Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Editor: Andrew Griffin
Peer Reviewed

The History of King Leir (Modern)

2506.1[Scene 30] [Video Sc.30]
Enter the King of Gallia, Leir, Mumford, Cordella, Perillus and Soldiers, with the Chief of the town bound, [and an English Nobleman]
Fear not, my friends, you shall receive no hurt
2510If you'll subscribe unto your lawful king
And quite revoke your fealty from Cambria,
And from aspiring Cornwall too, whose wives
Have practiced treason 'gainst their father's life.
We come in justice of your wrongèd king,
2515And do intend no harm at all to you,
So you submit unto your lawful king.
Kind countrymen, it grieves me that perforce
I am constrained to use extremities.
A Nobleman
Long have you here been looked for, good my lord,
2520And wished for by a general consent;
And had we known your highness had arrived,
We had not made resistance to your grace.
And now, my gracious lord, you need not doubt
But all the country will yield presently,
2525Which, since your absence, have been greatly taxed
For to maintain their overswelling pride.
We'll presently send word to all our friends:
When they have notice, they will come apace.
Thanks, loving subjects, and thanks, worthy son;
2530Thanks, my kind daughter, thanks to you, my lord,
Who willingly adventured half your blood,
Without desert, to do me so much good.
Oh, say not so! I have been much beholding to your grace: 2535I must confess, I have been in some skirmishes, but I was never in the like to this, for where I was wont to meet with armed men, I was now encountered with naked women.
We that are feeble and want use of arms
2540Will pray to God to shield you from all harms.
The while your hands do manage ceaseless toil,
Our hearts shall pray the foes may have the foil.
We'll fast and pray whilst you for us do fight,
That victory may prosecute the right.
Methinks your words do amplify, my friends,
And add fresh vigor to my willing limbs.
But hark, I hear the adverse drum approach.
God and our right, Saint Denis, and Saint George!
Enter Cornwall, Cambria, Gonorill, Ragan, and the army.
Presumptuous King of Gauls, how dar'st thou
Presume to enter on our British shore?
And, more than that, to take our towns perforce,
And draw our subjects' hearts from their true king?
Be sure to buy it at as dear a price
2555As e'er you bought presumption in your lives.
O'erdaring Cornwall, know we came in right
And just revengement of the wrongèd king,
Whose daughters there, fell vipers as they are,
Have sought to murder and deprive of life;
2560But God protected him from all their spite,
And we are come in justice of his right.
Nor he nor thou have any interest here
But what you win and purchase with the sword.
Thy slanders to our noble virtuous queens
2565We'll in the battle thrust them down thy throat
Except, for fear of our revenging hands,
Thou fly to sea, as not secure on lands.
Welshman, I'll so ferret you ere night for that word that you shall have no mind to crake so well this twelvemonth.
They lie that say we sought our father's death.
'Tis merely forgèd for a color's sake,
To set a gloss on your invasion.
Methinks an old man ready for to die
Should be ashamed to broach so foul a lie.
Fie, shameless sister, so devoid of grace,
To call our father "liar" to his face.
Peace, puritan, dissembling hypocrite,
Which art so good that thou wilt prove stark naught!
Anon, whenas I have you in my fingers,
2580I'll make you wish yourself in purgatory.
Nay, peace, thou monster, shame unto thy sex,
Thou fiend in likeness of a human creature!
I never heard a fouler spoken man.
Out on thee, viper, scum, filthy parricide,
2585More odious to my sight than is a toad.
Knowest thou these letters?
She snatches them and tears them.
Think you to outface me with your paltry scrolls?
You come to drive my husband from his right,
Under the color of a forgèd letter.
Whoever heard the like impiety?
You are our debtor of more patience:
We were more patient when we stayed for you
Within the thicket two long hours and more.
What hours? What thicket?
There, where you sent your servant with your letters,
Sealèd with your hand, to send us both to heaven,
Where, as I think, you never mean to come.
Alas, you are grown a child again with age,
Or else your senses dote for want of sleep.
Indeed, you made us rise betimes, you know,
Yet had a care we should sleep where you bade us stay,
But never wake more till the latter day.
Peace, peace, old fellow, thou art sleepy still.
Faith, an if you reason till tomorrow
2605You get no other answer at their hands.
'Tis pity two such good faces
Should have so little grace between them.
Well, let us see if their husbands, with their hands,
Can do as much as they do with their tongues.
Ay, with their swords they'll make your tongue unsay
What they have said, or else they'll cut them out.
Too't, gallants, too't; let's not stand brawling thus.
Exeunt both armies.