295 Messenger
It is a world to see, now I am flush,
How many friends I purchase everywhere!
How many seek to creep into my favor,
And kiss their hands and bend their knees to me!
No more, here comes the queen; now shall I know her mind,
1300And hope for to derive more crowns from her.
Enter Ragan
My friend, I see thou mindst thy promise well
And art before me here, methinks, today.
I am a poor man, an it like your grace,
But yet I always love to keep my word.
Well, keep thy word with me and thou shalt see
That of a poor man I will make thee rich.
I long to hear it; it might have been dispatched
If you had told me of it yesternight.
It is a thing of right strange consequence,
1310And well I cannot utter it in words.
It is more strange that I am not by this
Beside myself with longing for to hear it.
Were it to meet the devil in his den
And try a bout with him for a scratched face,
1315I'd undertake it if you would but bid me.
Ah, good my friend, that I should have thee do
Is such a thing as I do shame to speak,
Yet it must needs be done.
I'll speak it for thee, Queen; shall I kill thy father?
1320I know 'tis that, an if it be so, say.
Why, that's enough.
And yet that is not all.
What else?
Thou must kill that old man that came with him.
Here are two hands; for each of them is one.
And for each hand here is a recompense.
Give[s] him two purses.
Oh, that I had ten hands by miracle,
I could tear ten in pieces with my teeth,
1330So in my mouth you'd put a purse of gold.
But in what manner must it be effected?
Tomorrow morning ere the break of day,
I by a wile will send them to the thicket
That is about some two miles from the court,
1335And promise them to meet them there myself
Because I must have private conference
About some news I have received from Cornwall.
This is enough, I know, they will not fail,
And then be ready for to play thy part,
1340Which done, thou mayst right easily escape
And no man once mistrust thee for the fact.
But yet, before thou prosecute the act,
Show him the letter which my sister sent;
There let him read his own indictment first,
1345And then proceed to execution.
But see thou faint not, for they will speak fair.
Could he speak words as pleasing as the pipe
Of Mercury, which charmed the hundred eyes
Of watchful Argos and enforced him sleep,
1350Yet here are words so pleasing to my thoughts,
To the purse
As quite shall take away the sound of his.
Exit [Messenger].
About it then, and when thou hast dispatched,
I'll find a means to send thee after him.