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About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of King Lear .
    Deseru'd much lesse aduancement.
    Lear. You? Did you?
    Reg. I pray you Father being weake, seeme so.
    1495If till the expiration of your Moneth
    You will returne and soiourne with my Sister,
    Dismissing halfe your traine, come then to me,
    I am now from home, and out of that prouision
    Which shall be needfull for your entertainement.
    1500Lear. Returne to her? and fifty men dismiss'd?
    No, rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse
    To wage against the enmity oth'ayre,
    To be a Comrade with the Wolfe, and Owle,
    Necessities sharpe pinch. Returne with her?
    1505Why the hot-bloodiedFrance, that dowerlesse tooke
    Our yongest borne, I could as well be brought
    To knee his Throne, and Squire-like pension beg,
    To keepe base life a foote; returne with her?
    Perswade me rather to be slaue and sumpter
    1510To this detested groome.
    Gon. At your choice Sir.
    Lear. I prythee Daughter do not make me mad,
    I will not trouble thee my Child; farewell:
    Wee'l no more meete, no more see one another.
    1515But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my Daughter,
    Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
    Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a Byle,
    A plague sore, or imbossed Carbuncle
    In my corrupted blood. But Ile not chide thee,
    1520Let shame come when it will, I do not call it,
    I do not bid the Thunder-bearer shoote,
    Nor tell tales of thee to high-iudging Ioue,
    Mend when thou can'st, be better at thy leisure,
    I can be patient, I can stay with Regan,
    1525I and my hundred Knights.
    Reg. Not altogether so,
    I look'd not for you yet, nor am prouided
    For your fit welcome, giue eare Sir to my Sister,
    For those that mingle reason with your passion,
    1530Must be content to thinke you old, and so,
    But she knowes what she doe's.
    Lear. Is this well spoken?
    Reg. I dare auouch it Sir, what fifty Followers?
    Is it not well? What should you need of more?
    1535Yea, or so many? Sith that both charge and danger,
    Speake 'gainst so great a number? How in one house
    Should many people, vnder two commands
    Hold amity? 'Tis hard, almost impossible.
    Gon. Why might not you my Lord, receiue attendance
    1540From those that she cals Seruants, or from mine?
    Reg. Why not my Lord?
    If then they chanc'd to slacke ye,
    We could comptroll them; if you will come to me,
    (For now I spie a danger) I entreate you
    1545To bring but fiue and twentie ,to no more
    Will I giue place or notice.
    Lear. I gaue you all.
    Reg. And in good time you gaue it.
    Lear. Made you my Guardians, my Depositaries,
    1550But kept a reseruation to be followed
    With such a number? What , must I come to you
    With fiue and twenty? Regan, said you so?
    Reg. And speak't againe my Lord, no more with me.
    Lea. Those wicked Creatures yet do look wel fauor'd
    1555When others are more wicked, not being the worst
    Stands in some ranke of praise, Ile go with thee,
    Thy fifty yet doth double fiue and twenty,
    And thou art twice her Loue.
    Gon. Heare me my Lord;
    1560What need you fiue and twenty? Ten? Or fiue?
    To follow in a house, where twice so many
    Haue a command to tend you?
    Reg. What need one?
    Lear. O reason not the need: our basest Beggers
    1565Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
    Allow not Nature, more then Nature needs:
    Mans life is cheape as Beastes. Thou art a Lady;
    If onely to go warme were gorgeous,
    Why Nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
    1570Which scarcely keepes thee warme, but for true need:
    You Heauens, giue me that patience, patience I need,
    You see me heere (you Gods) a poore old man,
    As full of griefe as age, wretched in both,
    If it be you that stirres these Daughters hearts
    1575Against their Father, foole me not so much,
    To beare it tamely: touch me with Noble anger,
    And let not womens weapons, water drops,
    Staine my mans cheekes. No you vnnaturall Hags,
    I will haue such reuenges on you both,
    1580That all the world shall---I will do such things,
    What they are yet, I know not, but they shal be
    The terrors of the earth? you thinke Ile weepe,
    No, Ile not weepe, I haue full cause of weeping.
    Storme and Tempest.
    1585But this heart shal break into a hundred thousand flawes
    Or ere Ile weepe; O Foole, I shall go mad. Exeunt.
    Corn. Let vs withdraw, 'twill be a Storme.
    Reg. This house is little, the old man an'ds people,
    Cannot be well bestow'd.
    1590Gon. 'Tis his owne blame hath put himselfe from rest,
    And must needs taste his folly.
    Reg. For his particular, Ile receiue him gladly,
    But not one follower.
    Gon. So am I purpos'd.
    1595Where is my Lord of Gloster?
    Enter Gloster.
    Corn. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.
    Glo. The King is in high rage.
    Corn. Whether is he going?
    1600Glo. He cals to Horse, but will I know not whether.
    Corn. 'Tis best to giue him way, he leads himselfe.
    Gon. My Lord, entreate him by no meanes to stay.
    Glo. Alacke the night comes on, and the high windes
    Do sorely ruffle, for many Miles about
    1605There's scarce a Bush.
    Reg. O Sir, to wilfull men,
    The iniuries that they themselues procure,
    Must be their Schoole-Masters: shut vp your doores,
    He is attended with a desperate traine,
    1610And what they may incense him too, being apt,
    To haue his eare abus'd, wisedome bids feare.
    Cor. Shut vp your doores my Lord, 'tis a wil'd night,
    My Regan counsels well: come out oth'storme. Exeunt.

    Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.

    1615Storme still. Enter Kent, and a Gentleman, seuerally.
    Kent. Who's there besides foule weather?
    Gen. One minded like the weather, most vnquietly.