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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    95Cor. Nothing.
    Lear. Nothing will come of nothing, speake againe.
    Cor. Vnhappie that I am, I cannot heaue
    My heart into my mouth: I loue your Maiesty
    According to my bond, no more nor lesse.
    100Lear. How, how Cordelia? mend your speech a little,
    Least you may marre your Fortunes.
    Cor. Good my Lord,
    You haue begot me, bred me, lou'd me.
    I returne those duties backe as are right fit,
    105Obey you, Loue you, and most Honour you.
    Why haue my Sisters Husbands, if they say
    They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed,
    That Lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry
    Halfe my loue with him, halfe my Care, and Dutie,
    110Sure I shall neuer marry like my Sisters.
    Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
    Cor. I my good Lord.
    Lear. So young, and so vntender?
    Cor. So young my Lord, and true.
    115Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre:
    For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
    The miseries of Heccat and the night:
    By all the operation of the Orbes,
    From whom we do exist, and cease to be,
    120Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care,
    Propinquity and property of blood,
    And as a stranger to my heart and me,
    Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian,
    Or he that makes his generation messes
    125To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosome
    Be as well neighbour'd, pittied, and releeu'd,
    As thou my sometime Daughter.
    Kent. Good my Liege.
    Lear. Peace Kent,
    130Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath,
    I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest
    On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight:
    So be my graue my peace, as here I giue
    Her Fathers heart from her ; call France, who stirres?
    135Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albanie,
    With my two Daughters Dowres, digest the third,
    Let pride, which she cals plainnesse, marry her:
    I doe inuest you ioyntly with my power,
    Preheminence, and all the large effects
    140That troope with Maiesty. Our selfe by Monthly course,
    With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
    By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
    Make with you by due turne, onely we shall retaine
    The name, and all th'addition to a King: the Sway,
    145Reuennew, Execution of the rest,
    Beloued Sonnes be yours, which to confirme,
    This Coronet part betweene you.
    Kent. Royall Lear,
    Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
    150Lou'd as my Father, as my Master follow'd,
    As my great Patron thought on in my praiers.
    Le. The bow is bent & drawne, make from the shaft.
    Kent. Let it fall rather, though the forke inuade
    The region of my heart, be Kent vnmannerly,
    155When Lear is mad, what wouldest thou do old man?
    Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake,
    When power to flattery bowes?
    To plainnesse honour's bound,
    When Maiesty falls to folly, reserue thy state,
    160And in thy best consideration checke
    This hideous rashnesse, answere my life, my iudgement:
    Thy yongest Daughter do's not loue thee least,
    Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sounds
    Reuerbe no hollownesse.
    165Lear. Kent, on thy life no more.
    Kent. My life I neuer held but as pawne
    To wage against thine enemies, nere feare to loose it,
    Thy safety being motiue.
    Lear. Out of my sight.
    170Kent. See better Lear, and let me still remaine
    The true blanke of thine eie.
    Kear. Now by Apollo,
    Lent. Now by Apollo, King
    Thou thy Gods in vaine.
    175Lear. O Vassall! Miscreant.
    Alb. Cor. Deare Sir forbeare.
    Kent. Kill thy Physition, and thy fee bestow
    Vpon the foule disease, reuoke thy guift,
    Or whil'st I can vent clamour from my throate,
    180Ile tell thee thou dost euill.
    Lea. Heare me recreant, on thine allegeance heare me;
    That thou hast sought to make vs breake our vowes,
    Which we durst neuer yet; and with strain'd pride,
    To come betwixt our sentences, and our power,
    185Which, nor our nature, nor our place can beare;
    Our potencie made good, take thy reward.
    Fiue dayes we do allot thee for prouision,
    To shield thee from disasters of the world,
    And on the sixt to turne thy hated backe
    190Vpon our kingdome; if on the tenth day following,
    Thy banisht trunke be found in our Dominions,
    The moment is thy death, away. By Iupiter,
    This shall not be reuok'd,
    Kent. Fare thee well King, sith thus thou wilt appeare,
    195Freedome liues hence, and banishment is here;
    The Gods to their deere shelter take thee Maid,
    That iustly think'st, and hast most rightly said:
    And your large speeches, may your deeds approue,
    That good effects may spring from words of loue:
    200Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adew,
    Hee'l shape his old course, in a Country new. Exit.

    Flourish. Enter Gloster with France, and Bur-
    gundy, Attendants.

    Cor. Heere's France and Burgundy, my Noble Lord.
    205Lear. My Lord of Bugundie,
    We first addresse toward you, who with this King
    Hath riuald for our Daughter; what in the least
    Will you require in present Dower with her,
    Or cease your quest of Loue?
    210Bur. Most Royall Maiesty,
    I craue no more then hath your Highnesse offer'd,
    Nor will you tender lesse?
    Lear. Right Noble Burgundy,
    When she was deare to vs, we did hold her so,
    215But now her price is fallen: Sir, there she stands,
    If ought within that little seeming substance,
    Or all of it with our displeasure piec'd,
    And nothing more may fitly like your Grace,
    Shee's there, and she is yours.
    220Bur. I know no answer.
    Lear. Will you with those infirmities she owes,
    Vnfriended, new adopted to our hate,
    Dow'rd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
    Take her or, leaue her.